Aspect February 2021

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: We're all in this together - until we aren't

Kasy ED 4_pref

We are all in this together. You might remember that catchcry from the early days of the pandemic and first lockdowns. From the mainstream media to celebrities to politicians, the message seemed to be everywhere.

Announcing Australia’s response to the pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison evoked this message in his address to Parliament. “We are all in this together,” he said. “All of us.”

At first, this seemed to be true. People who had been sleeping rough were quickly housed. Renters could no longer be turned out of their homes if they couldn’t pay the rent. Payments to people out of work were doubled. Those in danger of losing their jobs were paid a living wage. As these changes were first announced, I wrote optimistically that Covid-19 promised to be a great leveller and an opportunity to reshape our communities.

But as time went on and support began to fall away, the pandemic exposed how our systems were designed to look after the most advantaged best.

Some, it seems, are more ‘in’ than others.

I have reflected on this as Anglicare Australia prepares to publish our Federal Budget Submission. It is striking that the major challenges facing the country before the pandemic remain unchanged. As payments are cut, hundreds of thousands of Australians are again struggling to find an affordable home. Those who are out of work or underemployed are struggling to make ends meet. And many older Australians will continue to retire into poverty.

These issues are part of the ‘normal’ we are snapping back to – yet in many cases, the pandemic showed that we can solve these problems quickly if we choose to.

These are the choices we are asking the Government to make in 2021.

We need to rebuild our safety net. Under extreme pressure, it threatened to fail those who needed it most. Never has this been more true than in our support for people who are out of work. As jobs were shed in record numbers, the Government could no longer ignore the gaping holes in our system. It was finally forced to raise JobSeeker payments. Now we are being forced to fight to keep the Government’s own solution.

People cannot pursue a better life if they are forced to make tough choices between eating a meal and paying a bill, buying shoes for their children and filling prescriptions. And they cannot look for work if they are homeless and hungry. This is no way to lead a recovery. And certainly no way to lead a country.

Another priority is supporting people back into work. This is a challenge, but it also an opportunity to rethink our systems. It is past time for Government to invest in direct job creation programs, overhaul employment services, and ensure that everyone has a living income – instead of forcing people to live in poverty and search for jobs that just aren’t there.

Another key part of our safety net, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, is in need of serious attention. It is simply not working for many of the people who we serve, geared towards profit-making providers instead of mission-driven support.

And of course, we’ve seen big fault lines emerge in aged care. Older people were among the most vulnerable to the virus, yet it seems there was no political will to plan for their safety, invest in their care, or take responsibility for the system that looks after them. These were symptoms of a system that has been under pressure for years. We need commitment from the Government to act on the findings of the Royal Commission when they are handed down, clear the stubborn home care waiting list, tackle workforce challenges, and build a sustainable funding model for aged care. It’s only a matter of time before these issues become too urgent to ignore.

Housing has been another frustrating aspect of public debate. Everyone agrees that a home is a basic human need, and nobody doubts the scale of the affordability crisis. Yet even those working full-time are struggling to put a roof over their heads. Somehow, despite a so-called downturn, Australians are still spending record amounts on housing. Our Rental Affordability Snapshot showed the depth of this crisis, with affordability getting worse over the course of the pandemic. We must stop Australia from becoming a country where only the very wealthy can avoid housing stress.

Looking at these issues, it can feel like the people we work with – older people, those on low incomes, people who are homeless, and so many more – are invisible in the political debate. But the pandemic has shown that their needs as universal. A home, a decent income, and dignity in old age are things that every Australian deserves. Each of these areas is key to making life better for all Australians – and to delivering on the message of unity were promised.

In 2021, we will be asking the Government to take a broader view of what it means to be part of the Australian community.

If it is true that we are all in this together, then everyone must be ‘we.’

