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VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

Action Research Issues Association – ADEC – Advocacy and Rights Centre Limited – Aged & Community Care Victoria – AIDS Housing Action Group (AHAG) – Alphington Community Centre (ASHE) Inc – Amaroo Neighbourhood Centre Inc – Amnesty International – ANEX Inc – Anglicare Victoria – ARAFEMI Victoria – Ardoch Youth Foundation – Ashburton Support Services – Ashcare Inc – Association for Children with a Disability – Association of Neighbourhood Houses & Learning Centres – Australian Association of Social Workers – Australian Communities Foundation – Autism Victoria – Banksia Gardens Community Centre – Banyule Housing Support Group – Barwon Adolescent Task Force Inc – Barwon Community Legal Service – Belgrave South Community House – Bendigo Community Health Services – Bendigo Loddon Primary Care Partnership – Bendigo UnitingCare Outreach – Berry Street – Berwick Neighbourhood Centre – Blind Citizens Australia – Borderlands Cooperative – Braybrook Maidstone Neighbourhood Association – Brenda House Inc – Broadmeadows Uniting Care – Brotherhood of St. Laurence – Brunswick Neighbourhood House – Buoyancy – CAE – Camcare Incorporated – Carers Victoria – Casey North Community Information & Support Service – Catchment Youth Services – CatholicCare Victoria Tasmania – Centre for Excellence in Child & Family Welfare – Change Unlimited – Chelsea Community Support Services Inc – Chronic Illness Alliance – CHSA Sports Central – Clota Cottage Neighbourhood House – Collaborations – Combined Pensioners & Superannuants Assoc of Victorian Inc – Communication Rights Australia – Community Child Care Association Inc – Community Houses Association of the Outer Eastern Suburbs – Community Housing Federation of Victoria – Community Hub Inc – Community Information Glen Eira – Community Information Victoria Inc – Community Planning Maroondah City Council – Community Southwest Ltd – Connections UnitingCare – Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre – Cooroonya Domestic Violence Service –

VCOSS MEMBERS Cornerstone Contact Centre – Council of Gambler’s Help Services – Council of Single Mothers and Their Children – Council to Homeless Persons – Cranbourne Information and Support Service Inc – Cultivating Community – Cystic Fibrosis Victoria – Dandenong Community Advisory Bureau – Deaf Children Australia – Diamond Valley Community Support Inc – Dignity Financial Counselling – Dingley Village Community Advice Bureau – Disability Justice Advocacy Inc – Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria – Doncare – Down Syndrome Association of Victoria Inc – Doxa Youth Foundation – Early Childhood Australia – Early Childhood Intervention Australia (Victorian Chapter) – EASE – Eastern Community Legal Centre Inc – Eastern Domestic Violence Service – Eastern Volunteer Resource Centre – Emerge – Emma House Domestic Violence Services – EW Tipping Foundation – Extended Families Australia Inc – Family Access Network Inc – Family Care Inc – Farnham Street Neighbourhood Learning Centre – Fawkner Community House – Federation of Community Legal Centres – Field – Financial & Consumer Rights Council – Financial Counselling (Vic) Inc – Fitzroy Legal Service – Flemington & Kensington Community Legal Centre Inc – Frankston Community Support & Information Centre – G21 Geelong Region Alliance – Geelong Mental Health Consumers Union – Gippsland Disability Advocacy Inc – Gippsland Trades & Labour Council – Glenroy Community Information Centre – Good Samaritan Inn – Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service – GordonCare for Children – Grit Media – Groupwork Institute of Australia – Grovedale Neighbourhood House – Hamilton Community House Inc – Hanover Welfare Services – Healesville Interchurch Community Care Inc – Healthwest Partnership – Hepatitis C Victoria – Holden Street Neighbourhood House – HomeGround Services – Housing for the Aged Action Group – Housing Resource & Support Service – Humanitarian Crisis Hub – Incolink Foundation – Inner South Community Health Service – Interact Australia – Interchange Loddon Mallee Region – International Social Service Australia – Ithaca CERC – Jesuit Social Services – Job Watch Inc – Kerrimuir Neighbourhood House – Kids Plus Foundation – Kids Under Cover – Kildonan UnitingCare

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

VCOSS 2010-11 ANNUAL REPORT The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) is the peak organisation of the social and community sector in Victoria. Our members reflect the diversity of the sector and include large charities, peak organisations, small community services, advocacy groups and individuals. VCOSS raises awareness of the existence, causes and effects of poverty and inequality and advocates for the development of a sustainable, fair and equitable society. As well as promoting the wellbeing of those experiencing disadvantage and contributing to initiatives seeking to create a more just society, VCOSS also works to strengthen the community sector through advocacy, partnerships and training.

STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES VCOSS’ strategic objectives are to: 1. Advocate for social justice 2. Build a strong community sector 3. Strengthen our public presence 4. Collaborate for greater impact 5. Sustain a healthy organisation

FROM THE PRESIDENT Two significant events shaped the 2010-2011 year for the Victorian community sector. The change of government after the November 2010 state election created a significant shift in Victoria’s social policy environment. Just weeks later, many of our member organisations and their staff and communities were involved in response and recovery work on a major scale, when large areas of the state experienced terrible flooding – so soon after the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. I’m pleased to say that VCOSS and the Board of Directors were well positioned in our responses to both major events. At the political level, VCOSS and the sector have been open to exploring the possibilities for effective change under the new Government, while determined to fight for the gains we had already made. This has led to important and strategic work defending the Human Rights Charter – a jewel in Victoria’s social justice crown – and to the strong collaborative approach of the sector in responding to the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable

Children Inquiry, presenting a series of priority actions across sectors, services and programs to promote better outcomes for vulnerable children, young people and families. Coming around the second anniversary of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires, the floods were a dramatic and difficult start to the year for many community sector organisations. VCOSS worked closely with organisations in flood affected areas to identify the impacts of the disasters and to advocate for new and better emergency management responses for a changing climate. That work continues. These disasters only serve to underline the growing demands on our member organisations in these challenging and complex times, with government policy and funding frameworks often unable to keep pace with the role and responsibilities of the sector. A big focus for VCOSS this year, has been to further build the capacity and sustainability of the sector, in its organisations, their staff and volunteers on a number of important fronts, through the fight for equal pay, workforce development, and training within the sector.

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

The VCOSS Board of Directors is committed to building the strength and sustainability of VCOSS itself, through good governance and oversight. This year the Board and Management Team prepared and endorsed the VCOSS Strategic Plan 2011-14. Its revised strategic directions clearly delineate the key priorities areas for VCOSS: 1. Advocate for social justice 2. Build a strong community sector 3. Strengthen our public presence 4. Collaborate for greater impact 5. Sustain a healthy organisation For that and much other work and commitment, I would like to thank and acknowledge the Directors for their efforts. In particular, I would like to recognise the long-standing work of Marilyn Webster who served as President from 2008-2010 and is the current Vice-President. In her time as President and ACOSS Board representative, Marilyn’s experience and expertise furthered our strategic advocacy and collaborative approach to policy work at both the state and national levels.

I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of our Chief Executive Officer Cath Smith who continues to further strengthen VCOSS’ public presence and influence in key social policy debates and platforms. Finally, the Board of Directors is pleased to award honorary life membership to Professor David Hayward for his outstanding contribution to the organisation and our membership. It has been an honour to lead the VCOSS Board through such a year. Micaela Cronin President, VCOSS Board of Directors

FROM THE CEO VCOSS has continued to expand and strengthen our policy analysis and development and public presence over the past year to ensure the voices of the community sector and the people our members represent are heard and supported by government and the broader community. Through the election campaign, VCOSS gained considerable traction in challenging all the key parties to shift their focus onto the causes of issues facing Victorian communities, whether they were talking about housing, health, education or justice issues. Our VCOSS TV interviews with future Ministers Mary Wooldridge, Wendy Lovell and Martin Dixon won filmed commitments on the full funding of pay equity and standards on housing, and the sector’s advocacy ensured important wins in the campaign promises and later in the State Budget on a range of cost of living, education, rural and regional development and energy issues. Building a stronger community sector has been a sharp focus and we have seen important advances. They may not make the front pages, but partnerships like the Human Services Partnership Implementation

Committee (HSPIC) now have very senior departmental support that puts the peaks network, VCOSS and the partnership model in a valuable position. The VCOSS Clearinghouse again delivered huge benefits to our member organisations, particularly through the very successful 2011 Rural and Regional Training Program which delivered organisational support across all regions of Victoria for the first time, giving us more understanding of the challenges faced by smaller and more remote organisations and demonstrating the value of a statewide network. Our ever growing media profile and success in the social media space has further encouraged government to involve us, on behalf of the sector, in its thinking and planning, and we have held a series of important events to generate debate and leadership on issues including accessible transport, child protection and housing. VCOSS was also pleased to lead efforts to set up the new Australians for Affordable Housing campaign – and for that we thank our many members who generously donated additional

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report LEFT: VCOSS CEO Cath Smith with ABC TV’s Barrie Cassidy and Sarah Kahn from the Council to Homeless Persons at the Vinnies CEO Sleepout. Photo: Casamento Photography

Within VCOSS over the past year, we have strengthened our own operations, not least with the appointment of a fulltime manager of corporate services, and in boosting our finance and human resources roles. My appreciation goes, once more, to all members of our board, especially President Micaela Cronin and her predecessor Marilyn Webster, and Treasurer Eric Passaris for their ongoing and much-valued commitment to VCOSS. VCOSS staff have again worked very hard to ensure we deliver better outcomes to vulnerable communities and the sector itself, and can be proud of the many gains they have delivered through the year. I’d like to particularly mention Deputy Director Carolyn Atkins and Policy and Public Affairs Manager Kate Colvin for their

Photo: Casamento Photography

funds to ensure the campaign could be established. We were also grateful for the extra support from members on sector sustainability initiatives, to press the sector’s pay equity claim before Fair Work Australia and push governments across Australia to fully fund the pay increases expected to be handed down later this year.

outstanding work, as this year marked their 10 year anniversaries in working for VCOSS. Finally, thank you to all VCOSS members for the work you do on the ground and in supporting our efforts to secure real, effective social change in Victoria. Our annual report this year is a slimmed down version, showcasing the highlights of our work through 2010-2011. You can find further details on our website, at http://www.vcoss. Thanks again. Cath Smith Chief Executive Officer, VCOSS

