NCOSS - A Fairer NSW
State Election 2007
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NCOSS Media Release

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth
13 December 2006

With 100 days to go until the NSW election, the State’s leading welfare body today called upon all candidates to back a policy package aimed at delivering a fairer NSW.

A Fairer NSW: Bold Solutions and Real Results puts forward 15 actions to get results on the things that matter to the people of NSW,” said Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) Director, Ms Michelle Burrell.

“Everybody wants a strong and fair NSW - where people have a decent standard of living and a proper home; where kids are happy, healthy and succeeding in school; and where people who are doing it tough have the support they need to get back on their feet,” said Ms Burrell.

A Fairer NSW will deliver those results,” she added. “Priority actions include investment in oral health, transport, early childhood education and affordable housing”.

“NCOSS is calling for a $170 million kick-start for public dental services,” said Ms Burrell.

“2.3 million Australians have put off going to the dentist because they can’t afford it,” she added. “The squabbling between the Commonwealth and State needs to stop and urgent funding must be put into the system. We also need to invest in training of more dental professionals,” she said.

The NCOSS health package also includes $10 million for health transport and an additional $11 million for Aboriginal health services focussed on prevention.  

“Public transport is another big priority,” said Ms Burrell. “700,000 people in Western Sydney face transport disadvantage. The situation is even worse in country NSW where there are very few services”.

“Some public transport trips in Sydney cost twice as much as others, even though they are the same distance.  Our Smartmove proposal for a $10 day fare for Sydney will help people to get where they need to go and increase patronage,” she said.

NCOSS also calls for transport and utility concessions for people on low wages, as is the case in Victoria.

“Too many people are working hard but still struggling to put food on the table, pay the rent or mortgage and pay the bills,” said Ms Burrell. 

“Whilst the NSW Government can’t do much about petrol and food prices, they can make a difference through concessions. This would help 145,000 working people make ends meet”.

“Our children and families package is based on the principle that all children and young people deserve a chance to thrive,” said Ms Burrell. “By investing in pre-schools to guarantee two days a week early learning in the two years before school, we can set our kids up for life”.

“By also investing in child and family centres in disadvantaged areas we can combine quality early education and care, home visiting, parent education and health screening services for kids who currently miss out” she said.

“Kids in care often end up unemployed and homeless. We can prevent this by making sure these kids have a stable and secure home, finish school, access training and job opportunities, health care and other basics - just like any good parent would. With a guarantee for kids in care we can make sure they start their adult lives on the right foot,” said Ms Burrell.

“Strong government means facing down the big challenges and delivering on them – affordable homes to rent and buy are urgently needed. With over 300,000 people in NSW paying more than 30% of their income on housing, and one in three households in Sydney in the same boat – many people can no longer afford to live here,” said Ms Burrell.

“At $400 million over four years, our affordable housing package is a big ticket item. But with interest rates and rents on the rise, no-one in NSW would disagree that leadership is needed. We must invest, and we must invest now,” she added.

Other proposals in the Fairer NSW package include:

  • Enhancing TAFE and reviving depressed neighbourhoods to bring more full time jobs into poverty postcodes
  • A ten year homelessness strategy, to be led by the Premier
  • $15.5 million enhancement to the Provision of Aids to the Disabled Program
  • Legislation to better protect people living in boarding houses.
  • $18 million for the statewide roll out coordinated hospital discharge programs for older people
  • Significant investment in front line domestic violence services including front-line services like women’s refuges, counselling and support services for children
  • A disability diversionary court to reduce the number of people with disabilities in NSW prisons
  • Investment in post release services to reduce recidivism
  • A Charter of Human Rights for NSW
  • A workforce development initiative for community services.

“We all want a community in which everyone can participate, where people feel safe and where people get a fair go,” said Ms Burrell. “To make this a reality, the incoming NSW Government must deliver smart investment in public and community services,” she said.

“The Fairer NSW package sets out 15 simple things that the incoming NSW Government could do to make NSW a fairer place. Not all of them cost money. Many are about changing the way government works. All of them will make life better for the people of NSW”.

Full details of a Fairer NSW: Bold Solutions and Real Results:

Media contact
Michelle Burrell, A/g Director, Council of Social Service of NSW
work: 02 9211 2599 mobile: 0427 951 355
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Council of Social Service of NSW
66 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010, Australia
ABN: 85001 797 137
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