Aspect April 2020

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Renters on the frontline of the coronavirus

Kasy ED 4_pref

Yesterday Anglicare Australia released our eleventh Rental Affordability Snapshot. The Snapshot comes out each year, and each year we’ve come to expect glum results.

But there was nothing typical about this year’s Snapshot. It was released as renters across the country found themselves on the frontline of an unprecedented pandemic. Many are losing their incomes, and some are scared of being forced out of their homes.

Much has changed since our Snapshot weekend on 21 March, when we scanned rental listings to test for affordability. The economy has been all but shut down, some government payments have been raised - albeit temporarily - and tens of thousands of Australians have already lost their jobs.

Those on government payments or in insecure work are much more likely to be renting. Their homes as well as their incomes are under threat. Yet many commentators still assume that renters will be fine, and that the market will simply cater to their new needs.

Rents will go down, they reason, and there is no need to change the foundations of our housing system.

Our Snapshot challenges this thinking.

We found that a person who is out of work can afford less than 2% of rentals – and that’s with their payments doubled. Under the old rates, just 9 rentals (0%) across Australia would be affordable.

Age pensioners and people with disability have been left out altogether. They are at the very bottom of the market, and can afford just 1% and 0.5% of rentals respectively. Instead of looking after for them in the midst of a health crisis, we are leaving them to the mercy of the market.

The Coronavirus Supplement will mean that couples with children are better able to compete in the rental market. An couple who are out of work with two children will see a 10% increase in affordability. This will help lift many children out of poverty across the country.

But even for families, our results are a mixed bag. Single parents on government payments will see very little benefit. They can afford just 2% of listings.

The increases will make a minor difference to people on Youth Allowance, but they also show how brutal rental market is for young people. Even with rates more than doubled, a person on Youth Allowance looking for a sharehouse can afford less than 1% of rentals. Under the old rates, just three listings out of the 70,000 (0%) we surveyed would have been affordable.

Some people have been left out together, forgotten or ignored in the pandemic response. Asylum seekers, international students and other temporary migrants do not have any access to income support – including Jobseeker, Jobkeeper, or Medicare. Many will be turning to our Network for help just to keep a roof over their head.

All of this tells us that while welfare increases have given some Australians badly needed relief, the private rental market is still failing people on the lowest incomes.

It also tells us that Australia’s massive social housing shortfall is catching up with us. The Everybody’s Home campaign has shown we need 500,000 new affordable and social rentals across Australia, and that need has never been more urgent.

With many more Australians due to lose their jobs, we need to take action to ensure they don’t also lose their homes.

Welfare increases for people out of work must become permanent. They must be extended to people with disabilities, age pensioners, and everybody who needs them. This will help people keep a roof over the heads and buy essential supplies – and in a time of crisis, it will stop them from having to make unfair choices.

We also need a real moratorium on all evictions. So far, only Tasmania has committed to honouring the national moratorium by stopping all evictions during this pandemic. We need every other government across Australia follow their lead.

And finally, it is well past time to invest in social and affordable rentals. Ending our affordable housing shortfall would be the most powerful way to tackle the rental crisis – and boost our economy.

Nobody should be squeezed out of the market during a health emergency. It’s time to face this crisis together and make sure that everyone has a place to call home.

National Office News

National Office News

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Media Wrap-Up
As Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said in this month’s editorial, the findings in this year’s Rental Affordability Snapshot show that renters are on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic – and we had strong media interest in this year’s findings.

The Snapshot launch was covered by SBS News, Win News, Nine News, Seven News, and Ten News, and ABC News. The Snapshot was extensively featured in Fairfax with a nationally syndicated story in Fairfax newspapers and an article in the Australian Financial Review.

The Snapshot was covered by the Guardian with a focus on income support recipients, as well as a separate opinion piece by Greg Jericho which featured regional data. The Snapshot was also covered by youth outlets such as Triple J’s Hack and Junkee.

The results were featured in News Ltd outlets with articles in its major newspapers, such as The West Australian, The Herald Sun, The Daily Telegraph, and News.Com.Au. Other News Ltd papers also covered the regional results across the country.

