From Mark – 6 November 2019

  • QCOSS CEO Mark Henley
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QCOSS Annual General Meeting

Congratulations to those elected at the AGM to represent on the QCOSS Board. Our new regional Board member is Rachelle Patterson. Rachelle is the Chief Operating Officer for Human and Community Services for Lifeline in Darling Downs and South West Queensland. We look forward to Rachelle sharing her expertise on our Board. We will share more about Rachelle’s experience in the coming weeks.

I also want to congratulate Matt Gardiner, Faiza El-Higzi and Kevin Mercer in being elected back on to the Board as General Directors. We had strong interest in the Directors’ positions, with nominees from diverse backgrounds. I would like to thank each person who took the time to nominate. Thanks also to Anita Veivers and Richard Johnson who retired from the Board at the AGM.

I encourage you to read QCOSS Annual Report so you have a good understanding of some of the work QCOSS has engaged in over the 2018/19 year.

We had the privilege of hearing from Dr Jackie Huggins AM, FAHA who was our guest speaker at our AGM yesterday. Throughout her speech, she spoke about the importance of sharing your voice in the various Path to Treaty consultations currently taking place across Queensland and was encouraging everyone to participate. Read the article below for more information, including how you can engage in the consultations. If you missed Jackie’s speech, you can watch the recording here.

National Commissioner for our children

QCOSS is proud to stand with SNAICC, Family Matters and 80 other organisations in calling for a national commissioner for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people experience disproportionately high levels of disadvantage and discrimination. This is largely due to the poorly designed systems which fail people because they have not been designed by the people who need to access them. We need a dedicated national commissioner to provide improved oversight and accountability for systems and services to improve the protection of the rights of our children. Read more in the position paper.

Voice to Parliament consultation

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt announced on Wednesday last week a plan to establish the Voice to Parliament body – a senior advisory group for an Indigenous voice to government. QCOSS supports the opportunity for a co-designed process to improve local and regional decision-making and offer a national voice to governments.

However, we are disappointed that the Minister has backtracked from his commitment to enshrine the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the constitution, which was called for in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. QCOSS, along with Australia’s network of Councils of Social Services, fully support the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of a broader push towards genuine, meaningful and lasting reconciliation.

Under our strategic priority of Rebooting the System, we specifically mention that the Uluru Statement of the Heart must be embedded in constitutional and parliamentary systems to promote equality and opportunity for all Queenslanders – indeed all Australians. We will continue fighting to overturn the systems and structures that create and perpetuate inequality.

6 November 2019