SETTING THE AGENDA In the lead-up to the November 2010 Victorian State Election, VCOSS aimed to have the campaign fought on social policy issues – to get all parties competing to deliver better outcomes for vulnerable Victorians. We also worked hard to build productive relationships with key figures in each of the parties. Our State election platform Cause not Consequence helped set the terms of the election, gaining real traction on cost of living issues, education, rural and regional development, and energy, and prompted the Age to challenge both Labor and the Coalition to respond to our analysis of the real priorities facing Victorian families and the wider community. Our new social media initiative, VCOSS TV, put then Premier John Brumby and soon-to-be Coalition Ministers Mary Wooldridge, Wendy Lovell and Martin Dixon in the spotlight – and on the public record – on key policy commitments and views – pay equity, child protection, family support, education and housing. On the eve of the poll we developed a full analysis of Labor and Coalition policies, to allow

members and voters to easily track where each stood on important issues. It was clear from the result that voters in Melbourne’s growth areas, in particular, had turned from Labor to the Coalition. This confirmed what our members had been warning of for some time: that many families living on Melbourne’s fringe were in crisis due to significant underinvestment in social infrastructure – from public transport links to mental health supports – during major population growth. For VCOSS and the wider community sector, the election of a Coalition Government after 11 years of Labor in power presented a significant change in the way we worked. We needed to shift, as an organisation and sector, to build new relationships with new advisors and politicians and to understand the potential and risks of new priorities and approaches from government. Our post-election focus has been to look at both the challenges and opportunities of working with the new Government, and the success of this strategy was clear in the 2011-12

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

State Budget, which saw a range of wins for vulnerable groups in the community: rises in electricity and water concessions, extra funding for community based mental health, the reintroduction of concession fee places for young people in TAFE, and more. The positive and engaged relationship we have been able to establish with the new Government has also meant that we can get straight down to having the important conversations on difficult issues, such as the overinvestment we see in police and prisons at the expense of much better ways to make our communities safer and stronger – issues we expect to dominate the political agenda in the lead-up to the next Budget.

Earlier in the year, our Framing the Future event sought to look beyond the political cycle – bringing together more than 150 community leaders and social policy experts to talk through the tough issues, spark ideas for new approaches, and envision a better future. Held at a unique point of political change - in the wake of the 2010 federal election and before the State poll – it was clear there was a big appetite for big ideas and for shifting the way we approach enduring problems. That appetite has led also to unprecedented collaboration between the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the state and territory Councils (COSSes), resulting in a strong and coherent message that helped secure compensation for low income Australians in the proposed new carbon tax package.

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT “The water is gone and things look good, but in 12 months we will still be in recovery”. Horsham roundtable, 22 June 2011 For many, it was rubbing salt into the wound. The floods in late 2010 and early 2011 were another cruel blow to many Victorians who were just beginning to feel hopeful after years of drought, and now faced stress and financial hardship and damaged homes and properties, community infrastructure and businesses. Affecting much of northern, western and central Victoria, the flooding has had profound impacts on communities and once more tested Victoria’s emergency preparation, response, and recovery systems – just 18 months after the devastation and ongoing trauma of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. Many of our members reported that they observed or benefited from increased coordination, improved communication and strong response and recovery frameworks which had been developed following the 2009 Victorian Bushfires. The general conclusion was that the revised systems, processes and relationships now in place generated a better

response. There remain ongoing issues in terms of social recovery – with a sense that there remains a greater emphasis on physical infrastructure than social recovery. Supported by funding from the Department of Human Services, VCOSS’ approach was to get people together and talk about what was working, where the gaps were, and how things could be improved. In December 2010, we brought together many of the organisations that were providing Bushfire Case Management Services to capture their key learnings. In Bendigo in June 2011, we met with community sector organisations and local government bodies involved in responding to the floods, and attended the Horsham Flood Recovery Committee meeting to discuss the impacts on local communities and organisations.

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

VCOSS also worked with the Municipal Association of Victoria to strengthen the focus on the importance of effective partnerships between local community sector organisations and local governments for emergency planning and response. As we reported back to the State Government’s Victorian Floods Review, the key points raised in those consultations included: • the positive impact of effective planning, strong engagement and relationships with key community stakeholders in providing a coordinated and effective response • the critical role of case workers in assisting affected community members with referral to needed support services, insurance, and access to grants • wider recognition within government of the long term impacts of emergencies on communities and processes in place to support longer term recovery, and • the importance of using service models appropriate to affected communities such as outreach.


But key issues remain for those still experiencing the ongoing economic and social impacts of the floods. They include: • funding for recovery support services that provides greater certainty to community sector organisations and enables them be more flexible in their responses • adequate resourcing for local emergency planning and partnerships • community development approaches to recovery, including funding neighbourhood houses as community hubs • better and more authoritative warning and communication systems, and • better division of responsibility between local and state government to better align resources and capacity. Our message is: flooding is a slow burn crisis with lasting social and economic impacts. Sustained, long term and flexible psychosocial and economic supports which address both individual and community needs are critical to prevent escalating impacts and to support community recovery, particularly as we face a growing number of emergencies from a changing environment.

TRANSPORT: ACCESS TO ALL The message from users of Victoria’s public transport system has been loud and clear this year – progress on improving accessibility has been far too slow and mired in old thinking on who it’s for and how to deliver it. A diverse range of people find public transport difficult to use, including seniors, people with disabilities, parents with small children, cyclists and people using shopping trolleys or luggage, but we continue to see accessibility as a ‘special’ issue. However the level of public interest in the forums and consultations we conducted this year and in vital inquiries like that into the Victorian Taxi Industry, headed by Professor Allan Fels, shows how important accessibility is to the wider community and economy. Encouraged that the Coalition parties saw public transport as a ‘cut through’ issue during the 2010 state election campaign, VCOSS held an Accessible Transport Forum immediately after the poll – with Transport Minister Terry Mulder as our keynote speaker in his first public speech in his new role.