Highlights from our regional coverage include detailed localised coverage in The Canberra Times, The Hobart Mercury, The Illawarra Mercury, The Courier, The Bendigo Advertiser, The Newcastle Herald, and many others. The national results were also featured in a syndicated piece by the Australian Associated Press, appearing in local newspapers across the country. In addition there were countless local commercial television and radio interviews across Australia.

As always, specialist and community sector outlets covered the report such as Pro Bono News, Talking Disability, and various outlets aimed at older Australians.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release, and click here to visit the Rental Affordability Snapshot website.

Rental Affordability Snapshot: Resources
Anglicare Australia has produced infographics to highlight some of the key findings of the Rental Affordability Snapshot. These graphics are available to download and re-post, or to share from Anglicare Australia social media accounts.

Anyone hoping for a detailed understanding of the tax breaks and concessions should also read Greg Jericho’s piece in The Guardian, which uses graphs and interactive local data.

The report has also been turned into an interactive website, available at https://anglicare-ras.com/. Each of the regional snapshots is available to download online.

We encourage members to use the Snapshot, the website, and these resources in their advocacy on housing.

Click here to download the full report from the Anglicare Australia website.

Senate report shows we must raise the rate of Jobseeker for good
Anglicare Australia has renewed its call to raise the rate of Jobseeker (formerly Newstart) and related payments for good. The calls come as a key senate committee has found the old rates were too low.

“The political process has been failing people out of work for years. Countless reports have shown the need to raise the rate of these payments. This one is just the latest.

“The Government has raised the rate in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but only for six months. That’s not good enough.

“Anglicare Australia’s Rental Affordability Snapshot, released just this morning, found that even with the payments doubled almost 99% of rental listings are not affordable for someone on Jobseeker. If the payments are halved in six months, 0% will be affordable,” said Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

Click here to read the full media release.

Open letter calls for more support for aged sector
Anglicare Australia and other aged care peak bodies have come together to call for more funding to face the coronavirus pandemic.

Our joint open letter, which ran in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday, said that the rate of $2 per resident per day is not enough to keep older Australians safe.

"The ability of many services to meet the needs of those they care for was already constrained due to major and prolonged financial pressures, long before the pandemic," the letter says.

"The rising costs of keeping residents safe from coronavirus is pushing us closer to breaking point."

In addition to the open letter running in the Sydney Morning Herald, the story was covered by Fairfax newspapers, ABC News, The Today Show, SBS, and The Guardian.

Click here to download the open letter.

Anglicare Australia helps secure JobKeeper changes
Last week Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia jointly welcomed changes to the government’s historic JobKeeper scheme. The changes will open up the JobKeeper scheme to more charities.

“This announcement is good news for thousands of charities across Australia – and for their staff,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“These changes mean that we can keep more of those staff on, play our part in restarting the economy, and keep serving our communities.”

These comments were covered in The Canberra Times, Seven News, Ten News, and Pro Bono News.

Weeks earlier, Anglicare Australia had warned that the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy could leave thousands of charity workers behind.

“Charities are run differently from businesses. Our budgets are not just about simple profits and losses. Grants that are used to carry out one aspect of our work can’t be used to fund another aspect of our work.

“That means that if we’re seeing major losses in our childcare services or from our op shops, we can’t prop them up with funding from other grants. These losses mean that some charities will have to stand down a huge number of workers – but still won’t be eligible for the JobKeeper payment.”

These comments were covered in SBS News, Nine News, The Canberra Times, and Pro Bono News.

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s release calling for changes to the JobKeeper payment, and click here to read the release welcoming them.

Anglicare Australia co-hosts webinar with aged care minister and CMO
The last few weeks have been a huge challenge for everyone, and the aged care sector has been right at the forefront of that challenge. While it has been difficult and hasn’t always been perfect, the numbers show that Australia’s aged care sector has done a much better job than many other jurisdictions around the world.

However, recent comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy created confusion and concern about visitation restrictions, and made a difficult situation even more challenging for the aged care sector, its staff, and residents.

