Aspect March 2021

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: The future of aged care hangs in the balance

Kasy ED 4_pref

After much anticipation, the aged care Royal Commission handed down its final report last week.

The report comes after thousands of submissions, hundreds of witnesses and two years of work. More than that, the report is the culmination of decades of review and inquiry – there have been more than twenty reviews of aged care in the last twenty years. None of them have led to real change. Government after government has failed to act on them, instead choosing piecemeal changes and band-aid solutions.

This Royal Commission will be harder to ignore. It lays bare our broken aged care system. Aged care homes are struggling to provide quality care and keep their doors open, and as the Commissioners showed, older Australians are the ones paying the price.

Much has been made of the split between the recommendations made by the two Commissioners. In truth, the Commissioners have spelled out the same vision for aged care with different ideas about how to get there.

Their vision for aged care, and for older people, has much in common with ours. Anglicare Australia has been involved in the Royal Commission since the beginning, spelling out our own vision for the future of care as we worked with the Commissioners.

For Anglicare Australia, aged care must begin long before old age. We must be able to imagine ourselves in this system. By reaching people early, we can help them realise their aspirations for wellbeing and happiness in their later years. This is part of what we mean when we talk about tackling ageism – we must help people reimagine and embrace this stage of life.

We need an aged care system that doesn’t leave anybody behind. That means making sure everybody can get the quality care they want, no matter who they are or how much income they have.

We need a system that allows people to age well at home. Nobody should spend years waiting for support just to be able to stay in their own home, and nobody should be forced into an aged care home because they can’t get the support they need.

We need a system that’s flexible enough to meet people’s needs, even when those needs change. Care plans should be updated as a person’s situation evolves, and they should be given the power to co-design their own care with their carers and family. That will mean redesigning our bureaucratic, transactional system.

The tens of thousands of people – mostly women – who work in this system should be acknowledged as its backbone. They should be rewarded and celebrated for building caring and respectful relationships with the people they serve. Their dedication and courage should be recognised, and we should redouble our efforts to invest in their skills, training, and development.

The carers who do so much for older people should get the support they deserve. They should get payments that cover their costs, respite from their responsibilities, and leave to allow them to recoup.

To do all of this, we will need to break down the barriers between aged care, health care, mental health, and income support. These systems should be working together to support older people and their carers. Instead, too many people have to work against these systems to get the care they need.

Our vision has not changed. In the years since I joined Anglicare Australia – and over the twelve reviews I’ve seen in my time – we have remained focused on making sure everyone can get the quality care they need, when they need it, where they need it.

Now we need to make that vision a reality. The Royal Commission has exposed the divide between the care Australians expect, and how much we spend on that care. Australia spends half the OECD average on aged care. If the Government is serious about turning the vision of the Commissioners into a reality, that is going to have to change.

Everybody has the right to dignity and quality of life as they get older. After twenty years of lost opportunities, we need to make sure this Royal Commission is the last review of aged care in Australia.

It’s time to listen to the voices of older people – and give them the care they deserve.

National Office News

National Office News: Royal Commission on aged care, JobSeeker cuts, conference update and more

Royal Commission shows aged care reform is urgent
Anglicare Australia is calling on the Government to commit to quality, affordable aged care for every Australian. The call is made in the wake of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“The quality of the care we provide is a reflection of how we value older people. This Royal Commission offers us a historic opportunity to shape that care,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“Australia owes a debt of gratitude to the older Australians, carers, aged care workers, and Commissioners who shaped this report. Their experiences and stories must be heard – and they must be acted upon.

“They tell us our aged care system is broken. Aged care homes are struggling to provide quality care and keep their doors open. Older Australians are the ones paying the price.

“Australia spends half the OECD average on aged care. That’s not good enough. Older Australians deserve quality care, and this Royal Commission has shown that too many people aren’t getting it.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

‘New’ JobSeeker payment will plunge people into poverty: Anglicare Australia launches paper, poll, and client stories
As part of our ongoing advocacy on the level of JobSeeker, Anglicare Australia has joined UnitingCare Australia to condemn cuts and call for a permanent increase above the poverty line.

The Government’s announcement on the JobSeeker payment was made in February after months of uncertainty.

“This announcement has cut the rate of JobSeeker by cutting the Coronavirus Supplement. Worse still, the Government is trying to reframe that cut as an increase. Australians won’t buy that spin,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“After plunging people back into poverty after months of uncertainty, the political process has failed people out of work. We need an independent body to set and raise the rate of these payments.

“If the Government can’t manage these payments and look after people in need of help, then it’s time to hand the power over to someone who will.”

In the weeks before the announcement, Anglicare Australia joined UnitingCare Australia to launch a briefing paper on the impact of JobSeeker cuts. We also worked with UnitingCare Australia to prepare stories of clients living on the payment. We also conducted a snap poll of our financial counselling and emergency relief services on the impact of the cuts in each State and Territory.

Our advocacy, and our response, were covered in all major newspapers, commercial television, and ABC and SBS news.