We followed up with work on a landmark report: Creating Accessible Journeys, which was released just after the year ended. A key finding in our research was that while work was continuing on meeting disability standards, this doesn’t occur in a co-ordinated way. Put simply: if a journey doesn’t provide a continuously accessible path from beginning to end, then it can’t be used, regardless of how many pieces of compliant infrastructure exist along the way. That led to our call for a radical shift in the way public transport is planned and implemented across the state. The Fels Taxi inquiry is also a once-ina-generation opportunity to improve the taxi system, especially for Victorian seniors and people with disabilities. VCOSS hosted a forum with around 200 participants to examine the needs of taxi users in the reform program – the sort of event that provides a ‘lightbulb’ moment on need. The resulting report, the Voices of Taxi Users, will help inform the inquiry’s recommendations for reform.


VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

VCOSS has also been working with accessibility advocates on a public campaign to raise awareness of the accessibility problems on public transport.

To achieve long-lasting change, we need to ensure we advocate with users, not for them. By building a strong and connected campaign among accessibility advocates, we can demonstrate that the issues are widespread and cannot be ignored by government.

All Aboard Visit All Aboard on Facebook at:

EQUAL PAY ‘We have found that employees in the SACS industry are predominantly women and are generally remunerated at a level below that of employees of state and local governments who perform similar work.’ Fair Work Australia interim finding, 16 May 2011 Pay inequity is currently the major challenge to the sustainability of the community sector in Australia. Therefore the landmark case for equal remuneration for the social and community services sector launched by the Australian Services Union (ASU) before Fair Work Australia has been a major focus for VCOSS, on behalf of its members and as part of the national COSS network. The community sector heartily supports the significant increase in pay that is likely to result – for the sake of its workers and for the quality of its services. But the decision poses a major risk for the sector and the wider community unless governments fully fund the increases. If organisations have to fund increased remuneration from their existing resources, then services will have to be cut.

The need to secure commitments from both state and federal governments to fully fund the outcomes of the case has been at the core of VCOSS advocacy – and we welcomed the early responses of both Labor and the Coalition during the 2010 election campaign. In an interview with Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge prior to the poll, we obtained a vital commitment: ‘we’ll be making financial commitments in our policies in relation to supporting that claim and, if it’s more than that, then we will be funding and supporting it,’ she said. At this stage, the Victorian Government has yet to extend its funding commitment beyond $200 million over four years, and the Commonwealth has made no specific commitments.

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

Clearly community sector organisations cannot meet such additional funding by themselves and still be able to deliver high quality human services in partnership with government. With generous donations from key members, VCOSS helped lead the campaign through the year for a proper determination by Fair Work Australia and for full funding by governments, as well as other issues critical to the strength of the sector, through: • research and analysis of the implications of pay equity on sector organisations that was used in the Fair Work submission by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) as a respondent to the case • significant VCOSS-generated pay equity media coverage, including from a VCOSS co-ordinated national opinion poll


• advocacy which helped secure initial commitments to fully funding pay equity from both Victorian Labor and Liberal parties • participation in a COSS network advocacy day in Canberra to press the importance of funding the outcomes of the case and the need for fair funding and contracting for community sector organisations • hosting a member Presidents and Treasurers breakfast in Melbourne with over 40 member organisations to discuss the implications of the case.

IN PARTNERSHIP Many of the issues of our community can be termed wicked problems. A wicked problem “...comprises multiple, overlapping, interconnected subsets of problems that cut across multiple policy domains and levels of government.” Partnerships attempt to provide a solution to these problems. Partnerships are at the heart of VCOSS’ work, within the sector and between the sector and government.

of Education and Early Childhood Development and the community sector.

VCOSS continues to partner with sub-sector peak bodies through the VCOSS Peaks and Statewide Networks Forum, which discusses the hard issues like pay equity, contracting reform, and the role of the sector in service delivery with ministers, bureaucrats and other key thinkers, while focusing on the sustainability of the community sector.

Without these sorts of partnerships, there is the risk that changes are made ‘to’ the sector, rather than with us. The partnerships give us a chance to take work to the next level – rather than continuing to tackle and discuss issues on the surface.

VCOSS also plays a central leadership role in two significant partnership agreements with the Victorian Government: the Human Services Partnership Implementation Committee (HSPIC) – between the independent health, housing and community sector and the Departments of Human Services and Health – and the DEECD Partnership, between the Department

HSPIC was quickly identified by the new State Government as a major vehicle for negotiating changes to the delivery of services. This will be vital to the work of the sector over the next year as we work through key workforce issues like pay equity, new contracts and price indexing.

 Weber, E. P., & Khademian, A. M. (2008). Wicked problems, knowledge challenges, and collaborative capacity builders in network settings. Public Administration Review, Mar/Apr 68(2), 336

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

The DEECD partnership has given the sector access to and influence with decision-makers, including directly to Ministers, at two high-level roundtables this year, as well as mapping out the framework to guide the way towards real collaboration.

ABOVE: Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge (right), with VCOSS CEO Cath Smith and Department of Human Services Secretary Gill Callister (left).


These are important foundations for the year ahead, where our partnerships will be challenged by some key issues – particularly the upcoming decision on equal pay and renegotiation of the price index. Although the partnerships will surely be tested by these, VCOSS is confident they have achieved a maturity that will enable them to deliver successful outcomes.


