Welfare groups seek action on poverty

·1-min read

Political parties and candidates have been urged to do more to reduce poverty ahead of the federal election.

A joint letter signed by 64 peak bodies calls for parties and candidates to make adequate income support and social housing investment key election issues.

Specifically, the letter calls on independents to make this a key negotiation point in forming government if there is a hung parliament.

The letter sent by the Australian Council of Social Service says these measures would reduce poverty and transform the lives of millions.

"When the federal government temporarily doubled unemployment payments at the start of the pandemic, it halved poverty, saved over 700,000 jobs and significantly reduced rental stress and homelessness," ACOSS says.

Health Justice Australia, the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children, UnitingCare Australia and the Public Health Association Australia are among key organisations, allies and leading experts who have united to urge action on the two game-changing policies.

Their key requests include raising income support payments to at least $70 a day, increasing commonwealth rent assistance by 50 per cent, and building at least 25,000 social housing properties each year.

Labor leader Anthony Albanese has said every budget should weigh up what extra support could be provided to people on government payments, but not committed to a rise.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said the government provides a range of income and housing supports.

The author has written this story in a personal capacity.

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