In this submission, Anglicare Australia lays out a pandemic plan to help people on the lowest incomes, and the community organisations who support them. The 2022-23 Federal Budget will play a critical role as Australia enters the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and learns to live with the virus. The Government will be required to play a much greater role than it has anticipated, and its leadership will be essential as we enter the next phase.
Aligning regulation will help keep people safe, while also making it easier for service providers and workers to deliver care and support to older people and people with disability. Regulation must be fit-for-purpose, balanced against the need to foster innovation and collaboration, and not overly duplicative or burdensome for the workforce.
The discontinuation of the Aged Care Approvals Round progresses several key recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, including promoting choice and control for older Australians, and encouraging innovation and high-quality service provision among providers. But the needs of vulnerable people are unlikely to be addressed through a reliance on market forces and mechanisms alone. The role of Government must be clearly articulated, and measures suggested in the Discussion Paper to ensure access for low-income and vulnerable older people should be further developed.
Although some people with disability have choice and control regarding their home and living situation, many do not. This submission makes recommendations to help improve the home and living options available to NDIS participants. Anglicare Australia recommends that the NDIA play a greater role in intervening to create long-term growth and more opportunities for people with disability to live an ordinary life in a home environment that they choose.
This submission calls for a National Climate Change Resilience Strategy that includes equity as a guiding principle and climate change adaptation measures that reduce social inequities and disadvantage. The community sector should be recognised as a priority sector and partner in climate change adaptation and resilience.
Electricity and gas are essential services that are vital to keeping people healthy and connected. For many households, bills are the only way they interact with the energy retailers. Anglicare Australia recommends bills include best offer information, use standardised layouts and language to make them easier to explain and compare, provide information about hardship assistance and include information about energy savings, efficiencies and patterns of use.
The housing market is not meeting the needs of people on low and moderate incomes. Many lower-income households are paying housing costs which exceed the affordability benchmark of 30 percent of household income. The shortfall of social housing is also growing rapidly. This submission makes recommendations to help improve access to safe and affordable housing for financially vulnerable Australians. Anglicare Australia recommends that the Federal Government drive investment in social and affordable housing that is conveniently located near employment and transport hubs. Particular attention should be given to areas of high need. The Government must also develop a national housing strategy, guided by the National Housing Supply Council, to ensure appropriate future policy and funding responses.
Anglicare Australia supports a strong, independent and transparent ACNC. Transparency builds confidence in community services, and in the regulator itself. In this submission, we support reform to the secrecy provisions to generate greater transparency, including increased disclosure of finalised investigations and reasons for registration decisions. We recommend continuing to limit disclosures about new or ongoing investigations because of the potential risk to reputational damage and a fair investigation.
Anglicare Australia believes in the dignity and potential of everybody. People need adequate support if they have a disability or illness that means they can’t work. The DSP is a crucial component of Australia’s income support system. This submission makes recommendations about changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) Impairment tables that will improve access to support for those who need it. It also recommends reviewing the Impairment Tables in the context of a broader review of the DSP.
All children deserve to grow up safe, healthy, and happy. Children are best cared for by their families in most circumstances, but sometimes families require support. Anglicare Australia recommends focusing more on universal service delivery and addressing staffing shortages to increase access to support. A clear monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework should also be included in the successor plan.