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The NCOSS Blog is the place to keep up-to-date with the work being done by NCOSS and the latest events and information of importance to the NSW Community Services sector.

ACOSS Media Release: Australia’s vital community services face funding uncertainty crisis PDF Print
Community Strengthening
Date added: 15 April 2014

15 April 2014

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) today urged the Federal Government to make funding certain for vital community organisations, in the wake of an alarming survey revealing almost nine in ten organisations (87%) have no guarantee of key funding for services beyond June 2014.

Partnerships for Health update PDF Print
Date added: 10 April 2014

The new 2014-15 health funding contract is close to being finalised. In an update on its website, NSW Health said funded NGOs can expect to receive the new contract in April 2014. The contract will include new terms and conditions, including quarterly performance reports. The contract has been developed in consultation with an NGO Advisory Committee Working Group and Local Health District NGO Coordinators.

NCOSS and the health peaks have not been involved in the contract’s development or had the opportunity to review the draft.

The Ministry said the final draft contract will be sent to the full NGO Advisory Committee prior to its next meeting on 16 April.

Social housing in Millers Point and The Rocks to be sold PDF Print
Date added: 20 March 2014

The NSW Government announced on 19th March that social housing dwellings in Millers Point and The Rocks are to be sold within two years. This includes the high rise Sirius Building and community housing properties owned by the NSW Government.

Whilst the announcement referred to high maintenance costs and access issues that apply to some of the properties in Millers Point, the sales program will not be restricted to these properties. The decision in fact means the end of social housing in these areas, to maximise the amount the Government can obtain from sales.

The Government has promised to put in place a comprehensive relocation strategy to assist those impacted by the decision. Displaced tenants will be given preference in the closest social housing allocation zones.

In response to the announcement, NCOSS believes:

  • No convincing case has been offered for the decision to sell all social housing properties in these key locations. To do so is in fact contrary to the social mix agenda that has been used to justify other redevelopment projects.
  • All proceeds from the sales must be set aside solely for the purpose of acquiring replacement social housing in the City of Sydney LGA, including purpose built seniors housing located close to transport, shopping and support services. It is not acceptable to simply say the proceeds ‘will be reinvested in the social housing system’.
  • There is no pressing need to relocate all current social housing tenants from Millers Point and The Rocks within the timeframe announced by the Government. It would be far preferable to allow longstanding and elderly residents to remain in place where this is possible in their current property.
  • Both FACS and Planning and Infrastructure must work in partnership with the City of Sydney and the NGO sector to develop options for some affordable housing for key workers to be provided in future in Millers Point and The Rocks. It is unacceptable for the NSW Government to say this is simply the City of Sydney’s problem, because it is Government decisions in relation to Barangaroo, Millers Point and The Rocks that are creating an affordable housing challenge in this part of the City of Sydney.

For further information please contact:

Warren Gardiner
NCOSS Senior Policy Officer
phone:  02 9211 2599 ext 112
email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

FACS Community Services proposed Funding Deed: Update PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 13 March 2014

Late last year, FACS Community Services (FACS CS) advised its funded organisations and peaks that it was proposing to change its contract management processes by establishing a system where NGOs would have a single funding deed with Program Level Agreements (PLA) for each service to be provided. FACS CS indicated that they anticipated moving to this system by 1st July 2014. Peaks and NGOs were also asked for comments on the draft deed.

NCOSS CEO Alison Peters to step down PDF Print
Date added: 05 March 2014

Alison PetersAlison Peters has notified her resignation as CEO of NCOSS, effective July 1st. The NCOSS Board accepts her resignation with regret. The Board also acknowledges and thanks Alison for her significant contribution over the last six years, both to NCOSS and also more generally to the non-government community services sector in NSW which NCOSS serves.

Alison has lead NCOSS and the community sector through a period of great change. The Board acknowledges that the respect in which Alison is held by Parliamentarians, government officials and the sector has assisted the sector to build the strong collaborative relationships necessary to advocate effectively for greater fairness and justice in NSW. During her leadership NCOSS has also built on the respect in which it is held by those it seeks to influence, and succeeded in influencing decision-making at many levels on behalf of its members and the interests of their constituents.

NCOSS wishes Alison all the best with her future endeavours. Alison is staying with NCOSS while a new CEO is recruited and will assist with the transition process.

Prof. Eileen Baldry
NCOSS President

NCOSS Sector Development Survey Report PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 04 March 2014
Accessible version of Incorporation now available PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 20 January 2014

Written by Solicitor Graham Wheeler and published by NCOSS with assistance by NSW Fair Trading, the informative book Incorporation: An explanation of the Associations Incorporation Act 2009, 7th edition 2012 is now available in accessible format.

