Impact

Articles

December

For Social Good or Social Change? Social Enterprise and the Community Sector
Social enterprises are organisations that use market-based strategies to achieve a social purpose. They range from non-profits using business models to pursue their mission, to for-profits whose primary purposes are social. Their aim is often referred...
Read preview Overview
Time for Informed Debate on Pros and Cons of Social Enterprise
The idea of social enterprise as a mechanism by which we can generate new solutions to complex societal problems has garnered increasing attention in recent years. In the Australian policy context, there has been a particular emphasis on social enterprise...
Read preview Overview
Local Government Leading the Way in Supporting Social Enterprise
Social Enterprise Sydney In 2009 drawing on the learnings from the Parramatta Social Enterprise Hub program and the GROW (now Regional Development Australia) report Towards a Social Enterprise Strategy for Greater Sydney, Parramatta City Council...
Read preview Overview
The Women's Subscription Enterprise: From Living on the Streets to Helping the Homeless: One Woman's Tale of How She Turned Her Life Around
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] I have two dogs. I've also got three cats and two rabbits; one of whom weighs 12 kilos and swings on a hammock. I've got two kids, one husband and some great in-laws. I consider myself lucky. I've got a stable, supportive...
Read preview Overview
Big Heart Enterprise: Helping Regional Communities
Mission Australia Big Heart Enterprise (BHE) was established in the Illawarra region 20 years ago to help raise funds and create training opportunities for youth in a local accommodation service. Over the years, Big Heart has expanded and now includes...
Read preview Overview
Social Enterprises Driving Social Innovation
In the past 25 years a significant shift has been taking place in the fundamental architecture of society, in the organisation of the social half of society. And it has been led by social entrepreneurs, society's change agents and pioneers of innovations...
Read preview Overview

Autumn

The Contest for a Fairer Nation: Our Call to Candidates: ACOSS Policy Team
The recent economic crisis reminded Australians that anyone of us could face losing our jobs or our homes, and our children could struggle to find work when they leave school. This gave the nation fresh insight into the lives of the two million Australians...
Read preview Overview
A Regional Refugee Protection Framework: A Joint Statement by Australian Non-Government Organisations Co-Ordinated by the Refugee Council of Australia
Australia's 2010 Federal election campaign has heightened an already intense national debate about the role of Australia and its neighbours in responding to the humanitarian and political challenges posed by the large numbers of refugees, asylum seekers...
Read preview Overview
Missing Out: Unclaimed Centrelink Payments and Concession Benefits
The Government provides social support to Australians in the form of assistance payments and concession benefits. The intention of this support is to help people who experience significant life-changing events or difficult circumstances. Generally...
Read preview Overview
YouTHINK:YourSay What Young People Say about Equity
The global financial crisis of 2009 no longer makes daily headlines in newspapers around Australia. However, research conducted by The Salvation Army Australia Southern Territory indicates that disadvantaged members of the community are still affected...
Read preview Overview
Social Workers and Occupational Therapists Shut out of Medicare
The proposal to remove social workers and occupational therapists from the Better Access initiative will reduce treatment options for people with mental health conditions, particularly those on low incomes and those in rural and regional Australia....
Read preview Overview

