This week in review - 16 June 2017

Mark Henley

Queensland State Budget - the key points

Overall it was a good budget. The key points from a QCOSS point of view are the housing strategy and continued commitment to child and family services, domestic and family services and affordable living measures are welcome announcements.  They set a good foundation of support in areas of great need.  We were also happy to see the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) funding announcement as per our ask in our Budget Priority Statement.  Based on member responses and questions about indexation and the ERO funding to date the pressures of funding and demand for services are of major concern across the community.  

We know that jobs are very important and critical for moving people out of poverty.  However the jobs need to be sustainable and accessible for all Queenslanders. Creating pathways to make sure people who are currently unemployed have access to employment is essential.

What is missing is the voice of Queenslanders, including greater investment in place-based approaches and citizen-led initiatives from our Budget Priority statement.  This would have made sure the voices of the community are heard. It is critical to have a clear vision and goals for Queensland and Queenslanders and a budget that supports that vision.

You can read our commentary about the Budget papers here.

Choice and control - a renters experience in the energy market

This week we also released our report about renters and the energy market. It is an interesting nexus, between housing and energy, that we will continue to keep our eye on. The ‘Choice and Control?’ report finds the combination of climbing energy costs and rapidly changing technology is putting renters at an increasing disadvantage.  As energy prices go up, many households are embracing new technologies and products to control their energy costs, but this is often not an option for renters.  This is especially prevalent for things like installing solar panels or wiring a home so appliances can be controlled remotely to take advantage of off-peak periods. 

The evolution of the energy market has created the risk of a growing divide in our communities – between those who can take advantage of opportunities to reduce their energy costs and those who cannot. This is due to rental properties being less likely to have insulation, solar panels, or other energy efficient products, and having a higher prevalence of major structural problems.

Read the full report here.

Congratulations to:

Karyn Walsh AM

We are immensely proud of QCOSS Life Member and former President Karyn Walsh, who has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). The honour recognises her ‘significant service to the community through social welfare initiatives, to support for people who are homeless, to children, and to mental health’. Within the sector, Karyn is renowned for her passion and drive, which is being put to good use in her work as CEO of Micah Projects in Brisbane. She was a Founding Member on the Australian Alliance to End Homelessness and Inaugural Director of Common Ground Queensland. Karyn is a strong leader and certainly someone who should be celebrated.

Helga Biro OAM

We are also immensely proud of QCOSS Life Member and former long-time board member Helga Biro being awarded the medal of the order of Australia in the general division (OAM).  Helga was Executive Director of Cairns Centacare and  also a manager at SkillShare, a volunteer mentor at Ngulpa Ngulpa Women’s Business, Cultural and Wellbeing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation, a member of the Board of Justice and Care with the Catholic Diocese as well as for the Queensland Council of Social Service.  Congratulations Helga.

Fiona Guthrie OAM

Financial Counselling Australia CEO Fiona Guthrie, was also recognised with an Order of Australia Honour.  Fiona has worked tirelessly to build the financial counselling profession, raise the profile of the sector and increase access to financial counselling for those in the community who are in financial difficulty. This is appropriate recognition of the valuable work that Fiona has undertaken to support financial counsellors and ultimately improve outcomes for people who are experiencing financial difficulty.


Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

16 June 2017