National Office News

National Office News: Asking Those Who Know, JobSeeker cuts, staffing changes, and more

Changes to the Anglicare Australia team
Anglicare Australia is delighted to welcome Cherie Tan to the Anglicare Australia team as Administration and Member Support Officer. Cherie will provide general administrative support to the national office team. She will also provide secretariat support to the Anglicare Australia Board and other groups. Cherie brings a wealth of experience in administration, secretariat support, and event management (super useful for our conference and network meetings) from previous roles in the public and private sectors.

We are also farewelling our Deputy Director Imogen Ebsworth, who first joined the Anglicare Australia team in 2017, and Policy and Research Officer Ellen Bugge, who joined us in 2018. Ellen will be returning home to Norway, while Imogen is pursuing an exciting opportunity as Chief of Staff to a key ACT Government Minister. We thank Imogen and Ellen and wish them both the best of luck.

Asking Those Who Know: Anglicare Australia launches survey
In December 2020, Anglicare Australia launched Asking Those Who Know. Asking Those Who Know is the report from a national survey of people getting Centrelink payments. The survey ran from July to November.

The report found that the old rate of JobSeeker was leaving people with as little as $7 a day after paying rent, leaving many people skipping meals and even couch surfing to get by. It also showed that most people feel their Centrelink activities are pointless and not leading to work.

“This survey tells us two things,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“First, we need to stop the cuts and raise the rate of JobSeeker for good. It also tells us that we need to overhaul the system. It’s time to stop punishing people for being out of work, and start giving them the support they need.”

The report was covered by The Australian, ABC News, The Guardian, SBS, the Australian Associated Press, the Canberra Times, and Seven News among others. Kasy Chambers also conducted television interviews with ABC News, Sky News, and SBS World News.

Click here to download Asking Those Who Know, and click here for the media release.

Government gives jobseekers a cut for Christmas
Anglicare Australia condemned the Government’s decision to cut the JobSeeker payment over Christmas. The cuts took effect at the beginning of January.

“Out of work Australians have woken up this morning to find that parliament has voted to cut their payments yet again,” said Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The old rate of JobSeeker was frozen for almost three decades. It became a poverty trap, locking people out of work and forcing them to turn to agencies like ours just to get by.

“When the Government lifted JobSeeker it righted that wrong. People out of work were finally given a path out of poverty. These cuts will take that hope away – and push people back into poverty and hardship.”

Further cuts to JobSeeker are due in March, and Anglicare Australia is continuing to oppose them. For information on how to join the effort to Raise the Rate, or to get Anglicare Australia’s latest Talking Points and Briefing Paper, contact [email protected].

Click here for Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Social housing urgent to tackle the homelessness crisis
Anglicare Australia has called for an urgent boost to social housing. The call follows the release of Double Return, a landmark study from the Everybody’s Home campaign. Anglicare Australia is a partner in the campaign.

“People who are homeless – or at risk of homelessness – are at the forefront of this downturn. They should be at the forefront of the response,” says Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“This study shows that homelessness will grow by nine percent because of the Covid-19 recession. On top of that, one in four Australian families will be pushed into housing stress.

“It’s clear that the recovery is far from over. This report shows that investing in social housing would make a serious dent in homelessness, turbocharge the economy by $18.2 billion, and create 18,000 jobs.

“These projects are shovel-ready – and they’re shovel-worthy. The Government says it wants a jobs-led recovery. It’s not too late to put its money where its mouth is and fund social housing.”

Click here to download Double Return, and click here for the media release.

Save the date: Anglicare Australia National Conference
Save the date! Anglicare Australia’s 2021 National Conference will be held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor in Hobart from 19-22 September 2021.

Early bird registrations will open in the coming months, along with a call for abstracts, so stay tuned.

As with all of our conferences, delegates will be treated to concurrent sessions from experts from across the Anglicare network, some outstanding keynote addresses, and networking opportunities throughout the three days.

So lock this event into your calendars! After a difficult year the conference will be an opportunity for the Network to come together, share ideas, and celebrate plans for the future.

