VCOSS enews
VCOSS enews Issue #103
VCOSS enews 3 October 2019
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In Australia today, we are witnessing unprecedented attacks on people who receive income support.

This extends from robodebt to cashless welfare, and from an ill-conceived scheme to drug test welfare recipients to the Federal Government’s stubborn opposition to raising the rate of Newstart to a level that would actually lift people out of poverty.

Yesterday, the federal social services minister, Anne Ruston, even told a gathering of single mums that if Newstart payments were increased it would just “give drug dealers more money and give pubs more money”. Similar sentiments are expressed almost daily by sections of the media and commentariat.

VCOSS stands alongside people living in poverty who need income support, our members and the broader COSS network in condemning these dangerous policies and this offensive rhetoric.

We will keep voicing our disapproval and opposition, whether it’s through formal channels (see our submission to the Newstart Senate inquiry here) or in the public square.

Our message is simple: when people are cold, lonely, starving or sick, and lack the means to either get better, get a job, leave the house or put a meal on the table, then demonising them won’t help.

Driving down support payments won’t help. And forcing welfare recipients to jump through a series of humiliating hoops to access support won’t help.

The attacks on Australians who receive income support must end.

Every Australian should the right to live a good life, in dignity, health and comfort.

Deb Fewster


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Anti-Poverty Week 2019:
13-19 October

VCOSS is a proud supporter of Anti-Poverty Week as a critical moment each year to increase the public's understanding of poverty and collectively take action to end it. 

The key ask associated with APW 2019 is to raise the stagnant Newstart allowance.

You can read more about APW Week here and download a digital promo kit for your organisation here
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Australian Community Sector Survey - open now

The Australian Community Sector Survey is back for 2019 with the goal to uncover what our sector needs to thrive into the future. 

The survey is open to both senior managers and frontline staff and takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.

Take the survey.

Latest News and Resources

vcoss logo


Just 12 tickets left for our night of laughs!

VCOSS is hosting an evening of well-deserved laughter on World Mental Health Day featuring: 
  • Brian Nankervis
  • Natalie Harris
  • Rose Bishop
  • Pat McCaffrie
  • David Rose. 

Thursday 10 October
Doors 5pm, Comedy 6-8pm
Oxford Scholar Hotel

Tickets $20 members / $35 non-members
All tickets include a drink on arrival 

Don't miss out - book now!


Reconciliation Victoria is seeking expressions of interest for the Reconciliation Victoria Board for a term starting at the AGM on 26 October.

They are are looking for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people 18 years of age and older with experience across different sectors, and a range of skills including communications, finance, law, policy and more. 

Reconciliation Victoria is seeking people who have, or wish to further develop, their ‘cultural competence’: to understand, communicate with and effectively interact with people across cultures; who have an awareness of their own world view and an interest in gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views.

Learn more/apply online.


Volunteering Victoria is investigating Victorian specific avenues to strengthen and enhance the relationships between small to medium volunteer involving not-for-profit organisations, business and philanthropy

This project focuses on volunteer involving organisations with an annual revenue less than A$1m. It explores the trends, barriers, opportunities and policy context specific to giving to benefit volunteer involvement in Victoria.
Volunteering Victoria invites organisations to complete a short anonymous survey by 23 October, to help inform this project work.

Complete the survey.


In the northern hemisphere, the summer of 2019 was reported as the hottest in the 140-year climate record.

In Melbourne, an innovative project is supporting local, cross-sector collaborations to address the health impacts of heatwaves on vulnerable community members, writes Harriet McCallum from the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Addressing the inequitable health impacts of climate change requires “significant effort from all levels of government, every part of our health and community services sector and the broader community”, she says.

Read more.
How can we talk about poverty to win hearts and minds to solve it?

How do we harness the power of local community action to influence national policy debates?

How do we bridge the divide between urban and rural communities to deliver better policy outcomes for all?

These are just some of the topical, cross-cutting questions that will be explored at the ACOSS National Conference 2019. 

The 2019 theme – harnessing community for effective action – is about exploring the many of ways in which communities and the community sector, can drive real change. 

26-27 November 2019
National Convention Centre, Canberra
Learn more / book your place


The Victorian Government wants feedback on its community hospitals program, and your perspective on what services are important in your local area.

