VCOSS enews


VCOSS enews
VCOSS enews Issue #46
Wednesday 28 June 2017
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CEO Update
Photo of Emma King smiling

Every five years the Census provides us with a snapshot of life in Victoria. The ABS began releasing new data yesterday on measures like ethnicity, religion and population growth—although we have to wait until October for the new data on jobs and incomes.

Some of the early Census results are concerning. 

  • Rents skyrocketed by 17% over the past five years (to an average of $325/w)
  • People in 10% of rental homes are struggling to pay the lease
  • Up to 15% of homes don’t have the internet, just as many government services migrate online, and 
  • Aboriginal Victorians are dramatically less likely than the general population to own their own home (14.2% v 32.3%)
In many ways these statistics aren't shocking. They reinforce what we already know: that despite a healthy economy and veneer of prosperity, many Victorians continue to struggle and experience social isolation.

VCOSS will analyse the new Census data (including future releases) and use it in our discussions with governments and policymakers, as we continue to push for justice, fairness and a better Victoria.

You can read a ‘QuickStats’ summary of the Victorian data here.

Best wishes,
Emma King




image of woman sitting with lawyers

Fair and equitable access to legal aid

We recently responded to the Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) Means Test Review Options Paper.

VCOSS supports a number of the options proposed by VLA. We also provide further commentary on options that will make it easier for vulnerable Victorians to deal with their legal issues, with the assistance of legal aid, including creating a fairer assets test to treat renters more equitably, establishing clear exemptions, improving access to information for potential clients - and more.

We argue the VLA means test could be modernised to better serve Victoria’s ‘working poor’—people on low incomes who face significant financial stress, including the one third of people living in poverty who rely on wages as their main source of income.

Read our submission online.

image of missouri arch in st louis

Searching for ‘Justice Solutions’ in Missouri

As debate about youth justice measures rages in Victoria, Jesuit Social Services’ Cath Neville has traveled to the Missouri, USA, to investigate a successful and innovative youth detention model.

The success of Missouri’s innovative approach is supported by a low recidivism rate – three years after discharge, 70 per cent of young people have avoided further involvement with the justice system.

The ‘Missouri model’ is hailed as a revolutionary approach to meaningful reform which Australian states can learn from.

Read more here.


 Latest News and Resources

conference logo  

Australia 2030: Creating the future we want

The 2017 ACOSS National Conference, in partnership with VCOSS, is the event where community leaders, policy and decision makers, practitioners, academics and people with lived experience come together to collectively tackle the issues driving poverty and inequality in Australia.  

This year the conference program has an updated format to cover greater opportunities to spark conversations that inspire action. ACOSS and VCOSS are partnering to offer a series of breakout sessions in addition to our plenaries. Because now more than ever there are so many issues, of such great importance, that need our attention.

24 and 25 October, in Melbourne.

Early bird tickets are now on sale for a limited time.

CCYP logo

Understanding the Reportable Conduct Scheme

From 1 July, Victoria will have a Reportable Conduct Scheme to oversee allegations of child abuse or misconduct towards children. This means that the heads of organisations that fall within the scope of the Reportable Conduct Scheme must report any allegation of child abuse or misconduct towards children made against their workers or volunteers to the Commission for Children and Young People, and ensure any allegation is investigated.

The Commission for Children and Young People will oversee and monitor how organisations respond to allegations. 

The Reportable Conduct Scheme builds on existing workplace misconduct and child safety systems. It also complements the Child Safe Standards which have been introduced to help create safe environments for children. 

To help you understand how the Scheme operates and your obligations, the Commission has produced a series of information sheets. You can access them here.

ACOSS logo

Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education

There are huge costs associated with educational disadvantage in Australia.

A new report published by the Mitchell Institute, finds one in eight Australians will never attain a Year 12 qualification, and some of these people make up the one in eight Australians who will be disengaged from the workforce for most of their lives.

The report finds the are enormous costs associated with leaving school early and not being fully engaged in work, education and training.

Download the report in full here

lookout website logo

The Lookout website relaunched! 

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV), in partnership with Domestic Violence Victoria, have redeveloped The Lookout website to meet the growing demands on workers responding to family violence.

The new site includes tailored information and resources to support the best practice of both specialist family violence practitioners and other professionals who may encounter family violence as part of their work. Improved navigation and intuitive design make it easy to find what you need quickly and easily.

You are welcome to provide any feedback and/or suggestions for new resources to Elissa Hill This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Vic gov logo blue  

Rough Sleeping in Victoria - feedback invited

Tony Nicholson, CEO of Brotherhood of St Laurence is developing a long-term strategy to tackle rough sleeping in Victoria. The first phase of this has been the development of this situation appraisal which documents what is currently known about rough sleeping in Victoria. The Department of Health and Human Services is now seeking feedback on this document.

You are encouraged to comment on whether this aligns with your understanding/ knowledge of rough sleeping in Victoria. Are there any errors or gaps, or insights that are missing? Do you agree with the general principles at the end of the situation appraisal?

Comments are welcome This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday 10 July.

