This week in review - 6 April 2017

Mark Henley

Tropical Cyclone Debbie
Our thoughts are with all the communities across Queensland who have been impacted by Tropical Cyclone Debbie and associated weather and flooding events. People who are experiencing personal hardship due to TC Debbie should download and use the Self-recovery app. Go to www.qld.gov.au/communityrecovery or contact the Community Recovery Hotline on 1800 173 349 or for further information. We will continue to send relevant information for the sector to you and post on our website and Community Door.

Centrelink Senate Inquiry
The deadline to make submissions to the Senate Inquiry into Centrelink’s Automated Debt Recovery System has been extended to 19 April 2017.  I would encourage you to make a submission outlining the impact this process has had on your clients.  There will also be an opportunity to speak to the Committee about these impacts during three hearings in Queensland.  QCOSS is happy to support anyone who wants to make a submission or speak at the hearing.  I cannot stress how important it is to take up these opportunities so we can change the system.  The Committee has scheduled the following hearings - Townsville on Wednesday 3 May 2017; Brisbane in the morning on Thursday 18 May 2017; and Caboolture in the afternoon on Thursday 18 May 2017.

I know that some people may be hesitant to speak out about this issue given some of the media and perceived consequences of doing so, however there is a process in place that will safeguard the privacy of participants and the media is not permitted to attend the hearings.  If you are interested in engaging on this please let me know at markhenley@qcoss.org.au.

Concessions
This week concessions have been extended to job seekers and asylum seekers on public transport throughout Queensland and health care card holders and asylum seekers can now apply for the electricity rebate through their energy retailer. This is great news and we welcome these changes after years of advocating for them.  There is still more work to do on the concessions front and tackling cost-of-living issues for low-income households.  This is and will continue to be core work QCOSS does.  Today however we celebrate a big win for many Queenslanders!

 

Mark Henley
Chief Executive Officer

6 April 2017