“Already, at $51 a day with the current Coronavirus Supplement, people on JobSeeker are being forced to make impossible decisions, choosing between housing, food, medications, basic toiletries and paying bills,” said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO at ACOSS.
ACOSS was calling for an increase of least $25 a day on the brutal old Newstart rate of just $40 a day, which would bring the JobSeeker rate to $65 a day.
“More than a decade ago, the Ken Henry Review recommended a $50 per week increase to Australia’s unemployment payment, which was never delivered,” she said.
“There is currently only one job available for every nine people looking, with even less in regional areas. We are yet to see the impact of JobKeeper and eviction moratoriums ending. As we continue along what will be a long, hard road out of recession, we cannot leave millions of people behind in poverty, which is clearly inhumane makes no economic sense.
“The Morrison Government has an opportunity here to make a historic decision that would dramatically reduce poverty, changing lives,” Dr Goldie pointed out.
The Morrison government has announced an increase of $50 per fortnight, or $3.50 per day to the old Newstart rate of $40 per day. Dramatically under what has been advocated for by ACOSS and many others.
In late February, the Victorian Parliament passed legislation to decriminalise public drunkenness. This is a big moment for Indigenous families who have had a loved one die in custody. This bill will mean that public drunkenness will no longer be treated as a crime; but as a medical issue.
It’s a bittersweet victory for Apryl Watson (nee Day) and her family as the Victorian Government makes good on a promise it made almost 30 years ago.
“To think if this law had been decriminalised when the royal commission had first recommended it, our mum could still be here today,” said Tanya Day’s daughter, Apryl. You can read the Day family’s statement here on the Human Rights Law Centre’s website.
Apryl, and a number of representatives from other families who have been through the ordeal of losing a loved one as a result of this systemic issue, launched the Dhadjowa Foundation in 2020 to provide a safe space for families like theirs, support to go through the legal processes associated, and for advocacy as they fight for justice. With this battle won in Victoria and on the road to implementation, the Foundation will continue to push to ensure the police are not involved in any medical response to public drunkenness.
The Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) is a collaboration of organisations with a shared concern about the deeply harmful and unfair impacts of gambling and its normalisation in Australian culture. The Impact Fund partnered with AGR back in 2018.
The long-awaited Crown Royal Commission announced in late February represents the best chance of real gambling reform in Victoria in decades.
“The announcement of a Royal Commission into Crown Casino is something nobody thought possible when the Alliance for Gambling Reform (AGR) was founded 6 years ago,” said Tony Mohr, Executive Director at AGR.
“Early philanthropic supporters such as the Reichstein Foundation and the Australian Communities Foundation are to be congratulated for their support of gambling reform.”
“The deep scrutiny of Crown in Australia follows the divestment of Woolworths, Coles and the majority of AFL clubs, and landmark reforms going to Parliament in NSW in March. These achievements are fantastic, but they are also just the beginning. If gambling reform continues to follow the trajectory of tobacco reform in Australia, we’re making good progress down a long road to ending gambling harm in Australia.”
COUNTRY NEEDS PEOPLE
SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS SELF-DETERMINATION PARTNER
In 2017, the Impact Fund supported the Country Needs People campaign which went on to achieve bipartisan support for Indigenous rangers and Indigenous Protected Areas, ensuring the growth of one of the country’s most successful employment programs for Indigenous people on country.
This year, fifty new Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers will be employed to help protect Queensland’s natural and cultural landscapes.
The Queensland Government is providing the first instalment for a total of 100 new Indigenous ranger jobs, to be funded over the next three years, which will double the number of Land and Sea Rangers in the program to 200.
Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said the $24 million funding boost for the Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program would provide opportunity for First Nation organisations to manage their country and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise with other land managers.
“By increasing Indigenous ranger numbers to 200 over the next three years, we’re delivering jobs and supporting the critical role of First Nations people in co-stewarding Queensland’s environment and cultural heritage,” she said.