Aspect September 2019

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Stories creating change

Kasy ED 4_pref

Since Anglicare Australia’s recent conference in Perth, I have been reflecting on the value of stories – the power of sharing them, and the importance of listening to them.

Our conference theme was Our Stories: The Power to Change, so the fact that this came up again and again is not a surprise. But I was struck by the strength and reoccurrence of this theme across presentations as varied as the sermon at the opening service, keynotes with very different backgrounds, and even a panel of philanthropy experts.

The power of story was at the forefront of many of this year’s speeches. In preaching the conference’s opening service, Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy talked about the crucial role of stories and the need to listen to others in building inclusive communities and homes. These were the themes of our last two State of the Family reports, and Archbishop Goldsworthy drew on these in her sermon.

Our first keynote speaker, Jane Caro, opened the conference with an energetic speech that implored us to advocate as strongly as we can, even if we fear failure or feel the case is hopeless. As with many of our speakers, she also returned to the theme of stories. She reflected on the recent election, and told delegates that too many people had relied on facts and figures to make a case for change of policies instead of using stories that connect with people’s values.

Katie Stubley, our final keynote speaker, built on this notion. Her address focused on using story and voice to drive system change. She shared the stage with young people, who shared their own experiences of finding the power in their voice and using stories to create real change.

The fact that so many of our speakers discussed this led to a sense of determination to draw on real stories and experiences to shape our work – and to share these stories with others. The sense that stories are critical to achieving social change went beyond our speakers and to informal discussions among delegates and workshop sessions.

There was a sense amongst presenters in the workshop sessions that although there is more ability for people to be heard than ever before, this isn’t true for everyone. People are better able than ever before to share their experiences and thoughts on social media, and to their own networks.  But the voices of our clients are not always heard, or sometimes deliberately ignored, across systems and markets.

This leads to the final theme present with us throughout the conference and perhaps the most important.  Over and over we heard about the need for the human in all of us to reassert its place in the system we are building.

One of our most memorable speakers was West Australian of the Year Tracy Westerman. An expert on Indigenous mental health, she talked about how her practice is based on evidence, but also shaped by the stories and experiences of those she works with. She talked about how she draws on these stories to help those she works with – from preventing suicide across the community to helping one man overcome his fear of hugs and physical contact. If only these principles underpinned all mental health services, or indeed, the whole social service system.

Ironically, as our conference was held a backdrop of horror stories about the robodebt system played out in the media. The flawed design can be blamed on many things. But perhaps more than anything, it is worth remembering the lives of those who designed it are very different to those it was thrust upon.  For those with regular full-time jobs, this system might have worked. But those who rely on Centrelink don’t always work regular hours or have stable jobs. That is a reminder that we must let go of our own perspectives in order to listen to the stories of others.

As we heard again and again in Perth, it is only by hearing from those that who use the system that we can ensure it looks after those who come into contact with it. We will also be more likely end up with a system that achieves what it sets out to do.

National Office News

National Office News: National Conference, Anglicare Australia National Awards, and more

Anglicare Australia’s National Conference held in Perth
IMG20190909105903Anglicare Australia’s National Conference was held at the Pan Pacific in Perth from 8-11 September 2019, bringing together 200 people from across Anglicare Agencies. Our theme, Our Stories: The Power to Change, captured our work and built on our mission by focusing on the stories and experiences of those who we serve.

The event began with a Board and CEO Forum which was addressed by Professor Paul Flatau, Director of the Centre for Social Impact at the UWA Business School, and Anglicare Australia’s Annual General Meeting. These were followed by an opening service and welcome reception at St George’s Cathedral, which featured an address by Archbishop Kay Goldsworthy.

Welcome to CountryDelegates began Monday morning with a Welcome to Country from Walter McGuire, a Nyungar elder and cultural consultant. This was followed by an opening keynote address from Jane Caro, who reflected on fairness and social justice in modern Australia. Many delegates have told us that Jane’s insights, humour, and fighting spirit were a wonderful and energetic way to start the conference.

