Aspect June 2017

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Challenging the narrative

Kasy ED 4_prefAnglicare WA CEO and long time leader in the Anglicare Australia network Ian Carter AM has introduced me to the writings of a human rights activist he has begun reading, by the name of Bryan Stevenson.

Stevenson is a lawyer in the US and you’ll find him on Ted talks if you want to follow up.  What caught my ear were four pointers Stevenson gave for successful advocacy.

Of these four one has resonated greatly over and over in the last month.  Stevenson talks of our need to challenge and change any narrative that sustains unjust practices and policies. Change the narrative, he says.

Of course there is nothing new in this, but as we met with politicians at our annual CEO Forum this year the current narrative came to the fore again and again.  And Stevenson’s urgings were nagging away in the back of my mind.

"We seem to have policy on policy which serves a narrative that individuals are completely responsible for their situation and for their future.  

The answer to unemployment must rest with the unemployed.  It must for if not why would the policies around Newstart punish the unemployed so much.  

The simple answers to the complex issues of homelessness must be held only by the homeless.  If that wasn’t the case why would we be happy to walk past such increasing numbers of rough sleepers. 

Alcohol and other drug use and addiction are a complicated weave of chemical, personal, social and economic factors.  Yet simplistic policies to remove money from those in that circumstance assume there is nothing other than personal barriers to getting clean."

Of course the inconvenient truth of there not being enough jobs for the number of those unemployed even if there were a perfect match of skills and geographical base is just that – inconvenient.  Likewise the fact that that there are too many people for the number of dwellings available is glossed over.

This narrative of individual blame is comforting to many of us.  If we can answer the five year old’s question of “why is that woman sleeping on the street?”, or “why does Riley’s family have less money than ours?” with an answer that locates the reason to that individual it is much easier for us. And much more comforting for the small child that asked the question.

While we need to offer evidence and engage intellectually with policies we also need to step outside the individual policy and examine the narrative that allows them.  The narrative as the fabric that wraps around and tells the story we all accept. Underpins the community we belong to.  When it is the narrative of our society we are all responsible for it – all responsible for challenging it, or if we don’t accepting it.

The current narrative is increasingly mean; it absolves us, those of us at the comfortable centre, of doing anything about the issues that confront our society, that are borne disproportionately by the poor. 

The current narrative is also naïve and numerically challenged. Our Job Availability Snapshot found 6.3 disadvantaged jobseekers for every entry level job available. Our Rental affordability Snapshot shows that only 0.35% of the 67,751 surveyed properties were affordable for someone on Newstart.

It is our job at Anglicare Australia to use this information to challenge that narrative, politely yes, but firmly and untiringly and our CEO Forum certainly did just that; talking to politicians from every side about the issue, naming it and asking them what they were doing about it.

Of course when we ask others what they are doing about something, we must also turn the question inwards and ask, what are we doing about it?  To paraphrase our 2016 conference keynote, David Morrison the narrative we don’t challenge is the narrative we accept.

Kasy Chambers

National Office News

National Office News: CEO Forum, National Conference and more

Launch of the 'Meaning of Home' survey
Meaning of Home squareHome is where the heart is. It’s where we spend time with those we love, make memories, enjoy our privacy. It’s a space we can make our own, the place that defines where we find community, and find the peace and stability that helps us take on all the other parts of our lives.

Anglicare Australia, as part of a nationwide project, has launched a survey to learn more about what home means to Australians, from all walks of life and backgrounds.

Want to tell us what it means to you? If so, there are only two questions and you can tell us in your own words by completing this survey.

Anyone can complete this survey anonymously. Please circulate this survey through your networks - we would love to hear from as many people as possible.

The survey is available here.

Robodebt program must be suspended
Anglicare Australia has called for the Centrelink automated debt recovery process to be suspended. The call is made ahead of the release of the Senate Inquiry’s robodebt report.

“This system has no human oversight – and it puts the onus back on ordinary people to correct robotised errors,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“We’ve seen Government Ministers reject out of hand the impact of this clumsy process and the distress it has caused. That’s not good enough.

“The inquiry has heard plenty of evidence that the goal this system is simply to maximise revenue. And while everyone agrees that we should stop overpayments, it beggars belief that we could keep using a system that saddled people with almost $3.5 million in false debt.

“We must suspend this program immediately – and stop its scheduled expansion to Disability and Aged Pensioners,” Ms Chambers said.

Ms Chambers said the robodebt fiasco was the latest in a series of moves aimed at targeting people in need of income support.

“The shift in the onus of proof onto recipients, the barriers to people trying to fix these problems through the Centrelink system, and the growing stigmatisation of welfare, is a step towards the criminalisation of poverty and disadvantage.

