22 - 24 February 2021

Let's build a better way back together

It’s time to break new ground. As old systems buckle and collapse under the strain of the entirely novel challenges we have faced, spaces of opportunity open to remake and rebuild better together.

The social divides, wealth inequities, uncertain climate futures, and continued colonial impacts that our communities faced prior to the pandemic have been amplified and accelerated. We find ourselves in unimagined and tumultuous terrain that we have had little time to map as we continue to respond to immediate needs.

We are at a juncture. It is critical now, more than ever, that we mobilise our collective efforts to establish the foundations for more cohesive communities, more effective social service systems, more collaborative and joined-up service design and delivery.

The WACOSS Finding Ground: Building a better way back together conference will be one of the first major opportunities for the community service sector to take stock since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. We need to meet, and early 2021 is both timely and imperative to affirm pathways out of response and into recovery.

Like the Nyoongar concept of djenna bidi, journeying together, we need to build and walk forward in unity, here on Nyoongar Boodja where we are gathering, and elsewhere, to realise a future that is genuinely inclusive, sustainable, and grounded in equity.

The WACOSS conference will be the place and space to plot and plan with our peers about how we might do things differently together to make a real difference. A chance to explore not what we want, because we are clear about this, but how we are going to collectively and effectively take action to get there.

The focus will be forward, recognising what we have learnt from this crisis, those COVID adaptations that have revealed better ways. These innovative changes and agile responses will be our footing while we consider how these lessons can inform future service design and social policy.

This conference will provide us with the opportunity to seize these emerging and urgent openings, and find ground from which we build back more resilient and connected communities.

Artist credit – Millie Penny

Read more about the conference logo here

Call for Abstracts


Due to the uniquely temporal nature of pitching a new idea, the pitch category of the abstract callout has been reopened for submissions.


This submission format is for a 5-7 minute pitch of an innovative idea to be delivered in a dynamic and entertaining session to a panel of executive representatives from funding bodies. This idea can be a hypothetical proposal yet to be implemented, or a pilot in the early stages of being trialed. Presenting a pitch will afford you the opportunity to test your idea amongst peers, and have the ear of funding executives who will provide feedback about the investment potential of your idea.  


Submission components

  • Proposal (300 words or less across all three questions)
      • What is your idea?
      • How would it make a difference?
      • How can we make it happen?
  • Bio (100 words or less)


Submit your pitch proposal to demelza@wacoss.org.au by no later than 5pm Friday 23 October 2020

Conference Location


46-54 Marine Terrace & Essex St, Fremantle


Esplanade Hotel Fremantle


08 6381 5300