Treating Families Fairly
Primary Centre contact: Michele Lonsdale,
Director of Social Policy and Research
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Treating Families Fairly is an alliance of child and family service organisations, peak bodies and academics advocating for policies that uphold the rights of children and families, and speaking out against policies that cause harm, with a particular focus on social security and welfare conditionality.
The alliance was formed in 2017 in response to concerns that conditional welfare policies at the federal level were having a negative impact on children and families and the delivery of state-funded services. You can read our purpose statement.
Our aim is for a more equitable society that supports the wellbeing and development of children and their families. The alliance focuses on the intersections between poverty, child and family wellbeing, and government approaches to social problems, and advocates for social security reform.
The choices that government make about social security and welfare have a profound impact on the lives of the people that the child and family services sector support in Victoria. We know that alleviating poverty and stress are the keys to improving outcomes for children, young people and families. Policy areas that the alliance has considered include:
- The adequacy of social security payment rates
- The Cashless Debit Card trials and compulsory income management (i.e., BasicsCard)
- The ParentsNext program
- The proposed drug testing trials for people receiving social security payments
- The establishment of a Social Security Commission
- Child Impact Assessments
During Anti-Poverty Week 2018, we developed a Statement of Principles that we are calling on governments to use as a starting point for policy and program design and development.
The alliance is co-chaired by Michele Lonsdale, Deputy CEO and Director of Social Policy and Research at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, and David Tennant, CEO of FamilyCare.
Current Members of the Alliance
- Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
- Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand
- Brotherhood of St Laurence
- Council of Single Mothers and their Children
- Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA)
- Kinship Carers Victoria/Grandparents Australia
- Financial Counselling Victoria
- Professor Kay Cook (Swinburne University of Technology)
- Dr Elise Klein (Australian National University)
- Social Ventures Australia
- Mallee Family Care
The Centre convenes the alliance and provides secretariat support. If you are interested in joining us or hearing more about our activities, please contact Kelly Bowey, Senior Policy and Research Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 9 October 2020 – Budget fails to deliver essential social security reform
- 4 September 2020 – Social security: an investment in wellbeing, social cohesion and economic recovery
- 30 April 2020 – Senate Committee confirms inadequacy of Newstart
- 30 March 2020 – A strong social security system can help us through this crisis
- 11 December 2019 – Treating Families Fairly Statement (One in eight families: Australian single mothers’ lives revealed)
- 20 May 2018 – Looking at the Federal Budget for National Families Week
Key pieces of work
- March 2021 – Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021 submission
- August 2020 – Federal budget submission 2020-21
- September 2019 – The impact of social security reforms on single mothers and their children
- August 2018 – ANAO report: The implementation and performance of the Cashless Debit Card Trial (summary and response)
- September 2017 – A critical look at the Cashless Debit Card Trial
- July 2017 – Income management discussion paper
- June 2017 – Review of the Cashless Debit Card Trial evaluation (interim report)
Social security and time use during COVID-19 - March 25, 2021
On 25 March 2021, Treating Families Fairly launched the ‘Social security and time use during COVID-19’ report.
This study used an online survey to examine how people receiving social security payments used the $550 Coronavirus Supplement (‘the Supplement’) and their time as a result of the temporary suspension of mutual obligations. We were also able to compare whether these changes differed from people who did not receive the Supplement, either because their payment did not include the Supplement or because they did not receive social security payments.