Koori youth campaign image  


PhD Scholarship - Australia’s Charities: Strengthening Social Justice for the 21st Century

The Social Policy Research Centre, in collaboration with the Centre for Social Impact, is seeking a high calibre scholar to research issues affecting the performance and sustainability of Australia’s charity and non-profit sector, to enhance the sector’s capacity to tackle major social and economic challenges.  

The scholar will use new complex datasets, including charities' Annual Information Statements, to generate new understandings of the contribution and diversity of Australia's charities, and their role in innovation, social impact and change.

YACVIC logo  

Help get more youth workers for Victoria

A great youth worker can make a big difference to a young person’s life. You might have been supported by a youth worker at a homelessness service, a headspace centre, a FReeZA crew, a local government service, a youth alcohol and drug service, or even at your school. 

YACVic would like the Victorian Government to fund more high-quality youth workers to support more young people. 

You can help build the campaign by sharing a story about how a youth worker helped you. 

You don’t have to be young - maybe a youth worker helped you five or ten years ago, or maybe a youth worker has helped your child. All stories showing the benefits of youth work are valuable.

Click here to get involved before the survey closes on 25 July. 

Learn more here or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

image of cigarette being smoked  

Smoking policy survey for community service organisation staff

Curtin University and Cancer Council WA are conducting a national survey of staff working in community service organisations. This project will assist in the development of strategies to provide clients and staff with the support they need to live a smoke-free life. To identify the most appropriate ways to do this, we would like your opinion as a community service organisation staff member or manager. 

Respondents will go into the draw to win one of ten $200 gift vouchers.

For more information about this project, please email Chief Investigator Professor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (08) 9266 7990.

Click here to complete the survey.


 Policy Updates

  VCOSS Blogs & Media  
bullet Point Insights into social innovation
With economist and innovation leader, Dr Nicholas Gruen
  VCOSS Submissions  
bullet Point Reducing trauma and delay for witnesses and victims
VCOSS Submission to the Victorian Criminal Procedure Reforms Paper
bullet Point Helping people to stay connected
VCOSS Submission to the Essential Services Commission – New draft decision on a payment difficulty framework for energy customers
bullet Point Fair and equitable access to legal aid
VCOSS response to the Victoria Legal Aid Means Test Review Options Paper

Awards and scholarships 

Joan Kirner image promotional Joan Kirner Young and Emerging Leaders program
The program will award scholarships to 25 young and emerging women leaders. Applications close Monday 3 July.
Women's Board Leadership Program
This program offers 100 scholarships to Victorian women to build their board capabilities through a range of options. Applications close Friday 21 July.
Vic Public Healthcare Awards image Victorian Public Healthcare Awards
These Awards celebrate excellence, dedication and innovation in public health, health services and service initiatives that deliver informed and effective healthcare. Nominations close Sunday 30 July.
Victorian Homelessness Achievement Awards
Presented by Council to Homeless Persons, the awards celebrate the exceptional efforts of workers, consumers and organisations in ending homelessness. Nominations close Friday 4 August.

 Events and Training

  Fathers who use violence: 'Whole of family' approaches where there is ongoing contact with children
Australian Institute of Family Studies
  Role of financial counselling in improving well-being of older persons in primary care
Chronic Illness Alliance, RMIT, Financial Consumer Rights Council Vic
  13th Biennial National Rural Remote Social Work Conference
Australian Association of Social Workers
  Mergers and acquisitions in the NFP sector
Future Social Service Institute
  Legal Education Seminar: Superannuation, Insurance and Disability Benefits
Australian Association of Social Workers
  Preventing and Responding to Abuse: Guidance for disability service providers
Disability Services Commissioner
  Victorian Homelessness Conference: Talking Solutions
Council to Homeless Persons
  Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference 2017
Disability Advocacy Resource Centre
  7th International Carers Conference
Carers Australia
  9th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium
Australian and New Zealand Mental Health Association
  Australia in 2030: Creating the future we want
ACOSS National Conference in partnership with VCOSS
  What Works in Therapy, presented by Scott Miller, PhD
Relationships Australia (Vic)
Click here to register for ACOSS VCOSS National Conference 24 and 25 Oct 2017

 Funding & Tender Opportunities

  Community Safety Fund grants
Department of Justice and Regulation
  Social Investment Grants Program - Homelessness or Family Violence
Community Sector Banking
  Changing Places funding round 2017 
Department of Health and Human Services

 Submission Deadlines

  NDIS Costs
Productivity Commission
  Future of disability services in Victoria
Department of Premier and Cabinet   
  Reforms to Human Services 
Productivity Commission 
  Social Services Legislation Amendment (Ending Carbon Tax Compensation) Bill 2017
Senate Community Affairs Committee    
  Building Regulations Review
Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning    
  Penalty Rates
Senate Education and Employment Committee    
  Climate change impacts on housing and infrastructure 
Senate Environment Committee
  Family Violence and Victims of Crime Legislation    
Victorian Law Reform Commission
  NDIS Amendment (Quality and Safeguards Commission and Other Measures) Bill 2017
Senate Community Affairs Committee 
  Transitioning regional economies
Productivity Commission
  Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017    
Senate Community Affairs Committee   
  Social Services Legislation Amendment (Better Targeting Student Payments) Bill 2017
Senate Community Affairs Committee    
  Disability Employment Services Reform 2018
Department of Social Services    

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