“Let’s suspend this failing system and work together to design one that works for people – not just the Government.”

Anglicare Australia's media release is available here.

Anglicare Australia network calls for abandonment of welfare changes
The Anglicare Australia network has released a statement calling on the Government to abandon its proposed welfare changes:

Anglicare Australia affirms its opposition to the Government’s proposed changes to Australia’s welfare system.

Measures such as the new demerit point system, random drug testing and increased obligations to look for work that isn’t there or participate in work for the dole programs, are punitive and not supported by evidence.

These, along with proposals to force people to spend their savings before seeking income support and denying help to people harmed by addiction will simply drive more Australians into extreme poverty. They will come with a terrible cost in human suffering.

The quest for savings through these measures is unethical, and the savings themselves are a mirage. Cutting people off only leads to crisis – and the costs of providing emergency services to people in extreme need are far higher.

We call for the abandonment of the Government’s proposed welfare measures, and the rejection of any relevant legislation by the Senate.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said that the Anglicare network would continue to oppose the changes now that the social services legislation has been introduced.

“Between drug testing, the demerit point proposal, and the recently leaked ‘welfare hotspot’ list, what we have seen in recent weeks is a concerted campaign to demonise people accessing the social safety net.

“Anglicare’s Jobs Availability Snapshot shows that people are already trying their hardest to compete for jobs that just aren’t there.

“But instead of offering relief, people who need help from the government are being scapegoated and criminalised.

“We should be a community that helps people when they need it, instead of kicking them when they’re down.”

Anglicare Australia's media release is available here.

Anglicare Australia holds annual CEO forum
Anglicare Australia has held its annual CEO Forum, featuring a two-day program.

ENHANCED CEO Forum-1The first day of business focussed on Anglicare Australia's strategic collaboration groups, our research agenda and response to the ongoing Productivity Commission Inquiry into Human Services, and other national priorities.

Our guest dinner speaker at the Forum was Dr Richard Denniss, Chief Economist at the Australia Institute, who provided advice on how to de-code misleading arguments and broaden the policy options available to us in public debate.
The second day involved the Anglicare CEOs meeting with a succession of politicians for discussions on their area of expertise. Some of these discussions have resulted in further contact between politicians and our CEOs.

The second day involved the Anglicare CEOs meeting with a succession of politicians for discussions on their area of expertise. Some of these discussions have resulted in further contact between politicians and our CEOs.

Politicians who spent time with CEOs were:
- The Hon Jenny Macklin MP, Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services
- The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social and Disability Services
- The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition
- The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, Shadow Minister for Education
- The Hon Michael Sukkar MP, Assistant Treasurer
- The Hon Ken Wyatt MP, Minister for Aged Care; Minister for Indigenous Health
- The Hon Scott Morrison MP, Treasurer
- Sen Richard di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens
- Sen Nick Xenophon, Leader of the Nick Xenophon Team
- The Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Human Services
- The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health; Minister for Sport

Anglicare Australia in the media
Anglicare Australia’s calls to suspend the robodebt program were featured across the media in June, including in the Guardian, the Huffington PostFairfax newspapers and Pro Bono Australia.

Anglicare Australia’s call to abandon the proposed welfare changes was featured in Pro Bono Australia.

Anglicare Australia joined a call for a Royal Commission into the abuse of people with disabilities, which was covered on ABC News.

The 2017 Rental Affordability Snapshot is also continuing to attract media attention, for example, on SBS and the International Business Times.

Register for Anglicare Australia’s 2017 Conference
Registrations are open for the Anglicare Australia National Conference, to be held at the Crowne Plaza, Coogee Beach.

With a focus on the theme Stronger Together: Our Mission in the Marketplace we welcome workshops and presentations in all service types from member organisations in areas such as:

- Cutting edge service design
- Client experience and co-production
- Communications strategies for advocacy and for service delivery
- Faith-based engagement
- Leadership, management and staff development
- Marketing / fundraising
- Organisational development
- Research, evaluation and outcomes measurement

Papers should be submitted by no later than Friday 16 June 2017.

To register or submit a paper, click here.

Nominations Open: National Awards for Innovation and Excellence
Anglicare National Awards 2017
Nominations have opened for the Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. The Anglicare Australia National Awards for Innovation and Excellence, sponsored by Telstra, recognise outstanding services, projects and programs provided by the organisations of the Anglicare Australia network, as well as individual volunteers who have made a significant contribution.

The awards are an opportunity to promote successful programs within Anglicare agencies, or recognise the contributions of outstanding volunteers.

To download a nomination form or find out more about the awards, click here.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Benetas recognised byLASA Excellence in Care Awards
Benetas has been recognised at Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) Victoria’s 2017 Excellence in Care Awards, winning the Excellence in People and Culture category.

