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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.

Out of home care referred to Senate Committee PDF Print
Children/Young People
Date added: 18 July 2014

On 17 July 2014, the Senate referred out of home care to the Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report.

The committee must report by the second sitting week in February 2015, and the submissions due date is yet to be decided. 

More information, including the Terms of Reference, can accessed here. 

Cost effective tenancy management on Government’s radar PDF Print
Date added: 08 July 2014

The NSW Government has announced an inquiry into current tenancy management arrangements for social housing.

NCOSS Analysis of 2014-15 NSW State Budget PDF Print
NSW State Budget
Date added: 25 June 2014

BudgetNCOSS presented its analysis of human services spending in the 2014-15 NSW Budget at a well-attended community sector seminar on 25 June 2014. 

The NCOSS analysis was presented by portfolio area and was prepared from information in the 2014-15 NSW Budget Papers, from briefings provided by NSW Government agencies and from follow up research by the NCOSS Policy and Advocacy team.

Download: NCOSS 2014-15 NSW Budget Analysis presentation

NCOSS members will be able to access a more detailed analysis via a special edition NSW Budget Edition NCOSS eNews from July 2.
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For more information contact:

NCOSS Policy and Advocacy Team members
Wendy Hall
phone: 02 9211 2599 ext 118
email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

$7 Medicare co-payment advocacy campaigns PDF Print
Date added: 04 June 2014

The Commonwealth government has proposed introducing a $7 patient co-payment for GP visits, pathology tests and diagnostic imaging from the 1 July 2015. The Senate must pass legislation on the co-payment before it can come into effect. NCOSS opposes the introduction of the proposed Medicare co-payment.

We have serious concerns about the impact on people on low income earners and people with chronic disease. It will create a disincentive for the most vulnerable Australians to get the health care they need and lead to greater longer term costs from late presentations of preventable diseases.

NCOSS appoints new CEO: Tracy Howe PDF Print
Date added: 27 May 2014

Ms Tracy Howe has been appointed the new CEO of the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS).

Tracy is the former CEO at Domestic Violence NSW (formerly Women’s Refuge Movement NSW) the peak body representing specialist domestic violence services across NSW.

Changes to Department of Social Services community programs PDF Print
Funding Issues
Date added: 16 May 2014

This week's Budget announced changes to DSS grants programs. DSS has advised NCOSS that:

  • All currently funded organisations would be getting a letter about information sessions to explain these changes. The information sessions will also be advertised in coming days (as well as being on the DSS website). NSW sessions are on the 30th May (Sydney), 4th June (Coffs Harbour) and 6th June (Dubbo).
  • Programs will be consolidated into 7 programs – 4 ageing related ones and 3 others. These are:
  • Home Support - existing
  • Residential and Flexible Care - existing
  • Workforce & Quality - existing
  • Ageing & Service Improvement - existing
  • Families & Communities – new
  • Housing & Homelessness – new
  • Disability, Mental Health & Carers – new
  • Some services have been given a five year extension. These were Communities for Children Facillitating Partners, Family and Relationship Services and Family Law Services.
  • Other current providers have received an email advising that they have a 12 month extension (those services affected by transition to NDIS and those that were coming into Home Support at July 2015) or 6 months (everyone else).
  • The new programs will be subject to a competitive tender process over coming months.
Extension of funding for some FACS programs to 30 June 2016 PDF Print
Funding Issues
Date added: 12 May 2014

NCOSS has welcomed the decision by FACS to extend funding for the following programs for two years (until 30th June 2016):

  • Aboriginal Child Youth and Family Strategy
  • Child Youth and Family Services
  • Brighter Futures
  • Families NSW
  • Getting it Together
  • Intensive Family Support
  • Intensive Family Preservations Services
  • Community Builders Renewable

While we understand that each of the programs will be reviewed over this period, the renewal of funding provides certainty for clients, staff and organisations and allows any changes to the programs to be discussed, developed and implemented in a timely manner.

NCOSS welcomes Keep Them Safe funding announcement PDF Print
Children/Young People
Date added: 06 May 2014

NCOSS welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Family & Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, that funding for Keep Them Safe (KTS) programs will continue for a further 2 years.

The $342 million will allow vital services for vulnerable children, young people and families to continue while the evaluation of KTS is completed.

Audit fails the fairness test: ACOSS PDF Print
Commonwealth Issues
Date added: 01 May 2014

The Australia Council of Social Service (ACOSS) says that most of the recommendations contained in the National Commission of Audit report fail the fairness test, and has called on the Government to adopt a few but to reject the majority.

Read: Media Release

FACS Community Services proposed Funding Deed: Update PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 01 May 2014

1 May 2014

Community Services is currently in the process of finalising the Funding Deed. The time for input by the sector is now closed. Whilst there are still some concerns from NCOSS’ perspective, Community Services has addressed a number of key issues raised by the sector and made changes accordingly.

Changes at NCOSS PDF Print
Date added: 29 April 2014

Changes Aheadby Alison Peters, CEO
NCOSS has been reviewing our work and future direction over the last few years. This review has looked at the environment in which we operate, the resources we have or could marshal and where we want the organisation to be in the short, medium and longer term and has involved the Board, staff and stakeholders in honest and robust discussion.

The review has confirmed the core purpose of NCOSS as advocating for effective public policy and measures that reduce inequality and disadvantage and to co-ordinate the efforts of the community sector to achieve these out-comes. Last year, NCOSS adopted four high level strategic directions to guide our work in fulfilling our purpose:

  • Effective public policy advocacy that reduces disadvantage and inequality in NSW.
  • Leadership in the community sector.
  • An effective voice on social justice issues.
  • A strong and robust organisation.

The review highlighted that NCOSS is uniquely placed to look at issues to see the connections and gaps between policy, bureaucratic and program “silos” and to propose workable solutions that make a difference. Members, funders and other stakeholders recognised and valued this capacity that NCOSS has to look at issues from an overarching perspective – to see the big picture and analyse the detail.

However, in a fast changing and challenging environment, to be effective it is important that NCOSS focus on key priorities rather than spreading our resources and capacity over too many issues. We have therefore made some decisions about how we operate and what issues we will prioritise. These involve:

  • Organising policy and advocacy staff into two teams – one focused on Vulnerable People and the other on Essential Services (see table below);
  • Identifying priority issues for the next 12-18 months and a process to continually review these priorities;
  • Recruiting a media officer to get our message about what’s important to a broader audience;
  • Upgrading our website and other communications products to better meet the needs of members and the sector and to take better advantage of social media and other communications channels to engage with members and others to both inform and be informed; and
  • Review the various consultative forums and committees that NCOSS convenes or participates in to make sure this effort is effective and useful.

There will be a period of transition as the new structure and roles and responsibilities takes effect. There is also further work underway to look at our corporate services and what changes and systems may be needed to support our core work. I look forward to talking to members in the next few months about the role of NCOSS and our work to influence public policy so that we have a fair and just society.

 Cluster  Vulnerable People
 Essential Services
Priority Issues Children, Young People and Families (including role of early intervention and prevention services)
People with Disabilities
People/Communities at risk of:
- Poorer health outcomes
- Educational disengagement
- Social exclusion

Affordable/Social Housing
Cost of living
Community sector (capacity building and development)

Watching Brief

Older people
Aboriginal communities
Those in contact with juvenile justice and corrective services systems

State revenue
Commonwealth tax issues



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

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

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