Author: 
Megan Smith, Homelessness Planning and Coordination Officer, QCOSS
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The 2014 ACOSS conference was recently held in Brisbane on 11-12 June 2014, with a theme of Global problems, local solutions: tackling inequality in Australia and beyond. The conference culminated with a resolution on the 2014 Federal Budget. You can also access a broad range of other resources from the conference, including video and audio recordings, presentations, photos, blog posts and Twitter highlights.

Megan Smith, Homelessness Planning and Coordination Officer for QCOSS on the Fraser Coast, attended the ACOSS conference. Here are her thoughts:

"The recent ACOSS conference brought together a diverse and eclectic group of speakers talking about the linkages between social inequality, equity and fairness.

As a regional QCOSS worker I found most useful those speakers who talked about social investment as a driver of economic development (especially relevant to regional areas), as well as their broader experiences of advocacy for social change.

Added to this was a solid exploration of dominant economic narratives, across a number of forums, in terms of the alternative economic choices that Australian society currently faces. Combined with the use of personal narratives from people experiencing disadvantage and poverty, this allowed for some brave and expansive conversations around the Australian Society we are currently building for the future.

The importance of these topics was underscored by presenters who clearly outlined the value of the Community Services Sector to broader Australian economic growth, and indeed what we define as growth. In particular, I appreciated the closing plenary that addressed the question of “Can inclusive growth address inequality?”.

The calibre of political speakers who chose to attend and address the forum was a key indication of the importance of these conversations at a national level, and of the need for governments to consult with the Community Services Sector as a collaborative partner. You can listen online to the speeches of Kevin Andrews, Bill Shorten and Christine Milne. "

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