The awards recognise the achievements of Victoria’s aged care industry, while also acknowledging the efforts of the many nominees to increase public confidence and community involvement in the aged care sector.

Representatives from Benetas accepting the Excellence in People and Culture AwardThe Benetas Workforce Plan consists of several initiatives that drive improvement and development within the work environment. The plan seeks to create an environment where employees are supported in their ongoing development, are engaged with the work they do, and are valued for the integral role they play in providing clients with a positive experience of aging.

Benetas CEO Sandra Hills says the organisation has been focusing on developing the plan, which drives specific improvements and developments in the work place, for five years.

“This planning has enabled us to offer a holistic approach to employment, including our learning model, our commitment to diversity and inclusion, a focus on leadership and capability development, and a contemporary and proactive health and wellbeing agenda, amongst many others, she says.”

More about the award and Benetas’ work is available here.

Anglicare NT launches Home Stretch campaign
The key aim of the Home Stretch campaign is to ask government to legislate to allow young people to have the option to stay in supported care until they are 21 years of age.

In the Northern Territory, over 1000 young people are in out-of-home care in kinship care, foster care or residential care. They are usually vulnerable children from abusive or neglectful backgrounds.

“Currently, many young people must exit our child protection system when they turn 18. We know this isn’t the best option for most young people and they tell us that leaving care can be like entering a deep chasm, with a sudden loss of supports and often real isolation,” said Anglicare NT CEO Dave Pugh.

“Most young people get to stay at home with their family for longer for financial reasons, social reasons and the housing affordability crisis. But we stop support and funding at age 18 for those most likely to struggle to cope. It is no wonder these young people end up in trouble.”

“Extending supported care to age 21 can reduce youth crime, drug use and homelessness in the NT – and simultaneously save money,” said Mr Pugh.

More information on the Home Stretch Campaign is available here.

Anglicare Tasmania’s Catherine Robinson co-hosts Filthy Rich and Homeless
Catherine Robinson with co-host Indira NaidooSBS has this week aired Filthy Rich and Homeless, a three night special event which saw five wealthy Australians swap their privileged lifestyles for ten days and nights living on the streets of Melbourne.

The program was co-hosted by Dr Catherine Robinson, a social researcher at Anglicare Tasmania's Social Action and Research Centre (SARC). Catherine's research focuses on the needs and experiences of highly vulnerable teens in Tasmania.

Filthy Rich and Homeless gave viewers the opportunity to see and feel the daily reality homelessness, through the eyes of five wealthy participants – naïve about the current context of homelessness in Australia – who become homeless for a short period of time. During this series, homelessness is what viewers are immersed in and where we are left.

An article by Dr Catherine Robinson on the program is available here.

Benetas CEO Sandra Hills awarded OAM
Anglicare Australia is delighted to congratulate Benetas CEO and Anglicare Australia Council member Sandra Hills on the incredible acknowledgement of a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division, in the 2017 Queens Birthday Honour List.

Ms Hills was recognised for her service to aged care in Victoria. She has been advocating with and on behalf of order people since 1996, and was one of the driving forces behind the formation of the peak body group, Leading Aged Care Services (LASA) Australia.

Ms Hills said she was “absolutely honoured” to receive the OAM.

Sandra-Hills-NEW“I was shocked when I received the call. But I am so grateful. I have been lucky enough to work in the community sector for a number of years, supporting disadvantaged people of all ages, and particularly older people, allowing me to work alongside some wonderful people,” Ms Hills said.

“This award is such a wonderful honour. And I hope to be able to use it as a platform to further drive change in the aged care sector in Australia.”

Sandra has led the Aged and Community Care Special Interest Network for Anglicare Australia and is a driving force behind much of Anglicare Australia’s aged care advocacy.

Other recipients of Queens Birthday honours include:
- Bishop Kay Goldsworthy. Bishop Goldsworthy was the first Australian woman bishop, a former board member of Anglicare WA, and a past presenter of the John Roffey Lecture at the Anglicare Australia National Conference.
- Ms Alison McClelland. Ms McClelland is a former director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.
- Emeritus Professor Dorothy Scott. Professor Scott is a frequent collaborator with Anglicare Australia and a former keynote speaker at the Anglicare Australia National Conference.

A full list of recipients in The Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List is available here.

Anglicare ACT launches new community centre
Anglicare ACT has officially launched the new Anglicare Community Centre Gordon, which is a partnership between Anglicare and the Lanyon Valley Anglican Church. Community members, staff, volunteers and local politicians gathered to mark the occasion and celebrate what this new centre will mean for the community.

