Engaging with Queensland communities and people has been a priority for QCOSS in 2018. We have hosted more than 120 events; travelled almost 390,000 km; and spoken with more than 6,600 people.
Through QCOSS Pulse and QCOSS Connect we went to more than 30 communities providing information on QCOSS activity and key government policy; seeking advice on what matters to these communities.
From the QCOSS State Conference through to Changing Lives, Changing Communities we have talked to people and communities about vision, about action, about the stories we tell about ourselves and our communities. With our partners, Queenslanders with a Disability Network (QDN), and the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland (ADCQ) and local governments we have hosted deep conversations in communities about what it will take to ‘create communities where everyone contributes, matters and belongs’. We heard from communities about their hopes, their dreams and the actions that they are willing to take in their communities.
We are working with community service organisations in five regions – Rockhampton, Cairns, Townsville, Hervey Bay, Toowoomba – to help people tackle cost-of-living issues head on through supporting conversations about how households can manage their electricity costs.
We are in the remotest of Queensland communities – the Cape, the Torres Strait, the Gulf and Western Queensland – supporting early childhood teachers to create the leaders of the future.
We’ve hosted conversations on policy as diverse as toll roads, electricity tariffs, energy efficiency, rental reform, housing, human rights, and family law, resulting in more than 35 reports and submissions.
We have also engaged nationally and internationally to compare, inform, learn and develop policy and strategy together.
It is from this engagement and our strong policy base that we have developed a priority statement – the actions that need to be taken by our Premier and her Ministers to make positive social change in Queensland and make sure that the is equality, opportunity and wellbeing for every person in every community.
Our asks fall into four key areas:
Building on our strengths – the opportunity to build on the strong foundation your government has created for place-based approaches throughout the state with governance, a long-term commitment, and reformation of investment and policy to truly make a difference in place.
Equality, opportunity and wellbeing for all – making sure the systems in place, both locally, regionally and nationally are doing the job they were designed for. In particular: does the social security system support people back to work; do public transport systems provide transport to employment, education and connection to community; are people able to find out what and were accessible venues; and facilities are located, and our concessions reaching people who need them most?
Rebooting the system – in some instances, inequality and disadvantage are perpetuated by the systems and structures of our world. You have made a gigantic leap forward this week with the passing of the Human Rights Bill. Now we must make sure people know their rights and how to prosecute them. We must make decisions that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to self-determination. And we must make sure that every person in Queensland has a home.
Being in service – critical to the achievement of good outcomes for Queenslanders is a strong and resilient social service sector. The sector plays a critical role in supporting individuals and families. They also play a critical role in the social infrastructure of communities. Funding our neighbourhood centres so they can play their role in building thriving communities and ensuing the sector is able to remain sustainable with a strong workforce is critical to every person in every community.