I support the #RaiseTheRateForGood Campaign

March 12, 2021
Dianah Walter

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) campaign to Raise the Rate for Good is key to reducing poverty and inequality in Australia.  Whilst it is true this is a “Federal Matter” politically speaking, generally speaking it affects us all.

Before the global pandemic, the rate of Newstart had not been increased in real terms for 25 years.  Here on the Yorke Peninsula and across the State more broadly, the cost of living and housing affordability is crippling families.

I am one of many who supports a permanent increase to the JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart Allowance).

Many different approaches to eradicating poverty have been attempted in our country, however, approaches which focus only on economic growth have proved to be unsustainable.

Our Government must create an environment whereby unemployed Australians and those living below the poverty line are able to reclaim their dignity and their basic human rights.

Human rights in Australia have largely been developed under Australian Parliamentary democracy but it would seem that our Parliament does not really understand what it is like to be unemployed or in a cycle of poverty.    There is increasing international evidence that when governments adopt anti-poverty plans, they can make meaningful steps to reduce overall levels of poverty.

You may have heard the words before or even uttered them yourself, words such as ‘dole bludger’, ‘jobless’, ‘unemployed’, ‘idle’, useless and ‘redundant’.

These words evoke pain in the eyes of a parent trying to feed their child or a carer who has not had a break from caring, not even for a minute, for months.  Those words are often interchanged and embellished with offensive language.  Those words cut to the core of most Centrelink Income Support recipients.  People who often do not have the energy or self-esteem to respond.

I have a proud background in Public Service; in what some would regard as the most difficult of service delivery agencies our Government has in place to support our society, that being the Department of Human Services, Centrelink.

For many years I worked as a ‘customer service advisor’ in a regional ‘customer service centre’.  No two days were the same.  No two ‘customers’ were the same.

I unequivocally support the efforts of the ACOSS. I support an increase in the basic rate of income support for all welfare recipients.  There is an increasing demand for services, but this has not been met by additional assistance from any levels of government. 

You only have to speak with any non-government Organisation involved in assisting people to overcome barriers to living meaningful lives to know that their finite resources are stretched.  These organisations also advocate for strong communities, and for justice and fairness in our society, these organisations understand that bringing a family out of poverty has so many tangible benefits.

ACOSS' vision is for a fair, inclusive, and sustainable Australia where all individuals and communities can participate in and benefit from social and economic life.

There values can be found here: About ACOSS

We, as a society have a moral responsibility to support the disadvantaged and impoverished and lift them out of poverty and welfare dependency.  You cannot achieve that on less than $40 per day.

You too can act as part of the #RaiseTheRateForGood Campaign.Find out how here: Take Action

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