CASS (Cairns Alliance of Social Services)
October 12, 2020
CASS sets to challenge State candidates during Anti-Poverty Week Webinar
Poverty and a genuine risk of homelessness became very real propositions for many individuals
and families across Far North Queensland this year as the economic fallout of COVID-19 had
immediate and devastating effects.
For this year’s Anti-Poverty Week campaign, CASS is setting the benchmark for strong regional
advocacy with the Champion Equality Webinar on Thursday 15th October. All local State election
candidates have been invited to respond to the social services’ sector concerns of what the
overall economic recovery for our region looks like and how is the affordable housing deficit going
to be addressed preventing more individuals and families falling into poverty. With keynote
addresses from Aimee McVeigh (CEO of QCOSS) and Dennis Innes (State President of St
Vincent de Paul Society), the webinar is set to genuinely explore the issues and solutions of/to
poverty in our FNQ region.
Chair of CASS, Davina Hickling said the national data had been consistent in showing Far North
Queensland having the highest homelessness rate in Queensland pre-COVID-19. With the State
government’s eviction moratorium ending in September for residential tenants, the sector’s
concerns are of an increase of homelessness.
“The State electorates of Hill, Mulgrave, Cairns, Barron River and Cook have a combined
homelessness figure of 4,300 and the highest need of affordable social housing in the State.
Let’s be clear on this data: these figures are pre-COVID-19. With 168,000 Queenslanders losing
their jobs in the three months to May 2020 and more than 116,000 people leaving the workforce
altogether, the outlook for those people’s ability to maintain a roof over their heads is deeply
“Further, rental affordability has deteriorated this year with national data showing only 168 rental
properties, nationwide, would be affordable to those on the current Job Seeker payment.”
“This is a crisis. A crisis that is currently being experienced by Mums and Dads, students,
pensioners and people with disabilities in our local communities.”
CASS supports QCOSS’ plan for recovery which affirms the community sector provides support
where it is needed most – in local communities across Queensland. The sector will stand beside
Queenslanders and help them to engage in the recovery.
The sector is to make sure all Queenslanders can engage in the economic recovery;
governments must partner with the community sector to put people at the centre of economic
recovery plans and:
1. Support the financial wellbeing of all Queenslanders;
2. Support local economies by creating jobs;
3. Ensure the community services sector can provide support to those who need it
“CASS invites our local candidates to demonstrate absolute leadership in the recovery plan and
to share that plan with our sector at the webinar,” Ms Hickling says.
Champion Equality Webinar has limited spaces and will be live streamed on Facebook
from 3pm, Thursday 15th, October.
Media contact: Davina Hickling | Mobile: 0447 883 189 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org