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As children across South Australia return to school, many low income families will be struggling with the costs involved – even in our "free" public schools.
The ASG organisation, which is the largest provider of education scholarship plans in Australia, provides a handy education costs calculator and based on its own survey data. It estimates that getting back to school in Adelaide could cost on average $2,856 per primary school child per year and $4,865 for a secondary school student in public schools. It is obviously a lot more in faith-based and private schools. This comes at a time when many families are already struggling with other cost of living pressures including electricity, water and housing.
School fees and extracurricular costs are the largest expenditure items in the school year. The fees are for material or service costs not tuition fees, but they can still be substantial. The ASG calculator finds that Adelaide parents will pay an average of $1,370 per child for public secondary school fees, although those on low incomes can get some financial assistance with these fees. Costs of extracurricular activities can be even more than the fees, but while highly desirable, some at least are discretionary.
Our 3-point plan for a health turnaround through prevention and promotion
With South Australians sicker than ever, our public health consortium has launched a 3-point plan to restore our position as a leader in community health, and to boost our longevity, health outcomes and quality of life.
In the lead-up to the South Australian election in March, the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) has joined forces with the Public Health Association Australia (PHAA), the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA), Anti-Poverty Network SA and the People’s Health Movement to highlight the need for urgent action and a prioritising of health spending towards disease prevention.
With South Australian renters continuing to grapple with high utility costs, a good move would be to reverse a legislative change which hit tenants with water supply charges, writes Ross Womersley, CEO of the South Australian Council of Social Service
Cost of living issues are front and centre in the lead-up to the March state election.
Yesterday the Government began sending out letters to 169,000 South Australian households inviting them to take up a deal they have negotiated with Origin Energy offering an 18% discount on supply and usage, plus no exit fee.
We believe this is a worthwhile deal. At the same time all parties will need to take further steps to help alleviate the pressure on low-income households and must pay particular attention to the needs of renters.
The South Australian Council of Social Service today welcomed news from the Australian Energy Market Commission that residential electricity prices are likely to decrease over the next two years.
The price decreases are due to falling wholesale costs driven by:
The South Australian Council of Social Service today released its telecommunications, energy and water policy for the SA State Election in March 2018. The peak welfare group is asking all parties to commit to 9 policies which will help those struggling most with cost of living pressures.
An alliance of child protection advocates has criticised the government for failing to follow-through on its promise to put through a Bill to complement legislation passed in the wake of the Nyland Royal Commission.
Disappointingly, the government has prioritised the passage of the Children’s Protection Law Reform (Transitional Arrangements and Related Amendments) Bill 2017 during next week’s Parliamentary sittings rather than the new Prevention and Early Intervention for the Development and Wellbeing of Children and Young People Bill 2017.
Will the LGA follow suit and vote 'Yes' this Thursday?
Anti-Poverty Network SA and SACOSS (SA Council of Social Service) congratulate the City of Adelaide which last night voted to support an increase to Newstart Allowance, the Centrelink payment for job-seekers.
Over the past three months, 10 SA Councils representing 580,000 South Australians have added their voices to the chorus of business, union, and welfare groups calling for Newstart to be raised.
Adelaide has joined the following 9 Councils that have advocated for a raise to Newstart: Clare and Gilbert Valley, Copper Coast, Kangaroo Island, Mount Gambier, Onkaparinga, Playford, Port Adelaide Enfield, Salisbury, and Streaky Bay.
SACOSS Anti-Poverty Week Statement highlights 10 “poverty premiums” for low income South Australians
SACOSS is today releasing its 2017 Anti-Poverty Week Statement which highlights the “poverty premiums” paid by South Australians on the lowest incomes. These are the extra costs on those living in poverty that others with higher income or more resources can buy their way out of, avoid or minimise.
The SACOSS Statement gives examples of 10 poverty premiums in energy, telecommunications, banking, government charges, and in ordinary shopping. The premiums can be extensive with examples of poverty purchases being 30% to 50% more than the cost for those with more money to spend, while other items have more than 5 times the impact on the household budget of those living in poverty.
SACOSS welcomes some of the reliability and security measures in Steven Marshall’s energy plan, but we are concerned that the plan’s solar battery centrepiece delivers little benefit for the poorest South Australians.
SACOSS Senior Policy Officer Jo De Silva says, “The Liberal Party has today announced a $100 million Home Storage Subsidy Scheme but people on very low incomes cannot afford to install solar panels, and therefore won’t be able to take advantage of the $2500 subsidy.”
The South Australian Council of Social Service’s latest Cost of Living Update released today utilises recent Census data to highlight the problem of housing affordability and includes a breakdown of consumer housing stress by state electorate.
Housing stress is where a household spends more than 30% of its income on housing costs and it is a key indicator of financial hardship and risk of homelessness.
Data released today shows that South Australia still lags the nation in addressing digital disadvantage.
The 2017 Australian Digital Inclusion Index, published by RMIT, was launched today in Melbourne. It measures 8 aspects of digital inclusion, giving each of them a score out of 100.
