Aspect October 2019

Aspect Newsletter

From the Deputy Director

Editorial: Punishment isn't leading to jobs

Roland Manderson

We all know the impact that work can have on a person’s life. It can give people stability and an income that’s guaranteed beyond the next pay cheque.

But more than that, work can also help people develop their identity, build their life, and set themselves up for retirement. It’s an anchor that allows many people to look after themselves and their families, to plan, and to make decisions for their future.

Anglicare Australia’s Jobs Availability Snapshot, launched this month, aims to show what the job market is like for people who might struggle to land a job – people who get left out of the narrative about our economy.

Our system is failing those who need the most help to find work. These might be people with disabilities, who didn’t finish year 12, or older workers who lost their jobs later in life. Our research shows that at least five of these jobseekers are competing for each job at their level.

There aren’t enough jobs at this skill level to meet demand in any part of the country. The situation is toughest in SA and Tasmania. In SA, nine of these jobseekers are competing for each suitable job. And in Tasmania, a staggering fourteen jobseekers are competing for each one of these jobs.

These jobseekers aren’t just competing with each other. Graduates, laid-off workers, and people who are underemployed also apply for these jobs. Like everyone else, they are motivated to find work.

Over time, we’ve found that these jobs are drying up. This year, just 10 percent of vacancies didn’t call for qualifications or work experience. That’s down from 22 percent when these records began in 2006. As it stands, there is no plan to prepare our workforce for the changes we are seeing to the job market.

In the face of these findings, it’s clear that the Jobactive network is failing people who need the most help. It’s taking people an average of five years to find work, while they languish on a Newstart payment that’s been frozen at dangerously low levels.  And the system is both punitive and careless, with many people who are breached and punished by their Jobactive provider later found to have done nothing wrong. Some are being cut off from payments altogether.

Private providers shouldn’t be paid to punish and breach people. Instead, they should be helping them by offering training that are actually linked to jobs – and supporting them to stay in that work once they find it. So it’s clear that the Jobactive network is broken and must be fixed.

Importantly, the findings of our Snapshot show Australia needs to invest in job creation. That means creating work that matches people’s skills, instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there.

And finally, of course, the rates of Newstart and Youth Allowance must be raised. Nobody should be trapped in poverty while they look for work.

These changes are urgent.  The Jobs Availability Snapshot shows that we are forcing people to compete for jobs that simply do not exist – and are trapping them in an endless cycle of poverty instead.

National Office News

National Office News: Jobs Availability Snapshot launched, Anti-Poverty Week, and more

Anglicare Australia launches Jobs Availability Snapshot 2019
Anglicare Australia has called on the government to stop punishing people who are out of work following the release the 2019 Jobs Availability Snapshot. The Snapshot was launched on 16 October 2019, as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Jobs Availability Snapshot press conferenceThe Snapshot found that our system is failing those who need the most help to find work. These might be people with disabilities, who didn’t finish year 12, or older workers who lost their jobs later in life. We found that at least five of these jobseekers are competing for each job at their level.

There aren’t enough jobs at this skill level to meet demand in any part of the country. The situation is toughest in WA, SA and Tasmania. In SA, nine of these jobseekers are competing for each suitable job. And in Tasmania, a staggering fourteen jobseekers are competing for each one of these jobs.

This year’s Snapshot attracted more media attention than ever before. Anglicare Australia was interviewed on ABC News, ABC Radio National, and Sky News on the morning of the Snapshot release. It continued to be featured throughout the day by ABC News, SBS News, Ten News and Nine News. Footage of the report’s launch is available online.

David Pope cartoonThe report was written up by all major print outlets including Fairfax Newspapers, News Ltd Newspapers, The Guardian, and the Australian Associated Press. The report was featured across commercial radio bulletins, SBS Radio, ABC Radio National and Triple J Hack.

Regional interest in the report was strong. Highlights included several local ABC interviews, local commercial television stories across the country, and write ups in state newspapers such as The West Australian, The Adelaide Advertiser and The Hobart Mercury where the results were especially dire.

