Aspect January 2017

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Versions of Truth

Kasy Chambers ED4We are only one month into 2017 and yet there are already serious contenders for the phrase of the year. Truths and facts and their alternative versions will certainly stand out in the discourse of 2017.

I see this vividly in the Centrelink debt debate. 

The Minister and the Department head are steadfastly sticking to the assertion that everything is working fine, just as designed.  I was brought up in Western democracies and am lucky enough to have an experience of Ministers and government where given the depth, consistency and vehemence of the “alternative truth”, it would be truly surprising if these assertions were deliberate lies.

Yet that other version of the truth is compelling, I have friends and even personal experience of this approach, let alone the growing list of people talking publicly about what has happened to them.  The journalists who are prosecuting the argument are not fools and it is hard to see that the Commonwealth Ombudsman would start an investigation if there weren’t some alarm bells.

downloadThe outcome will no doubt be that there is truth and fact on both sides. And we should say straight up that, ignoring the criminally low level of most benefits, we believe that where a person has received money they are not entitled to that needs to be recovered.  However that still leaves the problem of the way in which this has occurred, the manner in which these debt notices were sent out, the tone in which citizens have been addressed by their government and the servants of the public employed to do its work. 

No doubt we will trawl through the adequacies of the planning and thinking put into setting up this automated system. Anyone that has tried to interact with Centrelink knows the difficulties in the bureaucratic nature of the beast. If you have income cycles which differ to its reporting periods, if you are moving in and out of work (very common when you are trying to get a job), if your children reach certain milestones or you meet a partner, difficulties will be created in your relationship with Centrelink. And yet all these very normal and natural complications are part of life for most people.  Until now humans have raised the debt notice after looking at the individual situation of each case.  Automatic systems to date have been good at repetitive and routine decision making, leaving the humans with the more complex and individualised cases (how ironic that the Department of Human Services is one of the first to step so far into automation!)

Another difficulty with the process is that the adversarial manner that it set up is unlikely to allow Centrelink to learn from the cases it reviews.  A 2008 study by Anglicare Tasmania explored the experiences of people who found themselves in debt to Centrelink. Their stories were analysed and their community legal centre files reviewed. The research revealed a pattern of overpayments, poor communication by Centrelink and a lack of assistance to deal with the problem of Centrelink debt.  It is unlikely that this current process will change any of that or create a culture which would allow the grouping of cases to identify issues for better processes for Centrelink or more targeted information for citizens.

keyboard-1905880_960_720But the biggest problem with this process is the sheer lack of respect, compassion and just plain decency evident in the communications.  This has led to the adversarial nature of the current debate and eventually the possibility of the downfall of particular architects of the process.  We have said it so many times – the conversation about taxpayers and welfare recipients is at best unhelpful, at worst divisive and insulting, and in fact incorrect.  The vast majority of Australians are not wholesale “lifters or leaners”. Driving on a public road, using an airport, making use of the wifi at that airport developed by the CSIRO; each of these is an example of someone using a public, taxpayer funded good.  If that is too far a reach consider the benefits most people get at some stage in their life from the public purse – education, vaccination, health, not to mention the fact that most of us will get some form of welfare benefit at some stage of our lives – aged pensions and family tax benefits being perhaps the mainstream ones. And of course, as this current process is showing, most people reliant on the dole at one stage of their life are taxpayers at others. 

Many people caught in this current debt recovery process are now working.  They thought they had ended their connection with Centrelink years ago. This might be one of the reasons that the public opinion seems to be turning against the government.  The “What if it was me?” campaign in WA asks people to consider walking in someone else’s shoes and seeks to develop public empathy.

partnership-2It may be that Centrelink has tried to run before it could walk in terms of technology and system design. It may be that in this culture of never admitting a mistake it will be difficult to back down and build a better process. Those fact and alternative facts will all wash out in the next few weeks as the parliament returns, as Senate Inquiries are called, and as the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman publishes its findings.

In the meantime we are left with a fracture in the way we treat each other in this country and a lack of respect from a government to its citizens. And yet there is a swing in public sympathy towards those caught up in the mess: that offers some cause for optimism in what we can  expect of our communities.



National Office News

State of the Family YouTube Video | Positions Vacant? When the Jobs Aren't There

KatauskasIn October 2016, Anglicare Australia's annual State of the Family Report Positions Vacant? When the Jobs Aren’t was released. This Report was informed by Anglicare Australia's first Jobs Availability Snapshot.

