The South Australian Council of Social Service will today celebrate 70 years of advocacy and working in collaboration with low-income and disadvantaged South Australians, and with the sector that supports them.
SACOSS is also today releasing our 70th Annual Report, and holding our 70th Annual General Meeting and combined 70th birthday party.
Selected highlights in our history last century include:
- Actively promoting multiculturalism, well before this term was used, by promoting acceptance of non-English speaking post-war migrants, including establishing the Good Neighbour Council in SA
- Talking publicly about mental health issues and encouraging services to help people with mental illness to be supported to remain involved in their local communities. SACOSS enabled the establishment of the Mental Health Association, which then worked with Adelaide Central Mission and the RAH to establish the Lifeline telephone suicide prevention counselling service, the second such service in the world.
- Advocating for sex education in schools and services for single mothers
- First raising the spectre of youth homelessness in 1978, and other emerging homelessness issues, also leading to the formation of Shelter SA
- Helping to establish Service to Youth Council, one of the world’s first organisations to apply outreach approaches to engaging with marginalised and disaffected young people
- Supporting innovative services to assist people with a disability, including establishing the Phoenix Society (which later amalgamated with Bedford Industries to form Bedford).
Over the last few years, SACOSS has played a leading part in securing:
- Funding for more financial counselling positions to assist those struggling with rising living costs
- The introduction of a Cost of Living Concession
- A $30 per year increase in the state concession for water bills for low income South Australians
- The introduction of a “point-of-consumption” wagering tax in SA to stop online bookmakers using gambling tax havens
- State government funding to establish consumer credit legal services in SA
- Changes to legislation on the Compulsory Third Party Insurance to protect the rights of vulnerable people injured in motor vehicle accidents
- Federal and state government funding to community services organisations to cover costs of Fair Work Australia’s Equal Remuneration Order granting much needed pay equity to workers in our sector
- Legislation to protect the independence of the sector and the rights and ability of community organisations to advocate for policy change.
- Standardised indexation of all multi-year government grants and contracts with the not-for-profit sector
Over the decades SACOSS has also played an integral role in the development of organisations such as Relationships Australia SA, Good Neighbour Council, Mental Health Association, Shelter, Community Information Strategies Australia, Volunteering SA, Citizens Advice Bureau, Welfare Rights Centre, Justice for Refugees, Health Consumers Alliance of SA, and Community Employees Association.