This week in review - 20 April 2017

Mark Henley

QCOSS action and impact
Every quarter QCOSS will release an infographic of the action we have undertaken and the impact the organisation has had with the projects and programs for people experiencing poverty and disadvantage.  This is the first of our action and impact infographics and I urge you to have a look.  It has been an exciting quarter with some good outcomes achieved from QCOSS advocacy, some of it over many years.  Please have a look here.  We welcome feedback if you have suggestions for improvement.

Concessions
Last edition I mentioned that health care card holders can now apply for the electricity rebate. Further to that, if the application is made before 20 June, the concession will be backdated to January 2017.  For those applying after 30 June the rebate will only be paid from the date they apply. It is therefore really important for people to make their application as soon as possible so as to maximise the concession benefit.   To apply, account holders must contact their electricity retailer and provide their name, account number (on their bill), date of birth, and either their ImmiCard number or Health Care Card number. This factsheet provides more information.

Inquiry into service delivery in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities
The Queensland Productivity Commission has been asked to look at how services in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are performing, and identify whether they can be improved. They are seeking feedback about your experience and what you think is working well, and what could be better.  You can view the Queensland Productivity Commission: Service delivery in remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities Consultation Paper and QPC Snapshot paper.  

QCOSS will engage with Indigenous-based organisations on this important issue and respond in an appropriate manner after our consultation with them.

Senate Inquiry into Centrelink Automated Debt 
The opportunity to speak to the Senate Inquiry about these impacts during three hearings in Queensland is approaching.  QCOSS is happy to support anyone who wants to speak at the hearing.  I cannot stress how important it is to take up these opportunities so we can seek to change the system.  The Committee has scheduled the following hearings - Townsville on Wednesday 3 May 2017; Brisbane in the morning on Thursday 18 May 2017; and Caboolture in the afternoon on Thursday 18 May 2017.

I know that some people may be hesitant to speak out about this issue given some of the media and perceived consequences of doing so, however there is a process in place that will safeguard the privacy of participants and the media is not permitted to attend the hearings. If you are interested in engaging on this please email Karen Murphy on karenmurphy@qcoss.org.au

 

Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

20 April 2017