Aspect September 2016

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Influential Debates for Social Services

Kasy Chambers ED4This month has seen the fruition of two extremely influential debates. The Productivity Commission Competition inquiry released its first stage of its report into the possibility of opening human services to competition; and the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter launched the Priority Investment Approach.

These are issues that separately have the capacity to truly change the face of the support that individuals receive and the community sector; and that together could completely change Australian society

The Priority Investment Approach is an exciting opportunity to better understand the effects of various factors in people's lives and ameliorate the bad, and provide or amplify the good. 

It offers us a great window into understanding the effects and outcomes of the interventions offered by our services.  In time we will be able to view the database to help us design services that are even better tailored to meet the needs of vulnerable people.

The Priority Investment Approach is one part of the response to the McClure report into welfare reform that is possible now for the first time. Various voices have been critical of the groups chosen for the first funded action. 

Some groups have felt they have missed out on the spotlight, others have worried about being in the limelight. But looking at small groups offers the perfect opportunity for innovation, imagination, individualised responses and invention in our services. 

This is stuff we know Anglicare members are good at. The nominations we have every year in our awards, the examples we see as we move around the country, demonstrate that we all work hard in responding to the person in their circumstances, meeting people where they are, whilst holding the hope of a different future.

The government funding through the Try, Test and Learn fund to meet the needs of the identified groups will enable us to devise tailored responses to individuals in those situations. 

However we need to question the tacit assumption that changes to and for the individual will give them complete agency to change their whole circumstances. 

As we have noted in our media commentary around this issue, our excitement at the approach must be tempered with the acknowledgement that there is a wider economic story at play - that of not enough jobs, not enough housing and, whilst on government benefits, not enough income.

What has rather unhelpfully emerged over the last few days is a conversation about the adequacy of the Newstart benefit.  Some months ago we seemed to have arrived at a community wide, and even an unspoken bi-partisan political agreement, that Newstart is inadequate. The question of how to address this inadequacy in a tight fiscal environment was where the major parties differed in position. We need to keep this truth held large if we are to ensure people have enough to live on whilst we seek to make the changes to society and individuals identified in the Priority Investment Approach.

The Productivity Commission’s report has identified a number of service areas that they believe would benefit from being opened to competition and contestability. The report draws a distinction between competition and contestability. In shorthand this could be explained as open to all (competition) and tenders or commissioning and grant activity (contestable). The areas identified include services to remote Indigenous communities, public dental services and grant based family and community services. 

Many of us are now experiencing the changes that competition will bring to the area of disability services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  As the NDIS has taken shape there have been a number of areas where concern has been raised by us and others about the scheme.  This is absolutely natural; the level and depth of the changes that are being rolled out is astounding and getting it right will take evaluation and changes, consultation and tweaking before the final scheme is fully fit for purpose.  We owe this to ourselves as a community and more importantly to the people that use disability services – it would be unreasonable to think that something like this could be perfect first time. 

But concerns about the mechanics of the scheme are now being joined by concerns about the overall outcomes. What happens to the person, to their family and their community after all the individualised services have been rolled out. 

It is becoming apparent that there are many services where purchasing the service makes sense, the low risk, low intimacy type services that are transaction based.  There are also people who don’t need anything other than those transactional based services – people with strong social networks, jobs, etc who need little else other than those roles filling.  But there are other services that people require that are high risk, complex and have a high degree of intimacy involved.  We need to ensure that individualised funding and competitive markets look after vulnerable individuals and vulnerable markets (for example those in rural settings).

The Productivity Commission must hear this differentiation between transaction and transformational – a difference I have articulated here and elsewhere many times.

There also is still something for me in the “extra” that is laid down by localised community services. Organisations that provide more than services. Some years ago I gave a speech to the ACOSS conference where I talked about community sector being both the fabric and the seamstress:

“We are the fabric – we provide what people need - especially to those without access to the full benefits of micro civil society. Our direct services provide what society sees as the basics in terms of food, shelter, warmth, skills.

We are the seamstress. We seek to weave our clients into their own micro civil society – to move from providers of the fabric of the macro to enabling people to create, discover and develop their own networks, their own micro civil society. This is a level of change which is sustainable. Financially certainly, helping people to help themselves is a persuasive mantra. But also sustainable more importantly as transformational change. Change that occurs in relationship with others, change an individual can upkeep.

What concerns me with the individualised funding policies and the competition agenda is that as person centered care becomes individualised funding the very necessary role played by the seamstress is lost.  Without the seamstress to take care of the fabric it becomes frayed, the money spent upon it is not well spent, and life itself and its purpose is cheapened.