Other keynote speakers included Governor and former Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson, and Katie Stubley of the Centre of Social Impact. A particular highlight was the keynote address by West Australian of the Year Tracy Westerman. Tracy is a leader in Aboriginal mental health and suicide prevention whose passion blew away many of our delegates.

Generation JoyThe conference offered more than 40 workshops over the three day period, and evaluations noted that some of these were so well-prepared and thorough that they could have been standalone keynote addresses in themselves. The workshops explored how Anglicare Australia Network members work towards our shared goals, how we collaborate to improve our work, and how we support each other as we advance our mission.

Delegates were treated to performances from the Mooditch Mob, a dance group that featured Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers from across WA, and the Generation Joy choir. The choir was made up of residents of Amana Living, and students from John Walliston Anglican Community School, and footage of their performance is available online.

We thank all of our delegates and speakers for helping make the conference a success. Speeches and presentations from the conference are available to download here.

Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence
Bishop Chris JonesThe Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence, sponsored by Ansvar Insurance, recognise outstanding services, projects and programs provided by the organisations of the Anglicare Australia network, as well as individual volunteers who have made a significant contribution.

The reception and ceremony for this year’s awards were held on Monday 10 September 2019 at Fraser’s State Reception Centre in Perth. The awards were compered by Anglicare Australia Chairperson Bishop Chris Jones and presented by Archbishop Philip Freier, the Anglican Primate of Australia.

Award WinnersWe had an extraordinary breadth of contribution across our four categories of Innovation, Excellence, Partnership and Volunteer Achievement. The 2019 winners were:

  • Highly commended in the Excellence Category: Amana Living for the McCusker Nurse Service
  • Winner in the Excellence Category: Anglicare WA for their Children and Young People Responsive Suicide Support (CYPRESS) program
  • Joint winner in the Innovation Category: Anglicare Victoria for the Home Stretch Campaign
  • Joint winner in the Innovation category: Anglicare Southern Queensland for their #OLDMATE Queensland campaign
  • Highly commended in the Partnership Category: Anglicare Victoria for their Buldau Yioohgen 'Big Dreams' Leadership Academy
  • Highly commended in the Partnership Category: The Samaritans Foundation for the Student Accommodation and Bean Counters Ball
  • Winner in the Partnership category: AnglicareSA for their Thread Together
  • Joint winners in the Volunteer Achievement category: Florence Young of Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT and David Kelly of Anglicare WA.

Special thanks to our sponsor, Ansvar Insurance, and our 2019 judges:

  • Mr John Leavey, Ansvar Insurance
  • Ms Claerwen Little, UnitingCare Australia
  • Mr Brian Babington, Families Australia

We will run a series of profiles on the winners and highly commended entries in forthcoming issues of Aspect.

Keeping Connected: Annual General Meeting and Annual Report
The 23rd Annual General meeting of Anglicare Australia was held prior to the conference. Congratulations to Karen Crouch, Jeremy Halcrow, Grant Millard, and Dave Pugh who were each elected for another three year term on Anglicare Australia’s council. Congratulations also to Sandra Hills, Stephanie Buckland and Shane Maddocks who were co-opted to the council.

The council is the governance body of Anglicare Australia and made up of senior leaders from around the membership. In addition to skills and attributes that are sought in council members, it is balanced to ensure diversity in gender, geographic location, service type, and organisational size.

Anglicare Australia’s Annual Report, Keeping Connected, is also available online after being accepted at the Annual General Meeting. The Annual Report provides an overview of our priorities and how they have informed some of our flagship projects, including our Jobs Availability Snapshot, our State of the Family Report, our Rental Affordability Snapshot, and other research projects Anglicare Australia has undertaken in the last year.

It also showcases the work of the Network, our impact in media debates, and our role in influencing social and economic policy.

Anglicare Australia’s Annual Report is available here. More information about the Anglicare Australia Council is available here.