For more information, email [email protected].

Anglicare Australia submission to the 2021-22 Federal Budget
Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the 2021-22 Federal Budget, to be handed down in May.

Anglicare Australia made recommendations in the following areas:

  • A safety net that’s up to the challenge
  • Action on housing and homelessness
  • Caring for older Australians
  • Disability and mental health support
  • Supporting jobs and reshaping the workforce
  • A better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

As we plan the recovery from the back-to-back disasters faced in 2020, our goals must be front and centre in recovery to make our workforce more resilient and more secure; to ensure every Australian has a roof over their head; to reduce poverty and inequality, and to ease the anxiety and financial stress that too many people have suffered.  The next Budget will be a historic opportunity to help people, communities and business to recover, and to build back better.

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 for network meetings and forums.

Confirmed dates include:

  • The Housing and Homelessness Network will meet by Zoom on Tuesday 16 February.
  • The National Reconciliation Network will meet by Zoom on Tuesday 23 February.
  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a meeting and a training session, spread over two Zooms on Tuesday 2 March and Thursday 4 March.

In addition, the Chief Financial Officers Network is planning a meeting in February, Research Network is looking at dates in early-mid March and the Chaplaincy Network is looking at March dates for its meeting.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact the convenors or members of the groups directly. Or just call us on 02 6230 1775 or email [email protected].

Ian Roberts of Anglicare North Queensland named Cairns Citizen of the Year
The CEO of Anglicare North Queensland, Ian Roberts, has been recognised for his tireless commitment and enduring compassion to help people in need, being named Cairns region’s 2020 Citizen of the Year.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning described Mr Roberts as a man dedicated to the community who has committed to looking after the less fortunate and disadvantaged in our society.

“From Babinda to Cairns and out to the Torres Strait, Ian has been instrumental in guiding Anglicare in its endeavours to support people in need, which was particularly critical last year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” Cr Manning said.

“As soon as the coronavirus crisis started to hit our region, Ian had Anglicare ready to assist. It was through his dedication, working seven days a week for most of the past year, that Ian was able to quickly find accommodation and food for people, including many from Indigenous communities who were unable to return home due to COVID-19 restrictions.”

Click here to read more about the award, and about Ian’s work.

Anglicare Australia says farewell to Peter Sandeman and Brad Webb
Over the summer, we farewelled two key members of the Anglicare Australia Network.

After eight years as CEO of AnglicareSA, Peter Sandeman has retired. Prior to joining AnglicareSA, Peter was the CEO Anglicare Canberra and Goulburn (now Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT).

“Over the eight years that Peter has served as our CEO, AnglicareSA has grown from strength to strength in its endeavour to deliver justice, respect and fullness of life for all,” said AnglicareSA Chair Bruce Linn.

AnglicareSA Chief Financial Officer Grant Reubenicht will step into the role of Acting CEO.

The Network also said goodbye to Brad Webb, who served as CEO of the Samaritans Foundation.

Brad joined the Samaritans as Deputy CEO, Strategy and Innovation in 2017 before stepping into the role of CEO later that year.

Anglicare Australia wishes Brad and Peter all the best in their next chapters.

The Brotherhood of St. Laurence celebrates 90 years of working towards an Australia free of poverty
The Brotherhood of St Laurence commemorated its 90th anniversary December, kicking off a year-long celebration.

Co-founded in 1930 by Father Gerard Kennedy Tucker, an Anglican priest, social reformer and activist, BSL has grown into one of Australia’s leading social justice organisations.

“Today and over the course of 2021, we will be marking BSL’s 90th anniversary by reflecting on our rich history and looking towards the future - an Australia free of poverty,” said Executive Director, Conny Lenneberg.

“BSL was born in the midst of the Great Depression and, today, our work to address poverty and disadvantage is even more important than ever as we deal with the economic crisis sparked by COVID-19.”

