Social security is about sharing our national prosperity fairly to make sure that no individual or family is trapped in grinding poverty. It is a fundamental human right.
Successive governments have, however, let some of the most powerless members of our community down. They have done this by implementing policies that have allowed the wealthy to get richer, while refusing to increase social security payments to a level that would allow people going through hard times to take back control of their lives. Further, Governments have created increasingly rigid and punitive rules that are causing severe financial and emotional stress for families. Nowhere is this starker than in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
The Social Security Commission Bill 2018 (the Bill) would establish a Commission to provide independent, evidence-based advice to Government about the minimum levels of social security payments required to ensure that every person in Australia has an income that allows them to live with dignity.
The Human Rights Law Centre’s submission supports the Bill, calls for immediate action to abolish the remote Community Development Program and raise the rate of inadequate social security payments. It also endorses the recommendations of Aboriginal Peak Organisations NT, which focus on steps required to address stark economic injustices in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.