This week in review - 8 February 2018

Mark Henley

Building thriving communities
I am excited that this week we hosted, alongside Minister O’Rourke and her Department, a round table about place-based activity in and around the state. The purpose was about bringing together those involved in place-based work to look at the commonalities and differences and to learn from each other. It was overwhelmingly successful with contributions from community organisations, government, academics and the private sector. This was just the beginning of this important and essential conversation. It is tremendous to see that the recommendations put forward in the QCOSS State Election Platform - Manifesto for Change -  are already being put into action by the government. Thanks to the Minister and her Director General, Clare O’Connor for supporting this important work. You can read more in this edition's feature story below.

Equal remuneration order (ERO)
Many organisations would have received correspondence from the state government about its funding commitment for the ERO. The state government has offered to engage directly with organisations to work through the funding available and how to best meet your obligations. I encourage you to take the opportunity to engage with the department on this important issue. It is critical that you are supported to be able to continue to provide quality services.

Horizontal-fiscal equalisation
I presented this week at the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Horizontal Fiscal Equalisation (redistribution of GST by the federal government to the states and territories). QCOSS supports the current model and strongly encouraged the Productivity Commission to not change the model which is based on equity and has served the community well. QCOSS made a submission on this a couple of weeks ago and noted its support of the recommendations of the submissions to the inquiry by the Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS), South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS), and the Queensland government.  You can read more on this below in the News section.

Welfare update
This week, and in the coming weeks, our social safety net will be under threat with a number of bills being presented in Federal Parliament. We sent you a special edition Focal Point earlier in the week and continue to urge you to contact your local member and register your concern about the bills.  We believe the bills are punitive and divisive and not in communities' best interest. The detail is in our policy statement. We will continue to work with the National COSS Network to lobby the cross bench and will keep you informed of the outcomes.

Movement for change – play your part
QCOSS staff are visiting 20 locations throughout Queensland in February to take the pulse of the community and sector, and get an understanding of the stories we want to hear and those we want to change. This is part of the planning for the QCOSS State Conference – Movement for Change. This year we will explore the stories we tell and hear how they determine our future. We will focus on how we change these stories to ensure we are working towards wellbeing for everyone. Jane Caro, Richard Denniss, Mick Gooda and more will be joining us on this journey and I hope you will be able to join us as well. We know that funds can be tight so if you would like to attend but cannot afford it, please consider our event subsidy program.


Mark Henley
8 February 2018