The 2017 data shows that digital inclusion in South Australia improved by 2.4 points over the last year, but SA still has the lowest score for all mainland states and territories.
& Premier’s electorate the most digitally disconnected in Adelaide!
A SACOSS analysis of recent Census data shows the Premier’s electorate of Cheltenham has the lowest rate of households accessing the internet in Adelaide.
But that’s by no means the only bad news for Jay Weatherill – as a whole South Australia lagged behind the national average in online connectivity. There was also a clear regional disadvantage with country areas faring worse than metro ones.
This new data shows:
SACOSS is deeply disappointment with the Legislative Council’s decision, made in the early hours of the morning, not to reject the Government’s Children and Young People (Safety) Bill. And we urge the Liberal Party to fix this flawed legislation should they form Government early next year.
Ross Womersley, SACOSS CEO, says, “With an election in March, we urge all parties to bring forward strong policy platforms in this arena and encourage the Liberal Party, should it have the opportunity to form government to commit to a thorough review of this whole area of concern.”
The South Australian Council of Social Service, together with Volunteering SA & NT, Conservation SA, the Arts Industry Council SA and Sport SA have welcomed the changes to funding for SA community organisations announced today.
At the SACOSS Post-Budget Breakfast this morning, the Treasurer announced that State Government will now provide full indexation on not-for-profit funding contracts. From July 1, 2017, all contracts will have full indexation included.
The Government will likely attempt to progress the flawed Child Safety Bill on Budget Day today. SACOSS and an alliance of experts have welcomed the intervention of the Opposition, Greens and other cross bench MLCs, particularly the Liberal Party’s recently proposed amendments. However we are calling on Parliament to delay the passage of this Bill until promised prevention and early intervention measures are drafted.
In response to criticism, the Government had promised a second complementary Bill to prevent child abuse and neglect, but there has been limited progress on this front. The alliance continues to stress that investments in services and activities which can intervene early to prevent children and young people reaching the point where they need to be removed from their families, are fundamental to the successful reform of our child protection system.
The South Australian Council of Social Service says today’s State Budget with its focus on jobs and revenue is welcome but we are disappointed there is no attention on opportunities for growth through the digital economy, no real initiatives directed to helping low income households, nor any funding for prevention activities in health and child protection.
The State Government is between a rock and a hard place with this week’s Budget, according to a SACOSS report released today. The South Australian Council of Social Service has warned that the public is yet to come to grips with the revenue problems facing our state.
According to our survey:
Next month’s State Budget will struggle to meet community expectations with a survey released today by the South Australian Council of Social Service showing that most South Australians want a boost to public spending, particularly on health, education and community services. At the same time the public wants lower state taxes, and with a forecast decline in real terms in the coming years in Government revenue and expenditure, there is no way this can add up.
An alliance of child advocates including SACOSS, the AMA (SA) and the Law Society, is disappointed that the Government continues to ignore their expert advice and now urges the members of the Upper House to halt progress of the Children and Young People (Safety) Bill unless remedied.
Regions need to be the focus of state digital inclusion strategy
The South Australian Council of Social Service is today highlighting the needs of regional and remote communities in SA in its call for a state strategy to overcome digital disadvantage.
Results of a new survey released today should give fresh impetus to reform of state taxes according to the South Australian Council of Social Service. SACOSS commissioned independent pollsters, Mint Research, to survey 1,000 South Australians on their attitudes and understandings of state taxes, and on their views of a number of specific reform proposals. The results are contained in the SACOSS report, Unfinished Business: Two Years on from South Australia’s Tax Review released today.
The South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) says that the child safety Bill introduced to the Parliament in a rush misses the mark and will do little to stem the tide of children and young people who are entering our child protection system.
SACOSS is today calling for an urgent new contingency rule and a package of other measures to address energy instability across SA.
Key telecommunication consumer and social welfare groups today called on the Productivity Commission to consider more fully affordability issues in the Inquiry on the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation.
The national peak body for communications consumers, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), backed the submission from the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS) to the Inquiry. SACOSS argues that the Commission’s Draft Report and recommendations underestimate the challenges faced by many Australian households in paying for telecommunications.
Joint Media Release
SACOSS, Australian Medical Association (SA), Youth Affairs Council of SA, Child and Family Welfare Association of SA, and Council for the Care of Children
SACOSS welcomes today’s response by the government to the Nyland Child Protection Systems Royal Commission report.
We commend the openness of the approach taken by government in tabling their response and encouraging its close consideration by the community and stakeholders. We welcome the chance to consider the Children and Young People (Safety) Bill 2016 before it reaches the Parliament and we trust there will be opportunities to build sincere bipartisan support going forward in reforming our child protection system.
The South Australian Council of Social Service welcomes the passing of legislation to establish the SA Wagering Tax. The tax, which was announced as part of the State Budget this year, will ensure that online bookmakers pay gambling tax in South Australia on revenue made from South Australian gamblers.
A major report into telecommunications affordability today launched jointly by the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) and the South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS). highlights-concerns about low-income consumers in staying connected to telecommunications services .