27 February 2019
WACOSS Sector eNews


Cashless Debit Card trial to be extended -
contribute to a WACOSS submission below

The Federal Government have flagged an expansion of the Cashless Debit Card trials to include the East Kimberley and the Goldfields from July 2019 to July 2020.

WACOSS made one of many submissions from across the sector, emphasising the flawed methodology in the evaluation of the trial sites.

In the evaluation report from the Cashless Debit Card trial sites, participants noted that the adverse consequences from the trials included:

  • Feeling discriminated against by being forced to participate
  • Stigma and shame associated with having a cashless debit card
  • A lack of freedom, and concerns about their rights. 

Many of the challenges were communicated by participants - these can be found on pages 88-89 of the report, and included:

  • The inability to participate in the second hand market for used goods
  • The inability to use the cards in cash-based settings, such as at school fairs, canteens, swimming pools
  • Unable to purchase from businesses that don't accept eftpos or where the facilities were unavailable, or businesses not accepting the cashless debit card
  • Difficulty keeping track of automatic payments or deductions
  • Being embarrassed when the card did not work or had insufficient funds 
  • Card issues - chip or card broken, not working, or damaged, or losing the card 
  • Difficulties checking account balance, logging in, or remembering pin. 

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) recently sent a letter to the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Bill Shorten MP, urging the opposition of the extension to the card. Read the letter here.

WACOSS will be making a new submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the Social Security (Administration) Amendment (Income Management and Cashless Welfare) Bill 2019, building on the arguments in our original submission.

Anyone who would like to share their stories or experiences is invited to contact Graham Hansen, Senior Policy Officer, via email or phone 08 9420 7222.

WACOSS original Cashless Debit Card Submission
Download the Cashless Debit Card trial site evaluation report


  Sector Headlines   

WACOSS Leadership Development Program applications open

The program has been developed specifically for the leaders in the community services sector, to ensure our leaders are able to implement change and strategy effectively, and skills and knowledge required to continue delivering outcomes and goals while ensuring continuous growth and adaptability to changes that the sector experiences. The program is delivered in partnership with MODAL to create stronger teams and more resilient organisations by providing leaders with the necessary skills to enable successful change. The next program commences in July 2019. Find out more, nominate yourself, or an emerging in your organisation.

ACOSS position on proposed reform to refundable franking credits

ACOSS has been asked recently about its views on the policy announced by the Opposition on Refundable Franking Credits and to what extent we consider that the policy may negatively affect charitable organisations. ACOSS has taken this policy position based on facts, and likely impacts on people struggling with low incomes. In summary, while ACOSS supports far reaching reforms to the tax treatment of superannuation post-retirement, in the absence of these reforms, removing refundable imputation credits would be a sensible second-best option. The detail of ACOSS's position is outlined in their submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics.

Mental Health Commission Alcohol & Other Drugs Services Plan update

The Western Australian Mental Health, Alcohol and Other Drug Services Plan 2015-2025 (the Plan) is the Mental Health Commission’s key planning tool for the mental health, alcohol and other drug sector. The Plan was developed through an extensive consultation process with stakeholders across the sector and outlines how we can all work together to achieve an optimal level of services for both mental health and alcohol and other drug services. Feedback on the plan is now sought on a plan update, by 5pm, Tuesday 9 April 2019.

Do you have any stories of Wage Theft?

Wage theft is the systematic and deliberate underpayment of wages and entitlements to a worker. The WA Government is conducting an inquiry into incidents of wage theft in Western Australia. If you have any stories of clients or others having their wages stolen or being denied entitlements, please send them through to by 18 March to be included as part of the WACOSS submission. All stories will be de-identified.

National FASD Strategic Action Plan 2018-2028 launched

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a huge public health concern, with recent studies estimating a prevalence of 2-5% of the population in the USA and approximately 4% in Canada. No population-wide prevalence studies have been conducted in Australia, but recent research found the highest worldwide prevalence in a prison setting, with 36% of youth in WA’s Banksia Hill Detention Centre diagnosed with FASD. The Federal Government’s FASD Strategic Action Plan is an important and welcome document, alongside the commitment of $7.2 million to address this disability in Australia, with the three key aims to 1) Reduce the prevalence of FASD, 2) Reduce the associated impact of FASD, and 3) Improve the quality of life for people living with FASD.

