The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has called for an urgent increase in the average dole payments and will use this weeks annual ‘Sharing the Wealth of the Lucky Country’ conference to highlight the worsening plight of the most disadvantaged people in Australia.


"We've known for a long time that these Allowances are low - Newstart ($245 per week) hasn't been increased in real terms since 1994, with people struggling to get into paid work missing out on the $32 pension increase of a few years ago," said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS.


"There is a growing consensus that this is no longer sustainable - it simply cannot be allowed to continue, especially if we want to avoid greater levels of poverty in our country."


Treasurer Wayne Swan will open the conference, which organisers hope will continue the national conversation on how to best distribute the opportunities and wealth amongst the country’s population.


The full program can be found here