Aspect May 2020

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Finding the courage to act on poverty

Kasy ED 4_pref

Twice a year, Anglicare Australia partners with ACOSS and UNSW to study poverty in Australia – who is most likely to be in poverty and what we can do about it. The latest Poverty in Australia report was published this week. Its findings are eye opening as we debate Australia’s social and economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research was collected before the pandemic, and it has some sobering findings about who is in poverty. The overall statistic – that one in eight Australians lives in poverty – is bad enough. But it almost hides the fact that one in six children lives in poverty. Apart from the appalling thought that so many children are growing up in poverty, the long-term effects on those children are frightening.

For example, stark contrasts have come to light during the lockdown between those who are equipped for home schooling and those that aren’t. In some ways, the technology is the least of our worries. A space that is free from distractions, a home that is warm enough to learn in, an internet connection, and the ability to pay for each of these eludes many families on low incomes.

It turns out that housing is a major issue too. For all but the richest of us, housing is the single biggest part of our expenditure. It comes as no surprise that the type of housing people live in greatly effects the likelihood that they will be living below the poverty line. Those in the private rental market are twice as likely to be living in poverty. The unaffordability of the private rental market is something that is borne out each year in Anglicare Australia’s own Rental Affordability Snapshot. Year in and year out, we find that that there are virtually no affordable homes for people on low incomes. This means that too many people settle for inadequate and unsafe accommodation, are homeless, or spend huge proportions of their incomes on rent. They are forced to make face daily choices between paying the rent and putting food on the table.

What this report shows is that unemployment, and underemployment, are the main causes of severe poverty. This may seem obvious, but it also means that there are strong levers to tackle poverty.

We find ourselves in a unique time in employment. Unemployment has risen at a sharper rate than ever before, and the effect of the lockdown has been different for different sectors of the economy. The closure of retail, hospitality, and travel has affected some of the lowest wage earners. These sectors are also those most casualised with little access to leave and without the capacity to work from home. Those most likely to have lost their jobs are also the least likely to have savings or own their own housing.

It is also becoming clear that this recession will affect women more than men. As with any downturn, the most disadvantaged will usually fall further behind. The report shows that women, people with disability, migrants, First Nations and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are all more likely to experience poverty than those not in these groups. The effect of gender will be magnified in this recession as the industries closed down are among the most likely to employ women.

This is bad enough news for women, without factoring in the impact on retirement. Women already retire with far less income than men because of lower pay, underemployment, and caring responsibilities. It’s clear that we as a society must prepare differently for ageing and retirement.

That brings us back to those levers. If unemployment is the main cause of poverty then the provision and creation of jobs is vital. Anglicare Australia’s Job Availability Snapshot shows over and over that entry-level jobs are disappearing and that the gap between secure white collar work and precarious low-paid jobs is becoming wider and wider. It is now harder than ever to move from peripheral employment in the gig economy and into a secure role.

As we entered the pandemic, less than half of all Australians had access to leave entitlements. That means more workers were employed casually than in secure work. We’ve now seen how this can harm the whole nation as workers with symptoms had to choose between going to work and losing money. The health of society rests on the individual with the least public support – this is the nature of public health. Secure jobs with entitlements to leave are vital to protect us all. The JobKeeper scheme and some new leave entitlements have acknowledged this, and are small steps in the right direction.

Of course income support – what are people paid when they are not in work – is also critical. Doubling the Jobseeker allowance was another great step, and one we must keep. It would be foolish to think that we can simply ‘snap back’ in September after so much disruption. It would also waste the opportunity to really look at how we live together, on this planet.

For example, we should start thinking about how people can contribute beyond paid employment and how we value volunteers and carers. This summer of extreme weather followed by an unprecedented pandemic has certainly shown how much we rely on the contributions of volunteers.

The new rate of JobSeeker has allowed people to buy the things they need, to participate in their communities, and to contribute in ways they had not been able to while they were on the old, paltry payment. People can now eat fresh food, buy warmer clothes for winter, invite their children’s friends over for tea, or shop for their elderly neighbours. This is the dignity that the new payment has delivered. For those who have recently their jobs, the new rate could stop them from plunging into the kind of poverty from which it is hard to claw back.

One thing is for sure – halving payments would plunge people into homelessness and poverty at levels we have not seen for generations.

The levers then are simple. And yes, they are costly. But more costly than condemning people to poverty? More costly than taking that money out of the economy? Beyond this, there is the true cost moral cost of what we as voters and taxpayers wish to cause, to see, and to participate in. Luckily most Australians agree. Recent polls have shown that most of us want the rate kept or raised.

Our job now is to help the government find the courage to spend – and the compassion to respond.

