Community Service Peaks 2019-20 State Government Priority Statement

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Every Queenslander deserves a place to call home, to be able to put food on the table, access education and healthcare, and be afforded a level of wellbeing.

Peak organisations across Queensland are working together to ensure this can happen and we cannot do it alone.  Social change requires the input and investment of many groups of people.

This document specifically looks at how our Premier and Ministers can make decisions to create and support social change that will have benefits for all people in Queensland now and into the future.

Peak organisations are an essential part of the fabric that makes our system of government work.

We provide:

  • a conduit between government and the millions of Queenslanders, their communities and community service organisations in Queensland
  • expert, independent, evidence-based, policy advice about social and systemic change
  • a mechanism to share information and experience
  • sector-wide resources and development of community organisations and their workforces
  • a holistic view of the community that is not siloed by department or service type.

We are a trusted source of information with our stakeholders.  We engage with communities and individuals in a genuine dialogue and use that to inform our work.

Working together, the community service peaks bring together and share the experiences and insights of nearly 1,000 organisations and people across Queensland.

The Queensland Community Service Peaks have been collaborating for change for decades, focused on people experiencing the highest levels of vulnerability in Queensland.  Queensland’s Community Service Peaks are well positioned to use this collaborative capacity to support ambitious systemic reform across government, community and the private sector.  Collectively we are more and can deliver more than if we stand alone.

We engage everyday with the Queensland Government on an ambitious reform agenda to improve outcomes for all Queensland. Our focus lies in four areas, issues of significance to improving the lives of all people in Queensland.

QCOSS, COTA, NDS, Volunteering Queensland, ECCQ, Community Legal Centres Queensland, QShelter, QDN, PeakCare, QATSICPP, CSIA, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, Tenants Queensland, QAIHC, and QNADA commit to working together and with all stakeholders to implement successful reform in these four critical areas.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

This is the largest social reform since Medicare and impacts hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders directly or indirectly.  While being implemented by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government has a duty of care to its citizens to ensure no one is worse off by this change.  For community wellbeing this must be a priority for action.

Family Matters

Family Matters is a campaign that aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care within a generation (2040).  Fundamental to this is addressing the disproportionate experience of disadvantage across all social indicators.  The wellbeing of all Queensland children is our shared commitment and responsibility.

A Human Rights Act for Queensland

It is important to have a strongly defined Human Rights Act that protects basic freedoms that all human beings are entitled to, no matter their race, gender, religion, political belief, sexuality and/or age. Queenslanders who experience disadvantage would benefit greatly from protection of a Human Rights Act.

Accessible and affordable housing

Housing is a core human right and is critical to the social and economic participation of all members of our community.  Stable housing positively influences the wellbeing of individuals, families and communities, including their health, education, employment, and their personal relationships and social participation.  Every Queenslander, regardless of where they live across the state, should have access to stable, affordable and accessible housing.

We ask the Queensland Government to consider:

The NDIS

The Queensland Community Service Peaks fully support the intent and principles of the NDIS and want to maximise the number of individuals that have the opportunity to benefit from this once-in-a-generation reform. However, there remain a number of transition issues and Queensland continues to lag behind the targets identified in the bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government.

The latest National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) reporting figures illustrate the difficulties in encouraging new and hard-to-reach Queenslanders into the scheme. In particular plan approval rates for specific population groups, like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, remain stubbornly low.

Through the Power of Peaks, we are engaging more Queenslanders. We are trusted leaders within our communities, able to both engage with individuals and raise awareness of the potentially life-changing benefits of the NDIS. However, we are not fully funded for this work and need support to reach even more people.

Recommendation

The Queensland Community Service Peaks should be resourced by the Queensland Government to continue delivering on our campaign to find new and hard-to-reach people with a disability, so they can be supported to make an access request.

Not all Queenslanders will receive an NDIS package. There are almost one million Queenslanders with disability. Every Queenslander with a disability must be supported to participate in their community and Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) funding is a key part of the NDIS to make communities more inclusive and accessible.

Recommendation
The state government should fight for Queensland to get our fair share of ILC funding. We can’t continue to miss out.

It can be incredibly difficult navigating mainstream services and to receive continuity of care, with different services provided by different departments and different levels of government. Across state government mainstream services, there remains a gap in workers’ knowledge of the NDIS, which is impacting effective discharge and service continuity.

