VCOSS enews
VCOSS enews Issue #113
Wednesday 25 March 2020
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The community sector marches on

COVID-19 has been dominating our attention lately, with good reason. 

This pandemic is a significant health, economic and social disaster—it is absolutely vital everyone is across the latest official advice and that we turn our attention to helping those impacted by the economic fallout of this virus.

But many community organisations are still also delivering their usual services and pressing on with advocacy and policy development. Events are being shifted online.

So, we're making this edition a (mostly) Corona-free zone.

(For the latest on COVID-19 and the community sector please visit our website.)

If you're a new VCOSS subscriber this might be the first time you've received our regular fortnightly newsletter.


You can update your preferences here.

Latest News


In a newly released study, Infrastructure Victoria is proposing a raft of smart measures to reduce congestion and make getting around easier and more affordable.

While many of Infrastructure Victoria’s ideas are worthy of further analysis, VCOSS is concerned about the proposal for congestion charging on Victorian roads.

Congestion charges are unfair at the best of times, and these are not the best of times.

3 uni students are sitting outside at a desk with one laptop open in front of them -they are all looking at the screen and smiling  

Review into Victoria’s post-secondary education and training system

The Victorian Government has commissioned an independent review into Victoria’s post-secondary education and training system.

The review is focused on developing a system that meets the needs of the economy, students and the broader community.

Students, parents, employers, unions, teachers, training providers and community organisations are encouraged to participate in the review through an online survey, uploading submissions or attending a community event (pending details).

The Review will deliver its final report and recommendations to the Minister for Training and Skills and the Minister for Higher Education by October 2020.
close up shot of two hands on a braille keyboard piece of assistive technology

Assistive Technology for All - join the campaign!

Led by an alliance of organisations from across the ageing and disability sectors, the AFTA campaign is asking the Australian Government to establish a single National Assistive Technology Program for all people who are not eligible for the NDIS, younger and older.

Assistive technology is any piece of equipment that helps a person to perform an everyday task that they cannot do due to ageing, frailty, injury or disability.

If your organisation would like to join the Alliance, email ATFA Coordinator Lauren Henley

Check out the AFTA campaign.

Scope logo  

Communicating with people who have disabilities or communication difficulties in emergencies

In collaboration with Scope Australia, Wellington Shire Council has developed an e-learning module designed to assist staff working in Emergency Relief Centres, as well as public facing staff in general, by giving them skills and guides on communicating with members of the public who have varied communication needs.  It is also valuable for any staff or volunteers with a public facing role.
The module covers communicating with people who:
  • Have complex communication needs
  • Are deaf or hard of hearing
  • Have vision impairments, are blind, or have seeing eye dogs
  • Have mobility difficulties. 
It also covers the use of Emergency Relief Centre (ERC) resources such as communication boards, as well as some general disability sensitivity guides.
A sample video from the module is available here. For full access, email Sheryl McHugh.   
vic gov logo  

Victorian cabinet reshuffle - new portfolios announced

Following the resignation of senior minister Gavin Jennings, a number of ministerial changes have been made.

Ros Spence has been elevated to the frontbench and will take on the portfolios of Multicultural Affairs, Community Sport and Youth.

Minister Gabrielle Williams will add Aboriginal Affairs to her portfolio (with Family Violence and Women) and Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan will now be responsible for Priority Precincts.

Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes will become leader of the government in the upper house, while Health Minister Jenny Mikakos will be her deputy.

The reshuffle means for the first time, the Victorian cabinet has more women (12) than men (10).

young girl smiling  

The stories behind the young Australians struggling with homelessness

Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) has launched Ending Youth Homelessness: Solutions from Young People.  

In Victoria alone, there are around 6,000 young people who are homeless on any given night.  

In addition to family violence, other major triggers for young people leaving home include relationship breakdowns, alcohol and other drug use, and leaving state care.

This new report elevates the voices of young people with lived experience of homelessness who have generously shared their stories and the solutions they believe can end youth homelessness in the next ten years. 

ProBono Australia logo that reads PB in blue and white  

NFP job advertising discount available 

Many NFP organisations are urgently hiring, as they need to resource themselves with new skills to continue their impact. 

Pro Bono Australia is offering a 50% discount off all COVID-19 related roles listed on Pro Bono Careers to help support community organisations find and attract quality candidates

To redeem the discount, call Olivia Sullivan on  0478 019 702  or send an email

National Redress Scheme  

National Redress Scheme: Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse

The Redress Scheme is an alternative to seeking compensation or damages through the courts. It is for any person who was sexually abused as a child by a person employed by an institution, before July 2018. Institutions include schools, scouts and guides, sporting clubs, orphanages, foster care, child care services, out of home care and religious organisations.

