This week in review - 11 January 2018

Mark Henley

Happy New Year! I hope the start of the year finds you refreshed and revitalised for the year ahead.

Movement for change – play your part

I am very pleased to kick off 2018 by confirming that the QCOSS State Conference will be held on 16 and 17 May with a new and exciting theme – Movement for change.

At a time when the demonisation of groups such as welfare recipients and asylum seekers is dividing our communities and many government policies are failing our most vulnerable people, we need a new story to promote the change we want to see for all Queenslanders and their communities. At the conference we will focus on the stories we tell as individuals, as communities, and as organisations working in the community, and explore how we change the narrative and inspire more positive outcomes by the actions we take today. To make these changes happen in our communities requires the dedication and commitment of the whole community, so I do hope that you can join us to be part of a movement for change.

Work-for-the-dole Community Development Program and welfare reforms

Speaking of policies failing people….the federal government’s Community Development Program is an example of a policy that is failing to deliver positive outcomes for individuals or their communities and is having a detrimental impact on the people affected. The program has resulted in 350,000 fines on around 17,000 people over a two year period. Clearly there are foundational issues that have not been thought through. The Council of Social Service (COSS) network will be putting in a joint submission in response to the remote employment participation discussion paper. If you want to have your say, submissions close on 9 February.

New Queensland Government

As I mentioned in the last edition of Focal point we are also urging the new Queensland Government to work differently and will be offering our support to help them achieve this. We are keen to lift the conversation to a more aspirational one, where we have actively engaged communities across the state that have a greater say and contribution in their own futures.
I have written to the Premier, Treasurer and numerous Ministers and plan on meeting with them and with the Directors General of relevant government departments over the next few weeks. We look forward to working with them all in 2018.

Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

11 January 2018