Aspect January 2020

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Reimagining democracy – and leadership – in the wake of crisis

Kasy ED 4_pref

Much has already been said about the devastating bushfires that have been burning – and continue to burn – across the country. We can expect that much more will be said, and that more sage advice will be ignored.

Like many Australians, I changed holiday plans over the Christmas break as one area, then another, and another, were impacted. And like many I was astounded by the silence from federal politicians of all colours.

There was no shortage of local leadership. From the firefighters and emergency response volunteers to the Anglicare staff on the ground in the evacuation centres. From the local people in impacted communities to the apps and platforms that sprung up to match needs with resources. Leadership and generosity was everywhere. Everywhere, it seemed, except for federal politics.
Of course, the best policy is enacted at the level closest to its effect, at the local level. But climate policy requires at least a national government response. And with half the country on fire, people were searching for national leadership, calm and empathy. 

For months, they did not find it. Instead they were told not to expect it, not to look for it, that the issues facing millions of Australians were someone else’s problem.

With trust in politicians at an all-time low, and engagement in traditional politics declining, this seems like the worst possible time for politicians to leave the space vacant. 

Late last year I was honoured by being invited by the Brotherhood of St Laurence to give the Gerard Tucker Oration. In that I talked about the ‘patronising democracy’ we seem to have come to where the only input sought from citizens is at the ballot box.

Political democracy seems to have allowed itself to shrink into a tiny ballot box shaped space, painted into a corner. By removing itself from more and more of the public sphere and pushing for small government, it would appear that it is getting exactly what it sought.  While small government might have been what was aimed for, the bullseye of that target is irrelevancy in the day to day life of Australians.

It seems to me that this summer has the capacity to unite us or to be the death knell of political democracy.  Too little too late to unite us, the response of politicians has contributed to their exit from our national life.

Where the real leadership and democracy is rife is in the debates, discussion and innovations that community groups are bringing to life.  At the beginning of the summer, a survey was done to find out how much Australians would be willing to pay to combat climate change. The figure was $200. This may not seem like a lot, but it could fund a raft of policies that would prevent further climate change, adapt to the changes we’re already seeing, and transition away from polluting industries. If the survey were to be conducted again, I daresay that number would soar in the wake of this bushfire season. 

The survey may have been testing a hypothetical, but it shows the power of harnessing people directly – not just through government. We now have an unprecedented opportunity to think, together, about how we rebuilt. We at Anglicare Australia have long believed that the everyday citizen is not happy with the society we are building. The precarious job market, the degradation of our natural environment, the concentration of wealth in the hands of fewer and fewer people, the sheer lack of kindness and the outright denigration of people who need to seek welfare – this is not the Australia that most of us want.

We have an opportunity to rethink housing across fire affected communities, instead of simply rebuilding the system that locked out so many people. In helping those who have never engaged with welfare before, we could reimagine a system that works for everyone and respects the dignity of all who need it – not just those lucky enough to have never needed it until now.

Community organisations are ideally placed to nurture and develop this sort of democracy. Anglicare Australia’s members are in every community, working in partnership with them, living alongside them – ‘doing with’, not ‘doing to’. Disaster recovery volunteers are working around the clock to help people, seeking people out and understanding their needs. These are local people who already live in those communities. That means many of them are impacted directly by the fires themselves. They share the despair, and hope, in response and recovery.

Our challenge now is to listen to them, to learn from them, and to reimagine our democracy from the ashes of what has been left behind.

National Office News

National Office News: Responding to the bushfires, changes to our team, and more

Anglicare Australia pays tribute to Roland Manderson
Roland MandersonAnglicare Australia thanks Roland Manderson for his ten years of service as Deputy Director. Roland joined Anglicare Australia in 2009, and has been a fixture of the national office team ever since.

In his time at Anglicare Australia Roland has led many areas of our work and played a vital role in our advocacy. One of Roland's last major projects as Deputy Director was Our Better Selves, which took an in-depth look at five projects across the Network and drew lessons from the best of what they do.

We are delighted that Roland will continue to be part of the Anglicare Australia family, staying on as a part-time member of the policy and research team.