Drug testing trial condemned by Anglicare Australia
Kasy on ABC NewsAnglicare Australia's Executive Director Kasy Chambers has called for the abandonment of the Government's proposed welfare drug tests, calling them a distraction from failures of the social security system.

“There has been unprecedented outcry over the low rate of Newstart and failures of the robodebt system in recent months. Dredging up this bill now looks like a red herring,” she said.

“Our research shows that in Western Sydney, Queensland, and WA where people will be tested, there are nearly six disadvantaged job seekers for every vacancy at their skill level. That’s the real problem - people are competing for jobs that just aren’t there. Forcing people to take drug tests before they can get help won’t achieve anything.

“There is no evidence that these tests help people get off drugs. The Government itself has admitted that. The countries that have trialled random drug testing have found that it’s costly and doesn’t achieve anything. In the US, it has cost up to $1600 USD per person.

“This plan has been rejected in Britain, rejected in Canada. It’s now up to the crossbench to reject these changes here.”

Kasy was interviewed by ABC News, SBS, ABC Radio National, and Channel Ten’s The Project about the revival of the proposal. Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Anglican Church Public Affairs Commission
Anglicare Australia continues to contribute to the work of the Anglican Church through Executive Director Kasy Chambers’ role on the Public Affairs Commission of the General Synod. The Public Affairs Commission responds to aspects of public affairs referred by the Primate, the Standing Committee or the General Synod or initiated by the Commission. It is also charged with working collaboratively with any diocesan body engaged in public affairs or any network of diocesan bodies engaged in public affairs.

Much of the focus of the Commission in recent years has focused on climate change, reconciliation and constitutional reform, the treatment of refugees, and the issues facing the most disadvantaged members of our community.

Information on the membership of the Public Affairs Commission and their role is available here. A catalogue of its recent work, including its recent statements, is available here.

Prayer cards available from Anglicare Australia
Members of the Anglicare Australia Network are invited to order copies of our prayer card, which features the Prayer for Anglicare Australia. The prayer was developed by the Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care Network, and is often featured at official events such as the conference, dinners, and forums.

The card also features a beautiful artwork called So Loved, by Glendora Naden of Coffs Harbour NSW. To order copies of the card, contact [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Kuralbo Yarning Circle breaks new ground
01 Yarning CircleIn what was a true collaboration and a labour of love, Anglicare Southern Queensland staff, the community, elders and traditional owners, and stakeholders came together to build an amazing Yarning Circle at its Children and Families Service's Carbrook House in Logan.

The circle was given the Traditional Yugambeh Language name 'Kuralbo” meaning 'All Together', or a place for everyone. The special meeting place allows for young people, elders and staff to sit and have a yarn and learn, using culture to change lives. It’s a space where everyone is equal, a place to speak freely and share what they want to share.

03 Josh with Anglicare crewThe idea for the yarning circle came from the elder Uncle Noel Summers, a respected elder in the community, accepted and welcomed by the Anglicare Southern Queensland staff and embraced by community through Bunnings and other stakeholders who got involved.

Representatives from Queensland Department of Youth Justice, elders, community volunteers all played a role in the coordination and making sure that all aspects from consultation and cultural and traditional sensitivities were addressed from concept to construction. Bunnings provided all materials and labour for free.

This has led to a genuine partnership through relationship building. It has also created a connection to country and culture which formed a symbiotic relationship between people, culture and country.

The yarning circle was nominated for an Anglicare Australia National Award in the Partnership category.

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT holds cultural safety training in Canberra
Over 20 staff from Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT, and an Anglicare Australia staff member, have gathered at the beautiful land of the Ngunnawal at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AITSIS) to take part in Karen Kime’s two day cultural safety training.

Karen shared generously of her knowledge and expertise on the history, culture, practices and ways of living of the nations of the South Eastern Australia. She helped participants to understand the importance of extended family to Aboriginal people and thinking for the common good, and how it goes hand in hand with the importance of Country including Aboriginal spirituality and the significance of story-telling.

