no excuse for any child to live in poverty

ACOSS welcomes AMA focus on tackling poverty, lifting income support and providing secure housing, as central to child health and wellbeing

Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) is pleased to join with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) to call for a refocus on improving child health and wellbeing and strongly recommend that both are placed at the centre of national attention and public policy making as we head into the 2022 election cycle.

For a few months in 2020, we tackled poverty, lifted income support and protected people from evictions. This period demonstrated powerfully the importance of reducing financial distress to family and child wellbeing.

ACOSS is a joint signature to the AMA’s Communique, Child health – time to look to the future alongside several other national organisations and advocates.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“Never in recent memory have children grown up surrounded by such complex, intersecting and existential challenges risking their physical, emotional and mental health. Even as we continue to grapple with COVID-19, Australia confronts a persistent problem with poverty, yawning inequality and a housing affordability crisis. And all this is before we even get to the profound problems presented by accelerating climate change and an increase in natural disasters.”

“The joint statement accepts this starting reality and offers a positive approach for addressing these dilemmas head on. It is a clear, important acknowledgement of how social, economic and environmental challenges affect children’s health, wellbeing and development. The best public policy will not only recognise the links between social determinants and child health, but actively put the determinants at the centre of a strengthened and long-term national response.

We particularly welcome the strong focus on poverty as a primary, and avoidable driver of negative health and wellbeing outcomes for children.

As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, there is no excuse for any child to live in poverty. And we know what needs to be done to protect children. An adequate income to cover the basics and a secure, affordable safe home are the very essentials of supporting health and wellbeing.

This is the year to put good intent and strong words into action.