TasCOSS today released its 2022 Federal Election Tasmania Package (PDF, 3.28MB), which focusses on key policies and programs to combat rising cost of living pressures and provide much needed relief to Tasmanian families.
TasCOSS CEO Ms Adrienne Picone said TasCOSS is looking to the next federal government to pull every lever at its disposal to support Tasmanian households struggling with mounting cost of living pressures.
“Two years on from our initial lockdown, Tasmanian households, communities and our economy continue to be severely impacted by COVID-19,” Ms Picone said.
“The data shows affording the essentials is getting harder, with the cost of housing, health, transport, education and recreational activities, all rising by more than general wage increases.
“For years, Tasmanians have told us they simply want to live a good life. But right now they are telling us they are barely managing to live at all.”
Ms Picone said the Tasmania Package identified five key areas where the next federal government must focus its attention and resources.
“If our political aspirants are really listening to Tasmanians, they’ll know they need to prioritise addressing the paltry rate of income support, invest heavily in social and affordable housing, and ensure everyone has equal access to dental health care,” she said.
“Our initial response to the pandemic was proof that poverty in Australia is not inevitable — governments choose to make it so by their policy and budget decisions.”
TasCOSS’s five key 2022 Federal Election priorities:
1. Raising the rate of income support
- Tasmania has a higher proportion of people receiving income support payments than the mainland states, resulting in more Tasmanians than ever finding it impossible to afford rent, food, health care, keep a car on the road and pay for other essentials.
- Now is the time to provide a meaningful boost to the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments to at least $70 a day, so Tasmanians can cover the basics and live with dignity.
2. Affordable housing solutions
- In Tasmania right now, housing stress remains acute, social housing waiting lists are long and rents have soared.
- TasCOSS is calling for a 50% increase to the Commonwealth Rent Assistance payment and incentives to bring more private housing stock into the long-term rental market.
3. Investment in household energy efficiency and the reduction of energy debt
- The energy efficiency of Tasmania’s older housing stock is so poor that thousands of Tasmanians on low incomes are getting sick or dying because they cannot afford energy bills and are unable to make their home warm in winter.
- TasCOSS is calling for investment in energy efficiency upgrades for existing homes of Tasmanians on low incomes, together with minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties.
4. Increasing digital skills and affordability
- Access to adequate and affordable telecommunications, together with the skills and confidence to navigate digital services, are essential in our day-to-day lives.
- With Tasmania being the most digitally disadvantaged state in the country, a key election priority is the introduction of a telecommunications concession to support people on low incomes and funding for community-based skills and education programs.
5. Improved access to dental health care
- One of the most significant gaps in our health system is the lack of a universal dental health scheme.
- TasCOSS is calling for a long-term funding model that doubles the number of Tasmanian adults who can access Commonwealth/state funded public dental services and a Seniors Dental Benefits Scheme.
For more information or to arrange an interview with TasCOSS CEO Adrienne Picone:
- Cameron Allen, 0419 769 253 or via email.