A NSW free from poverty and inequality


NCOSS Submission to Guardianship Act Review: Question Paper 3

NCOSS Submission to Guardianship Act Review: Question Paper 2

Healthy Weights Forum

Supporting vulnerable children to be a healthy weight was the focus of discussions at the Healthy Weights Forum held on June 28, 2017, hosted by NCOSS, in partnership with Uniting and Cancer Council NSW. We were privileged to hear from a range of speakers from academia, government and the community, who shared their knowledge and expertise on strategies and programs working to address the widening inequities in the rates of overweight and obesity. The forum canvassed key population-level policy responses making a difference in other jurisdictions – such as a sugar tax and tighter restrictions on junk food marketing, and show-cased practical responses that could support our clients and communities to be a healthier weight. Follow the links below to download presentations from the event.

Presenter Topic
Professor Louise Baur, Professor of Child & Adolescent Health, University of Sydney and Consultant Paediatrician, Weight Management Services, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Improving outcomes for vulnerable people - why child obesity matters

Alexandra Jones, Food Policy Division, The George Institute for Global Health Sugar tax
Wendy Watson, Nutrition Program Manager, Cancer Council NSW Food marketing
Julie Anne Mitchell, NSW Director of Cardiovascular Health programs, Heart Foundation NSW Urban planning for health
Dr Jo Mitchell, Director, Centre for Population Health, NSW Health Healthy Eating Active Living: Responding to child obesity from an equity perspective
Christine Newman, Deputy Director, WSLHD Centre for Population Health Healthy drinks policies
Michelle Maxwell, Manager, Make Healthy Normal, Centre for Population Health, NSW Ministry of Health Make Healthy Normal
Leah Choi,  NSW Office of Preventative Health Go 4 Fun
Nageen Ahmed,  NSW Office of Preventative Health Get Healthy Service
Anna Ashenden, Social Justice and Community Engagement Manager, St Vincent de Paul A partnership approach
Liz Millen, Manager, Healthy Environments, Heath Promotion Service South West Sydney Local Health District  Community responses to food insecurity and healthy eating
Rowena Yamazaki, Sydney Local Health District YHunger
Dr Smita Shah, Western Sydney Local Health District SALSA
Maddy Gough, Regional Nutrition Project Officer, Cancer Council NSW Eat it to Beat it


NCOSS Submission: Local Impact Assessment Review

As an organisation, NCOSS works towards a NSW that is free from poverty and disadvantage. Problem gambling causes significant financial hardship and stress on the people and communities we represent and to whom our members provide care and support. The harms from problem gambling are not just financial – they include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, job loss, bankruptcy and crime. NCOSS acknowledges the role clubs play within their communities in offering a range of social activities, but believe it is unethical for these clubs to rely on gambling and profits derived from gambling to support these activities.

We believe the review of the Local Impact Assessment is both necessary and timely. It is necessary because electronic gaming machines, as one of a growing number of gambling options, continue to be the overwhelming cause of gambling problems. For that reason, they require effective regulation to mitigate against their harmful effects, particularly on people living in poverty and in socially disadvantaged areas. The review is timely because local government mergers in NSW are likely to affect the way regulation of electronic gaming is undertaken by the Liquor and Gaming Authority (the Authority).

Read NCOSS' submission into the review of the Local Impact Assessment (LIA) process

NCOSS Women's Budget Statement 2017

As part of our 2017-18 Budget Analysis, we 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.

Ultimately, if we are to successfully break down barriers, move to achieving gender equality, and ensure that government policies and programs are effective, efficient and fair, we need gender responsive budgeting and data against which we can assess our progress – or lack of. 

Download NCOSS Women's Budget Statement

Response to Senate Inquiry- delivery of outcomes under the National Disability Strategy to build inclusive communities

This submission, on behalf of the Disability Network Forum, makes brief comments on the role played by disability representative and advocacy organisations in improving the design of transport services and infrastructure in NSW to create a more accessible transport system for people with disability.  If this role is to continue, continued funding of these organisations is crucial.


Scoping paper: Increasing social connection for older people from marginalised communities

Inclusive and connected communities is a priority area under the NSW Ageing Strategy, and we need to make sure older people from marginalised communities are not left out. Recognising the need to build on existing work, NCOSS brought together members and stakeholders to begin a conversation about the barriers and enablers to social connection for older people from marginalised communities and to shape a plan for a systemic response.

We will be seeing your views on these options and asking what other solutions work in your communities.

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.

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