The Priority Investment Approach and the competition agenda both point to individualised approaches – offering the individual interventions and choice. At first glance this looks marvelous – choice and agency over your circumstances and life is one of the centrepoints of our culture. 

However there is something missing in these approaches – something that I believe lies at the heart of our societal and personal disquiet.  We may have all the choices in the world about what cheese to have in our sandwich or which GP to use, but there are times when groups of individuals having choice isn’t enough.  A person is more than the sum of their needs and wants, and a society is more than a group of individuals with satisfied needs and wants.  Communities built on this “group of individuals” approach will find themselves without foundation when things go wrong; without practice at operating together in being a community; without resilience and the ability to strengthen each other.

It is an important time in social and economic policy – important that we get the implementation of these policies right.  In order to do this we need to remember that human beings should not be mere economic servants, that there is more to us than a collection of items to be serviced.  We need to acknowledge that it may take us some time to get the policies right, to take it outside of political point scoring and be prepared to admit we need to make changes. And we need to hold tight to the narrative of the changes needed in society for those most vulnerable to flourish.

National Office News

Clinical and care governance network meeting, October 27

download (2)Those who were lucky enough to attend Creative Edge, our national conference in Darwin at the start of the month, would have enjoyed the keynote speech on Care Governance from Dr Kim Forrester. 

She pointed out, among other things, how important a culture of high quality care and service is for organisations such as ours if we are to deliver on the promise we make, and what that means for the systems we have in place.

As it happens Anglicare Australia has had a Clinical and Care Governance Network in place for more than a year now, and it has provided us with the opportunity to learn from each other about how where we are up to in taking those principles on board across every element of our services.

The next network meeting will be hosted by the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne in October 27.  We’re going out for dinner on October 26Our conversation and planning will pick up from the work we’ve done together early in the year and draw the all-encompassing framework described so well by Dr Forrester.  We are delighted to have as our guest the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency CEO Nick Ryan.

Most Anglicare network members that provide a range of services have someone pertinent on the group. Get in touch with Roland if you’d like to find out more.

Anglicare’s Aged Care Network news

hands-216982_960_720Following on from the network meeting at the conference in Darwin, Anglicare Australia’s Aged and community Care Network has a couple of things on the go.

Early next month a small group of network members  is meeting with Assistant Minster for Health The Hon Ken Wyatt AM to discuss  the roll out of the combined  Home Support and Home Care program and the future  of  respite services, and to offer service visits at Anglicare sites around the country.

The network is planning forum in the first half of next year on the general topic of wellness, reablement and restorative care.

We expect the event to include an external speaker at a dinner the night before, and then a panel of our own Anglicare experts for the day of discussion and information exchange.  

The organising team members for the forum are Roland Manderson; Sue Cooke, Anglicare SQ; Jacinta Robertson, Anglicare SA; Fiona Lodge, Anglicare NT; Nicola Reynolds and Jeremy McAuliffe, Benetas; Sharon Scarlett, Anglicare Tasmania; and Kris Rice, Anglicare Sydney

Venue and date are yet to be determined, so please contact Roland ([email protected]) if you’d like more information or hope to be involved.

Anglicare Australia Executive Director Advocates for Newstart Recipients

job-seeker-NewstartAnglicare Australia Director Kasy Chambers spoke to ProBono news on 27 September about Social Services Minister Christian Porter’s plans to “revolutionise” social security spending, with the aim of ending welfare-dependency among at-risk groups.

Porter told Sky News that spending more money on welfare was not the answer, in response to Not for Profit organisations calling for an increase of the Newstart unemployment payment, which is currently at $528.70 a fortnight for singles and $477.40 each for couples.

Kasy Chambers told Pro Bono Australia News that Porter’s comments ignored “simple mathematics”.

“The ABS stats show us there is 713,300 people who are unemployed and job vacancies of 171,000, so the simple maths tells us we can’t just move people into jobs by making Newstart too little.

I accept that it’s a big policy issue in terms of finding the budget for it, but there is overwhelming evidence from every sector that Newstart is inadequate for a decent life.”

“There’s an issue for the government, they want to balance their budget and they don’t want to spend more in social services, so I think it’s purely budgetary,” she said.

