The new Government should focus on social cohesion, economic equality and creating more inclusive communities, says NSW’s peak social services body, the NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS).

Congratulating the Berejiklian Government on their re-election, NCOSS says the people of NSW have given them an opportunity to work with the social services sector and disadvantaged communities to build a fairer, more cohesive state.

Calling on the Government to address social issues throughout the state as a top priority, NCOSS CEO Joanna Quilty said, “NSW is a rich state in a rich country, and there is no excuse for people here being left behind – we urge the re-elected Government to strongly commit to driving down inequality.

“We have been calling for a package of reforms to better support communities throughout NSW and we look forward to working across Government to deliver these reforms.”

NCOSS is calling on the re-elected Government to address transport disadvantage, including guaranteed funding for community transport providers and an increase of 20 percent each year for five years; significantly boost the supply of social and affordable housing dwellings; increase the availability and affordability of community mental health services, particularly in regional and rural NSW; increase investment in essential services that provide community safeguards against adversity, such as disability advocacy organisations, tenants advice services and neighbourhood centres; and advocate at COAG for the Commonwealth Government to immediately raise the rate of income payments, to ensure all Australians have access to a decent standard of living.

“We should all be working together across government, the community and private sectors to build great communities, and this requires financial investment by Government as well as partnerships,” Quilty says.

She added that it was vitally important the new Parliament fosters a culture of respect for all communities throughout NSW, given the diversity in the state.