VCOSS enews
VCOSS enews Issue #111
Thursday 27 February 2020
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We must act to save the ERO

It’s now less than 80 days until the Federal Budget, and the Morrison Government is yet to guarantee ongoing funding for community service organisations under the Equal Remuneration Order.
This is the Commonwealth funding introduced in 2012 so charities and NFPs can pay their (predominantly female) workers fairly, in line with a landmark decision by Fair Work Australia.
The future of this funding package is now uncertain—and the clock is ticking.
If this funding was to be removed, or not replaced adequately, it would mean fewer jobs and reduced services across the social sector.
In partnership with the broader COSS network (taking in every state and territory, as well as ACOSS) we are lobbying the Federal Government to end the uncertainty and commit to the continuation of this vital funding.
There are four ways you can support this campaign right now:

  1. Tell us what the axing of the ERO might mean for your organisation,
  2. Use social media to voice your opposition using #FairFunding4FairPay
  3. Contact the Federal Treasurer’s office: 9882 3677,
  4. Arrange a meeting with your local Federal MP
By acting together—and highlighting the unthinkable consequences of cuts across the social services—we can save this funding.
Emma King

A thin banner showing yellow cells under a microscope that are floating on a red background. The words read CORONA UPDATE

The Victorian and federal government are preparing for the possibility of an outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Information is now available to support worker safety here: The Department of Health and Human Services has established a telephone information hotline for the public at 1800 675 398.

In the event of a Victorian outbreak, health and community services workers and the people they provide services to may be affected. VCOSS is discussing with DHHS how to help organisations plan for and respond to an outbreak. More information will be distributed in the coming weeks. 


FSV logo  

Enhanced Pathways to Family Violence Work Project

Family Safety Victoria have opened submissions for funding for Year 3 of the Enhanced Pathways to Family Violence Work Project, supporting student placements which will take place in 2021.

Participation in the project is open to specialist family violence and broader community service organisations.

The deadline for submissions is 2pm Friday 20 March 2020.

All applicants must apply through For any queries about the project or submission process, please refer to the Departmental contact listed in the link.

Thinking of applying? Hear from Amber, a social work graduate and project participant who now works as a specialist family violence practitioner.
woman with light brown hair is smiling off at someone behind camera  

Census closes tomorrow!

The 2nd Family Violence Workforce Census closes tomorrow Friday 28 February.

Census responses are integral to showing the Victorian Government what changes, funding, training and support is needed for our sector to effectively support women and children experiencing violence.

This is for every person who comes into contact with victims or perpetrators of family violence in the course of their work, even if it’s only sometimes or briefly, including:
  • Disability Services
  • Employment Services
  • Financial and Legal Services
  • Housing and Homelessness services
  • Policy, Research and Advocacy
  • And more... 
When you fill out the survey just skip any questions you feel don’t apply to you.

Complete the census now and share with your colleagues.

Latest News

MHV conference logo  

Mental Health across the Lifespan 2020 Conference

Mental Health Victoria is providing a great professional development opportunity for mental health organisations, policy makers, researchers and practitioners.

As part of the Mental Health across the Lifespan 2020 Conference (17-18 March at the Pullman Melbourne), there are 8 keynote speakers, 8 panel speakers and over 60 presentations across 4 streams: suicide prevention, early years to youth, adulthood and later life.
  • Hear the latest research highlights and sector reform updates
  • Learn from lived experience and discover best-practice co-design models
  • Find out about practice innovations in mental health
Group discounts and student/concession rates are available.

Register now

AIDR logo  

Call for abstracts from community organisations

With so many communities left reeling after a challenging few months of disasters, the pressing need to reduce disaster risk has never been clearer. Communities and not-for-profits are taking action to reduce risk and build resilience. Share stories of community-led change to guide and inspire others to act too.  
  • What are standout examples of disaster risk reduction initiatives in local communities and how can they be replicated? 
  • How do we ensure disaster risk reduction is inclusive? 
  • How are community organisations and not-for-profits leading to reduce climate and disaster risk in policy and practice?
The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience invites abstracts (no more than 300 words) that share case studies, research, partnerships and good practice models; showcasing leading examples of disaster risk reduction in action.

Learn more

REVIEW logo from SVA  

Free resources to support youth employment programs

Social Ventures Australia (SVA) recently launched Review; a free online toolkit for organisations that deliver community-led employment programs. Review includes surveys and tools that are designed to make it easier for organisations to design and deliver effective programs, to collect feedback from young people and make data-driven improvements to their programs over time.

Download the Review Toolkit

You can also work alongside SVA to implement the tools and provide support to use the data collected. 

SVA is looking for organisations that:
  • deliver employment programs for young people aged 16-24
  • would like to build their capability around data collection and use, and
  • are delivering programs between now and May 2020.
There is no cost involved. To learn more email Jessica Graham-Franklin.
CFA logo  

Preparing vulnerable clients for bushfire - survey

CFA wants to learn how to better support bushfire preparedness planning with those at greatest risk and most vulnerable to bushfire.

Community organisations are encouraged to complete a short survey on bushfire planning with people (clients) who live at home. The survey will help CFA understand how widely bushfire planning is undertaken in the community and social services sector.  

The 10 question survey will only take around 5 minutes.  Survey data will inform CFA’s decision making in relation to improving bushfire safety for those at greatest risk. For queries please email Angela Cook.

