SOCIAL SERVICES SECTOR WELCOMES APPOINTMENT OF GARETH WARD TO FAMILIES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

The NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) welcomes the Premier’s renewed focus on social issues and support for individuals and communities who are struggling, and looks forward to working with new Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward MP.

“We need to drive down poverty, inequality and disadvantage in NSW, and we welcome this new focus and the opportunity to work with the new Minister,” said NCOSS CEO, Joanna Quilty.

“The non-Government sector is doing its best to respond to growing demand but more people are slipping through the cracks in this state. A stronger partnership between Government and the sector can only help.

“We want to work with the Government in this new era to leverage its considerable resources and know-how, and our expertise and experience, to help people and communities doing it tough.”

Ms Quilty said a range of reforms are needed to address disadvantage in NSW and that she is very optimistic that the new Minister can play a positive role in making them a reality.

“NSW is a rich state in a rich country, so there is no excuse for massive social housing waiting lists, increasing homelessness and rising inequality,” Ms Quilty said.

“We have been calling for a package of reforms to better support communities throughout NSW and we look forward to working across Government to deliver these.”

NCOSS wants to work with the NSW Government on a range of priorities including:

Increasing investment in essential services that provide community safeguards against adversity – disability advocacy organisations, tenants advice services, neighbourhood centres.
Significantly boosting the supply of social and affordable housing.
Improving the availability and affordability of community based mental health services, particularly in regional and rural NSW.
Addressing transport disadvantage including guaranteed, sustainable funding for community transport providers.
Advocating at COAG for the Commonwealth Government to immediately raise the rate of income payments, to ensure all Australians have access to a decent standard of living.