Aspect July 2019

Aspect Newsletter

From the Deputy Director

Editorial: Time to make the Newstart saga personal

Roland Manderson

For weeks now, the national spotlight has been on the disgracefully low rate of Newstart.

Calls to raise the rate of Newstart reached a crescendo last week with an emotional debate in the Senate. Government and Opposition backbenchers have been trying to spur action from their own parties – Labor has only now committed to an increase after years of calls to action, while the Government is still resisting calls for change.

The slowness of this debate shows us how far down the pecking order people are when they’re out of work. The Government acted quickly after pressure on deeming rates, lifting the incomes of almost 700,000 aged pensioners. And it’s handed down across the board tax cuts, with the most generous going to those on high incomes.

It begs the question: If so many of us needed a tax cut to deal with living costs, why are people on Newstart – the ones in the greatest need – being left behind again? Calls for an increase have been growing for years. Poll after poll shows that Australians want to see Newstart raised. Most recently, Essential Research found that 72 percent of us want the payment to go up.

Anglicare Australia’s own research with Ipsos backs this up. Just 11 percent of people we polled agreed that people on government payments like Newstart should live in poverty. 70 percent rejected that idea absolutely, and a staggering 85 percent want Australia to be a country that looks after those in need.

This swelling of support hasn’t led to action. But it has robbed the political class of one its favourite lines: that Newstart can’t be raised because it wouldn’t pass the ‘pub test’. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that politicians are the ones who are out of step with the community – in the pub and elsewhere.

As the calls for an increase have grown, the excuses have become harder to believe. The government has been repeating its favourite line, that the best form of welfare is a job. But people on Newstart are already trying their hardest to land a job – just ask the growing number of unemployed people over 55. Our research shows that in some parts of the country, nine disadvantaged jobseekers are competing for every job at their level. Many of these people simply can’t find an employer who will take a chance on them.

Australia is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but people on social security have the highest rates of poverty in the OECD.  So why can’t the Government agree to make a clear statement on Newstart, when an increase would clearly be popular? It seems that simply supporting an increase isn’t enough. We must insist on it.

Newstart cannot be allowed to fall off the agenda, especially now that so many Australians have been handed a major tax cut. The call can only become more urgent. After all, what use is a surplus if we don’t allow everyone to have a dignified life?

We must now make sure that the $75 a week figure – the one advocates have been rallying behind – is treated as a bare minimum, not an ambit claim. Some MPs are already calling for a $125 increase instead. And it seems that’s because they’ve been talking to people in their electorate who are trapped on Newstart and trying to make do.

But more than anything, what the campaign to raise Newstart shows us is that change is hard won. Public support isn’t enough. Anyone who wants to see the hundreds of thousands of Australians on Newstart lifted out of dire poverty should introduce their local MP to people who rely on income support. Then it’s personal.

National Office News

National Office News: NAIDOC Week, Newstart in the news, National Conference and more

Job Vacancy: Research and Policy Officer
Anglicare Australia is looking to recruit a motivated and thoughtful person to join our team, beginning immediately.

The Anglicare Australia national office supports and coordinates the joint social policy, research and advocacy activities of the network of 34 independent, faith-based social service member organisations across the country. Anglicare Australia is an equal opportunity employer, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are encouraged to apply.

Click here to review the position description and selection criteria. For more information contact Imogen Ebsworth, Director of Policy and Research on 02 6230 1775.

Anglicare Australia calls for a national plan to tackle housing affordability
Anglicare Australia is calling for a national plan to tackle the housing affordability crisis. This echoes calls made by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors.

“Housing in Australia is broken. Anglicare Australia’s research shows that affordability has been plummeting for the last ten years. That’s why more Australians are homeless and at risk of homelessness than ever before. And it’s why capital city mayors have been calling for action,” said Anglicare Australia Acting Executive Director Roland Manderson.

Mr Manderson called for investment in affordable and social housing.

