The South Australian Council of Social Service today launched its latest Cost of Living Update looking at the impact of the summer’s bushfires and the coronavirus on SA households. The report shows how the coronavirus particularly has impacted differently on different households. Those who lost jobs or working hours, especially those who are outside the government safety net, have obviously been hit hard, but some households are likely to be financially better off: those working extra hours, or simply maintaining their incomes but with lower living costs.
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And citizens can also help with the heavy-lifting
Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc in SA with today’s figures showing a whopping 200,000 South Australians now out of work or looking for more work.
SACOSS in response is calling on the Federal Government to maintain and extend vital coronavirus supports, and is also asking those who haven’t taken a financial hit to consider doing their part by donating to local charities.
SA deemed “Heaps Unfair” when it comes to health according to new report.
The Heaps Unfair State: Why have health inequities increased in South Australia and how can this trend be reversed?
SA: The Heaps Unfair State report - produced by the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University and the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) - provides evidence that shows a significant increase in inequities in South Australia since the 1980s and also recommends how to improve this state’s health outcomes.
We are working together with our members, other SA human service peak bodies and the SA Government to ensure you have access to the latest trusted information and resources.
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) has endorsed the national statement by more than 30 community services organisations calling on companies providing essential services such as energy, water, finance, rental housing and telecommunications to take steps to support those impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, including by committing to:
SACOSS welcomed today’s release of ESCOSA’s Draft Decision in relation to SA Water’s proposed plan for delivering water and sewerage services to customers from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2024, noting that if implemented, it was almost certain to drive water prices down even further than had been projected in ‘Our Plan 2020’.
Ross Womersley, CEO of the SA Council of Social Service, said:
We, the undersigned, represent a range of researchers, community service organisations and advocacy groups that support communities throughout South Australia. We are united in our concerns about the draft Religious Discrimination Bill and its potential to cause harm to the communities we serve.
We respect the diversity of Australia and celebrate the multitude of beliefs, identities and cultures that co-exist within our society. We likewise celebrate the various faiths throughout Australia and value the ability for such diverse communities to exist peacefully with one another.
The South Australian Council of Social Service’s latest Cost of Living Update, released today, highlights the importance of insurance costs in household budgets, points to a long term trend of insurance prices rising at well-above the general inflation rate and raises concerns about the implications of un/under-insurance for vulnerable households.
The report found that:
In the midst of unprecedented bushfires and international climate talks in Madrid, the Councils of Social Service are calling for urgent government action on climate change to support those hardest hit by its impacts – people on low incomes or experiencing disadvantage. In a joint statement released today, the Councils of Social Service argue the climate crisis is not only a threat to our environment, it is a threat to people’s lives and livelihoods, and to ending poverty and inequality.
The Councils of Social Service across the country have joined together to urge the Morrison Government to reinstate funding to the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (NFVPLS) the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum is vital to eradicating our country's shameful rates of domestic violence.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of domestic violence must be heard.
The Federal Government will no longer pay Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) Supplementation from July 2021 on most grants. The base rate of affected grants will not increase to include the supplementation.
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) has today congratulated the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) for its compliance and enforcement action against EnergyAustralia, in relation to alleged breaches of important consumer protections contained in the National Energy Retail Law and Rules.
SACOSS is particularly encouraged to see the enforcement of retailers’ obligations to offer and apply payment plans to customers who are struggling to pay their bills.
SACOSS today launched its report, Working to Make Ends Meet: Low-income Workers and Energy Bill Stress. The report investigates households whose main source of income is wages but who are still living below the “poverty line”. This report, based on national statistical data and South Australian case studies, is unique in that most other affordability research has focused on consumers generally, or those on income support like Newstart and other allowances.
The South Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed the Senate Inquiry into Newstart hearings to be held in Adelaide this week and has called for the SA State Premier to follow the NSW Deputy Premier in urging his federal colleagues to reconsider their position on Newstart.
The Senate Inquiry is holding hearings in Elizabeth on Wednesday 30 October and will hear from local councils, leading South Australian charities, and most importantly, from people who have experience of trying to live on impossibly low payments while looking for work.
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) has welcomed the draft decision of the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on SA Power Networks' regulatory proposal for the 2020-25 regulatory control period, commencing 1 July 2020.
“This draft decision is an important step in the AER’s determination of the amount of revenue that SA Power Networks (SAPN) can recover from its customers over the next five years, and this flows on to the final cost to consumers,” said SACOSS CEO, Ross Womersley.