Summer

Compulsory Income Management: A Flawed Answer to a Complex Issue
Despite strong lobbying by ACOSS and the community sector, the Federal Government's expanded compulsory income management scheme was passed by the majority parties in the Senate in late June 2010. One of the biggest reforms to social security reforms...
Read preview Overview
Compulsory Income Management: Socially Inclusive?
The Federal Government continues to portray the proposed roll-out of compulsory income management as somehow being integral to its commitment to a social inclusion agenda. To this end we witnessed the sad spectacle of data being wheeled out towards...
Read preview Overview
The Not-So-BasicsCard: Central Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service
For the past two and a half years, approximately 15,000 residents of 'prescribed areas' in the Northern Territory (NT) have been subject to the compulsory management of their welfare payments as part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER)....
Read preview Overview
Central Australian Perspectives of Welfare Reform
On 21 June 2007 the Australian Government announced a 'national emergency' to protect Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory. The result was a raft of changes to key areas of social policy including pornography, alcohol, welfare, l an d tenure,...
Read preview Overview
The Need for a National Disability Insurance Scheme
[FIGURE OMITTED] Meet Sophie. She is happy, engaging, energetic nine year old. She loves fairies, dancing, gymnastics and anything that is pink and sparkly. She also has Down syndrome. Because she was born with this genetic condition, she is...
Read preview Overview
Income Support for Young People Set for an Extreme Makeover for 2010
The last 12 months has seen the most significant changes in decades to income support policies affecting young people. Last year the Council of Australian Governments, in a Jobs Compact with young Australians committed to increasing the Year 12...
Read preview Overview
Re-Designing the Family Payments System to Reduce Child Poverty
Australia's family payments are mostly well targeted and are relatively effective in keeping families out of poverty by assisting with the costs of children. However, in a recent paper on Reform of Family Payments, ACOSS identified specific reforms...
Read preview Overview
Which Crisis and 'Over' for Whom?
In 2009 the Prime Minister delivered the Sambell Oration for Anti-Poverty Week in which he addressed issues of joblessness, homelessness, social justice and social responsibility. He spoke of the financial, employment and social crises of the past...
Read preview Overview

Winter

Sustaining and Developing Non-Profit Social Services
The economic downturn has seen escalating numbers of people turn to emergency relief services for assistance. With shrinking margins between the costs of delivering social services and funding levels, what does this mean for an already stretched sector?...
Read preview Overview
Community Workers Make a Difference
The economic downturn has seen escalating numbers of people turn to community service and welfare organisations for emergency assistance. ACOSS' recent survey of the non-profit community services sector highlighted the vital role that this sector...
Read preview Overview
Unemployment: The Coming Crisis
Recovery from the global recession requires substantial expenditure on active labour market policies directly targeted at unemployment. Action is needed now to prevent a re-emergence of sustained mass unemployment. This paper was presented to the ACTU...
Read preview Overview
Three Priorities to Reform Inequities and Inefficiencies in the Tax and Transfer System
Last year, not long after their first budget in office, the Rudd Government called for a 'root and branch' review of the Australian tax and transfer system. The review, which is due to report to the government at the end of 2009, provides a great opportunity...
Read preview Overview
When Raising Retirement Ages, Don't Start with the Poorest
Australia has two official retirement ages: 55 years to access superannuation and 63-65 years to access the age pension. At some stage, both ages will have to rise if we are to avoid labour shortages and ensure that people have decent incomes in retirement....
Read preview Overview
Fallout from the 2009 Budget-The Gaps between Pensions and Allowances
Next month, on 20 September, the 2.1 million age pensioners in Australia will receive an increase in their pensions as a result of the May Federal budget. Single age pensioners will receive up to $32.49 a week bringing payments to $413 per week...
Read preview Overview
Towards a National Human Rights Act?
Poverty, deprivation and homelessness are not only equity or social justice issues. They are human rights issues. A national consultation committee is looking at the implications of a human rights act for Australia. What protections would a human...
Read preview Overview

