Anglicare Victoria says that drug tests add to winter of welfare discontent
It has been a long cold winter for Australia’s disadvantaged. Massive increases in energy costs and record disconnection rates were recorded and for people who don’t own a house the proportion of affordable rental accommodation slipped to a record low.
Meanwhile, Australia’s 750,000 Newstart recipients began their 23rd year of no real increase in their welfare payments, gradually slipping further below the poverty line. And as poverty is the main driver of homelessness, this winter at least 105,000 people were homeless, many of them sleeping rough and outside in freezing temperatures in the southern parts of Australia.
Meanwhile back in Canberra, a small team of officials assembled to receive submissions on the federal Government’s welfare crackdown bill which the Senate referred to a parliamentary committee in the dying days of the autumn session.
Click here to read the full opinion piece by Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald and click here to read Anglicare Victoria’s media release.
Anglicare Sydney concerned about citizenship changes
Anglicare Sydney has expressed concerns about the changes to Citizenship laws in a recent Senate inquiry.
“Our refugee and asylum seeker clients long for a day where they can proudly call themselves Australian citizens. Many are stateless, with no secure home to return to, and Australian citizenship will be the only national citizenship they will ever hold. We are concerned that despite the rhetoric of the ‘fair-go’, our Federal Government is making it harder for these people to become citizens of this country,” said Sue King, Research and Advocacy Manager.
“We are concerned that the proposed English competency test could be at odds with the overarching principles of inclusivity and equality of opportunity that should be at the heart of the review process.
“We cannot support measures that unfairly discriminate between different migrant and refugee groups in Australia by screening prospective citizens on criteria that do not accurately assess their commitment to Australia and its people.”
Click here for more information on Anglicare Sydney’s work with new migrants and refugees.
Brother of St Laurence pilot program assists hundreds of asylum seekers into the workforce
The Brotherhood of St Laurence's Given the Chance program has assisted hundreds of asylum seekers to find their first jobs in Australia. Supported by a private philanthropist, the program aims to assist asylum seekers with bridging visas living in Melbourne, to get into, and stay in, the workforce. Since its launch, 421 participants have found a job.
Outcomes in 2015–16 look promising, with an overall placement rate of 56%, and a retention rate of 68% of these after six months of employment. These findings are contained in a new report Giving asylum seekers a chance: insights from a pilot employment program by Brotherhood researchers, John van Kooy and Agathe Randrianarisoa, who have evaluated the program’s first phase.
The research points to the program’s value to the wider community, with an unpublished cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Australian and New Zealand School of Government indicating that for every $1 of investment in the program, society receives a return of $1.52 in consumption, taxes paid and reduced welfare expenditure.
This program was highly commended in the partnership category at the 2016 Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. Click here to read more about the program's results.
Love them and let them go, says EPIC Assist
A recent screening of ABC’s Australian Story featured the captivating tale of a couple who decided to take an unorthodox approach to challenging their son’s disability. Just as 14-year-old Sam was entering adolescence, his family insisted he embark upon a six-month backpacking trip around Africa with his father, Dr James Best.
This would not be overly noteworthy if not for the fact that Sam has autism; a disability where routine, order and predictability are considered essential for the person to thrive. Throwing a young man into a chaotic, unfamiliar setting is widely considered the exact opposite of ‘what the doctor ordered’.
Bill Gamack, who is CEO of disability not-for-profit EPIC Assist, says while this radical experiment isn’t possible or practical for everyone, it does highlight the merits of embracing the path less travelled.
“There’s no denying it would have been far easier for James and Benison to keep Sam’s life controlled, closely managed and routine. Bucking the status quo is always going to make waves, on many levels,” said Bill, who also has a close family member with autism.
Click here to read and the full story and find out more about EPIC Assist’s work.
Anglicare Tasmania research shows removing poker machines is good for the economy
Removing poker machines from hotels and clubs would be a boon for the Tasmanian economy, a new independent economic report commissioned by Anglicare Tasmania has found.
Anglicare Tasmania said the report shows it’s in the best economic interests of Tasmania to remove poker machines from hotels and clubs.
"Evidence has always been clear on the devastating harm that poker machines cause to Tasmanian families," said Meg Webb of Anglicare’s Social Action and Research Centre.
"This report adds an economic argument to the considerable social and health evidence that shows Tasmania would benefit from taking poker machines out of our local suburbs," said Ms Webb.
Click here to download the report, ‘Removing poker machines from hotels and clubs in Tasmania: Economic considerations’, and click here to support Anglicare Tasmania's campaign to remove poker machines from our communities.
AnglicareSA prepares for Anglicare Sunday
AnglicareSA Speakers are preparing to speak at Anglicare Sunday on 8 October 2017, and in the Months of October to December during what is known as the Anglicare Quarter across the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide.
Anglicare Sunday is an opportunity to share stories of the vast and varied work of AnglicareSA with people in parishes in the Anglican Community of which AnglicareSA is a part.
AnglicareSA speakers will be available at Sunday morning church services to tell the stories of the work they do, as well as sharing the wider work of AnglicareSA and how it connects with our vision and values.
To arrange a speaker, or to participate as a representative of AnglicareSA, please contact Jill Rivers on [email protected].
Family Children and Communities network meeting
Anglicare Australia’s Family, Children and Communities Network met in Adelaide on 4 August, hosted by Sue Christophers at Anglicare SA.
Glenda Devlin led a great session about working with the most disadvantaged people, noting not that everyone wants a case manager and a raft of life changes. Sometimes, it really is just help with food or managing a bill.
Karen Barker from Anglicare WA gave us a good insight into how to build outcomes focus, and measurement, across the breadth of your organisation and we were all keen to find out more about that.
Another key discussion was around the Sanctuary model - and how trauma informed care can itself inform the work of a whole organisation, and that will be the focus of a day long forum to put on early next year.
Network members who are in Melbourne, for the FRSA Conference in November will catch up then. Contact Glenda Devlin or Sue Christophers for more information.
There will be an APP Group meeting at our National Conference for people interested in or working on an app that clients can use to link in to Anglicare services. 1:30-2:30pm Wednesday 20 September 2017.