Jobactive Inquiry report handed down

The Senate Committee has handed down the final report on the Jobactive Inquiry, which called for an overhaul of the program because according to the report, "Jobactive is not welfare to work, it is welfare to nowhere". Identified as paternalistic and punitive, the report has identified that Jobactive has failed, and goes against evidence about what works in getting people into paid work.
WACOSS supported ACOSS's submission to the inquiry, and Chris Twomey, Research and Policy Development Leader, and Leela James, Community Relief and Resilience Coordinator both presented at the public hearing in Perth.

Senate Committee reports available

There have been a number of reports released by senate committees over the last couple of weeks that may be of interest to the sector:

Streamline WA - request for regulatory reform proposals

The WA Government launched Streamline WA in December 2018, to drive regulatory reform across the public sector and encourage investment in WA by changing the way government interacts with private and community sectors, and creating better ways of applying regulation to make it easier to do business in WA. Feedback in this first round of engagement is sought on the regulatory challenges experienced by your respective area, and potential reform proposals that could be considered under Streamline WA.
Submissions ideally will provide: a high-level description of the regulatory issue(s) that need to be addressed; suggestions for how the issue(s) should be addressed; and the extent of expected benefits from the reform and who they will benefit. Preference will be given to reform proposals that: align with other government priorities; drive cross-sector systemic and cultural reforms to regulation and regulatory practices; and focus on collaborative implementation of projects and allocation of resources.
As part of your submission, please advise whether your respective area would be willing to participate in a Working Group. Provide your feedback on regulatory challenges and potential regulatory reform proposals to by 22 March 2019 for consideration.

Child Australia ECLD19 Conference 29-30 March

Western Australia’s largest gathering of professionals supporting education and development of young children is back again. The 2019 Early Childhood Learning and Development (ECLD19) Conference is a two-day event on 29 and 30 March at Crown Perth. Speakers include Dr Lou Cozolino, Neuroscience expert, and Dr Nat Kendall-Taylor, psychological anthropology and communications science, both from the US, as well as Peter Hutton, Director, Future Schools Alliance, and Dr Justin Coulson, Australian relationship expert recognised for his approach to parenting. Lotterywest has provided support for the event, with subsidies available for registration, travel, and accommodation for regional and remote attendees from NFP early learning organisations. For more information contact:

WACOSS members are eligible for a $100 discount for a 2-day conference ticket. Use the promo code: ECLDEARLY on checkout.

In addition to this promotion, There will be two conference masterclasses, one with Peter Hutton and another with Justin Coulson. Members will receive $50 off if booking both masterclasses, by following this link.

Get involved in International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is held on 8 March throughout the world to celebrate women’s achievements, highlight how far we have come towards gender equality and to call for continued efforts to reach a place where women and girls everywhere have equal rights and equal access to opportunities. Our theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is ‘More Powerful Together’. There are many ways to get involved. Information and resources to assist organisations or individuals to plan an event or promote the messages.

Public Sector Reform Survey

As part of the Public Sector Reform Program, the Department of Finance is leading a project to enhance the way that WA Government procures community services, goods, services, works, and ICT. The Department of Finance have developed a short survey for industry and NFP organisations to capture thoughts on how Government currently operates and how they could work better with service providers. The survey should take around 10 minutes to complete and will remain open until COB Friday 15 March 2019. For more information about the project, visit the new webpage, or email

North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund

The North-West Aboriginal Housing Fund aims to create pathways towards social and economic independence and wellbeing for Aboriginal people in the Pilbara and Kimberley. The Fund will invest in projects that will increase affordable, suitable and stable housing options, increase opportunities for educational attainment and job stability and empower Aboriginal people and communities. In 2019 the Fund would like to support potential partners to put forward and develop ideas that will contribute to the further achievement of Fund outcomes in the North-West. We expect to launch a request for Expression of Interest in the near future. This is the first step in working with organisations to develop projects that are strength-based and community driven. Find out more by attending one of the information sessions:
  • Newman, 10:30am, Thursday 7 March 2019 (Boomerang Oval Pavilion, Newman Recreation Centre, Mindarra & Newman Drive)
  • Karratha, 9:30am, Monday 11 March 2019 (Welcome Lotteries House, 7 Morse Court)
  • Roebourne, 1:00pm, Monday 11 March 2019 (Ngurin Cultural Centre, Roe St)
  • Port Hedland, 1:00pm, Tuesday 12 March 2019 (Youth Involvement Council, 34 Lawson St, South Hedland)
  • Perth, 9:30am, Thursday 14 March 2019, (Room 3.34, Gordon Stephenson House, 140 William St, Perth)
  • Broome, 10:30am, Monday 18 March 2019 (Broome Lotteries House, Lot 642, Cable Beach Road, Broome)
  • Derby, 8:30am, Tuesday 19 March 2019 (Shire of Derby Recreation Centre, Ashley St, Derby) 
  • Fitzroy Crossing, 2:00pm, Tuesday 19 March 2019 (Karrayili Adult Education Centre, 8 Flynn Drive, Fitzroy Crossing)
  • Halls Creek, 10:30am, Wednesday 20 March 2019 (Civic Hall Meeting Room, Shire of Halls Creek, 71 Thomas St, Halls Creek)
  • Kununurra, 1:00pm, Thursday 21 March 2019 (KGT Employment, 5 Kentia Way, Kununurra)    
Register for a session by emailing, or contact Cassandra Squance:

Women's Plan for Western Australia

The State Government has commenced a consultation process for a Women's Plan, focusing on the areas of health and wellbeing, safety and justice, economic independence, and leadership. Have your say and help shape the plan, and complete a short survey.

Make Smoking History '16 Cancers' campaign launched

The WA-made campaign highlights both the common and lesser known cancers that can be caused by smoking and emphasises the immediate and long-term consequences these cancers can have on a person's life. Highly emotive and graphic imagery is used within the ad to depict the shocking effects of smoking-related cancers and their capacity to take away life's simple pleasures, such as speaking and eating. Supporting advertisements across radio, out-of-home, and digital media will highlight all 16 cancers which can be caused by smoking. The campaign illustrates that cancer from smoking can have a devastating and debilitating impact on smoker's lives. The advertisements finish with the line ‘There are 16 different types of cancer caused by smoking... and you have one clear way to reduce your risk’. Smokers will be encouraged to visit the or call the Quitline (13 78 48) to kick the habit.

ABC 7.30 highlights grandparent carers are often overlooked

The program aired on Tuesday 19 February, identifying a number of grandparent carers and an increase in informal are arrangements with children. Watch the segment here.

Wanslea are still looking for grandparent carers, to participate in their study to develop a better picture of grandparent mental and physical health, and the services that grandparents would like access to, to help make their carer role easier. Read the latest newsletter on the research project here.

Space available in Ellenbrook Community and Youth Services Hub

The City of Swan’s Ellenbrook Community and Youth Services Hub co-locates a range of not-for-profits and community organisations to deliver a comprehensive suite of services for young people and community members. Located at 38 Main Street, Ellenbrook there are purpose-built work spaces, counselling rooms and board room available to hire by the hour or on a monthly/annual basis. All spaces offered at minimal cost for NFPs and community organisations. For more information contact the City of Swan Facilities bookings team on 9267 9321 or email:

Road to Recovery radio program supporting lived experience

The program, launched in December last year, broadcasts the voices of consumers, carers, practitioners, and policy makers, and supports those with lived experience by promoting a mental wellness movement with the journey of recovery and wellness by sharing lived experience stories of hope and inspiration. Topics include education, treatment, peer work, workforce development, policy changes, advocacy, and many more. It is aligned with the Mindframe guidelines to ensure the safety of participants involved. A podcast is recorded each week or you can listen live on 89.7FM between 12noon and 2:00pm every Friday. 

BCEC Report: Social and Economic Sustainability of WA volunteers

BCEC have released a report finds that Western Australia’s rural communities are more actively engaged in volunteering than their city counterparts, but the sector is facing volunteer shortages and burnout risks. There is increasing pressure on the rural volunteer organisations and their workforce, with volunteers delivering crucial roles in under-resourced communities. An ageing population and trend towards city-living among younger people is also a growing challenge for the sector.

Senate report: Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century

The Senate Committee on Charity Fundraising in the 21st Century was released on 14 February 2019. Two recommendations that may be of particular interest to the sector: "Recommendation 1, 5.83 The committee recommends that the Australian government urgently provide a public response to the recommendations made in the review panel's report, Strengthening for Purpose: Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Legislation Review." 
"Recommendation 2, 5.87 The committee recommends that the Australian Government commit to working with state and territory governments and the not-for-profit sector to develop a consistent national model for regulating not-for-profit and charitable fundraising activities within a time limit of two years."

