Town of Nowhere campaign relaunch, Brisbane
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Queensland budget advocacy
Strategic, long-term investments in Queensland’s social infrastructure can end the housing crisis, expand low-income households’ access to the renewable energy revolution, and create good local jobs. QCOSS’ submission for the 2022-23 Queensland budget reflected these priority areas, and urgent sector concerns reported by members.
In August and September 2021, QCOSS held nine Member Town Halls across Queensland, attended by 178 members. These discussions informed the development of our 2022 Queensland budget submission, which was released for member consultation in November 2021 and finalised, post feedback, in February 2022.
In 2022, our Queensland budget priorities were:
Secure local community services
Invest in and support local neighbourhood and community centres
Build more social housing to end child homelessness
Help low-income households access the energy transformation
Make the Queensland budget work for everyone (gender responsive budgeting).
On 21 June 2022, the Queensland Government’s budget announcements included:
Transparency over the community services indexation rate of 2.88%, with a post-budget commitment to review the indexation process
$125.6 million over four years to strengthen social services in Queensland, including by increasing the base funding of each government-funded Neighbourhood and Community Centre to $230,000
$29.8 million over four years for new frontline services for youth housing and homelessness
Extension of financial support for young Queenslanders leaving out-of-home care until they are 21 years old
$16 million immediate response package for families struggling to secure housing
$6.8 billion in concessions and rebates to lower the cost of living for low-income families, including $385 million to lower electricity bills.
The Queensland Government did not provide any new funding for social housing in the
2022 Queensland Budget.
To support the sector’s budget advocacy, QCOSS hosted Under Treasurer Leon Allen at an In Conversation event on 16 March 2022, attended by 81 members.
QCOSS Budget Breakfast, held on 23 June 2022, was attended by 310 people including QCOSS members, Queensland peak bodies and government department representatives.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, the Hon Cameron Dick MP presented Queensland’s 2022 Budget and spoke about its impact on the social services sector.
The Treasurer publicly committed to working on indexation issues with the sector through QCOSS.
Hon Leeanne Enoch MP (left) with
QCOSS Board member Bronwyn Fredericks
We were pleased to welcome a number of government ministers, including:
Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Communities and Housing, Minister for Digital Economy and Minister for the Arts
Hon Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
Hon Leanne Linard MP, Minister for Children and Youth Justice and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
Hon Di Farmer MP, Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
Hon Stirling Hinchliffe MP, Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement
Hon Craig Crawford MP, Minister for Seniors and Disability Service and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.
Hon Di Farmer MP (left) with
QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh
2022 federal election
QCOSS supported ACOSS’ federal election advocacy strategy, which included calls to increase the rate of income support payments to at least $70 per day, a strong call for increases to Australian Government investment in social housing and an extension to the National Rent Affordability Scheme, the conclusion of which places more than 8,000 Queensland families at risk of eviction. Our advocacy resulted in media coverage across the state, including in South East Queensland, Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.
In May, QCOSS welcomed the election of a new federal government and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, drawing attention to the potential for him to use his experience growing up in public housing as a motivation for ensuring all children have a roof over their head.
Celebrating International Women's Day 2021
Advocating for women’s equality
Women are disproportionately affected by structural adversity and crisis impacts, and in a year dominated by COVID-19 and flooding disasters, we intensified our advocacy for gender equality in Queensland.
In October 2021, QCOSS made a submission to the Queensland Government’s consultation towards a new Queensland Women’s Strategy. Our response was developed with input from the QCOSS Women’s Equality Network and focused on improving women’s economic security, health, safety, and embedding a human rights framework.
The Queensland Women’s Strategy 2022-27 was released by the Queensland Government in April 2022. QCOSS was pleased it centred on achieving economic security for women. On 26 April 2022, Hon Shannon Fentiman MP, Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Women and the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, joined CEO Aimee McVeigh for an In Conversation event discussing the strategy in detail.
Produce an evidence-based
Cost of living
Released in December 2021, our Cost of Living report found many Queensland households are struggling to afford the basics, with people increasingly making impossible choices between paying rent, food or bills. Housing was identified as the largest expense for all households surveyed, and most have very little capacity for savings or paying for unplanned expenses.
