As you will be aware, YANQ held extensive consultations with the sector at the end of last year and published a report earlier this year titled "Listening to Queensland's Youth Sector". The report outlined finding from our consultations across the state and made 5 recommendations to the government for consideration in their recommissioning of the youth sector.
YANQ has been meeting with public servants as well as the Minister to highlight the feedback from the sector. The Minister had last year given YANQ her assurance that she is genuinely wanting to hear from the sector and consider their feedback. That is why YANQ prioritised the consultation with the sector and the reporting to the government even after our defunding.
Unfortunately, last time we met with the Minister to discuss the consultation report she was very hostile towards the sector and the consultation report, in particular Recommendation 3, which states: "Wherever possible, the Queensland Government continues to invest in existing community-based local and regional youth service providers, rather than appointing organisations from outside the community to develop new programs and services". The Minister believes that the sector is immature for having such expectations and in her own words told us that "I will decide what to fund and who to fund".
We tried to outline the broader role the local services play in a community and the importance of this connection to both youth services and the broader community. Unfortunately, the LNP government has no appetite for community development and instead is using the economy as a smoke screen for enforcing their market driven ideology and reshaping the human service provision to match its business model.
It was then of no surprise to YANQ and many in the sector that the Queensland Council of Social Services has been brought in by the LNP to help with the recommissioning process. As the peak body for the youth sector for decades, this is the legitimate role of YANQ, however, it is now obvious that the LNP does not want to hear independent advocacy that YANQ is providing on behalf of the youth sector. In addition, QCOSS, after denying publicly for the past year that they have no intention to take over the youth sector peak role, have now accepted funding to do exactly that.
YANQ has been receiving many calls from the sector across the state questioning the role QCOSS is playing with the government in the recommissioning process. We want to assure our members and the sector that YANQ will continue its work as an independent peak body. Our boycott of the LNP/QCOSS forums has been based on a decision not to give legitimacy to government's undemocratic imposing of a peak on the sector.
In the next fortnight we will be releasing further information about the attempts to silence the youth sector by the LNP and their collaborators.
Watch this space...