The continued use of punitive sanctions to control and deter criminal behaviour rests upon a general historical misunderstanding of the effectiveness and appropriateness of this method of punishment. The current criminal justice system and the persistent sensationalist ‘get tough’ initiatives by governments, both preceding and current, have previously enjoyed widespread support within South Australia as both politicians and the media promulgate populist perceptions of crime. Citizens have previously been confident in the efficacy of our punitive criminal justice system, and there has been support for harsher penalties that are perceived to contribute to a safer society by increasingly incarcerating people who commit criminal offences. Conversely there has been a growing acknowledgement of the failures of this system to address the sociological contributors to criminal behaviour, and subsequently the development of early intervention and prevention measures.
Visit the Box File to download the Law & Justice Principles Paper, and also the Law & Justice Fact Sheet.
Affordable housing is not a reality for many Australians. Of South Australians who are unable to afford their own home and are in the private rental market, approximately 33.4% are affected by a phenomenon known as housing stress. Housing stress affects low income households who form the lowest percent of the income distribution range and spend 30% of the household’s gross income on housing costs. Housing stress affects the health and wellbeing of individuals negatively and can precipitate a variety of physical, mental and emotional conditions, both chronic and acute. These correlations make it clear that housing is a social determinant of health, and needs to be treated as part of the web of factors affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, households and ultimately society. In the instance of low income earners, unaffordable housing can affect social participation, causing further strain on health and wellbeing.
Visit the Box File in the sidebar to download the Housing Principles Paper and also the Housing Fact Sheet.
The South Australian Government provides a range of concessions, including (but not limited to) those for energy; public transport; water and sewerage; vehicle registration and licensing fees; stamp duty; telephone bills; and prescription spectacles. These concessions are meant to provide a means for low income and disadvantaged South Australians to gain access to essential goods and services by making them more affordable.
As in other jurisdictions, concessions in South Australia are often ill-directed, lacking in clarity, and, most significantly, lacking in both horizontal and vertical equity. While certain concessions are available to some people on medium or high incomes, these concessions are not available to some people on lower incomes. This creates a major equity issue, and flows from the inability or unwillingness of state/territory and federal governments to implement a national, integrated approach to concessions.
Visit the Box File in the sidebar to download our Concessions Principles Paper and also the Fact Sheet.
A fully functioning and effective child protection system is vital for the protection of our most vulnerable and at risk children. The potential for a fully funded and comprehensive system to contribute positively to the lives of abused and neglected children is vast; many of the negative and damaging consequences of abuse could be significantly reduced. However, it is clear that the South Australian child protection system is straining under the weight of marked increases in notifications, substantiations and demand for alternative care places. All of this in a sector experiencing difficulty in meeting the needs of the children already within the system.
Visit the Box File in the sidebar to download our Child Protection Principles Paper and also the Fact Sheet.
Policy development is critical to guiding the actions of our government and therefore the process should not be taken for granted. Politicians and senior bureaucrats need to know what issues are of concern to the voting public, and what directions we wish them to take.
SACOSS members have shaped the five key areas of concern for us at this time – check out the Box File in the sidebar to download the Principles Papers on these topics.
The SACOSS Blueprint for the eradication of poverty has a much more comprehensive coverage of issues.