Unlock the last quarter of Tasmania (The Mercury Talking Point, 04/12/18)

Investing in people is the missing piece of the puzzle that will enable many more of us to share in the good times, says Kym Goodes.

IT is an exciting time for Tasmania. Our economy is growing, visitors are coming to the state in record numbers, more of our young people are participating in school, and billions of dollars will be invested in job-creating projects over the next 10 years.

Now is the time of opportunity, including to make sure the growth is sustainable, and that more people can prosper. We need to unlock the potential that is dormant in our regions and our communities. We need a game-changer strategy. We need a strategy to ensure growth is inclusive and no one is left behind.

Our people are our greatest asset. As any successful business person will tell you, no matter how much you invest in your business, in infrastructure, equipment, the latest technology, a business will not be profitable or sustainable if you don’t equally invest in your people. That’s why large organisations prioritise managers of “people and culture” — because people are the most important part of any business. They are critical to its success.

Tasmania is no different. When you map investment in Tasmania from the three tiers of government it is strong in infrastructure — in irrigation, in tourism, in roads and in energy projects. And when you look at a map of Tasmania you can also see the vast World Heritage Area — one-fifth of our island protected for future generations. What you can’t see on that map is the one-quarter of Tasmania that is locked up because of a lack of investment in our people. That must change.

About 120,000 Tasmanians do not have the opportunity to live a good life. They try to live on less than $433 a week while finding the resources to look after their family, and to look for work. They have to make choices that many of us aren’t forced to make — for example, to move out of major population centres due to a lack of affordable housing. They are faced with other barriers beyond their control like a lack of access to reliable, affordable transport that can get them to services, training and work. They experience cultural barriers like prejudice, stigma and exclusion. And they face very personal barriers with low levels of literacy, dental problems and poor physical and mental health.

The potential of one-quarter of our people to participate in the social and economic opportunities our state offers and to live a good life is denied them by barriers not of their making. Turning that around would be a game-changer for the future of our state.

Inequality is one of those problems that can feel too big and too hard to change. But we can and we already are. In communities throughout Tasmania local residents are taking the steps to make a difference. Community led. They are turning it around.

In the partnership between the Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS), Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the State Government we are working to turn it around. In the Derwent Valley, the South-East, the Break O’Day municipality and now the West Coast, community members are coming together to find ways to get local people into local jobs. They are asking people what their hopes are, what the challenges are, and what the solutions could be. And, with funding from the State Government, they are trying different ways of doing things, connecting job seekers with employers and building on the resources and strong connections in their communities. They know the problems are not the fault of individuals and so we must share the responsibility as a community and as Tasmanians.

This work is a strategic investment by the State Government in people. And we need a lot more of it. Just as investment in irrigation has led to expansion of our agriculture sector, so we must make a significant investment in our people so everyone has the opportunity to participate fully in life on our amazing island.

The strategic investment flagged by government in the Infrastructure Project Pipeline demonstrates the government has allocated over $1 billion to capital investment over the next four years. It’s time to shine the spotlight on investment in our people — our soft infrastructure — investment that matches the hard infrastructure spend and ensures all Tasmanians will have the opportunity to have Tasmanian jobs.

We have been here before. We have seen strong economic times. But we haven’t tackled the deep disadvantage that has excluded many from participating and therefore sustaining our economic growth. To quote Santayana, those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. We must not condemn another generation of Tasmanians to being locked out of the opportunities ahead. Let’s make this our game-changer moment.

Kym Goodes is chief executive of the Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS).


  • All
  • Annual Report 2019/20
  • Communications & Advocacy
  • Community Sector Development
  • For Members
  • For Tasmanians
  • Making News
  • Media Releases
  • Member resources

Determination to Measure Success Differently is a Game Changer

The impetus from our decision-makers to rebuild a stronger Tasmania out the other side of this virus is there. So let’s choose to invest in a successful, supported and prosperous Tasmania where every one of us has the opportunity to live a good life.

