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.
Submission to the Human Rights Inquiry into ParentsNext
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.
Submission to the Select Committee on Covid-19
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.
Submission on Pay-Day Lenders
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.
Submission on Centrelink Income Reporting
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.
Submission to the Productivity Commission on Mental Health
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.
Submission on Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Participation and employment are crucial for building inclusive, thriving communities. Yet government programs are failing to help people find work, and are instead punishing them. In this submission, Anglicare Australia argues that harsh penalties are applied carelessly and arbitrarily, leading to wide-reaching deprivation. This is the reality facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in ParentsNext, CDP, and across employment services more broadly. Programs that push people into poverty are not fit to be considered employment support at all.