Anglicare Australia has created a 10 minute YouTube Video which gives a summary of the key findings, and we would encourage you to use it in your networks where appropriate. We hope that it might also help you and your organisations to gain some awareness on some of the issues around employment.

We would encourage you to share the link via social media and send it on to your networks.

The video can be watched on YouTube at this link

Anglicare Australia response to the Fifth National Mental Health Plan Draft for Consultation

download (1)Anglicare Australia has made a response to the draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan in December, 2016. Our response is shaped by shared view that the Australia does not yet have an inclusive, coherent, positive approach to mental health despite years of inquiry, analysis and planning.

Nonetheless, we recognise there has been a considerable body of government work, including four previous National Mental Health Plans, a ten-year COAG Roadmap for Mental Health Reform and a Review of Mental Health Programs and Services by the National Mental Health Commission.

To read our submission, click here

Response to the New Disability Employment Services from 2018 Discussion Paper


On 16 December, Anglicare Australia wrote a letter to support the response of member agency EPIC Assist to the Disability Employment Services Discussion Paper and add some reflections that come from the network more widely.

The Disability Employment Services discussion paper strongly echoes discussions being had in other areas of service delivery: the need for more user choice and control, more competition, better outcomes and the right funding models to deliver them. The Productivity Commission’s Human Services Inquiry Issues Paper identified six areas of human services to prioritise for reform according to principles of user choice, competition and contestability. The NDIS is another example of new service delivery where user choice and a contestable market were central principles of reform. 

To read the letter, click here.

Poverty Shaming Pensioners a Low Blow

1483662019631On 6 January, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia Kasy Chambers had the following Opinion Piece published on the Huffington Post Australia Blog and syndicated across Fairfax publications including the Age and the SMH.

The Opinion Piece responded to comments from Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm about entitlements to the aged pension.

Drawing on examples from the Anglicare volunteer network, Chambers argued that as a nation – rather than penalising or shaming our elderly citizens – we should be celebrating their particular contributions, regardless of their economic status, and regardless of whether at some point in their lives they will need to rely on a government payment.

To read the article, click here

Rights for Renters Often Ignored, Vulnerability Increasing

rental-agreement-getty2-960x540Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director Kasy Chambers spoke to the New Daily about rights for on 12 January, 2017.

According to the piece by Jackson Stiles, rental rights and tenancy advocates are demanding that better protections for renters, currently under consideration in Victoria, be rolled out nationwide.

After almost two years of submissions, the Victorian government has released an options paper that summarises the best, evidence-based reforms raised so far – some of which would push Victoria well ahead of other states.

Kasy Chambers argued that the “long queue” for affordable housing, coupled with the fact that landlords in all states and territories can terminate leases early without cause, makes renters “afraid” to challenge rent hikes and ask for repairs or modifications. “We find that people in rental situations are very much the poor cousin in that relationship,” Ms Chambers told The New Daily. “It’s a really important area long ignored by policy makers.”

To read the article, click here 

Redesigning Dementia Supports | Anglicare Australia Submission

download (1)Anglicare Australia in conjunction with Benetas has written a paper as a submission on Redesigning Dementia Consumer Supports, the 2016 Ministerial Dementia Forum Discussion Paper.

It represents the views expressed from members of Anglicare Australia, compiled on the network’s behalf by Melbourne-based aged care provider and Anglicare Australia member, Benetas.

To read the paper, click here

downloadMEDIA RELEASE, 18 JANUARY, 2017 

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers has supported calls by ACOSS, the National Welfare Rights Network and others to suspend the Centrelink automated debt recovery process, and for government to sit down with the people most affected to put a more respectful process in place.

To read this media release, click here


r1657595_25513639Executive Director of Anglicare Australia Kasy Chambers published an opinion piece on 19 January on the ABC Religion and Ethics website on the Centrelink Automated Debt Collection.

Using the lens of the Bible and the Gospel values informing the work of social service organisations like Anglicare, Chambers said that "while we might not always use explicit language about our faith traditions in efforts to be inclusive of all, the recent Centrelink Automated Debt Collection debacle has strongly reminded us of some of the biblical stories underpinning our advocacy."

To read this article, click here

Anglicare Australia Makes a Pre-Budget Submission

piggy-bank-1595992_960_720Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the Treasurer in regard to Australian Government’s Budget for 2017-2018.

It is based on the insight and expertise of Anglicare Australia’s member organisations, and addresses the interests and experience of the people with whom they work.