The full report is available here. Click here for a full summary of the media coverage.

Anglicare Australia sponsors 2019 Anti-Poverty Week
In 2019, Anglicare Australia was again a sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week. Anti-Poverty Week was promoted at the recent Anglicare Australia conference, and Anglicare Australia launched the 2019 Jobs Availability Snapshot as part of Anti-Poverty Week.

Anglicare WA held a sausage sizzle as part of Anti-Poverty Week, providing lunch and offering budget tips through its financial counselling team.

Budget Bites ChallengeAnglicare North Queensland was part of the Budget Bites Challenge Cook Off in Cairns, which brought together local identities, the media, hospitality professionals and the community sector to showcase the opportunities there are to create delicious food on a budget, while raising awareness of poverty and its impacts in our region.

Anglicare NSW South, NSW West, and ACT held its annual ‘Pens Against Poverty’ competition, featuring poems and stories with the theme ‘Courage in Kindness’ in mind. More information about the competition is available under ‘Anglicare Network News’. Anglicare NSW South, NSW West, and ACT also joined with other providers to support the ‘Poverty is no Picnic’ event in Goulburn.

Anglicare Tasmania was part of a Big Table Community Lunch. The event was a free lunch where guests were invited to bring a donation of non-perishable food items to support others in the community.

Brotherhood of St Laurence at the Melbourne MarathonStaff from the Brotherhood of St Laurence participated in the Melbourne Marathon as part of Anti-Poverty Week, raising over $27,000 for its children’s programs. The Brotherhood of St Laurence also hosted two Brotherhood Talks free events on child poverty in Melbourne.

Anglicare Australia Network members also used Anti-Poverty Week as an opportunity to step efforts to raise Newstart. Chris Jones and Peter Sandeman both published opinion pieces on the need to raise the rate of Newstart, while others sought meetings with their local MPs to discuss the campaign.

Further details of activities are available at www.antipovertyweek.org.au.

Quality home care starts with valuing workers: Anglicare Australia launches research project with HESTA
Staff engagement and satisfaction is key to quality aged care in the home. That is the key finding of new research from the Anglicare Australia Network, supported by industry super fund, HESTA.

“As our population ages, it’s becoming more and more important that older people get the care and support they need at home. But very little research has been done on the experiences of frontline, home-based aged care workers,” said Anglicare Australia’s Acting Executive Director Roland Manderson.

Mr Manderson said the aim of the research was to explore insights from frontline workers around challenges they faced in providing homecare.

“Staff told us that the best quality care is relational care. That means valuing and supporting workers, so they can support older people. And it means cutting through some of the red tape that surrounds them so they can spend more time caring for people.

“At the end of the day, we found that frontline workers enjoyed their work and cared deeply for their clients.  And that is despite the pressure of an imperfect system. Listening to their insights is critical to building a quality home care system,” said Mr Manderson.

The report, Quality Jobs and Best Practice Care: Improving Homecare Staff Engagement Within a Consumer Directed Care Environment, is based on interviews and focus groups with staff in AnglicareSA and Amana Living Perth.

The full report is available here.

Anglicare Australia calls for Robodebt system to be suspended
Anglicare Australia has appeared before a Senate committee hearing on the Centrelink’s Robodebt system, calling for it to be suspended.

“The Robodebt system has no human oversight – and it puts the onus onto ordinary people to correct robotised mistakes,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.

“The Government has spent over $600 million to recover $725 in debts – but the true costs have been shifted onto ordinary people. They are paying the price in money, time, and distress.

“We have presented the Inquiry with stories of real people who have spent weeks and months trying to disprove a false debt. The system denies them good faith human oversight in return. We have estimated that Anglicare Australia Network itself is spending over $2.1 million a year helping these people deal with Centrelink’s processes.

“We have also shown that Centrelink consistently fails to prove the legality of debts. In many cases, it does not even try. The truth is that the issues facing this system can no longer be called ‘errors’. It is clear that the Government is well aware of them.

