ACOSS and the State and Territory Councils of Social Service today released a statement on reform of the federation based on legislated ‘community service guarantees’ in areas of shared responsibility to ensure universal access to affordable essential services for people across the country. The statement also sets directions for tax reform to help pay for these guarantees.
“A basic duty of governments is to provide certainty for people that when they need a doctor, home care, or schooling for their children, those services are available and of good quality regardless of their income and where they live. The present federal system in Australia fails to provide that certainty. Federation and taxation reform are needed to guarantee access to essential services into the future”, said Dr Cassandra Goldie, ACOSS CEO, speaking on behalf of the Councils.
“Essential services for the community must be available to all. People should also know that if they fall on hard times, for example if they lose their job or become homeless, they will get the support they need until they are able to provide for themselves.
“We know that government budgets are coming under immense pressure. The answer is not to cut or withdraw vital health, education and welfare services, nor to shift their cost to the public. Instead we should improve the cost effectiveness of services and strengthen the revenue base.