Earlier this month Anglicare Australia joined aged care peak bodies to invite Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck and Professor Brendan Murphy to speak with aged care providers and how to manage these issues. They agreed to do so and webinar was held on 24 April.

Although it was a frank and sometimes difficult discussion, this was critical as it was the first opportunity the sector was given to speak directly with the CMO.

If you missed the webinar, email [email protected] to find out more about the issues discussed.

Renters still waiting for relief
Anglicare Australia says that the Code of Conduct on leases announced by National Cabinet has left out residential renters, focusing instead on businesses and commercial tenants.

“Renters are on the frontline of this downturn. Many are losing their incomes, and some are scared of being forced out of their homes,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The moratorium on evictions was a good start, but it’s also left many people confused. Renters can’t be evicted because of financial stress, but in most of Australia they can still be evicted for no reason at all. We’re already seeing stories from the frontline of people being evicted with nowhere to go.

“In some parts of the country, tenants are even being evicted from public housing – in the midst of a health crisis. Governments should be leading private landlords by example, instead of making a mockery of the eviction moratorium.

“The Code of Conduct was a lost opportunity to provide fairness and clarity to renters once and for all.”

Click here to read the full media release.

COVID-19 media updates and announcement tracker still available for Anglicare Australia members
To assist Anglicare Australia Network members to stay up to date on the latest news during the COVID-19 pandemic, Anglicare Australia has been collating a major news stories each day.

We send these daily updates to member CEOs, and to members of the Anglicare Australia the Media and Communications Network. The updates are also open to anybody else who works in the Anglicare Australia Network and many other Network staff members have subscribed.

To help our members track these measures, we have also prepared a COVID-19 Announcement Tracker. The document brings together announcements relevant to the Anglicare Australia Network. It also includes the dates of the announcements, and the dates of any revisions to these announcements, to help ensure you are getting the most current information. It is attached to the Media Update each morning and updated weekly.

If you would like us to subscribe you or any additional members of your team, please forward their details to Anglicare Australia’s Director of Media and Communications, Maiy Azize.

To subscribe to daily news updates during the COVID-19 pandemic, email [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Australia’s National Conference cancelled
Anglicare Australia’s 2020 National Conference, which was due to be held in Hobart from 20-23 September, has been cancelled in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We know that this decision is disappointing, and we thank you for your support and understanding. We would especially like to thank our conference committee, chaired by Karen Crouch, for their work and leadership. If it had been a normal year and we had gone ahead, we know it would have been a truly fantastic event.

We will still hold a National Conference in Hobart in September 2021 – giving us all the chance to visit Hobart next year and share stories of resilience and recovery. Stay tuned for updates.

For more information, email [email protected].

Expressions of interest: Webinar on Home Stretch campaign
In these unprecedented times, Anglicare Australia is looking at rolling out online-based networking and development events for our members in the coming months. These events will draw on both external speakers as well as expertise within our Network.

Anglicare Victoria CEO and Home Stretch Chairperson Paul McDonald has offered to lead a session on the Home Stretch campaign, and its proposal to states and territories to extend state care for the duration of 2020. The Home Stretch is our Networks highest profile and most successful campaign to date. Further information is available in the Awards Profile below.

To express interest in a webinar on the Home Stretch, email [email protected].

Technology, hardware, and technical support available through WorkVentures
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the summer bushfires, there is unprecedented pressure and need for technology across the Anglicare Australia Network. To get you up and running with a computer, we have partnered with Anglicare Australia member WorkVentures, who can help you with a laptop computer package.

WorkVentures is a social enterprise that has been operating for over forty years. They help people with affordable, industry leading computer brands. WorkVentures is a long-term member of the Anglicare Australia Network.

They have laptop packages starting from $399 to help those affected by the bushfires get back up and running with technology quickly and easily. Packages include a refurbished laptop pre-loaded with Windows and Microsoft Office as well as Adobe Reader, and comes with a six month warranty and extended remote support for twelve months. They have an after sales support team which can help you with any trouble shooting or questions you might have.

For more information, call 1800 112 205 or visit http://shop.workventures.com.au.

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: The Home Stretch Campaign, Anglicare Victoria

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.

