Changing perceptions around smoking care

4 March 2015  |  

Smoking rates are higher than the average among people who are already facing social and economic disadvantage – more than twice as high for people with a mental illness and single parents, more than three times as high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and with more than 77 per cent of people who are homeless also being smokers. The community sector has an important role to play in reducing smoking rates among disadvantaged Victorians. In this guest blog Carla Seymour from Hanover describes how they have worked with Quit Victoria to support people accessing their services to ... Read More

By under Health and wellbeing
McClure Report Frontpage

Not as simple as it sounds: The Welfare Review in pictures

26 February 2015  |  

The Welfare Review Report released yesterday outlines the biggest reform to Australia's social security system proposed in decades. In this post, Peter Davidson - social security, employment and tax policy expert, and senior advisor at ACOSS - outlines what the changes mean and where the gaps will lie. This piece was originally published on his blog: Need to Know. You can follow Peter on Twitter: @pagdavidson. (more…) ... Read More

By under Advocacy, Budget, Welfare

Family violence royal commission a unique opportunity for change

23 February 2015  |  

Today’s commencement of the Royal Commission into Family Violence is the beginning of a process of investigation and discovery that will likely have profound implications for how we respond to this pervasive issue in Victorian society. It also presents a series of profound challenges for government, the courts, the police and the frontline services which support women and children to remain safe. In announcing the commencement of the Royal Commission, Premier Daniel Andrews, told media: “We have to get to the core of this, intervene early, prevent family violence and make sure that we protect ... Read More

By under Family violence

Auditor-General reveals impact of school costs for families

13 February 2015  |  

This week the Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) tabled a much anticipated audit into Additional School Costs for Families. Its objective was to assess whether the Department of Education and Training (DET) and government schools are managing parent education costs economically, efficiently and effectively and in accordance with legislation and policies. The Auditor-General was scathing in his assessment of the way the system now works and the impost it is putting on students, families, schools, and the community organisations people are increasingly turning to for support. Key findings ... Read More

By under Education, EMA

Response initiatives to heatwave threats

10 February 2015  |  

With the weather heating up significantly across Victoria this week and weekend, we are reminded of the need to ensure that everybody in our community is safe from the impacts of extreme heat. VCOSS has long argued that heatwave planning and preparation needs to accomodate the needs of people who at most at risk during extreme heat events.  This includes people who are older or who suffer from chronic health conditions, people who are homeless or live in poor quality housing, and also people who lack the capacity – for a range of social and personal reasons – to change their circumstances or ... Read More

By under Emergency management

Cost and delays are barriers to healthcare for too many Victorians

5 February 2015  |  

One third of Aboriginal Victorians deferred purchasing prescription medications because of cost in 2013-14, and 1 in 8 deferred going to the doctor, a new report shows. This compares with 1 in 20 Victorians in general who deferred going to the doctor due to cost. The figures, in the most recent volume of the Productivity Commission’s Report on Government Services, show that cost is already causing significant numbers of people to delay seeking healthcare. This may worsen if the Australian government goes ahead with plans to increase Medicare co-payments. The report also shows that good ... Read More

By under Health and wellbeing

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

By under Uncategorized

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

By under Uncategorized

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

By under Uncategorized