IGR presents a clear choice about Australia’s ambition to prevent and eliminate poverty

25 August 2023

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) welcomes the Federal Government’s 2023 Intergenerational Report (IGR) to inform longer-term thinking about the major challenges facing the nation.

The IGR identifies key forces expected to shape Australia's economy and our society over the next four decades, many that sit directly at the heart of BSL’s work.

These include a significantly ageing population and the subsequent demand for care and support services, climate change and the race to net zero, the financial sustainability of the NDIS, workforce capability and skill building, and accessible early childhood education.

The IGR places emphasis on the importance of addressing entrenched disadvantage and inequality through investment in these areas. However, these forces will also require bold and innovative reform of current policy settings and redesign of programs and services to ensure Australians – especially those facing disadvantage – are able to adapt and prosper over the next 40 years.

BSL is calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Review and reform tax settings to ensure sufficient revenue to meet spending pressures and reduce inequities and distortions in the current tax system.
  • Develop a skills, training and employment system that works for everyone, especially those with the highest barriers to participation, seizing the opportunity presented by the Employment White Paper and review of Australia’s employment services system.
  • Ensure no one is left behind in the net zero transition, including building on existing work to support low-income households to address energy stress and transition from gas to electricity.
  • Redesign programs and services to ensure they address systemic drivers of disadvantage and deliver tangible outcomes in a fiscally constrained environment. Importantly, this redesign will need to include voices and experiences from participants, including First Nations participants.

The IGR allows us to contemplate Australia’s future through an economic lens. To do so properly we must consider how to address the very real and ongoing issue of poverty and disadvantage in this country and how we can best track and be accountable for reducing it.

In considering the future, the Government will look beyond the three main metrics – employment, inflation and growth – when measuring the economic health of our country. Keeping poverty at the forefront of decision-making will be essential to measuring what matters.

“Legislated measures for economic inclusion and poverty reduction will help shape a future Australia where everyone can thrive,” says BSL Executive Director Travers McLeod.
“By broadening our measures of progress and setting clear and ambitious goals that the Government are accountable for, we can ensure the greatest number of Australians can prosper across the next four decades.”

BSL is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.

For media enquiries contact: Steph Jones - 0482 163 395 or steph.jones@bsl.org.au