“People on the lowest incomes are being squeezed out of the rental market. That’s why it’s urgent that we invest in social housing. This would be the most powerful first step to tackling homelessness. Our social housing shortfall is massive. We need 300,000 new social properties across Australia. There is no way to put a positive spin on that gap. The federal government must commit to ending this shortfall and ensure that everyone has a place to call home,” Mr Manderson said.

Click here to read the media release. Coverage of this story at The Guardian, Sydney Morning Herald, The West Australian, and Nine News.

Anglicare Australia Network members meet with key ministers
Anglicare Australia has been meeting with new Ministers and a small group of relevant CEOs, which are being hosted by Anglicare Australia Network members in the Ministers’ electorates. These meetings cover key issues of interest to Network members.

The most recent meeting was with Michelle Landry, Assistant Minister for Children and families, held in Rockhampton. The meeting covered issues surrounding foster and young people in care, kinship care, and the Home Stretch campaign. The discussion also covered domestic violence, housing, homelessness, and the expiry of funding for the Equal Remuneration Order for the sector.

As part of these meetings, Anglicare Australia has also been preparing briefs for Ministers on key issues facing our Network. We have been liaising with members about these briefings and their content.

For more information about the ministerial meetings and briefings, email [email protected].

NAIDOC Week marked by the Anglicare Australia Network
Anglicare Australia Network staff have held and attended NAIDOC Week celebrations across Australia, celebrating the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year's theme, Voice. Treaty. Truth., invited all Australians to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for a shared future.

Community Lunch at Ashmont Community Centre hosted by Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT. The lunch included a free BBQ, the opportunity to make Johnny Cakes complete with firepit and camp oven, and Indigenous dance performances and craft activities.

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT also participated in a NAIDOC Koori Cook Off at Goulburn. The event included lucky door prizes to be won, a free sausage sizzle, a cake cutting, and a performance from the Goulburn High School Didgeridoo group.

Anglicare Victoria celebrated NAIDOC week by inviting its Reconciliation Action Plan Steering Group from St Luke’s region to respond to questions, and published their inspiring and thought-provoking replies.

In Maryborough, Anglicare Southern Queensland held a NAIDOC Week event that included football and netball matches to watch and heaps of activities including face-painting, Indigenous art and crafts, story-telling, a Kup Murrie (traditional feast) and more. Anglicare Southern Queensland also immersed themselves in traditional art workshops with Aboriginal artist, Arthur Conlon. Arthur was born in Cherbourg, and is a proud descendant of the Wakka Wakka tribe.

In South Australia, AnglicareSA are partners in the NAIDOC SA Committee, which holds five major events including the NAIDOC SA Awards and the NAIDOC SA Ball.

As well as these highlights, other Anglicare Australia Network members held events all over Australia.

Anglicare Australia's national office staff also participated in events in Canberra, including the Indigenous experiences of democracy tour at the Museum of Australian Democracy.

Political interference shows we need an independent process for Newstart
Anglicare Australia has renewed its call for an independent body to set income support rates. The call follows revelations that the Government interfered in a Parliamentary Inquiry’s recommendations on Newstart rates.

“The political process has been failing people out of work for years. This incident is just the latest reminder of that,” said Anglicare Australia’s Acting Executive Director Roland Manderson.

“Our sector has been calling for an independent income support commission for years – and the public agrees. 61% of Australians polled by Anglicare Australia want these rates to be set independently of Government.

“If the Government won’t listen to its own MPs, experts, and inquiries – or respect the evidence – then it’s time to hand the power over to someone who will.”

Click here to read the media release. Coverage of this story is available here.

Register for Anglicare Australia’s 2019 Conference
It is with great pleasure that Anglicare Australia invites you to the 2019 Anglicare Australia National Conference, to be held at the Pan Pacific in Perth from 8–11 September 2019. Early bird registrations have now opened, and registrations are open online.