It was a sombre but necessary experience to dig into colonisation and its ongoing impact on Indigenous Australian families. It helped participants reflect on our own practices, tools and western ways of thinking.

Throughout the workshop, participants engaged in fun interacting tasks that helped explore Aboriginal wellbeing and cultural strengths. There was also ample opportunity to reflect on the insights learned during daily yarning circles.

More information on the cultural safety training, contact [email protected].

AnglicareSA and Thread Together launch SA-first clothing hub
Thread TogetherAnglicareSA and Thread Together launched an Australian first in 2018 with mobile wardrobe vans delivering brand new clothes directly to people in need. In September, they announced that they will extend the service with the official opening of an SA-first clothing hub.

In collaboration, AnglicareSA and Thread Together use purpose-fitted mobile wardrobes to bring brand new clothes to communities who need it most – and now, people can also be referred to the centrally located North Adelaide clothing hub.

Thread Together 2“New clothing, especially new clothing you choose for yourself, can be quite powerful,” Mr Sandeman said. “It gives people the opportunity to reframe how they feel about themselves and how they present themselves to the world,” said AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman.

“We are delighted that the mobile wardrobes, and now the clothing hub, enable us to get the brand new clothes to those who need it most.  It has a wonderful impact on the lives of children, young people, adults, families and older people across our community who have been struggling.”

The hub site will provide room for the mobile wardrobe vans to be parked and restocked each day.

More information about the launch is available online.

Survey of Children and Young People
Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT is conducting its first annual survey of children and young people in foster care, kinship care and residential care. The primary purpose of the survey is to ensure that the voices of children and young people in care are heard and used to drive continuous improvement in out-of-home care services. The survey will also support our contractual reporting obligations with the NSW Department of Communities and Justice (formerly the Department of Family and Community Services).

The survey period commenced on 23 September 2019 and will run for 6 weeks until 1 November 2019. During this period, children and young people aged 8 and over, who have been in care with Anglicare for at least 3 months, will be invited to participate in the survey. The survey covers topics such as day-to-day experiences, relationships, health, education and culture, as well as key life skills for the older age groups. The survey will be conducted using Viewpoint – a survey platform specifically designed for children and young people.

Once responses have been collected, the Research and Evaluation Team will prepare a report on the results which will be shared with the Permanency Support Program leadership group to help drive improvement in our services. The results will be benchmarked against other key out of home care surveys, such as those conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the CREATE Foundation. Key findings will also be shared back to children and young people.

Network members who are interested in this process and its findings, particularly those working in out-of-home care services, can contact [email protected].

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Productivity Commission, AIHW, Telstra and more

Vulnerable private rentersVulnerable private renters: Evidence and options
Productivity Commission
This paper examines the experiences of vulnerable people in the private rental market. It also discusses policies that affect outcomes for vulnerable renters. It found that the number of low-income households in rental stress has doubled in the past two decades. Anglicare Australia met with the commissioners as part of their research, drawing on our work with the Rental Affordability Snapshot, which has helped place rental stress on the national agenda.

The report is available here.

Health expenditure in AustraliaHealth expenditure in Australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Regular reporting of national health expenditure is vital to understanding Australia’s health system and its relationship to the economy as whole. This report provides expenditure estimates. It also provides insights into about how spending relates to changes such as the ageing population, increased chronic disease prevalence, and medicinal and technological developments.

The report is available here.

Monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reformMonitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform: National report
National Mental Health Commission
The Commission’s seventh national report on monitoring mental health and suicide prevention reform analyses the status of the mental health system, including the progress of key reforms. It also examines Australia’s suicide prevention system, and makes recommendations to improve outcomes. The National Mental Health Commission continues to recommend a whole-of-government approach to mental health and suicide prevention.

The report is available here.