To read the original article, click here

Anglicare Australia submission to Jobs for Families Child Care Package Bill 2016

typewriter-726965_960_720Anglicare Australia has made a submission to the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2016, and the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill 2016. The full submission can be read on our website at the following link.
Anglicare Australia Submission

Creative Edge | Anglicare Australia National Conference 2016

Kasy ChambersAnglicare Australia National Conference was held at the Darwin Convention Centre from 4-7 September this year, bringing together more than 200 people from across Anglicare Agencies.

 An opening service was held at Christ Church Cathedral in Darwin following the AGM, and Australian of the Year General David Morrison AO enthralled the delegates in his opening keynote address on the first morning.

More than 30 workshops were offered over the three day period, and evaluations noted that some of these were so well-prepared and thorough that they could have been standalone keynote addresses in themselves.

Bishop ChrisAnglicare members’ significant successes across four categories of innovation, partnership, excellence and volunteer achievement were recognised at Government House on 4 September, in an event hosted by the honourable John Hardy OAM and wife Marie.

Keynote presenters included Olga Havnen, who is  of Western Arrernte descent and grew up in Tennant Creek. She is currently CEO of Danila Dilba Health Service.

Debby Blakey was appointed CEO of HESTA on 2 March 2015 and went beyond a simple information session about HESTA and delved into the important work of the social services sector.

Joe Morrison is the Chief Executive Officer of Northern Land Council (NLC) who spoke candidly about the difficult work of achieving land rights in the Northern Territory.

Charlie King is a local radio personality and spoke on day two of the conference. Born in Alice Springs, Charlie King’s mother is a Gurindji woman from Kalkarindji in Central Australia. Charlie is a sports commentator on the ABC.

Charlie was  accompanied by Kevin Baxter from the Tiwi Islands. They focused specifically on the No More campaign on domestic violence. In a question and answer style, Charlie interviewed Kevin Baxter who has served some time in prison for domestic violence, but who now forms an integral part of the push to end violence in aboriginal communities. They showed moving videos, many of which are available at this site:

Bishop Chris McLeod delivered  the John Roffey Lecture at the 2016 National Conference. Chris is an Assistant Bishop in the Anglican Diocese of Adelaide, with special responsibilities for Aboriginal Ministry, and National Aboriginal Bishop. His appointment last year was considered a landmark for the church because Chris is only the third Anglican Bishop of Aboriginal descent in Australia's history.

Dr Kim Forrester is a registered nurse and barrister-at-law practicing at the private bar in Queensland, and she spoke on the final day of the conference. Her presentation can be accessed by contacting the national office. 

Prof Simon Biggs is the Professor of Gerontology and Social Policy at Melbourne University. He has been engaged in a number of Australian research initiatives including: mature-age workers (ARC); intergenerational relationships (LMCF); Peri-urban growth (Vic Health) and social aspects of dementia (NHMRC). 

Presentation of a gift from PNG delegates to Anglicare AustraliaThe Conference dinner was held at the Darwin Ski Club in a relaxed atmosphere; following a museum tour which was enjoyed thoroughly by Anglicare delegates.

Official photography by Kate Freestone of the the awards ceremony at Government House is available at the following dropbox link. Please be sure to credit Kate’s images.

Photos by Beth Doherty of the National Office are available at the following link. A credit to Anglicare Australia would be appreciated where possible.

Presentations will be made available on the website in the coming weeks, and we apologise for the delay. If there is any urgency about obtaining these, please be in touch.

Priority Investment in People

girl-375114_960_720The Australian Government today launched its priority investment approach with a Try, Test Learn (TTL) program for key groups of young people. 

“Support for young people most at risk of exclusion makes a lot of sense” Anglicare Australia deputy director Roland Manderson said today. 

“And the groups that the Government has identified for its Try, Test Learn program - young carers, those for whom training and education isn’t working, and young parents – would really benefit from extra help. 
“Anglicare member organisations around the country are keen to ensure TTL delivers an increased investment in these young people, and that it pays attention to their circumstances and their aspirations.
“Almost everybody who can, wants to work. But people often need support not just into a job, but over the long haul.  
“On top of that, we mustn’t forget that this is a small initiative.  The much greater effect of economic change, insecure work, unaffordable housing and inadequate income won’t be resolved by investments on this scale.
“Finally, releasing the information that tells us about the impact of public funding and programs is an important step towards finding a formula for long term investment in our communities.  However, in the process, we need to ensure that our goal remains the wellbeing of people, not merely reducing the welfare cost to our bottom line” Mr Manderson said. 