Our theme for 2019, Our Stories: The Power to Change, will capture our work and builds on our mission. As Anglicare Australia Network members, we work in hundreds of communities across Australia to build resilience, inclusion and justice. And as a Network, we are always sharing stories of change as we advance our mission.

Speakers will include:

  • Kim Beazley, Governor of Western Australia and former Opposition Leader
  • Jane Caro, commentator and author, who is set to appear in an IQ2 debate on ageism
  • Dr Tracy Westerman, West Australian of the Year, who recently launched the Dr Tracy Westerman Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship at Curtin University
  • Katie Stubley, of the Centre of Social Impact and Director of the Social Impact Festival
  • Janet Anderson, Aged Care Quality Commissioner
  • Archbishop Kay Goldworthy will preach at the conference’s opening service
  • An expert panel will explore issues in philanthropy and social ventures

Delegates will be treated to concurrent sessions from experts from across the Anglicare network, outstanding keynote addresses, and networking opportunities throughout the three days. And as always, we will kick off on Sunday evening with an opening service.and the conference itself with a welcome from the traditional owners.

And hurry. Early bird closes soon. Click here to register for the Anglicare Australia National Conference now.

Tours of Anglicare WA services available for Anglicare Australia conference delegates
Anglicare WA is offering Anglicare Australia conference delegates the opportunity to tour Foyer Oxford. Foyer Oxford is a cutting edge youth housing service located on Oxford Street in Leederville. Part of the international Foyer movement, the multimillion dollar project is founded on the idea that ending youth homelessness can be achieved through education, training and sustainable employment. This program has the capacity to house and support 98 young people, including 24 young parents and their children. It is the largest single site homelessness service for young people in Australia. You are invited to tour this program and see how the facility runs on Wednesday 11 September. The tour will leave the conference venue at 2.30pm.

Delegates are also invited to meet with Anglicare WA’s Rainbow Committee. Anglicare WA prides itself on being fiercely inclusive and we have a vibrant Rainbow Committee that have led the agency through many terrific initiatives. If you would like to meet our Committee or learn more about the Rainbow program, representatives will be available at the Pan Pacific in Perth (the conference venue) on Wednesday 11 September at 1pm.

To express interest in participating in the tour, please email [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Children and Family Services Network: Voice of the Child mini-conference
This month the Children and Family Services Network held a mini-conference in Melbourne themed on the Voice of the Child, generously hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence.  Attracting strong interest from across our Network, colleagues in family and children’s services welcomed a guest lecture from Dr Rachel Carson from the Australian Institute of Family Services on research examining how to give children a bigger voice in the family law system, and shared ground-breaking approaches to collecting the voice of the child in services for children younger than 10, and older children.

There was strong agreement to work together and support the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s work to create a best practice manual on collecting the voice of children for program evaluation and research. In reflecting on the strong evidence that children value their connection and time with parents the most (often  facilitated by family and children’s services), everyone agreed to explore this topic more at the Network’s next meeting next year.

For more information and to connect to the Children and Family Services Network, email [email protected].

Brotherhood of St Laurence study finds sustainable benefits in an integrated approach to tackling youth homelessness
A program developed in Victoria by the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Launch Housing that tackles youth homelessness by combining education with housing is achieving sustainable positive outcomes for young people, according to a new study.

The study by the Brotherhood’s Research and Policy Centre, a longitudinal six-year evaluation of the program, Education First Youth Foyers, found that 85% of students are in work or education in the year after their exit.

Conny-Lenneberg-BSL_640Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director of the Brotherhood, said: ‘‘The Education First Youth Foyers enable young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to study within mainstream education, gain skills and jobs and, importantly, to realise their true potential and talents.’’

Titled ‘Starting a future that means something to you’, the study evaluated three Education First Youth Foyers, which are on TAFE campuses in Glen Waverley and Broadmeadows in Melbourne and Shepparton in northern Victoria. Each house 40 young people for up to two years in studio-style accommodation with shared communal areas, supported by trained staff.