We do not have to accept poverty, however at current Australian Government income support levels of $45 a day, it is entrenched. QCOSS continued to support ACOSS’ Raise the Rate for Good campaign during 2021-22.
Barriers to entry: joining the renewable energy future
Many households are currently at a disadvantage in the energy market and miss out on the benefits or bear disproportionate costs depending on whether they can access new or renewable technologies like solar panels.
QCOSS’ Elevating inclusion and equity outcomes within consumer energy product innovation report, published in May 2022, advocated for the market and governments to work together and co-design solutions to the problem of new-energy inclusion moving forward.
Assessing availability of water hardship provisions
QCOSS’ Water hardship in regional Queensland report, published in March 2022, identified the hardship provisions applicable to regional water providers in Queensland, as well as the hardship support being offered in practice.
The report found there are disparities in the treatment of people across the state, with water customers in South East Queensland who may be experiencing financial hardship being guaranteed access to hardship policies, flexible payment plans and interest waivers that regional Queenslanders are not.
Bridging the digital divide
QCOSS’ Bridging the Digital Divide report, produced in partnership with The McKell Institute and published in September 2021, found many Australians remain significantly excluded from the digital world through lack of infrastructure access, affordability issues, or lack of ability to use technology.
The report revealed that when vulnerable Queenslanders are unable to afford or confidently use digital technologies, 76 per cent simply go without. On key digital inclusion measures – access to technology, digital affordability, and the ability to use technologies – the report noted Queensland ranks fifth among Australian states, behind the ACT, NSW, WA and Victoria. The leading driver of digital exclusion is data affordability.
Queensland’s housing crisis has worsened with rental vacancies at historic lows, decreasing rental affordability, and a ballooning social housing waitlist. In 2021-22, there were 50,301 Queenslanders on the social housing register, an increase of 3,365 in 12 months.
In March 2022, QCOSS, alongside 11 partners, relaunched our Town of Nowhere campaign, with the aim of ending Queensland’s housing crisis through provision of adequate social and affordable housing.
The relaunch was livestreamed to the QCOSS Facebook audience and generated more than 320 individual media items across print, breakfast and primetime television and online – the latter coverage generated more than 370 comments from readers sharing their housing experiences.
Town of Nowhere campaign relaunch, Brisbane
L to R: Matt Gardiner (54 Reasons Managing Director), Cherylee Treloar (Footprints CEO), Kevin Mercer (St Vincent de Paul Queensland CEO), Aimee McVeigh (QCOSS CEO), Karyn Walsh (Micah Projects CEO), David O'Toole (Kyabra CEO)
As part of the campaign, we called on the Queensland Government to increase the Housing Investment Fund by $1 billion in the 2021-22 Queensland Budget, provide an additional $500 million to the QuickStarts fund to build more social housing in regional Queensland, and deliver solutions for children and young people
QCOSS policy input and
Among other tactics, QCOSS uses submissions and participation in government managed committees and processes to provide policy input and advocate for better outcomes for Queenslanders.
We made submissions and participated in the following government managed committees and processes throughout 2021-22:
Justice Legislation (COVID-19 Emergency Response - Permanency) Amendment Bill 2021
National Legal Assistance Partnership (NLAP) Strategy and Action Plan Project
National Women's Safety Plan renewal
Parliamentary Inquiry into Serious Vilification and Hate Crimes
Parliamentary inquiry into Social Isolation and loneliness in Queensland
Procurement Maturity Project and enhancements to the Queensland Procurement Policy
Proposed amendment to Water Regulation 2016: Increasing the expected duration of water restrictions in SEQ
Purpose, intent and adequacy of the Disability Support Pension Senate inquiry
Response to Discussion Paper 1: Options for legislating against coercive control and the creation of a standalone Domestic violence offence
Response to Discussion Paper 2: Women and girls’ experience of the criminal justice system
Response to the Women's Safety and Justice Taskforce Discussion
Social Services Legislation Amendment (Consistent Waiting Periods for New Migrants) Bill 2021
Working with Children (Indigenous Communities) Amendment Bill 2021