Aspect July 2020

Aspect Newsletter

From the Deputy Director

Time to celebrate aged care workers - and tackle ageism

Next week will mark Aged Care Employee Day. As August 7 approaches, and as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is hard to think of a more important time to praise and thank every one of our staff who cares for older Australians.

While the media has focused its thanks during the pandemic on the hospital system, we know that our aged care staff – from cleaners to care workers, cooks to nurses, and every role in between – are also putting themselves on the frontline to deliver care.

Yet this pandemic has starkly revealed how aged care workers and carers have been undervalued for years. This is something we should all reflect on ahead of August 7.

We know that workers are the backbone of high-quality care. Aged care staff must be rewarded and celebrated for building caring and respectful relationships with the people they serve. Whatever the role they play, their work is of value and helps us fulfill that purpose. They should be lauded for their dedication and courage, and we should redouble our efforts to invest in their skills, training, and development.

Sadly, much of their work has gone unacknowledged. This is partly because all care work has been undervalued. But it also driven, at least in part, by ageism.

As the pandemic marches on, it has been hard not to reflect on how ageism has been revealing itself. We can see it the decisions to acknowledge some frontline workers and not others. We can also see it in commentary on the aged care sector and older people themselves.

Often it is subtle. Earlier this week, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews sent a message to young people that is typical of the messages we’ve seen. Covid-19 doesn’t just harm older people, he warned. There are “young Victorians just like you – with no idea how long they might be there, or just how bad it might get.”

These words suggest that it matters less if Covid-19 only harms old people. It wasn’t the message Andrews meant to send, but the language is revealing.

No one wants young people to die. So why are we OK with older people dying?

Of course, we will all die. But ageing is not a disease, and quality of life matters just as much for older people as it does for anyone else. This is especially important when we remember that Australians are living longer and healthier lives. The risk of death in the next year for 70-year-olds and even 80-year-olds is exceedingly low. The mentality that older people will ‘die anyway’ is not only insensitive, it’s missing the point.

This mentality exposes how ageism harms all of us. Many of the countries that were slow to respond to the pandemic saw it mainly as a threat to older people “less worthy of the best efforts to contain it,” the World Health Organization said recently.

This has resulted in cognitive dissonance by decision-makers, where the obvious threat posed by COVID-19 to older people has not been matched by actions to keep them safe – or to protect and praise also the workers who care for them.

Fortunately, the needs of older people and those who care for them are beginning to get more attention. The government is now funding telehealth and video conferencing through Medicare. Many aged care facilities, including our Anglicare Australia members, have found innovative ways to connect older people to their loved ones and keep them socially connected more broadly. And stories abound of people delivering food, writing letters, and advocating for their loved ones.

Indeed, the signs are that ageism is most pervasive and institutional within governments. More and more, government approaches to ageing and aged care at odds with the community’s expectations. Just last week, a landmark survey from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety showed most Australians want quality aged care and are willing to help pay for it.

Ultimately, this pandemic has shown us the dangers of seeing people as nothing more than their age When we do this, we miss a person’s humanity.  Our response must be to claim the joys and possibilities of our older years, for ourselves in the future and for our loved ones now.

If we can defeat ageism, it will set us on the path to better, reimagined care – built on a workforce that is rewarded for its true value.

Imogen Ebsworth is Deputy Executive Director of Anglicare Australia.

National Office News

National Office News: Client outcomes survey, JobSeeker changes, and more

Anglicare Australia launches landmark client outcomes survey
Anglicare Australia has released a landmark survey of Anglicare Australia clients. The client outcomes survey has been led by Sue King of Anglicare Sydney, and has been the culmination of a year-long project.

Released as part of the National Day of Action on JobSeeker, the survey of over 2,000 clients was conducted across Australia before rates of JobSeeker were increased. It found that:

  • 2 out of 3 people (58 percent) who came to us for help were out of work
  • 1 in 2 people (46 percent) needed help to get basic essentials, such as food or medicine
  • 1 in 3 people (33 percent) needed help to manage a low income, such as dealing with a sudden large bill
  • 1 in 2 people (44 percent) have been coming to our services for a year or more
  • 40 percent of those who came to us for help were supporting children.

The survey was covered by SBS World News, Win News, Seven News, and Ten News, and ABC News.

It was featured in News Ltd newspapers with a piece in The Australian, and a nationally syndicated article from the Australian Associated Press. Fairfax covered the story with a piece in the Sydney Morning Herald that was nationally syndicated, and The Canberra Times ran a piece that was nationally syndicated in Australian Community Newspapers.

Online, the results were covered by The Guardian, who ran a data-focused piece featuring interactive data tables drawn from the survey results, and on News.Com.Au.

To find out more about the survey results, click here to read the executive summary. Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

JobSeeker announcement takes away peoples’ hope
Anglicare Australia has said that changes to JobSeeker, announced last week, will push people into poverty when they should be planning for their future.