The participants and staff commit to a reciprocal “Deal”: young people agree to study and take part in other activities in return for accommodation and inclusion in the foyer learning community.

Click here to find out more about the study.

Benetas embraces Aged Care Employee Day
To mark Australia’s Aged Care Employee Day on Wednesday 7 August, Victoria’s leading aged care provider, Benetas, will launch a new award to help recognise the exceptional work of its employees.

Sandra-Hills-NEWCEO Sandra Hills OAM said this was an important opportunity for Benetas to acknowledge the contribution of its 1,500 employees as well as help to promote this important day.

“Whether it’s tailoring individualised care, going above and beyond for our customers, or simply lending a listening ear; the day to day work of our staff is what enables a positive aging journey,” Ms Hills said.

“There are hundreds and thousands of aged care employees across Australia who face the very real challenges of industry reform, underfunding, and a highly regulated work enviornment.

“While we advocate for improvements, it’s important that we continue to embrace opportunities like these to acknowledge the great work being done on the ground every day.

“We look forward to taking the time to celebrate the work of our staff and are confident we will receive some wonderful nominations over the coming weeks. Many of which are already beginning to come in.”

Click here to find out more about Benetas and Aged Care Employee Day.

Safe Kids Families Together pilot program aims to keep families together
AnglicareSA is piloting a ground-breaking new early intervention program specifically developed for South Australian families at risk of having their children enter the child protection system.

Peter SandemanThe program could divert more than 270 at-risk children from South Australia’s overwhelmed child protection system by 2021.

The program’s aim is to ensure children are not experiencing abuse and neglect earlier and to keep families together, if safe to do so. Specialist support staff will give families intensive, face-to-face, in-home contact and use evidence-based intervention approaches from across Australia and around the world.

The program has been covered in SA media, accompanied by an in-depth profile of AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman and his own adoption story.

Click here to read more about the Safe Kids Families Together pilot program.

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Kempsey Women’s Refuge, Samaritans Foundation

Welcome to our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2018 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. These profiles are featured in the 2019 Anglicare Australia Review.

Kempsey RefugeIn 2014, the Samaritans Foundation began running the women’s refuge in Kempsey. They knew it was important to build trust with women in the Kempsey community.

After taking over from a previous operator, the Samaritans Foundation found that some women were reluctant to visit the refuge or contact police because they were afraid their children may be taken away. They worked with the local Kempsey female Aboriginal Elders to build trust, and were privileged to be welcomed to the annual yarn up event for local Aboriginal women. This began the evolving relationship between Samaritans and the women of Kempsey.

DSC_0692This was the start of Samaritans recognising the history of trauma associated with the Women’s Refuge – women who had gone there had not always gotten the support they needed and some had their children taken away. The Elders committed to partnering with Samaritans so women would feel safe coming to them. The partnership was strengthened to include other stakeholders including Family and Community Services, the Police, and other service providers.

The judges said the Kempsey Women’s Refuge exemplifies respectful partnerships, with a sense of learning and listening to the community. The judges commended this relationship, which has improved the lives of women and children.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Child Family Community Australia, ​Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and more

Domestic violence and social security

Domestic violence, social security and the couple rule
Australia's National Research Organisation for Women's Safety
Access to social security resources is vital to many women who are attempting to be free of an abusive relationship. Research has shown that women who experience domestic violence are more likely to go on to experience poverty and disability after the abusive behaviour has ended. This research finds that the couple rule may increase the risk of victims/survivors experiencing poverty.

The report is available here.

Mental Health ServicesMental health services in Australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Mental health services in Australia provides a picture of the national response of the health and welfare service system to the mental health care needs of Australians. MHSA is updated progressively throughout each year as data becomes available. This report provides an overview of key statistics and related information found in the web pages.

The report is available here.

