MHCC 2020 Free Webinar

How can community workers, volunteers and peers better support people living with mental health conditions,
outside of a funded NDIS package?

Join MHCC for the second of three webinars to develop learning materials and support community connection for people with mental health conditions. The second webinar will provide an update on the trial of new learning materials and will continue the process of co-designing these resources. The learning materials will be used to support community workers, volunteers and peers who work with people with mental health conditions, outside of an NDIS funded package.

Webinar: February 26, 10.30am-11.30am

View can view the first webinar on the CEEP Project here and Learn more about the CEEP Project here

Register Here


3rd Asia Pacific Safe and Together Model Conference

The Safe & Together Institute and Berry Street are delighted to partner to host the 3rd Asia Pacific Safe & Together™ Model Conference in Melbourne on the 27 and 28 February 2020.

Featuring David Mandel, Executive Director of the Safe & Together Institute, our program will showcase promising practice from around the globe.  It will bring together practitioners, policy makers, academics and leaders from across child protection, child youth and family services, family violence, men’s services, justice and mental health.

Our two day program is rich in content and interesting to all levels of familiarity with the Model including attendees of prior conferences, professionals who have undergone training and those new to the Model.

The conference will include keynote presentations, concurrent sessions that focus on skill building and discussion, as well as networking opportunities.

Disrupting the housing market

New Energy Compact

People centred vision for the Australian Energy System

What is the New Energy Compact

The New Energy Compact, is an initiative of The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and the Total Environment Centre (TEC) with the support of Energy Consumers Australia (ECA).[1]

The New Energy Compact is a people centred vision for the Australian energy system. The purpose of the Compact is to instill a new vision and principles that reflects the values of people, is future focused and is used by decision makers to guide policy and reform for an inclusive, affordable, dependable and clean energy system.

Why do we need a New Energy Compact

The energy system is changing rapidly, from a centralised, one-way system, owned and managed by State governments. The social contract to supply energy was between governments and the Australian people.

Now ownership is mixed between government, private businesses and millions of individually owned infrastructure in people’s homes and businesses, in the form of more renewable, de-centralised, and variable energy with two-way flows. People are no longer just buying energy, but are also generating, storing and trading, as well as consuming their own energy.

In addition, tackling climate change is a priority for people and Australia’s commitments to Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The old social contract has become fractured. In this process, trust has been lost, energy is unaffordable for some, others are unable to benefit from the transformation taking place and we urgently need to decarbonise our energy system.

How you can inform the development of the New Energy Compact

The development of the New Energy Compact is a collaborative process, informed by expert advice and insights from consumers and a range of stakeholders, as well as international and domestic research on what people expect from their energy system.

Domestic and international research

We value the perspectives of all stakeholders and are now seeking broader feedback on this Consultation Draft 4.0, which you can download here as a pdf, with a view to releasing the first edition of the New Energy Compact in the second half of 2020.

Please send your feedback to Kellie Caught, ACOSS, e: [email protected] or m: 0406 383 277 or contact Kellie to organise a direct briefing.

Closing date for feedback 30th of June 2020

[1] The process to develop the New Energy Compact has been supported by Australian renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Australian Energy Markets Commission (AEMC) and the Australian Energy regulator (AER)

New Energy Compact PDF

New Energy Compact Word Document

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COSS Climate Statement


The national, state and territory Councils of Social Service advocate to end poverty, inequality and exclusion, and to create an Australia where everyone participates in and benefits from social and economic life, and can exercise their human rights.

Climate change and a slow, poorly managed transition to zero net emissions is a major threat to achieving our vision.

Climate change is not only a threat to our environment, it threatens people’s homes, livelihoods, health, quality of life, employment and increases risks and burdens for future generations. It is a social justice and intergenerational equity issue.

Climate change hits people living on low-incomes or experiencing disadvantage first and hardest. They have the fewest protections from climate change impacts and live in the most affected places. People with fewer resources and capabilities have less money, choice, power and social connections to cope, adapt or recover. Failing to halt climate change will cause greater poverty and inequality in the future.

People who experience poverty and disadvantage are also worse off if the transition to a clean economy is poorly managed and inequitable. This is because they always pay disproportionately more of their incomes on essential services and have less choice and control to reduce costs.

Australia has committed to achieving the Paris Agreement to limit global temperate increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius and pursue 1.5 degrees. As a developed nation, we have a responsibility to lead by responding more rapidly than less developed countries. Australia is currently not on track to meet this goal.


