QCOSS congratulates Annastacia Palaszczuk on the return of her government in Queensland. We look forward to a new approach of working with government and look forward to working together to lead our state to greater social and economic equity for all.
As we said in our election statement we call for a government that leads with vision, a government that listens and a government that acts together with us all. We also congratulate each of the new Ministers and look forward to working with them in their new and continuing portfolios. We will be making contact soon with each of them to discuss the election commitments made and the priorities we identified in our election statement.
There have been a number of changes at the ministerial level. The headline cabinet change was former Treasurer Curtis Pitt taking the Speaker’s job, with Treasury going to Deputy Premier Jackie Tradd, and Trade to the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
There are three new ministers Craig Crawford (Fire and Emergency Services), Di Farmer (Child Safety, Youth, Women, Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence) and Stirling Hinchcliffe (Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs), with no Ministers leaving the cabinet.
Community services sector
Of most interest to the sector is the movement of portfolios from Minister Shannon Fentiman, who previously had the broad responsibilities of Child Safety, Communities, Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Women and Youth.
Minister Fentiman will continue to hold portfolios relevant to the sector now moving to Employment, Small Business, and Training and Skills, taking responsibility (among many other things) for the successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.
Taking over Minister Fentiman’s previous responsibilities are Coralee O’Rourke and new Minister DI Farmer. Minister O’Rourke will keep her responsibilities of Disability Services and Seniors and add to them responsibility for Communities (although she will lose North Queensland).
Minister Farmer will take on Child Safety, Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Women and Youth. The responsibilities here include child safety, Office for Women and Domestic Violence Reform, Youth, Youth Justice Services, and Working with Children Check.
Sector capacity: education, health and housing
In addition to our election asks regarding a sustainable community services sector, we also asked for strong state commitment to funding for NDIS, health, homelessness and housing. In this regard the health portfolio has moved from Cameron Dick to Steven Miles, education moves from Kate Jones to Grace Grace, and housing and homelessness remain with Mick De Brenni.
Where did North Queensland go?
Rural Development and North Queensland have been spread around:QCOSS is keen to continue our regional focus with place-based responses to community needs. We note that Rural Development and North Queensland are no longer named portfolios.
Rural Economic Development is now with Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries (Anthony Lynham); Regional Economic Development (State Development) is under Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (Cameron Dick). ‘Queensland’s Response to Australian Government Policy on the Development of Northern Australia’ is with the Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnership (Jackie Trad).
We trust that this dispersal of regional responsibilities will not mean a dilution of focus on regional issues and remote communities.
Water, water everywhere, but no more DEWS
No more DEWS, but we found water: QCOSS has been delivering affordable living programs in the areas of energy and water. These have included energy saving and literacy programs such as Energy Savvy Families, Switched On Communities Grants and the Sunny Savers Solar Program in public housing.
Energy and water have moved into the same portfolio as Natural Resources and Mines under Minister Anthony Lynham. DNRMEWS anyone?