SACOSS today held its “On the Couch” forum with Labor leader Peter Malinauskas and welcomed a number of his policy comments and commitments. The forum was held in the SACOSS offices and largely viewed online by leaders and staff from the social and community services sector right across the state.
Mr Malinauskas noted the SACOSS State of Concessions report last year, and acknowledged that clearly “there is a problem to be fixed”. Accordingly, he committed to a full review of the concessions system in South Australia if his party was to form the next government.
SACOSS also welcomed Mr Malinauskas’ acknowledgement of the importance of public housing in the rental market, and that it was a mistake that both Labor and Liberal governments had under-invested public housing. While we await the announcement of Labor’s housing policy, SACOSS was pleased that the Labor leader undertook that there would be no further net reductions in public housing stock, should he become Premier.
Mr Malinauskas reiterated Labor’s policy commitment to actively examine a system of portable long service leave for the community services sector, noting that it is a “failure of policy” that so many people now miss out on long service leave.
Other issues canvassed with the Labor leader were the need for minimum standards for rental properties (both energy efficiency and universal access); advocacy capacity building and resources to ensure disability rights are protected and people are supported to navigate the complex systems of support; the cost barriers for people accessing ambulance services; the need for expenditure not just on hospitals but on preventive health; and support for the community services workforce. Mr Malinauskas also noted his party’s commitment to universal quality preschool programs for three- and four-year-olds.
SACOSS CEO, Ross Womersley said:
“We were glad to get the opportunity to sit down with the Labor leader today and ask him about a range of his party's policies. We particularly welcome the commitment to reviewing our broken concessions system, and his comments on the importance of public housing.”
“Given what was said today, we look forward to further detail of Labor policy to be released, particularly on digital inclusion and housing”.
SACOSS has again extended the invitation to Premier Steven Marshall to have a similar conversation “on the couch”, and will also be hosting a forum next week with both Human Services Minister Michelle Lensink and Shadow Minister Nat Cook at 12.15pm, Wednesday 2 March.
SACOSS is also supporting the Public Health Consortium Virtual State Election forum tomorrow (Wednesday 23 February) with the Health Minister, Shadow Minister and Cross-bench Health spokespeople.