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

Draft Tasmanian Renewable Energy Action Plan 2020

Take Me To Your Board S01E06: Conduct and Compliance

What can the long, drawn-out case of Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency teach us about governance? In this episode, Bridget and Cameron are joined by the Chief Executive Officer of Hobart based disability service Nexus Inc and seasoned board member, Mark Jessop, to interrogate conduct and compliance through a not-for-profit lens.

Joining forces to support Tasmania’s recovery (The Advocate Talking Point, 06/09/20)

A benefit of Tasmania’s ‘smallness’ and ‘islandness’ is that it enhances our willingness to share and collaborate. Tasmania’s peak bodies have been working this way for some years, recognising that often we have shared, rather than opposing, agendas.

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

Coalition of Community Groups Letter re Extension of Rental Protections during COVID-19

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

Shared Statement of Intent for Engaging Tasmanians in Recovery and Rebuilding

Equal Pay Day

Right now, our leaders and governments have the opportunity to sure up thousands of positions and help tackle the gender pay gap by providing fair wages and improving working conditions for women in the workforce.

MEDIA RELEASE: Broadening of STAS eligibility welcomed

TasCOSS welcomes the State Government’s announcement that more Tasmanian families will be eligible for the Student Assistance Scheme (STAS) from the 2021 school year.

Support Available to Help Manage Energy Bills

Tasmanians who are struggling to pay their energy bills as a result of COVID-19 are encouraged to contact their energy provider to discuss payment options. There is a range of assistance available to help Tasmanians manage their energy bills and protections are in place to ensure electricity supply cannot be disconnected.

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

RACT Consultation on Greater Launceston Mobility Vision

JobSeeker and the Coronavirus Supplement

The current rate of JobSeeker (including the Coronavirus Supplement) is lifting thousands of Tasmanians out of poverty and has allowed families to meet basic household needs and relieve financial stress.

Position Vacant: TasCOSS Stakeholder Engagement & Policy Officer

TasCOSS is seeking a Stakeholder Engagement & Policy Officer to lead stakeholder consultation and provide high quality research on energy affordability and other issues impacting on Tasmanians.

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

Public Accounts Committee Inquiry into the Government’s Response to COVID-19

Working Together — Key Findings from Conversations with Families: School Transition

TasCOSS is continuing to work as a partner on Working Together (WT) — supporting early learning, an initiative of the Tasmanian Department of Education which aims to open opportunity for eligible three year old children to participate in free, quality early learning. We talked with many families throughout the pilot last year, and are again helping to collect and share the voice of family participants throughout 2020.

Take Me To Your Board S01E05: Purpose and Strategy

As outlined in Principle 1 of the AICD Not-for-profit Governance Principles, an organisations purpose must be clear and there must be a strategy that sets out how that purpose will be achieved. In this episode, Bridget and Cameron are joined by the General Manager of Tasmanian Leaders and experienced board member, Angela Driver, to unpack what went wrong with Kodak and discuss how purpose and strategy could have saved the photography behemoth.

New Submission to the TasCOSS Vault

Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review

Investment in wellbeing recognised as essential to COVID-19 recovery

The Premier’s Economic and Social Recovery Advisory Council’s (PESRAC’s) report provides recognition that a key measure of our recovery is improving the wellbeing of all Tasmanians.

Raise the Rate for Good

The continuing COVID-19 health and economic crises have led to more people than ever struggling to find paid work. For every job available in Tasmania today there are 21 job seekers.

Tasplan International Women’s Day Awards for Excellence 2020

Congratulations to Sue Leitch and Amanda French who were recognised as inspirational and aspiring leaders in our industry at the International Women’s Day awards luncheon on Friday 6 March 2020. 

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

TasCOSS receives funding from the Federal Government Department of Health to provide support to Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers in Tasmania to build their organisational capacity. A steering group representing a range of service types and regions meet quarterly to guide the project.