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Australian Council of Social Service

Impact Fund: Raise the Rate for Good

Impact Fund: Raise the Rate for Good

COVID-19 has had an extensive and devastating impact for millions across Australia. The health crisis has devastated families and communities with millions h...





01/05/2020 > 31/05/2021


  • Tackling Inequality - Public policy / research / advocacy
  • Tackling Inequality - Individual / family support and welfare


  • People experiencing socio-economic disadvantage or vulnerability


COVID-19 has had an extensive and devastating impact for millions across Australia. The health crisis has devastated families and communities with millions having lost paid work, and many Australian’s unemployed for the first time.

For the next 6 months the Australian Government has doubled Newstart (now known as JobSeeker Payment), Youth Allowance and other allowances that were paid at $40 a day.

Prior to the Raise The Rate campaign and COVID19 response, Newstart hadn’t risen in real terms in 26 years, and currently 1.7 million people will benefit from this increase in the immediate term, and your support has been instrumental in making this phenomenal change.

However, the increase is only temporary and the campaign is not won. We have a time-limited opportunity as the Government has only committed to 6 months for the current JobSeeker payment level before the ‘snap back’ begins. The next phase is the most important to ensure a permanent increase in the October 2020 and May 2021 budgets. We can never go back to $40 a day but we have a significant fight ahead.

To lock in a permanent increase to JobSeeker, we need an additional $633,000 over the next 12 months. The funding will ensure the following actions are achieved:

  • Retain the campaigns team otherwise we will lose the existing connections and relationships across the community, business and government sectors
  • Commission an evidence-based discussion paper by leading academics canvassing what the post-COVID19 social security system should look like
  • Test messaging for the campaign. We are in very different circumstances to where the campaign was in 2019 and it is integral that the messaging is right, so we don’t alienate existing and new audiences
  • To develop proactive media angles and pitch to journalists, with a focus on people sharing their first-hand stories, especially those new to JobSeeker and JobKeeper
  • Boost capacity and digital advertising, including in media outlets, to recruit supporters and to inform key audiences of policy positions.


1.7m people in the immediate term will be lifted out of poverty. This is a once in a 26-year opportunity and we have a time-limited opportunity over the next 12 months to embed a permanent increase to JobSeeker (Newstart).

To transform our social security system and drive down poverty and inequality, and recover from COVID-19 a much more resilient Australia, as a permanent increase to JobSeeker will be critical to the recovery of the Australian economy. Before COVID-19, modelling showed that an increase to unemployment payments would deliver $4 billion to the economy, with millions going directly to struggling communities around the country. It would deliver thousands of jobs and support local business. Analysis of the recent stimulus package spending showed that people on the lowest incomes spent the most, supporting local economies, while people on higher incomes have saved. A strong social safety net is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart economic thing to do to build back better after COVID-19.

Profile of Australian Council of Social Service

Australian Council of Social Service

The Australian Council of Social Service is a national advocate supporting people affected by poverty, disadvantage and inequality, and the peak council for community services nationally.

Established in 1956, ACOSS aims to reduce poverty and inequality by:
• Leading and supporting initiatives within the community services and welfare sector and acts as an independent non-party political voice
• By drawing on the direct experiences of people affected by poverty and inequality and the expertise of its diverse member base, we develop and promote socially and economically responsible public policy and action by government, community and business.


TOTAL BUDGET: $780,000
Funding sourceAmount
Impact Fund pledge$15,000
Funding gap$40,000
Expense itemAmount
Community organisation campaign support$20,000
External media support$20,000
Project management and administration support (15% of total project management costs)$10,000

Support Impact Fund: Raise the Rate for Good

Got a question about this project or ready to contribute? Contact our Philanthropy & Impact Team.


As a broker of change, we invite social change initiatives to apply for funding. Eligible proposals are shared with our giving community via our Granting Opportunities directory.