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Better dental care, energy price relief, secure housing – ahead of NSW election


The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) highlight energy price relief, better dental care, and more secure and affordable housing as key issues for South West Sydney.

NCOSS has put forward eight recommendations for policymakers to consider, in a bid to better support vulnerable citizens.

The recommendations respond to the situation in South Western Sydney, which according to NCOSS’ 2022 Cost of Living Survey of low-income households, is seeing:

60 per cent in Inner South-West in housing stress;

31 per cent in Inner South-West experiencing a negative change to their housing arrangement (such as rent increase, eviction, damage to home);

33 per cent in Outer South-West going without medication / healthcare, and;

27 per cent in Inner South-West going without a meal

“The events of the last three years haven’t been felt evenly, and we all witnessed the dramatic divide in Sydney where people in South Western Sydney were treated as second-class citizens,” NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty said.

“We know it’s low-income households and disadvantaged communities who have borne the brunt, which is why we need investment that wards off widening inequality and entrenchment of disadvantage.

“We have reached a tipping point where families are being hit by rising costs, stagnant wages, and on top of all that, seemingly never-ending natural disasters.

“Social services are on the frontline supporting these families, and we’re seeing firsthand the toll that it’s taking. We need urgent and purposeful action to combat these pressures.

“We are calling on policymakers to endorse our Policy Platform and work together to build a fairer NSW.”

The eight recommendations include:

1. Respond to rising energy prices: Increase cap on Energy Accounts Payment Assistance vouchers to $1,600 per year; 2. Improve access to dental care: Double funding for public dental outreach services; 3. Make renting more secure and affordable: Replace no grounds evictions with a range of specified reasonable ground; 4. Invest in social infrastructure so essential support reaches those in need: Provide core funding for neighbourhood centres and other similar services; 5. Enhance safety, security and wellbeing for women impacted by domestic and family violence: Construct social housing for the 4,812 women and their children experiencing domestic violence; 6. Bolster children’s safety, social development and educational outcomes: Increase investment in the Targeted Early Intervention Program by 25 per cent; 7. Limit harm caused by pokies on vulnerable communities: Mandate use of a cashless gaming card across NSW venues operating pokies, and; 8. Strengthen sustainability of the NSW social services sector as a growth industry and key employer of women: Extend standard contract terms to seven and 10 years for rural and remote communities.

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