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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.

Itís time to raise Newstart to tackle growing inequality in Australia: ACOSS Poverty Report PDF Print
Date added: 21 October 2011
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is calling on the Commonwealth Government to commit to increase income support allowances like Newstart as recommended by the Henry Review, in order to tackle the growing gap between the rich and poor in Australia.
New disability forum to help shape service delivery and policy PDF Print
Date added: 11 October 2011

NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance The NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance officially launched the NSW Disability Network Forum on 20 September. NCOSS is providing secretariat support for the Forum which will be a strong coordinated voice for people with a disability, helping to shape government policy and guide improvements in the delivery of disability services. The Forum comprises peak non-government advocacy groups and will focus on people who use and rely on disability services - people with a disability, their families and carers.

Member organisations of the NSW Disability Network Forum

  • Aboriginal Disability Network NSW
  • Association of Blind Citizens of NSW
  • Brain Injury Association NSW
  • Citizen Advocacy Western Sydney
  • Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS)
  • DeafBlind Association NSW
  • Deaf Society of NSW
  • Institute For Family Advocacy
  • Intellectual Disability Rights Service
  • Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of NSW
  • NSW Consumer Advisory Group - Mental Health
  • NSW Council for Intellectual Disability
  • NSW Disability Advocacy Network
  • Physical Disability Council of NSW
  • People with Disability Australia
  • Self Advocacy Sydney
  • Positive Life NSW

More information:

The NSW Disability Network Forum can be contacted through the NCOSS secretariat:

Christine Regan
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
phone: 02 92112599 ext 117

Val Kors (Wed – Fri)
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
phone: 02 92112599 ext 123

 Photo: NSW Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance speaking at the launch of the NSW Disability Network Forum

Government funding gives people with disability international representation PDF Print
Date added: 11 October 2011

Representatives present at the announcement at the Australian Human Rights CommissionPeople with disability and their representatives will share in $300,000 in Australian Government funding over three years to attend key international forums on human rights. The money was announced on 29 September 2011 by Senator Jan McLucas, the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, and Graeme Innes, Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

The funding, under the Commonwealth’s National Disability Strategy, will support delegations representing peak disability and advocacy organisations to better represent the needs of people with disability internationally.

Details on this new initiative including eligibility can be found on the Australian Human Rights Commission's website.


Representatives present at the announcement at the Australian Human Rights Commission (l-r):
Therese Sands, Executive Director, People With Disability Australia; Graeme Innes, Disability Discrimination Commissioner; Senator Jan McLucas, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers; Christine Regan, Senior Policy Officer, NCOSS; Ruth Robinson, Executive Officer, Physical Disability Council of NSW; Sam French Systemic Advocacy Manager, People With Disability Australia

NCOSS welcomes new affordable housing PDF Print
Date added: 05 October 2011

NCOSS is pleased to hear that NSW has been allocated 4,700 extra houses under round four of the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS). The allocation was announced by the Federal Government on 4th October.

NRAS is being delivered in partnership with state and territory governments and provides annual financial incentive payments to project sponsors to construct new dwellings to rent to eligible low and moderate income households at a rate that is at least 20 per cent below the prevailing market rents.

NCOSS has been concerned that NSW fared poorly under earlier NRAS funding rounds despite the fact that NSW households clearly experience the highest level of rental stress in the country.

We have been campaigning to ensure that NSW receives a fair share of all further NRAS funding rounds. Under round 4 NSW has received 28% of available incentives, a marked improvement on earlier rounds.

For further information: http://www.environment.gov.au/housing/nras/index.html

Anti-Tobacco Community Grants Program - CALD PDF Print
NSW Community Sector
Date added: 29 September 2011
Anti-Tobacco Community Grants for Priority CALD Communities in NSW (Arabic Chinese and Vietnamese and small and emerging communities)

NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service (MHCS) is pleased to inform you of the availability of funds through the Anti-Tobacco Community Grants Program (Grants Program) for CALD communities.

There will be two types of funding available: small grants of up to $10,000 (GST inclusive) and large grants of over $10,000 and up to $50,000 (GST inclusive).

