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Shadow Minister Nat Cook talks about changing the game

UPDATE: Following our second 'Couch Series' event, Human Services Shadow Minister Nat Cook provided SACOSS with an overview of some key policy areas and priorities from Labor, particularly in reference to some of the areas flagged by SACOSS, as we approach the March 19 state election.

Although the Shadow Minister was unfortunately not able to join us for a discussion with Ross Womersley and Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink last week as planned, you can find her post-event video address on our Facebook page here.

While stopping short of announcing any details of SA Labor’s housing policy, Nat Cook acknowledged that housing is “one of the massive challenges of our time” and that “we are no longer living in a city where it is easy to secure a roof over your head”. Although no detailed commitments were revealed, the shadow minister spoke of “making sure there are more houses available for more people” and that “we need to invest in our public housing stock”. She flagged a change of direction in declaring that the housing authority should not continue to focus on building and selling houses, but “provide public housing for the public”.

As did Liberal Minister Michelle Lensink, Nat Cook committed to a review of the concessions system, but in contrast to the Minister, the Shadow Minister was able to highlight her party's commitment to see that long service leave becomes portable and carries over from previous jobs within the sector. In keeping with her role as Human Services Shadow Minister, Nat Cook also touched on disability services and the importance of the Community Visitor Scheme, saying that it was Labor’s intention to ensure “all people can have access to a community visitor” by “investing over a million dollars to reignite the full community visitor”.  

Unsurprisingly, Nat Cook also put forward the policy of early childhood education from the age of three to bring the state into line with other advanced jurisdictions that Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas talked about at our first 'Couch Series' event.  She characterized this focus on early intervention as a “game changer for the future” that would underpin other things such as improvements in youth justice.

So overall, while there was some pick-up of the policies contained in our ‘Cover the Basics’ campaign, such as portable long service leave for workers in the community sector and an ongoing review of the concessions system, we still await Labor's housing policy to see if there will be a substantial investment in public housing.

8 March 2022