Anglicare CEO, Jeremy Halcrow sees the community centre launch as an important step in meeting the needs of families in Canberra.

“In Anglicare’s recent Rental Affordability Snapshot, we found the housing prices – often the biggest household expense – are at catastrophically unaffordable levels for the most vulnerable families.

“That’s why we’re so excited to launch a community centre like this to extend much needed help and support to families who are struggling.”

The new centre is the first of its kind that Anglicare has opened in the south of Canberra. It is designed to meet critical community needs such as emergency food support, and to also offer programs to build family relationships, help young children become school-ready and move people out of a cycle of need.

Samaritans launches Winter Appeal
For RentSamaritans have launched their annual Winter Appeal, with a focus on the invisible crisis of youth homelessness.

The Hunter has been identified as having one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia. Coupled with this, many young people throughout the region also face a future of insecure work and housing.

Samaritans’ recent research through the Anglicare Australia Rental Affordability Snapshot also indicates that Newcastle and Lake Macquarie has no affordable housing options for young people on Newstart or Youth Allowance.

Supporters are being urged to give what they can, as Samaritans needs support to keep assisting young people and families this Winter.

Information about the Samaritans Winter Appeal is available here.

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Parentzone, Parents Building Solutions (PBS), Anglicare Victoria

Welcome 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 are featured in the 2017 Anglicare Australia Review.

Parentzone – Parents Building Solutions (PBS) is the Regional Parenting Resource Service for Melbourne and the Gippsland region of Victoria. Every year, Parentzone works with thousands of parents to provide access to resources and support they need to parent effectively. 

Parents come to the PBS program to improve communication within their family, particularly around their own responses to their children. Parents reported wanting to be calmer, patient, consistent and to be better able to deal with feelings. A smaller but significant number of parents also reported wanting help with changing unwanted behaviours or deal with their children’s behaviours more effectively.

Features include:  tailoring programs to the group needs; building on the groups strengths, experience and learning styles; opportunity for reflection and skill building and acknowledging the changing role of parents throughout the life of the child.

The judges said this program demonstrated excellent and validated results really clearly.

Research and Resources

New research: Robodebt Inquiry, Mitchell Institute and AHURI

Report on the design, scope, cost-benefit analysis, contracts awarded and implementation associated with the Better Management of the Social Welfare System initiative
Senate Community Affairs References Committee
This report summarises the findings of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee in relation to Centrelink’s automated debt recovery (robodebt) program.

The report is available here. Anglicare’s initial submission to the Inquiry is available here.

Future of Australia's aged care sector workforce
Senate Community Affairs Committee
This report summarises the findings of the Senate Community Affairs References Committee in relation to aged care workforce needs, and its interaction with employment by the broader community services sector.

The report is available here.

Counting the costs of lost opportunity in Australian education
Mitchell Institute
This report looks at the costs associated with educational disadvantage in Australia.

The report is available here.

Housing and Indigenous disability: lived experiences of housing and community infrastructure
AHURI ReportAustralian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI)
This report looks at the interconnections between housing, community infrastructure and quality of life for Indigenous people living with disability.

The report is available here.

AHURI Report

Policy, consultations and grants

New consultations: Inquiries into proposed welfare changes

Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Ending Carbon Tax Compensation) Bill 2017
This inquiry will investigate amending five Acts to prevent new recipients of welfare payments or concession cards from being paid the energy supplement from 20 September 2017.

Submissions close Friday 14 July 2017. More information is available here, or contact Anglicare Australia's national office to input into our submission.

Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017
This inquiry will investigate legislation that allows for the proposed drug trial test, changes to job compliance requirements, and the wrapping up of multiple payments into one jobseeker payment.

Submissions close Friday 4 August 2017. More information is available here, or contact Anglicare Australia's national office to input into our submission.

Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017
This inquiry will investigate legislation that allows for changes to Family Tax Benefit tapering rates, changes to pension access based on residency requirements, cuts to the pension for travel longer than six weeks, and the liquid assets test.

Submissions close Friday 4 August 2017. More information is available here, or contact Anglicare Australia's national office to input into our submission.

Incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
The Australian Law Reform Commission is examining the factors leading to the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our prisons, and considering law reform to ameliorate this.

Submissions close Thursday 31 August 2017. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, April-May, 2017

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

FCA Conference (Financial Counsellors Australia)
Dates: 14-17 May, 2017

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
Registrations have opened for the Garma festival. Run by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Garma festival will take place from the 4th to the 7th of August. Anglicare representatives will be at the festival – for more information, email Roland.Mand[email protected].

18th International Mental Health Conference
Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 18th International Mental Health Conference, which will be held on the Gold Coast on 21-23 August 2017. Visit the website to submit your abstracts orregister.


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