The submission  argues that the budget should take a long term view, and that in economic and cultural terms Australia is not an island. Rapidly developing technology and global communications are changing the shape of business, employment and community. Growth in income and wealth is skewed towards those who are already higher income earners. The impact of climate change is giving rise to health and social sustainability challenges, as well as environmental damage, and the new industries it is driving are both creating opportunities and generating further disruption and job losses around the globe.

To read our submission, click here

The Review | Better Together 2017

The Review 2017_coverEach year, Anglicare Australia publishes a booklet summarising our work over the previous year called The Review.

The Review for 2017 carries the theme Better Together, and features the narrative that the work we do, as part of a communal species is always stronger when done in community.

Featured within the Review are the winners and highly commended recipients of our annual awards; a report on our National Conference Creative Edge; and different perspectives from around the network. 

Hard copies will be delivered over the next fortnight to Anglicare members. Please be in touch with us at Anglicare Australia if you wish to have a copy. [email protected]

To download the PDF version, click here

notmydebtTime will tell who is right about the levels of errors in the /Centrelink debt letters, about whether the whistle blowers or the department’s official line are closer to the truth and whether the Minister is right to hold his line that there is “nothing to see here”.

However the issue is still live and there is enough concern for it to have been referred to the Commonwealth Ombudsman, and for non-government politicians to call for investigations. 

The Ombudsman’s investigation will consider various issues including:

  • Adherence to the relevant legislation
  • Public and administrative law and general community standards.
  • Accuracy of the debts
  • Adequacy of risk assessment
  • Adequacy of safeguards for vulnerable people
  • Impact of automated decision making on the quality of that decision making.

We are part of a national group working to try to bring about investigations, reviews and appropriate action. We have also been in touch with the Ombudsman in charge of the investigation. 

The advice of the Ombudsman to individuals with debt letters is firstly to get in touch with Centrelink and try to talk to someone. Centrelink also have some information on their website. If you are working with someone who has received one of these letters that they believe to be incorrect please encourage them, or help them to contact Centrelink. The ombudsman has also got information on their website.

The Ombudsman is also interested in case studies that either demonstrate a unique problem or set of circumstances, or that simply add to the quantum. Whilst you can send them directly to the Ombudsman we are also very happy to collect them here first and send them in a group from here which will further de-identify them.

Important information about this process can be found on the site which gives comprehensive information about what to do in the case of receiving a Centrelink Debt letter.

Special interest Networks (for our SINs)

hands-565604_960_720This year is well underway with a number of Anglicare Australia's special interest networks settling on the time and place for their next network meetings and forums.

The Research Network will meet at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, in Melbourne, on Feb 28. The Media and Communications Network will meet the next day (March 1 at Anglicare Victoria). There will be a combined dinner on the night of the 28th somewhere in the Fitzroy/Collingwood area.

The Chaplaincy Network is meeting on March 16 and 17 in Ballarat.

The CFOs are meeting in Melbourne on March 29.

The Clinical and Care Governance Network is meeting in Adelaide on March 31.

From Principles to Practice, a forum on wellness and reablement service models for the Aged and Community Care Network, will be held on May 31 and June 1 at Castle Hill in Sydney. It will include a site tour of Anglicare Sydney (ARV)’s large integrated service model, a dinner with a keynote speaker and continuation of our practice of learning from each other.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact the convenors or members of the groups direct, or ask us for assistance at [email protected]

Anglicare Network News

Treatment Foster Care Oregon Carers urgently needed

downloadThis article was provided by Anglicare Victoria

Anglicare Victoria is in urgent need of foster carers to join the internationally successful, evidence-based Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) program to help kids get out of residential care and back to a stable, family life.

TFCO is an internationally proven program that intervenes with children in residential care whose behaviour makes it difficult for foster carers to help them. This program delivers intensive support to the child, foster carer and birth family and has demonstrated success in making it possible for children to settle into a stable family environment. Foster carers in TFCO are given specialist training and are closely guided and supervised by a professional team as they help a foster child for the six to nine month program.

This is the first time this evidence-based model of foster care is being delivered in Australia, through a joint initiative from OzChild and Anglicare Victoria, and supported by the Victorian State Government.

To learn more about this pioneering program phone Maree on 0488 350 015 or visit

Innovative Aged Care Facility to come to Heidelberg

coupleThis Media Release was provided by Benetas

Benetas will build its next aged care facility after the Banyule Council approved plans to construct a new residential aged care home on Lower Plenty Road, Heidelberg.