The Councils of Social Service agree on the following principles to respond to climate change:

  1. Australia must act to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Based on the available evidence, this means reducing our net domestic emissions to zero before 2050 and by at least 45% on 2005 levels by 2030. Based on the available evidence, delaying action now will require faster, more expensive and more disruptive change in the future, while heightening risks of more dangerous climate change.
  2. Climate change is already occurring, and more change is already locked in. We must protect people from the impacts of climate change, including by building climate resilient communities.
  3. Australia’s response to climate change should support a more just, inclusive, equitable and sustainable nation. This will require tailoring our responses to the individual needs of people and communities, so they can be resilient to change and thrive in the future.
  4. Taken together, policies to achieve zero net domestic emissions must be enduring,
    operate across the whole economy, and not impose unnecessary costs.
  5. Any costs incurred in responding to climate change must be allocated equitably, ensuring that people on low-incomes are not financially worse off, and ideally are better off.
  6. Governments, businesses, the not-for-profit sector, and the community each have a role in responding to climate change. Community sector organisations must be supported to reduce their emissions and improve their resilience to better support vulnerable people.

Priority Policy Changes

The Councils of Social Service have identified the following policy changes as a high priority:

  1. Plan a smooth transition to an affordable clean energy system – Our energy system has the greatest capacity to reduce emissions rapidly using current technology, and must be prioritised for fast, early emissions reductions. Energy costs are disproportionately higher for people on low incomes or experiencing disadvantage, who have least capacity to reduce their energy use. These people must be protected from additional hardship because of increased costs during the transition, and supported to reduce their energy bills.
  2. Ensure a just transition – Some people and communities will experience negative effects from our response to climate change, such as those depending heavily on burning or extracting fossil fuels. Successful transition plans must be place-based, and include developing new economic opportunities, and the skills and support to exploit them.
  3. Provide equitable incomes to improve people’s quality of life – Three million Australians live in poverty, and many cannot provide for essential needs, including food, housing, energy, healthcare and protection from climate change impacts. To meaningfully manage the transition and support resilience, social security payments must increase to meet an adequate standard of living.
  4. Ensure people live in affordable, quality homes – More affordable, accessible and good quality homes must be provided, including by improving their energy efficiency and thermal comfort to reduce energy use and costs, and increase resilience to climate change impacts.
  5. Provide affordable, sustainable transport options – Transport contributes to Australia’s emissions, imposes costs on people on low incomes and experiencing disadvantage, and is essential for people’s access to social and economic opportunities. Expanding affordable, sustainable mobility options, like public and active transport, lowers costs, improves health and reduces emissions.
  6. Protect people’s wellbeing and promote their resilience – People on low-incomes and experiencing disadvantage struggle the most to cope, adapt and recover from climate change impacts. Their needs must be incorporated into national and local climate change adaptation, resilience and emergency management strategies, including a focus on health, inclusion, communication, and recovery services. Enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to continue to live on or near their traditional lands should also be incorporated in climate adaptation strategies and programs, as well as acknowledging the crucial role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people play in reducing emissions and climate change impacts.
  7. Help community organisations respond to climate change – Community sector organisations play a critical role in disaster preparedness, management and recovery, especially for vulnerable people, but are highly vulnerable to extreme weather events. They must be supported to reduce emissions and improve organisational resilience to better provide help in times of need.

11 December 2019

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Open letter to Energy Ministers about Energy Efficiency

Improving energy efficiency of existing home to create healthy, safe and affordable homes

To COAG Energy Ministers,

The 40 organisations supporting this letter are urging COAG Energy Ministers to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes by supporting the measures and activities outlined in this letter at the upcoming Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council meeting on 22 November 2019.

We have welcomed previous statements on the importance of improving energy efficiency for existing homes and the Energy Council’s support for the consultation process for the Trajectory for Low Energy Existing Homes. The upcoming COAG meeting is an important opportunity to reconfirm this commitment and agree on actions that will deliver substantial benefits to people, the environment and the economy.

Support for Improving Energy Efficiency in Existing Homes[1]

Everyone deserves to live in a home that is safe, comfortable and affordable. Improving the energy efficiency for existing homes is one of the most effective ways to reduce the size of energy bills and the risk of homelessness, as well as improving health and wellbeing, reducing deaths from extreme heat and cold, especially for the 3 million people who live below the poverty line.