Australian digital inclusion indexMeasuring Australia’s digital divide: The Australian digital inclusion index
Centre for Social Impact and Telstra
The Australian Digital Inclusion Index measures three vital dimensions of digital inclusion –  access, affordability, and digital ability. It shows how these dimensions change over time, according to people’s social and economic circumstances, as well as across geographic locations. This 2019 edition of the report incorporates data collected up to March 2019, and revises earlier editions.

The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Ansvar Community Education Program
Ansvar’s Community Education Program provides a range of grants to organisations supporting Australian youth through programs that fall under the categories of Empowerment and Education, or Outreach and Support. Grants up to $50,000 are available for programs supporting Australian youth.

Grant applications close on Monday 14 October 2019. More information is available here.

Review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee
During the 2019 Federal Election, the Australian Government promised to develop and legislate an NDIS Participant Service Guarantee to improve participant experiences with the NDIS. To develop the Guarantee, the Government has commissioned a review of the NDIS Act.

The review will focus on opportunities to make the NDIS process simpler and more straight forward and remove barriers to positive participant and provider experiences with the NDIS.

Submissions close on Thursday 31 October 2019. More information is available here.

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is now accepting submissions. Submissions can be made using an online form. An Easy Read version of the form is also available.

Legal assistance is now available to those engaging with the Royal Commission. The legal assistance scheme is for individuals and entities meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with formal engagement with the Royal Commission. Information on eligibility for the scheme, how to apply and assessment timeframes is available online.

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

Hearings for Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health
This inquiry is examining the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate in and prosper in the community and workplace. Anglicare Australia made a submission that will inform the draft report, and the Commission will soon hold public hearings in each capital city and some regional centres in response to that report.

Hearings will begin in November 2019, and continue to early 2020. More information and exact dates are available here. To express interest in participating, email [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 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.

Priority Assist
Telstra’s Priority Assist program offers a higher level of service for customers, or someone living at their home, with a diagnosed life threatening medical condition. Eligible customers are entitled to faster connection and fault repair of their fixed-line telephone service. This may be of interest to many Anglicare clients or their carers.

Applications can be made at any time. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, September 2019

National Consultations on Human Services Care Skills
Members of the Anglicare Australia Network have been working with the Australian Government to establish a National Skills Commission, Skills Organisations and National Careers Institute. The aim is to help strengthen the skills system by driving research and analysis of national skills needs, raising the profile of VET as a career pathway of choice and giving industry greater ownership of the skills and training system. As members of the human services care industry, members of Anglicare Australia are invited to consultations to help with the co-design these initiatives. They will be held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Bendigo, Perth, Cairns, Orange, Canberra, Darwin, Sydney, Hobart, and Brisbane in October and November. For dates and other information about the consultations, email [email protected].

Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week has a new look and approach. Its key message is Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it. It is one of hope, not despair. See the Anti-Poverty Week website with its refreshed logo and materials for 13-19 October and link to APW eNews. This year Anti-Poverty Week has invited the Raise the Rate campaign to hold a Day of Action on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October within Anti-Poverty Week. Anglicare Australia is a long-term sponsor and supporter of Anti-Poverty Week and our CEO Kasy Chambers is a member of the National Facilitating Group. More information is available here.

Family Relationship Services Australia Conference
The FRSA National Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. This ‘not to be missed’ event will feature a number of highly acclaimed keynote presenters, as well as Federal Ministers and sector leaders with a focus on delivering the most effective services to children, families and young people. This year’s Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, 19-22 November and the theme is New Horizons: Building the future, Paving the way. Information on how to register is available here.

Australian Council of Social Service National Conference
The 2019 ACOSS National Conference will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on 26-27 November 2019. It will provide a deep dive into the latest research and developments in economic and public policy, with a focus on poverty and inequality in Australia through a series of interactive plenary sessions. The conference offers attendees the opportunity to participate in key learning and development opportunities, to be a part of an important knowledge exchange as well as the opportunity to network with representatives from the sector, government and business with shared interests. ACOSS members can register here.

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