Construction of the new 103 bed aged care home will begin in early February, and it will likely be completed by mid-2018.

The new building, to be constructed by ADCO Construction (Victoria), will deliver Benetas’ innovative ‘apartment model’ of housing. Under this new model of care, each ‘apartment’ includes its own fully functioning kitchen, lounge and living areas; in addition to eight bedrooms with private ensuites.

Also included for residents will be a hairdresser, café, wellness areas, private dining, landscaped outdoor terraces, and basement car parking. The property offers extensive views over the Dandenong ranges.

This building adds to Benetas’ 13 aged care home across Victoria, including Broughton Hall in Camberwell and Gladswood Lodge in Brunswick West.

Chris Karagiannis, General Manager of Strategy, Infrastructure, and Housing said community consultation is a vital part of any new infrastructure project, and that issues raised during the consultation period had been considered.

“We’re very pleased to be moving forward with this project, after an extensive planning process and some very productive and beneficial discussions with local residents and Council.”

“At Benetas, we’re committed to providing modern and contemporary housing models that meet the changing needs of older Victorians. This site will deliver Benetas’ new model of care, and provide vital services to the community of Banyule and the surrounding areas”, he said.

For more information visit the Benetas website.

Carers: Doing it Tough, Doing it Well

FCol_POS_Stacked_CMYK-01-01Anglicare Sydney’s report, Carers: Doing it Tough, Doing it Well was launched in early December 2016 and raises several areas of concern with the NDIS , including a possible lack of respite programs and a lack of support in general for carers.

The NDIS was raised as an idea at the 2020 Summit under former prime minister Kevin Rudd.

The trials began across a number of national sites on July 1, 2013 for a three-year period, and a full roll-out commenced on July 1, 2016 in a phased process.

In NSW it is expected the roll-out will be completed by Jun 30, 2018, but other states have different phasings.

Anglicare Advocacy and Research Manager Sue King said she was concerned current levels of carer support and respite programs would not be maintained under the NDIS.

"If you can't sustain carers into the future the entire system will collapse," she said.

"Respite isn't actually necessarily being highlighted in the NDIS but we know that respite, for the carer, is really important."

“Support for the life you want” Marketing Campaign helping to raise awareness for Anglicare Southern Queensland.

CSC4411-Website-Banner-images-19-1-1280x0This Media Release was provided by Anglicare Southern Queensland.

In the latter part of 2016, Anglicare Southern Queensland embarked on a large marketing campaign to build awareness and consideration of Anglicare and its extensive range of services throughout its Queensland communities.

The campaign, which was rolled out across television, radio, newspapers, cinemas, social media and Anglicare’s new website, will continue through 2017 to ensure individuals, families and communities across Queensland know how to access the support they want to overcome challenges they are facing in living a more fulfilling life.

According to Anglicare Southern Queensland Executive Director, Karen Crouch, the marketing campaign communicates our promise of ‘support for the life you want’ and was designed to build on Anglicare’s strong reputation for providing quality aged care and nursing.

“While Anglicare is a name that has become synonymous with delivering aged care and nursing services throughout Southern Queensland, tens of thousands of Queenslanders are benefiting daily from Anglicare’s full range of services including Disability, Mental Health and Family Wellbeing, Foster Care, Homelessness and Help at Home services,” Karen said.

“Since the ‘support for the life you want’ campaign began, market research has indicated we have significantly increased our awareness. Similarly, the service associations for Anglicare have all increased, telling us the general public is more aware of our breadth of services,” Karen said.

“We also found that those that had seen the advertising were significantly more likely to consider our services than those who hadn’t,” she said.

Anglicare provides ‘all of life’ support to address a range of issues affecting some of the most vulnerable members in our community, from our youngest to our oldest Queenslanders.

“This support is aimed at achieving our vision – to deliver a more loving, just and inclusive society consistent with the teachings of Christ – by supporting people in need and helping them live their lives in fullness and in hope,” Karen said.

“As a Commission of the Anglican Church of Southern Queensland, we are working towards the promotion of wellness, social inclusion and social justice for all.”

Lower-income families tackle school IT costs with national savings program

keyboard-1905880_960_720This Media Release was provided by the Brotherhood of St Laurence

Lower-income families taking part in a national matched-savings program are spending more of those savings on laptops and IT than on school books as technology becomes a classroom essential.

Education savings program Saver Plus, developed by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and ANZ, has seen a marked rise in participants using their matched savings for technology. Participants set a savings goal for school costs, make regular deposits into a savings account over 10 months, and attend financial educations workshops. At the end of the program their savings are matched by ANZ, dollar for dollar, up to $500.