“We must suspend this program immediately – and work together to design one that works for the people who need it.”

Anglicare Australia’s submission to the Committee is available here. A transcript of Anglicare Australia’s appearance at the hearing is available online.

Drug testing trial a red herring
Anglicare Australia has made a submission calling for the abandonment of the Government's proposed welfare drug tests. Executive Director Kasy Chambers has called them a distraction from failures of the social security system.

Kasy Chambers on The Project“There has been unprecedented outcry over the low rate of Newstart and failures of the robodebt system in recent months. Dredging up this bill now looks like a red herring,” Ms Chambers said.

“There is no evidence that these tests help people get off drugs. The Government itself has admitted that. The countries that have trialled random drug testing have found that it’s costly and doesn’t achieve anything. In the US, it has cost up to $1600 USD per person.

“This plan has been rejected in Britain, rejected in Canada. It’s now up to the crossbench to reject these changes here.”

Anglicare Australia’s submission to the Committee is available here, and our media release is available here. Anglicare Australia appeared on The Project, ABC News, ABC Radio National, and SBS to discuss this issue.

The rate of Newstart must be raised: Anglicare Australia appears before Inquiry
Anglicare Australia has appeared before the Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart, calling for the payment to be raised.

“Across Australia, over 800,000 people are living on Newstart and related payments,” Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers told the Committee.

“They are struggling daily to afford basic essentials like a roof over their head and food on their table. That includes parents, carers, people with disabilities, students, and those who have been locked out of paid work.”

“People cannot pursue a better life if they are forced to make tough choices between eating a meal and paying a bill, buying shoes for their children and filling prescription. And they cannot look for work if they are homeless and hungry.”

“Our safety net has become a poverty trap, with rates of Newstart, Youth Allowance, and related payments stagnant for 25 years. One-off payments and tax cuts will not lift people out of poverty. Raising the rates of these payments would be the most powerful step that any government could take to reduce poverty in Australia.”

Anglicare Australia’s submission to the Committee is available here. A transcript of Anglicare Australia’s appearance at the hearing is available online, and our remarks were covered by The Guardian.

Opinion: When Did 'Welfare' Become A Dirty Word?
In an Opinion Piece published by 10 Daily, Executive Director of Anglicare Australia Kasy Chambers argues that welfare should be seen in the same light as assistance to farmers:

“You might have noticed that the word 'welfare' has been turned on its head.

“Politicians no longer talk about a 'safety net', the 'welfare state', or even 'help'. These words invoke ideas about citizenship, and supporting each other. Instead they speak about being ‘on’ welfare -- and they mean it as a slur. To be ‘on’ welfare is to be lazy, dependent, and maybe even immoral.

“The past few days have given us a window to this line of thinking. The Government has been pushing for random drug tests on Newstart recipients -- a policy that assumes people don’t know how to spend their own money or manage their lives. The message is that there is no point trying to help them. They will only squander it.”

The full opinion piece from Kasy Chambers is available here.

The People Vs Welfare
When is welfare empowering and when is it just a poverty trap? And what are our fundamental obligations to our fellow citizens? Anglicare Australia joined other guests to wrestle with the ethics of our social security system and what it should do.

The People Vs Welfare is an ABC Radio National program is presented by Josh Zseps, with guests Simon Cowan, Research Director at The Centre for Independent Studies and Roland Manderson, Deputy National Director, Anglicare Australia.

The full program is available here.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Pens Against Poverty competition held in Anti-Poverty Week
Pens Against PovertyStudents from over 30 schools across the Canberra region put pen to paper in support of Anti-Poverty Week as part of Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT’s ‘Pens Against Poverty’ schools writing competition. The competition has previously won an Anglicare Australia National Award for Innovation.

The event is an opportunity for children to write for a genuine purpose. It has found to be extremely effective in promoting empathy and kindness from participants in the ways they think about and respond to the most vulnerable members of society – especially children, young people and the elderly – who are struggling with unaffordable living costs and trauma associated with poverty.