Click here to download the paper from Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia, click here for stories of clients living on the JobSeeker payment, and click here for Anglicare Australia’s poll.

Anglicare Australia’s response to the JobSeeker announcement is available here.

Latest Poverty and Inequality in Australia research report released
The release of the latest Poverty and Inequality in Australia report shows that low income support rates are leading to housing stress and homelessness. Anglicare Australia is a partner in the research.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said that some renters are now out of work, and the new rate of JobSeeker is the only thing keeping a roof over their head.

“For people on the lowest incomes, rents have never been less affordable,” Ms Chambers said.

“More and more people are competing for cheap housing. That’s squeezing out people of the market. With so many people locked out of work, the new rate of JobSeeker is the only thing keeping them afloat.

“This is backed by Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot update, which showed that the old rate of JobSeeker would leave 0% of rentals affordable for people out of work.”

Ms Chambers said that more must be done to help people on the lowest incomes.

“Rent deferrals and eviction moratoriums are ending soon. This report tells us that some people are in arrears for thousands of dollars. They are facing cuts to JobSeeker at the same time. This is a ticking time bomb.

“We must raise the rate of these payments for good. As we recover from this crisis, we need to make sure renters can keep a roof over their heads – and stop any more Australians from falling into homelessness.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Anglicare Australia warns of dire consequences if lending laws are axed
Anglicare Australia has urged Parliament to keep Australia’s responsible lending laws. The call comes as a new report predicts dire consequences if the laws are axed.

“Just two years ago, the Banking Royal Commission said the Government should keep its safe lending laws and make them stronger,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers. “Instead the Government is axing them and turning its back on the Royal Commission.”

Ms Chambers said that people have never been more vulnerable to bad lending tactics.

“People are still recovering from the pandemic. Many have lost hours and shifts at work. Others have lost their jobs altogether.

“The last thing they need is to be saddled with debts they can’t afford. Sadly, we know that the people who can least afford it are the most likely to fall victim to these debts.

“At a time of crisis, the Government should be protecting people most in need – not hurting them.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia’s media release.

Anglicare Australia National Conference: Update
The Anglicare Australia National Conference will be moving to a virtual format this year. At this stage, the existing conference dates of 19-22 September 2021 will remain.

While we are disappointed that the Anglicare Australia Network will not be able to meet face-to-face, this format has the potential to include many more people from around Australia.

The Anglicare Australia Awards will also take place virtually. Members are encouraged to think about outstanding programs and volunteers who could be nominated for the awards.

Our conference team is putting together an exciting virtual program, so stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!

For more information on the conference, or to share your thoughts and ideas, please contact [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Upcoming Anglicare Australia network meetings
A number of Anglicare Australia’s special interest networks have meetings planned for March and April.

Confirmed dates include:

  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a meeting and training session on Thursday 4 March.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Network will hold their first meeting of the year on Wednesday 10 March. Another meeting is scheduled for June.
  • A new network, the Learning and Organisational Development Network (facilitated by Andrew Jamieson from Benetas), will hold their first meeting on Wednesday 17 March.
  • The Research Network will hold a meeting on Thursday 18 March.
  • The Chaplaincy Network will hold four sessions over Tuesday 30 March and Wednesday 31 March, with theme of ‘Reflecting on 2020 and Reconnecting in 2021’.
  • The Clinical and Care Governance Network will hold their first meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 April.

In addition, members from the Aged Care Network will be meeting in mid-March to discuss Anglicare Australia’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

For more information on these meetings or any other network activity, contact [email protected].

Anglicare Australia says farewell to Conny Lenneberg
In February Anglicare Australia farewelled Conny Lenneberg, Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Conny joined the Brotherhood of St Laurence in 2017, becoming the first woman to lead the organisation which was founded by the Anglican priest, Father Gerard Tucker, in 1930.

Conny has shown a deep commitment and passion for addressing the root causes of poverty and disadvantage through her career, with three decades experience in the development and social justice sector.

Anglicare Australia wishes Conny all the best in her next chapter.

Invitation to Anglicare Australia Network members to join the Pens Against Poverty writing competition
Pens Against Poverty is a writing competition encouraging schools, teachers and students to become educated in the important issues of poverty and homelessness in Australian communities, while developing their unique creative writing voices. It was founded by Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT. For years, the awards ceremony has been a key event in the Anti-Poverty Week calendar generating media interest and support from other key charities and organisations across Canberra and the region.

The competition is expanding in 2021 and Anglicare NSW South, NSW West & ACT is inviting other members of the Anglicare network to partner with them and deliver the program in their own local area.

The event is an opportunity for children and young people to write for a genuine purpose. It is also an opportunity for Anglicare Australia Network members to build relationships with local schools and sponsors.

Those interested in hosting the competition will be provided with a participant pack, including template letters to schools and promotional materials. Interested members will need to nominate a point-person for their organisation.

For more information, or to become partner in the Pens Against Poverty program, please email [email protected].