RURAL & REGIONAL TRAINING The VCOSS Clearinghouse Rural and Regional Training Program 2011 was bigger and better than ever before: delivering face-to-face training and expertise to more than 830 staff and volunteers from 440 different community organisations in 19 locations across Victoria. Funded by the Office for the Community Sector (in the Department of Planning and Community Development), it was the first time we had been able to roll out support on such a scale, delivering comprehensive professional development and capacity building training on: • Board members: roles, responsibilities, liabilities and protections – PilchConnect • Grant writing – Philanthropy Australia • Strategic planning – Matrix on Board • Secrets of good governance and conflict resolution – Pathways Australia • Making sense of financial statements – Matrix on Board

• Getting to know philanthropy – Philanthropy Australia We have always worked to support rural and regional organisations through the VCOSS Clearinghouse and have delivered an ever-expanding rural and regional training program since 2007. But the substantial grant from the Office for the Community Sector enabled us this year to offer every session in every region and it clearly met both need and interest. Much of the program’s success is based on the unique partnership model used to deliver the training, with local councils and community organisations recruited as local hosts for individual sessions. Their involvement formed the basis of our regional networks and increased the participation of regional community organisations in the wider range of opportunities available through Clearinghouse, including access to more than 270 skilled volunteers offering expertise in a broad range of areas, from marketing to tax advice.


VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

The Rural and Regional Training Program went beyond training, with each training partner asked to provide follow-up support to people who attended. It also gave VCOSS more opportunities to understand and deliver statewide opportunities for the sector, and to understand the particular struggles of people working in the smaller organisations – many of whom simply can’t access professional development locally or get to sessions in different locations. The feedback included: “The workshop was worthwhile. We have since received another two grants...”

“The content, presentation and interaction with other attendees was really good. I am happy to say it was very worthwhile and I learned many useful practices to take away, use and store.” “As time has gone on we have all referred to our notes and handouts from the day – and commented on how helpful the course has been. It really has assisted us to keep organised and make progress as we continue down the daunting path known as Strategic Planning!!” ABOVE: The VCOSS Clearinghouse team: from left, Marina Henley, Kate Johnson, Emma Richardson and Hayley Peck

VCOSS - bankmecu FINANCE NETWORK The VCOSS Clearinghouse Finance Network was launched at a packed breakfast event in the Melbourne CBD, with leading economist Saul Eslake speaking on the implications of the state and federal budgets on the sector and projections for the years ahead. Bringing together people from across the sector who are responsible for organisational finance – chief executives, chief finance officers, operational managers, business and development directors and finance managers – that first event began to shape the future of the network which has interest to date from over 70 community sector organisations across Victoria. The need for support for people working in financial roles in the community sector has been a consistent theme in needs analyses conducted by the VCOSS Clearinghouse. With the focus of most organisations on delivering the strongest services possible with limited funds, many financial officers operate on their own

or in very small teams and can lack the opportunities, time and resources to talk with their peers in other organisations and other parts of the sector. That can make it more difficult to keep up to speed on trends, issues, changing government practices and processes and other issues that are critical to the effective operations of organisations. The VCOSS Clearinghouse realised it had the perfect match when longterm VCOSS and sector supporter bankmecu offered to resource a project. Now the network is hosting quarterly events, with plans to expand into rural and regional Victoria over time. Early interest from network members is in a broad range of financial and operational issues, including notfor-profit charity law reform, revenue diversification, group purchasing/ shared services, economic updates and data, government contracting and reporting and development of pro bono financial advice services. As the network develops, other themes may emerge.

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report


The VCOSS Clearinghouse The VCOSS Training and Development Clearinghouse is a unique intermediary organisational support service that meets identified needs of community organisations across Victoria. Through partnerships with business, pro bono and philanthropic organisations, the program has delivered hundreds of training and development opportunities worth over $300,000 to more than 1,600 community sector employees, and brokered more than $1 million worth of skilled volunteer placements to the community sector, delivering an 8:1 ratio of value delivered to dollars invested.

The value of a network “The opportunity for finance professionals from across all community sectors to meet is one welcomed by the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Inc. It is an opportunity that has not been available previously and which the Centre is keen to be involved in. The network will allow these vitally important staff to share organisational practice across sectors but also allows peaks to see how other parts of the community sector interact with government and the community at a financial level. In this way it also has the potential to provide valuable feedback to HSPIC and individual sectors on the financial and regulatory aspect of reform.� Dan Gleeson, Manager, Membership and Operations, Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare Inc.

PUBLIC PRESENCE Over the last two years VCOSS has invested more in our communications capacity and worked hard to transform the way we talk to our key stakeholders and the wider public.

This strategy had members – and the general public – clicking on in droves in the days after the election, to seek to understand what they might expect from the new Government.

The results speak for themselves. Over the year VCOSS registered almost 700 media hits (up from 100 before we created a dedicated media position) across the spectrum of issues critical to disadvantaged Victorians and in all types of media – including TV, radio, print and online.

New media has also made VCOSS responses quicker and more available to a broader audience, letting us lead public debate. Minutes after VCOSS policy staff left the May State Budget lockup, we published our response and promoted it on Twitter. This gave our 1000+ followers – including key figures in the media and politics – an immediate assessment of what the new Government’s first budget would mean to disadvantaged communities in Victoria and helped shape broader coverage of the Government’s priorities.