Summer

Building a Fair Australia in Tough Economic Times
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] How do you build a fair and equitable Australia as the economy slows, unemployment rises and government and household budgets are tightened? Does the Australian idea of a fair go only operate in secure economic times and...
Read preview Overview
Building a Fair Australia in Tough Economic Times
Key note address Australian Council of Social Service National Conference 2009 Sydney I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, on whose land we meet. Sixteen months ago Australians changed their government and the nation...
Read preview Overview
How Much Inequity Should We Allow?
Dr Ken Henry spoke in the Building a Fairer Tax System session at the ACOSS National Conference Firstly, a big thank you to Clare Martin and everyone at ACOSS for the invitation to take part in today's discussion. It's not just an opportunity...
Read preview Overview
Community's Role in Tax Reform
In the middle of last year, the Rudd Government announced a comprehensive review of the tax system by a Panel to be chaired by the head of Treasury, Ken Henry, and to report by the end of 2009. Its work is likely to have a major long-term impact on...
Read preview Overview
Fairness Matters
Introduction--fairness matters I want to concentrate on economic aspects of fairness, emphasizing one aspect particularily relevant to our time, namely the way we allocate risk across our society. In relation to risk there are two basic inequities....
Read preview Overview
Implications of the Economic Crisis for Employment Services
To understand the capacity of employment services to adapt to the current economic downturn, we need to look at the assumptions and ideologies that underpin it. While the system will change from 1st July this year when the Job Services Australia...
Read preview Overview
The Road Home Reforms Assessed
There's much to welcome in the White Paper's holistic national response to the challenge of homelessness. The homelessness support sector has long advocated for key reforms announced in the package, including better integration of policy and service...
Read preview Overview
Missing Out: Which Income Support Recipients Are Most at Risk of Hardship?
New research published by ACOSS finds that those on the lowest social security payments face the greatest hardship. The social security system is poorly designed to prevent poverty. (1) The ACOSS report draws on a study by the Social Policy Research...
Read preview Overview

Spring

Let's Not Forget Those Still Living in Poverty as the Economy Picks Up
As we breathe a sigh of relief at signs that the Australian economy appears to have dodged a bullet, we cannot forget the 2.2 million Australians who are still in the firing line. That's the number of Australians who are faced with the daily, inescapable...
Read preview Overview
Flexicurity: Unemployment, Social Inclusion, and Income Security
Scandinavian and Western European nations have adopted a distinctive approach to labour market policy. What can Australia can learn from this response to unemployment? What happens when you lose your job? And what can public policy do about it?...
Read preview Overview
A 'Crisis of Abundance': The Economic Crisis and Working Lives
The economic crisis has discredited a generation of economic policy orthodoxy, and presents us with an opportunity to reconsider the future picture of employment and growth strategies. The economic crisis unfolded with great speed and severity across...
Read preview Overview
Women in the Recession Examining Australia's Hidden Unemployed
The Australia Institute was asked to examine the position of women in the recession by the National Foundation for Australian Women on behalf of Security4Women and the WomenSpeak Alliance. One of the major findings in the subsequent report was that...
Read preview Overview
Indigenous Social Exclusion and Inclusion: What Are People to Be Included in, and Who Decides?
Since the election of the Rudd Government the notion of 'social inclusion' has been given extra prominence, with the creation of the Australian Social Inclusion Board, a Social Inclusion Unit in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and a ministerial...
Read preview Overview
Social Inclusion and Human Rights: Strange Bedfellows on the Road to an Authentically Australian Inclusion Agenda?
What would the Australian concept of social inclusion look like if we bring together what have so far been distinct paradigms--human rights and social inclusion--with the aim of developing a coherent and progressive policy agenda? This is a timely...
Read preview Overview
Rollout of Smart Meters Sparks Calls for Consumer Protections
New, 'smart' electricity meters are being rolled out across the nation, changing the way energy consumption is measured and charged. What will be the impact on low income households? Smart meters are hi-tech devices that will replace old-fashioned...
Read preview Overview

Winter

President's Report
In June ACOSS released the Australian Community Sector Survey for 2008. The survey asked our members and members of the State and Territory Councils of Social Service, to report on the services they delivered in 2005-06 and 2006-07. The survey...
Read preview Overview
Response to the NTER Taskforce Report
It is now more than 12 months since the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) was announced. With the recent release of the NTER Taskforce Final Report and the 12 month review now underway, it is important that we reflect on the past year...
Read preview Overview
A Good House Is Hard to Find: Senate Wants a Renovation Rescue
When one looks at the terms of reference of the recent inquiry by the Senate Select Committee on Housing Affordability, one can't help but be encouraged. It recognises firstly that the major stress in housing affordability is in the rental market,...
Read preview Overview
Which Way Home? A New Approach to Homelessness
Resonse to the Green Paper The release of the first ever Green Paper on homelessness, and the first Green Paper to be published by the new Government is much welcomed, with homelessness now clearly a national priority. The Government has stated...
Read preview Overview
The National Disability Strategy: Can It Make Connections for People with Disability?
The Federal Government's announcement of the social inclusion agenda left people with disability feeling hopeful. The further announcements of the National Disability Strategy (NDS) and the National Mental Health and Disability Employment Strategy...
Read preview Overview
Climate Change and Equity
There is now strong scientific evidence confirming that dangerous, human-induced climate change is a reality. It would be remiss of us, all of us, to not take action in response. What matters now is how we respond. Low income households and disadvantaged...
Read preview Overview

