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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.

Its official, our public housing system is in decline: Auditor General PDF Print
Date added: 10 September 2013

Housing declineBy Warren Gardiner
A comprehensive study by the NSW Auditor General recently concluded that the limited resources available to the NSW social housing system mean that it is only capable of meeting 44% of actual need.

This finding is clearly consistent with the daily experience of the NGO sector across the state, as evidenced by feedback to NCOSS and other peaks and the findings of the ACOSS Australian Community Sector Survey.

The Auditor General’s report Making the Best Use of Public Housing was particularly pessimistic about the state of, and prospects for, the public housing component of the social housing system. It found that:

  • the shortfall between supply and demand was increasing;
  • public housing stock is ageing and increasingly not fit for purpose;
  • insufficient funding is available for necessary maintenance; and
  • houses are being sold to meet recurrent funding shortfalls.

It concluded that these trends were not financially sustainable, and if they continue, the stock of public housing would decline in terms of both the number of dwellings and their standard.

Let's talk about TAFE Consultation Report PDF Print
Date added: 29 August 2013
Let’s talk about TAFE was the largest ever public consultation by TAFE NSW, undertaken in early 2013 at the request of the NSW Minister for Education, the Hon. Adrian Piccoli MP.

The consultation sought feedback on what the people of NSW value about TAFE NSW, how effective TAFE is in meeting industry and community needs and how TAFE NSW needs to adapt in a changing environment. The research included a Newspoll survey of people in NSW and wide consultation with students, employers, industry, staff and community and special interest groups.

Federal Government throws lifeline to Welfare Rights Centre NSW PDF Print
Funding Issues
Date added: 28 August 2013

The Federal Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus QC announced additional funding of $100,000 per year for the Welfare Rights Centre NSW when he visited their office in Surry Hills yesterday.

WRC welcomed the Labor Government’s support for its service, which will enable them to continue to support people in NSW when they get into difficulties with Centrelink.  WRC also acknowledged the long-standing support that the Minister for Health and Medical Research and Member for Sydney, Tanya Plibersek.

Download:  Welfare Rights Centre Media Release
Anti Poverty Week 13-19 October 2013 PDF Print
Date added: 23 August 2013

Anti-Poverty Week 2013 Anti-Poverty Week will be held from 13-19 October 2013. NCOSS is a member of the NSW Steering Group for Anti-Poverty Week and we would like to encourage you to consider running an activity during Anti-Poverty Week this year.

More than 300 activities were organised for Anti-Poverty Week 2012 by organisations across Australia. The success of Anti-Poverty Week depends on these activities raising the profile of the issue. Any activity, large or small, that helps people to express their interest and concern about any aspect of local, national or global poverty is very welcome.

Make homelessness an election priority: Major parties told PDF Print
Date added: 21 August 2013

Australia's major political parties have been issued a challenge to put homelessness back at the top of the federal election campaign agenda and agree to fund a long-term partnership to halving the rate of homelessness by 2020. NCOSS and other members of the COSS network are advocating for a number of actions from the Federal Government in relation to the issue of homelessness, including:

  • funding for a further four years for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness
  • making the National Rental Affordability Scheme permanent and immediately provide 50,000 new incentives
  • committing to an affordable housing growth fund
  • lifting the level of Commonwealth Rent Assistance and reviewing its effectiveness, and
  • increasing funding for homelessness services to match need.

Download: Full statement

ClubGRANTS Committee Community Representative Resource Kit PDF Print
Gambling Policy
Date added: 19 August 2013

ClubGRANTS Committee Community Representative Resource KitClubGRANTS is a program designed to ensure that larger registered clubs in NSW contribute, with revenue derived from gaming machines, to the provision of front-line services in their local communities. ClubGRANTS also facilitates contributions by larger clubs towards infrastructure to support sporting, health and community activities.

A new ClubGRANTS kit has been produced to update Community Representatives from across NSW who sit on Local Committees. These Committees make recommendations to the clubs on how best to spend the larger percentage of that gaming machine revenue. This update was specifically around the current scheme operations and to give reps an opportunity to feed back to NCOSS on their experiences in the role.

Two key information sharing and gathering tools were used in the production of the kit:

  • an online survey developed to seek feedback from current representatives on their experiences of being reps and sitting on local communities;
  • a ClubGRANTS Forum and workshop, used to share information and gather feedback.

In addition, a second survey was undertaken to seek feedback from community sector organisations around the state on their experiences outside of the ClubGRANTS scheme of Clubs themselves. This second survey was particularly seeking feedback on any value adding to community that may be occurring through their involvement and contribution.

Download: ClubGRANTS Community Representative Resource Kit

The NCOSS ClubGRANTS Committee Community Representative Resource Kit has been developed as part of of a project funded by the NSW Office of Liquor and Gaming (OLGR) an agency of the NSW Department of Trade & Investment. It was produced by Tim Childs Consulting.  

NSW 2021 – still a long way to go PDF Print
NSW Government
Date added: 19 August 2013

by Alison Peters
When the NSW Government handed down their Budget in June, they also released the latest NSW 2021 Performance Report. NSW 2021 is the Government’s 10 year strategic plan with five key strategies:

  • Rebuild the economy
  • Return quality services
  • Renovate infrastructure;
  • Strengthen our local environment and communities; an
  • Restore accountability to Government.

