For the past few years, Queensland Council of Social Service has been laying the foundation for a new way of working in Queensland. We have been building our expertise, building our connections and building the evidence to support this new approach. This approach was first hinted at through our 2017-18 Budget Priority Statement, was further articulated in our Election Statement, a Manifesto for Change and has been followed through into our 2018 Conference, a Movement for Change.
This, our budget priority statement for 2018-19, does not shy away from these themes. This is work that QCOSS believes is fundamentally important if we are to build strong and connected communities and address poverty and disadvantage in Queensland.
We know that this work is not easy, but it is necessary. We know that it takes time but is timely. We also know that it while we can put out the call, we cannot do it alone.
All of which is a fancy way of saying, that it must be done, it must be started now and we all have a part to play.
Communities and governments around the world are changing. A shift away from a focus on the individual is underway, with a resurgence in consideration of the public good, the common good, the shared goal. This is accompanied by a desire by all parts of the community to be heard, to be listened to, and for their views to be acted upon. It is time to think about the stories we tell ourselves, about ourselves and about others – and really think, are the these the right stories? Is this how we want to see and be seen? How do these stories affect the future we create?
We understand that government funding is increasingly restricted. This is resulting in an increasing focus on the crisis end of service delivery rather than in the prevention and early intervention that is required to make a real difference.
Media cycles have created an environment in which decisions are made quickly and under pressure – an environment which makes collaboration and working together difficult. But we know we need to do things differently if we are to truly make a difference to people’s lives, particularly those at risk of being marginalised or isolated in their communities. Investment must be aligned and coordinated to achieve an overarching purpose or vision of wellbeing for all individuals and communities across the state; it must be focussed on the long term, seeking real change and real impact.
Election cycles and the increasing partisanship of politics have created a bureaucratic environment of risk aversion. Yet, the challenges and the opportunities that face us require new approaches – they require testing, they require innovation. It must be evidence based, but not afraid to try something new to solve the issues and magnify the opportunities that face us all.
In this context QCOSS continues to call for the Queensland Government to govern differently, to work differently, to truly lead our state into the future. To approach the many challenges and opportunities that we have with renewed vigour and an appetite for vision-led change.
The time for a bold vision is now.
People are shouting and not being heard – we need to hear their stories.
Send any comments to Karenm@qcoss.org.au.