In the lead-up to the state election we launched VCOSS TV, giving us a platform to shape the news, not just comment on it. VCOSS’ conversation with then Premier John Brumby was broadcast live on the web with hundreds of people participating in a live chat forum. Our interviews with now senior ministers in the new Government – Mary Wooldridge, Wendy Lovell and Martin Dixon – became the most-watched videos on our YouTube channel, and the place where key commitments around pay equity funding and the provision of community services under a Coalition Government were put on the record.

Twitter is now a key tool in how VCOSS connects with the media, our members and the wider social policy community and underlines our reputation and role as the place to go for comment, research and analysis on social issues in Victoria.


VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

Our new magazine Insight gave us a different presence – allowing us to focus more broadly on major issues and tap into strategic and reflective views and analysis, including an edition focused on where the battle for ideas was being fought in Victoria and more widely. Our packed calendar of forums and other events generated discussion and momentum on a range of important issues. We focused on human rights (a series of four events looking at self-determination, children’s rights, homelessness, and mental health), vulnerable youth, accessible transport, income management, affordable housing, and a special forum presentation from Professor David Hayward on how we should read the Government’s Review of the State’s Finances.

URE FRAMING THE FUT views and visions A VCOSS forum exploring bility in Victoria. sustaina for social justice &

JOIN US AT A FORUM CE. WITH A DIFFEREN How does the future ies look for communit across Victoria? What are the big social challenges facing us as we enter a new decade? How do we frame debate in the lead-up to state and federal elections? Forum facilitator: Michael Williams The Wheeler Centre

11AM - 4PM and panel let their Reflections s 26 AUGUST 2010 Community leaders discussion on approache , pictures tell a thousand State Library Theatrette to a just and sustainable words. Including photo Cnr La Trobe St Victoria from : presentations by: & Swanston St, Dr Kate Auty Melbourne ner Alexandra Gartmann Victorian Commissio CEO Birchip will for Environmental Framing the Future Cropping Group lity special a of Sustainabi be the focus new edition of VCOSS’s Sue Hackney John Daley Out’ Institute journal Insight. Coordinator ‘Way CEO, The Grattan y at Cobaw Communit To register for this Kristen Hilton Health Service the event please return Director, Civil Justice, registration form attached Jill Gallagher Access and Equity, by 19 August 2010. CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Victoria Aid Legal y Controlled Communit n Jodie Willmer Health Organisatio CEO, Travellers Aid, (VACCHO) y Chair of the Communit Task Group John Lawrence Care, Sector Futures CEO, Kilmany Uniting Gippsland Michael Perusco Mission CEO, Sacred Heart

Peter Ruzyla CEO, EACH

TREASURER’S REPORT For the year ended 30 June 2011, VCOSS has reported a surplus of $26,000 (compared to 2010 deficit of $25,000), which is in line with the budgeted surplus of $23,000. All financial surpluses generated by VCOSS are re-invested to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the organisation. The following areas have had an impact on the financial result: • Increased operating revenue was received from memberships and publications, including copyright revenue. • Increased interest revenue resulted from the investment of surplus cash reserves. There was a net increase in cash held of $500,000 for the year. A significant portion of this increase is project funds received in advance. • Revenue attributable to projects increased by $700,000 as VCOSS continues to manage a large number of projects which contributed 70 per cent of total operating revenue. (This is offset by a comparable increase in project-related expenses.) • Total expenses, other than project-related, have remained comparable to last financial year. VCOSS continues to maintain a surplus of current assets over current liabilities and a healthy working capital ratio of 1.2.


VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

VICTORIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE ABN 23 005 014 988 STATEMENT OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME FOR THE YEAR ENDED 30 JUNE 2011 2011 Revenue Note $ 3,762,000 Operating activities 2 Other income


2010 $ 2,892,365



Expenses Employment expenses



Occupancy expenses



Publications expenses



Investment expenses











Bequest income - interest



Profit/(loss) for the year









Project expenses Other operating and administration expenses Total expenses Profit/(loss) from operating activities


Non-operating activities

Other comprehensive income Total comprehensive income for the year

Total comprehensive income attributable to members of the company

The Statement of Comprehensive Income has been extracted from the audited financial report of the organisation, authorised for issue on 30 September 2011 by the Board of Directors. VCOSS’ full financial report is available online at:

VICTORIAN COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE ABN 23 005 014 988 STATEMENT OF FINANCIAL POSITION AS AT 30 JUNE 2011 2011 Note $ CURRENT ASSETS Cash and cash equivalents Trade and other receivables Investments

5 6 7

Total current assets NON-CURRENT ASSETS Investment property Plant and equipment

8 9

Total non-current assets TOTAL ASSETS

2010 $

2,165,771 239,579 597,408

2,284,806 62,837 -



231,216 106,942

234,886 147,485





371,384 369,484 2,027,044

272,871 346,154 1,548,221











322,208 213,668

304,014 205,271



CURRENT LIABILITIES Trade and other payables Provisions Other liabilities

10 11 12

Total current liabilities NON-CURRENT LIABILITIES Trade and other payables Provisions

10 11

Total non-current liabilities TOTAL LIABILITIES NET ASSETS MEMBERS’ FUNDS Reserves Retained earnings TOTAL MEMBERS’ FUNDS



The Statement of Financial Position has been extracted from the audited financial report of the organisation, authorised for issue on 30 September 2011 by the Board of Directors. VCOSS’ full financial report is available online at:

VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report


OUR SUBMISSIONS 2010-2011 During 2010-11, VCOSS made submissions to and on the following: Essential Services Commission: Draft decision, regulatory review of smart meters –Essential August 2010 Services Commission: Draft decision, regulatory review of smart meters – August 2010 AER Distribution Price Review Draft Determination – August 2010 Victorian Climate Change White Paper and Climate Change Bill – August 2010 Growth Framework November 2010 Change Bill – August 2010 VictorianAreas Climate Change Plan White– Paper and Climate State Budget Submission 2010-11 – December 2010 Smart meters review – supply capacity control and bill verification – January 2011 Growth Areas Framework Plan – November 2010 Scoping study for a national not for profit regulator – February 2011 National Human Rights Action Plan background paper – February 2011 State Budget Submission 2010-11 – December 2010 Exposure Draft Mental Health Bill – February 2011 Draft guidance on approval of customer hardship policies – February 2011 Small meters review –Paper supply– capacity control and bill verification – January 2011 Our Cities Discussion March 2011 Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry – April 2011 Inquiry into liveability optionsofincustomer outer suburban Melbourne April 2011 Draft guidance on approval hardship policies –– February 2011 Inquiry into the future directions and role of the Scrutiny of Bills Committee – April 2011 Our Cities Discussion Paper (Victoria): – March 2011 Energy Customer Contracts transition issues and the Victorian licensing arrangements – Issues Paper – May 2011 (with the Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre and Consumer Action Law Centre) Protectingminimum Victoria’ssentences Vulnerablefor Children Inquiry ––April Statutory gross violence June2011 2011 Draft ruling TR2011/D2- Income and Fringe Benefits Tax – June 2011 Victorian Floods Review – June 2011 suburban Melbourne – April 2011 Inquiry into liveability options in outer Review of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure Program – June 2011

OUR BOARD* Micaela Cronin, President Chief Executive Officer, MacKillop Family Services Marilyn Webster, Vice President Manager Social Policy Research Unit, Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service Eric Passaris, Treasurer Partner, Audit - BDO Australia David Brant Disability and community advocate, Executive Director, the Victorian Universal Housing Alliance Stella Avramopoulos Chief Executive Officer, Kildonan UnitingCare Georgie Ferrari Chief Executive Officer, Youth Affairs Council of Victoria

Tony Lang Barrister John Lawrence Executive Director, UnitingCare Gippsland Paul McDonald Chief Executive Officer, Anglicare Victoria Barry Pullen Former Victorian Labor Minister for Housing, Education, and Conservation and Environment Dale Renner Senior Consultant, Growth Solutions Group Jodie Willmer Chief Executive Officer, Travellers Aid Australia * As at 30 June 2011


VCOSS 2010-11 Annual Report

VCOSS STAFF Cath Smith  Chief Executive Officer Carolyn Atkins  Deputy Director Claire Bauska  Executive Support Officer Peter Ryan  Corporate Services Manager Lauren Eagle  Operations Manager* Sharon Brown   Financial Officer Sharon Stevens Receptionist Jennifer Heaney Resource Officer* Priscilla Blake  Membership Officer** Ashley Nicholls Reception/Admin* Karen Woolford Human Resource Officer Nikki Hutson Human Resource Officer* Bridgette Wraight Membership Database Officer Claire Steinke Human Resource Officer** Linda Sim  Senior Finance Specialist Kate Colvin  Policy & Public Affairs Manager Michelle Lane  Policy & Public Affairs Support Officer Lauren Matthews Policy Analyst: Sector sustainability, pay equity, portable long service leave, partnerships Jess Fritze Policy Analyst: Climate change and emergency management Sarah Toohey Policy Analyst: Housing Christine Gurner Policy Analyst: Human rights* * Left VCOSS during year

Beck Pope Sector Sustainability Support Officer Llewellyn Reynders Policy Analyst: Transport Paula Grogan Policy Analyst: Children and families, young people, education Dean Lombard Policy Analyst: Energy and water John Kelly  Media Coordinator Marie McInerney Publications Editor Tyson Armstrong Web Officer Jayelinda Suridge Web Officer* Marina Henley Sector Development Manager Kate Johnson Clearinghouse Progam Coordinator Emma Richardson Clearinghouse Project Support Officer Sharon Granek DARU Coordinator Natasha Brake DARU Administration Officer Elaine Downs Industry Training Authority Board (ITAB) Project Coordinator Jessica Findling ITAB Project Support Officer Laura Mondon  Rural and Regional Training Coordinator** Hayley Peck Rural and Regional/ Clearinghouse Project Support Officer ** Maternity leave

INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS Melissa Afentoulis – Geoff Baker – Michelle Barnett – Anne Barton – Tom Beggs Linda Bennett – Robyn Berrie – Colin Blackburn – Jenny Blakey – Mary Bluett Michael Bradford – Paul Bradley – David Brant – John Burke – Paul Butler Melisa Chabierski – Kaye Cole – David Collett – Brian Collingburn Joseph Connellan – Kathryn Daley – Tony Dalton – Janie Davey Warwick Dilley – Jenny Dyer – Rhonda Elkington – Jenny Elvey – Kimberley Flanagan Mary Hall – Linda Hancock – Helen Harris – Lesley Harris – Lorraine Harrison Terry Holman – David Imber – Pam Kennedy – Harald Klein – Judith Klepner – Bev Kliger Robert Laird – Tony Lang – Carmel Laragy – Mary Latham – Dymphna Laurie Marg Leser – Lesley Lightfoot – Yvonne Magyar – Magi Marcon – Sarah Massey Alison McClelland – Irene McGinnigle – Andrew McSwain – Philip Mendes Judith Moore – Rebecca Morton – Sally Moseby – Sandra Mounsey Ros Moye – Elisabeth Newman – Evelyn Nicholson – Eric Passaris – Rhonda Pryor Barry Pullen – Rose Read – Tom Reisner – Dale Renner – Jo Richie – Jean Roberts Taranjit Sarin – Don Siemon – Kate Silburn – David Simmons – Wendy Joy Smith Linda Staehli – Gary Steadman – Fred Stern – Judith Voce – Lorraine Wheeler Judith Willis – David Wood – Mary Wooldridge – Sally Wright