In the five years from 2012 to 2016 the number of claims for digital devices – such as a laptops or tablets - has increased from 37 per cent to 52 per cent. That’s far more than claims for the next most popular categories ¬- uniforms and shoes at 22 per cent, lesson fees and equipment at 16 per cent and books at just nine per cent.

Mother of four Krystle McKinley says she joined Saver Plus to save for a laptop for her eldest daughter Hayley, 11, who will start high school this year.

“Hayley’s high school has a ‘bring your own device’ system. Without a laptop she wouldn’t be able to complete assignments or sit exams. Even my younger children need access to a computer and the internet to do homework,” she said.

Brotherhood Executive Director Tony Nicholson says it’s common to see laptops and tablets on the stationery list as schools adapt to the digital age.

“This can put pressure on lower-income families, who before school even starts find themselves spending hundreds of dollars so their children have the technology needed for their studies. Saver Plus helps families save for those costs and reduce the pressure on household budgets,” he said.

Since 2003 more than 32,000 people have saved with Saver Plus. Independent research by RMIT University found that three years after completing Saver Plus 87 per cent of participants continued to save. Participants also reported having more control over their finances and improved wellbeing.

ANZ Group Executive Australia Fred Ohlsson says ANZ is proud to be assisting thousands of lower- income Australians to achieve long term financial stability.

“Saver Plus helps participants develop financial literacy skills, establish a savings habit and strengthen confidence to access mainstream affordable financial services. This contributes to financial stability for their families, an asset with benefits that go well beyond back-to-school time,” he said.

Saver Plus is funded by ANZ and the Australian Government and is delivered in 60 communities across Australia. Participants must have a Centrelink healthcare or pensioner concession card, a child at school or be attending vocational education themselves, and regular household income from paid employment.

Enquiries can be made on 1300 610 355 or via

Community Service Organisations Pool Funds for Debt Letter Recipients

partnership-2This article was provided by ProBono Australia. 

A group of Tasmanian community services organisations have pooled resources to fund community legal centres offering support and advice to Centrelink debt letter recipients.

The partners, including Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS), Relationships Australia, the Salvation Army, Mission Australia, Anglicare, Community Legal Centres Tasmania and the Mental Health Council of Tasmania, said they would provide $12,000 in funding.

They said people in Hobart and Launceston who were struggling to understand, respond to or dispute their debt letters would have access to increased support from Monday.

Hundreds of people are alleging they have incorrectly received debt notifications from the automatic system which seeks to recover $4 billion in budget savings and has generated 170,000 notices of potential overpayment since July.

The state director of Mission Australia in Tasmania and Victoria, Noel Mundy, told Pro Bono News the organisations involved in the partnership had experienced a “very significant increase” in requests for support from members of the community.

“People have been very traumatised, firstly, by the amount of the debt, we’re talking probably in most cases between $2,000 to $5,500, which for people on welfare is a very significant amount,” Mundy said.

“And… the concerns about the urgency in which they’ve been told they have to pay it and that they are now in the hands of a debt collecting agency, and… their initial debt goes up because it’s now being handled by a third party.

“Some of our clients received these letters the week before Christmas… and similarly we’re hearing stories where people who’ve got children going back to school at the end of January [are saying]: ‘How am I going to afford books or uniforms.’ So there’s that timing of it.

“And… one of the biggest complaints we’re getting is that when they do try to respond with the number that’s on the letter they’re just getting on-hold music… we’ve spoken to a couple of clients who’ve been on hold for up to two hours, and still can’t seem to get any answers.”

He said the debt recovery system also meant community legal centres were “inundated” because the process made it “impossible” for many debt letter recipients to respond to requests for repayment.

“They’re asking people in some cases to produce paperwork that might go back six or seven years of pay slips or expenses from work, and people just don’t hold those for six or seven years….gathering the evidence is just impossible for the clients that we work with,” he said.

“Additional hours for lawyers sitting within the community legal centre… will be able to assist the callers that they’re getting who have this massive debt.

“To work through the process and to advise the clients of their rights… [is] where the funding will be going.”

He said Tasmanian community service organisations often worked together to address large-scale problems.

“One of the benefits of being a small state is we all know one another and we all work together, and we know there’s not enough funds to go around if we all start competing,” he said.

