A NSW free from poverty and inequality

Policy

NCOSS works with and for people experiencing poverty and disadvantage to see positive change in our communities. This includes developing independent and informed social policy, advice and review.

See our latest work below or browse by policy area.

 

NCOSS Analysis: NSW Budget 2017-18

The 2017-18 NSW Budget handed down on 20 June was a lukewarm commitment from the government to alleviate the social and financial issues faced by our State’s most vulnerable.

We know we need to invest in communities to lift people out of poverty and disadvantage. Last year we visited communities around the State to hear from them about the challenges they face and the solutions that would allow them to overcome those challenges. We also spoke directly to people living below the poverty line about what would make a real difference for them. These consultations helped shape our Pre-Budget Submission, which contained a clear roadmap for change with achievable and costed asks.

There are certainly some Budget measures to be positive about. The $6 million in funding over two years for community legal centres will help ensure that everyone has access to justice, not just those who can afford it. There’s also $20 million in funding for community-based mental health services and additional money for oral health services.

While these are steps in the right direction, there was a missed opportunity for a deep social infrastructure spend to support the most vulnerable. We saw plenty of investment in physical infrastructure like roads and buildings, but little in people or social infrastructure.

We have also recommended that the NSW Government, as part of its commitment to developing a NSW Women’s Strategy, introduce a Women’s Budget for NSW, enabling it to assess the implications of the budget, for men and women, in all their diversity.

Read the media release 

NCOSS Submission - IPART Review of Social Housing Rent Models

NCOSS welcomes IPART's draft findings that:

  1. An income-based tenant rent contribution is the best option to ensure affordability for tenants; and
  2. The current rates for tenant rent contributions (25% - 30% of income) and thresholds at which they apply are appropriate. The threshold at which tenants are no longer eligible for a subsidy is appropriate. 

Our submission focusses on the impact some of the changes proposed in the Draft Report would have on people. We consider that some of the recommendations would be appropriate if there was an accessible, secure and affordable supply of rental properties outside of the social housing system for people to move to. Sadly, this is not the case. We urge the NSW Government to consider this, and other structural barriers outlined in this submission, when making decisions on whether or how to implement IPART’s recommendations. 

Importantly, NCOSS has supported more effort in producing social and affordable housing rather than raising revenue from existing tenants through a number of changes outlined in the Draft Report. We support a well planned program for this to occur, beginning with the development of a Whole-of-Government Social and Affordable Housing Strategy. 

Open Letter: Improving options for victims of domestic violence who are renting

Women’s Legal Service NSW along with 87 other organisations, including NCOSS, have written to Minister Kean and Minister Goward, urging the NSW Government to expand the evidence victims of domestic violence will be able to rely on to end their tenancy immediately without penalty.

A diverse group of organisations signed the statement, including peak bodies, legal organisations, disability and human rights groups, and health, community, housing and women’s organisations.

Following the review of the Residential Tenancies Act last year, the NSW Government announced it would strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence who are renting in a number of ways.  One recommendation is to enable a domestic violence victim to end their tenancy immediately without liability if they have a provisional, interim or final apprehended violence order (AVO) or a family law injunction.

Signatories to the letter commend the NSW Government’s announcement but express concern that it “will not protect those who face barriers obtaining an AVO or an injunction”.

Read full media release

Submission | Regional and Remote Early Childhood Education Strategy: Consultation Paper

On behalf of the NSW Children’s Services Forum, NCOSS provided a submission into the Regional and Remote Early Childhood Education Strategy: Consultation Paper, which is being developed by the Early Childhood Education Directorate, Department of Education. 

Early Childhood Education (ECE) services play a recognised and vitally important role in the wellbeing and development of children and young people; it is encouraging to see the Department working to develop a Regional and Remote Early Childhood Education Strategy (The Strategy) that specifically addresses the unique challenges and needs faced by regional and remote communities. Our submission explored solutions to improve:

  1. Staffing, training and development
  2. Transport 
  3. Integrated service provision and support for referral pathways 
  4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access and representation 

 

NCOSS Submission to Guardianship Act Review: Question Papers 4-6.

In addition to endorsing the DNF’s response, NCOSS takes this opportunity to highlight key points raised in the Question Papers as they relate to older people. We support:.

  • the establishment of an Office of the Public Advocate, with powers to investigate cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation;
  • greater clarity in the 'person responsible' hierarchy;
  • advance care directives being recognised and legislated for in the Guardianship Act to provide greater certainty about their operation; and
  • explicit regulation of restrictive practices in the Guardianship Act.

