As Queensland’s politicians return to state parliament this week, a coalition of eight community service peak bodies have come together with an urgent joint statement to address the needs of Queenslanders experiencing vulnerability during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
The statement is supported by Community Legal Centres Queensland, Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland, PeakCare Queensland, QCOSS, Queensland Alliance for Mental Health, NDS Queensland, Tenants Queensland, and Volunteering Queensland.
Queensland Council of Social Service (QCOSS) CEO Aimee McVeigh says that the state’s community sector has needed to change service delivery models radically in a short time frame in order to respond to the needs of people experiencing vulnerability.
“We have also seen more than 120,000 people lose their jobs right around the state. A lot of these people have never accessed income support and services from their local community organisations, and need assistance navigating the system,” she says.
“We commend the state government on their constructive work with the community sector since the crisis began and acknowledge the substantial funds the government has made available to some services that are experiencing high demand.
“The recommendations in this statement will result in better supports for people on low incomes, people with disability, First Nations communities, and families and children experiencing vulnerability.”
Recommendations include extra funding for technological resources for people accessing community services, a clear plan for affordable basics in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities, providing further energy and water bill relief in the second half of the year, sufficient funding for interpreters, and a whole of government community sector package so that services can continue service provision.
“The list of recommendations is not exhaustive, but they detail some of the most urgent requests that are needed for our community organisations to continue crucial service provision, so that no Queenslander slips through the cracks or is left behind,” Ms McVeigh says.