Policy submissions

Submission to the Inquiry into the Electoral Legislation Amendment (Electoral Funding and Disclosure Reform) Bill 2017

9th March 2018

The stated objective of this Bill is to improve the integrity of Australia’s electoral system, however it conflates political campaigning and issue advocacy.
As such, it will threaten the ability of charities and not-for-profits to advocate on behalf of their communities.
We argue strongly against the Bill in its current form, and recommend that it be rewritten to ensure that charities’ right to advocate is not restricted.

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Review of Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission (ACNC) legislation

28th February 2018

cohealth’s submission emphasises the critical role advocacy plays in the work of charities and in a mature democracy.

We argue that no changes should be made to the ACNC objects or frameworks that would restrict the right of charities to advocate in line with their organisational mission.

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Family Law Amendment (Family Violence and Cross-examination of Parties) Bill 2017

25th August 2017

This amendment to the Family Law Act proposes banning direct cross-examination in family law proceedings where family violence is present. Direct cross examination is where a person involved in a court case personally asks questions to another person, rather than having the questions asked by a legal representative.
cohealth’s submission emphasises that the protection of victims of family violence must be the key consideration in family law proceedings, and supports the ban on direct cross-examination.

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NDIS Transitional Arrangements

10th August 2017

In our submission to this inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme cohealth re-iterates our concerns about emerging service gaps for people with a serious mental illness in Victoria, both for those eligible for the NDIS and those who aren’t.
Our submission includes recommendations that:
– State and Territory governments meet their obligations to ensure that psychosocial rehabilitation is adequately funded
– the NDIS pricing structure be reviewed to ensure it allows sufficient resources to effectively meet the needs of people with psychosocial disability
– planning processes be improved to better meet the needs of people with a mental health condition.

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Deductible Gift Recipient Review – Department of Treasury

4th August 2017

This inquiry proposes additional reporting requirements and scrutiny for organisations with Deductible Gift Recipient status that are engaged in advocacy activities.
cohealth’s submission expresses our concern about these proposals. As an organisation whose purpose is to improve health and wellbeing, we know that advocacy is as essential to delivering on our mission as are our service provision, health promotion, and community education activities.

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Drug testing trial for income support – Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017

4th August 2017

This legislation, if passed, will enact a range of provisions impacting on income support recipients – including the Federal budget announcement of random drug testing of unemployed people at three trial sites.
In our submission to the Senate inquiry into this Bill cohealth strongly argues against the drug testing trial. These provisions have no basis in best practice evidence, will do little to support people dealing with alcohol and drug use, and will only subject income support recipients to greater poverty, stigma and marginalisation. Drug and alcohol use is best responded to through public health measures, not welfare compliance.

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Productivity Commission inquiry into the Reform of Human Services – Draft Report

14th July 2017

This inquiry proposes applying greater competition, contestability and user choice into six areas of human service delivery – public dental services, family & community services, social housing, end of life care, public hospitals and services in remote indigenous communities.
• We express our concerns whether introducing greater competition and contestability would actually improve outcomes for people, particularly in light of the underfunding of these sectors, and argue that rectifying funding shortfalls should be the priority.
• Our submission focuses on responding to the recommendations about public dental services. We emphasise the importance of ensuring that the needs of clients with complex are met, and the social determinants of health considered.

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Productivity Commission inquiry into NDIS costs – Position Paper

12th July 2017

This Position Paper seeks further input to the NDIS costs Inquiry. We re-iterate comments we made to the earlier Issues Paper, focusing on the impact on people with a mental health condition.
While supporting the NDIS philosophy of greater choice and control, we again express our concern that the pricing structure is not sufficient to effectively meet the needs of people with a psychosocial disability.
• We support recommendations for the need for improvements in the planning process and for greater government clarity about services that will provided outside the NDIS.
• We continue to argue that the NDIS needs to ensure it can effectively meet the needs of people with complex needs, through maintaining a skilled workforce and providing funding to services to work with particular groups of participants.

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Legal and Social Issues Committee’s Inquiry into the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Amendment (Pilot Medically Supervised Injecting Centre) Bill 2017

13th April 2017

Following the Coroner’s inquest into the death of Ms A in Richmond, the Victorian government established an inquiry into examine the recommendation that a Supervised Injecting Facility be established in North Richmond.

cohealth’s submission strongly supports the establishment of such a facility, and argues that they should be piloted at a range of ‘hot spots’. Health and social support services should be provided at these facilities, providing an holistic approach. The evidence is clear that Supervised Injecting Facilities save lives and reduce other harms from the use of drugs. It is time that Victoria takes the steps to introduce harm reducing and life saving strategies.

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