Disaster Readiness Resources to assist community organisations PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 16 January 2014
A number of resources are available to assist community service organisations to respond to emergency situations.
Redfern's changes may put pressure on battlers PDF Print
Date added: 10 January 2014

Short letter from NCOSS printed in the Sydney Morning Herald, Friday 10 January, 2014 :

"While it is good to see positive reporting on Redfern’s arts, café and bar scenes (‘Redfern now…from no-go to can’t stay awaySMH, 9/1/14 p.9), the question arises as to what happens to lower income households when an area that was once a focus for affordable housing evolves to become a magnet for students and the presumably well off ‘young-at-heart’."

Community Services: changes to funding contracts PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 16 December 2013

Briefings on changes to Community Services funding contract:

Community Services (CS) are making changes to their funding contracts. Under the new arrangement Service Agreements will now be referred to as Funding Deeds and Service Specifications as Performance Level Agreements (PLAs). CS has released the Funding Deed. NCOSS made a submission in December 2013.

Community Builders Renewable Program PDF Print
Community Strengthening
Date added: 12 December 2013

Advice recived from Family and Community Services (FACS)
The Community Builders Renewable Program current funding arrangements are due to end on June 2014. There is funding for the program in the budget forward estimates.

It is likely there will be changes to the program in the future - for example around targeting funding to areas of greatest need and to break the cycle of disadvantage.

However, no date has been set for an announcement of that reform. If, and when, such change comes FACS will provide time for services to adjust in recognition of the time needed for change. FACS has sought and heard the advice of Local Community Services Association (LCSA) on the lead time needed for any change.

Civil society consultation on G20 priorities now open PDF Print
Community Strengthening
Date added: 03 December 2013

Australia has now assumed the Presidency of the G20; the premier leaders forum for discussing and fostering cooperation about important international economic reforms. You are invited, as Australia’s civil society organisations, to have your say on the issues that matter to you, to inform the Civil 20 (C20) engagement with the G20 leaders ahead of next year’s summit.

ACOSS is playing a central role in the C20 and ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie is involved as Deputy Chair of the C20 steering committee. The group of civil society representatives have been tasked with ensuring that community-level views help shape the agenda for the G20’s discussions and outcomes.

The first round of consultation is now open until 21 December 2013. Feedback from this consultation process will be recorded and collected to inform a decision by the C20 Steering Committee of the policy themes to pursue during Australia’s Presidency of the G20. You can have input into this important process through visiting the C20 website and completing the online survey .

More info:

website: C20
website: ACOSS
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

PBS meeting with the NSW Minister for Transport PDF Print
Date added: 03 December 2013

On Wednesday, NCOSS met with the NSW Minister for Transport, Gladys Berejiklian, to discuss our transport pre-budget submission recommendations .

Our first set of priorities centre on ensuring everyone, especially people with low access, can afford to use our public transport system. NCOSS believes this is particularly timely, to ensure everyone can benefit from the substantial recent investment in transport infrastructure. To this end we recommend extending eligibility to transport concessions to all health care card-holders – a move that would bring NSW into line with most other Australian jurisdictions. Asylum seekers living in the community should also be granted eligibility: many do not have work rights, and simply cannot pay the cost of travel to attend health, legal and welfare appointments.

One in 5 NSW households in housing stress PDF Print
Date added: 08 November 2013

Official data released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) confirms that NSW has the highest proportion of households in housing stress of any state or territory.

The report Housing assistance in Australia 2013 reveals that 19.5% of all households in NSW are in housing stress. Based on national trends, the proportion of NSW low income private tenants in housing stress is likely to exceed 55%.

This latest report adds to the sobering findings of the NSW Auditor General's report on public housing, released in July. This report confirmed that the social housing system in NSW was not coping with rising demand or keeping up with necessary maintenance, with much of its property portfolio ageing, poorly located and out of line with client needs.

While these problems have arisen over an extended period, the time to begin remedial action is now. NCOSS has proposed to the NSW Government a four year plan with numerical targets to increase the supply of both social and affordable housing. We would expect the Commonwealth to meet its fair share of any such plan.

For further information please contact Warren Gardiner, NCOSS Senior Policy Officer on 9211 2599, ext 112 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Surplus should fund increased social housing PDF Print
Date added: 31 October 2013

by Alison Peters
The news that the NSW budget has returned to surplus early is welcome, particularly if it provides an opportunity to focus on the needs of those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.

The fact that the surplus is largely the result of a booming property market highlights that, when it comes to housing, there are the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. Those on reasonable salaries can afford to buy into the market, trade-up or invest, while for those on low incomes accessing stable and affordable rental accommodation remains a constant struggle.

The problem is compounded by lack of growth in social housing. As recently highlighted by the NSW Auditor General, our public housing system is going backwards with housing stock increasingly not fit for purpose, being sold off to pay for maintenance, and now only meeting 44% of need.

Despite this, the NSW Government spent just $262 million on public housing capital expenditure in 2012-13. The budget surplus is an opportunity to redress this untenable situation and to ask the Federal Government to also come to the table and commit to increased investment in affordable rental housing.

Published in Letters to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 October 2013

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