The five strategies cover 32 goals with 186 targets and 317 measures. The Government has aligned its Budget to achieving the targets outlined in NSW 2021 and the Performance Report is a useful summary of progress.

Australian Community Sector Survey 2013 PDF Print
Commonwealth Issues
Date added: 23 July 2013
ACOSS Community Sector Survey 2013The largest survey of Australia's community services sector reveals that frontline agencies are under enormous strain and unable to meet the growing demand for help. The ACOSS annual Australian Community Sector Survey of over 500 agencies shows that housing availability and affordability is the greatest unmet need for clients of welfare services, followed by community-based care and treatment for mental illness and emergency relief.

Summary of key findings

Housing still the highest priority for clients and policy makers

  • 66% of housing and homelessness services report struggling to meet demand.
  • Over 60% of overall respondents listed housing and homelessness services amongst those for which their clients had the highest need.
  • 61% of all respondents said improving housing availability and affordability is the top policy priority.
  • 62% said waiting times for services had increased since the previous 12 months.
  • Services reported a 16% turn-away rate, up 5% from 2010/11.


Social access, car dependence and knitting PDF Print
Date added: 22 July 2013

CongestionBy Robyn Edwards
While transport has traditionally been seen in terms of infrastructure, the Social Access Framework currently being developed by Transport for NSW promises to inject a strong social dimension to our public transport system. The Framework aims to respond to transport disadvantage and addresses service coverage, affordability and accessibility.

Definitions of transport disadvantage typically relate to lack of available transport in specified geographic areas and/or by identified population groups. While transport disadvantage is certainly experienced in geographic areas (for example outer western Sydney and rural areas) and by population groups (for example people with disability and young apprentices) NCOSS advocates that transport disadvantage be understood more widely than geography and population.

NSW Domestic and Family Violence Reforms PDF Print
Domestic Violence
Date added: 09 July 2013

It stops here: Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW
NCOSS welcomes the State Government's reforms for responding to domestic and family violence. In particular we are pleased the reforms include a focus on prevention of violence against women. The Central Referral Points and Safety Action Meetings should help to ensure that victims of domestic and family violence receive the range of legal, practical, social and emotional help they need in the short and longer term. We are pleased to see acknowledgment given to the existing network of Local Domestic and Family Violence Committees across NSW. These voluntary committees include refuge workers, family support workers, court support workers and government officers, working at the local level to raise community awareness of violence against women. It is often these committees which organize events to mark International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women, and run innovative anti-violence programs in local schools. The State Government has committed additional funding to implement the reforms.

Download:  It stops here:  Standing together to end domestic and family violence in NSW

NCOSS welcomes NRAS Round 5 commitment PDF Print
Date added: 03 July 2013

NCOSS welcomes advice from the NSW Government that it is willing to provide matching state subsidies for up to 3,500 new affordable rental houses under the current funding round for the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS).

Latest data shows that NSW has received just 17% of the total number of subsidies promised under NRAS rounds 1 to 4. For a number of years NCOSS has been advocating that NSW should obtain its fair share of all new NRAS subsidies and that the NSW Government should set aside sufficient matching state funding to enable this to happen.

10,000 subsidies for new affordable rental housing dwellings are available nationally under the current NRAS Round 5 funding tender. We are pleased that the NSW Government has now decided to provide matching state funding sufficient for NSW to receive its per capita share of these subsidies.

Insurance Broker: Middle Man or Trusted Adviser? PDF Print
Sector Development
Date added: 14 June 2013

By Liz Shreeve
Insurance brokers rank 26/30 on the ethics and honesty rating of Roy Morgan’s “Image of Professions” survey. They rank above car salesmen, advertisers and real estate agents and level with State and Federal MPs.1 According to the survey, only 10% of people regard insurance brokers as honest and trustworthy.

The bad press experienced by the insurance industry following the catastrophic climate events of 2010 and 11 may be to blame but it can also be a lack of understanding. The Roy Morgan poll sampled 645 Australians aged 14 and over and does not seem to have distinguished between insurance broker and insurer. It is quite likely that the majority of those surveyed have very little idea about the role that insurance brokers play.

ClubGRANTS scheme : Auditor-General’s Report released PDF Print
Gambling Policy
Date added: 14 June 2013

By Alison Peters
The NSW Auditor General has released a report on the management of the ClubGRANTS (formerly the Community Development and Support Expenditure or CDSE) scheme on the 2nd May.

The ClubGRANTS scheme provides tax rebates on gaming machine profits generated by registered clubs when they provide financial or in-kind support for locally based community programs and services.

The NSW State Budget – will it build fairness? PDF Print
NSW State Budget
Date added: 05 June 2013
by Alison Peters
The NSW State Budget will be delivered by Treasurer Mike Baird on the 18th June. Budgets are important for the community sector because they reflect the policy and spending priorities of Government as well as shedding some light on what has been achieved in the last 12 months.
ACOSS Initial Analysis of the Federal Budget 2013-14 PDF Print
Commonwealth Issues
Date added: 16 May 2013

ACOSS’ initial analysis of the 2013-14 Federal Budget outlines key measures announced in the Budget. It does not offer extensive comment on the merit or otherwise of these measures.

Download: ACOSS' initial analysis of the 2013-14 Federal Budget

The detailed Government Budget papers can be downloaded at: www.budget.gov.au

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