Imogen Ebsworth welcomed as Deputy Executive Director
Anglicare Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Imogen Ebsworth to the position of Deputy Executive Director. Many of you will already know Imogen, who previously led Anglicare Australia's policy and research team.

Working closely with Executive Director Kasy Chambers, Imogen will be fostering alliances with other peak bodies, helping to lead advocacy efforts, and playing an active role in Network development. Imogen will continue to coordinate policy development and research for Anglicare Australia members and other stakeholders.

Imogen has a wealth of policy and advocacy experience, having previously worked in Federal Parliament, the Australian Public Service, and the private sector. She first joined Anglicare Australia in 2017 as Director of Policy and Research, following a role at Anglicare Tasmania's Social Action Research Centre.

Assisting those who need help in the bushfires, and those who wish to help others
Tathra firesBushfires continue to burn in Australia’s worst fire season yet. Many people are now left without shelter, food, water and everyday essentials. Others are looking for ways to volunteer, or advice on how they can donate.

Anglicare Australia has collated information on where to get help for those effected, including services provided by Anglicare Australia Network members. We have also included information for those who wish to donate to Anglicare appeals or volunteer with our members to assist people and communities impacted by these terrible fires.

Click here to review our advice.

If you would like to suggest any additions, please contact [email protected].

Anglicare Australia joins Charities Bushfire Recovery Coordination Forum
Bushfire roundtableIn the wake of the bushfires, the National Bushfire Recovery Agency has established the Charities Bushfire Recovery Coordination Forum. The group has been tasked with coordination of current charity bushfire recovery efforts, identifying the needs and resources available, and coordinating help for those in need.

The group was established following a roundtable with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston, and Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management David Littleproud. Since attending the roundtable, Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers has been playing a key role in the group.

Anglicare Australia will continue to work closely with members as we represent the Network in these forums.

Cashless welfare card must be suspended in the wake of fires
Disaster Recovery ChaplainAnglicare Australia has called for the cashless welfare card to be suspended indefinitely for those affected by the bushfire crisis.

“People must be able to get essential supplies to live and adapt in the wake of the bushfires. With the power out and many outlets closed, people must be able to withdraw cash,” said Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

Bushfire crisis“Centrelink has asked people on the cashless welfare card to contact them if they are affected by fires. That’s not good enough.

“With the power out and phones unavailable, contacting Centrelink is just not an option for people in the thick of the crisis. The card must be suspended indefinitely,” Ms Chambers said.

Ms Chambers said that other Centrelink exemptions should also be extended for people in fire affected communities.

This story was covered by SBS, ABC News, Win News, and Pro Bono Australia.

Click here to read our media release.

Aged care in a state of emergency
In December, Anglicare Australia joined older people, their families, carers and other provider groups to call for an aged care funding boost ahead of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO).

We joined with Aged and Community Services Australia, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia, Aged Care Guild and UnitingCare Australia in a plea for help on behalf of older Australians.

Up to half of Australia’s aged care homes are losing millions of dollars each year, and more than 120,000 senior Australians are still waiting for urgent home care. Small and locally run services – some of the biggest regional employers – are facing major challenges.

The group called for action residential aged care, workforce issues, home Care packages, and Regional, Rural and Remote services.

This story was covered by SBS, The Canberra Times, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Aged Care Insite, Australian Ageing Agenda.

Click here to read our media release.

Anglicare friends and volunteers recognised with Australia Day honours
Anglicare Australia is delighted to congratulate several volunteers and friends of the Anglicare Australia Network, who were recognised with Australia Day honours this month.

Patricia Murray of Western Australia has been recognised for her service to the community through family social welfare associations. Patricia has a long history of working with community organisations, and previously served as an Anglicare Australia board member from 1996 to 2004.

Catherine Cox of Queensland has been recognised for her service to the performing arts through choral music. Catherine has previously served as artistic and musical director for Anglicare Southern Queensland's Prom Praise.

Caroline Johnston of Victoria has been recognised for years of service to the community, including her service as a former board member of Anglicare Victoria board member.

Reginald Smith of Victoria has been recognised for his service to young people, including through intercultural programs. Reginald previously served as a former board member of Anglicare Victoria board member.

Anglicare Australia congratulates these and other dedicated volunteers who have been recognised with honours.

