QCOSS released its government priority statement in early March and have been setting up meetings with Ministers, Directors General and senior advisors of departments since then. Last week I met with the Minister for Housing and Public Works and the DG of Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships. Our conversations with both focussed on the need to implement the recommendations from the Queensland Productivity Commission’s Inquiry Service delivery in Queensland’s remote and discrete Indigenous Communities and the state of the National Partnership on Remote Housing. Both of these are key in our priorities and key to the wellbeing of Queenslanders. In the coming weeks,QCOSS will be meeting with many other departments and I will keep you informed on progress.
Adequately funding Neighbourhood Centres has been a key plank of QCOSS advocacy for many years – it is a battle we are still fighting. As we go toward an other budget we are joining forces with the Queensland Families and Communities Association to take that fight to the government again. We will shortly be asking for your support in this campaign. The current model puts staff at risk and minimises the effectiveness of what is an essential community asset. Please support us in the push for funding.
Meeting with members
The work we have been doing in Changing Lives, Changing Communities, QCOSS Pulse and Connect has cemented in my mind the importance of connections and just having a conversation. To expand on this work I will be hosting informal meetings with members throughout the year to catch up and have a conversation. They will be all over the state and I hope over the next couple of years I will be able to get to each of you at some point.
The federal budget was underwhelming for those of us working to make sure everyone can have a good life. The complete focus on people who have employment and the continued demonisation of those who do not in the language used as well as in the measures was appalling. While Labor’s response supported the NDIS, people fighting cancer and TAFE and apprentices, it too leaves people on the lowest incomes without hope.
We are continuing to work with the COSS network on raising the rate. This one change for people on Newstart would mean that the done was doing what was intended and supporting people to get into employment. I believe this is a social contract we all have with our government and will be making sure we do everything we can to make the change.
Chief Executive Officer