As public submissions closed on 2 October on the state government’s controversial land tax bill, SACOSS called on the government to stand firm in tightening aggregation provisions to prevent land tax avoidance.
SACOSS CEO, Ross Womersley said, “The proposed changes to the legislation to stop tax avoidance are good, sensible policy – both for fairness and to limit existing incentives that encourage investors to ‘crowd out’ low income and first-home buyers in the housing market.”
Formally acknowledging and reconciling the wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—and their long legacy of ongoing trauma—must be a national priority.
It’s crucial the Federal Government works genuinely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to get the process and the wording right.
The South Australian Council of Social Services (SACOSS) reacted with a mix of concern and relief to today’s state budget. SACOSS was pleased the budget did not contain sweeping cuts to services which many in the sector feared, but there was a $360m reduction in departmental budgets as well as some specific funding cuts announced. These cuts will inevitably see services diminished in some areas.
SACOSS, SAFCA and PSA urge rethink of short-sighted decision
The SA Council of Social Services (SACOSS), the SA Financial Counsellors Association (SAFCA) and the Public Service Association (PSA) are calling on the SA Government to rethink their impending SA Government budget cut of $4 million to the Financial Counselling Program in the Department of Child Protection (DCP). The cut to this program, announced in September 2018, is set to be “replaced” by an allocation of $1 million to the NGO sector.
SA/NSW Interconnector to go ahead following resolution of formal dispute process
“The initial proposal promised a number of solutions; we had concerns about whether this proposal could actually live up to its promises,” Ross Womersley, CEO of SA Council of Social Service (SACOSS) said. “We wanted reassurances from ElectraNet that this project would provide stable, secure electricity for all consumers.”
The South Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drugs (SANDAS) representing non-government alcohol and drug treatment services in South Australia, The Youth Affairs Council of SA (YACSA) and the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) have significant ongoing concerns about the Controlled Substances (Youth Treatment Orders) Amendment Bill 2019.
Estimated combined cut of $687m over two years
The South Australian Council of Social Service has expressed alarm today at the further cuts to South Australia’s GST entitlements in last night’s Federal Budget, a cut which will almost certainly have dire consequences for the State Government’s own budget.
SACOSS is calling on the State Government to urgently look at state revenue measures, which will address this new revenue hole which threatens their ability to fund vital services.
Community Sector Pleads for Revenue Raising Measures in State Budget
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) is pleading for an urgent move on revenue raising measures in the State Budget, following last week’s dramatic announcement from the State Government that revisions to GST sharing would deliver a $400m budget blow.
SACOSS calls on State Treasurer, Rob Lucas MLC, to look at revenue options to balance the books and not just to cut vital services.
The not-for-profit (NFP) sector is set to receive fairer funding terms and easier-to-use templates when applying for grants and procurement of services.
By standardising contract templates, NFPs will benefit by saving time and money on what was an inconsistent and often onerous process.
SACOSS today expressed concern at reports that a proposed revaluation of SA Water’s asset base could lead to a multi-million hole in the state budget revenue.
The revaluation discussion has been triggered by a series of reports by Lew Owens. The latest of these, “A Cautious Conclusion”, was written by Mr Owens in his capacity as Independent Inquirer into water pricing as appointed by Treasurer Rob Lucas last year.
SACOSS has applauded the Essential Service Commission of South Australia’s (ESCOSA) Decision on reliability standards released today because it will help keep a lid on electricity prices.
“The Commission has listened to consumers who really don’t want to pay for overinvestment in reliability and too much for inconvenience payments either,” says Jo De Silva, SACOSS Energy Policy Lead.
SACOSS has greeted today’s performance report from the Australian Energy Regulator with enormous disappointment, noting that low income households were likely to be experiencing even greater hardship.
SACOSS CEO Ross Womersley said, “This report again confirms that SA has the country’s highest priced standard offers and thus the least affordable energy in the National Electricity Market (NEM), with 11.2% of a low income household’s disposable income being spent on electricity.
The South Australian Council of Social Service has welcomed the release of the interim report of the Parliament Select Committee on Poverty in South Australia. The Committee made six recommendations to alleviate poverty in South Australia, with the first being a call on the Federal Government to make a meaningful increase to the rate of the Newstart Allowance (and other base allowances) as a matter of urgency.