Researching barriers for young people accessing mental health services

Young people are sought to participate in research which will explore the experiences of those with lived experience using the mental health system. Young people aged 14-18 years will take part in face-to-face interviews of around 40 minutes, and be given a $50 voucher for their time. If you, or a young person you know is currently getting help from a mental health service or professional, or has done so in the last two years, contact Monique Platell, PhD student at UWA, via email at or 0413 797 119 for more information.

Have your say to transform local government complaints management

Local government reform and the Local Government Act 1995 review has the potential to impact your community organisation. Local governments, like all public-sector organisations, have a responsibility to consider and respond to complaints. Growing public expectations and use of social media make effective complaints management even more important. Should local governments be required to adopt a Customer Service Charter? Should local government decisions be subject to independent review? Surveys are open until Sunday 31 March 2019

Nominations now open for WA Volunteer of the Year award

Do you know a volunteer who has made a contribution? Why not nominate an individual or organisation for a 2019 award! The Awards, an initiative of Volunteering WA and part of National Volunteer Week celebrations, are designed to recognise the significant and highly valued contribution that volunteering makes in our communities. There are eight separate categories and nominations are open until 5pm, Sunday 10 March 2019. Volunteers make a difference every day in our communities. Let's celebrate and showcase those who give their time to make our communities better places to live!
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  Sector Training and Events

1 MAR | Northam Writing Successful Grant Applications
WACOSS - Northam  - Free
5 MAR | Naked Collaboration Forum - Karratha
WACOSS/Rural Health West/WAPHA/PDC - Karratha - Free
6 MAR | Foundations in Governance Training - Geraldton
WACOSS - Geraldton  - Free
6 MAR | Advocacy Training - Geraldton
WACOSS - Geraldton  - Free
7 MAR | The Roundtable to End Family and Domestic Violence
Ruah, and others - Perth  - Free, RSVP: or 13 78 24
7 MAR | Outcomes Framework Conversation - Geraldton
WACOSS - Geraldton  - Free
7 MAR | Outcomes Measurement Training - Geraldton
WACOSS - Geraldton  - Free
7 MAR | Foundations for Cultural Learning: Engaging with Aboriginal Communities
Aboriginal Insights - Karratha  - $330
8 MAR | Building Cultural Confidence: Cultural Obligations and Responsibilities (Sharing Ngarluma Culture)
Aboriginal Insights - Karratha  - $330
11 MAR | YEP Tours Newman! 
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Newman  - Free
12 MAR | YEP Tours Tom Price! 
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Tom Price  - Free
12 MAR | Protection and Prevention: WA Inaugural Forced Marriage Conference
Women's Council for Family and Domestic Violence Services - Doubleview  - $35
14 MAR | YEP Tours Hedland!
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Hedland  - Free
14 MAR | International Women's Day Breakfast
ANSON/WACOSS - Perth - Free
15 MAR | Driving your business' success
City of Stirling - Stirling  - $66
15 MAR | YEP Tours Roebourne!
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Roebourne - Free
18 MAR | YEP Tours Onslow!
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Onslow - Free
19 MAR | YEP Tours Karratha!
YEP/headspace Pilbara/WACOSS - Karratha - Free
22 MAR | Governance Changes for NGOs
WACOSS - West Perth  - Free for members, $30 for non-members
24 MAR | Climate Change Conference: Building Bridges to Climate Solutions
Citizens Climate Lobby Australia - Perth $20-$60
29-30 MAR | Early Childhood Learning and Development Conference
Child Australia - Burswood $450-$950
1 APR | Save the date: Emerging Issues Forum
WACOSS - West Perth  - Free
1-2 APR | Non Lethal Strangulation Prevention Training
Red Rose Foundation and Women's Council WA - Crawley  - $264-$317
3 APR | Finance Essentials for Not-for-Profits - Hedland
WACOSS & Northwest Accountancy - Hedland  - $24
4-5 APR | Tenancy WA Conference
Tenancy WA - Wembley - $30-$595
9 APR | Finance Essentials for Not-for-Profits - Karratha
WACOSS & Northwest Accountancy - Karratha  - $24
15 APR | 2019 ACOSS Federal Budget Breakfast
ACOSS - Sydney  - $45-$145

  Job Opportunities

Suicide Prevention Coordinator - Karratha
Mission Australia - Monday 1 March 2019 
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