Fall

President's Message
National Conference More than 600 delegates attended this year's ACOSS National Conference in Melbourne on the 9th and 10th of April. The theme was Taking steps for a fair go for all--social inclusion policies and practices. The conference featured...
Read preview Overview
Farewell to Executive Director Andrew Johnson
Oooroo Andrew. Reflecting on the combination wake and celebrations ACOSS conducted to farewell Andrew Johnson, ACOSS Executive Director, it is with a tinge of sadness that I ponder the implications of Andrew's departure for many of the people...
Read preview Overview
Budget 2008
ACOSS called this year's Federal Budget a down payment on social inclusion. The Government's first Budget committed more than $11 billion over the next 3-5 years to programs that will improve the lives of more than 2 million low income and disadvantaged...
Read preview Overview
Inclusion: The View from Below
Speech to ACOSS Conference, 9th April 2008 Last Friday was the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis. As Anne Davies reminded us in her excellent piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Dr King was in Memphis to organise...
Read preview Overview
Federal Government Social Inclusion Agenda
Speech to ACOSS Conference, 10th April 2008 I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Wurundjeri People, and pay my respects to their elders and their laws. On an occasion like this, when we're coming...
Read preview Overview
Social Inclusion Policies and Practices: Reflections from the UK
The concepts of social exclusion and inclusion have reshaped debates about poverty in the UK and Europe. There are contending views about what drives social exclusion and appropriate policy responses. Some stress the structural causes of poverty...
Read preview Overview
Government Relationships with the Not-for-Profit Sector
Speech to ACOSS Conference, 9th April 2008 A strong, vibrant and innovative not-for-profit sector is essential to the social inclusion agenda and to a healthy Australian democracy. ACOSS has a long and proud history of advocating for those who...
Read preview Overview
Corporates, Trusts and Foundations Perspectives on Social Inclusion
Speech to ACOSS Conference, 9th April 2008 It is a great pleasure to join you for your 2008 National Conference. In doing so, I recognise 52 years of quite extraordinary service ACOSS has provided to Australians who impacted by poverty and...
Read preview Overview

Summer

Giving the Fair Go a Future
As we digest our post-election cup of tea and ponder the kind of Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd wants to shape in Government, we can start by looking at his plans for a social inclusion strategy. Mr Rudd's commitment to a strategy that brings...
Read preview Overview
Message on Behalf of the Prime Minister: The Hon. Sharman Stone MP
Speech to ACOSS Annual Conference 22nd November 2007. I am pleased to welcome all those attending the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) National Congress 2007. The theme for this year's Congress is Australia Fair: Taking Steps towards...
Read preview Overview
Towards a Social Inclusion Agenda
Speech to ACOSS Annual Conference, 22nd November 2007 Firstly, thank you to ACOSS for organising this summit on one of the most important issues in this election campaign--creating a fairer Australia. I am attending today to bring a message from...
Read preview Overview
Three Years or Three More Years: The Impact of the Election on Fairness
Speech to ACOSS Annual Conference, 22nd November 2007 I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners, the Kaurna people. I also acknowledge Lin Hatfield Dodds, President of ACOSS (and nominee for Australian of the Year) and Andrew Johnson, ACOSS...
Read preview Overview
The Experience of Welfare Receipt: Depression, Demoralisation and Despair?
This paper will draw together the findings of research I have conducted over the past five years and which has been published in a variety of different journal articles and reports. The project was largely funded by a fellowship from the NHMRC and...
Read preview Overview
Justice in a Climate of Change: Emissions Trading Calls for "Triple E" Approach
The new Labour Government is committed to the introduction of a "cap and trade" Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) with a long-term emissions reduction target, subject to the findings of the Garnaut inquiry into the economic impacts, to be finalised...
Read preview Overview
Time to Get Moving: The 2008 Political Landscape
At the beginning of 2008, with the new Government in place (but before Parliament has actually sat), many of us are still quietly optimistic that Australia is set to become a fairer and more just country--but what can we really expect? Will life...
Read preview Overview