“So we do try and work together as much as we possibly can, I think that’s a real benefit firstly to our sector but moreso to the clients at the end of the line that are getting… cooperative support from services.”

Mundy said other states were also considering a similar initiative in response to the so-called Centrelink debt crisis.

“Within Mission Australia nationally we’ve talked about similar [projects] across the country,” he said. 

“My understanding also is that TasCOSS were in liaison with ACOSS, the Australian Council for Social Service and their COSS partners in other states with a very similar message.”

It’s time to rethink the value of autism in the workplace

Jay-and-Zach-1000x1039This article was provided by EPIC Assist

There are major problems with the way society views disability, and as long as those views prevail we will never truly see progress, says EPIC Assist CEO Bill Gamack.

“When you really get to the core of it, society has starkly different expectations for people with disability compared to people without disability. People with disability generally aren’t expected to achieve highly, particularly in the area of employment and building a career,” said Mr Gamack, who has been at the helm of the not-for-profit disability employment organisation for almost four years.

“This subject of low expectations is an unfortunate truth and something people struggle to discuss. But without first acknowledging this, we can never expect to tackle it.”

Not intent on simply outlining social issues without taking action, EPIC Assist has joined forces with Danish company Specialisterne as they branch into Australia.

Specialisterne focuses on finding sustainable employment for people on the Autism Spectrum, and has named EPIC Assist their first Network Partner in Australia.

“We’re serious about getting people on the spectrum into the workforce. With less than 30 per cent of people on the spectrum engaged in full-time work, this needs serious attention now,” said Specialisterne Australia Chairman John Craven.

“The number of people on the spectrum in Australia appears to be on the rise. Whether this is an actual increase or just more people being diagnosed, we don’t know. What we do know is that people on the spectrum have a lot to offer to prospective employers and workplaces, and the fact that there are so few in employment is unacceptable.”

The skills and attributes of people on the spectrum have been in the spotlight lately in the form of a new autism pilot project called Autism and Agriculture. The project has seen EPIC Assist, Specialisterne and Autism CRC collaborate with SunPork Farms to support people with autism as they commence new careers at SunPork Farms. 

Zach Zaborny is a young man on the autism spectrum who understands firsthand the employment struggles faced by people with disability. He has found a supportive employer in EPIC Assist and is thriving in his role, but it hasn’t always been smooth sailing to reach this point.

“Seeking work hasn’t always been easy. In the past I have struggled with support from employers and getting them to understand how I really like tasks and structure,” said Zach.

“The very low percentage of people on the spectrum in work is definitely concerning. You have a potential workforce of entirely capable individuals who are being overlooked because they don’t meet the expectations of how an employee should be.”

Zach points to interviews and social interactions as two common areas where people on the spectrum typically struggle.

“Someone on the spectrum might be perfectly qualified for a role but struggle in an interview setting. We have certain ideas about how someone should answer an interview question, and if they don’t answer in that manner, they don’t get the job.”

Mr Craven agrees that the key to change lies in education and changing age-old mindsets, which will lead to greater disability confidence and action across the board. 

“We need to develop workplace processes that harness the autistic attributes, not fight against them. We know people on the spectrum struggle to cope with standard hiring practices and are therefore unsuccessful in finding work. It’s a vicious cycle,” said Mr Craven.

“It’s about educating employers about what to expect and supporting them by adjusting hiring practices and putting in place strong training and support,” said Mr Craven.

“We also need resources available for co-workers, so they can better understand the behaviours and needs of people on the spectrum.”

“We then find the talent, correctly assess their needs and identify suitable roles for them. Providing ongoing support to the person is also key- the job doesn’t just stop at hiring.”

EPIC Assist and Specialisterne will be collaborating on developing further employment projects incorporating people on the autism spectrum throughout 2017.

Anglicare staff win YOGIE awards

Dr-Bec-from-the-Junction-wins-Yogie-07DEC16-photo-by-Youth-Coalition-of-the-ACTThis article was provided by Anglicare NSW West/NSW South and ACT.

We are proud to congratulate two Anglicare staff members awarded for their outstanding practice and achievements in their work with young people in the ACT.

The Youth Sector Awards, known as ‘Yogies’ are awarded by the Youth Coalition of the ACT to recognise, celebrate, promote and reward those who do exceptional work with young people aged 12 to 25 years.

Congratulations to Andrew Hill who was awarded the ‘Outstanding New Talent Award’ for his effort as a Youth Engagement Worker at Woden Youth Centre.

