2022 Australian Federal Election Platform
The COVID 19 pandemic has altered and continues to impact on Tasmanian communities. Neighbourhood Houses have stepped up along with other community organisations to respond to changing and increasing community needs.
Many more people are seeking emergency food relief and financial assistance. The impacts of poverty have escalated with regards to cost of living, accommodation, and transport. The mental health of Tasmanians made vulnerable through age, ability, ill-health, literacy, or poverty has deteriorated. People are now more isolated with families and communities polarised and divided over issues such as mandatory vaccinations and how to respond to the pandemic.
Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania seeks a commitment from the next Australian Government to build our nation’s capacity by healing these growing rifts and allowing Australians to participate more fully in their communities. Although significant reforms are needed across many areas of Australian society, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania have chosen 4 pressing areas that would make a difference.
Specifically, Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania seek:
1. Decrease social isolation and fragmentation. Commit to ongoing funding to programs that have proved successful in decreasing social isolation for people who are made vulnerable due to age, ability, ill-health, literacy, or poverty. An example of this kind of program in Tasmania is the Eating with Friends program about to be defunded through aged care reforms. Establish new and innovative programs to reduce isolation and distress, that contribute to improved mental health and wellbeing.
2. A place to call home. Commit to finding and funding a diverse range of options and solutions to improve vulnerable people’s access to affordable, safe and secure accommodation. What is being done now is not enough and is not working. Neighbourhood Houses Tasmania recommends a Prime Ministerial taskforce be established for the next term of government to work with community and other stakeholders to develop a meaningful and long term 20-year strategy to ensure that all Australians have a home. At the same time investing in more social housing options.
3. Develop local leaders. Encourage and facilitate the development of local place-based initiatives to develop local leadership. Local community members must be encouraged and supported to assume roles in community organisations, local government and employment to help grow and strengthen communities.
4. Food security. In a nation that has the capacity to feed a significant part of the world’s population, we have been failing to provide regular and healthy food for our own most vulnerable citizens. As the pressure of cost of living has grown this need has expanded to Australians who have never sought food relief before. The Commonwealth needs to work with State and Territory Governments to create a national food security and resilience plan.
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