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.
Anglicare Australia believes that a fair society is one where everyone can live a dignified life and participate in their community. People need adequate support if they have a disability or illness that means they can’t work. They also need to be able to access it. This submission makes recommendations about changes to the Disability Support Pension (DSP) that will improve access to support for those who need it. It also recommends the creation of a new payment, the Disability Benefit, that will provide support to people currently unable to work but who cannot access the DSP, or who are waiting to have their claim for a DSP assessed.
Each year, Anglicare Australia members support 11,300 people with employment and training programs, helping them to find or prepare for work. Our agencies also support people in crisis who do not have enough work or income to get by. Over 100,000 people each year use emergency relief and financial counselling services provided by the Anglicare Australia Network across the country. This submission aims to provide a voice for the people, overwhelmingly women, living on Parenting Payment who may be compelled to participate in the ParentsNext program. Anglicare Australia maintains significant concerns about the program. These relate to the compulsory nature of the program and its punitive and disproportionate Targeted Compliance Framework. Anglicare Australia calls for the Targeted Compliance Framework to be abolished, and recommends that the ParentsNext program be redesigned as voluntary and person-centred pre-employment support program.
As a locally-based network with national reach, Anglicare Australia is already supporting those in need as our economy recovers from Covid-19. As frontline services, we have been closely watching the impact of the pandemic on our communities. While the current focus is rightly on the immediate impacts on individuals and communities, we know from our experiences of past crises that we must prepare for the longer-term social and economic impacts. Our submission offers insights on how to help people cope with the current crisis, explores the impact of current government measures, and makes recommendations on how to prepare for longer-term impacts.
This submission summarises the Anglicare Australia Network’s experience with pay-day lending and the harm the industry causes the people we work with. We have found that a combination of low income, lack of savings, and poor access to mainstream banking and financial services can lead people to use pay-day loans for short-term and sudden financial crises. It is unacceptable that these pay-day loans are, for some people, the only option they have to access emergency credit.
In this submission, Anglicare Australia welcomes measures that simplify reporting obligations and reduce payment errors. We also argue that the Government must act on the lessons learned from its failed robodebt scheme before embarking on a new system. We recommends that the reporting changes be passed, on the condition that the Government conducts user testing on these proposed changes. The Government must also show that it has considered any unintended consequences and risks of harm to those using the system.
In this submission, Anglicare Australia argues that mental health services have suffered from ad-hoc development and needless complexity. This stems from a lack of government leadership and investment over many years. We call on the Commission to reflect on policy settings that impact the social determinants of health, to offer additional support for community-based mental health services, and to ensure support regardless of diagnosis.