BSL has launched a history microsite online and is calling for stories from people in the community about their connection to the organisation.

Click here to learn more about the history of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Asking Those Who Know, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Productivity Commission, and more

Asking Those Who KnowAsking Those Who Know
Anglicare Australia
This survey was designed to explore the experiences of these Australians. The findings confirm what the evidence has been telling us for years – that government payments are not helping the people who need it. The survey also sheds light on what it’s like to interact with the system. Instead of supporting the people that it’s supposed to help, it is subjecting them to pointless tasks that do not help them find work.

The report is available here.

Youth Unemployment MonitorYouth Unemployment Monitor
Brotherhood of St Laurence
The latest research from the Brotherhood of St Laurence shows that youth unemployment hit a 23-year high in 2020. Youth underemployment is now at record levels, with 1 in 3 young people unable to get enough work. This analysis provides a snapshot of the impact of COVID on youth employment.

The report is available here.

Everyone CountsEveryone counts: Uncovering patterns of Newstart Allowance
Brotherhood of St Laurence, RMIT, and the Australian National University
This analysis of administrative social security data aimed to gain a clearer understanding of income volatility in Australia. It found that more than 4.4 million people received Newstart (now called JobSeeker) at some stage between 2001 and 2016. Around 25% of working-age Australians would have been eligible during this period.

The report is available here.

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.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Inquiry into the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment Bill
This inquiry will take feedback on the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Supporting Economic Recovery) Bill 2020, which proposes to remove responsible lending protections.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 3 February 2021. More information can be found here. Anglicare Australia will make a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Consultation on improvements to the Families and Children Activity
The consultation is seeking input from the family and relationships services sector to help improve and support programs funded under the Families and Children Activity.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 12 February 2021. More information can be found here. Anglicare Australia will make a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Inquiry into Independent assessments in the NDIS
This inquiry will explore the justification, mechanics and impact of the introduction of independent assessments in the NDIS.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 31 March 2021. More information can be found here. Anglicare Australia is considering making a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Senate Select Committee on Job Security
This inquiry will explore issues surrounding insecure or precarious employment in Australia.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 31 March 2021. More information can be found here. Anglicare Australia will make a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Select Committee on Covid-19
The Select Committee on Covid-19 was formed to inquire into the Australian Government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and ay related issues. The Committee is due to hand down its final report by 30 June 2022, and will conduct a rolling inquiry until the completion of this parliamentary term.

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

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, January 2021

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

  • The Housing and Homelessness Network will meet by Zoom on Tuesday 16 February.
  • The National Reconciliation Network will meet by Zoom on Tuesday 23 February.
  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a meeting and a training session, spread over two Zooms on Tuesday 2 March and Thursday 4 March.
  • The Chief Financial Officers Network is planning a meeting in February, exact date TBA.
  • The Research Network is looking at dates in early-mid March, exact date TBA.
  • The Chaplaincy Network will be meeting in March, exact date TBA.

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].

Philanthropy Australia National Conference
The Philanthropy Australia National Conference brings the philanthropic sector and broader community together with the world’s best thinkers, strategists and leading voices to act as a catalyst for change. The effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic will be long-lasting and it’s critical that the philanthropic sector comes together to connect, share learnings, experiences and best-practice approaches to support the new environment and long-term recovery. The conference will be held online from 21-22 April 2021, with follow-up workshops held from 5-6 May 2021. Click here to register.

Finance Essentials Training for NFPs
In 2021, Non Profit Training will host tailored finance training for non-profit organisations. Board members, CEOs and Managers of non-profit organisations come to the role with a mix of skills and experiences that makes their contribution to the overall success of the organisation unique and significant. Many don’t come with an in-depth knowledge of accounting or a head for numbers yet their individual responsibilities often incorporate budget development. This course will equip NFP leaders with the knowledge they require to make better-informed decisions around the finances. Click here to register.

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