Anglicare Network News

Sharon shares her story of recovery

leiga-and-sharon-256x300The Healthy Minds mental health program is just one of many wonderful services run by Anglicare Central Queensland. Emerald-based recipient Sharon has been supported by Wellbeing Facilitator Ligia.  She shared her story of how she first came to AnglicareCQ Healthy Minds and how the work with the here facilitator has changed her.

"Quite a few years ago my life was a mess.  I had no direction, did not feel happy and sometimes I had no desire to keep going on.  I went to Emerald and stood outside the AnglicareCQ building wondering if I should go in.  When I went inside, the receptionist put me in contact with Ligia.  My life began to change from that day", tells Sharon.

"Ligia and I sat and we spoke.  I remember that I cried most of the session because I came to the realisation that I was experiencing depression."

"Every week I had to make an effort to go back and see Ligia.  This is a long trip for me as I come from the Willows, Central Queensland.  I had to reassure myself that things would get better.  And every week I was back there I admired how all the staff were treating me so well; they have always been polite and friendly."

For the full story, click here

Samaritans to lock up and sleep in

lock-up2-860x350Samaritans Foundation in Newcastle are giving supporters a chance to experience what it is like sleeping in a jail cell.

On the 14th of October, those interested can sign up. Other support options include the Lock Up dinner at the Maitland Gaol.

The night will include live entertainment, prizes, dinner and drinks as well as a tour of the gaol.

Tickets for the dinner are just $85 and if you are brave enough to stay the night too the Sleep In ticket (includes dinner) is $145.

The proceeds will go towards Samaritans’ programs of support people exiting prison to reintegrate into the community and reduce recidivism.

Date: Friday October 14
Time: 6:30pm
Venue: Maitland Gaol, 6 – 18 John Street, East Maitland

For more information, click the following link

Win for Homeless in Alice Springs

Homeless NTAnglicare NT has managed to secure 22 independent living units for people who are experiencing homelessness or income stress.

The units add to the already extensive support provided by Anglicare NT through their Housing Support Serves in Bloomfield st, Darwin.

Case management and tenancy skills straining is included for those who will benefit from the units.

As it is transitional housing, the idea is to train them so that eventually they will to attain and sustain long-term housing. 

For more information, visit

Young people feel ‘abandoned’ after leaving care

imgThis month, Anglicare has released an evaluation report about young people leaving care, focussing on the results of the Transition to Leaving Care (TLC) program. The program was funded by the NSW government and implemented in July 2014 by Anglicare’s St Saviours Out of Home Care in Liverpool to help young people struggling with the transition out of care into independent living.

“The workers at St Saviours were great in preparing us to leave care, but it didn’t stop me from feeling nervous about leaving when I was about to turn 18,” says 19 year old Rosie, who was in over a dozen foster homes before entering residential care at St Saviours at the age of 14.

Read more


HIPPY celebrations in the South

downloadDuring September, the AnglicareSA HIPPY (Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters program staff and participants celebrated national HIPPY Week in the southern suburbs.

In the Southern Suburbs, around 40 families are involved in HIPPY which has duration of two years.

It provides children with education-focused foundation for school, and engages parents to assist them.

Kids are helped with numeracy and literacy skills, that help them to love learning. It also engages them with enjoyable activities and fosters the parent child bond. 

EPIC collaborates with world-class Asperger’s expert for video series

Tony and ZachEPIC Assist is working together with an Asperger’s expert Tony Atwood to create a video series about the experiences faced by those seeking work on the Asperger’s spectrum.

Featuring EPIC’s own Zach Zaborny, the series guides job seekers through the minefield of job searching, interviewing, securing and maintaining a job on the Autism Spectrum.

Tony has written several books on the subject including The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. Zach himself has Asperger’s and is enjoying the opportunity to be involved.

To watch the videos, click on the below links:

Job searching on the autism spectrum

Interviewing on the autism spectrum

On the job support

To read the original article, click here

Anglicare Southern Queensland Campaign: Support For The Life You Want

imagesAnglicare in Southern Queensland has started a community outreach campaign called ‘support for the life you want’ as an awareness raiser for their many services.

Last month on television, radio, newspapers, cinemas, social media and Anglicare’s new website the campaign was launched and will continue into 2017.

Mrs Karen Crouch, Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Executive Director, it has been an important step for this marketing to show the wide range of services provided.

“While Anglicare is a name that has become synonymous with delivering aged care and nursing services throughout Southern Queensland, tens of thousands of Queenslanders are benefiting daily from Anglicare’s full range of services including Disability, Mental Health and Family Wellbeing, Foster Care, Homelessness and Help at Home services,” Karen said.

