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The COVID-19 pandemic and Queensland’s flood crises saw the community service sector continue to operate under extreme pressures during the 2021-22 financial year. While Queensland was kept largely safe from COVID-19 outbreaks during 2021, the Queensland Government’s decision to open the state borders at the end of the year saw a large wave of Omicron cases hit the state in December 2021 and January 2022. Just as that wave was peaking, South East Queensland experienced devastating flooding, the impacts of which were exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
Despite the personal impacts on staff and services, the community service sector maintained its focus on the needs of Queenslanders facing vulnerability and disadvantage, and supported them throughout these rolling disasters.
At QCOSS, our focus was on supporting the sector advocating for more emergency funding support, more information dissemination, more emergency housing and better disaster payments for affected Queenslanders. We continue to work with the sector to build our readiness and resilience to respond to these disasters as they occur in the future.
Strong outcomes in the 2022 Queensland Budget demonstrate the value of QCOSS’ ongoing member consultation, engagement and advocacy. It was pleasing to see the Queensland Government invest in neighbourhood and community centres, housing and financial support for young people and relief measures for Queenslanders struggling with the costs of living. Work remains to be done in securing sufficient investment in housing, and the relaunch of the Town of Nowhere campaign demonstrates our members’ commitment to achieving this outcome.
I thank my board colleagues, who contribute their expertise, wisdom and experience to guiding QCOSS’ work.
I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing support of the Queensland Government, the Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy, and our many other partners and sponsors.
Finally, I thank the QCOSS members, a deeply engaged and committed group of people, who continue to inform and improve our work each year.
QCOSS Board Chair