Anglicare Australia submission to the 2020-21 Federal Budget
Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the 2020-21 Federal Budget, to be handed down in May.
Anglicare Australia made recommendations in the following areas:

  • Rebuilding the Safety Net
  • Reforming Employment Services
  • Delivering Quality Aged Care
  • Disability and Mental Health Support
  • Action on Homelessness and Housing Affordability
  • A Better Future for Children and Young People.

The nation is facing major challenges, and so is the Federal Budget. Hundreds of thousands of Australians cannot find an affordable home. Those who are out of work or underemployed are struggling to make ends meet. And many older Australians are retiring into poverty. Our submission calls on the Government to ensure 2020 does not become another lost opportunity to take on the issues facing our nation.

Click here to download our submission.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Upcoming Anglicare Australia network meetings
This year is well underway with a number of Anglicare Australia's special interest networks settling on the time and place for face-to-face network meetings and forums.

Confirmed dates include:

  • The Child Safe Working Group will hold a face-to-face in Melbourne on Friday 14 February.
  • The Out-of-Home Care Strategic Collaboration Group will hold a face-to-face in Melbourne Wednesday 26 February.
  • The Aged and Community Care Network will host a mini-conference in Adelaide on Friday 28 February.
  • The First Nations Staff Network will hold a mini-conference in Sydney on Friday 6 March.
  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a training day in Sydney on Friday 6 March. This will be preceded by a short afternoon session focused on marketing on Thursday 5 March.
  • Human Resources leaders from across the Anglicare Australia Network will meet in Brisbane on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Network will hold a face-to-face meeting in Sydney or Melbourne on Monday 6 July.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact the convenors or members of the groups directly. If you’re unsure who to contact, email [email protected].

Anglicare Australia Network members on the ground and raising funds in bushfire affected communities
Bushfire chaplainsAnglicare Australia Network members have been at the forefront of efforts to help communities ravaged by this summer’s bushfire crisis.

For those in need food or clothing, Anglicare Australia Network members have emergency assistance centres in Victoria, South Australia, and NSW South, NSW West and ACT.

Disaster RecoveryOur members are also running relief efforts during and after disasters. These are being run in Sydney and surrounding areas, and NSW South, NSW West and ACT.

Finally, Anglicare Australia Network members have been collecting donations for emergency relief to help those who have been affected by the bushfires. Appeals are being run in Sydney, Victoria and NSW South, NSW West and ACT.

Click here for more information about our Network's efforts in the wake of the bushfires.

Update on the Child Safe Working Group
Much attention has been paid to keeping children and other vulnerable people safe in our organisations since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse handed down its final report. Most Anglicare Australia members with services that are designed for children, or child facing services, have now signed up for the National Redress Scheme. Many other members are exploring how to keep children safe in non-child facing services, such as housing or aged care services. Royal Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald has made it very clear that governance plays a major role in preventing abuse, and a recent article by legal expert Derek Mortimer echoes this.

Anglicare Australia has been assisting members, especially those without child facing services, to ensure all our services and institutions not only prevent child abuse but positively promote child safe organisational culture and behaviour. This work is being driven by AnglicareSA CEO and Anglicare Australia Council member Peter Sandeman. The Anglicare Australia Child Safe Working Group will next meet in Melbourne on Friday 14 February to further explore these issues.

Update on Anglicare Australia Strategic Collaboration Groups
At its meeting in November, the Anglicare Australia Council disbanded the Disability Strategic Collaboration Group and the Housing and Homelessness Strategic Collaboration Group. After forming a few years ago, these groups have completed the work they can do in this format.

In their place, we are interested in hearing if you would like to participate in a Special Interest Network in either area. Participants would ideally be working in the areas of service delivery, policy, or advocacy. With enough interest, Anglicare Australia can arrange a teleconference and develop an agenda.

Please contact [email protected] with your contact details and area of interest.

I’m not ageist, but…
Benetas aged care provider CEO Sandra Hills OAM has called for Australians to delve into their preconceptions of older generations and challenge common stereotypes that can fuel ageism in society. With the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety unveiling countless cases of neglect and mistreatment towards the elderly, Ms Hills said the case for a major social change campaign to shift common perceptions of older people has never been so strong.