National Office News

National Office News

Survey: Anglicare Australia roles and values
To assist in some of our thinking about the operations of Anglicare Australia, and to help us consider how we were work in a time of upheaval, Anglicare Australia is conducting a survey. Its purpose is to help Anglicare Australia understand better what our colleagues value about our work, what we could do better, and what new things we could think about doing to support the Network.

The survey has already been sent to people who interact with us through networks and our key contacts, but it is open to any of our colleagues working in any organisation that is part of the Anglicare Australia Network. The survey should take ten minutes to complete, and will close on 5 June 2020.

Click here to take the survey.

Changes to Anglicare Australia’s COVID-19 media updates and announcement tracker
To assist Anglicare Australia Network members to stay up to date on the latest news during the COVID-19 pandemic, Anglicare Australia has been collating a major news stories each day. We have also been regularly updating a COVID-19 Announcement Tracker of Federal Government announcements.

As Australia transitions to the recovery phase, announcements have slowed. Instead of updating the Tracker weekly and circulating it weekly, Anglicare Australia will now only update and circulate the Tracker as needed following major announcements.

Feedback from the Network suggests that our members value the daily media update and would like it to continue. From 1 June, the media update will continue without a specific focus on Covid-19 headlines. Subscribers will have the option to receive the update daily, or to receive the first edition of the week on Mondays.

If you would like us to subscribe you or any additional members of your team, please forward their details to Anglicare Australia’s Director of Media and Communications, Maiy Azize.

To subscribe to daily news updates, or to update your preferences, email [email protected].

Poverty in Australia report shows pre-Covid payment rates would plunge Australians into poverty
The latest edition of the Poverty in Australia report has been released across Australia. Anglicare Australia is a partner in the research, with the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of NSW.

“Countless reports have shown the need to raise the rate of these payments – for good. This one is just the latest,” said Anglicare Australia’s Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The Poverty in Australia report adds to years of research on JobSeeker. It has again found that people surviving on these payments are the most likely to live in poverty.

“With hundreds of thousands more people now out of work, this means that record numbers of Australians could end up in poverty if rates are cut.

“The report also shows the devastating impact that a cut would have on women and their children. Under the old rates, families with women as the main income earner are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than male-breadwinner households.

“The Government has raised the rate in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, but only for six months. That's not good enough. Cutting JobSeeker in September will plunge thousands of women and their children into poverty.”

Click here to read the full media release, and click here to download the report.

Aged care sector keeps up pressure for rescue package
Anglicare Australia has joined with other aged care peak bodies to keep up the pressure for funding to face the coronavirus pandemic, and an Aged Care Rescue Package.

“The ability of many services to meet the needs of those they care for was already constrained due to major and prolonged financial pressures, long before the pandemic,” the peak bodies have said. “The rising costs of keeping residents safe from coronavirus is pushing us closer to breaking point.”

The Aged Care Rescue Package proposed by the sector includes:

  • $250 million for home care
  • $546 million for residential care
  • $500 million pool of funds for information technology measures and training to reduce social isolation and loneliness
  • A workforce fund
  • Refundable Accommodation Deposits (RADs) and improvements to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) to keep providers financially viable and available.

Anglicare Australia has proposed the rescue package along with Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), Aged Care Guild, Baptist Care Australia, Catholic Health Australia, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), and UnitingCare Australia.

Click here to read more about the Aged Care Rescue Package.

Anglicare Australia joins Emergency Relief National Coordination Group
Anglicare Australia is a member of the Emergency Relief National Coordination Group. This group was formed by the Minister for Social Services, Anne Ruston, to assist the government in distributing $200 million in extra funding announced by the Prime Minister.

The funding aims assist the community to deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the downturn, through emergency relief.  The Group has been meeting weekly and delivering its recommendations to the Minister at the end of May.

To find out more about the Group, email [email protected].

Charity, Philanthropy and Fundraising Advisory Group to the National Covid-19 Co-ordination Commission
A Charity, Philanthropy and Fundraising Advisory Group has recently been formed to advise the National Covid-19 Co-ordination Commission. The Advisory Group will be led by Chairperson Tony Stuart and supported by NCCC Commissioner Jane Halton.

Anglicare Australia will be meeting with the Advisory Group next week to understand how they will work in partnership with the sector to understand the implications of the pandemic for individuals, and for the community sector. More information about the group is available here.

To provide input to the meeting, email [email protected].

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

National Reconciliation Week marked by the Anglicare Australia Network
Anglicare Australia Network staff have held and attended National Reconciliation Week activities across Australia, celebrating the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year's theme, In This Together, has proven to be especially relevant to the moment we are in. Although face-to-face activities have been scarce this year, there are many opportunities to participate remotely.

