Raise the Age petition handover (August 2022): (L to R) QCOSS Chair Matt Gardiner, QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh, Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman, Damien Atkinson OAM KC, PeakCare Qld Executive Director Lindsay Wegener
Rebooting the system
QCOSS advocated to get
a roof over the head of every Queenslander,
keep children under 14 out of prison,
reduce the cost of living, gain gender equality and reduce poverty.
Ensure public funds are used to improve the lives of people experiencing disadvantage
Over the past twelve months, the cost of living in Queensland has grown higher and higher, putting incredible pressure on Queenslanders, particularly those on low incomes.
Increasingly, services are handing out swags and tents, or paying for car registrations and repairs for Queenslanders unable to secure housing. Working families are requesting emergency relief, including food packages, and taking additional jobs to be able to afford the basics.
With Brisbane preparing to host the Olympic Games in 2032, the coming decade presents an invaluable opportunity to ensure all Queenslanders have a baseline living standard that includes permanent stable housing. To this end, in 2022-23, QCOSS called on the Queensland Government to invest in strategic, long-term initiatives that reduce homelessness and inequality.
QCOSS' 2023-23 budget submission contained the following asks:
A viable and human rights respecting community services sector
Invest in Queensland’s youth services sector
End Queensland’s housing crisis
Advance women’s equality
Help low-income households access energy transformation
Reduce digital disadvantage
Give all children a good start
On 15 June 2023, the Queensland Government’s budget announcements included:
A rise in indexation to 5.6 per cent for the community service sector.
Increased funding of $29.4 million over four years for place-based diversionary responses for young people, including after-hours support, cultural mentoring, bridging to flexi-school and case management, and alternative opportunities and activities for at-risk young people.
An increase of $802.8 million over five years to deliver housing commencement targets under the Housing and Homelessness Action Plan across Queensland.
A record $8.224 billion in total concessions funding in 2023–24, an increase of 21 per cent from 2022–23. This includes $1.617 billion in new and expanded cost of living relief.
$1.483 billion of additional electricity bill support to households and small businesses facing cost of living pressures.
$645 million over four years to provide 15 hours per week of free kindergarten from January 2024 for all four-year-old Queensland children.
Queensland Budget Breakfast (June 2023): (L to R) Queensland Treasurer Hon Cameron Dick MP and QCOSS CEO Aimee McVeigh.
QCOSS Queensland Budget Breakfast was held on 20 June 2023.
It was attended by 364 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 2023 Budget and spoke about its impact on the social services sector.
We were pleased to welcome a number of government ministers, including:
Hon Cameron Dick MP, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
Hon Leeanne Enoch MP, Minister for Treaty, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Minister for Communities and Minister for the Arts
Hon Di Farmer MP, Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development and Minister for Youth Justice
Hon Mark Furner MP, Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities
Hon Meaghan Scanlon MP, Minister for Housing
Charis Mullen MP, Assistant Minister for Treasury
Respond to Queensland’s housing crisis
QCOSS’ Town of Nowhere campaign has the objective of putting a roof over the head of every Queenslander by 2032. Housing is the cornerstone of a person’s wellbeing. We believe housing policy and planning must be based on the principle that access to appropriate and secure housing should be a universal right in Australia, like healthcare.
In 2022-23, the campaign continued to call for more funding, accelerated construction of social housing, improved rights for renters rights and increased income support. It also presented the Queensland Government with an ambitious ten-year vision that aims to develop a whole of government housing plan, leverages Commonwealth Government commitments and focuses on delivering supply of social and affordable housing, making the private rental market fair and ensuring the implementation of the plan is well managed and transparent.
Housing is the cornerstone of a person's wellbeing.
To establish an evidence base, the Town of Nowhere campaign partners, alongside Tenants Queensland and The Services Union, commissioned the groundbreaking report: A Blueprint to Tackle Queensland’s Housing Crisis. Written by Hal Pawson, Professor Housing Research and Policy and Associate Director at UNSW’s City Futures Research Centre, the report found that 300,000 Queenslanders had unmet housing needs. It successfully changed the conversation about housing in Queensland.