Sandra Hills“The Royal Commission is an important vehicle for change in how we care for older Australians and we applaud the introduction of the new Charter of Aged Care Rights in June this year to ensure that the rights of older people are at the front and centre of everything we do”, said Ms Hills.

“However in my mind, when it comes to safeguarding rights and wellbeing of older generations, this policy doesn’t go far enough.”

Ms Hills commented that most people don’t realise that older men are more likely to die by suicide than any other age group, and that older women are now one of the fastest growing groups at risk of homelessness.

“In fact, rates of depression among older people remain disproportionately high and are sadly often accepted as a ‘normal’ part of ageing.

“If we’re really going to commit to tackling discrimination in Australia, we’re going to have to start valuing older people on an individual level and valuing their contributions to our community.”

Click here to read more about Benetas’ call.

Anglicare Sydney celebrates eleven years of Aboriginal Cultural Program
An Aboriginal cultural program in Western Sydney has celebrated eleven years of connecting local Aboriginal children with their heritage through storytelling, songs in Dharug language, arts, crafts and painting.

The program, Gulyangarra Yellamundie, has been supported by Anglicare and taught at four local schools. Local Aboriginal elders, like Aunty Rita, were involved in its design and delivery.

“[Anglicare Sydney] is so beautiful to us,” said Aunty Rita at a celebration morning tea at Anglicare Sydney’s Mt Druitt site. “It’s so great to work with Christian people.”

The program is now wrapping up.

“Today we all gotta be happy – it’s going to be hard in our hearts, but God has something planned. I hope He keeps us all together and that Anglicare can keep helping those who really need it,” said Aunty Rita.

The celebration morning tea was attended by local Aboriginal Elders, school representatives, a local government member and Anglicare staff and volunteers.

Click here for more information on the program and Anglicare Sydney’s ongoing work in this area.

Urgent need for investment in at-risk families
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald has said that family is the key to tackling youth crime. The struggles many parents face with mental health, financial stress, alcohol and drug problems and more make it harder to create a stable environment to raise their kids.

Paul McDonaldMr McDonald said: “There are solutions which have been shown to make a big difference in reducing youth crime through interventions at the family level. What we’re currently lacking is the necessary scale to make a noticeable difference to these headline crime figures.

“Investing in therapeutic prevention approaches will save the state money in the long run by helping to turn young people’s lives around and keeping them out of the justice and welfare system as adults. The time to make a difference is before they enter the justice system rather than putting on more police to lock them up after they become offenders,” he said.

Anglicare Victoria is helping almost 50 families through an Australian-first, the Functional Family Therapy – Youth Justice program. The trial is supported by $3.2 million in funding from Ben Carroll, Minister for Youth Justice. With a 40-year history of reducing reoffending internationally, the program helps to keep young people in the family home rather than being remanded in custody or entering the out-of-home care system.

Click here for information about Anglicare Victoria's work in this area, and their call for investment.

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Amana Living McCuskey Nurse Service

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.

Amana Living McCusker NursesAmana Living launched the McCusker Nurse Service in response to the desperate lack of support for carers of people living with dementia. The service consists of two specialist dementia care nurses providing education, counselling and support services free to carers of people living with dementia.

The service is the only one of its kind in WA and Amana Living receives no government funding. It is part funded by the generous support of the McCusker Charitable Foundation.

Karen MaloneThe McCusker Nurses have provided invaluable support to more than 3,000 families of people living with dementia. Each month the nurses help over 100 clients access practical and emotional support tailored to their circumstances and priorities. They offer a lifeline to the carers of people living with dementia and they are a much-needed beacon of hope that make a real and lasting impact on the people they support.

The judges described this is a much needed service at a difficult time of life. They called this a compassionate response that captures the wider circle of people around the person living with dementia.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Report on Government Services, Demand for Community Services Snapshot, and more

Report on Government ServicesReport on Government Services
Productivity Commission
The annual Report on Government Services provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia. It includes figures on community services, housing, homelessness, health, child care, education, and other government service areas.

The report is available here.

Demand for Community ServicesDemand for Community Services Snapshot
Australian Council of Social Service
This is a report on demand for community services in 2019 based on information derived from the forthcoming Australian Community Sector Survey. The research was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney in collaboration with the Australian Council of Social Service and the network of Councils of Social Service of Australia.

