Every year, The Australian Treasury calls for ideas to feed into the budget process. We have focussed our submission for the 2018/19 Budget on three areas where budget action could make an immediate and discernible difference to the lives of Australians on low incomes.\
- Establish a national water consumer policy and advocacy organisation to provide a national voice for domestic and small business water consumers. The organisation would promote the long-term interests of water consumers, and provide evidence based policy on price, quality, sustainability and security of an essential national asset and service.
- Investigate and “forgive” legacy debts accrued because of “unacceptable conduct” that occurred under the VET FEE-HELP program. While the Government has acted decisively to reform the Commonwealth loans scheme for vocational education and training (VET), more must be done to investigate and remediate the effects of proven misconduct.
- Increase funding for Financial Counselling services, funded through an industry levy, will give more Australians in financial hardship the support and guidance to dig themselves out of crippling debt. Financial counselling should be promoted actively to ensure that all Australians can access independent, free and expert advice when they need it.