QCOSS welcomes important social reforms and investment announced in today’s state budget, but says it is extremely disappointed there was no additional funding for one of the state’s biggest issues – the housing crisis.
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh congratulated the government on its record health spending, including record funding for mental health and to build more hospitals.
McVeigh welcomed the restoration and increase to Neighbourhood and Community Centre funding, which was cut ten years ago.
“Neighbourhood and Community Centre workers have been on the frontline providing vital services during the floods and COVID-19, and helping people with food and shelter during the housing crisis,” McVeigh said.
“They are the backbone of communities and today’s funding announcement means staff will not need to be laid off and services can continue.
“QCOSS congratulates Minister Enoch on securing this much needed funding for our members.”
Neighbourhood Centres Queensland CEO Em James said centres were relieved and grateful.
“Centres have supported their communities through natural disasters, kept food on the table, been the first to respond when natural disasters hit and supported communities in the recovery,” James said.
“This has been 10 years in the making. We thank the Queensland Government for their decision.”
Another welcome announcement is the Queensland Government joining its state and territory counterparts to provide the option of extended care and support for young people transitioning from the care system, to the age of 21.
“This is a compassionate, common-sense reform that has been years in the making. This will make a dramatic difference to the lives of children,” said QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh.
“All 18-year-olds need support as they navigate the first years of adulthood. Three more years of stability for young people in connection with the child protection system should reduce the number of young people experiencing homelessness after leaving state care.
“QCOSS congratulates Minister Linard on working to see this important change made.”
QCOSS advocated for this change in the 2022-23 pre-budget submission, and would like to acknowledge our members who worked so hard on this change through the Home Stretch campaign – Life Without Barriers, CREATE Foundation, Anglicare Southern Queensland, QATSICPP, Anglicare Central Queensland, PeakCare Queensland, Anglicare North Queensland, Mercy Community Services, UnitingCare, Churches of Christ in Queensland, and IFYS.
McVeigh also welcomed increased funding for initiatives to address youth homelessness.
But she said if the Queensland Government can build more hospitals, it must be able capacity to build more social housing.
“In the middle of a housing crisis and escalating cost-of-living pressures, the State Government must provide sustained funding and build more social homes, faster,” McVeigh said.
“The government has acknowledged that every Queenslander deserves a safe home to live in and that social housing is meant to be a safety net and yet we have more than 50,000 people waiting for a home on the social housing register. QCOSS will continue to push for all Queenslanders to have a roof over their heads.”
QCOSS also called for the Queensland Government to adequately fund community services in their pre-budget submission.
“We want to thank the Treasurer for his department’s commitment to transparency by publishing indexation rates for services in the budget papers this year,” said McVeigh.
“While our sector welcomed the Fair Work Commission’s decision to lift the minimum wage, this decision has big implications for the community services sector and this increased cost, together with the other growing costs of delivering services means the rate of indexation (2.88%) will not prevent organisations from moving into the red and ultimately having to make difficult decisions to cut services or lay off workers.
“QCOSS is committed to working with our members and The Services Union to see funding certainty and adequate indexation and to pay community service workers.
“Our workers are on the frontline in crisis – whether that’s an individual’s crisis, or a natural disaster. It is time these workers were properly compensated for the highly skilled and essential work they do.
“If the government is committed to gender equality, adequate pay and indexation for the community sector must be a priority as 80% of our workforce is women.”