Protecting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis
The rapidly developing COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) crisis is having a significant and increasing impact on vulnerable communities. Early on, NCOSS worked with Homelessness NSW to urgently highlight the need for increased resources to support rough sleepers, those experiencing housing stress, and social housing tenants, given their heightened vulnerability at this time. We sent a joint letter to the Premier, Treasurer and Minister Ward calling on the Government to provide for rapid rehousing, multi-disciplinary outreach and a moratorium on evictions for people in private rentals.
Continued advocacy led by Homelessness NSW has seen an additional $34 million announced by the State Government on 27 March to expand temporary accommodation and rental products, as well as increased flexibility for services to respond appropriately. This has been a major achievement. NCOSS has also advocated to the NSW Treasurer to push his federal colleagues to see investment in social and affordable housing as essential infrastructure that will serve as an economic stimulus and create jobs. We are calling for a financial package of support for the sector and other initiatives which will grow jobs and support vulnerable people.
In addition to our ongoing policy and advocacy efforts around COVID-19, we continue to update our sector resource with relevant information around service continuity, financial and other supports for services and clients.
NCOSS Pre-Budget Submission 2020-21
The 2020-21 NSW Budget has been deferred from June 2020 to later in the year. In the interim, NCOSS has developed a Pre-Budget Submission that asks the NSW Government to prioritise 2020-21 investment in measures that will:
- Address the cost of living for households under pressure
- Create economic opportunities for those who are missing out
- Support a viable, stable and diverse community services sector
NSW Women's Alliance emergency briefing on COVID-19
The NSW Women’s Alliance has developed an emergency briefing on COVID-19 that highlights key challenges and measures to support women, children, young and LGBTIQ people experiencing sexual, domestic and family violence during the COVID-19 crisis. NCOSS is a member of the Women’s Alliance along with state-wide and peak organisations working with women, families, children, young people and communities impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence.
Health impacts of exposure to poor levels of air quality resulting from bushfires and drought
NCOSS has made a submission to the NSW Parliament inquiry into the health impacts of exposure to poor levels of air quality resulting from bushfires and drought. We respond to the inquiry’s Terms of Reference regarding the impact on the health and wellbeing of particular at-risk groups, and highlight the heightened need to provide for these groups during disaster events. This includes people who were already living with limited resources and unable to seek shelter from hazardous air quality and other environmental conditions due to the 2019-20 bushfires.
Mapping Economic Disadvantage in Fire Affected Communities
This report profiles five areas impacted by the 2019-20 bushfires and identified as having high levels of disadvantage. We present data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) regarding each region alongside findings from the NCOSS Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW resource.
Many more communities experiencing already high levels of disadvantage have been impacted by the bushfires than those profiled in this report. Detailed information, identifying poverty rates by location and for different demographic groups, for those bushfire impacted areas across the state can be accessed via updated NATSEM/NCOSS interactive maps at: http://bit.ly/3cTdKr6
Review on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility
The Councils of Social Service Network has made a joint statement to the Council of Attorneys-General (CAG) Working Group in response to the review on raising the age of criminal responsibility. The statement highlights that the laws dictating the age of criminal responsibility in all states, territories and the Commonwealth need to be reformed in line with key principles, the first being that the minimum age of criminal responsibility should be raised to at least 14 years.
National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019
The National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Small Amount Credit Contract and Consumer Lease Reforms) Bill 2019 provide important safeguards that protect consumers against unfair credit practices that have persisted in the fringe finance industry by consumer lease providers and Small Amount Credit Contracts. This submission outlines why these reforms are crucial for people living with disadvantage and provides feedback on how to strengthen key provisions to ensure vulnerable consumers benefit from the full protection of the law.
Draft Health Care and Social Assistance Sector Plan
NCOSS provided feedback on the Health Care and Social Assistance Work Health and Safety Sector Plan to 2022, highlighting the relationship between characteristics of the operating environment and psychological wellbeing of workers.
Equal Remuneration Order supplementation
NCOSS recently wrote to the Hon. Dominic Perrottet MP, NSW Treasurer, to seek commitment from the NSW Government to address indexation and Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) supplementation issues in future funding arrangements for community sector organisations in NSW. NCOSS is seeking the Treasurer's support to ensure that contractual arrangements for community sector organisations include annual indexation of 3% and ongoing ERO supplementation that is built into baseline funding.
NSW Productivity Commission Discussion Paper
NCOSS made a submission to the NSW Productivity Commission Discussion Paper Kickstarting the productivity conversation. NCOSS calls on the NSW Government to use the productivity reform agenda to strategically target the community services sector – part of the fast growing healthcare and social assistance industry – to help address existing and impending vulnerabilities in the NSW economy, address future demand and support those who are at risk of disadvantage in the community. NCOSS also advocates for the community services sector, research institutions and the NSW Government to work together to create a whole of Community Services Industry Plan for NSW that articulates the vision of a thriving sector and the steps needed over the next 10 years to achieve that vision. Our recommendations provide opportunities for the NSW Government to support continued growth in the state’s living standards and the wellbeing of its whole population.
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
NCOSS made a submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. NCOSS calls on federal, state and territory governments to improve the accessibility of My Aged Care and the broader system, particularly for older people from diverse backgrounds. NCOSS also calls for more funding that enables service providers to respond flexibly to diverse needs, resources more social inclusion initiatives and provides adequately for carer support, resources and respite.
Senate inquiry into Newstart and related payments
NCOSS made a brief submission to the federal Senate inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. Our submission calls for the Commonwealth Government to raise the rate of Newstart and related payments.
Report on disability advocacy, representative and information organisations
The issue of ongoing funding for disability advocacy and information organisations in NSW has been the subject of public, and more recently parliamentary, debate. Since the full-roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in NSW the operating environment for these organisations has changed dramatically. Between May and July 2019 NCOSS conducted a small research project that collected information from 34 disability advocacy and information organisations. The research focussed on the experiences of these organisations; the changes since the end of previous block funding for specialist disability services and the full roll out of the NDIS, and their plans for the future.
NCOSS position on cashless welfare card
The Coalition Government is seeking to extend existing Cashless Debit Card trials and introduce the trial in new locations, including Cape York and the Northern Territory. NCOSS is of the position that addressing complex health and social issues through income management is a fundamentally flawed approach. This statement provides detail and links on the position of NCOSS and other Councils of Social Service on the Cashless Debit Card.
Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW Report
The “Mapping Economic Disadvantage in NSW” project was undertaken with the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM). This research breaks down poverty rates and gives us a sophisticated picture of people living with disadvantage in NSW, including geographical concentrations of poverty and disadvantage.
Not having sufficient resources to cover the basics and achieve a reasonable standard of living can have profound and long-lasting impacts. Poverty and disadvantage impact on social and emotional wellbeing, physical health, life expectancy and the ability to create a stable home environment. It can prevent communities from thriving. This report, and its accompanying maps at https://maps.ncoss.org.au/, examine where disadvantage occurs in NSW and those affected by it.
Governments continue to place a strong emphasis on the importance of evidence-informed, data-driven policies and programs that result in measurable outcomes. This research is intended to feed into this evidence base by helping us see and understand how poverty affects our communities.
Read the complete report here.
View the interactive maps here.
Please view the Poverty in NSW report technical appendix here.