Improving the energy efficiency of existing homes will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve the reliability and security of the energy grid, reduce energy costs through reducing peak demand, create thousands of jobs, and improve economic productivity. For example, if all recommendations from the Report for Achieving Low Energy Existing Homes Version 5.0 were introduced by 2022 in all jurisdictions, it would deliver benefits with a net present value of $5 billion and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 52.7 MtO2e by 2050 (based on conservative assumptions and a very limited selection of the total range of benefits).[2]

Importantly, in an environment of economic uncertainty, accelerating implementation of energy efficiency measures for existing homes will help boost investment and job creation by the private sector.

There is strong community support for energy efficiency measures in Australia[3] and many of the measures proposed for Australia have been successfully implemented in New Zealand, the European Union and several American states. Early implementation of a systematic and comprehensive plan to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes will deliver substantial benefits to people, the environment and the economy and should be seen as a high government priority for immediate action.

While we support the Trajectory for Low Energy Existing Homes Report’s proposed intermediate action plan, there are two areas that need strengthening:

  • Policies and measures to support people on low incomes

People on low incomes are most at risk of high energy bills and poor health outcomes as a result of inefficient housing. Positive outcomes for low-income Australians must be prioritised by implementing mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes including specific measures to support implementation in public, Aboriginal[4] and community housing. There is also a need for an ongoing financial support scheme to assist low-income owner-occupiers assess and improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

  • Clear commitment from COAG to implement energy efficiency measures

We would also like to see COAG Energy Ministers commit to implement energy efficiency measures, not just give support for an Interim Action Plan. While we understand jurisdictions will need to undertake a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) before implementing measures, we would argue the benefits have been established and the RIS should go to the “how” and “when” the policy or measure should be implemented, not “if”. Too often we have seen governments walk back from policy before specific commitments to targets or program/policy outcomes have been made.


In light of the above, we are urging you to support our calls and agree to the following at the COAG Energy Council meeting on the 22nd of November 2019:

  • Endorse the proposed Intermediate Action Plan laid out in the report for Trajectory for Low Energy Existing Homes, in the time frame recommended.

In addition, we are calling on the COAG Energy Council to commit to:

  • Improve the energy efficiency of existing homes in line with the goal of achieving zero energy (and carbon) ready new homes.*[5]
  • A process to develop long-term and interim targets for improving energy efficiency for existing buildings over time, in line with the goal of achieving zero energy (and carbon) ready new homes.*
  • Introduce mandatory disclosure of home energy performance at point of sale.#[6]
  • Introduce mandatory energy efficiency standards for rental properties including private, public, Aboriginal and community housing.
  • Prioritise financial support for low-income owner-occupiers to improve energy efficiency of their homes and agree to establish an ongoing scheme to support low-income owner occupiers to undertake energy efficiency audits and upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.
  • Prioritise improving the energy efficiency of all public, Aboriginal and community housing and agree to work with Housing Ministers on a plan including to collect data, set targets, and provide additional funds to upgrade or replace with more energy efficiency housing.
  • Develop a social marketing campaign ahead of introducing new measures to accelerate support and uptake of measures and improve their effectiveness.

We note that any national agreement should not hinder initiatives in individual states that may seek to implement solutions on a faster time frame or with more ambitious outcomes.

Australian Council of Social Service

ACT Council of Social Service

Anglicare Australia

Australian Health Promotions Association

Better Renting

Brotherhood of St Laurence

Climate Health Alliance

Co Health

Community Housing Industry Association Australia

Community Housing Industry Association Victoria

Conservation Council SA


Council of the Ageing

Doctors reform Society

Energy Efficiency Council

Environment Centre NT

Environment Victoria

Ethnic Communities Council of NSW

GEER Australia (Group of Energy Efficiency Researchers)

Life Without Barriers

NSW Council of Social Services Nature Conservation Council

NT Council of Social Service

Public Health Association

Public Interest Advocacy Centre

Queensland Council of Social Services


Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health

Shelter National

Shelter NSW

Shelter TAS

Shelter WA

St Vincent de Paul Society

Tasmanian Council of Social Services

Salvation Army

Uniting Communities

Tenants Union NSW

Victorian Council of Social Service

Western Australian Council of Social Service

Yarra Energy Foundation

Appendix 1:
All Australians deserve a healthy, safe, affordable home

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