In the lead up to the state election, 16 of Queensland’s peak social service bodies have joined forces to find solutions on three major gaps in service delivery – building more social housing, increasing funding for the community services sector and reducing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system.
The peak organisations are requesting more investment in social housing, calling for a commitment to build 10,000 units of housing each year for 10 years in collaboration with the community housing sector.
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh says there needs to be a focus on building social housing in regional Queensland, prioritised for people with disability, older people, people fleeing domestic violence, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and younger people.
“Everyone deserves to have a safe, stable and accessible place to call home, yet there are more than 25,600 families on Queensland’s social housing register, 22,000 people in the state experience homelessness and more than 30 per cent of low-income households experience rental stress,” Ms McVeigh says.
With growing unemployment, financial distress and social and emotional challenges associated with the pandemic, more Queenslanders are turning to community services for support.
The organisations are also calling for urgent funds to build the capacity and capability of the sector.
“The community services sector has played a central role in the COVID-19 pandemic response and will continue to do so as the state recovers,” Ms McVeigh says.
“Increased funding for community organisations will mean our services can meet demand, create jobs and ensure there is an adequate safety net for the growing number of people who need support.”
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Queensland are 8.5 times more likely to be removed from their families by child protection services than non-Indigenous children.
Ms McVeigh says the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the child protection system, particularly those children in care and living away from their families, must be reduced.
“Adequately resourcing the Family Matters Queensland campaign and the actions identified in the state government’s Our Way Strategy and Changing Tracks Action Plan will be a start in beginning to address this.”
As a group, the 16 social service peak bodies are calling on all politicians to commit to these key asks.
”To support the financial wellbeing of all Queenslanders, our elected representatives must partner with the community sector to put people at the centre of economic recovery plans,” Ms McVeigh says.
The 16 peak social services bodies:
- Community Legal Centres Queensland
- Council on The Ageing Queensland
- Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland
- Ending Violence Against Women Queensland
- Financial Counselors Association of Queensland
- National Disability Services Queensland
- PeakCare Queensland
- Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Health Council
- Queensland Council of Social Service
- Queensland Domestic Violence Services Network
- Queenslanders with Disability Network
- Queensland Families and Communities Association
- Queensland Youth Housing Coalition
- Tenants Queensland
- Volunteering Queensland
- Youth Affairs Network Queensland