From Mark – 29 January 2020

  • QCOSS CEO Mark Henley
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Australia Day 2020

There is much controversy about celebrating our national day on January 26. For many First Nations people, it is a difficult day to celebrate, given it commemorates the beginning of colonisation and all the trauma and loss associated with that process.

As part of QCOSS’ commitment to the self-determination of our First Nations Peoples, we offered our staff the opportunity to work on the Australia Day public holiday on Monday 27 January and celebrate Australia at a time of their choosing.

This is a personal choice for each staff member, and we respect each and everyone’s decision. It is only a small step but one that recognises it is time for us to consider what it is to be Australian and how we wish to celebrate.

Electoral Reform Bill

Last week, QCOSS’ Senior Manager Policy, Advocacy and Capacity Laura Barnes gave evidence to the Economics and Government Committee on the Electoral Reform Bill proposed by the Queensland Government.

We support the intent of the Bill to level the playing field in elections, to improve integrity and to minimise the risk of private influence in our elections.

However, as it stands the Bill poses real threats to the voice of the community services sector as onerous compliance and regulatory burdens are likely to see our sector choosing not to engage in important public debates during election time. You can read our submission here and the transcript from the hearing here. The Committee will table their report on the Bill on 7 February.

Portable Long Service Leave Bill

Last week, I presented to the Education, Employment and Small Business Committee’s public hearing for its Inquiry into the Community Services Industry (Portable Long Service Leave) Bill 2019.

Like the Electoral Reform Bill, QCOSS is supportive of the intent of the Bill but have made it clear to the Committee and other stakeholders that to be successfully implemented, the state government must resource and support its implementation. You can see our submission here and transcript of the hearing here.

QCOSS priorities for the next state government

Thank you to QCOSS members for your feedback on the Draft Annual Priorities Statement. We are finalising our document. In the meantime, we are engaging with politicians and senior government staff on these priorities.

Last week, QCOSS Board members Matt Gardiner and Rachelle Patterson and I met with the leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington to discuss our priorities for the next government.

This was the start of conversations with the opposition for 2020 and no doubt there will be plenty more given the state election will be in October. We welcome open and constructive dialogue and look forward to continuing the engagement. 

29 January 2020