Spring

President's Message
We are delighted to welcome Clare Martin as our new Chief Executive Officer. Clare became the first female Chief Minister of the Northern Territory following the 2001 Territory election and led her government to a record election win four years...
Read preview Overview
Rebuilding Lives through Sports and the Arts
In 2007, television audiences across Australia were captivated by the inspirational story of the Choir of Hard Knocks, a group of 50 homeless people who participated in a community street choir. Told through an ABC documentary, the journey of the...
Read preview Overview
Mapping Our Future: COAG Reform Agenda
New funding arrangements to drive service reforms At the time of writing, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) was due to meet to resolve new Commonwealth/State funding agreements covering health, education, disability services and housing....
Read preview Overview
Building Better Communities for Children
In Australia, despite overall increases in prosperity, many of the key indicators of child health and wellbeing are worsening. Our economic life is now harsher, more pressured, and a major manifestation is the widening gap between the rich and poor...
Read preview Overview
Social Exclusion and Location: Why Place Matters
The current interest in social inclusion following the Rudd Labor election late last year stands in contrast to the previous decade of policy amnesia about the complexities of social disadvantage and social dysfunction. The legacy of that period...
Read preview Overview
Social Security in Australia: Time to Review
ACOSS has called on the Government to overhaul Australia's social security system, which is currently unfair and too complex. People reliant on social security have struggled with sharp increases in the costs of essential items over the last two...
Read preview Overview

Winter

ACOSS News Working in Partnerships
National Civil Society Dialogue The delegates of the National Civil Society Dialogue met in Old Parliament House Canberra on 6th and 7th August. This gathering of 60 delegates was sponsored by four national organisations: * The National Council...
Read preview Overview
A Response to the Federal Government's Intervention in the NT
In June, the Australian Government responded to the report of the Northern Territory Board of Inquiry into Protection of Aboriginal Children: Little Children are Sacred. The Government announced a package of 12 'emergency' measures. The Combined...
Read preview Overview
Is This Going to Assist Vulnerable Australians?
The national emergency in the Northern Territory prompted by the Anderson/Wild Little Children Are Sacred report on child sex abuse has resulted in the most radical neo-paternalist social policy experiment in Australia in the past 40 years. On 21 June...
Read preview Overview
International Comparisons 2007
In 2007, despite the strong economy and large budget surpluses many Australians are not enjoying a decent standard of living. Australia Fair held extensive consultations in every State and Territory in 2006 to identify what the public thinks are...
Read preview Overview
Democracy under Siege
Australians are justly proud of their democratic traditions. Australia's system of government, established in 1900, drew upon British and United States models, selecting many of the best features of each. Recently, however, there have been many worrying...
Read preview Overview
Greenhouse Emissions Targets: Policy Responses and Their Impact on Low Income Households
The Federal Government's proposed carbon trading scheme will consign households to an annual average electricity price increase of $200, creating a significant impact on those whose incomes are hovering around or below the poverty line. On the face...
Read preview Overview
Poverty Lines 1994-2004 New Research Shows More Australians Living in Poverty
Australia Fair commissioned new research by the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) at the University of New South Wales indicates that in 2004, 1,935,000 or 9.9% of Australians, including 365,000 children, lived below the most austere poverty line...
Read preview Overview
Abolishing the States; Benefits for Australia
Beyond Federation has long advocated the abolition of State Government in Australia. We have run many congresses around Australia over the last five years or more. For us, the problems of State Government are clear. Yes, some suggest they have benefits,...
Read preview Overview

