Time to overhaul Australia’s safety net

Anglicare Australia is calling for an overhaul of Australia’s safety net at the next election. The call is made as part of a joint statement with the CPSU, Australian Council of Social Service, St Vincent de Paul, People with Disability Australia, and other leading organisations.

“Over the past two years, unprecedented numbers of Australians have turned to Australia’s safety net for support during the pandemic, bushfires, floods, and cyclones,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The people working on the frontline have been doing their best, but Services Australia could do better. That’s why Anglicare Australia has joined with the CPSU to call for an overhaul of the system. 

“The statement lays out what must be done if we want a better safety net. We need to raise the rate of government payments so that nobody lives below the poverty line. We need to stop private JobActive providers from punishing people for no reason. And we need to end failing programs like the cashless debit card.

“Instead, we’re calling for a fair debt recovery system, better trained staff, and more social workers at Services Australia. We also need to invest in face-to-face services and make it easier for people to get help when they need it.

“All of these calls are backed by Anglicare Australia’s recent Asking Those Who Know report, which studied people’s experiences in the system – and what needs to change.

“We are asking all candidates at the upcoming election to join us in fixing the system once and for all. It’s time to build a safety net that that actually helps people instead of punishing them,” Ms Chambers said.

The shared statement for A Better Services Australia and Anglicare Australia’s Asking Those Who Know report are both available online.