The report is available here.

Consumer experiences of aged careConsumers' experience of residential aged care
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
This report is based on a survey administered by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. Responses were predominantly positive, especially regarding feeling safe, being treated with respect, and having healthcare needs met. However, people in residential aged care services that are privately managed were less likely to report positive experiences.

The report is available here.

The supply of affordable private rental housingThe supply of affordable private rental housing in Australian cities
Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
This research charts the changes in the supply of affordable and available private rental housing for lower income households. It shows there has been structural change in the private rental market, with fewer affordable rentals for those on the lowest incomes.

The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Retirement Income Review
This review was recommended by the Productivity Commission in its report Superannuation: Assessing Efficiency and Competitiveness and comes 27 years after the establishment of compulsory superannuation.

The review will cover the current state of the system and how it will perform in the future as Australians live longer and the population ages.

Submissions are due by 3 February 2020. Click here to make a submission.

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.

The Australian Government is also funding a legal advisory service and advocacy support for people who want assistance to make a submission. To access this support, subscribe to the Commission's mailing list.

Submissions are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here. Anglicare Australia has assembled a reference group on the Royal Commission, and our team are happy to answer any questions about the process to date.

Hearings for the 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. It is also examining the effects it has more generally on our economy and productivity. As part of the Inquiry, the Commission will hold public hearings in each capital city and some regional centres.

Hearings will continue into early 2020. More information and exact dates are available here. To express interest in participating, email [email protected].

Anglicare Australia has prepared a summary for members on the Commission's draft report, and is seeking feedback from members. Input 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 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, January 2020

Upcoming Anglicare Australia network meetings
The following Anglicare Australia networks and interest groups have upcoming face-to-face meetings:

  • The Child Safe Working Group will hold a face-to-face in Melbourne on Friday 14 February.
  • The Out-of-Home Care Strategic Collaboration Group will hold a face-to-face in Melbourne Wednesday 26 February.
  • The Aged and Community Care Network will host a mini-conference in Adelaide on Friday 28 February.
  • The First Nations Staff Network will hold a mini-conference in Sydney on Friday 6 March.
  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a training day in Sydney on Friday 6 March. This will be preceded by a short afternoon session focused on marketing on Thursday 5 March.
  • Human Resources leaders from across the Anglicare Australia Network will meet in Brisbane on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Network will hold a face-to-face meeting in Sydney or Melbourne on Monday 6 July.

Email [email protected] for more information.

Anglicare Australia National Conference
Anglicare Australia’s National Conference will be held in Hobart from 20–23 September 2020. Australia’s island state is the perfect location for listening and learning. Tasmania has a wealth of amazing stories to share. The timing of the conference will give a great opportunity to get out into the fresh spring air and visit the wonders of the state’s natural environment. Delegates will be treated to concurrent sessions from experts from across the Anglicare network; outstanding keynote addresses; and networking opportunities throughout the three days. The conference will kick off on Sunday evening with an opening service on Sunday night. Registrations will open soon.

Training workshops with Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman
Indigenous Psychological Services, founded by Adjunct Professor Tracy Westerman, has been at the forefront of cultural competency intervention programs for over twenty years. In 2020, they will hold a series of workshops to train professionals on the cultural competency for supervisors of Aboriginal people, and on mental health assessment and suicide prevention. Tracy Westerman was a keynote speaker at Anglicare Australia's recent conference, and her work was warmly received by our members. Places are limited and interested attendees are encouraged to register early. More information is available here.

Fundraising Institute of Australia Conference
The Fundraising Institute of Australia Conference 2020 will be held in Brisbane, Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 February and registrations are now open. The program will be of interest to those in the Anglicare Australia network working on fundraising, major donor relations, and bequests. It will feature three keynotes, and eight masterclasses, eight streams of curated content designed for fundraisers. More information is available here.

National Families Week
Registration is now open for National Families Week 2020. The Week will be held from 15 May, the United Nations International Day of Families, to 21 May 2020. Organisations, businesses and individuals are encouraged to celebrate National Families Week by planning and holding a National Families Week event. More information is available here.

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