The Anglicare Australia team began the week by participating in Reconciliation Australia’s virtual Acknowledgement of Country initiative on Wednesday 27 May. We also shared a social media statement reflecting on the role of the Anglican Church in colonising Australia; and have participated in remote events including Servant or Slave screenings.

AnglicareSA - In This TogetherOther Network members have held their own remote activities. AnglicareSA convened a zoom conversation with forty AnglicareSA staff. The conversation was facilitated by Peter Sandeman, AnglicareSA CEO, and was joined by Shona Reid, Executive Director, Reconciliation SA. The conversation included shared reflections on the meaning of reconciliation and the theme of #InThisTogether. As the discussion took place, Zahra Zainal, Graphic Recorder captured the themes in words and images.  This is the final graphic artwork.

In addition to this, AnglicareSA is also co-hosting Reconciliation in the West online. This will include a live lunchtime concert, streamed online, featuring the talented musician Nathan May. Reconciliation in the West also engaged the Nancy Bates to compose a song for #InThisTogether.

Anglicare WA - Jade DolmanAnglicare WA has been running several online activities to commemorate Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week. CEO Mark Glasson and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement Leader Jasmine Gregory held a live discussion on the history and importance of Sorry Day, and resources have also been shared to enhance staff’s understanding of the importance of the events.   The resources included information on the Bringing Them Home Report, a link to the healing foundation, and Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week fact sheets.

Anglicare WA staff were also involved in an online real time Aboriginal Art drawing session conducted by Jade Dolman, a local Noongar Artist. Jade discussed what reconciliation week and Sorry Day meant for her, and spoke about how art has been therapeutic for her during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Anglicare Southern Queensland’s RAP Working Group will be marking the week with multiple events, recording a panel discussion each day of National Reconciliation Week on a range of topics relating to reconciliation. The links to these recordings will be available here. Anglicare Southern Queensland has also collated a collection of resources for National Reconciliation Week.

Anglicare NT CEO Dave Pugh has reflected on National Reconciliation Week by recording a message exploring the ways that Anglicare NT can contribute to reconciliation in Australia. The video recording is available here.

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

Click here for more information on this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme and activities.

Financial Wellbeing Network update
The Financial Wellbeing Network has been engaging in fruitful and lively discussions about managing financial counselling client caseloads in the context of recent increased funding. Members have found that their experiences of seeing decreased demand for emergency relief and financial counselling since COVID-19 are widely shared in the Network. They are using this time to connect with old clients, market their available financial wellbeing services and prepare for an anticipated increase in demand in the coming months and years.

With the assistance of Anglicare Australia, the Network has also set out to understand what place-based policy and services, as a recently popularised paradigm, means for the sector and for the Network in terms of the delivery of Emergency Relief, which is thinking that will be fed back into the Department of Social Services.

Anglicare Australia encourages anybody working across these areas to join these conversations.

To provide feedback to the Financial Wellbeing Network, contact Kayleigh Meumann on [email protected].

First Nations Staff Network update
Network meetingThe First Nations Staff Network recently held a mini-conference on 6 March 2020 in Sydney at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. The event was well-attended with sixteen staff from across the Anglicare Australia membership. Participants attended from New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and ACT. All jurisdictions were invited to attend.

A major focus of the gathering was to improve cultural capability, recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff. Key points discussed by the group included:

  • Network tourBeing bolder and prioritising targeted positions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Rethinking position descriptions, interview spaces, questions, and panel members
  • Providing a mentor or buddy system for staff
  • Establishing structures and opportunities for information sharing.

Many more points and strategies and points were discussed by the group, and a report from the event is available to any First Nations Staff Network members working to improve cultural capability, recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff in their organisation.

For more information about the mini-conference or the First Nations Staff Network, contact Ellen Bugge on [email protected].

Chaplaincy and Parish Community Work Network update
The Chaplaincy and Parish Community Work Network of Anglicare Australia has held a gathering via Zoom on April 23. The Chaplaincy and Parish Community Work Network is one of several national special interest networks, representing many Anglicare Australia members. This network has been meeting annually for over ten years. Peter Burke, Director Mission and Anglican Community Engagement AnglicareSA, is the Convenor of the network.

Members of the network are actively engaged in ministry through Anglicare Australia members, including Chaplaincy services for clients, staff and volunteers; spirituality, theology and the mission of the wider Anglican Community; and partnerships with parishes, dioceses and other parts of the Anglican community in which they actively participate.

The meeting included three sessions:

  • Chaplaincy Focus
  • Parish Community Engagement Focus
  • Anglican Community and Network Focus.

The gathering involved almost thirty participants from across every State and Territory. A report from the meeting is available upon request.

