Income support and employment
We believe that every Australian should have access to basic services such as housing, food, transport, utilities and healthcare. This means that no matter whether people are working or not, they should be able to live free from poverty, homelessness and destitution.
We know that an income support system which enables and empowers people to create change in their lives will benefit all Australians. Our welfare system should reflect the kind of Australia we want to be: a country that treats everyone with dignity and respect and inspires its people to participate in social, cultural and economic life.
We know that other countries have welfare models that maintain people’s integrity, autonomy and sense of pride while supporting them into employment. Australia can have that too.
Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia
As a member of Raise the Rate, we called for the current Senate inquiry into the adequacy of income support payments in Australia. We believe raising the rate of Newstart, Youth Allowance and related payments is the single most effective step to reducing poverty in Australia.
Every area of our organisation is affected by the inadequacy of income support payments, from our services in financial counselling, emergency relief, energy concessions, employment, disability, homelessness and mental health through to supports for families and young people leaving out of home care. We know we have a compelling story to tell about the wide-ranging impacts for people struggling in our community.
Our submission reflects our deep commitment to voicing the lived experience of our consumers and raises awareness about the impacts of current policies on people’s daily lives, wellbeing and sense of dignity.
On 20 November 2019, Uniting Vic.Tas CEO Bronwyn Pike was on ABC radio with Virginia Trioli to highlight the social and economic benefits that raising the rate of income support payments would bring for all Australians.
Later that day, Bronwyn and Kaylie Goodsell, Team Leader of Financial Counselling in Goulburn North East, presented to Senators at the public hearing for the Inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. They told Senators how living on around $40 per day has long-term, far-reaching impacts on people’s physical health, mental health, social inclusion, economic participation, family functioning and emotional wellbeing.
The senate committee’s report is to be released by 27 March 2020.
Listen here for our CEO’s interview with ABC radio (starting at 22 minutes 50 seconds).
You can read the transcript for the hearing here.
Senate Inquiry into Centrelink’s Compliance Program
Every Australian should have access government services that are fair, transparent, accountable, coordinated, consistent, respectful and accurate. It is clear to us, from the experiences of our consumers, that Centrelink’s approach to debt collection needs to change.
We provided a submission to Senate Inquiry into Centrelink’s Compliance Program to recommend some practical actions to improve people’s experiences with Centrelink’s debt collection processes.
We also gave evidence at a public hearing on 9 October 2019, drawing on the lived experience of the consumers.
You can read more or share your story on the Not My Debt website
Read our submission on Centrelink’s compliance program.
You can read the transcript from the Hearing we spoke at here or view the media release for a summary of our key recommendations.
Victorian Inquiry into Sustainable Employment for Disadvantaged Jobseekers
We provided a submission and attended a public hearing into the Victorian Inquiry into Sustainable Employment for Disadvantaged Jobseekers. Our submission, draws on our experience in value-based recruitment into care professions, based on our recent involvement in the Launch into Work pilot.
You can also read the transcript for the public hearing we gave evidence to here.
We are urging the Federal government to pass legislation on small amount consumer credit, such as payday loans. Such credit facilities are a major source of financial difficulty for people experiencing poverty and can lead to a cycle of debt. You can read our position paper here.