ACOSS Reports & Submissions
Economics & Tax
Entrenched unemployment is growing and of great concern: at January 2013 more than 500,000 people, or 64 per cent of all Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients, had been unemployed for more than a year.1 At August 2012, the average duration for people receiving Newstart was two years, or 104 weeks.2 At the same time, 34 per cent of all those receiving support from JSA providers had been unemployed for more than two years. The system is complex, over-engineered and under-resourced. Most people who are disadvantaged in the labour market do not receive the individual help they need. There is still too much focus on short term employment outcomes and too little on long term intensive work with people and employers to ensure that jobs are sustained. Much of the system is designed for the benefit of Government as ‘consumer’ of the services, not people looking for paid work or employers. We need to improve the resourcing of assistance for people who are long term unemployed. In the current system, support for Stream 3 and 4 jobseekers declines once they reach the 12 month point, meaning that those who are longest out of work receive less support.
ACOSS takes a long term view of minimum wage fixation and the needs of people on low pay. We are concerned that the federal minimum wage (or its equivalent) has barely kept pace with inflation, and fallen sharply in comparison with median fulltime wage levels, over the last two decades. From 1996 to 2011 the federal minimum wage fell from around 60.6% to 53.6% of median fulltime earnings. This left minimum wage earners and their families at risk of falling below generally accepted minimum living standards, as community living standards and expectations rose. Our concern about the long time decline in relative minimum wages stems from its impact on poverty and social inclusion in Australia.
This submission is available in PDF by clicking the title above; and in Word format.
The initial ACOSS briefing on the 2012-13 Federal Budget. This briefing does not offer extensive comment on the merit or otherwise of these measures. The paper provides a general background on the Budget surplus, revenue and expenses, a table of ACOSS proposals that were announced in the Budget, and an outline of the key measures in ACOSS' major policy areas.
Action can be taken in this Budget to meet the most pressing social needs while at the same time restoring the Budget to surplus. This report identifies $8 billion of poorly targeted expenditure programs and tax breaks that could be cut and redirected to other priorities. Waste not, want not.
Submission to Fair Work Australia on minimum wages for 2012. Within this submission, ACOSS' recommendations focus on how the needs of people on low pay can best be assessed and the respective roles of wages and social security in sustaining a decent standard of living. Our starting point is that the Federal Minimum Wage (FMW) should be designed to at least provide a decent living standard, well above poverty levels, for a single adult and that the tax-transfer system should meet the basic costs of raising children in a low income family.
This submission is ACOSS' supplementary submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee on the Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2011.
This submission explores measures affecting sole parents on income support, such as the changing of rules regarding eligibility for Parenting Payment Single as of 1 January 2013, which would result in a loss of up to $58 per week in income support for around 28,000 sole parents over the next 4 years; and measures affecting young unemployed people aged 21 years, whereby 21 year old unemployed people would lose access to Newstart Allowance and have to remain on the lower Youth Allowance for an extra year after they turn 21.
ACOSS’ submission to the Senate Economics Committee on the Tax Laws Amendment (Stronger, Fairer, Simpler and Other Measures) Bill 2011: reform of the tax treatment of superannuation contributions (ACOSS Paper 180).
ACOSS participated in the Australia’s Future Tax System Review (AFTS) process, and advocated reforms to make the personal income tax system and the tax treatment of superannuation fairer and more efficient. While we believe that there are some proposed changes that should be supported, such as the proposed mining tax in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax Bill, this submission proposes larger reforms to the present system of tax concessions for superannuation.
In this submission, ACOSS outlines policy recommendations for consideration by the Federal Government in its 2012-13 Budget. The submission aims to resolve the tension between the Govern-ment’s commitment to restore the Budget to surplus from 2012-13 and the urgency of social and economic needs not yet met, of key social and economic reforms not yet completed.
Our priority for the 2012-13 Federal Budget remains to ensure that no person is excluded from the benefits of economic growth and prosperity and from the opportunity to fully participate in society. Some of the policy building blocks to meet this goal have been laid, including the commitment to introduce a National Disability Insurance Scheme, the emerging policy focus on employment participation for people excluded from the labour market, and last year’s mental health reform package.
The Southern Cross Climate Coalition (SCCC) is an alliance of the Australian Conservation Foundation, the
Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Council of Social Service and The Climate Institute. We
are committed to reducing our economy's dependence on carbon pollution and promoting solutions to
Over the coming months Australia's political leaders have an opportunity to lay the policy foundations for a
prosperous, fair and competitive low pollution economy. These policies should aim to:
- reduce our economy's dependence on pollution;
- ensure fair and inclusive action on climate change;
- unlock new clean energy jobs and industries; and
- strengthen global action.
ACOSS has argued for many years that family payments for teenagers aged 16 years and over are too low to enable low-income families to meet the rising cost of raising older children. ACOSS therefore supports the Government's intention to raise the Family Tax Benefit for older teenagers, but is concerned some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable young Australians will miss out on proposed increases. The inflexibility of current participation requirements applied to Family Tax Benefit recipients means that up to 15,000 early school leavers may be deprived of a much needed increase in family assistance.