Summer

President's Message
The community and welfare sector plays a great role in Australian life--providing services to over 4 million Australians from child care to emergency relief, undertaking research on the fairness and state of our society and highlighting issues of disadvantage...
Read preview Overview
Keynote Address-Australia Fair
Forty years ago, the non-Indigenous people of Australia decided in a referendum to finally give Indigenous people some recognition within their law. They decided in 1967 to allow us to be counted in the census for determining the number of political...
Read preview Overview
Early Childhood Development & Poverty
The challenge today for humans to adapt to change is as great, if not greater, than any time in the history of the human species. To cope with the changes there will have to be a substantial investment in early child development (ECD) to establish...
Read preview Overview
Scared Selfish: Effects of the Rise of Fear
There is, of course, no way of eliminating fear from our lives. As Judith Schklar put it, 'to be alive is to be afraid and much to our advantage in many cases, since alarm often preserves us from danger.' In fact, those who fear nothing are likely...
Read preview Overview
Education, Opportunity & the Australian Government
Over the past eight years, generous government subsidies combined with increased family outlays on high-fee private schools have meant that the Australian schooling system has become increasingly segregated and unequal. These inequalities are now showing...
Read preview Overview
Affordable Housing for All
What is affordable housing? It can be broadly defined as housing of an adequate basic standard that provides reasonable access to work opportunities and community services and that is available at a cost which does not cause substantial hardship to...
Read preview Overview

Spring

Towards a Fairer Australia: ACOSS Election Statement
As Australians prepare to vote, they face important choices over the future fairness of their country. Australia's headline figures of economic growth and low official unemployment stand in stark contrast to the daily reality of over two million Australians...
Read preview Overview
Hon John Howard MP: Prime Minister of Australia
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Coalition Government is committed to ensuring that all Australians have access to high quality, equitable and effective social services. Through strong economic management and with our practical plans and experience,...
Read preview Overview
Kevin Rudd MP: Leader of the Opposition
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At a time when many Australians are doing well, around 2 million children, women and men in Australia live below the poverty line, according to recent analysis based on OECD standards. Too many children are growing up in...
Read preview Overview
Senator Bob Brown, Australian Greens
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] The Greens' policies are based on fairness, respect and intergenerational equity. Rather than spending billions on tax cuts, we would invest in hospitals, schools and tackling climate change. We have called for a National...
Read preview Overview
If Only ... How So Much More Could Be Done to Respond to Homelessness
While much of the focus of this year's Federal election has been on housing affordability, little attention has been given to that group of Australians who have no home at all--and the critical question of what we need to do to respond to their needs....
Read preview Overview
More Than 1 in 10: Update on Those Living below the Poverty Line
In 2007, despite the strong economy and large budget surpluses many Australians are not enjoying a decent standard of living. Australia Fair recently released updated figures for 2005-06 which show that over one in ten Australians are living at...
Read preview Overview
To Firmer Ground: Restoring Hope in Australia
Australians are generally a privileged people. Yet our privileges conceal the consequences of severe shortsightedness, unfairness, insecurity, and disharmony. Within our society there is also environmental destruction, growing inequity, social and...
Read preview Overview
Penalty Fees: The New Frontier in Affordable Banking
Before retiring from his position as the Chief Executive Officer of the ANZ Bank, John McFarlane acknowledged that his bank's penalty fees were unsustainable, particularly for people in the population who are least able to afford them. Mr McFarlane...
Read preview Overview
The Future for Australian Federalism
After the election, when the political chequebooks are tucked away and there is nothing left to remind us of the battle but bedraggled posters hanging off telephone poles and the orphaned Mersey Hospital, what will happen to our federal system then?...
Read preview Overview