It’s a turbulent time, after an icy day of snow a couple of weeks ago, here in Canberra we’ve had a couple of the warmest July days ever and now a touch of grim cold rain. The political climate is also turbulent and warming: at a global level, think of the US, the UK, France, Turkey and Syria: just for starters.
Australia’s long election is not completely over, but Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government has been returned to office, and some of challenges and opportunities before us are clear. The fact that a growing number of Australians feel they are missing out as we move into a new economy means there will be added pressure on our services and a hotter debate on how they should be funded.
Meanwhile, new evidence is reminding us that those with the least wealth also have the lowest life expectancies and the poorest health; the housing industry is still geared towards investors and existing home owners; insecurity in housing and work is a growing pressure for far too many; and the Productivity Commission has been charged with further investigating the marketisation of human services. There’s a lot on our plate.
It can get a bit dispiriting working on advocacy in Canberra if you get trapped into thinking everything is about influencing government. And we know it’s not. But elections do make us all focus on political parties, their ideologies and directions. And this next government has an agenda that will affect the work we do across the Anglicare network, so we all need to find ways to engage with it, and with parliamentarians of every stripe.
Darwin is a long way from Canberra. And generally speaking a lot warmer too. So it is great that so many Anglicare people will be there at Creative Edge, our national conference (supported again by Hesta, thank you!), to explore some of these issues at both a practical and a big picture way. What is the creative edge that we want to keep sharp in our work together?
And as well as the highlights of our Conference dinner, great keynote speakers, network meetings, there are the Telstra sponsored awards (This year at Government House, so please let us know before the end of the month if you plan to come so we can get you an official invitation) which are evidence – if you like – of the innovative and long-lasting work that we do.
In this dynamic environment of changing models of care, the collection of big data to inform government policy, and new highly competitive business practices, the opportunity to talk to and learn from each other can be invaluable. So that’s why the conference in Darwin is so important. It will help us be organised, as a network, for the changing climate of the year ahead.
In the meantime make sure you’ve booked your tickets: because one of the things that makes these social services a part of a richer more inclusive society is how we work together.
Acting Executive Director,