VCOSS Annual Report 2010-11 Design: Tyson Armstrong Photos: VCOSS, Casamento Photography (per favour St Vincent de Paul), Luke Chang, Julian White, Vernon Knight (Mallee Family Care) Printer: Blueprint The Annual Report will be available online and as a plain text document on our website, at The full financial report is also available there. For more information about VCOSS or to become a member: T: 03 9654 5050 E: W:

Kindergarten Parents Victoria – Knox Community Volunteers Inc – Knox Infolink – Lalor Living & Learning Centre Inc – Laverton Community Centre Inc – Leadership Plus Incorporated – Lifestyle in Supported Accommodation (LISA) Inc – Lighthouse Foundation – LINK Community Transport Inc – Loddon Mallee Accommodation Network – Macedonian Community Welfare Association – MacKillop Family Services – Mallee Accommodation & Support Program – Mallee Family Care – McAuley Community Services for Women – ME/CFS Australia (Victoria) – Melbourne Unitarian Church – Meniere’s Australia Inc – Mental Health Foundation Victoria – Mental Health Legal Centre Inc – Mission Australia – Monash Volunteer Resource Centre – Moreland Community Legal Centre Inc – Motor Neurone Disease Association – NEAMI Ltd – Network of Inner Eastern Community Houses – Network West Inc – New Horizons Welfare Services Inc – No To Violence – North East Housing Service – North East Neighbourhood House Network – North Melbourne Legal Service – North Yarra Community Health – Northwest Neighbourhood House Network Inc – Norwood Association Inc – Office of the Public Advocate – Opening the Doors Foundation – Orana UnitingCare – PACT Community Support – Parents Without Partners – People Living With HIV/AIDS Victoria Inc – PILCH (Vic) Inc – Port Phillip Community Group – Prahran Mission – Prahran/Malvern Community Housing – Project Respect Inc – Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia Inc – Queen Victoria Women’s Centre – Regional Information & Advocacy Council – Reinforce Inc – Road Trauma Support Services Victoria – Robinson House Inc – Ross House Association – Royal District Nursing Service – Rural Housing Network Ltd – Sacred Heart Mission – Save the Children Victoria – Secondbite – Selby Community House – South Barwon Community Centre – South Port Day Links – South Port Uniting Church & Uniting Care – Southern Peninsula Community Support & Information Centre – SPAN Community House – Spring Creek Community House –

VCOSS MEMBERS Springvale Community Aid & Advice Bureau – Springvale Neighbourhood House Inc – St Kilda Community Housing Ltd – St Laurence Community Services (Barwon) – St Luke’s Anglicare – St Mary’s House of Welcome Ltd – St Vincent de Paul – STAR Victoria – TADVIC Inc – TaskForce Community Agency Inc – Tenants Union of Victoria – Thalassaemia Australia – The ALSO Foundation – The Centre Connecting Community in North & West Melbourne – The Myer Foundation – The Neighbour’s Place Inc – The Reichstein Foundation – The Salvation Army – The Smith Family – Travellers Aid Australia – Trentham Neighbourhood Centre – Turnaround Business Consulting Group Pty Ltd – United Way Ballarat Community Fund – UnitingCare Geelong - Wendover – UnitingCare Sunshine Mission – UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania – University of Melbourne – Upper Murray Centre Against Sexual Assault – URCOT – VANISH – VICCSO Inc – VICSERV - Psychiatric Disability Services of Victoria Inc – Victoria Legal Aid – Victorian AIDS Council/ Gay Men’s Health Centre – Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association – Victorian Coalition of ABI Service Providers (VCASP) – Victorian Community Transport Association Inc – Victorian Council of Deaf People – Victorian Mental Health Carers Network Inc – Victorian Public Tenants Association Inc – Victorian Youth Mentoring Alliance – Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service – Volunteering Geelong – Warragul Community House – Warrandyte Housing & Support Services – Wellsprings for Women Inc – Wesley Mission Victoria – West Heidelberg Community Legal Service – Whittlesea City Council – Whittlesea Community Connections Inc – WIRE - Women’s Information and Referal Service – Women’s Circus – Women’s Health Grampians Incorporated – Women’s Health In the North – Women’s Health in the South East – Women’s Health Loddon Mallee – Women’s Health Victoria – Women’s Health West – Women’s Housing Ltd – Women’s Liberation Halfway House – Woorarra Inc – WRISC - Family Violence Support Service – Yarra Community Housing – Yarraville Community Centre – Yarrawonga District Health Service – Yooralla – Youth Affairs Council of Victoria – Youthlaw – YWCA Victoria

VCOSS Annual Report 2010-2011  

VCOSS Annual Report 2010-2011

VCOSS Annual Report 2010-2011  

VCOSS Annual Report 2010-2011