This advocacy resulted in a Housing Summit (20 October 2022), and two Housing Roundtables (16 September 2022 and 28 March 2023) chaired by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk where the Queensland Government committed to:
build 2,300 new social and affordable homes each year for five years (up from 500)
limit to the number of rent increases allowed each year
halve land tax for Build-to-Rent developments
deliver a $28 million boost for emergency housing.
Make Renting Fair in Queensland:
QCOSS is a member of the Make Renting Fair Alliance, an alliance of community organisations who support progressive reform of state renting laws so that all Queenslanders can make the place they live in their home, whether they rent or own.
Raise the age
of criminal responsibility
Changing the record:
In 2022, QCOSS partnered with First Nations-led coalition, Change the Record, to coordinate the Queensland Raise the Age campaign. This campaign aims to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Queensland from 10 to 14-years-of-age and asks the Queensland Government to commit to funding trauma-informed, therapeutic, culturally safe, non-punitive programs that keep children out of the legal system.
In 2022-23 we employed a Raise the Age Campaign coordinator, established the Queensland Raise the Age Leadership Group made up of 40 organisations, and facilitated Raise the Age media training in Townsville, Cairns and the Gold Coast.
QCOSS established local service groups in
Cairns, Gold Coast
with community programs which are empowering children involved in the justice system.
Reduce poverty and inequity in Queensland
QCOSS advocacy campaigns aimed at reducing poverty and inequity in Queensland:
QCOSS is a member of Power Together, an alliance of advocacy organisations who want to re-imagine and unlock the powers of renewable energy to reduce cost of living pressures for all Queenslanders.
Raise the Rate for Good:
QCOSS is part of Raise the Rate for Good, a community of more than 20,000 people campaigning to raise the rate of federal income support and ensure everyone has enough to cover the basics.
Living Affordability in Queensland report:
QCOSS’ 2022 Living Affordability in Queensland report found that low-income Queensland households are feeling the effects of high inflation, rising energy costs and low housing affordability. Of the six households modelled in the report, five were unable to afford a basic standard of living and all spent more than 30 per cent of their income on housing.
Unpacking Automation in Social Services:
In support of Anti-Poverty Week 2022, QCOSS partnered with the University of Queensland’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision Making and Society to deliver: Unpacking Automation in Social Services, a roundtable with American political scientist and award-winning author, Professor Virginia Eubanks.
Participate in disaster response and recovery so that the needs of the most disadvantaged people in Queensland and the services that support them are given priority attention.
Until the end of 2022, QCOSS delivered regular updates to the community services sector about COVID-19 using our full range of communications channels. The Community Door COVID-19 hub was visited more than 37,200 times during 2022-23, with more than 15,000 users accessing our Latest Updates page to keep on top of restrictions.
Improve gender equality
Gender responsive budgeting:
In 2021-22, QCOSS called on the Queensland Government to enhance approaches to gender responsive budgeting (GRB) and ensure gender impacts are considered in government policy and decision-making. In line with commitments under the Queensland Women’s Strategy 2022-27 (QWS), the Queensland Government has expanded its engagement with GRB. Bids in the 2023/2024 budget were assessed against the impact areas of the QWS.
Notably, this process resulted in additional measures
International Women's Day 2023
QCOSS policy input and advocacy 2022-23:
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 2022-23:
Government consultation discussion paper on the approach to delegated authority implementation (2023)
Stronger Laws for Community Safety review (2023)
Family and Child Commission Act 2014 review (2023)
Integrity and Other Legislation Amendment Bill (2023)
Youth Justice and Child Wellbeing Reform across Australia (2023)
Planning (Inclusionary Zoning Strategy) Amendment Bill (2023)
Inquiry into Australia’s Human Rights Framework (2023)
Draft National Care and Support Economy Strategy (2023)