In 2017, we reflect on two significant anniversaries in Australia’s reconciliation journey – 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the historic Mabo decision. As we commemorate these significant milestones, we and many others are asking all Australians to be a part of the next big steps in our nation’s reconciliation journey. I hope you and your organisation were able to reflect on and celebrate Reconciliation Week. At QCOSS we got together to discuss what is reconciliation, and what the next steps in our Reconciliation Action Plan will be. It was a valuable conversation that has put us in good stead to better understand our own personal reconciliation and what it means. If you are interested you can see our current reconciliation action plan here.
Family Matters and our intentions
Last week I sent you an important email about getting involved in the Family Matters National Week of Action. Towards the end of the week I was very pleased to be a signatory to a statement of intent put out by the Community Partnerships Group facilitated by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. The letter of intent was sent to many stakeholders and clearly articulates our intent to ensure we will continue to advocate for a fairer youth justice system, in the best interests of Queensland’s children and young people. You can read the full statement here.
Advocacy with Government
While this is ongoing for QCOSS as a peak organisation, I think it is important to share with you the different meetings I have had. Over recent weeks a lot of time has been spent promoting the QCOSS Budget Priority Statement with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and other party members and their staff. It has been productive sharing the important messages that member organisations believed were most important. We will be keen to see the Government's final response as the budget is announced in a couple of weeks.
I also presented at the Senate Committee Inquiry on the Centrelink automated debt recovery system as well. It was critical that we provided the key messages to Government so they understand the impacts of their policy decisions. We will be keen to hear their response.
An opportunity to go in the draw to win a ticket to the QCOSS State Conference 2017 just by telling us your thoughts! Complete the member survey now – it only takes about five minutes and will help us plan, prioritise and make sure we are meeting your needs. You can complete it here.
Electricity price increases for regional Queensland
While we welcome the Queensland Government’s decision to take action to protect regional Queenslanders from electricity bill increases announced by the Queensland Competition Authority, we believe that more must be done to put downward pressure on electricity prices in the longer term. We will continue to advocate to the Government to investigate ways to tackle the drivers of these price increases and ensure we are continuously improving the concessions and assistance framework for low-income and vulnerable Queenslanders. You can read QCOSS' media release here.
QCOSS has benefitted tremendously from our engagement with the many organisations we are working with on the Switched On Communities and Energy Savvy Families projects. The organisations have predominantly been neighbourhood and community centres, and peak and member-based organisations and the collaboration has been most productive in creating improved outcomes for many people across the state.
Department of Housing and Public Works to introduce five-year service agreements
As you will be aware QCOSS has long advocated for minimum five-year service agreements and we saw recently Minister Fentiman announce her Department has now 133 five-year service agreements in place. I took the opportunity yesterday to raise this issue with Minister de Brenni at a Procurement Forum his Department hosted. I was pleased to hear today, that he announced his intention for the introduction of five-year service agreements within the Department of Housing and Public Works. We understand that the process for introduction is yet to be finalised and we are looking forward to working with his Department to ensure a good outcome is achieved in this area.
Chief Executive Officer
1 June 2017