For more information check out the Anglicare SQ website

Benetas Celebrating Unexpected Heroes with Photo Exhibit

Knit knatterBenetas is celebrating Unexpected Heroes 2016, focusing on the lives of older people.

The Knit Natter Crochet Chatter are a group of residents from Dalkeith Heights who knit blankets and clothing for those in need.

The group has donated a large amount of knitted items to  Anglicare for distribution throughout the local area.

The Knit Natterers have touched many families who received a knitted blanket or item, and they have provided many children with their first ever hand knitted items.

This project, initiated by leading for-purpose aged care provider, Benetas, began in 2015 as a photography exhibition celebrating the untold stories of older people. This year’s event features portraits by Australian photographer, Gina Milicia.

Benetas CEO Sandra Hills said the campaign is all about increasing understanding and respect for older people.

“Benetas is deeply committed to advocating for older people in our community and ensuring their voices are heard.”

Benetas Unexpected Heroes 2016 Photography Exhibition (entrance is free of charge)

When: Wednesday, 28 September to Friday, 7 October (9 am to 5 pm, excluding public holidays and weekends)  KPMG Lobby, 147 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

Media contact: Lyn Toh, Benetas Senior Media & Communications Advisor, 0400 224 852


Caleb Achieves his Special Olympics Dream!

Caleb SmithSamaritan’s disability services are currently supporting a young man called Caleb Smith. Samaritan’s proudly announced that Caleb was recently selected to compete in the Trans-Tasman Tournament for the Special Olympics in New Zealand!

“I am really excited to be chosen and it’s all down to my hard work and dedication to my swimming training,” Caleb said.

Caleb will compete in the freestyle, backstroke and the brace relay.  

Caleb has been training for 10 years and enjoys the chance to make friends.

“I think swimming is a good sport because of meeting people. I have made friends, it’s really, really good,” he said.

“Samaritans help me with transport to swimming and athletics training and give me encouragement,” Caleb said.

To fund the travel expenses for his trip to New Zealand in November, Caleb has created an online fundraising page, 

The Home Stretch Campaign and Foster Care Week

megan, one of the faces of the Home Stretch campaignAnglicare Victoria launched the Home Stretch campaign in August, a campaign aimed at lengthening the time young people stay in foster care (from the current age of 18 – 21) to improve their life outcomes.

Paul McDonald, Anglicare Victoria Chief Executive and Home Stretch Campaign Chair Paul McDonald said that there has been overwhelming support and that the campaign is moving forward.

Over 600 supporters signing up to support the campaign within 24 hours of the launch, as well as the alliance of more than 70 community organisations.

Anglicare Victoria has the following blog: Let’s finish what we started

It also features this radio interview, Anglicare pushes for state care age to be raised from 18 to 21 on RN Drive.

In the same vein, Foster Care Week was held on Sunday 11th September – Saturday 17th September. Some of Anglicare Victoria’s valued foster carers spoke of their experience:

Article  Opening hearts and home.

Video Conversation with a Foster Carer.


Video Foster Care is rewarding.

National Awards Profile

WINNER for Volunteer Achievement | Helping Hand Soothes Pain After Loss

Margaret Doust - Pic 3Welcome 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 will be featured in the 2017 Anglicare Australia Review.

Margaret Doust has been a volunteer peer supporter in Anglicare WA’s ARBOR program since 2011. Anglicare WA’s ARBOR program is a support service for family and friends who have lost someone to suicide. The program utilises a pool of volunteers, each of who have a lived experience of suicide bereavement.

Margaret is one of ARBOR’s most dedicated volunteers. Over the years she has met with hundreds of Anglicare WA clients. She has sat with them in their grief, met with them in their homes, talked to their families and provided a point of reference for people who are suicide bereaved.

Margaret is incredibly open and generous in sharing her personal story of how the loss of her daughter through suicide has affected her.

Margaret has a warm, kind personality and has a natural way of making bereaved clients feel comfortable. She has a deep understanding of human nature and grief, and is committed to offering clients the perspective that they are not alone.

The judges were deeply moved by Margaret's involvement in the tough tough area of suicide, working with families where a member had taken their own life. Having experienced this herself, a journey beyond our imagination, going back to that place to help others showed a depth of care ballots behind our capacity to comprehend.

