This week in review - 21 September 2017

Mark Henley

QCOSS, along with the National COSS Network, is supporting the YES Campaign on marriage equality.  We firmly believe that equality before the law is a basic human right.  This includes equality before the law in relation to access to marriage as regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity.  The Human Rights Commission has stated that it considers 'that the fundamental human rights principle of equality means that civil marriage should be available, without discrimination, to all couples, regardless of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.' Restricting access to law amounts to discrimination and there are clear linkages between discrimination and impacts on health and wellbeing.  

There is no doubt the process for determining changes to the marriage act has become very political but the core issue remains one of human rights as discussed above. It is in our role of supporting people experiencing poverty and disadvantage and supporting human rights that QCOSS is supporting the Yes Campaign.

Welfare reform on hold
A few weeks ago I wrote to you about the proposed federal welfare reforms seeking your support to stop them!  They have stalled. QCOSS wrote to crossbenchers and applauds those crossbenchers that voted against these reforms.  We will continue the fight against these changes and will be writing to all Queensland Federal Members and Senators to ask them to vote against the changes when they are next considered.

Mandatory cashless welfare card
QCOSS is very disappointed in the federal policy decision to implement the card on a mandatory basis.  We know there is considerable concern in the community, and from our engagement, it is certainly not clear that there is overwhelming support from the community. We will be seeking the results for the consultation from the federal government and will continue to keep you informed. The media release we issued today states our position.

The State's commitment to people with a disability
This week, a few QCOSS member organisations and I met with Minister O'Rourke to discuss the outcomes of last year’s consumer directed care forum. A key piece of this is ensuring that government and organisations transition to the new environment well and in a strategic manner to ensure the needs of people are met.  Importantly the state government, although it has been previously communicated are 'getting out of disability', needs to ensure they always stay engaged and committed to seeing better outcomes for people with a disability.  Following that meeting and further meetings with the Department it is clear that while the Minister’s role will change as the NDIS transition continues, there will still be a huge interest from the state government in supporting people with disability.


Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

21 September 2017