Anglicare Victoria explores financial stress during lockdown
Anglicare Victoria has launched one of the largest studies ever conducted of financial counselling clients in the State. Financial Stress in Victoria During Lockdown found that utility bills, credit contracts and credit card debt were the most pressing sources of financial distress.

Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said the last year found more people struggling with issues such as family violence and mental health at the same time as their finances. Reports of major life events such as job losses and relationship breakdown also intensified during 2020.

“Financial counsellors provide free advice on a huge range of financial issues for those who are feeling overwhelmed,” Mr McDonald said.

“Almost two thirds of Anglicare Victoria’s financial counselling clients are women. Women are typically the most affected by family violence or relationship breakdowns, as well as facing restricted work opportunities after they have left the workforce to care for children. And many men see asking for help as a sign of failure – particularly if they live in the country. This is a culture that can be hard to change.”

Click here to read Anglicare Victoria’s report and media release.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: JobSeeker, Poverty and Inequality Partnership, Royal Commission, and more

Raising the Rate of JobSeeker for Good - PaperBriefing Paper: Raising the Rate of JobSeeker for Good
Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia
Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia produced a briefing paper urging the Government to raise the rate of JobSeeker payments for good.  The research showed that 58 per cent of people who needed emergency relief were out of work on the old rate of JobSeeker, and that JobSeeker payment increases halved the percentage of people living on $7 a day, and left people with more income across the board.

The paper is available here.

Raising the Rate of JobSeeker for Good - Client Stories
Client Stories: Raising the Rate of JobSeeker for Good
Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia
Before COVID-19, people on income support were living well below the poverty line, unable to cover basic living costs. With the additional Coronavirus Supplement, people were suddenly able to pay their rent and bills, buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and regularly eat three meals a day. Anglicare Australia and UnitingCare Australia has brought together case studies from families and individuals who were able to buy new clothes and shoes, visit the dentist and take care of medical needs, some for the first time in years.

The client stories are available here.

Financial Stress in Victoria During LockdownFinancial Stress in Victoria During Lockdown
Anglicare Victoria
This report analyses data from Victorian financial counselling clients over the period April 2019 to September 2020, comparing life during the COVID-19 movement restrictions with the year before. The report found that utility bills, credit contracts and credit card debt were the most pressing sources of financial distress.  It also found that increased payments through the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs were effective in supporting those out of work, and the permanent rate of unemployment benefits should be increased.

The report is available here.

Poverty and InequalityCOVID-19: Rental Housing and Homelessness Impacts – An Initial Analysis
Australian Council of Social Service, University of NSW Sydney
This is the latest report from Poverty and Inequality Partnership, looking at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on housing and homelessness in Australia in 2020. The report tracked housing and homelessness policy changes, and followed how they were formulated and implemented. It also looked at wider policy changes, such as the introduction of JobKeeper and the increase to JobSeeker payments, and the impacts those changes had on housing and homelessness policies. Anglicare Australia is a partner in this research.

The report is available here.

Care Dignity and RespectCare, Dignity and Respect: Final Royal Commission Report
Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety
The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety details the inquiry into Australia’s aged care system. The findings show that fundamental change is needed to ensure that older people receive high quality aged care and dignified support. 

The final report, summary, and list of recommendations is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income support) Bill 2021
On 25 February 2021, the Senate referred the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for inquiry and report.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 5 March 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 any 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.

Volunteering Resource Hub offering free resources
Volunteering Australia has launched an online Volunteering Resource Hub to help anyone who helps manage, lead or coordinate volunteers.

The Volunteering Resource Hub is an initiative of Volunteering Australia, funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services. It brings together useful, evidence-based and current best practice resources to support effective volunteer management across Australia. This Resource Hub is coming at a critical time, as volunteering is still struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

The hub and its resources are available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, March 2021

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

  • The Media and Communications Network will hold a meeting and training session on Thursday 4 March.
  • The Financial Wellbeing Network will hold their first meeting of the year on Wednesday 10 March. Another meeting is scheduled for June.
  • A new network, the Learning and Organisational Development Network (facilitated by Andrew Jamieson from Benetas), will hold their first meeting on Wednesday 17 March.
  • The Research Network will hold a meeting on Thursday 18 March.
  • The Chaplaincy Network will hold four sessions over Tuesday 30 March and Wednesday 31 March, with theme of ‘Reflecting on 2020 and Reconnecting in 2021’.
  • The Clinical and Care Governance Network will hold their first meeting of the year on Tuesday 13 April.

In addition, members from the Aged Care Network will be meeting in mid-March to discuss Anglicare Australia’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

For more information, contact [email protected].

Indigenous Voice: Engaging our community in the co-design process
Indigenous Australians, while owning or managing almost 50 per cent of the continent, do not have a formal say over government policies that affect them. In a two-part impact2021 webinar series, participants are invited to find out more about this process and to hear why the National Co-Design Group for Indigenous Voice believes Indigenous-led formal advice to government and parliament is important and necessary. The first webinar will be held on 9 March, and the second will be held on 4 May. Click here to register.

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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