Complete the survey
Climate and Health Alliance logo  

‘Climate change is a health emergency’ campaign

In recent months, climate-fuelled bushfires have devastated much of Australia, destroying thousands of homes, and blanketing cities and towns in dangerous air pollution.

The Climate and Health Alliance has launched the ‘Climate change is a health emergency’ campaign to call on our Governments to take urgent action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As global temperatures continue to rise from increasing greenhouse gas emissions, the health impacts of climate change will only get worse - meaning more lives will be lost and more people's health put at risk.

Learn more and sign the petition now

HART awards logo  

HART Awards 2020 Call for Nominations

Is your local government involved in reconciliation? Are there local community groups or schools in your local community that contribute to building relationships between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Victorians?

Nominations for the 7th Annual HART Awards are now open for initiatives and champions that make a real difference in their community by contributing to local reconciliation outcomes. 

The 7th HART Awards will continue to recognise fantastic local work through its two permanent categories, Local Governments and Community Groups, with a new category for 2020: Schools and Early Years.

Learn more and nominate

YSAS logo  

Developments at YSAS

The Youth Support and Advocacy Service (YSAS) strives to create the conditions that enable young people and families to overcome challenges associated with substance use, mental health and behaviours such as offending and self-harm.

YSAS has worked hard to establish a strong organisational platform that now allows for the organisation to further enhance its leadership structure and make design improvements to some of its service offerings.

Read more about the developments at YSAS

Policy and research

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Trajectories: the interplay between mental health and housing pathways
AHURI and Mind Australia 
It is hoped that this national study that will develop a clearer understanding of the relationships between the housing and mental health pathways of people with mental health issues, in order to identify potential points of practical intervention and key issues for system improvement.
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The long-term consequences of wage freezes for real wages, lifetime earnings, and superannuation
Centre for Future Work
A wage freeze is often described as a "temporary sacrifice," that supposedly ends once normal annual wage increments are restored. However, this paper confirms that the legacy of even a temporary pay freeze is a permanent reduction in lifetime incomes and superannuation, which can easily ultimately result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of lost income.
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Want to increase your organisation’s impact through technology by learning from world-class presenters?
The Connecting Up Conference in Melbourne from 6 to 8 May is your chance. The three-day interactive event, including master classes, panels, plenaries, mentoring and awards, shows not for profits how to get the most out of technology, training and strategy. Learn more.
  VCOSS Policy en_poli_curve.png
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Supporting a strong, safe and sustainable sector
VCOSS Submission to the Victorian Disability Worker Regulation Scheme proposed regulations and standards
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VCOSS submission to the Victorian Energy Upgrades Targets Consultation
Energy efficiency upgrades reduce household energy bills and can make houses healthier and more comfortable. Read more...
A woman in her 30s- to 40s wearing glasses with short hair is smiling at the camera. There is an orange shape on the left which includes the text: 202 could be the year you find your leadership purpose. Take the next step in your leadership journey. Visit our website to find the perfect program for you. Leadership Victoria Org. Click the image to be taken to the website.

📅 Events and Training

International Women's Day 2020
An equal world is an enabled world
Working with Families of Refugee Backgrounds
Brotherhood of St Laurence
Epping 26 March, Fitzroy 21 April, Fitzroy 10 June
Shepparton 13 March
Support for Fathers national roadshow
Relationships Australia Victoria
Mental Health Across the Lifespan
Mental Health Victoria 2020 Conference
Maximise the impact of your submissions
Parliament of Victoria Workshop
Fostering Multicultural & Inclusive Workplaces
Brotherhood of St Laurence - also on 17 June
Youth Futures Summit
National Youth Commission
A - Z of Volunteer Management
Volunteering Victoria
Australian Fatherhood Research Symposium
University of Newcastle & Deakin University
2020 Strengthening Disability Advocacy Conference
Disability Advocacy Resource Unit
Youth Futures Summit in April 20-21 Melbourne click for more information

 Funding and Award Opportunities

Law Week event grants
Victoria Law Foundation - Priority given to bushfire affected regions
Multicultural Festivals and Events Program
Applications for regional festivals and events and newly arrived community celebrations for will be highly regarded.
Small Grants Program
Transport Accident Commission
HART Awards
Reconciliation Victoria
OBrien Real Estate Foundation
For innovative projects from local community organisations
Australian Disability and Indigenous Peoples’ Education Fund
Funding for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous people with disability to undertake, and participate in, formal and informal education programs
Victorian Disability Awards
Recognising the achievements of individuals, teams and organisations that increase the rights and participation of people with disability.
Victorian Training Awards
Recognising the outstanding achievements of individuals, organisations, employers, and training and community providers in the Victorian TAFE and training sector.
Victorian Learn Local Awards
Recognising the outstanding achievements of individual programs and training providers within the Learn Local education and training sector.
Small Grants and 
Community Legal Grants

Victoria Law Foundation 

 Submission and Consultation Deadlines

Wage Theft    
Victorian Government  
Review in VCAL Pathways in Senior Secondary Schooling
Department of Education and Training
Victorian State disability plan 2021-2024 consultation
Department of Health and Human Services
Inquiry into Homelessness in Australia 
Commonwealth Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs 
NDIS Workforce    
Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme    
Victorian Volunteer Strategy
Department of Health and Human Services - workshops Feb through May
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