The Grants Program, funded by Cancer Institute NSW, aims to develop partnerships between health services (public) and various community based organisations. The program is aimed at addressing tobacco related harm in priority CALD communities with higher than state average smoking rates (Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese and small and emerging communities). It is also aimed at building capacity in community-based organisations (NGOs) to undertake tobacco control activities within priority CALD communities.

MHCS has been commissioned to administer the Grants program. MHCS is a state-wide service funded to provide health information to CALD communities.

For more information, including an information package and application form, please visit www.mhcs.health.nsw.gov.au/mhcs/utility/Anti-TobaccocommunitgrantsforCALD.asp and download the relevant documents. Applications are now open. The deadline for applications is 4.00 pm, Friday 28 October, 2011.


Bankstown Forum on Income Management 6 October 2011 PDF Print
NSW Community Sector
Date added: 29 September 2011

You are invited to attend a public forum: Not In Bankstown, Not Anywhere! why we need a Moratorium on Government’s Income Management.

  • When:  Thursday 6 October 2011, 11.30am–1pm
  • Where: Life Church, Ground floor, 194 Stacey Street Bankstown

The campaign Say No to Government’s Income Management: Not In Bankstown Not Anywhere has gathered momentum locally and nationally and has gained support from a range of organisations and groups. The campaign coalition is now holding this forum for Bankstown residents, service providers and advocates to hear firsthand about the experience of the Income Management under the Northern Territory Intervention.

The Forum will also be an opportunity for you to learn more about the concerns of the welfare sector and to hear what long time advocates are saying about this policy. You will also learn more about the campaign, how you can be part of it and how you too can take action to protect the rights of people on social security. Please feel free to circulate this email widely and encourage residents, colleagues and others to attend.


Community Building Partnership program PDF Print
Community Strengthening
Date added: 20 September 2011

Applications are open for the Community Building Partnership program. The program provides funds for community groups and local councils to invest in community infrastructure throughout the NSW. Applicants need to demonstrate how their project will benefit their local community through the building or improvement of facilities to deliver positive social, recreational or environmental outcomes. Projects must be ready to commence by early 2012 and be completed before the end of March 2013.

Applications close on Monday 31 October 2011.

For further information see http://www.communitybuildingpartnership.nsw.gov.au/ .

Reading the Budget Papers PDF Print
NSW State Budget
Date added: 07 September 2011

Some guides for getting the most out of your Budget Paper reading experience.

The Future of Transport in Australia? PDF Print
Date added: 05 September 2011

Report on the National Transport Commission Workshop
On Wednesday August 31, NCOSS attended a workshop on The Future of Transport in Australia. Hosted by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and the Institute for Sustainable Futures, the workshop was designed to inform the NTC’s Smart Transport for a Growing Nation project.

The first part of the workshop focused on developing a shared vision for a desired transport future.

Although the futures imagined by the individuals and groups attending the workshop differed in their finer details, they all had common attributes. These included more flexible and sustainable transport options – with public transport featuring as a more feasible, desirable choice for a greater proportion of the population. There was also a focus on reducing our requirements to travel; through the localisation of services, improvements in technology, and more flexible working arrangements.

The organisations attending the workshop represented a broad range of interests. They included State and Commonwealth transport and infrastructure agencies, the Australasian Railway Association, the Automobile Association, the Institute for Sensible Transport, consultants, academics and many others.

Yet in spite of this diversity, there was a remarkable level of agreement around some of the actions we should be taking in order to reach any one of our desired transport futures. Increased investment in public transport was seen as both important and urgent; as a higher priority than roads funding in almost every circumstance. Adjusting taxes and fees to better reflect the true cost – including social and environmental costs – associated with different modes of travel was also considered to be a crucial step.

It was well understood, however, that there are significant political barriers to carrying out these actions – overcoming these is a challenge that will require strong, forward-looking leadership. Sensitivity and foresight will also be required to ensure that while transitioning to a more sustainable transport future, we protect disadvantaged households and groups from additional hardship.

NCOSS looks forward to reading the project’s final report, and to supporting the NTC and other stakeholders as they work to address current and future transport challenges.

Nominations called for Regional Development Australia committees in NSW PDF Print
Rural, Remote and Regional Areas
Date added: 01 September 2011

Regional Development Australia (RDA) brings together all levels of government to support the development of Australia's regions. In NSW RDA is funded by the Commonwealth and NSW Governments and administered by the Commonwealth Department of Regional Australia, Regional Development & Local Government and the NSW Department of Trade & Investment.

