From Mark – 23 October 2019

  • QCOSS CEO Mark Henley

Raise the Rate campaign

Last week during Anti-Poverty Week I was asked: “What is the definition of poverty and what does it mean to live below the poverty line?” While there is no ‘official’ definition of poverty in Australia, it is generally defined as 50 per cent of median household income. Everyone in Australia should be able to afford a decent standard of living. Everyone should have enough to afford the basics like housing, electricity and access to affordable health services and not have to decide between putting food on the table or paying the rent.

Most people living on Newstart and other related allowances live well below the poverty line, that’s why I was pleased to hear the Deputy Premier and Queensland Treasurer, Hon Jackie Trad come on board to support an increase in Newstart. She acknowledged that Newstart is too low and is pushing people into poverty, not helping them get a job.

You can read the full speech that Deputy Premier Trad gave at an Anti-Poverty Week event, hosted by Micah in Brisbane here. You can also view ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie’s presentation at the same link.

Our submissions to social security inquiries

An adequate social safety net is a critical part of a civil society but we know that our current system is not working as intended. Over the last two months QCOSS has made several submissions to Social Security Inquiries calling on our elected representatives to act now and make decisions that prioritise living affordability for every person, in every community. We have made submissions to the Newstart Inquiry, the Inquiry into Centrelink’s Automated Debt Recovery System, the Drug Testing Trial Inquiry and the Cashless Debit Card Trial Inquiry.

In our submissions we have reiterated that it’s time for our politicians and the media to end the stigmatising narrative that frames people as ‘welfare dependent’ and leads to excessive restrictions and penalties. It’s time to ‘Raise the Rate’ and prioritise living affordability for every person, in every community.

Read our submissions to the inquiries here.

Annual General Meeting

I’m looking forward to hearing from our keynote speaker Dr Jackie Huggins AM FAHA at the QCOSS AGM on 5 November 2019. Throughout her career Dr Huggins has played a leading role in reconciliation, literacy, women’s issues and social justice. She is currently Co-Chair of the Eminent Persons Panel of Path to Treaty Queensland.

All QCOSS members are welcome, and encouraged, to come along to the AGM and we look forward to seeing you there. You can find out more and register here.

Annual priorities statement

We are putting together policy priorities for next year, including our policy asks for the Queensland Government for the upcoming election in 2020. We’d like to hear from you about what your priorities are for us to focus on. Where would you like to see change? We will be releasing a survey shortly to get your feedback on our initial ideas, but if you have any feedback or ideas to share in the meantime please send them to Carly Hyde at [email protected].

23 October 2019