This week in review - 23 March 2017

Mark Henley

Out and about
Last week QCOSS staff were throughout the state working on a number of different exciting projects.  We were in Cairns for the NDIS Breakfast hosted by Minister O’Rourke which included local Mayors and Councillors, industry bodies and community organisations. Also in Cairns was the launch of the Energy Savvy Families project – more information on that is below; we were in Ipswich, Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Emerald, Gladstone and Toowoomba talking to a number of networks and services about the communication needs of women from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse  backgrounds and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds experiencing domestic and family violence. 

As always it was great to get out and talk to you and hear what is happening on the ground and get your input to the work we are doing.

Cost-of-living work continues to be a focus
As mentioned above, last week saw the launch of a project that we are partnering with ten neighbourhood and community centres around Queensland to assist low-income families manage their electricity bills and consumption.  It is a project that is jointly funded by the Department of Energy and Water Supply and supported by Ergon and provides an exciting opportunity for QCOSS to embed the skill of energy literacy into communities outside of South East Queensland.

Looking ahead to next week, we will be hosting a cost-of-living showcase in Brisbane to look at the work we are currently doing with nine community organisations in South East Queensland with different approaches to embedding energy literacy in their communities.  These projects are funded by the Switched on Communities program through AGL and the Department of Energy and Water Supply.  There are still a few places available if you are interested in attending. You can register here.

AGL also launched their Fairer Way initiative which is a great example of a service provider proactively addressing some of the long-standing issues in the energy retail market. AGL has committed to removing late fees and discounts to people experiencing hardship and receiving concessions that have in the past been applied if you have not paid your bill on time.  This is a great step forward. You can read our media release about this initiative here.

Another win for QCOSS advocacy
Last week the Queensland Government announced that a trial to deliver electricity savings for some of the community’s most vulnerable electricity customers will be rolled out in four Queensland locations.

The trial will look at innovative ways to enable public housing tenants in detached government-owned houses to access the benefits of rooftop solar power.  It will be undertaken in Woodridge, Rockhampton, Cairns and Lockhart River and collectively will deliver up to six megawatts of new solar PV on up to 4000 new solar rooftops across Queensland.  This was a key recommendation from QCOSS in our submission to the Solar Inquiry and QCOSS Budget Priority Statement.  We are keen to work with the state government to ensure the implementation best meets the community's need.

Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

23 March 2017