“Changes to JobSeeker will push Australians into poverty just as they need to be getting on their feet,” said Anglicare Australia Acting Executive Director Imogen Ebsworth.

“Some 1.6 million people are locked out of work. Many have lost their jobs and their livelihoods. Thousands were locked out of work and living in poverty long before that.

“If the Government phases-in these cuts, it will plunge hundreds of thousands of these Australians – and their children – into poverty as the world heads into a deep recession.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia's media release.

New survey to study the experiences of Centrelink clients
Anglicare Australia is researching Australia's safety net to learn how it's working for the people who need it. As part of that work, we've launched a survey to better understand people's experiences of the system.

The survey is open to anyone who is getting income payments from Centrelink. The results will help us understand people's experiences with the safety net, and allow us to call for changes to make these experiences better. The survey will take about ten minutes.

The survey is online at www.anglicare.asn.au/jobseeker-survey. The survey can also be completed over the phone by calling 02 6230 1775 and asking for Maiy.

Please share the survey with any of your contacts, clients, and networks who might be able to help.

To learn about the survey and the project, contact [email protected].

Time to Raise the Age – and take action on child imprisonment
Anglicare Australia has joined the Raise the Age, a national campaign of legal, health, service providers, and Aboriginal-led organisations to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14. After signing on, Anglicare Australia called for action on child imprisonment.

“Anglicare Australia works with children and families across the country. We know that they do best when they are supported, nurtured and loved,” said Anglicare Australia Acting Executive Director Imogen Ebsworth.

“But across Australia, children as young as ten can be arrested, charged, and locked away. This is becoming a crisis across the country, with close to 600 locked up in any given year.

“Two in three are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and many have been let down by the system at every level. Australia’s Attorneys-General had a chance to take action when they met. Instead they’ve thrown up more delays.

“The Attorneys-General will meet again in August. They must use this opportunity to change the laws, so that children younger than 14 are not sent to prison.

“Children belong in classrooms and playgrounds – not in handcuffs or prison cells. We can’t miss another opportunity to make this change.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release. Click here to read more about the Raise the Age campaign.

Social housing projects needed to end homelessness
Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the Inquiry into homelessness in Australia. It explores major trends in housing and homelessness, especially in light of pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, looks at how Anglicare Australia Network members are tackling homelessness through their programs, and offers recommendations for change.

The focus of our submission is on social housing. Ending our affordable housing shortfall would be the most powerful way to tackle the homelessness crisis and boost regional economies. With the economy reeling from the recent bushfires and people struggling to pay rent in the wake of the Coronavirus, our submission calls for investment in projects that are shovel-ready.

There is no time to waste. Social housing projects can get off the ground much more quickly than road or rail infrastructure – and it brings greater long-term benefits.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia's submission.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Australia Network members invited to Homelessness Week launch
Monday will mark the beginning of Homelessness Week, and this year, the week will be launched online with a Zoom event. Speaking at the event are:

  • Jenny Smith, Chair, Homelessness Australia
  • The Assistant Minister for Community Housing, Homelessness and Community Services, the Hon Luke Howarth
  • Jason Clare MP, the Opposition Housing and Homelessness spokesperson
  • Cassandra Goldie, CEO, ACOSS
  • Kate Colvin Everybody’s Home national spokesperson
  • David Noonan, Secretary, CFMEU
  • Christine Thirkell, Graduate Member, Peer Education Support Program, Council to Homeless Persons

The event will be of particular interest to those wanting to learn more about the Everybody's Home campaign's exciting plans for Homelessness Week and beyond, including their push for more social housing.

The launch will be held on Monday 3 August 2020, from 12-1.30pm. Members of Anglicare Australia’s Housing and Homelessness Network have been invited to the launch, but it is open to all Anglicare Australia Network members.

Click here to register for the event.

Client outcomes workshop for Anglicare Australia Network members
Anglicare Australia Network members are warmly invited to attend a workshop on measuring client outcomes in community services. The workshop will consist of three short presentations, then plenty of time for questions to the presenters. Guests will be:

  • Professor Erin Wilson, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Susan King, Anglicare Sydney
  • Ross Bentong and Kaitlyn Griggs, Anglicare WA.

The workshop will be held on Friday 14 August 2020, from 2-4pm. Members of Anglicare Australia’s Research Network and Clinical and Care Governance Network have been invited to the launch, but it is open to all Anglicare Australia Network members.

To register for the session, email [email protected].

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Thread Together, AnglicareSA

Welcome to our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2019 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. These profiles will be featured in Aspect throughout 2020.

file-15Thread Together is a charity partner which collaborates with clothing brands to find clothes that would otherwise go to landfill. Thread Together is one of the most ethical solutions for retailers in response to fashion waste.

Through the Thread Together partnership, AnglicareSA gives brand new clothing to people in need, to reduce the impact of fashion waste ending up in landfill and help restore dignity for people going through a tough time.

