The 2015 QCOSS Conference was held on 13-14 October 2015 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. 

Speakers included Jessica Venegas from Community Solutions USA, a panel session hosted by Jenny Brockie from SBS Insight, and a storytelling workshop by Juanita Wheeler from Full & Frank.

Transcript

Mark Henley, Queensland Council of Social Service: This year's conference is about individuals building thriving communities

*Welcome to country in local Aboriginal language by Danny Doyle* 

Jessica Venegas, Community Solutions: We know, we knew that there's this big problem nationally around the amount of spending that we're doing for our chronic homeless and so our intention was how do we launch some kind of an effort nationally that would really focus on this population and make sure that we were focusing resources in the right way, and so we wanted to house a hundred thousand chronic and vulnerable homeless people in four years. Audacious goal, right? And our approach was going to be a campaign approach, so we didn't know much going in but this is what it is going to be.

Jenny Brockie, SBS Insight: Ok Gabrielle, comment from you, from your experience around the domestic violence area. I mean, how do you respond to that idea about people having more choice about the services that they use?

Gabrielle Borggaard, Domestic Violence Action Centre: I think it's crucial that we all have choice about the services that we need to use and access I think when we're talking about market driven spaces for social services and also competitive tendering we can often forget that we're actually working with people

Kevin Cocks, Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland: The first thing that heightens a person's vulnerability is the lack of freely given relationships. If you only have paid people in your life, you are potentially and your vulnerability is heightened

Nicole Gibson, National Mental Health Commission: At the end of the day it's the entrepreneurial thinking that's going to ensure the longevity of this work. If we can get people to start to look at effective long-term solutions to funding, then we're not going to be so dependent on government and we're going to be able to prove the effectiveness of the work and then government can come in and say right, let's put some more funding into this, this has proven to be effective

Greg Elphinston, True Relationships and Reproductive Health: Every brand has its challenges. There's no perfect brand that resonates perfectly well with everybody. Unless maybe lego, might be one of them. But of these twelve issues that we've identified ten probably weren't really an issue: either we could solve them, or they were as positive as they were negative.

Christine Crain, Queensland Treasury: One of the opportunities that we see from the Queensland pilot program is that we have a number of jurisdictions that are learning and documenting their learnings, and what we're looking to do from the Queensland perspective is actually leverage off those learnings

Adam Allan, Social Impact Investing Queensland: But I would point out at this point in time, bonds definitely aren't for everybody. They require a lot of organisational capacity and capability, a lot of planning to get there and then once you've got a program that you're ready to fly, and then the actual time, organisational band width that you need to get a transaction up and running is significant. So the starting point has to be: have we got a program that is compatible with this type of financing?

Carly Hyde, Queensland Council of Social Service: Thank you for coming along to the masterclass today, and the purpose of these masterclass sessions is really to do more of a deep dive into some of the priority issues causing poverty in Queensland.

Vicki Cella, Relationships Australia: When clients feel desperate, what we've noticed with clients is that they want to access money really quickly, so when they feel desperate, they're not aware of alternative options and they get lured into accessing the following credit options, which is what they think is available to them.

Marissa Dooris, QPILCH: Unpaid fines can lead to really negative consequences for people, and we'll talk a bit more about this, but SPER has the power, as you may be aware, to cancel a person's driver's licence, to take money from the person's bank account, even when the person's only source of income is centrelink.

Katherine Davie, Department of Human Services: We would usually say, well you need to sort out your rental arrears, you need to sort out your debts and we need to get you into good housing, you know that kind of stuff. But her whole thought is about her daughter, and her grandmother's possessions.

Juanita Wheeler, Full & Frank: We've moved from talking about persuasion, we talked at the beginning about the neuroscience, the reasons why this works, why storytelling is not a fad, why this is the most effective way you're going to get your message, whatever that is, across to human brains. And then we talked about persuasion, again remember, it's a spanner, it's not good or evil, it's a tool, and the ways that we can use persuasion and some of the most effective strategies. We talked about engaging empathy, so we talked about cognitive versus affective empathy and the important differences, and we talked about being mindful of where you fall, or your messages fall, on the pity empathy spectrum. Now we're actually getting into the how to do it, tactical, when you start sitting down to write stories.

Jessica Venegas, Community Solutions: So I've moved into shared action, and part of the reason I moved into shared action on this slide, is because, improving on a system is not easy, right? It can be really challenging, especially when people feel ownership for each of these steps, or feel like they are required to do that step in order to do that job. And so to say to somebody, oh ok well three different places we have to check ID in these three different places, if we all agree that the first agency that touches them can then say that yes this is the person and yes they're eligible and then the other two agencies have to agree, that requires a lot of work. But it can be done, and it can be done relatively quickly if people are willing to do it and if there's an agreement around what the shared goal is. So to that end, and to do it really quickly, I need some volunteers.

*Volunteers throw a ball to each other in a circle and cheer* 

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