CSSA on Labor's Pre-election Stance


LABOR COMMITMENT TO REVIEW OF NATIONAL DISABILITY INSURANCE SHEME A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION 

Labor’s commitment to undertake a major review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme is an important first step in ensuring the sustainability and operation of one of the country’s most important social support services, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia, Francis Sullivan said today.
 
“The $30 billion system which delivers services to more than 500,000 people currently is failing to provide value for money and the best possible services to clients,” Mr Sullivan said.
“The NDIS system is not working the way it should for participants or service providers.”
 
Labor’s proposed review must address some fundamental problems with the scheme including ensuring:
 
• Disability support staff receive the respect they deserve by the NDIS system, enabling providers to employ staff permanently rather than casually. The system virtually requires service providers to employ staff as casuals to avoid making a loss; this outcome is unacceptable and undervalues the work that care workers do.

• Costs associated with compliance with the NDIA and NDIS Commission must be recognised in funding arrangements.

• A level playing field is created between registered and unregistered providers, and there are proper avenues for complaint resolution when unregistered providers fail to provide an appropriate standard of care.

Mr Sullivan said one of the major concerns for NDIS service providers is the number of unfunded activities provided to clients to ensure they are being properly supported.

“It is unreasonable and unsustainable for the Government to expect non-government organisations to provide the many services that are unfunded. 

“CSSA NDIS service suppliers are running at a loss because funding fails to cover the costs of delivering services to clients.
 “This is clearly unsustainable, and we are now in a situation where some CSSA members are reluctantly considering withdrawing from the scheme due to significant operating losses,” Mr Sullivan said.

 
LABOR DECISION NOT TO REVIEW JOBSEEKER PAYMENTS DISAPPOINTING 

The decision by Labor not to review the JobSeeker payment ahead of its first budget if it wins the May federal election is disappointing, according to one of Australia’s peak social services groups.

Francis Sullivan, Chair of Catholic Social Services Australia, said the decision is a real blow for the 1.5 million people struggling to survive on JobSeeker and other income support payments.

Ahead of the 2019 election Labor promised a review into the rate of what was then the Newstart payment, suggesting that it would be used to determine the rate of an increase to the unemployment benefit.

However, Labor’s shadow assistant minister for the treasury, Andrew Leigh, confirmed earlier this week that this review into the Jobseeker rate will now not take place, saying Labor hasn’t committed to an additional increase.

“Labor will now go to the election with a policy to keep the JobSeeker payment at $642.70 a fortnight for a single person without children,” Mr Sullivan said.

“Having just $46 a day to pay rent and electricity, buy groceries, clothing and to fill the car is impossible and leaves families and vulnerable people living on or below the poverty line.

 “There is no economic reason good enough to demand that people on the fringes of our communities should have to live like this,” Mr Sullivan said.

Mr Sullivan said that despite both major parties having no plans to increase to Jobseeker both are enthusiastically supporting the stage three tax cuts that will cost around $16 billion a year and will mostly benefit men on higher incomes. 

“These tax cuts will cost almost twice as much as lifting JobSeeker and other income supports to at least $70 a day, a reform that would mostly benefit low-income women and their children,” he said.