Homestretch LaunchEvery year an estimated 3,000 young people leave state care across Australia. Around half of them will end up either homeless, in gaol or a new parent within the first year of leaving state care. 

That’s why Anglicare Victoria created the Home Stretch Campaign. It is a group of organisations, led by Anglicare Victoria, who believe an option should be available for youth in the Out-of-Home Care system to remain in care until the age of 21.

As the largest parent of all, the campaign calls on all state and territory governments to provide an option for care to be extended to any young person to 21 years, much like what is happening in any other family in Australia. Giving young people this option would provide many them with the platform to make the right start in life and enjoy a life.

Homestretch CampaignBecause of this campaign, four states have now committed to the reform. South Australia has begun reimbursing foster and kinship carers when they continue to provide care. Tasmania is planning their roll out of the reform. Victoria is rolling out the reform to 250 young people over five years. And in West Australia, a trial has just begun.

The campaign is also stepping up its efforts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, calling for no care leaver to be left behind in the midst of this crisis.

The judges called this a campaign with many benefits to the wider community. They noted that policy change is usually slow, and that the success of this campaign in a short space of time is very impressive.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Rental Affordability Snapshot, Grattan Institute, and ACOSS

Rental Snapshot - National ReportRental Affordability Snapshot: National Report
Anglicare Australia
The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners.

The report is available here.


Rental Snapshot - Regional ReportsRental Affordability Snapshot: Regional Reports
Anglicare Australia member agencies
This report collates each of the regional snapshots which combine to make the national Rental Affordability Snapshot. It includes valuable local insights into rental affordability across every region that Anglicare services.

The report is available here.


Shutdown ReportShutdown: Estimating the COVID-19 employment shock
Grattan Institute
In this paper, Grattan Institute researchers used a range of methods to estimate the size of the COVID-19 employment shock, including data on which jobs require people to work in close proximity to other workers or the public.

The paper is available here.


Faces of UnemploymentFaces of Unemployment
ACOSS and Jobs Australia
This report analyses unemployment in Australia in late 2019, including how many people were unemployed, the challenges they experienced in finding paid work, trends in employment and unemployment, and which groups in society were most affected by unemployment.

The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper
Australia is currently in the midst of an unprecedented emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic, following the summer bushfire crisis. People with disability can be severely affected by emergencies and may be at a higher risk of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation at these times. The purpose of this Issues Paper is to invite information from the public on emergency planning and response. The issues paper asks 11 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 17 July 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 considering 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, April-May 2020

Online Project Management Training for Non-profit Organisations
Projects in the not for profit sector can be challenging with limited budgets, answering to Boards and managing volunteering staff who want to help but may not be well versed in working in project teams. As such, planning and preparation become essential, and managing, juggling and using alternative resources and solutions becomes imbedded into your everyday activities to achieve great results which are on time and within the estimated budget. This session will provide the tools to help manage the project and stakeholders throughout the life cycle, and demonstrate through measurement the impact the project has had within the community. It will be held online on 6 May, hosted by Not Profit Training. More information is available here.

How NFPs can use Facebook for growth during COVID-19
In this session Richenda Vermeulen, founder and CEO of ntegrity, will explore how COVID-19 has changed the Facebook ecosystem and how not-for-profits can adapt. This webinar will provide clarity on the Facebook tools available to not-for-profits during these uncertain changes. Drawing on current, real-life examples from ntegrity’s work with NFPs and her professional experience, Richenda will leave you with an in-depth understanding of where your organisation fits in the current context, and how you can update your Facebook strategy to fuel long-term growth. It will be held online on 7 May, hosted by Pro Bono Australia. More information is available here.

Clinical Governance essentials for aged care boards
Board accountability for care and clinical outcomes is firmly embedded in legislation, and the ACQSC’s Aged Care Quality Standard 8 requires organisations to demonstrate the use of a clinical governance framework. This session provides practical cost-effective solutions for boards to integrate their clinical governance responsibilities into their essential skill set addressing leadership, risk, compliance and best practice performance. It will be held online on 2 June, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. More information is available here.

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