The Redress Scheme can provide:

  • Access to counselling and psychological care
  • A payment of up to $150,000. The average is estimated to be around $76,000
  • A direct personal response from the institution responsible for the abuse, eg. an apology (for people who want this).

CYDA provides free and confidential information and assistance for children and young people with disability and their families and carers. For people without disability, a range of other support services are available (see below). 


Policy and research

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Responsible innovation: designing schools for tomorrow’s learners
Monash University
This paper offers five recommendations for policy-makers, to help guide future innovations in school design by supporting governments, educational system planners, architects and school leaders to consider the suitability of school design in terms of its alignment with its users. 
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Work, Learning and Wellbeing in the Digital Economy
This Collection curates some of the most thoughtful resources and evidence-based insights and is built to enlighten researchers, communities, policy advisers and decision makers.
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Strategy in strange times: What not for profit leaders need to consider in a crisis context
In the unprecedented pandemic context, not for profit leaders need to consider strategy and business model implications for today’s demands and tomorrow’s subsequent fallout.   
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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
This DHHS website provides information and guidance about the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease.
  VCOSS Analysis and Policy en_poli_curve.png
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Eight things to consider as we shut schools
VCOSS doesn’t have a formal view on this matter—that’s not our area. But it must be acknowledged that closing schools, even temporarily, will produce wide ranging and potentially disastrous social consequences.

An important update from Wurundjeri Corporation

So that we can continue to reach our valued audiences the Wurundjeri Corporation is implementing alternative digital delivery methods for cultural services. Where possible, we are encouraging our valued event partners to continue supporting our community by requesting pre-recorded videos and live-streamed Welcomes, Yidaki performances and Call to Country.
Face-to-face deliver of cultural services will be considered on a case-by-case basis, in accord with governmental legislative directives.
The easiest way to request digital services is at our website.
In order to facilitate live-streaming, please ensure you have: 
  • Access to a computer, tablet or phone with working video and audio
  • The ability to download the app “Zoom” or Skype Business
  • An email address
  • Access to good internet 
For any questions regarding pre-recorded cultural services or live-streaming (Welcomes, Yidaki Performances and Call to Country) please send us an email.

Aobirignal artwork Country by Mandy Nicholson from the Wurunderji Website

📅 Online events

COVID-19: Employment issues for not-for-profits
A free webinar on three key employment issues impacting NFPs in the COVID-19 outbreak, delivered by Justice Connect NFP Law. If you can't make it, register online to receive a recording to watch at a later stage.
Women Powering Climate Action
An important panel discussion on how we can protect the environment and women’s rights. Live stream only via the Victorian Women's Trust Facebook page at 6pm.
Human Hour (multiple events)
A simple initiative to amplify human connection and mental wellbeing in a world of social distancing. It’s not an hour to talk work, to pedal fear or share the latest statistics on Covid19. It’s an opportunity for us to understand each other, to express gratitude, kindness and bring a little happiness into each other’s day.
How can we structure an engaging online workshop?
With the world in lockdown due to coronavirus and events cancelled, most people are looking at online options to hold virtul events. So how do we structure our workshops so that they are interactive and engaging for our audiences? 
Online Finance Training 
Not-for-Profit Training
Trans Day of Visibility: Online Q&A with Minus18
The event is open to anyone – part of the LGBTQIA+ community or not – who'd like to learn more about trans and gender diverse identities and experiences.
Crisis mode: How NFPs can respond to COVID-19
Join this free, online webinar to gain access to insights and best practices to help your digital marketing, fundraising and communications in this time of uncertainty.
NOMINATIONS NOW OPEN FOR HART AWARDS! Closing 29 March. Click to nominate.

 Funding and Award Opportunities

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

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    
Skills for Victoria’s Growing Economy
Department of Education and Training
Obligations for NDIS and children’s services providers under the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme  As of 1 January 2020, the Portable Long Service Benefits Scheme covers: •	businesses providing services funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme •	licensed children’s services under the Children's Services Act 1996 •	approved providers under the Education and Care Services National Law (Victoria) (except an entity that is also a registered school within the meaning of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006). These employers must register for the scheme by 31 March to avoid penalties.

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