 IBP01247Many of us take for granted the ability to purchase brand new clothes. For those doing it tough, buying new clothes for themselves or their children is a luxury that is out of reach. The opportunity to provide people with new clothes is so much more. It provides choice, independence and enables confidence and dignity.

For their work on Thread Together, AnglicareSA won the Anglicare Australia National Award for Partnership.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Anglicare Australia client outcomes, raising the age, and more

Client outcomes surveyAnglicare Australia Emergency Relief and Financial Counselling Client Survey
Anglicare Australia and Anglicare Sydney
Released as part of the National Day of Action on JobSeeker, this survey of over 2,000 Anglicare Australia Network clients was conducted across Australia before rates were increased. The survey shows that people feel better once they’ve had help from our network – but it also shows that emergency relief isn’t a long-term answer to poverty. The summary is available here.


Why did young people's incomes declineWhy Did Young People’s Incomes Decline?
Productivity Commission
This research paper analyses trends in young people’s incomes from 2001 to 2018 and drivers behind the decline in their incomes after 2008. It found that declines in hours worked and in wage rates both contributed to the decline in young people’s wage income. Similarly, income from government transfers declined and so did income from business and investments. The paper is available here.


Raising the age of criminal responsibilityRaising the age of criminal responsibility
Change the Record and The Australia Institute
There are strong moral, medical and legal arguments for raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 years of age. This research shows that most Australians already think that the age of criminal responsibility is 14 years or higher, and when told it is not most Australians support raising it to 14. The report is available here.


Australia's Health 2020Australia's health 2020
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australia's health 2020 is the AIHW's 17th biennial report on the health of Australians. It is a mix of short statistical updates and longer discussions exploring selected topical issues. Australia’s health also serves as a ‘report card’ on the health of Australians by looking at how we are faring as a nation. The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

2020-21 Pre-Budget Submissions
The Federal Budget has been postponed to October in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of that postponement, new and supplementary priority areas and calls for funding have been invited from business and community members.

Submissions have been reopened, and are due to close on 24 August 2020. More information is available here. Anglicare Australia is considering making a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Inquiry into Centrelink’s compliance program – new and supplementary submissions
On 19 November 2019, Services Australia announced that it would no longer raise compliance debts based only on averaged income data, and that it would suspend its debt recovery process. The Committee intends to table an interim report in August 2020 to address evidence in light of this change. The Committee is inviting further submissions, including supplementary submissions from organisations and individuals who have already provided evidence.

Submissions have been reopened, and are due to close on 17 September 2020. More information is available here. Anglicare Australia is making a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Inquiry into general issues around the implementation and performance of the NDIS
The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme is conducting this rolling inquiry, which aims to identify broad systemic issues relating to the implementation and operation of the Scheme. After 30 June each year, the committee reports to Parliament on recurrent issues that have arisen and offers recommendations intended to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Scheme.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, July 2020

Launch of Homelessness Week
Even before COVID-19 almost 120,000  people were homelessness in Australia every night. A million Australians are currently unemployed with many facing rental stress and the possibility of losing their home. It’s a crisis but we can turn things around. See what newly launched mapping says about homelessness in our country, and join a national online discussion about why now is the time for our Parliamentarians to take on the issue and undertake a massive social housing investment program. The launch will be held on Monday 3 August 2020, from 12-1.30pm. Members of Anglicare Australia’s Housing and Homelessness Network have been invited to the launch, but it is open to all Anglicare Australia Network members. Click here to register for the event.

First Nations solutions to homelessness
Held as part of Homelessness Week this exciting webinar will feature Margaret Pfoh, CEO of The Aboriginal Housing Management Association. AHMA oversees Aboriginal Housing providers, supports the development of new housing for Aboriginal people, manages Urban and Rural Housing portfolios and undertakes capacity development through training, consulting and advising member societies. This session will be facilitated by Mr Gordon Cole who will reflect on how the Canadian approach could drive positive change in Australia. Click here to register for the event.

Client outcomes workshop for Anglicare Australia Network members
Anglicare Australia Network members are warmly invited to attend a workshop on measuring client outcomes in community services. The workshop will consist of three short presentations, then plenty of time for questions to the presenters. Guests will be Professor Erin Wilson of Swinburne University of Technology; Susan King of Anglicare Sydney; and Ross Bentong and Kaitlyn Griggs of Anglicare WA. The workshop will be held on Friday 14 August 2020, from 2-4pm. Members of Anglicare Australia’s Research Network and Clinical and Care Governance Network have been invited to the launch, but it is open to all Anglicare Australia Network members. To register for the session, email [email protected].

Crisis Management Series
Any sudden event that threatens a company’s reputation or stakeholder relations has the potential to morph into a crisis. The difference between companies that recover from a crisis and those that don’t is their readiness. This session will impart the tools, processes and capabilities to deal with a crisis. This webinar is available until 14 October, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. More information is available here.

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