Become a member of ACTCOSS
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Conference 2014 Resources
Check out the Conference Summary document, videos and award winners from the Designing Social Change: Beyond Talk, Taking Action conference.
Learning and Development Calendar
ACTCOSS provides training in cultural awareness, emerging leaders, boards, quality standards, and more!

ACTCOSS holiday shutdown

The ACTCOSS office will be closed from 25 December 2014 and will reopen on 5 January 2015. We will return calls and emails upon our return.

80% of community services can't meet demand

Media release, 8 December 2014

A national report released by the Australian Council of Social Service today provides alarming evidence that community services are not able to meet demand for support because of a lack of resources, and that quality of life is decreasing for some of the most disadvantaged people in our community.

Commenting on this report today, Susan Helyar, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service said: “This means people in Canberra who are eligible for support are being turned away – most often from legal and housing services.

Petition and letter: Minister Andrews, commit to ongoing funding for affordable housing and homelessness services now

The Australian Government has not yet told the community whether it will continue funding housing support and homelessness services beyond June 2015. This uncertainty is compromising service delivery.

We have a severe shortage of affordable housing right now and we can't wait until June to know if the Australian Government is going to continue to contribute financially to solving this problem. Read more about the call to action.

ACTCOSS Stakeholder Survey 2014

ACTCOSS welcomes your reflections and constructive feedback on our performance. We also look forward to receiving your suggestions about how we can better serve you and the ACT community. The survey takes 5 to 10 minutes. Survey closes 5 December 2014.

ACTCOSS Budget Priorities 2015-16: ACT Budget Submission

ACTCOSS has published our submission to the ACT Budget for 2015-16. Our Budget Submission includes key asks around affordable housing and homelessness that community sector organisations have come together to promote. We collectively believe on-going investment will underpin and facilitate genuinely better and more sustainable outcomes for disadvantaged Canberrans in the areas Government has identified as priorities for action in its Budget Strategy.

Our members have also identified three areas of urgent need that we advise the Government to invest in as a matter of priority: Accessible services and community infrastructure; prevention, early intervention and targeted assistance; and reorienting and prioritising service delivery in the context of whole-of-community roll out of the NDIS.

ACT Labour Market Trends Help Explain Rates of Poverty in the ACT: Report

Joint media release with Women's Centre for Health Matters, 14 October 2014

The ACT Council of Social Service and Women's Centre for Health Matters released data today showing that outside of public sector employment, industries with growing employment opportunities that do not require degree-level qualifications offer low wage, relatively high rates of part-time work, suggesting many workers struggle to earn enough to cover their costs of living.

Commenting on release of the report, Susan Helyar, Director of the ACT Council of Social Service said, "Our community knows that a full-time job is the best way to ensure protection from poverty. But in some industries, notably those where women are significantly over-represented, workers have comparatively low (full-time) wages and part-time employment is high."

Read the entire media release: Read the 6 page overview document: Read the full data report:

Human Services Blueprint

The ACT Community Sector has worked with the ACT Government to design and implement a new approach to community, health, justice and education services so they respond better to community expectations and needs - by being person-focused, strengths-based and focused on achieving positive outcomes. This work has led to adoption of a Human Services Blueprint by the ACT Government and a number of Better Services Initiatives were funded in the 2014-15 ACT Budget.

ACTCOSS has contributed to developing the Human Services Blueprint and implementing the Better Services Initiatives because we believe it has the potential to deliver real improvements in the design, delivery and resourcing of services so they make a positive difference to people in Canberra, especially those who are living with poverty and disadvantage, or who are facing a vulnerable time in their life. Three principles underpin this work: You can find out more about this work and ways to get involved in decisions about how the Human Services Blueprint is implemented.

Presentation available: Internet connectivity among people experiencing poverty and deprivation

During Anti-Poverty Week this year ACTCOSS facilitated a conversation about the interactions between poverty, disadvantage, and digital technology, often referred to as the 'digital divide': the space between those who have access to digital technologies and those who are excluded from accessing digital technology because of inability to cover costs.

Speaker Dr Sarah Wise (University of Melbourne and Berry Street Victoria) has kindly provided her presentation from the event for download.

ACTCOSS submission: Review of the Report on National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness

ACTCOSS provided comment to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts Inquiry into the ACT Auditor General’s Report No.4 of 2013: National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH). The review had two clear objectives to identify that the ACT government is meeting its obligations, and that the NPAH is making a difference for homeless persons.

ACTCOSS noted, along with other organisations that made submissions, that the four recommendations made by the audit report focused primarily on financial and contract management and did not adequately consider whether NPAH is making a difference for people who are homeless in the ACT, or reflect measures to improve the quality or impact of services funded under NPAH.

ACTCOSS called for the ACT Government to work with people who access services and organisations that provide services to develop an agreed strategy, and core priorities, to meet continuing need for housing and homelessness support services if the ACT loses Commonwealth NPAH funding in June 2015.

Fact Sheet: Impact of changes to welfare for young people proposed in the Federal Budget 2014-15

Under proposed budget changes unemployed people under the age of 30 years will lose income support for six months of the year, from July 2015. It will affect people aged 18-29 who are not enrolled in education or training and who are not in work. It will also affect people in casual or part-time work who don’t earn enough to move off the Newstart Allowance.

This fact sheet outlines the impact of these measures on young people, emergency relief services, and the ACT economy. It also provides answers to some frequently asked questions.

Read the Fact Sheet: Impact of changes to welfare for young people proposed in the Federal Budget 2014-15 (Word docx 60KB).