Recommendation
The Queensland Government works with the Community Service Peaks to develop and implement plans to minimise NDIS interface issues across all departments.  The peaks must be engaged to provide advice on current gaps and areas for improvement.

The transition to the NDIS has brought significant financial challenges for service providers, with the latest National Disability Services’ (NDS) State of the Disability Sector Report 2018 showing 31 per cent of respondents are operating at a loss. When combined with changing operational conditions, Queensland is at risk of not having the service providers to meet participant demand.  Providers’ major concerns are pricing, transport, government/agency communication and engagement, participant pathways and thin markets.

Recommendation
The Queensland Government should fund the peaks to support service providers to not only transition to the NDIS but to ensure their future sustainability post implementation.

To meet participant demand, the Queensland disability sector needs its workforce to double. In NDS’ State of the Disability Sector Report 2018 service providers noted insufficient NDIS funding arrangements to adequately induct and train new staff and to facilitate the development of existing staff. These issues are exacerbated not only by geography, but by the unique needs of individual population groups.

Recommendation
The Queensland Government should continue its commitment to the disability sector through its support of accredited and non-accredited training opportunities and pathways. This should include the continuation of the WorkAbility Qld initiative post June 2019.  

Family Matters

Family Matters is Australia’s national campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people grow up safe and cared for in family, community and culture.

The goal is to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 2040. Family Matters is led by SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and supported by a strategic alliance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous organisations. Queensland Community Service Peaks also lend their full support to this campaign.

Since 2016, the campaign has released an annual Family Matters Report that examines how Australia is faring in improving the safety and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It is clear from this year’s report that without substantial efforts to refocus policy and investment on prevention and early intervention, children will continue to be at risk of separation from their families, communities and cultures. Key recommendations addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care requires:

Recommendation
A target and strategy to increase proportional investment in evidence-informed and culturally supportive prevention and early intervention services, designed and delivered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations, that are accessible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.

Recommendation
Government adequately resource the: Family Matters Queensland Campaign; and, Queensland Governments Our Way Strategy and Changing Tracks Action Plan.  This is critical to ensure the successful implementation of these strategies across Queensland.

 

Human Rights Act for Queensland

We congratulate the Queensland Government on tabling the Human Rights Bill in Parliament in October.  This Bill will provide a framework to protect basic freedoms that all human beings are entitled to, no matter their race, gender, religion, political belief, sexuality and/or age. Queenslanders who experience disadvantage will benefit greatly from protection of a Human Rights Act.

The Community Service Peaks are asking that the Act be implemented with support not only for changes within the government, but with support for all of those who will be impacted.

We ask that:

Recommendation
The Human Rights Commission is resourced to properly support implementation of the Act, including community education/engagement, conciliations, and other functions critical to the successful implementation of the Act.

Recommendation
Community organisations are supported to comply with their responsibilities under the Act, including supporting training, updating the HSQF, supporting organisations to review and update policies and practices.

Recommendation
Complainants are supported to engage in dispute resolution, including advocates and community legal services to provide advice and representation.

Housing solutions for Queensland

Partnering for Growth is a welcome development in the capacity to generate affordable housing options for low-moderate income households in Queensland. Planned reforms that will positively impact renters in Queensland are also welcome.  It will be important to ensure sector capacity to make optimal use of different funding streams, as well as streamlined program and policy settings aimed at improving efficiency.

Building on these initiatives, the following recommendations respond to extensive unmet need and recognise the relationship between housing and support solutions so that resulting tenancies are sustainable.

Recommendation
Establish growth targets underpinned by needs-based planning and ensure that all growth initiatives achieve net gains in total housing supply available to low and moderate-income households.

Recommendation
Introduce inclusionary zoning in Queensland to ensure opportunities for the inclusion of affordable and accessible housing in new developments with a focus on integrating employment, transport and other infrastructure with housing outcomes.

Recommendation
Introduce a tenancy sustainment framework in Queensland that includes funded programs aimed at intensive, ongoing support to households who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Recommendation
Work with the federal government to develop and implement a National Housing Strategy including federal funding for the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Housing.

Recommendation
Allocate resources for the implementation of minimum standards in rental properties, in particular, for an administering body.

Conclusion

We call on our Premier and Ministers to make decisions that support these clear recommendations and will create and support social change with benefits for all people in Queensland now and into the future.

Download the statement here.

11 March 2019 | Focus area: