Aspect November 2015

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

The inherent inequity of a GST increase

Kasy Chambers ED4The ‘Aussie Battler’ is a character beloved of all sides of politics – each claiming to have the interests of this group at heart. However, increasingly, people in this group - families, individuals and households - are the target (advertently or otherwise) of social policy which will make their battle that bit harder.

Insecure employment, inadequate income on benefits and even the minimum wage, and increasing expectations of what it takes materially to participate in education and community life, are all making the idea of “just getting by” an achievement too far.

Living Standard Trends in Australia, recent NATSEM research commissioned by Anglicare Australia, looked at which groups have done well and not so well over the last 10 years and made projections for the 10 coming up.

Not surprisingly given our mission to "speak out for the most disadvantaged", we emphasised the effects of government policy on the incomes of those in the lowest quintile of income distribution. This group has gained the least from redistribution of taxes over the last 10 years despite strong economic growth for the country overall. And looking ahead, based on current policy, they will actually start to go backwards over the next 10 years as their incomes fail to keep up with inflation and the costs of living. In other words, simply based on government policy and payments, their standards of living will drop. When we add economic factors to that like changes to tax and employment regulation, the situation gets worse still.

Anglicare Sydney’s Profile of deep and persistent disadvantage, is research into the persistent nature of disadvantage adds to our concern about this picture. It was launched with this year’s State of the Family report and shows that it is increasingly hard for those at the bottom of the income distribution to raise themselves out of poverty, to turn their fortunes around. The barrier between those in the lowest quintile and the second lowest is getting harder, and the services intended to help people climb back out of the safety net of income support and emergency relief are finding it more difficult to do. A visit to poverty in Australia in 2015 can last a lifetime.

This means we need to turn our attention to the second quintile in the income distribution as well. People in this band, more insecure than ever, are now in danger of being caught in the safety net which instead of breaking their fall and returning them to their feet unharmed is ensnaring them. These days however, the longer you are there the harder it is to get out, with our research showing that people on Newstart (for example) spending more than their weekly income just to get by, going without regular nutritious food, unable to afford even the most basic costs of living, and eroding any savings from the get go.

The key for the second quintile group, the ‘precariat’ perhaps, is to ensure they don't need the depths of the safety net. There's no surprise in this work for much of the Anglicare Australia membership - this is protection and prevention work, cheaper and more effective by far than the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

In terms of advocacy – in the current climate of budget cuts and taxation reforms - this means protecting anything which builds and enables the resilience and capacity of these households and communities. Two immediate examples spring to mind.

Any cuts to the family tax benefits for families on low income need to be avoided. The small payment most recently under threat is a lump sum of up to $726 once a year to families on very low incomes. Really, that is a new set of school books, new pair of shoes for growing feet and an opportunity to catch up on household bills to these families. This small amount may be enough (if they can count upon it and not have it subject to constant threat) to keep some families getting by. To help keep people safe from the safety net.

The other and perhaps more pressing issue is GST. Many voices are chorusing to the tune of raising the percentage level of GST, some claiming that compensation will sweeten this for those on low incomes.

It is common sense that consumption taxes (especially those on necessary items) will affect those with the lowest income disproportionately. If you don't believe that the GST is paid on necessary items, just check your next supermarket docket and see how much you have paid on your weekly shop for household items. Increasing GST then will affect those households in the lowest two quintiles the most.

That advocates of an increase to the GST are discussing compensation seems to me to acknowledge the inherent inequity of that increase. Further, it seems inefficient and silly to design from the outset a tax that requires compensation straight away, creating red tape and confusion in the process. And we have all seen that compensation erodes over time, further diminishing the spending power of those on the lowest incomes.

Compensation is something which should be brought to bear as taxes and policies age - the times in which they were designed have changed and we are unable to change policy fast enough. Compensation is useful to take the edge off older policy as it becomes less fit for purpose.

Taxation is the mechanism of collecting for collective gain. We need to collect enough to fund the services a civilisation requires, thrives upon and enjoys – health, education, infrastructure, employment and income for those not currently able to participate. TheRe-think taxation reform with everything on the table should be more visionary than simply the adjustment of an existing tax with a raft of compensations designed to make it more palatable. A tax system should be the fiscal representation of the society we want to have. Surely that should not be one that harms those on low incomes?


National Office News

New Policy Director - Sarah Jewell

Sarah cropped 4 AspectAfter a very successful recruitment process, Anglicare Australia would like to introduce its new National Policy and Research Director, Sarah Jewell.

Sarah is an experienced policy advisor, social researcher, advocate and capacity builder, with a particular interest in social justice and human rights. She has professional experience in the not-for-profit sector and the Australian public service.

Before joining Anglicare Australia, Sarah was the Deputy Director at the Youth Coalition of the ACT, the peak body for youth affairs in Canberra.

Complementing her professional experience, Sarah is a committed volunteer, having served on multiple not-for-profit boards, including chairing the board of Toora Women Inc. Sarah holds a Masters degree in International Peace Studies, and undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts.

In her new position, Sarah will be responsible for Anglicare Australia’s social policy and research framework, social policy advice, the National Research Network and key stakeholder engagement.

ACOSS-CSI Policy and Research Forum

      

Anglicare Australia’s National Policy & Research Director, Sarah Jewell and Policy & Research Officer, Coco Ho attended a two day forum on community sector policy and research, hosted by ACOSS and the Centre for Social Impact.

The Policy & Pulse Forum brought together practitioners, community service managers, academics, peak bodies, and government representatives. Day one focused on measuring social outcomes, and identifying which groups are consistently missing out. The Centre for Social Impact has developed a resource called Australia’s Social Pulse, which measures social indicators across education, health, housing and homelessness, employment, disability, social cohesion, living standards, and life satisfaction. Presented in a dashboard style, the data highlights the relationship between the different domains, and the reality that social disadvantage can have a compounding affect.

The discussion on day two was more future-focused, moving from how we are performing as a community now into how to ensure access to and effectiveness of services. The federation reform process was explored as both an opportunity and threat to the social sector. ACOSS and the COSS network also presented their idea of a universal service guarantee to ensure that community members receive essential community services when and where they need them.

Throughout both days there were a number of panel discussions that provided challenges to the sector about how we work together, how to ensure needs are met and services are top quality in an environment of reduced funds, how we influence community debate about taxation, and how to ensure that we build a ‘learning system’ with clear measurement and feedback loops.

 

DSS Community Services Advisory Group meeting

Anglicare Australia Deputy Director, Roland Manderson attended the Department of Social Services’ second Community Services Advisory Group meeting in early November.

The group is chaired by the DSS and made up of key stakeholders from across the community services sector, including key service providers and peak bodies. It was convened to provide advice on issues relating to grants policy and processes, following the 2014 selections process.

The focus of the discussion at this meeting included the findings of the Nous review into the Department’s 2014 grants process. Group members commending the Department for its transparency in releasing this document, noting there are still future improvements to be made.

A draft forward work plan for the group was circulated, with a focus on how to better foster collaboration and innovation among the sector, and how to improve strategic engagement and communication in the design of grants programs.

The group looked at how best to support small organisations, particularly in the application stages of the funding rounds, to ensure the right service mix on the ground. The respective roles of government, peak bodies and major service providers were considered as part of this discussion.

There was a presentation on the Department’s early thinking on pre-qualification for providers, to streamline grants processes and reduce the administrative burden on community service organisations.

There was also a presentation on the DSS Data Exchange, the Department’s new outcomes-based reporting tool. The DSS Data Exchange was introduced as part of the 2014 grants process with several key objectives, including reducing red tape for providers, shifting the focus of reporting from outputs to outcomes, and working collaboratively with providers to support innovation in service delivery.

The Group will continue to meet quarterly to further these discussions and to provide input on future grants design and processes.

A New Idea with Anglicare Australia

Australian women’s magazine, New Idea, launched its We Care Packs campaign on White Ribbon Day and has teamed up with the Anglicare Australia network to deliver those packs to 365 women during 2016.

New Idea will help ‘A woman a day’ by providing We Care Packs to women fleeing domestic violence, through Anglicare support services across Australia. The care packs will be filled with everyday essentials such as toiletries and phone credit.

The story on the partnership and some personal stories of women who have experienced domestic violence is featured in the November issue of New Idea.

If you have a story on this issue that might be useful for future editions of New Idea, or you want your organisation to receive and distribute some of the packs, contact our National Media & Communications Manager, Skye Owen.

 

HESTA says thanks

Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers and Deputy Director, Roland Manderson, together with other community and sector representatives, enjoyed a fine lunch courtesy of HESTA Super, who was thanking us for partnering with them.

HESTA CEO, Debby Blakey gave a brief presentation on HESTA’s successful approach. She talked about its consistent returns and performance, investment in essential public assets such as ports and airports, support for the health and community services industry – such as the Aged Care and Community Service Awards – advocacy for the (often low paid) women who are their customers and make up so much of our workforce, and HESTA’s leadership in taking on board the ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) impacts of their investment.

While Debby didn’t mention HESTA’s decision to divest itself of its holdings in Transfield, clearly there is a link between social impact, governance implications and economic risk. In other words, the likelihood of people acting on their consciences makes Transfield less attractive as an investment. To put it another way, being hard-nosed about business means taking ESG into account.

Readers know Anglicare Australia argues that pursuing our social mission, of finding a way to bring people on the margin of our society closer to its heart, has massive economic return as well. HESTA seems to take a matching approach, delivering the best returns to its members by taking an ethical approach to its investments.

Guests also enjoyed an insightful presentation by Rachael Robertson, the first women to lead an Australian Antarctic expedition. Rachael has a book and a website that gives more detail of her experience, but working with a small isolated team for many months, certainly put issues of teamwork, respect, understanding and honesty at the fore. Her overarching message is that respect trumps harmony every time, which is a position that applies at a global and national level, as well as in the work place.

HESTA on the economic security of women in retirement

Anglicare Australia partner, HESTA, tendered a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the economic security of women in retirement. The information below has been sourced from that submission.

 

The Australian Human Rights Commission reports that single elderly female households are at the greatest risk of poverty and experience the highest levels of persistent poverty.

Recently, a cross-party motion by Senators Jenny McAllister (Labor), Sean Edwards (Liberal) and Larissa Waters (Greens) was supported by the Senate, meaning that the Senate Economics References Committee will investigate, among other issues, a 46.6% gap in superannuation at retirement between men and women.

Australia has a sophisticated retirement system, but it is designed to reward those with unbroken careers. Women typically move in and out of the workforce, face wage discrimination and live around five years longer than men, leaving a stark gender gap in retirement incomes.

In Australia, women are financially penalised for taking on unpaid caring responsibilities.

HESTA, the superannuation fund dedicated to the health and community services sector, strongly supports the need for investigation in this issue. Investigation that goes beyond individual actions that women can take to improve their retirement outcomes and looks instead on the structure of the retirement system and if it is providing a fair playing field.

HESTA is an industry superannuation fund with more than 800,000 members, and over 80% of these members are women. They manage just over $32 billion of retirement savings.

The typical HESTA member is well known to Australia. She is skilled, vocationally driven and will spend time out of the paid workforce to care for others. She is currently 43 years old and has around $16,000 in her super account. In their submission, HESTA outlines the drivers of inequity in the typical member’s life and how this accumulates to negatively impact her retirement savings. The HESTA submission to the enquiry notes:

Because of our traditional industry base our members are:

1. More likely to live for five years longer than an average Australian male.
2. More likely to suffer the inconsistencies and discrimination of the gender pay gap.
3. More likely to take time out of the workforce on periods of unpaid leave.
4. More likely to be at risk of poverty in retirement.

Our mission is to make a real difference in the retirement outcome of every member. Creating a more equitable superannuation system will make a real difference to HESTA members. We regard this as unfinished business that deserves a policy focus for completion.

The HESTA submission uses a typical member’s working pattern to model what career breaks will mean to an overall retirement balance. Other drivers are acknowledged but, the case is made that time out of the workforce to raise children and care for others must be valued if the retirement system is to be considered fair.

HESTA also looks at the impact of the impending removal of the Low Income Superannuation Contribution (LISC) on the retirement outcome of women. This measure was put in place to ensure that low income earners are not unduly penalised for using the superannuation system through the taxation rules. It is proposed that this will be removed in 2017 and HESTA says that the LISC is fundamental to an equitable system for low income earners, most of whom are women. The HESTA submission notes:

The LISC provides some structural equity to 3.6 million Australians including over 2 million women. If removed as scheduled in 2017, those earning less than $37,000 on marginal tax rates of 15% or less would miss out on rebates up to $500 in their super accounts.

Losing this fairness rebate would leave around 1 in 3 Australian workers worse off, with disproportionate impacts felt in regional and rural communities, and on women everywhere.

We estimated in the 2012-13 financial year, this would unfairly impact more than 280,000 HESTA members, who would have seen their retirement savings reduced by up to $27,000 if the rebate was removed.

The third focus of the HESTA submission is on an administration “tradition” known as the $450 threshold. This is the amount of wages under which the employer does not need to pay superannuation. HESTA argues that this is a threshold that no longer needs to exist as electronic payment methods used mean there is no undue burden on employers that correlates to the amount the employee is earning. It is not known how many women this will impact but the potential recipients include those who could be working across a number of employers as discussed in the HESTA submission:

Consider our nurse, on returning to work she decides to take irregular shifts across three health providers. She earns the following in one month:
• $360 from a pathology lab where she works drawing blood samples
• $420 from a hospital filling in a night duty shift
• $445 from a GP clinic where she taught first aid.

Her total gross monthly pay is $1,225. Her total superannuation contribution for that month is $0.

Three different employers, all under the $450 threshold for the month therefore none of these made a contribution to her superannuation.

HESTA recommends the following changes to the structure of the superannuation system to promote fairness for women –

1. Commitment to keep the Low Income Superannuation Contribution measure

2. Removal of the $450 threshold

3. Valuing the unpaid caring roles at the time they are performed.

Submissions to the enquiry have now closed and hearings are taking place across the country.

Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321. This is information only and is not intended to be taken as financial, legal or any other advice, and should not be relied on as such. The information is taken from sources considered reliable. While every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information, it is not guaranteed in any way. Forecasted information is based on assumptions considered to be reasonable (see Model Assumptions), and is provided for illustrative purposes only. Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit hesta.com.au for a copy), and consider any relevant risks (hesta.com.au/understandingrisk).

Gastronomique - fundraising food and wine gala

Melbourne’s top chefs came together for Anglicare Victoria’s annual Gastronomique, a fundraising food and wine gala that raises money for struggling families in Victoria. Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers attended the function and provided the following commentary.

 

The annual Anglicare Victoria fundraising dinner, Gastronomique, was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with staff at Anglicare Victoria, hear about the strong regard that leaders in government, civil society and the sector have for the work, and meet young people who have lived in care and come back to talk about it.

Whilst much of the focus of the night was on the fine work of the chefs and the marvellous work of the Anglicare Victoria events team, there was no doubt the reason for the evening, and the true stars of the show, were children and young people that live in the care system with Anglicare Victoria.

The performance by music group, Move Groove and Grow, reminded us that kids in care are just like all other kids – they want to have fun, find outlets for their creativity and enjoy performing! It was treat to hear first-hand from Dylon, who came into care with Anglicare Victoria when he was 12.

Anglicare Victoria CEO, Paul McDonald told of how the organisation seeks to be ambitious in its parenting of these young people, using a story of how one girl who loves sewing will now participate in work experience with Opera Australia during one of its productions, in addition to receiving fabrics, a mannequin and sewing machine from their head seamstress.

The real star of the evening though was Paul’s bowtie which the auctioneer sold off in an impromptu auction for over $2,000.

Anglicare Victoria is the largest foster-care provider in Victoria. It currently finds homes for 400 children a night, and last year supported 5500 families, helping parents to learn new skills and to develop positive relationships with their children.

 

Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers with Dylon, who spoke about his time with Anglicare Victoria from age 12.

Communications the Anat Shenker Osorio way

Anglicare Australia Deputy Director, Roland Manderson was fortunate to be invited recently to a communications workshop with communications experts, researcher and political commentator, Anat Shenker Osorio by ACOSS/Australian Progress, supported by the Reichstein Foundation. Here he outlines the experience.

The focus of the workshop was talking about inequality; and Anat had an entertaining, take-no-prisoners, cut-to-the chase approach to her work, which suited the content. She also used her research on how people respond to the words we use to help us sharpen up our communication. And be clear about what we want to communicate.

So growing inequality is not an accident. It is about the most powerful and the most affluent people in the world growing more powerful and affluent. Or indeed, taking more profits from the business they control.

Anat took us through a fairly rigorous exercise in writing and speaking directly, by using verbs for example, avoiding the passive tense, having subjects in sentences. She suggested we talk positively and simply about what we are trying to achieve (eg, to 'have a dream', not 'fight discrimination') and identify the people or organisations responsible for things we want to change, than suggest (for example) food insecurity for those on the lowest incomes is an unfortunate accident.

It’s proving quite hard to put that it into place – but adopting Anat’s principles of talking about important issues directly, and using metaphors that allow for the changes we need (so it’s not an income gap but perhaps a wall or a barrier) helps keep our language positive and energetic. Like Anat herself.

Economic security of women inquiry

Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers attendee the Senate Economics Committee inquiry into the economic security of women in Sydney in November.

Kasy said one of the points Anglicare Australia has been pressing for some months with Treasury and others is for the removal of the rule that does not require superannuation to be paid on incomes of less than $450 per month per employer. Or at least the consolidation of all income from all employers where people work for more than one employer.

The committee asked how we might quantify the number of people that are affected – they are after all invisible to superannuation funds. So, we have asked the Anglicare Australia HR Leaders group to provide this information so we can provide this number to the committee.

Several have already provided this via a simple payroll report. If you don’t know whether your organisation is represented on this group, or if you work in HR and would like to join one of the HR networks, contact Kasy.

This is a wonderful example of how we can use the data we have available to change government policy for those facing low retirement incomes and therefore a greater likelihood of poverty in older age.

Kasy was quoted twice after the event; in the Sunshine Coast Daily and in a media release by Senator Chris Ketter and Senator Jenny McAllister.

First line of support in PNG

After years of planning, Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers finally visited our associate member, Anglicare PNG as a speaker at the PNG Church Partnerships Program Conference. Kasy provides an overview.

 

All the Papua New Guinea churches and their welfare bodies met at the conference and I was struck by how in PNG, the churches really are the first, and sometimes the only, line of social support.

Anglicare PNG was the host for this year’s conference (the churches or agencies take turns) and we were welcomed and entertained throughout the conference by the Singsing group from the Anglican Church. The Primate of the Anglican Church in PNG opened the meeting in prayer, about the effects that climate change is having upon PNG, causing a drought and starvation for villagers unable to water their crops.

The conference focussed on changes proposed in funding by the Australian government since AusAID was absorbed into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

After the conference I visited Anglicare’s services in Mount Hagan and Port Moresby, along with the Diocese of Aipo Ropngo and Mission Aviation Foundation, both based in Mount Hagan.

The depth of the work of Anglicare PNG struck me over and over as I visited its HIV clinics, where people first receive the news of their HIV status; the support groups and services for those whose test returns positive; and the literacy clinics for communities to help them understand and absorb health promotion messages.

Anglicare PNG has grown in recent years and like any rapidly expanding organisation, has some challenges in consolidating that growth. The special challenges of operating in the PNG environment make it a little more difficult, but the issues would be known to many of us.

Over the next few months Anglicare PNG CEO, Heni Meke and I will be talking about how the Anglicare Australia network can best help Anglicare PNG as it seeks solutions to these issues. Heni hopes to attract some money from the Australian government, to bring a number of her staff to the Anglicare Australia conference in Darwin next year, to deepen the ties.

 

The PNG Church Partnerships Program Conference welcome involved dancing and singing by the Singsing group from the Anglican Church.

 

The Anglicare team in mount Hagan, complete with Maurice the Anglicare dog.

 

Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers speaks at the PNG Church Partnerships Program Conference.

Snapshot continues to deliver

Secretary for the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union, Owen Bennett referred to data in Anglicare Australia’s 2015 Rental Affordability Snapshot in an essay written for New Matilda in November. He wrote on how the punitive welfare policies are crushing the unemployed and keeping them out of work.

Another Snapshot opportunity came from the release of the Rental Affordability Index by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics & Planning at the end of November.

Kasy was interviewed by The Wire and ABC Radio News Brisbane.

A story on the Rental Affordability Index is in our Research and Resources category.

Anglicare Network News

Reconciliation in action at St John's Youth Services

Anglicare member, St John's Youth Services has taken a significant step on their reconciliation journey with the launch of their innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Written in collaboration with both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, the RAP provides a blueprint for achieving St John’s Youth Services’ vision of working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, communities and families so that young people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds can find a place to call home.

The RAP was officially launched on the lawns of St John’s Church – one of Adelaide’s most iconic landmarks and the birthplace of St John’s Youth Services – by the State Manager of Reconciliation SA, Mark Waters.

Guests at the launch were welcomed by dancer, storyteller and cultural educator, Stevie Gadlabarti Goldsmith, and entertained by his extraordinary troupe of dancers, including Stevie’s son, Jamie Ngungana (Kookaburra) Goldsmith.

CEO of St John’s Youth Services and Reconciliation Champion, Wendy Malycha is especially grateful to the young people who contributed to the Reconciliation Action Plan.

‘Their natural enthusiasm for hearing each other’s views about how to build connections with each other and better understand Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history was a joy to see,” Wendy said.

“Their open willingness to engage in the conversation gives me great confidence in the future of Reconciliation in our community.”

St John’s Youth Services is the first South Australian based service organisation with a specific focus on young people to have an approved Reconciliation Action Plan.

 



Dancer, storyteller and cultural educator, Stevie Gadlabarti Goldsmith and his son, Jamie Ngungana Goldsmith at the launch of St John's Youth Services Reconciliation Action Plan.

 

Stevie Gadlabarti Goldsmith performs a smoking ceremony at the RAP launch. Photography by Jo-Anna Robinson - photojo.

 

[L to R] Former St John's Youth Services Aboriginal Advisor, Bill Solomon; St John's Youth Services Aboriginal Cultural Broker, Alex Houthuysen; Reconciliation SA Co-Chair, Hon Robyn Layton AO QC; and Reconciliation SA State Manager, Mark Waters. Photography by Jo-Anna Robinson - photojo

Debra Saffrey-Collins commissioned

Debra Saffrey-Collins was officially commissioned in her new role as General Manager, Chaplaincy and Diocesan Partnerships for the Brotherhood of St Laurence. The commissioning took place during the Annual General Meeting, and Primate and Archbishop of Melbourne, Phillip Freier performed the commissioning.

Parkerville charity lunch

Parkerville Children and Youth Care’s 11th annual charity lunch drew a crowd of 900 patrons in November, its highest attendance ever.

Melbourne comedian, Dave Callan provided laughs with comedy sketches and dancing, and Reigan Derry from X Factor fame, provided some interval music and singing. The entertainment finale was actor and stand-up comedian, Joel Creasey.

Interspersed during the day were the silent auction bids, raffle sales and 20 keys to a red Jaguar sold at $5,000 a key. The live auction was preceded by Parkerville’s latest video, Keeping Them Safe.

At the end of the day the Jaguar key holders tried their luck until the daughter of Parkerville Patron, George Jones opened the door. George generously handed the car back and the auction followed raised another $65,000.

Daring to make a difference

Anglicare member, Brotherhood of St Laurence’s Sambell Lodge has been featured in the Australian Ageing Agenda.

Sambell Lodge and its manager, Paul Brophy, won an Anglicare Australia award in 2013 and a photograph from one of the Lodge events was featured on the front cover of the 2014 Anglicare Australia Review.

Paul also presented at the Anglicare Australia National Conference this year, together with a resident of Sambell Lodge.

 

The Sambell Lodge Celebration of Life event this year was circus-themed.

David Gonski adds voice to BSL campaign

In the latest issue of Anglicare member, the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s My Chance, Our Future Campaign online newsletter, David Gonski draws on family experience to reflect on how education and skills shape everyone's life chances.

His school funding review recognised that our youth can flourish, regardless of postcode, if the policy setting is right.

Paying the Price: research report

A short research report, Paying a price, prepared for the Brotherhood’s recent Youth Unemployment Monitor explains how the impact on youth unemployment rates in Australia differ for young men and young women.

Planning 4 Life joins EPIC Assist

EPIC Assist has announced its acquisition of Queensland based youth and disability support service, Planning 4 Life.

Planning 4 Life has delivered youth and disability support services throughout Queensland for nine years. It provides tutoring and mentoring to people with disability who are completing a traineeship or apprenticeship (school based or mature) via a network of tutors/mentors located throughout Queensland – from Mackay to the Gold Coast.

EPIC CEO, Bill Gamack said EPIC is committed to assisting people with disability reach their potential through education and employment. The partnership will allow Planning 4 Life to access a greater number of participants.

Shifting ground on family violence

MMG Mine, Rosebery joined forces with Anglicare Tasmania on 25 November to spread the White Ribbon Day message about living in safety, free from all forms of violence.

MMG is added to their ‘safety first’ mission by stencilling white ribbons onto their heavy mining machinery in a show of solidarity against violence.

During November, Anglicare Tasmania attended MMG team meetings and musters to provide the mine’s workforce with information about family violence.

 

 

New TAS office on West Coast

Anglicare Tasmania's new office in Zeehan has been officially opened, providing a range of services to the West Coast.

These include financial counselling, parenting support, alcohol and other drugs services, and housing assistance. And a local crisis accommodation service established by the West Coast Council was transferred to Anglicare Tasmania earlier this year.

Benetas celebrates 10th year as Employer of Choice

Anglicare member, Benetas has been awarded the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation, for the 10th consecutive year.

The citation, which prior to last year was recognised as the Employer of Choice for Women award, recognises employer commitment and best practice in promoting gender equality in Australian workplaces.

Benetas CEO, Sandra Hills said the organisation was thrilled to receive the citation, being one of only six health and social services organisations across Australia to do so.

Benetas has a long history of offering access to a range of initiatives which promote gender equality, including the move to pay superannuation to staff members while they are on paid parental leave which was announced in September.

In addition to paid parental leave, Benetas’ 1500 staff members have access to job sharing, leadership development and mentoring programs, flexible work hours and aged care nursing scholarships.

The organisation also invests in related research and advocacy activities, and in 2013 commissioned the Women at Work – Voices of Older Women study which explored the employment experiences of older women, compared to younger generations.

Gender Equity Scorecard 2014-15

Benetas is also scoring higher than average in Australia’s Gender Equality Scorecard 2014-15, which provides a comprehensive view of gender equality in Australia’s workforce and highlights key challenges and outcomes for the future.

Benetas is performing higher than average in a number of key areas. For example, only 27% of key management personnel positions in Australia are held by women, whereas at Benetas this figure is as high as 50%. Also, the report indicates that the overall gender pay gap for full-time workers is 24%, meaning men earn an average total of $27,000 a year more than women, but for Benetas the overall gender pay gap is 7% and steadily decreasing.

 

 

White Ribbon lunch

During a White Ribbon Day fundraising lunch on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Benetas announced it has embarked on the process to become a White Ribbon accredited employer.

This will involve 18 month of education, policy review and support building. Earlier this month, a number of People Development team members attended training as part of the first step of the accreditation process.

Benetas General Manager of Strategy, Infrastructure and Housing, Chris Karagiannis spoke to the lunch crowd in his capacity of White Ribbon Sponsor, providing the facts and figures surrounding domestic violence in Australia and inviting attendees to stand and take the White Ribbon pledge.

 

 

Benetas White Ribbon sponsor, Chris Karagiannis (General Manager of Strategy, Infrastructure and Housing) speaks to the fundraising White Ribbon Day lunch.

 

Benetas Industry Breakfast

Benetas held a second successful annual Industry Breakfast in November, bringing together key industry stakeholders from across aged care. Representatives from Leading Age Services Australia, COTA Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services were on hand to hear key note speaker Elisabeth Shaw from the Ethics Centre discuss ethical dilemmas facing older people and aged care providers.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers attended the industry event and said it was a great opportunity to hear about Benetas’ performance over the last year and its directions for the next.

CEO Sandra talked of the conversations that Benetas is leading internally and with its partners about what it means to age well, and what it means to die well. Interestingly in conversation with several of Benetas’ industry partners, they volunteered that Benetas was their favourite client and one talked of how, though only in his 40’s, he had started to have conversations with his family and colleagues about ageing well.

Abstracts sought for Child Aware Approaches Conference

Anglicare member organisations are encouraged to submit abstracts for consideration by Families Australia and the 2016 Child Aware Approaches Conference planning committee.

The two day conference aims to advance the goals of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2009 – 2020 and the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022 and to advance the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The conference provides an opportunity to chart directions in three key areas:

• Advancing children’s development and wellbeing in the first 1000 days of life.
• Supporting young people in out-of-home care to flourish in adulthood.
• Building child safe organisations and environments.

The call for abstracts close on 20 January 2016.

The 2016 Child Aware Approaches Conference will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday 23 & Tuesday 24 May 2016.

New youth employment initiative

Not for Profit organisations have been invited to apply for funding to deliver fresh and innovative ideas that help young people at risk of welfare dependency into work.

Guidelines for the Empowering YOUth Initiatives have been released, which ask for concepts that offer a different approach to those currently available.

The first round of Empowering YOUth Initiatives will focus on young people who are living in regional areas with high levels of social disadvantage, early school leavers, Indigenous, or from a culturally and linguistically diverse background. These initiatives will commence from March 2016.

Improving the disability employment system

People with disability, their families and carers, service providers, employers and peak bodies are encouraged to provide feedback on a new discussion paper aimed at developing a National Disability Employment Framework.

The discussion paper outlines a case for changing disability employment services and describes how four key areas of disability employment policy may work in the future:

• individualised funding and market-based service provision
• better support for employers and jobs creation
• improved ongoing support and supported employment
• better use of new technology in the creation of a virtual marketplace.

Subject to demand, the Department of Social Services will be holding information sessions in all capital cities to present the ideas proposed in the discussion paper. Interested parties can also complete an online survey, where they can provide more detailed feedback. The online survey closes on 7 December.

International Day of People with Disability

International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) is held on 3 December each year.

IDPwD is a United Nations sanctioned day that is celebrated internationally. It aims to increase public awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability and celebrate the achievements and contributions of people with disability.

The theme for 2015 is Inclusion matters: access and empowerment for people of all abilities.

There are also three sub-themes this year:

• Making cities inclusive and accessible for all
• Improving disability data and statistics
• Including persons with invisible disabilities in society and development.

Information on how you can get involved in the day and how to break down barriers (both structural and attitudinal) for people with disability can be found on the IDPwD website.

National Awards Profile

National Award Winner - INNOVATION - Anglicare Southern Queensland

Welcome to the next in our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2014 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence.These profiles will also be featured in The Anglicare Australia Review, which will be released in early February 2016.

 

INNOVATION is for a program activity directed to the client, or clients, that yields exceptional results that would not have been achieved otherwise.

 

 

24 ROOMS, 1 HOME: THE DECO ROOM CHALLENGE

Queensland statistics reveal that while more than 60% of homeless people are women, there are 10 times more beds for homeless men.

In an attempt to address this distorted situation, Anglicare Southern Queensland built a Home-away-from-homelessness facility for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Toowong, in Brisbane’s inner west.

The need for this facility was dire: Anglicare SQ was referring over 150 women to other facilities each month. This service will now provide 24-hour supported crisis accommodation to women, unaccompanied by a child or partner, over 18 years.

When the Home-away-from-homelessness facility was nearing completion, attention turned to the 24 rooms, which needed to be decorated and furnished.

Wanting to avoid a repetitive ‘institutional’ look, Anglicare SQ instead took inspiration from some popular reality tv shows and ran the Deco Room Challenge. This involved inviting schools, businesses, families and community groups to raise enough funds to design and dress each of the bedrooms.

Two hours after launching the campaign, Anglicare SQ had secured teams for 19 rooms. And the other five rooms were secured shortly after that. Elite sportswomen, corporates and Anglican schools and parishes raised more than $150,000 collectively for the fitout.

This interactive concept ran over a five month period and judges scored each team’s room for its style, comfort and atmosphere.

QUT film and media students created a documentary, Coffee for a Cause, to showcase the St Hilda's School’s involvement. The video shows the progress of Anglicare SQ’s Home-away-from homelessness facility in the week before its opening.

Anglicare Australia National Award judges were impressed with how the attention to décor and furnishing went beyond what we would normally expect and it was great to see the community getting involved.

 

The Anglicare Deco Room Challenge was a remarkable model and motivator for fundraising. It was such a success because it wasn’t just about raising money, it was about the gift of love. The joy that each and every one of the participants got from being a part of this fundraising initiative was profound.

Through the process of transforming a room into a cosy home, the participants needed to imagine walking in these ladies shoes. This process brought them closer to connecting with and understanding the difficulties these women are facing.

  

 

 

 

Research and Resources

Inaugural Australian Rental Affordability Index

Australia’s first Rental Affordability Index was released in November by National Shelter, Community Sector Banking and SGS Economics & Planning.

The Index revealed the depth and extremity of housing stress faced by renters in the current market. Both low income and moderate income households suffer poverty due to high rental costs.

The Index, to be released quarterly, reveals:

- New South Wales rents are unaffordable across the board and rents for low income households are extremely unaffordable
- Queensland low income households face severe and extreme housing stress accessing rental housing
- South Australian rents are extremely unaffordable for non-family households
in Tasmania, lower incomes result in high rental unaffordability
- Victorian rents are extremely unaffordable for low income households
- in WA there is improving affordability but not an end to housing stress
- the average household in greater Sydney spends at least 28% on rent to access rental housing (scoring 108 on the index) – people are classified as living in moderate housing stress
- the average household in Brisbane spends 25% on rent to access rental housing
- the average household in Adelaide spends 26% on rent to access rental housing
- the average household in Hobart spends 27% on rent to access rental housing
- the average household in Perth spends 25% on rent to access rental housing.

AHURI reports

AHURI (Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute) has released its Final Report No. 252, The cost effectiveness of Australian tenancy support programs for formerly homeless people.

This report provides an Australia-wide review of National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness (NPAH) programs, which assist clients to access and maintain a social housing tenancy or support existing social housing tenants at risk of homelessness maintain their tenancies.

The NPAH, introduced in 2009 as a joint commonwealth/state and territory initiative to address homelessness in Australia, included a number of programs aimed at supporting homeless people access and sustain housing, as well support those in housing maintain their tenancies when at high risk of homelessness.

The available evidence suggests that NPAH programs aimed at supporting homeless clients and those at risk of homelessness access and maintain a social housing tenancy or maintain existing tenancies at risk of homelessness were successful in assisting households to sustain their tenancy and prevent eviction.

Clients of NPAH programs were more likely to sustain tenancies with support than if they had not received program support. NPAH programs aimed at supporting people to access and sustain public and community housing were successful in reducing homelessness.

Strategies of Australia’s leading not-for-profit housing providers


AHURI has also released Strategies of Australia’s leading not-for-profit housing providers: a national study and international comparison – Report.

Governments in Australia and internationally have increasingly been turning to third sector organisations to deliver social services. This has included placing growing reliance on not-for-profit (NFP) providers to procure housing and deliver housing management services to those whose needs cannot be met by the market.

As such a shift marks a fundamental change in the model of housing assistance delivery in Australia, it warrants research that seeks to understand its impacts from an organisational (as well as a public policy) perspective. This is the final report of a three-year project investigating how larger housing NFP organisations in Australia have developed and positioned themselves for future opportunities and challenges.

1800: 16 Days of Action

1800RESPECT has released an online toolkit for frontline workers to help them better recognise the signs of sexual assault, domestic and family violence and empower them to respond well.

The toolkit was launched to coincide with the global 16 Days of Action campaign to end violence against women, which runs to 10 December 2015.

Frontline workers are often the first person a woman discloses her experience to, which is why it is important to empower them with appropriate tools, information and guidance.

Sexual assault, domestic and family violence has a devastating impact in Australia, with one in four women having experienced physical or sexual violence by a partner, boyfriend or date. Every day, Australian police deal on average with an estimated 657 domestic violence matters across the country.

 

Change the Story: DV framework launched

Our Watch, the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) and Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) have launched Change the story: A shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children in Australia.

Change the story brings together the latest international evidence on what drives violence against women, and what works to prevent it.

The framework, and related video, represents more than 400 diverse stakeholder groups from around the country and provides a consistent and integrated national approach to prevent violence against women and their children.

A stand-out theme from the research and consultations was that gender influences patterns of violence victimisation and perpetration more than any other variable.

Everyone needs to challenge domestic violence

The government released confronting research highlighting the need for all Australians to challenge the negative attitudes that can lead to violence against women.

The research report, Reducing violence against women and their children, shows that although the vast majority of Australians abhor domestic violence, too often we still blame women, we excuse men, and we minimise the severity of violence.

According to the research, many of us learn from an early age to condone or excuse disrespectful or aggressive behaviour towards women. From an early age, boys and girls begin to believe there are reasons which make violent behaviour acceptable.

Internet predator safety app

The mother of Carly Ryan, the first girl in Australia to be murdered by an internet predator, has launched a free national personal safety app, Thread, to protect young people against cybercrime.

The Carly Ryan Foundation and digital engagement specialists KOJO, with support of the South Australian Government and Google, developed Thread to help children and teenagers stay connected and deal with unsafe situations when they are online or away from home.

Thread allows users to check in with their location to show they’re ok, start discussions with trusted contacts about online or offline dangers and, in the event of an emergency, send their location while dialling 000. Thread is pin protected so users can be assured that the communication they receive is genuine.

Healthdirect app

Healthcare Australia has launched a free mobile app with three tools to give Australians clinically sound and locally appropriate information to help them make health decisions safely, quickly and easily.

The healthdirect app includes a symptom checker tool which guides you through a series of questions to help you make an informed decision about what to do next, whether it is self-care or seeing a health professional.

It includes a national directory covering a range of health services. Easily find the health service you need, when you need it, their contact details and directions from your current location. All information is sourced from Australia’s leading health organisations and has undergone a quality assurance process so people can be assured it is safe, appropriate and relevant for Australians.

FECCA's 2020 vision for older CALD Australians

In November, the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) formally launched 2020 Vision for Older CALD Australians.

The strategies in the 2020 Vision aim to use available resources better, optimising what is available and proposing options that require further resource commitments.

According to the 2011 Australian Census, over 1.3 million Australians aged over 50 were born overseas in a non-English speaking country. This represents almost 20% of all Australians in that age group.

Mental Health in Multicultural Australia

The Framework for Mental Health in Multicultural Australia: Towards culturally inclusive service delivery has been developed to help organisations and individual workers to evaluate their cultural responsiveness and enhance their delivery of services for CALD communities.

The framework, a web-based, action-oriented system, is mapped against current practice, policies and plans. Its implementation will not only assist services to fulfil their existing safety, quality and accreditation requirements, but also offers an ongoing process of assessment and development.

Launch of Aboriginal Employment Strategy

The government launched the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy in November, with a commitment to achieving better results in three key priority areas – getting children to school, adults into work and building safe communities.

The government says it has an important role to play in modelling better practice in recruitment and retention to the broader workforce and strengthening community capacity. So its goal is to increase the representation of Indigenous employees across the Commonwealth public sector by 3% by 2018.

An Indigenous Careers Portal has been developed to help to help Indigenous job seekers find jobs in the Commonwealth more easily.

Claim Abstudy now for 2016

Parents of young people starting high school or an Australian apprenticeship next year can claim ABSTUDY now to help with the costs of study or training if they are an eligible Indigenous Australian. When that young person turns 16 years old they will need to lodge their own claim.

ABSTUDY claims can be lodged over the phone by calling Freecall™ 1800 132 317 or apply in person at a service centre or remote service centre.

Parents receiving Family Tax Benefit for a child who is under 16 years of age may still be able to claim ABSTUDY without it affecting the payment. If the ABSTUDY claim is approved and they need to live away from home to study, there are a range of other payments they may be eligible for, such as Fares Allowance.

DSS aged care updates subscription services

The Department of Social Services has changed its existing system of electronic communication for the aged care sector.

The new subscription service allows any individual or organisation to receive these messages and there is no limit to the number of email addresses that can be subscribed either per organisation or in total.

The Department recommends any organisation involved in ageing and aged care subscribes at least one email address per organisation to ensure valuable information is received as it becomes available.

Consumer engagement in aged care survey

COTA Australia is conducting a survey as part of a project on the awareness levels of aged care service providers of the importance of consumer choice and control. And if you complete the survey, you have the opportunity to win one of two Apple iPads.

This survey is investigating consumer and carers experience of:

• Information Dissemination - How people view the current sources of information and the method in which the information is provided.
• Access and availability of supports - Are people getting the right type of service, at the right time, in a location of their choosing.
• Decision making and control – The extent that people have control and choice to make decisions about the support and care they are receiving.
• Engagement – The extent to which consumers and their carers are being or want to be engaged in service and system design.

The 15-20 minute survey will close on 11 December 2015.

If you are interested in finding out more about the project, contact David White on [email protected] or on 03 9909 7917.

Release of report into roll-out of NDIS

The second progress report into the roll-out of the NDIS was tabled in Parliament in November.

The report identifies learnings from the early roll-out of the scheme and offers a number of recommendations on how to give the scheme the best chance of success.

Disability abuse inquiry

The Senate Community Affairs Standing Committee has released its Inquiry report on Violence, abuse and neglect against people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including a call for the establishment of a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with disability, with terms of reference to be determined in consultation with people with disability, their families and their, as well as disability organisations.

The report also makes recommendations in relation to national workforce and workplace regulation, and advocates for the establishment of a scheme to ensure national consistency in disability worker training.

Evaluation of Work for the Dole 2014-15

The Department of Employment has released an evaluation of the Work for the Dole 2014-15 Program, by the Social Research Centre.

The evaluation comprised qualitative and quantitative research with job seekers, qualitative research with Work for the Dole coordinators, employment service providers and host organisations, and analysis of administrative data (undertaken by the Australian National University.

Australians building financial literacy skills

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has released the National Financial Literacy Strategy Annual Highlights Report 2014-15, showcasing achievements and new projects, and highlighting the richness and diversity of financial literacy initiatives being undertaken around Australia.

The report provides a national picture of the collective impact of financial literacy initiatives delivered by ASIC and a wide range of organisations across the government, education, industry and community in support of the National Strategy, led and coordinated by ASIC.

AIFS Conference call for papers

The call for papers for the AIFS 2016 Conference is now open. AIFS invites you to submit your abstract online. The call for papers closes on 15 February 2016.

For the 2016 conference AIFS are inviting presentations on papers reporting original research findings, papers reporting work-in-progress, methodological papers, policy analysis, case presentations, professional practice issues or evaluations of family service programs.

AIFS also encourage you to submit Masterclass proposals and Symposia submissions - follow the same steps as you would in submitting a single abstract.

Government Policy and Information

Mental health reform package

Announcing reforms to mental health in Australia, the government said Australians with a severe and complex mental illness would have access to an integrated care package tailored to their individual needs.

The full mental health reform package will reshape the delivery of primary mental health services towards a more modern, flexible model of care, rather than the current “one-size-fits-all” approach.

Part of the package will see people identified by health professionals as needing complex care services eligible to access a package of integrated health services, including: comprehensive assessment and care-coordination support; psychological services; mental health nursing; drug and alcohol services; vocational assistance; and peer support.

Youth payment means testing

Youth payment means testing measures passed in Parliament in November will result in more people qualifiying for Youth Allowance or receiving more each year.

From 1 January 2016, the Family Assets Test and the Family Actual Means Test will be removed from the Youth Allowance Personal Test.

Removing the assets test will allow more people to qualify for an average annual youth payment of more than $7,000 a year, or if they’re already receiving it, receive $2,000 more each year.

Regional and rural families often face higher costs when their children are studying or training because they have to move away from home. These changes mean those families will no longer have their farm assets counted toward the means test.

The changes will apply to certain families with dependent children receiving youth payments including Youth Allowance, ABSTUDY Living Allowance, and Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner reappointed

Susan Ryan AO has been reappointed as the Disability Discrimination Commissioner.

Ms Ryan was first appointed as acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner in July 2014, before being confirmed to the role in September 2014. The term of Ms Ryan’s reappointment aligns with the term of her appointment as Age Discrimination Commissioner, which expires on 28 July 2016.

Sector Events

Sector Events [11.15]

Transfer of care for complex consumers: Driving better outcomes for older people
Date: 1-3 December 2015
Venue: The Grace Hotel, Sydney

2015 International Indigenous Health Conference
Date: 1-3 December 2015
Venue: Shangri-La Hotel Marina, Cairns, QLD

The Australian STOP Domestic Violence Conference
Date: 7-9 December 2015
Venue: Rex Hotel, Canberra

The National Foyer Conference
Date: 15 February 2016
Venue: Sydney

Developing a Consumer Driven Aged Care Workforce
Date: 17-18 February 2016
Venue: Sydney Boulevard Hotel

Inaugural National Research Conference on Violence against Women and their Children
Date: 23-25 February 2016
Venue: Grant Hyatt Melbourne, VIC

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services - Services for Older People Conference
Date: 12-13 May 2016
Venue: Rendezvous Hotel, Auckland, New Zealand

Australian and New Zealand Addiction Conference
Date: 18-20 May 2016
Venue: Mantra on View Hotel, Gold Coast, QLD

Communities in Control Conference
Date: 30-31 May 2016
Venue: Moonee Ponds, Melbourne

2016 International Dementia Conference
Date: 16-17 June 2016
Venue: Hilton Sydney

AIFS 2016 Conference
Date: 6-8 July 2016
Venue: Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre

Anti-Poverty Week
Date: 16-22 October 2016
National

Subscribe to Aspect Newsletter