“Andrew is a Youth Engagement worker, employed by Anglicare and working with the Youth Engagement Team based at Woden Youth Centre. His role includes engaging with young people who access the drop-in space at Woden Youth Centre and through outreach, and providing casework and supported referrals.

Andrew is passionate about supporting and empowering young people to achieve all they can. He easily forms positive relationships with young people and demonstrates a strong commitment to them. Andrew always takes the time to sit and have a chat with all young people who access drop in, who often ask where he is if he is not rostered on.

Andrew joined the youth sector after a career change from building, and has hit the ground running. He has shown a willingness to develop as a youth worker, by seeking training opportunities, asking questions, taking on board feedback and including it in his practice, supporting his peers in their work and always putting his hand up to be involved in projects where he can broaden his knowledge and offer his support to young people.

Andrew is a vibrant, passionate and happy youth worker who has found his calling in the youth engagement sector. Andrew is often heard saying “I love my job” and “I have the best job in the world”. He is not shy of getting involved in anything and everything he can. As well as his paid role as a youth worker, Andrew volunteers his time at a local church, coordinating youth activities and mentoring young people.

Andrew’s great strengths are being able to engage with young people, both in the centre and whilst performing outreach, as well as working to a professional standard, showing maturity beyond his short career.”

Secondly, congratulations to Dr Rebecca Jacobs from The Junction at Club 12/25. ‘Dr Bec’, as she is known, is the winner of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Young People Award’ for her exceptional work as a General Practitioner and supporting young people in all aspects of their health.

“Rebecca is a General Practitioner working at The Junction Youth Health Service. ‘Dr Bec’ has a special ability to connect with the most vulnerable people in our community. To the young people who access The Junction she has become more than just a GP – she is their ally, mentor and a reliable constant in their lives. She supports young people in all aspects of their lives including medical, physical, mental and social health needs.

Dr Bec’s extensive wealth of knowledge and varied experience, as well as her passion for working with young people, sees her support the most vulnerable and at risk young people in the ACT and surrounds. She works hard to gain the trust of her patients who often return to seek her guidance. Dr Bec is a kind and passionate GP who doesn’t believe in backing down. She freely and non-judgmentally gives her knowledge, experience and support to young people on a daily basis. In addition to the support she provides to the young people in our service she is an invaluable part of the medical and youth work team, providing support and knowledge to the whole Junction Youth Health Team.”

Anglicare would like to congratulate both Andrew and Dr Bec for their well-deserved awards and for how they passionately support young people and inspire them to reach their full potential.

Pictured above: Dr Bec with the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Young People Award’.

Photos and award comments by the Youth Coalition of the ACT.

South Australian Network Achievement

16142504_728612390648607_5426657098046552432_nThere's something in the water in South Australia with three separate Australia day honours awarded to tireless advocates.

Wendy Malycha, the CEO of the Adelaide-based Anglicare Australia member St John’s Youth Services was awarded the South Australian Citizen of the Year. According to a media release on the St John's Youth Services website, this recognition was awarded by the City of Adelaide as part of the 2017 Australia Day Awards. The Citizen of the Year Award recognises the outstanding contribution Wendy has made to improving the lives of young people in Adelaide.

Since joining St John’s Youth Services in 1993, Wendy has been instrumental in changing the way organisations work with young people experiencing homelessness and disadvantage.

For Wendy, attending the Citizen of the Year award ceremony provided a chance to reflect on the opportunities available to those lucky enough to call South Australia home.

AnglicareSA’s Sonia Waters was also nominated for the same award.

Meanwhile, Chair of the board of AnglicareSA Bruce Linn was given an AM in the General Division for significant service to the community, notably in the areas of social welfare, education administration, and information technology, and to local government.

Congratulations to all for this extraordinary achievement. To read more, click here.

National Awards Profile

WINNER of the PARTNERSHIP category – Trinity Hill, Anglicare Tasmania

Trinity_Hill_Pic 5Welcome to the next in our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2016 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. These profiles will be featured in the 2017 Anglicare Australia Review

Trinity Hill offers long-term housing with on-site support to access education, training, employment and other opportunities for young people aged 16-35 years to achieve their goals.

There are 46 individual units at Trinity Hill with 16 of those provided for young people with an NDIS package. Trinity Hill is located directly opposite Elizabeth College and is a short walk to the TAFE college and Hobart CBD.

Anglicare Tasmania is the lead agency for Trinity Hill with Community Housing Limited (CHL) undertaking the property and tenancy management functions and with Mission Australia providing support to tenants in relation to employment, education and training.