School to work pathwaysSchool-to-work pathways
National Centre for Vocational Education Research
The passage into work is a critical phase in young people’s lives, with long-term implications for the future labour market and for social outcomes. An evolving labour market adds to the complexity of trajectories, further confounding youth transitions and highlighting the importance of understanding transitions as a process. This study is based on data from the 2006 cohort of the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth, providing important insights into their transition pathways.

The report is available here.

Child Family Community AustraliaAustralian legal definitions: when is a child in need of protection?
Child Family Community Australia
This resource sheet provides information for practitioners and researchers on legal definitions of when a child is in need of protection for each Australian jurisdiction. It brings together information from various sources to provide an accessible single reference guide for practitioners and researchers.

The paper is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Consultation on the Indigenous Evaluation Strategy
The Productivity Commission released an issues paper to guide people in preparing a submission to its consultation on the Indigenous Evaluation Strategy. It sets out some of the issues and questions the Commission has identified as relevant at the early stage of the project. Participants should provide evidence to support their views, including data and specific examples where possible.

Submissions close on Friday 23 August 2019. More information is available here.

Adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia
The Senate Community Affairs References Committee is conducting an inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. The inquiry will be considering what constitutes an acceptable standard of living in Australia, including the cost of safe and secure housing.

Submissions close on Friday 13 September 2019. 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 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, July 2019

Anglicare Australia National Conference
Our Stories: The Power to Change is the theme for Anglicare Australia’s National Conference, to be held in Perth from 8–11 September 2019. This year's conference will capture our work and builds on our mission. As Anglicare Australia Network members, we work in hundreds of communities across Australia to build resilience, inclusion and justice. And as a Network, we are always sharing stories of change as we advance our mission. Delegates will be treated to concurrent sessions from experts from across the Anglicare network; outstanding keynote addresses; and networking opportunities throughout the three days. Delegates can register here.

National Redress Scheme: Direct Personal Response Immersion Sessions
Registered organisations are invited to attend an information session on direct personal response, one of the three elements of redress available under the National Redress Scheme for institutional child sexual abuse. The ‘immersion’ sessions will be delivered by the Department of Social Services, and will offer an introduction and overview of direct personal responses under the Scheme. Several session times are available up to June 2019, and the sessions are free. Participants can register here.

National Elder Abuse Conference
To be held on the 22 and 23 July in Brisbane, the National Elder Abuse Conference 2019 will help safeguard the right of older Australians to live free from abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect. NEAC 2019 is an opportunity to drive real change as the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety unfolds and a National Plan on Elder Abuse is in the spotlight. The theme, Rock the Boat, means we will harness their insight, creativity and passion to challenge the status quo and drive action to end elder abuse. Participants can register here.

Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week has a new look and approach. Its key message is Poverty exists. Poverty hurts us all. We can all do something about it. It is one of hope, not despair. See the Anti-Poverty Week website with its refreshed logo and materials for 13-19 October and link to APW eNews. This year Anti-Poverty Week has invited the Raise the Rate campaign to hold a Day of Action on International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October within Anti-Poverty Week. Anglicare Australia is a long-term sponsor and supporter of Anti-Poverty Week and our CEO Kasy Chambers is a member of the National Facilitating Group. More information is available here.

Family Relationship Services Australia Conference
The FRSA National Conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of practitioners, academics and policy makers working to support children, families and communities. This ‘not to be missed’ event will feature a number of highly acclaimed keynote presenters, as well as Federal Ministers and sector leaders with a focus on delivering the most effective services to children, families and young people. This year’s Conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, 19-22 November and the theme is New Horizons: Building the future, Paving the way. Information on how to register is available here.

Australian Council of Social Service National Conference
The 2019 ACOSS National Conference will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on 26-27 November 2019. It will provide a deep dive into the latest research and developments in economic and public policy, with a focus on poverty and inequality in Australia through a series of interactive plenary sessions. The conference offers attendees the opportunity to participate in key learning and development opportunities, to be a part of an important knowledge exchange as well as the opportunity to network with representatives from the sector, government and business with shared interests. ACOSS members can register here.

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