The Australian Council of Social Service has found that eighty-five percent of people receiving some form of income support are locked out of receiving any extra Covid Disaster Payment, pushing people on the lowest incomes to the brink of their ability to survive.
ACOSS released the latest update of its ‘Living in Lockdown’ survey, which finds that almost all of the 216 respondents (96%) were seriously struggling with the cost of living and almost half (41.5%) were at risk of homelessness because of the high cost of housing.
“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80% are seriously struggling to survive,” said ACOSS Program Director – Social Security, Charmaine Crowe.
“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19,” said Ms Crowe.
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:
“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that there were four times as many deaths from COVID-19 in the lowest socio-economic group (which includes most people on social security payments) compared with the highest socio-economic group. It is unconscionable to leave behind people who most need support.
“Even the OECD is recommending that Australia lift our appallingly low level of unemployment payment – at $44 a day it’s the very lowest rate of all comparable countries. People on Youth Allowance and Austudy are at an even lower rate of $36 a day.
“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas. As soon as Parliament is recalled, it must pass legislation to lift social security payments to above the poverty line including JobSeeker, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and family payments.”
“The biggest stress people on low incomes face is housing costs – with the highest rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance for a single person without children at just $70 a week when people in Sydney can’t find rental properties for less than $340 a week (and up to $540 a week in the city).
“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50% to better support people afford private rentals.”
Living in Lockdown – Key Findings:
96% are struggling with living costs
85% are ineligible for the COVID disaster payments
41.5% are at risk of homelessness
40% feel less safe
Immediately extend COVID Disaster Payments to lift incomes for all people without paid work to at least $600 per week, including those in receipt of social security and those without any other income source at all.
As soon as Parliament resumes in August, pass legislation lifting working-age income support payments (JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting payments and related income support) to the pension rate, which is just above the poverty line (at least $475pw for the single rate). See further below for increases to supplements needed for specific groups.
Index all income support payments twice per year in line with wage growth as well as prices.
Extend income support to all affected by inadequate paid work, including people on temporary visas.
Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%.
Provide supplementary payments for people with disability or illness, and single parents, recognising the additional costs they face.
Invest in social housing to address the critical shortfall of supply.
Download the Locked Out in Lockdown survey report here
ACON is presenting an online forum with the theme ‘COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence’. (ACON is Australia’s largest health organisation specialising in community health, inclusion, and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders.)
Figuring out how to cope and stay strong through COVID-19, as LGBTQ+ people, is so important. Let’s get the community together and have a conversation about it. We’re bringing in some community experts to share how they’re going, what they’re up to and how they’re getting through lockdown, and you’re invited.
We welcome a panel of psychologists (Hi, Ellis from Pride Counselling!), social workers, body workers, mutual aid heroes and even a music producer. Our experts will also answer your questions so please ask.
All women on the NSW North Coast are being encouraged to do a new women’s health survey.
Health North Coast says it is important to get it to as many of you and your participants or clients as possible to ensure there is representation across different socioeconomic groups of women who are living with health disadvantage, including access to services.
The survey will be available online for two weeks until September 16.
The Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma – has announced its new professional development training calendar for the second half of 2021. The training calendar for NSW and ACT is listed below. (In the event that a COVID-19 outbreak occurs which prevents the delivery of face-to-face training, Blue Knot Foundation will move the training to a virtual classroom wherever possible.)
The National LGBTIQ+ Palliative Care Survey for LGBTIQ+ People and all Health Professionals is LIVE
Barriers stand in the way of LGBTIQ+ people having their needs met in palliative care.
Healthcare discrimination, legal barriers (including reduced rates of Advance Care Planning), inconsistent recognition of LGBTIQ+ partnerships and chosen families, and distrust of health professionals can all reduce LGBTIQ+ people’s end-of-life care experiences.
However, current research shows that much can be done to create positive change.
We are calling on LGBTIQ+ community members as well as all health professionals to consider completing this national survey. The data collected will inform the development of education around LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice.
From 20-26 June we will celebrate Refugee Week with the theme of ‘Unity’.
“In 2019 there were 70 countries that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts and death penalty was a possibility in 11.” – Forcibly Displaced People’s Network (FDPN)
To show your solidarity with LGBTIQ+ refugees, sign on to the Canberra Statement on the access to safety and justice for LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees. It is the first in the world statement created by LGBTIQ+ refugees to enact change around the world.