 

Disability Network Forum:Review of the Guardianship Act 1987: Response to Question Paper 6

Building on our responses to earlier Question Papers, we focus on the importance of the Guardianship Act reflecting and promoting an empowered view of people with disability in its language and principles. The Disability Inclusion Act 2014 (NSW) (Disability Inclusion Act) provides a good model of legislation embodying a rights-based approach consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and we endorse the Guardianship Act incorporating the principles of this Act.

Disability Network Forum:Review of the Guardianship Act 1987: Response to Question Paper 5

This submission argues that:

  • it unnecessary to use a specific definition of capacity in the context of medical and dental decisions. The presumption of capacity in Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) suggests that it is not a person’s capacity that changes according to tthe decision being made, but rather the level and type of support required to exercise that capacity. ;
  • significant safeguards should apply to special medical procedures including sterilisation, as these procedures can have significant effects on a person’s personal and social wellbeing. Only a Tribunal should be able to authorise such procedures.
  • restrictive practices should be permitted in limited circumstances. In the long-term, the DNF emphasises that NSW should work towards the elimination of restrictive practices, as they may constitute cruel or degrading treatment contrary to Article 15 of the UNCRPD. In the shorter term, we outline strict safeguards that should be applied to restrictive practices.

Disability Network Forum:Review of the Guardianship Act 1987: Response to Question Paper 4

Amoung other points, this submission argues::

  • argues that NSW Civil And Administrative Tribunal’s powers in relation to the making, review, and revocation of guardianship and financial management orders should be consistent, and in line with Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). In particular, the UNCRPD stipulates that the orders should apply for the shortest time possible; and
  • supports an expanded Public Guardian or a new Office of the Public Advocate being resourced to carry out advocacy and investigative functions. However, the DNF argues strongly that advocacy functions need to compliment those of community based advocacy, and that the continued funding of community based advocacy in NSW is a higher priority than resourcing the Public Guardian or Public Advocate to undertake advocacy functions.

NCOSS Submission to the Draft Point to Point Transport Regulations 2017

Point to Point transport forms an increasingly important proportion of the available transport options for a wide range of vulnerable groups in our community. NCOSS is broadly supportive of the current reform process, and the intent to simplify the regulations governing transport to allow space for innovative new transport services that provide greater choice to all people in our community. However, as currently drafted, NCOSS has concerns with some areas of the proposed regulations, which we believe have the potential to impact negatively upon the availability, affordability and safety of transport, particularly for vulnerable people.

NSW DISABILITY NETWORK FORUM Response to Productivity Commission Review of NDIS Costs: Issues Paper

This submission focuses on areas of investment that will reduce long-term NDIS costs. The areas of investment we focus on are:

  • systemic advocacy to assist all levels of Government to fulfill their responsibilities under the National Disability Strategy;
  • the ILC;
  • planning processes which encourage participants to develop self-direction; and
  • community-based supports for people ineligible for the NDIS.

NCOSS Submission: Staysafe Inquiry into Driver Education, Training and Road Safety

NCOSS welcomes this opportunity to provide input to the current inquiry into driver education, training and road safety. For many people with low incomes, particularly those in rural and regional areas of NSW, the ability to drive is a crucial link to employment, services, community and opportunity. This submission will focus on the needs of Aboriginal people, particularly those living in rural and regional NSW, and highlight a range of issues they face in obtaining driver training and successfully fulfilling the requirements to obtain and retain a driver’s licence.

Read submission

Assistive technology: Factors to consider when assisting participants to develop their NDIS Plans

This information sheet was developed by NCOSS in collaboration with members of the Assistive Technology Community Alliance of NSW (ATCAN). It is directed at Local Area Coordinators (LACs) and NDIS planners, guiding them to consider all factors relevant to a person’s assistive technology (AT) needs when helping them develop their NDIS plans. 

A Guide to Maximising A Person's Choice and Control Over Assistive Technology

In assisting people to prepare for the NDIS, it is important the NDIS planners and Local Area Coordinators (LAC) are aware of  assistive technology (AT) issues, and understand the importance of putting the person at the centre of their AT solution.

This guide, devoloped by the Assistive Technology Community Alliance of NSW (ATCAN) unpacks the key elements of person-centred approaches and apply them in the context of AT.. Best practice examples are provided.

NCOSS Submission: Greater Sydney Commission District Plans

In this submission NCOSS draws attention to several broad areas of principle that are common across all of the draft District Plans, and reiterate recommendations which seek to strengthen the equity, sustainability and liveability of the GSC planning process.

Joint Submission: Social Impact Investing Discussion Paper

Social Impact Investing (SII) represents an innovative opportunity to work with government and the private sector to deliver better outcomes for people and communities whilst also addressing government budgetary challenges and social service funding pressures. We also recognise that using a market-based approach is not suitable for funding every service, so determining where these opportunities apply will be a key step in directing resources to develop the market.

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