Anti-Poverty WeekThe event is launched at the end of the second term of school and is centred around a theme. This year, the competition theme was ‘Courage in Kindness’ and submissions were received from school students from grades 3 to 10 from over twenty schools across the Canberra region, with creative entries ranging from poems to short stories.

The awards ceremony was a key event in the ACT Anti-Poverty Week calendar generating media interest and support from other key charities and organisations across Canberra and the region. This year, the Awards were presented by Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove who hosted an afternoon tea for the nominees and winners.

To view Pens Against Poverty’s 2019 winning entries, click here.

Home Stretch campaign announced as a finalist for the Community Sector Awards
The Home Stretch campaign, led by Anglicare Victoria, has been named as a finalist for the 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards.

The awards recognise Australia’s most outstanding community sector organisations and individuals. They are presented by HESTA Super Fund in partnership with the Australian Council of Social Service.

Anglicare Victoria created the Home Stretch Campaign to assist the thousands of young people leaving state care across Australia. Around half of them will end up either homeless, in gaol or a new parent within the first year of leaving state care. The campaign is calling for an option for young people in the Out-of-Home Care system to remain in care until the age of 21.

Because of this campaign, four states have now committed to the reform. South Australia has begun reimbursing foster and kinship carers when they continue to provide care. Tasmania is planning their roll out of the reform. Victoria is rolling out the reform to 250 young people over five years. And here in West Australia, a trial has just begun.

The campaign also won an Anglicare Australia Award for Innovation in September. We wish the Home Stretch the best of luck ahead of the HESTA Community Sector Awards, which will be held in Canberra on 26 November.

To find out more about the Home Stretch and other finalists, click here.

Benetas wins prestigious marketing award
Leading Victorian aged care provider and Anglicare Australia member, Benetas, took out excellence for its home care data-driven marketing campaign at the AMI Marketing Excellence Gala this month.

Benetas wins AMI AwardClose to 500 industry professionals joined in Melbourne to celebrate the best practice marketing excellence in Australian with more than 300 entries received in 18 different categories. Benetas was awarded for best campaign in the Data Driven Marketing Category for its strong use of evidence based customer insights.

The judging panel made up of industry leaders and senior marketing professionals described this as a sophisticated use of data analytics and customer profiling that led to strong results for Benetas’ home care business.

Benetas at the AMI AwardBenetas CEO Sandra Hills said it was a testament to the team’s commitment to excellence and their ability to draw on data insights to better understand our customers’ needs.

“We’re evidence based and focused on providing an exceptional customer experience and the work of our marketing team is no exception. Our Customer Insights and Marketing Team play a growing role to help us understand where our customers are at, what information they need, and how we can best support them through their full customer journey.”

The campaign saw a 600% increase in website visits and over 40% increase in phone enquiries from people looking for home care packages.

To find out more about Benetas’ winning campaign, click here.

Peter Sandeman: Many are forced to choose between paying bills, filling prescriptions or buying shoes for the children

In an opinion piece published by Adelaide Advertiser, AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman argues for an increase in the rate of Newstart:

“Ending poverty is an imperative that has moved well beyond the social-services sector.

“Last week, in an unprecedented move, accounting firm KPMG called for a payment increase of $100 per week to those in need.

“Joining previous calls from the Business Council of Australia and the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Philip Lowe, the accounting powerhouse outlined the clear economic incentives, along with the social benefits, of raising the rate.””

The full opinion piece from Peter Sandeman is available here.

Chris Jones: Time to listen to the financial counsellors and increase Newstart

In an opinion piece published by the Advocate, Anglicare Tasmania CEO Chris Jones argues for an increase in the rate of Newstart:

“Newstart is supposed to be a safety net for people looking for work. Instead, it is a poverty trap that's difficult to escape.

“The situation is all too clear when financial counsellors sit down with Newstart recipients to go through the figures. Newstart is simply not enough to meet basic living expenses.”