For more information about the mini-conference or the Chaplaincy and Parish Community Work Network, email [email protected].

National Awards Profile

Awards profile: Buldau Yioohgen 'Big Dreams' Leadership Academy, Anglicare Victoria

Welcome to our series of profiles on the winners and highly commended of the Anglicare Australia 2019 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence. These profiles will be featured in Aspect throughout 2020.

Big Dreams Leadership AcademyBuldau Yioohgen means “big dreams” in Wurundjeri language. The Buldau Yioohgen Leadership Academy is facilitated by The Long Walk and Anglicare Victoria. 

The program brings together community, cultural and sporting groups to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and gives them the networks and supports as they strive towards their educational, employment and leadership goals.

Awards CeremonyLeadership Academy participants attend two experiential activities, and are supported afterwards with paid work experience, education support, and governance experience. 

The judges were impressed by the breadth of the partnership and the number of people involved. They called it a beautiful way to bring people together, and said it empowered people to give back to their community and become leaders. The Leadership Academy was Highly Commended in the Partnership category.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Poverty in Australia, disability insights, and more

Poverty in Australia

Poverty in Australia 2020
Australian Council of Social Service
The Poverty in Australia report adds to years of research on income support payments. The report also shows the devastating impact that a cut would have on women and their children. Under the old rates, families with women as the main income earner are more than twice as likely to live in poverty than male-breadwinner households.

The report is available here.

People with disabilityPeople with disability COVID-19 Insights
Brotherhood of St Laurence
People with disability have demonstrated extraordinary resilience, flexibility and adaptability during this crisis. This paper explores how COVID-19 presents significant and unprecedented challenges for people with disability, their families and carers, and the disability sector as a whole.

The report is available here.

Critical conditionCritical Condition
Change the Record
This report shows how existing inequalities and injustices faced by First Nations peoples have been exacerbated and further entrenched by the COVID crisis and highlights the urgent need for a recovery that includes First Nations peoples. As well as being particularly at risk of the worst health impacts of the virus itself, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are also disproportionately affected by some of the more punitive and restrictive Covid-19 policy responses.

The report is available here.

Home care operationsHome Care Operations Survey
Leading Aged Care Services Australia
This national study by LASA highlights the extensive work of home care providers in increasing support and combating COVID-19 distress among their clients, even as some postponed services. The survey shows that almost 90 per cent of providers have increased regular telephone contacts.

The survey results are available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability Emergency Planning and Response Issues Paper
Australia is currently in the midst of an unprecedented emergency with the COVID-19 pandemic, following the summer bushfire crisis. People with disability can be severely affected by emergencies and may be at a higher risk of experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation at these times. The purpose of this Issues Paper is to invite information from the public on emergency planning and response. The issues paper asks 11 questions to help people and organisations to provide responses.

Submissions are open, and are due to close on 17 July 2020. More information is available here. Anglicare Australia is considering making a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

Inquiry into Centrelink’s compliance program – new and supplementary submissions
On 19 November 2019, Services Australia announced that it would no longer raise compliance debts based only on averaged income data, and that it would suspend its debt recovery process. The Committee intends to table an interim report in August 2020 to address evidence in light of this change. The Committee is inviting further submissions, including supplementary submissions from organisations and individuals who have already provided evidence.

Submissions have been reopened, and are due to close on 17 September 2020. More information is available here. Anglicare Australia is considering making a submission, and feedback from members can be sent to [email protected].

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, May-June 2020

Clinical Governance essentials for aged care boards
Board accountability for care and clinical outcomes is firmly embedded in legislation, and the ACQSC’s Aged Care Quality Standard 8 requires organisations to demonstrate the use of a clinical governance framework. This session provides practical cost-effective solutions for boards to integrate their clinical governance responsibilities into their essential skill set addressing leadership, risk, compliance and best practice performance. It will be held online on 2 June, hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. More information is available here.

These are unprecedented times and the upheaval to our society requires an extraordinary response from our leaders, our thinkers and our doers. The impact2020 online summit, presented by the Centre for Social Impact, offers free daily webinars with our educators, researchers and thought leaders who are sharing their research, expert insights, innovative thinking, case studies, tools and resources for our network and the broader for-purpose community in Australia. Webinars will be available until 5 June 2020. More information is available here.

Online Governance Training for Non-Profit Organisations
Good governance is essential for non-profit organisations. It’s the system of checks and balances for Board members and leaders which leads to a positive Board member experience, proper management of conflict and risk, and good understanding and planning for an organisation that thrives, even through adversity. A good understanding of governance can help your Board members prioritise and focus on what really matters most. This governance training session is ideal for new or existing Board members. It will be held on 11 June 2020. More information is available here.

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