Research and Resources

Guide to the Productivity Commission's Preliminary Findings

checklist-1643781_960_720Zoe Coombe from the National Office has prepared a quick guide to the Productivity Commission’s Preliminary Findings report: ‘Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Identifying Sectors for Reform’ 

In this guide, you will find:

  • Purpose of the preliminary report, due date for submissions
  • Scope of the Inquiry
  • An overview of the findings, including:
    • Areas identified for reform
    • Reform process and the role of government
    • Tension between the goals of NFP social outcomes and competition
    • Concerns expressed about competition, contestability, and user choice
    • Other areas identified for reform

It is available on our website at the following link. 

Anglicare Australia Briefing Paper on Productivity Commission

typewriter-801921_960_720Zoe Coombe from the National Office has prepared a briefing paper for Anglicare Australia members on the Australian Government priority investment approach to welfare. 

She writes: The priority investment approach looks to make big changes to the way the Government assesses the welfare system and how it works. It also looks to shape the way that we design, evaluate and pitch our programs. The Try Test and Learn fund (TTL), announced in the 2016 Budget, will allow for the first priority investments. 

The briefing paper is on the Anglicare Australia Website at the following link.

Research gives new insights on children’s views of safety

download (5)Results from a survey of over 1,000 children and young people on their views about safety highlight the importance of consistently paying attention to the concerns children raise about feeling unsafe or uncomfortable.

The report’s key findings include that most children and young people feel safe at school, in sporting teams, at holiday camps and church.  Adults paying attention when children and young people raise concerns is associated with an increase in the child’s perception of their safety.

Children’s unwillingness to tell someone about their concerns increased with age, and more than a quarter of participants over 16 years of age reported that it was unlikely they would talk to someone if they encountered an unsafe adult or peer.  

Half of the respondents felt like their school was doing enough to keep children and young people safe, while a third believed their school could be doing more. The report, Our safety counts: Children and young people’s perceptions of safety and institutional responses to their safety concerns, was commissioned by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and prepared by the Institute of Child Protection Studies.

FECCA presents the benefits of improved language services

feccaThe Federation of Ethnic Communities' Councils of Australia (FECCA) has released a report recommending a strategic proposing that Australia adopt a strategic approach to language policy and practice. The report provides an evidence base on language service provision for people who have come to Australia as humanitarian entrants. It finds that the provision of language services could enhance migrants’ access to social services, assist to alleviate isolation and lead to better connections with the community.


Opening of the 2016-17 Aged Care Approvals Round

seniors-1505935_960_720Applications for the next Aged Care Approvals round have opened, allowing existing and prospective aged care providers to apply for allocations from the more than 10,000 national residential aged care places and 475 Short-Term Restorative Care places in 2016-17.

The new places allocated this year will allow successful applicants to provide Australian Government-funded aged care services, according to the level of care needs of the client. Significantly, this is the first Aged Care Approvals Round which has included Short-Term Restorative Care places.  

More information about the 2016-17 ACAR – including the Essential Guide, application forms, and Frequently Asked Questions – can be downloaded from the Department of Health website. Applications are due by Friday 28 October 2016.

High reliance on two incomes to repay home loans presents a potential risk

broken-windows-1531752_960_720Roy Morgan’s ‘State of the Nation-Spotlight on Finance Risk’ report finds that there are considerable risks in the number of households that rely on two incomes to repay home loans.

The report finds that more than two-thirds of owner-occupied mortgages are now held by households with two incomes, presenting some potential problems if one person drops out of the workforce or becomes unemployed.

Currently, 9.3 per cent of dual-income mortgage holders are classified ‘at risk’ of mortgage stress, but that figure would rise to an estimated 34.8 per cent if the non-main income earner drops out of the workforce.

Currently 705,000 mortgage holders are classified as being ‘at risk’ based on an average interest rate of 5.4 per cent. Being ‘at risk’, or in mortgage stress, is based on the ability of borrowers to meet the repayment guidelines currently provided by the banks and also the amount borrowed. 

Read more

Stronger communities, safer children: New research from AIHW

girls-462072_960_720A new resource published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies presents findings from recent Australian research that highlights the importance of community in keeping children safe. The Stronger communities, Safer children resource summarises findings from recent research that demonstrates the measurable impact of social cohesion in protecting children from abuse and neglect. It includes research that explores:

  • what is needed to build strong communities that offer protection to children;
  • how to build safe and supportive families and communities for Indigenous children;
  • children’s perspectives on community in Australia;
  • how to apply insights from community-capacity building initiatives in the child protection field;
  • the principles and philosophy of Child Aware Approaches;
  • what contributes to good outcomes for children in communities which have high levels of adversity

The President of NAPCAN, who contributed to the report, said in the introduction that the evidence shows  the importance of building communities where there is a sense of belonging, where people know each other, where families are supported, where children are seen and heard, and where everyone plays a part in keeping children safe. 

