2019 Election Platform

No Child in Poverty

2019 Election Platform

No Child in Poverty

Message from the CEO

When we talk about building strong, connected and sustainable communities, we know that first and foremost our communities care about getting it right from the start and building a strong foundation for children, young people and their families.

We know this because over the last few years since the last State Election, NCOSS has travelled across NSW to hear directly from communities about the key issues that matter to them, and the solutions making a real difference.

NSW is a prosperous state with a strong economy and budget surplus. This is why it is all the more alarming that when we speak to our members, leaders and services on the ground, we hear there are still too many children and young people falling through the cracks and missing out on the support they need.

In NSW, we know that 14% of children under the age of 15 are experiencing poverty – a rate higher than any other mainland state. This means that almost 1 in 7 children are living in households below the poverty line.

Breaking the cycle of poverty and entrenched disadvantage in NSW is not an impossible task. NCOSS has charted a roadmap for the incoming Government that targets five key areas, each with clear actionable recommendations around Affordable & Secure Housing, Access to Justice, Mental Health, Lifelong Learning, and Family and Connectedness. These reflect the changes our communities want to see right across metropolitan, regional, rural and remote NSW. Our Election Platform shines a light on their voices, aspirations and stories.
It should not matter what side of politics we stand on; children’s experience of poverty should not determine their chances and opportunities in life.

NCOSS calls for all sides of politics to lead by example and demonstrate that they are committed to investing in our children, young people and families where it is needed most.

Together, we can build a community where all children and young people are supported and empowered to flourish. The upcoming State Election presents a real opportunity to end child poverty in NSW. Let’s get to work, and get it done.

Joanna Quilty
Chief Executive Officer

Introduction

Children and young people1 should have every opportunity to be empowered and thrive in life. But the impact of poverty can be devastating, long lasting and severely limit access to these opportunities. Experiencing poverty in childhood acts as a statistically significant predictor of subsequent and intersecting forms of disadvantage, including health issues, behavioural problems and homelessness. Yet it is these hardships which predict subsequent poverty, thereby trapping children, young people and their families in a cycle of poverty.

To break this cycle, we clearly need solutions that address a number of intersecting issues.

Before we can flourish and tackle the challenges in life, we all need a stable base and secure environment. This includes a secure home that meets the needs of children, young people and their families. Their families also need to be able to access supports at the right time to avoid crisis and stay together.

For children to get the best start in life and grow through education, we need to support them to engage early and consistently, particularly during times of hardship. They also need to be able to access the right services and supports within their communities when times are tough, so that they feel safe, connected, supported and empowered at all times.

Our roadmap to end child poverty is underpinned by six fundamental principles. All six principles sit at the core of our recommendations and should be considered fundamental in any policy response to end child poverty:

Youth empowerment
Services and programs for children and young people are much more likely to succeed if children and young people have been involved in their design, planning, development and delivery. We need to systematise empowering children and young people to be involved in the decisions that affect them.
Aboriginal self-determination
Aboriginal communities and leaders know what their communities need and must be supported to self-determine at all levels of decision-making. We need to invest in Aboriginal-led design and delivery.
Sustainability
The immediate and long term impact of climate change on our communities is real and has a big impact on our health, safety and communities. Environmental impact and sustainability must be a valued consideration in all social policy responses.
Place-based solutions

Communities should be empowered and resourced to design and deliver their own solutions by coming together and leveraging cross-sectoral partnerships. We need place-based solutions that are grounded in communities.

Regional, remote and rural focus
The tyranny of distance means isolation and lack of transport have a significant impact on individual and community access to opportunity, services and supports. We need focused approaches and investment for regional, remote and rural communities.
Digital inclusion
Building everyone’s capacity with technology can reduce social and economic exclusion, and increase community and social connection. Improved connectivity can help address the isolation faced by rural and remote communities, reducing the tyranny of distance and ensuring that no one is left behind as we move towards an increasingly digital future.
Tailored approaches
Not everyone is on an equal footing. We need tailored and targeted approaches that recognise multiple and intersecting forms of disadvantage and are shaped by, and for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities, people with disability, LGBTIQ communities, older people and younger people, and girls and women.

NCOSS supports our members

We are part of a vibrant sector that holds significant expertise in how to end poverty and inequality in NSW. We stand with our members, and would like to specifically acknowledge our support for the following campaigns.

What’s needed

Support young people to avoid homelessness

Make rent more secure and fair

Support children and their families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness

Implement an affordable housing strategy

Divert young people from the criminal justice system

Slash recidivism rates

Ensure Aboriginal people have culturally appropriate legal assistance

Work with schools to help young people access supports

Ensure children and young people in regional NSW get the help they need

Ensure all children have the best start in life

Support children and young people to remain engaged in education

Bourke girls3

Keep children and young people safe and with their families

Integrate service delivery for our most vulnerable families

Picturesque landscape scene and sunset above road

Reduce the impact of transport disadvantage on children, young people and their families

Deliver place-based community transport solutions

Extend opportunities for young people in regional NSW to be supported to learn to drive

Urgently address health transport barriers in regional NSW for children and their families

  1. NCOSS refers to children and young people interchangeably throughout our platform and includes all those below the age of 25 years.
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