Why not host a morning tea or lunch and screen our webinar – Feeling Safe Finding Safety:
The LOVE Project, ACON’s ageing initiative, aims to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) seniors to lead healthy, active and more social lives. Understanding your needs and preferences helps us to deliver better community programs. We invite you to join the LOVE community for:
• Healthy ageing information
• Events and activities
• Sharing stories and experiences
• Make new friends
• Finding LGBTQ welcoming services
LIVING OLDER, VISIBLY ENGAGED – WEEKLY ONLINE LOVE CLUB GATHERINGS
The weekly ONLINE LOVE CLUB GATHERING is social catch up and check in for all LGBTQ elders across NSW to share. How you are keeping busy? How you are managing your health and wellbeing?
What you are reading, watching or listening too? What’s making you laugh?
We have an exciting new monthly online social gathering we are running from May to September in 2021!
Join us and other regional LGBTQ+ community members [18+] online for ACON’s ‘Regional Rainbow Social’ series. Connect with others from across regional NSW as we look at what brings us together as a community, and how to look after our health and wellbeing.
Regional Rainbow Socials will be held on the third Thursday of each month from: 7pm to 8.30pm (1.5 hrs in total)
ACON’s LOVE Project invites you to share experiences of ageing from the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community 19 May. For registration details contact Rus Gluyas.org.au ph: 02 92062017
Scholarships are open for our Health In Difference and LGBTI Aging and Aged Care Conferences. Thanks to sponsorship we’ve received, from Thorne Harbour Health, NGO Recruitment, the Australian Association of Gerontology, and the Department of Health and Ageing, we have 40 free scholarship tickets to announce. We really want to welcome you in and make a space for you. So please, we would love you to consider applying for these scholarships.
ACON’s national primary prevention project is a first for Australian queer and trans communities. Ahead of designing and executing a series of public-facing campaigns, we have launched this survey to gather data that will:
• Provide us with a deeper understanding of the drivers of violence and how they play out in LGBTQ+ intimate and sexual relationships.
• Allow us to deliver campaigns that are both community-led and evidence-based.
• Add to the existing and limited evidence base in support of developing and strengthening future primary prevention projects for LGBTQ+ people.
Primary prevention is about preventing violence before it starts – this is done by addressing and deconstructing the social drivers and attitudes that lead to violence.
Historically, primary prevention activities have been focused on the drivers of violence by (cis/het) men against (cis/het) women and it is only very recently that funding has been made available for primary prevention activities in LGBTQ+ communities. Some of the early (and limited) evidence suggests that the drivers of violence in LGBTQ+ relationships include, but are not limited to, rigid gender norms, inequality, prejudice, cisnormativity, heteronormativity, power and control.
Pride in Prevention (Rainbow Health Victoria 2020) is a useful evidence guide (and the first of its kind in Australia!) on primary prevention activities for LGBTQ+ communities, should you wish to learn a bit more about this important work.
Please feel free to make contact if you have any questions or would like to arrange LGBTQ+ specific resources for your service or program.
Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), ACON and Relationships Australia NSW have just released a series of mini videos to challenge perceptions that domestic violence is a heterosexual issue, improve understandings of how violence plays out in our relationships including identifying those who are perpetrating violence and promote LGBTQ inclusive practice The videos are primarily aimed at professionals working with clients who may be impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence or using abuse in LGBTQ relationships. The videos feature 7 domestic and family professionals who highlight in very practical terms some of the key findings from a multi-year research project about developing LGBTQ programs for perpetrators and victims/survivors of domestic and family violence.
Rainbow Cultures is a new online directory for LGBTQIA+ multicultural community groups and services in NSW. It was developed in collaboration between ACON and community members from ANTRA (Australia and New Zealand Tongzhi Rainbow Alliance) and ConversAsians/SocialisAsians, and expanded on Advance Diversity Service’s existing multicultural LGBTQ support directory.
For multicultural LGBTQ+ communities, and especially those from migrant backgrounds who are new to Australia, it’s important that they are able to connect with groups and services that understand the intersections of their cultural, linguistic, sexuality and gender diversity, and empower them to have a strong sense of belonging and community connectedness. We’re hoping an online directory like Rainbow Cultures is one of the many steps in providing this for our multicultural LGBTQ+ communities. Rainbow Cultures is also an ongoing project where the directory will be constantly updated alongside community volunteers.
We’d like to extend the invite to you all to come along to our launch event which is happening next Thursday 18 February, 5:30pm – 6:30pm.