The government is currently planning to locate community hospitals in: Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Phillip Island, Sunbury, Torquay, Whittlesea, Eltham, Point Cook and Fishermans Bend
Share your view.

A new public inquiry into the way the state government budget addresses gender equality is underway to examine how gender responsive budgeting at the state level can help to address inequality.

Examples of gender responsive budgeting in Victoria include Women’s Budgets that were developed from 1986 to 1996 and the first Gender Equality Budget Statement issued with the 2017-18 State Budget.

Gender responsive budgeting is being increasingly adopted worldwide as a tool to ensure that public financial management contributes to gender equality.

Public submissions are invited to be made by 2 December 2019.

Learn more.

Non Profit Training offer affordable trainings to non profit organisations and community groups. VCOSS members can book at the reduced price of $192 (normally $240).

To learn more about each training, click below. You can book online or - if you're a VCOSS member - call 1300 144 113 to arrange your discount.

Policy and research

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Vulnerable private renters: evidence and options
Productivity Commission
This research paper examines the experiences of vulnerable people in the private rental market. It also discusses policies that affect outcomes for vulnerable renters.
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Monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform: national report 2019
National Mental Health Commission
This report examines Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention system, including recommendations to improve outcomes. The National Mental Health Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.
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This is what climate change looks like
Climate Council of Australia
This report finds it is not just Australia's favourite animals, but our favourite places that are suffering as a result of climate change, including Kakadu National Park, where rising sea levels are affecting freshwater wetlands.
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The business imperative to improve mental health
Shared Value Project CEO Helen Steel considers how business can create measurable social and economic benefits by tackling mental illness, ahead of the launch of a new report which shows taking a shared value approach is already working within the financial services sector.
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Social determinants of health
This report lays out five steps for action that organisations can take to lead in a world in which social determinants assume a more prominent role. The research is backed by new results from a global survey conducted by PwC’s Health Research Institute, along with interviews with healthcare leaders and analysis of dozens of case studies.
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The Countervailing Power: Review of the coordination and funding for financial counselling services across Australia
The Federal Government has just released its review into the funding for financial counselling services across Australia. This review was a key recommendation of the Hayne Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
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Adequacy of Newstart and related payments
VCOSS joins the call of economists, industry leaders, social service groups and unions to increase Newstart by $75 per week as a matter of urgency.
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10 years of emergency management reform
In May and June 2019, VCOSS and IGEM convened a series of consultation forums with community sector organisations across rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria. VCOSS and IGEM spoke with almost 60 people from 33 different community sector organisations about their experiences and reflections of emergencies and how they are managed.

📅 Events and Training

Mental Health Week
Learn more here
VCOSS Comedy Night
World Mental Health Day
Anti-Poverty Week
Learn more here
Victorian Homelessness Conference 2019
Council to Homeless Persons + Melbourne City Mission
Applying a gender lens to your work
Women's Health Victoria
Spring Festival 2019
Kevin Heinze Grow
23 OCT
Dad’s Tool Kit 
Doncare - 4 week course
Workshop: Managing Challenging Behaviours
Relationships Australia Vic
12 NOV
Grandparents Who Parent
Doncare - 4 week course
Save the Date
Family Violence Best Practice Short Course
Relationships Australia Vic
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Heart of St Kilda promo banner on 23 Octo



 Funding Opportunities

Pride Events and Festivals Fund
Up to $10,000 is available to contribute to LGBTIQ events in Victoria.
2020 Victorian Youth Week Grants
Community organisations, local councils and schools are encouraged to partner with young people to design events that celebrate their talents, achievements and community involvement.
Victorian Government's Community Safety Fund
Community organisations can apply for grants to support education and awareness initiatives that support the understanding of the Victorian justice system.

 Submission and Consultation Deadlines

Early childhood engagement of CALD communities
Victorian Legislative Assembly Legal and Social Issues Committee
Victorian Volunteer Strategy
Department of Health & Human Services
Royal Commission
into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
Gender responsive budgeting in Victoria
Public Accounts and Estimates Committee 
Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria 
Legal & Social Issues Committee 
Myth: People wouldn't be homeless if they got a job. World Homelessness Day click to visit website
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