Public Policy

The Policy Team produced 20 submissions to government consultations across a range of policy areas in 2019/20, namely:

Housing Affordability (prepared in partnership with the Mental Health Council of Tasmania), Tasmanian House of Assembly Inquiry into Housing Affordability

While important initiatives underway are intended to address some elements of the current housing affordability challenges, the cost of housing continues to be unaffordable for many Tasmanians.

Measuring and understanding the human experience of economic growth in Tasmania, not just the rate of growth is critical. Our measure of economic success should be growth that includes and benefits all Tasmanians. As we consistently measure up well in the national rankings economically, now is the time to turn our focus to how we ensure the growth is sustainable beyond the traditional cycles we have previously seen and that we can all benefit. Access to affordable housing is the number one measure of the human experience of economic growth in Tasmania, and it is a measure on which we are currently failing.

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

Draft Tasmanian Adult Learning Strategy 2019-2022, Department of State Growth

TasCOSS strongly supports the goals of the Adult Learning Strategy and the guiding principles which underpin these goals. The broad principles and goals set the stage well for an approach to adult learning in Tasmania which recognises the value of lifelong learning for individuals, communities and the state.

TasCOSS acknowledges that what is presented is a high-level strategy, but would welcome the inclusion of more concrete actions in order to achieve the stated goals.

  • Goal 1 — Coordination
  • Goal 2 — Learning for Work
  • Goal 3 — Learning for Life

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

Tasmanian Law Reform Institute Issues Paper on Legal Recognition of Sex and Gender, Tasmanian Law Reform Institute

TasCOSS supports the recent legislative changes to sex and gender recognition because they:

  • Ensure that official documents of sex and gender diverse Tasmanians can reflect their true identities; and
  • Remove discriminatory provisions in the Births, Deaths and Marriages Act relating to sex and gender diverse people.

TasCOSS believes that any further proposed legislative, policy or regulatory changes that might flow from the recent law reforms should be discussed with the people primarily affected by those changes, sex and gender diverse Tasmanians.

Read TasCOSS’s submission

Future Gaming Market Regulatory Model, Department of Treasury

TasCOSS’s response to the Consultation Paper provides evidence-based recommendations for each of the following elements:

  • Licensing: Regulatory activity including compliance is targeted appropriately and is adequately resourced and supported by the industry.
  • Community support levy and the Community Interest Test: Communities are engaged in an opportunity to shape their own futures.
  • Harm minimisation: Harm is minimised, particularly to vulnerable people.
  • Social and Economic Impact Study: The regulatory framework is informed by evidence and research, and transparent processes exist for it to adapt as new evidence becomes available.

The design of a new policy framework presents a unique opportunity for the government to introduce measures to improve the health and resilience of Tasmanians, their families and communities and to assist in delivering the government’s stated vision of a compassionate state that shares the benefits of growth with all Tasmanians.

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

Justice Legislation (Organisational Liability for Child Abuse) Amendment Bill 2019, Department of Justice

TasCOSS recommends that the State Government design, through consultation with survivors and other relevant stakeholders, a public education campaign and expanded legal assistance scheme to ensure that the public is informed about redress and litigation options and that those who require assistance to access these options are assisted to do so.

It is particularly important that children and young people understand their rights, and organisational responsibilities, under this Bill. TasCOSS therefore recommends that the State Government work with the Office of the Commissioner for Children and Young People to discuss appropriate ways to inform children of their rights under this legislation, should the Bill be passed.

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

Senate Inquiry into Centrelink’s Compliance Program, Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs

TasCOSS reiterates the call made in our submission to the 2017 Senate Inquiry into the Automated Debt Recovery System to cease using an automated system to generate debt notices. We further call for that system to be replaced with a fair and humane process to help those with a legitimate debt arrange a repayment plan that does not push them further into stress, anxiety and poverty.

TasCOSS joins ACOSS to call for the following:

  • Robodebt be immediately abolished.
  • The Federal Government convene a roundtable of experts in social security, including people affected, to redesign a fair, accurate and humane system of debt recovery.
  • The Federal Government cease outsourcing the administration of income support to private operators.
  • The Federal Government strengthen the capacity of Centrelink to meet need by increasing permanent staffing levels.
  • Ensure people contacted about alleged overpayments are not bullied or intimidated.
  • Guarantee fundamental principles of procedural fairness and reasonableness apply to all Centrelink clients.
  • Ensure any data sharing protects people’s confidentiality and privacy.

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

Local Government Reform Directions Paper, Department of Premier and Cabinet

This submission restates TasCOSS’s aim for a local government framework that increases community engagement and participation; minimises red tape and administrative burdens; and improves the efficiency and effectiveness of council services.

It is clear from our engagement with members that the community services industry believes local government plays a key role in our community. Local government is responsible for delivering a level of administration and range of services that underpin the social, economic, political and cultural systems that support our communities. As such, local government is a key player in addressing disadvantage by making decisions and taking actions that help to remove or reduce the barriers to inclusion and providing opportunities that increase participation and encourage greater community engagement.

Read TasCOSS’s submission.

  • All
  • Annual Report 2019/20
  • Challenge & Change
  • Community Sector Development
  • For Members
  • Making News
  • Member resources
  • Policy

Working Together (WT)

TasCOSS continued to engage with some of the families participating in the pilot throughout 2019, including continued contact with some who transitioned to school in 2020, feeding back their voice and experience to the Department of Education.

Policy Conversations

Policy Conversations is an ongoing series of free 90-minute events hosted by TasCOSS. The Policy Conversations series aims to give members of the community services industry opportunities to share information and discuss current state and federal policy issues while also providing a forum to gather input for the industry’s submissions to government on specific issues and other advocacy work.

Energy Advocacy

TasCOSS negotiated an energy advocate role funded by the three utility companies (Aurora Energy, Hydro Tasmania and TasNetworks). They will provide $255,000 over three years to build a collaborative working relationship between the funders and TasCOSS.

Equal Remuneration Order and General Rates Exemptions

TasCOSS facilitated statewide roundtable discussions with Tasmanian community service organisations in August 2019 to develop a strong, shared voice to State and Federal Governments on the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) and the General Rates Exemption for charities.

2020/21 TasCOSS Budget Priorities Statement (Preventing hospitalisations in Tasmania)

Right now in our state thousands of Tasmanians can’t access Australia’s universal health care system when they are sick. TasCOSS calls on our State Government to fulfill its core duty of care to Tasmanians by resetting access to basic health care services available to Tasmanians in our communities.