The report is available from

Australia first research looks at the ripple effect of suicide

man-1394395_960_720The release of a national report that explores the exposure to, and impact of, suicide among a large adult population has shown how far-reaching suicide is in Australia today.

The survey of more than 3000 people found that 89 per cent of people knew someone who had attempted suicide, and 85 per cent knew someone who had died by suicide. In 2015, more than 3000 people died by suicide. Research also shows that 65,000 people attempt suicide each year while more than 400,000 think about it. Suicide Prevention Australia Director and research partner from the University of New England, Associate Professor Myfanwy Maple said the “tragic ripple effect means that there is likely to be many, many more people who are impacted by, or exposed to, suicide.”

Since the release of the most recent suicide figures, SPA has called for the government to match suicide prevention efforts and investment to the magnitude of public health problem.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including recognising the lived experience of suicide as a public health issue of significance, developing a national suicide prevention strategy, and prioritising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suicide prevention. 

New early childhood resources available for children with developmental delays or disabilities

ndis-logo-nThe Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice, announced that new resources are available to help parents understand how the NDIS can support young children with developmental delay or disability. 

The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) resources, developed by the NDIA, explain the importance of early intervention, and guide parents through the ECEI process. In February, the NDIA announced its ECEI Approach; the first nationally-consistent approach to supporting children under the age of six with developmental delay or disability.

Under the ECEI Approach, a child and their family will be referred to a specialist early childhood partner who will discuss their needs and identify the appropriate supports to help them achieve their individual goals. Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, Jane Prentice said the ECEI resources, including a booklet and animated video, will help parents learn what they can expect from the NDIS. 

The overall aim of ECEI is to ensure that parents or primary caregivers are able to provide young children who have developmental delay or disabilities with experiences and opportunities that help the children gain and use the functional skills they need to participate meaningfully in the key environments in their lives.

Resources are available at this link

Report identifies the skills young people will need for the New Work Order

download (4)A report prepared by the Foundation for Young Australians about the economic and social conditions facing young people today has underlined the importance of considered responses to the workforce challenges that current and future generations of Australians will face.

The New Basics report, released this month, uses big data analysis to confirm that Australia is undergoing the most significant disruption to its economy and workforce since the industrial era.

It finds that job seekers and employers are already being impacted by these sweeping economic changes, and that young people must be equipped with transferable, ‘enterprise’ skills in order to successfully navigate this transition.

The report finds that the demand for enterprise skills, including problem solving, financial literacy, digital literacy, teamwork, and communication, is already on the rise.

The FYA has renewed its call for a national enterprise skills strategy that would begin in primary school and build year on year. This would involve providing children with information about what the jobs of the future will look like and giving them the skills to craft and navigate multiple careers. 

New program to open doors for people with intellectual disabilities

UNI2BEYONDYoung people with intellectual disabilities are being given the opportunity to embark on paid corporate internships at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and MIEngineers, as part of a new program at the University of Sydney.

The program, now called uni 2 beyond, is an extension of the Inclusive Education Program developed by the Centre for Disability Studies. 

As part of the three-year scheme, successful applicants will be paired with both a University of Sydney peer mentor and a corporate mentor from each organisation as they undertake the work placements. The program aims to aims to increase students’ confidence and independence, build their work-ready skills, broaden their social networks, and promote inclusion on the University campus.

Vulnerable people must be at the heart of welfare reforms

49963Andrew Hamilton SJ has written in Policy, Public Affairs journal Eureka Street about social services, and the importance of keeping human dignity at the fore.

He wrote: There is much to like in Social Service Minister Christian Porter's presentation of proposed reforms to the welfare system. But it remains unclear what their primary goal is.

Porter and his ground troops in The Australian argue that, if unaddressed, the costs of welfare will be unsustainable. The proposed reforms will solicit programs aimed at weaning people from welfare. Their effectiveness will be rigorously evaluated. The principle of mutual obligation will require those who receive payments to apply regularly for work, participate in educational programs etc. This will provide them with an incentive to find work. Supporters of the reform herald a change of perspective that will see welfare through the prism of values, not of fairness.

To read the original, click here

Welfare Warfare

20150312001110898457-original-1000x440Freelance journalist Fatima Measham responded to Social Services Minister's welfare dependency reform agenda in an article called Welfare Warfare in Right Now, the Human Rights Journal.

