Aspect October 2017

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: We must work together to create secure jobs

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For some years now we at Anglicare Australia have built our advocacy around a trio of priorities - safe and affordable housing; an adequate income; and secure work. Collectively this tripod forms a stable and strong foundation for individuals, families and consequently society to flourish.

This month we published our second annual Jobs Availability Snapshot shining the light on the secure work leg of the tripod.

We should say from the outset that we firmly believe that a paid job is not the only way for people to contribute and participate.  Anglicare services are assisted by over 9,000 volunteers, enriching the community with their expertise and energy.  This in itself makes a nonsense of the proposal currently before parliament to remove volunteering exemptions from mutual obligation for 50-59 year olds in receipt of Newstart. Similarly carers contribute enormously to our community every year.

However when we are looking at paid work our focus is on the security of that work and availability of work.  The Jobs Availability Snapshot (JAS) uses three pieces of government data to dig beneath the crude statistics quoted in the news of simple numbers of job vacancies.  It allows us to see the experience and qualification required by each of the jobs advertised.  We can then compare this to the number of people actively seeking work and classified by the government as having considerable systemic barriers in the search for employment.

We are interested in jobs classified as level 5, those requiring less than a years’ experience or the equivalent of a Certificate 1 or Year 10.  In short we call them entry level jobs. These include everyday jobs like retail, some manufacturing, cleaners, and farmhands.

Government figures show that there are more than 124,000 people actively seeking work who are only qualified for these entry level jobs.  Of course people can gain experience and gather relevant qualifications but only if they get the first foot in the door or are supported in some other way to do so. The people we are talking about might include a young person with Year 10 but no job experience yet, a parent returning to work after a break from the workforce, someone with skills no longer needed, a new migrant, or someone who struggles with literacy or numeracy.  These are everyday people looking for everyday jobs.

When we look at the numbers there are 5 of these jobseekers for every entry level job. In Tasmania this rises to 10.  Of course our report is purposefully conservative.  Anyone can compete with these job seekers for these roles. The actual experience of seeking work if you happen to be in one of these groups is even more difficult than these figures portray.

Recent news that employment figures are improving masks this issue.  We can see from our report that this group has not been helped by growth in the current job market.  The proportion of jobs advertised at the entry level has dropped from 22% in 2006 to 15% this year.

These “improving figures” also encourage the current narrative coming from government and many commentators - that people who really want a job can get one.  Indeed this line is trotted out so often that it is in danger of becoming an accepted truth and another kick in the teeth when you are facing these odds.

However this narrative is clearly not any truth - our report proves this using the government’s own data. Yet this narrative gives rise to punitive policies which blame the individual, seeking to cut welfare payments or make them harder to get reasoning that that will “incentivise” people into work.  Hard to do when the work for which you are currently qualified isn't there.

The effect of these polices is that the individual shoulders the full risk of the vagaries of the economy. They alone bear the brunt of unemployment at a minimal cost via welfare payments to the rest of society. And what a cost it is. Poorer health outcomes, mental health issues, low standard of living  whilst unemployed and lower likelihood of getting into work the longer you are out of it.  And these things can “scar” low income translates to low retirement income, and poor health leads to increased frailty and ultimately earlier death.

As we see underemployment, unpaid internships, and attacks on the minimum wage increase we also see a growth in employed people using our emergency relief services  – an emergence of a “working poor”.  This in itself represents another shift in risk and payment.  Society tops up these inadequate wages with welfare payments allowing large (and small) businesses to shift the cost of employment from their bottom line to that of the Australian community.

Of course there are answers.  Training that recognises where someone is today and bridges from this to a real job.  Welfare payments that allow people to keep up a decent standard of living and work towards a job instead of worrying about making rental payments and juggling skipping meals and paying bills.  Recognition of volunteering and caring roles.  Creation of real jobs in areas of high need such as aged and disability services and the environment.

What these responses have in common is that they put the individual at the centre.  Not the private training college pumping students through an irrelevant course; not a business looking to gain cheap labour by churning people through low level positions and chasing government incentives to do so.  They look at what the person needs.  Not at lowering the welfare bill whatever the cost.

These approaches also recognise a truth that we are a society not an economy.

These responses will get many more people into work.  The Anglicare Australia network is brimming with evidence of programmes that work by understanding and working with the individual enabling them to gain and sustain a job. They will also respect other contributions made by people. And they will build a society where the individual is a central building block rather than an assumption that the economy is a real force of nature which, like gravity, cannot be argued with.

It was refreshing to hear across the Tasman recognition that a strong economy was not enough if it leaves some people behind.  As New Zealand begins life with a new government it will be interesting to see how this translates into policy. And how Australia can learn from this as it has sought to from recent New Zealand’s social policy.

National Office News

National Office News: Jobs Availability Snapshot, Anti-Poverty Week, and more

JAS 17

Anglicare Australia Launches Jobs Availability Snapshot 2017
Anglicare Australia has called on the government to take urgent action to create stable, paid jobs following the release the 2017 Jobs Availability Snapshot. The Snapshot was launched on 19 October 2017, as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

The findings from the Snapshot show that only 15 percent of all advertised jobs in May 2017 were at the entry-level. That same month 711,000 people were unemployed, including 124,000 job-seekers who are only qualified for entry-level roles. These findings were stark, showing that five people were competing for each entry-level job across Australia. At the same time, entry-level jobs are drying up.

There was a strong interest in the Snapshot all over Australia. Anglicare Australia was featured on ABC TV News Breakfast, ABC Radio National, and ABC Radio Breakfast on the morning of the Snapshot release. It continued to be featured throughout the day by ABC News, SBS News, and Nine News. The Snapshot was also the subject of discussion on ABC’s The Drum.

The report was written up by national news outlets including ABC Online, the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age, the Australian Financial Review, the Conversation, News.com.au and the New Daily. The Snapshot was also covered by specialist outlets such as Pro Bono Australia, International Business Times, Smart Company, HRD Magazine, and the Wire.

Media coverage across Australia was strong, particularly in regional and rural areas where Anglicare CEOs were kept busy with media interviews on the day and those following. The report was featured on ABC regional radio across Australia. Other highlights include coverage from the West Australian with AnglicareWA’s Ian Carter and 2GB radio’s interview with Anglicare Victoria’s Paul McDonald.

The report was welcomed by Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor, as well as Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

Anglicare Australia sponsors 2017 Anti-Poverty Week
In 2017, Anglicare Australia was again a sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week. Anti-Poverty Week was promoted at the recent Anglicare Australia conference, and Anglicare Australia launched the 2017 Jobs Availability Snapshot as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Anglicare WA held a lunch as part of the week's events. In exchange for a lunch, people were asked for their best money saving tip or comment, which were put onto a poster for Anglicare WA's Financial Counselling Service office. Anglicare WA's Jethro Sercombe also participated in the Anti-Poverty Week Children, Poverty and the Law forum.

Anglicare Tasmania moderated Basic Income: Panacea or pipe dream, a panel discussion on the potential of a universal basic income to address poverty in Australia. It featured Dr Alexis Wadsley of the Economic Society Australia, Dr Paul Blacklow of the University of Tasmania, Professor Shelley Mallett of Brotherhood of St Laurence, and Meg Webb of Anglicare Tasmania's Social Action and Research Centre.

Anglicare North Queensland held the Budget Bites Challenge, a cook off competition highlighting the plight of those experiencing homelessness in the Far North. The event featured local sports, radio and TV personalities. It also worked with Bendigo Bank branches throughout the week to raise awareness of food insecurity and collect donations for food.

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West, and ACT held its annual Pens Against Poverty Awards Ceremony as part of Anti-Poverty Week. It also partnered with the Uniting Church to offer a free community lunch to encourage community connection and conversation about issues of poverty.

Further details of activities are available at www.antipovertyweek.org.au.

ACOSS Conference Looks Towards 2030
Anglicare Australia staff members Maiy Azize, Zoë Coombe and Imogen Ebsworth attended the ACOSS conference in Sydney on 24-25 October 2017. The theme of the conference was Australia in 2030: Creating the future we want. It focused on the promotion of social cohesion and addressing the drivers behind poverty and inequality.

ACOSS confThe conference opened with an address by Asylum Seekers Resource Centre CEO Kon Karapanagiotidis, who called for a new approach to Australia's big problems. "A shift in attitude and culture is urgently needed if we are to have a bright future in our country, with opportunities for everyone to thrive and contribute to building our society, not just the privileged," he said.

The conference included a panel on the future of the social sector, featuring NACCHO CEO Patricia Turner AM, Youth Representative to the United Nations Paige Burton, Australian National Development Index director Mike Salvaris, Social Ventures Australia's Jason Eades, and ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. The panel explored what we need to be doing to create the future we want, and explored issues such as youth engagement and a Universal Basic Income. “The right to a basic income is what our agenda on addressing the inadequacy of social security payments is about,” Cassandra Goldie said.

ACOSS conf2Other keynote speakers included economist Saul Eslake, Fight Inequality Alliance's Jenny Ricks, Ted Noffs Foundation's Matt Noffs, Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin, Greens leader Richard di Natale, and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. Workshops and panels covered topics including the future of work, digital innovation, clean energy, diversity and inclusion, and how to recast the narrative.

The conference closed with a panel on reinventing our democracy, featuring Democracy in Colour director Tim Lo Surdo, community organiser Neil Jameson, UNSW's Gemma McKinnon, the Centre for Social Change's Dr Amanda Cahill, the University of Sydney Professor Ariadne Vromen, and journalist Lenore Taylor. Panellists explored how communities can make their voices heard and achieve change.

Audio from some conference panels will be featured on forthcoming broadcasts of ABC’s Big Ideas programme.

Last Chance: Take Our 'Meaning of Home' Survey
Meaning of Home squareHome is where the heart is. It’s where we spend time with those we love, make memories, enjoy our privacy. It’s a space we can make our own, the place that defines where we find community, and find the peace and stability that helps us take on all the other parts of our lives.

Anglicare Australia is running a survey to learn more about what home means to Australians from all walks of life and backgrounds. Want to tell us what it means to you? If so, there are only two questions and you can tell us in your own words by completing this survey.

Anyone can complete this survey anonymously. Please circulate it through your networks – we would love to hear from as many people as possible.

The survey is available here. The survey will close on 22 November 2017.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

H&H SCG Oct 17Housing and Homelessness Strategic Collaboration Group update
Anglicare Australia's Strategic Collaboration Group for Housing and Homelessness met in Adelaide on 9 October 2017. Chaired by AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman, and with members attending from right across Australia, the group agreed to a common alliance-based approach to developing effective plans to end functional homelessness.

Anglicare WA Opinion Piece: We must change our attitudes to poverty and work on inclusion
This is an extract of an opinion piece published by Mark Glasson, Director of Services at Anglicare WA, as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Poverty is not always obvious. If you haven't experienced it, or don't know someone who has, it can sometimes be hard to see. Life for many families living in poverty is a constant juggle between insufficient income and making daily decisions about what they must do without.

Every day the staff at Anglicare WA are seeing the consequences of poverty and it's getting worse. 

More and more families are struggling with rising power costs. The growth of insecure and casual employment has increased the financial uncertainty in our community. Many families we see struggle just to provide three meals a day. We know one young mum, for example, who lives almost entirely on pizza, because a $5 pizza can feed her and her two young children.

Low income families are very used to 'tightening their belts,' but increasingly many are at breaking point and their belts cannot be tightened any more.

We need to change our attitudes and responses to these families.

During Anti-Poverty Week we need to recognise that the characteristics of family poverty have changed over the last two decades, and in response we must change resistant community attitudes around poverty and work towards greater inclusion. 

Click here to the full opinion piece in Fairfax newspapers.

sharethepieBrotherhood of St Laurence launches 'Share the Pie' campaign to increase Newstart
Newstart is designed as a bridge until people find paid work. But payments are now so low that people struggle to pay for essentials such as food and housing, not to mention putting away cash for an emergency. On top of this, looking for work takes time, money and effort.

Low payments make it harder to hunt for jobs, to pay for public transport and clothing to go on job interviews. It also hurts a person’s ability to secure proper housing and, broadly, to live with dignity in a prosperous country.

That's why the Brotherhood of St Laurence is collaborating on a campaign with members of a project team from the Committee for Melbourne's business and civic leadership program, Future Focus Group. The campaign is called 'Share the Pie'.

The campaign that is using social media tags #sharethepie and @share_the_pie to start a conversation on the inadequacy of financial support to improve Centrelink programs.

Click here to find out more about the campaign.

Anglicare Victoria Opinion Piece: Where the Land of the Fair Go Has Gone
This is an extract of an opinion piece published by Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria, as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

At the rate we are going, Australia is headed for an intergenerational poverty and welfare crisis that threatens the foundations of our so-called egalitarian society.

Research by the universities of Melbourne and Sydney, showing that children of parents on Centrelink benefits are almost twice as likely to be on benefits themselves by their early twenties, is a startling finding that should awaken our political and community leaders.

No longer can we consider ourselves the 'land of opportunity' where people can easily cross class barriers. For the first time, we now have evidence to suggest that there is a fundamental and dangerous shift in our society that sees people born in poverty, staying there.

The findings -- together with the spiralling property asset inflation that is shutting many young people out of the market -- dismantle Australia's long and proudly held beliefs that everyone can win in Australia no matter where you come from.

With the evidence now shattering our fairy tale view of ourselves as a society, governments could do worse than to establish an inquiry or summit to discuss ways to repair the now emerging chasm in our society.

Click here to the full opinion piece in the Huffington Post.

benetasbestiesBenetas Besties campaign launched to celebrate important friendships
To coincide with this year’s Victorian Seniors Festival, held between 8-31 October, Benetas has celebrated the unique friendships formed between residents in its residential aged care homes.

The Benetas Besties campaign was developed to recognise the special bonds formed between older people who have met in residential aged care and the important benefits this has to their wellbeing.

‘Besties’ like Carol Inglis, 79, and Carol Jackson, 78, from Benetas Corowa Court Aged Care Apartments in Mornington, have been featured in the campaign, which highlights the important link between social connectedness and emotional health.

Benetas Chief Executive Officer Sandra Hills OAM said the campaign was reflective of the organisation’s commitment to celebrating a positive experience of ageing.

“‘Besties’ like the ‘Carols’ in Mornington are so special because they prove that life doesn’t end just because you’ve entered residential aged care,” said Ms Hills.

“These ‘besties’ are as active and as involved as ever, spending their time investing in and enriching the Corowa community.”

Click here to find out more about the Benetas Besties campaign. 


Research and Resources

New research and resources: Australian Institute of Family Studies, ACOSS, ACNC, and Australian Insitute of Health and Welfare

AIFSChildren in Care Resource Sheet
Australian Institute of Family Studies
This resource is designed to inform service providers, practitioners and policy-makers about children living in out-of-home care. It provides a snapshot of the data on Australian children and young people who were in out-of-home care during 2015-16 and identifies current issues in providing a safe and stable care arrangement. The resource is available here.

ACOSSA Future for all Children: Addressing Child Poverty in Australia
Australian Council of Social Services
Despite our wealth, the latest ACOSS Poverty in Australia report found of the three million people living in poverty in Australia, 731,000 are children, representing one in six of children under the age of 15. This figure has increased by 2 percentage points over the past ten years. The briefing is available here.

MP Charity Toolkit
Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission
The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission has launched a new online toolkit to help charities and their local Members of Parliament connect and discuss important sector issues. The MP Charity Toolkit comprises new Charity Register functionality, which allows searches by federal electorate, and a series of 20 factsheets that cover topical charity sector issues, including fundraising, tax concessions, and safe giving. The toolkit is available here.

AIHWAustralia's Welfare 2017
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australia’s welfare 2017 is the 13th biennial welfare report of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. This comprehensive report provides an authoritative overview of the wellbeing of Australians, examining a wide range of relevant topics. The report is available here.

Government Policy and Information

New consultations and grants

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017
On 19 October 2017, the Senate referred the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Housing Affordability) Bill 2017 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.

Submissions close Friday 10 November 2017. More information is available here.

National Mental Health Commission monitoring and reporting framework
The National Mental Health Commission is conducting a national consultation on the development of a monitoring and reporting framework. The purpose of our consultation is to guide the Commission's national monitoring and reporting on mental health and suicide prevention.

Submissions close Friday 17 November 2017. More information is available here.

2018-19 Pre-Budget Submissions
On 20 September 2017 the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer called for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups seeking their views regarding priorities for the 2018-19 Budget.

Submissions are requested by Friday 15 December 2017. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, October, 2017

FRSA National Conference
The 2017 FRSA National Conference: Connecting the dots: Creating wellbeing for all is an opportunity to promote creative ways to strengthen wellbeing across the family life course – together, and by connecting people, sectors, disciplines and many more ‘dots’. It will be held at the Convention Centre in Melbourne from 22-24 November 2017. Click here to register.

Australia’s Not-for-Profit Leaders Forum
Akolade’s National Not-for-Profit Leaders Forum provides delegates with practical tools to strengthen their business in order to remain viable and financially sustainable in an unpredictable sector. It will be held from 5-7 December 2017. Click here to register.

Anglicare Australia HR Network meeting
The Anglicare Australia HR Network will hold a meeting on Wednesday 14 March to Friday 16 March 2018. Staff with interest in and responsibility for HR are invited to join this meeting and learn from the experience of others and provide leadership themselves. Further information on the meeting location and program will be available shortly.

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