Victoria’s growing need for homelessness and child protection support revealed

29 January 2015  |  

Almost 100 people a day are being turned away from homelessness agencies, more than 82,000 reports of child abuse and neglect have been received, and the number of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care is rising. These are some of the worrying Victorian figures and trends revealed in a new government report. This week the Productivity Commission released the first three volumes of the 2015 Report on Government Services (the report), on community services and housing and homelessness. Other volumes will be released in coming days. The report showed 92 Victorians who needed accommodation ... Read More

By under Children, Children and families, Housing, Housing, Indigenous, Justice

Reintegration and rehabilitation of prisoners in Victoria

5 January 2015  |  

In recent years, Victoria’s ‘tough on crime’ approach has led to higher imprisonment rates, longer sentences, overcrowded prisons and growing prison expenditure. Meanwhile the community is not becoming any safer. Crime rates have not fallen and recidivism rates remain high, with people reoffending and returning to prison repeatedly. The Victorian Ombudsman’s investigation into the rehabilitation and reintegration of Victorian prisoners (and subsequent Ombudsman's discussion paper) was prompted by this growth in prisoner numbers, concern about the high rate of reoffending and the cost to the ... Read More

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Supporting those facing holiday hardship

24 December 2014  |  

As the end of 2014 draws near, it is worth taking a moment to reflect on how the Christmas period can affect many people in our community who are facing disadvantage. The Christmas and New Year holiday period can significantly heighten hardship for many Victorians. People’s support networks may shut down or become less accessible and financial pressures can increase. For those who work in casual and part-time jobs where businesses close over Christmas, there is less work available and less money coming in. People can also find themselves financially over-committed. Financial counsellors ... Read More

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Competition policy and the community sector

22 December 2014  |  

Australia’s network of Councils of Social Service, including VCOSS, has now submitted its Joint COSS Network Submission to the Federal Government’s Competition Review, outlining our views around the problems that exist when trying to apply competition principles to the community sector. Competition policy presents unique problems for the community services sector. As the causes of disadvantage are complex and multi-faceted, no single intervention or organisation alone is likely to ameliorate the disadvantages some at-risk individuals and populations face. Therefore community service organisations ... Read More

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Victoria Future Forum – demographics, the environment and emergency management

19 December 2014  |  

Climate change, along with a population that is both ageing and growing in its diversity, has unprecedented implications for emergency planning in Victoria. About 100 people attended the Victorian Departments of Health and Human Services’ Victoria Future Forum on 5 December 2014 to listen to a discussion about Victoria's changing environmental and social landscape. Speakers included: Bernard Salt, social commentator and KPMG Partner Adam Dent, Director of Emergency Relief and Recovery at Emergency Management Victoria Dr Karl Braganza, Bureau of Meteorology Professor Jeni Warburton, ... Read More

By under Emergency management
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A sanctuary for Melbourne’s homeless asylum seekers

17 December 2014  |  

"It’s like you’re being chased by a lion and somebody asks you what you’re going to eat for dinner.” This is the way 30-year-old Kashif describes facing homelessness after seeking refuge in Australia. He says the concept of being homeless here never crossed his mind until he arrived in Australia and started the arduous process of seeking asylum. Kashif says there are difficulties navigating the complex process of seeking a protection visa while dealing with the overwhelming day-to-day struggles of homelessness. “The only thing you think of when you come to Australia is safety, but when ... Read More

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The Greens In conversation

11 December 2014  |  

In the lead up to the 2014 State Election VCOSS sat down with Colleen Hartland from The Greens to explore her party's vision for a Victoria without poverty. You can watch this wide ranging interview or review the transcript below. (0:08) What makes The Greens different to other parties who are contesting this election? Emma King: Colleen, thank you very much for coming in to VCOSS today, we do appreciate it. Colleen Hartland: That’s my pleasure. Emma King: I just wanted to start by asking you, what makes you different to the other major parties who are contesting the election? Colleen ... Read More

By under State Politics, Victorian state election

$200m needed to fill justice gap: Productivity Commission

4 December 2014  |  

More than $200 million a year is needed to narrow Australia’s growing justice gap for people facing disadvantage, the Productivity Commission has said in its final Access to Justice Arrangements report. Released yesterday, the report supports what VCOSS, community legal centres and the legal assistance sector have been saying for some time. That is, more resources are required to meet the legal needs of Australians facing disadvantage. In Victoria, those most affected by the growing demand and current underfunding of legal assistance services are those experiencing disadvantage. People ... Read More

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ALP In Conversation

3 December 2014  |  

In the lead up to the 2014 State Election VCOSS sat down with James Merlino, Jenny Mikakos and Richard Wynne from the ALP to explore their vision for a Victoria without poverty. You can watch this wide ranging interview or review the transcript below for insights into the incoming Victorian Labor Government's social policy agenda. (00:00) What makes the ALP different to the other parties who are contesting this election? Emma King: If I can thank you very much, we’ve got James Merlino, Richard Wynne and Jenny Mikakos with us today. We’re really focussing on what the issues are in ... Read More

By under Advocacy, Children, Children and families, Community sector, Community sector strengthening, cost of living, Disability, Disability, Education, Education, EMA, Equal Pay, Family violence, Housing, Housing, Indigenous, Justice, State Politics, Training and Development, Transport, Victorian state election, Workforce participation, Young people

Natural disaster funding inquiry submission

3 December 2014  |  

The Australian Government’s Productivity Commission’s Natural Disaster Funding Draft Report, released in September, argues that a “growing generosity” from the Australian government characterises the evolution of natural disaster funding arrangements in this country. It states that natural disaster costs have become a growing, unfunded liability for governments, especially the Australian government, and argues that a greater focus on mitigation would limit the impact of natural disasters. The Australian national, state and territory Councils of Social Service Joint Submission to the Productivity ... Read More

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