QCOSS’ Emerging Voices project is designed to engage passionate individuals and facilitate opportunities for them to influence and change Queensland’s social and economic policy agenda. Established in 2015, the project continues to provide a targeted response to the increasing expectation that citizens can and will have a greater influence on decision-making that affects their health and well-being.
With one in eight Queenslanders experiencing poverty, policy decisions that support vulnerable people to participate and contribute to the social and economic life of the community will remain critical. To be relevant, these decisions need to reflect an understanding of the day-to-day life of people who experience poverty and disadvantage, in the context of the communities in which they live.
Emerging Voices participants have been able to put their expertise and skills into practice and participate in a range of workshops and meaningful conversations in several key policy areas, including young people in the criminal justice system; reforms in Queensland’s Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services; criminalisation of poverty; population health; family violence; housing and homelessness; and the NDIS. Participants continue to bring unique and valuable insights into many of the discussions and help to ensure that the opinions and concerns of community service users are heard loudly and clearly by the providers and policy makers.