The full opinion piece from Chris Jones is available here.

Research and Resources

New research and resources: Jobs Availability Snapshot, Family Matters, and more

2019 Jobs Availability SnapshotJobs Availability Snapshot 2018
Anglicare Australia
The Jobs Availability Snapshot, released as part of Anti-Poverty Week, is a simple test of the labour market as it affects people with the most barriers to finding work in Australia. It found that at least five people are competing for each job in their skill level. It recommends an investment in job creation and an end to punitive approaches to unemployment.

The report is available here.

Family MattersThe Family Matters Report 2019
SNAICC: National Voice for our Children
The Family Matters report sets out what governments are doing to turn the tide on over-representation and the outcomes for children and their families. The report contributes to efforts to change the story by explaining the extent of the problem and reporting on progress towards implementing evidence-informed solutions. Anglicare Australia is a partner in the Family Matters campaign.

The report is available here.

Hunger ReportFoodbank Hunger Report
Foodbank
This report combines insights from two surveys, bringing together the perspectives of charities and community groups providing front-line food relief as well as individuals experiencing food insecurity. It found that in the last year, more than one in five Australians have been in a situation where they have run out of food and have been unable to buy more. That is the equivalent of five million people.

The report is available here.

Pregnancy and HomelessnessPregnancy and Homelessness: Service responses
Launch Housing
This research found that, like all homeless people, pregnant homeless women experience difficulty in accessing housing support due to the overwhelming demand for these services. Moreover, even when accessing housing support services, pregnant homeless women may not receive responses to their additional support needs, in part because some homelessness services do not take pregnancy into account as a risk factor.

The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

Policy, consultations and grants

Review of the NDIS Act and the new NDIS Participant Service Guarantee
During the 2019 Federal Election, the Australian Government promised to develop and legislate an NDIS Participant Service Guarantee to improve participant experiences with the NDIS. To develop the Guarantee, the Government has commissioned a review of the NDIS Act.

The review will focus on opportunities to make the NDIS process simpler and more straight forward and remove barriers to positive participant and provider experiences with the NDIS.

Submissions close on Thursday 31 October 2019. More information is available here.

Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability
The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability is now accepting submissions. Submissions can be made using an online form. An Easy Read version of the form is also available.

Legal assistance is now available to those engaging with the Royal Commission. The legal assistance scheme is for individuals and entities meeting the costs of legal representation and disbursements associated with formal engagement with the Royal Commission. Information on eligibility for the scheme, how to apply and assessment timeframes is available online.

Submissions to the Royal Commission are open, and no closing date has been nominated. More information is available here.

Hearings for Productivity Commission inquiry into mental health
This inquiry is examining the effect of mental health on people’s ability to participate in and prosper in the community and workplace. Anglicare Australia made a submission that will inform the draft report, and the Commission will soon hold public hearings in each capital city and some regional centres in response to that report.

Hearings will begin in November 2019, and continue to early 2020. More information and exact dates are available here. To express interest in participating, email [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 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, October 2019

National Consultations on Human Services Care Skills
Members of the Anglicare Australia Network have been working with the Australian Government to establish a National Skills Commission, Skills Organisations and National Careers Institute. The aim is to help strengthen the skills system by driving research and analysis of national skills needs, raising the profile of VET as a career pathway of choice and giving industry greater ownership of the skills and training system. As members of the human services care industry, members of Anglicare Australia are invited to consultations to help with the co-design these initiatives. They will be held in Adelaide, Melbourne, Bendigo, Perth, Cairns, Orange, Canberra, Darwin, Sydney, Hobart, and Brisbane in October and November. To find dates and register, email [email protected].

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.

2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards
The 2019 HESTA Community Sector Awards recognise Australia’s most outstanding community sector organisations and individuals. They are presented by HESTA Super Fund in partnership with the Australian Council of Social Service, at a dinner held in conjunction with the ACOSS conference. This year's awards will be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on 26 November. You can register here.

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