Trinity Hill has support staff located onsite from 8:30am to 8pm Monday to Friday and a facility supervisor onsite outside of those times. The building itself combines a beautifully refurbished Heritage Listed (former) school building with state of the art new structures that recently won the residential category at the Tasmanian Architecture awards.

The judges noted that this was a multi-level and multi partner partnership with organisations from different sectors.  The partnership was noted by all participants to have improved not only the outcomes but the processes of each organisation, improvements which were carried over to all areas of their work.

 “At Trinity Hill, there will be a focus on employment, education and training and developing young people’s living skills,” said Belinda Jones, state manager of Anglicare Tasmania’s Housing and Homeless Services.

“We know that safe, affordable housing improves the ability of young people to participate in education and training, find and maintain a job, and supports their health and wellbeing,” she said.

Anglicare and Community Housing Limited are managing the North Hobart property, and Mission Australia will provide the training.


Research and Resources

NDIA opens ILC funding round

downloadThe NDIA has announced the opening of the first round of ILC funding for both Jurisdictional Based Grants in the ACT and National Readiness Grants.  With this announcement comes confirmation of the total funding available in this round, with $3 million available in the ACT and $13.1 million available for National grants. The application deadline is Wednesday 8 March.  The Agency has released an Application Pack for both funding rounds. To read more, visit

Parent engagement conference to be held in Melbourne

downloadA conference intending to build and strengthen a parent engagement community of practice in Australia will be held in Melbourne on 6-8 June. The Parent Engagement Conference is jointly hosted by The Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY) and The Smith Family, and is designed to highlight the way parent engagement supports child wellbeing and learning outcomes. Speakers at the conference will showcase research, policy and practice on the importance of parent engagement in maximising every child’s learning potential. Further information is available at

Report on government services shows rental stress is growing

A new report from the Productivity Commission “Report on Government Services 2017, Volume G: Housing and homelessness” shows rental stress is rising. The proportion of low income households in rental stress increased from 35.4 per cent in 2007-8 to 42.5 per cent in 2013-14: 


One factor in this stress highlighted in the report was the falling value of Commonwealth Rent Assistance (CRA) payments. The reason for the falling value is that while the rate of CRA is determined by the Consumer Price Index, rental prices are rising faster than inflation. 41.2 per cent of CRA recipients spent more than 30 per cent of their income of rent, putting them in rental stress. The analysis showed that people aged 24 and under and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the groups experiencing the worst rental stress: 


Inequality worsening: eight billionaires have same wealth as 3.6 billion people combined

16443806_10155686061814460_1800137746_oA new report published by Oxfam has found that eight of the world’s richest people own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make of the poorer half of the global human population. 

The report reveals that the gap between the super-rich and the poor is “far greater than had been feared”. Oxfam Chief Executive Dr Helen Szoke said Australia had not escaped the trend, with an Oxfam analysis showing the country’s richest two billionaires, who are worth USD $16.1 billion (AUD $21.6) between them, own more than the poorest 20 per cent of the population.

Policy, consultations and grants

Parliament Sitting and Changes to the Turnbull Ministry

download (1)Sitting begins in February 2017

Federal Parliament returns on February 7.  The 2017 parliamentary sitting dates can be found here .

Changes to the Turnbull Ministry

The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced changes to his ministry earlier this month following the resignation of Health Minister Sussan Ley. Sussan Ley was replaced by Greg Hunt as Minister for Health, Ken Wyatt was appointed Minister for Aged Care and Indigenous Health, Senator Arthur Sinodinos was appointed Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, and Michael Sukkar was appointed Assistant Minister to the Treasurer. In this Assistant Minister role, Sukkar is responsible for housing affordability. 

Sector Events

Sector Events, March, 2017

7th International Carers Conference
Dates: 4-6 October at the Adelaide Convention Centre

FCA Conference (Financial Counsellors Australia)
Dates: 14-17 May, 2017
Full program and registration information coming soon

HESTA awards
Nominations for the 2017 HESTA Australian Nursing and Midwifery Awards are now open - the annual Awards recognise graduates, individuals and teams for their professionalism, innovation and care, across a range of health settings. 

GARMA festival
Regustrations open. Run by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Garma festival will take place from the 4th to the 7th of August.

18th International Mental Health Conference
Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 18th International Mental Health Conference, being held on the Gold Coast, QLD on 21 – 23 August 2017. More information is available on the website where you can submit your abstracts and register.

In this Issue...

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