She wrote: Social services minister Christian Porter has signalled that welfare dependency will be a focus of reform. At a recent address at the National Press Club, he introduced a “priority investment” approach, based on predictive models of lifetime income support for specific groups.

Some of the points seem valid, but they are mixed with a few peculiar premises. For instance, it is hard to disagree that increasing welfare expenditure is a concern. But it is being inflated by demographics, not loose income support targets.

To read the full article, click here

Productivity Commission Releases Report on Human Services

folder-303891_960_720Last week the Australian Productivity Commission released a Preliminary Findings Report of its Inquiry into the Introduction of competition and informed user choice in Human Services. The report identified six priority areas where, “the potential to give people a greater say over the human services they use could improve the effectiveness of those services”

The six areas are

  • social housing
  • services at public hospitals
  • specialist palliative care
  • public dental services
  • services in remote Indigenous communities
  • family and community services.

This is an issue that goes to the very heart of who we are as a broad sector, as faith based services and most specifically as Anglicare Australia members.  It also has the potential to shape the fabric of our community over the years to come. 

 Anglicare Australia will meet with the Commissioner for this inquiry in the next few weeks, and will then put together a formal response to this report – by October 27 – drawing on input from the across the Anglicare network.

We have advised Anglicare network CEOs of the opportunity to provide some immediate input ahead of our conversation with the Productivity Commission team, and of the process for making more substantial contribution to our written submission.

 If you are interested in finding out more about this project please contact Deputy Director Roland Manderson [[email protected]] in our office.  

Anglicare Australia’s earlier submission to the inquiry is on our website here

Policy, consultations and grants

New CEO for Mental Health Commission

Dr-Peggy-Brown-January-2013-216x300Dr Peggy Brown has been appointed as the new CEO of National Mental Health Commission. The Minister for Health Sussan Ley announced the appointment on 11 September.

Dr Brown has experience in mental health leadership and advocacy at both state and federal levels. She was most recently Chief Psychiatrist for the NT and Chair of the Queensland Mental Health Commission.

She was also formerly Chair of the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) and the ACT Health director-general. The standing CEO, David Butt, is moving on for a role with the National Rural Health Alliance. 

David Tune to head Aged Care Legislated Review

seniors-1505943_960_720Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, announced the appointment of David Tune AO PSM to lead the Aged Care Legislated Review.

The changes announced to aged care in 2012 included a comprehensive review of the aged care sector in 2016-17.

This review will inform ongoing reforms to aged care.

David Tune has previously worked with the Department of Finance, Treasury and Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is the current Chair of the Aged Care Sector Committee. The review will result in a final report on the future of aged care, due in August 2017. 

Seselja Settled into Social Services Portfolio

SeseljaWeb-236x300Anglicare Australia understands that Senator Zed Seselja has responsibility for the housing and homelessness, refugee settlement services and child protection as part of his new appointment as the Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multiculturalism. 

Anglicare Australia looks forward to collaborating with the Assistant Minister.

Senator Seselja has told Fairfax Media that he believes that welfare reform is critically important and that payments needed to be better targeted to those who needed them. 

He will work closely with Minister Christian Porter on these reforms.

Government launches first stage of new approach to welfare

Christian PorterOn Tuesday 20 September the Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter launched the first stage of the ‘priority investment approach’ to welfare. The approach uses actuarial analysis to predict the costs of the welfare system over a lifetime, and models the costs of various groups within the population. The first piece of this analysis, the Baseline Evaluation Report, was produced by PwC. It identifies young parents, young carers, and students as groups of people that have a high risk of being on welfare and staying on it for a long period of time.

The government has announced a $96m Try, Test and Learn fund to target these groups. This is pilot funding for programs that will help people in these groups increase their independence from the welfare system. The Department will run a series of workshops in mid-October to brief the sector about the Try Test and Learn fund and in November they will be running a ‘policy-hack’ event. At the same time they will also be inviting written submissions and running an online forum on the TTL program. You will be able to register your interest for these events online. The first TTL funding round is expected to open in December. 

To read the report, click here

Sector Events

Sector Events, March, 2017

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

FCA Conference (Financial Counsellors Australia)
Dates: 14-17 May, 2017
Full program and registration information coming soon

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
Regustrations open. Run by the Yothu Yindi Foundation, the Garma festival will take place from the 4th to the 7th of August.

18th International Mental Health Conference
Abstract submissions are now being accepted for the 18th International Mental Health Conference, being held on the Gold Coast, QLD on 21 – 23 August 2017. More information is available on the website where you can submit your abstracts and register.

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