In NSW there are 14 RDA committees who are working to develop solutions to the economic, social and environmental issues affecting their communities. The network of RDA committees includes a single committee for the Sydney region.

RDA committees have developed:

  • regional business growth plans and strategies, which will help support economic development, the creation of new jobs, skills development, business investment and utilise fast speed broadband
  • environmental solutions, which will support ongoing sustainability and the management of climate change (including the impact of drought, flood or bushfires, restoration of the Murray Darling Basin and clean energy), and
  • social inclusion strategies, which will bring together and support all members of the community.

Across NSW, Expressions of Interest (EOIs) are being sought for a total of 94 positions in RDAs. EOIs close on Friday 16 September 2011.

The Information Handbook and online EOI form can be found at http://www.rda.gov.au/working.aspx

NCOSS Says: Assessing the NSW State Budget PDF Print
NSW State Budget
Date added: 31 August 2011
by Alison Peters, NCOSS Director
Government budgets are a reflection of the Government’s policy priorities. This is particularly true for a new Government’s first Budget. Such a budget is an opportunity to meet election commitments and to set out a new direction. From public comments made by the Premier and his Ministers since the election, the NSW Budget to be delivered on 6 September will also be an opportunity to review existing revenue and expenditure measures to address the so called budget black hole left by the previous Government. Commentators are already describing the Budget as being tough with widespread cuts predicted.
Children's Services Funding Forum 6 September 2011 PDF Print
Children/Young People
Date added: 23 August 2011

Making our priorities count
Tuesday, 6 September 2011, 5.30pm-7.30pm
Sydney Masonic Conference and Function Centre, 66 Goulburn Street, Sydney

This forum is an opportunity to hear about the funding review and to enable everyone in the education and care sector to share thoughts, opinions and ideas about the review. The forum will examine:

  • What we want as a sector;
  • How we can best prepare submissions; and
  • How we can ensure that the outcomes will work for children in NSW and the services that support them.



Promise of action on boarding houses welcome PDF Print
Date added: 17 August 2011

NCOSS welcomes the promise by the Minister for Ageing and Disability Services, Andrew Constance, that the State Government will act to improve the safety and wellbeing of residents living in boarding houses. The Minister was responding to the latest in a series of damning reports from the Ombudsman.

In its state election platform Vote 1 Fairness in NSW NCOSS put forward a number of measures to provide better protection for boarders and lodgers. These include the introduction of a system of occupancy agreements along the lines of the ACT legislation and better regulation of both licensed and unlicensed boarding houses.

NCOSS would welcome any opportunity for further consultation with the Government on the detail of its promised changes.

For more information, 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  

Australian Community Sector Survey PDF Print
Commonwealth Issues
Date added: 17 August 2011

The Australian Community Sector Survey (ACSS) is the only annual national survey collecting data about the non-government, non-profit community services and welfare sector. The latest ACSS was released this week by ACOSS and results relate to the 2009-10 financial year.

The ACSS shows that there is a growing demand for services provided by the community sector and that this demand is just not being met. Turn away rates have increased by 11% in NSW despite a 3% increase in the number of services provided. Community Sector organisations report that the biggest areas of unmet need are housing and homelessness services, mental health and emergency relief.


Professor Deb Brennan to Review Early Childhood Education and Care Funding PDF Print
Children/Young People
Date added: 16 August 2011

On 15 August 2011, the NSW Minister for Education, The Hon Adrian Piccoli MP, announced that Professor Deb Brennan from the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW will lead the Review of NSW Government funding for early childhood education.

The Minister has announced a wide ranging review which includes consideration of extra assistance to:

  • families in disadvantaged circumstances;
  • children in low-income households;
  • children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background;
  • families in regional and rural areas; and
  • children with special and additional support needs.

NCOSS welcomes this review and will be working with the NSW Children's Services Forum to promote greater access to early education and care for all children in NSW.

Download: Terms of Reference for the Review

Contact Dev Mukherjee, NCOSS Senior Policy Officer, on 9211 2599, ext 116 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.


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