Aspect September 2017

Aspect Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Editorial: Stronger Together

Kasy ED 4_pref

Our 2017 conference theme was Stronger Together: Our Mission in the Marketplace, so perhaps the content of the themes that came up across the four days shouldn’t come as a surprise. However the strength, the reoccurrence, and the almost unanimous way that presentations as varied as the Sermon at the opening service, the speaker at the CEO Forum, keynotes with very different backgrounds, and even a panel of digital technology experts raised them was overwhelming.

The accelerating pace of change was at the forefront of most speakers’ context setting.  It has been unfashionable for some years to start a presentation of any kind without mentioning change; however the sense that this is imminent, more urgent, more real, more worrying, yet with more opportunity was manifest.

Moore’s Law of technological change, climate change, and the third industrial revolution currently underway were given as reasons for this feeling of acceleration of change.  The analogy of the grain of wheat (or rice) and the chessboard where on the first square you place one grain, double it on the second and double that on the third and so on; shows clearly and alarmingly how exponential change happens.  By the end of the 64 square chessboard there are no less than 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains.

One presenter suggested that in terms of change we are near the end of the chessboard – and that means that change is happening faster than ever before, and the change that occurs is greater than before.  Change leads to uncertainty for many and that is leading to a new age of anxiety posited two of our speakers.

One speaker made the bold statement that the most disruptive change was that of rising inequality. One thing we know for sure as we move around day to day is that uncertainly and inequality can lead to people feeling or being or both left out or left behind. The fact that so many of our speakers discussed this led to a sense of urgency, and indeed a clarion call to action to ensure that the change is used for the society we want and not left unchecked like a runaway animal from Pandora’s Box.

There was a sense amongst the speakers that although in some ways there is more ability for people to be heard than ever before that isn’t occurring in reality on important issues, and not for everyone.  We might hear loudly someone’s view about a product or restaurant via social media. A train passenger finding himself in a train bathroom with no toilet paper may be able to use social media to arrange for a paper delivery (you had to be there!).  However the voices of our clients seem not always to be guaranteed primacy in the new market order.

Where the market does enable a voice it is often as that of a consumer, not that of a citizen or human being. The marketisation of services does not naturally lead to this as market advocates would have us believe, and in some cases this actually impedes or silences the voice.   Organisations with true mission will find a way for those voices to be heard, to be heard as full citizens and human beings. This reminds us over and over that the person is an expert in their own life.

One of the main arguments for marketization (along with efficiency and cost saving) is that naming citizens as consumers gives them power that has sometimes been missing in the past.  However we at Anglicare Australia have argued that there is more to a human being than only an ability to use or purchase.  One of our keynote speakers humorously , yet poignantly told us he and his wife had delighted in producing two daughters, two citizens, two human beings. Not two consumers.

It is easy to lose the humanity when the vital, truly human voice isn’t heard.

This leads to the final theme present with us throughout the conference and perhaps the most important.  Over and over we heard conversations about the need for the human in all of us to reassert its place in the system we are building.

Hugh Mackay kicked off the conference with a keynote address about the contradiction we are living when as a communal species we chase the philosophy of “looking after number one”.  And the subsequent inexplicable emptiness this delivers.

Both Hugh and Bishop Chris Jones at the opening service reminded us that the essence of being fully human is to engage civilly with people we don’t always agree with, know well or love.  The role of neighbour in our society and our capacity to be good neighbours is at the heart of being the full human we are capable of being.

My overriding reflection was that of the importance of ensuring that we humans all run the system, that we don’t serve it or allow an elite few to run it.  As both Hugh and one of the Digital Disruption panellists put it - technology makes a great servant but a dreadful master.  So too I would contend for the market system.  Used to provide the daily physical needs it may be useful but if we allow it to run away with itself, at the exponential speed we are experiencing only a very small number of people will benefit.

And that will be a very great shame for the overwhelming majority of human beings and the rest of the planet.

National Office News

National Office News: National Conference, Anglicare Australia awards, and more

Stronger Together | Anglicare Australia National Conference 2017
Anglicare Australia’s National Conference was held at the Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach from 17-20 September this year, bringing together more than 250 people from across Anglicare Agencies. Our theme, Stronger Together: Our Mission in the Marketplace, allowed us to explore the mission of Anglicare agencies in an increasingly marketised environment.

170918_6478The event began with the Anglicare Australia Annual General Meeting, which was addressed by Mark Scott AO, Secretary of the NSW Education Department and former ABC Managing Director. His address, Keeping true to your mission and dealing with change, helped set the stage for our conference theme. The AGM was followed by a welcome reception at St Nicolas Church in Coogee, with an opening service by Anglicare Australia Chair Bishop Chris Jones.

The conference formally began with a keynote address by Professor Hugh Mackay on the Art of Belonging. As Australia struggles to define its values, Professor Mackay's address offered a framework for a vision of community that sustains, protects and nurtures the many, and not just the few.

Other keynote speakers included Verity Firth, Tanya Horsch, Nick Ryan, Mark Nixon, and Dr Karin Sowada – and many touched on the same themes of community and connectedness. More information on our keynote speakers are available in the Anglicare Australia Conference Handbook.

_20170918_141659Conference delegates also heard from a panel discussion looking at improving choice and control for customers and users through digital technology, and the impact on our sector workforce from the gig or share economy. The panel featured Brian McLaughlin, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at InfoXchange; Zac Ashkanasy, a Principal at Nous Group; David Miller, the Technical Director at Tigerspike; and Dan Buhagiar, former Triple J presenter and Head of Media and Corporate Affairs at Mission Australia. Dan facilitated the panel.

170918_6461More 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. Many of these are available to download here, along with several of the keynote presentations.

We would love to hear conference delegates’ thoughts and suggestions for future conferences. If you missed the chance to fill in an evaluation form, take our confidential survey by clicking here.

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

170918_6484The reception and ceremony for this year’s awards were held at 6.30pm on Monday 18 September 2017 at the Coogee Rooftop Pavilion. The awards were compered by Anglicare Australia Chairperson Bishop Chris Jones and presented by Archbishop Philip Freier, the Anglican Primate of Australia.

We had an extraordinary breadth of contribution across our four categories of Innovation, Excellence, Partnership and Volunteer Achievement. The 2017 winners were:

  • Highly Commended in the Excellence Category: The Samaritans Foundation’s Early Childhood Early Intervention Program
  • Winner in the Excellence Category: Anglicare Sydney’s Rhythm of Life program
  • Highly Commended in the Innovation Category: Anglicare WA’s Kimberley Family Violence Service
  • Winner in the Innovation category: Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT’s Pens Against Poverty competition
  • Highly Commended in the Partnership Category: Anglicare Tasmania’s Housing Connect program and Anglicare Victoria's Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy
  • Winner in the Partnership category: Anglicare NSW South, NSW West and ACT’s Wanggaay Koori Out-of-Home Care Service
  • Joint winners in the Volunteer Achievement category: Anna Lattas of AnglicareSA and Meryl Adams of Anglicare Victoria

170918_6514Special thanks to our sponsor, Telstra, and our 2017 judges:

  • Mr Robert Morsillo, Senior Adviser, Digital Inclusion, Telstra
  • Ms Marcelle Mogg, Group Director of Mission Integration, St John of God Health Care
  • Mr Brian Babington, Chief Executive Officer, Families Australia

We will run a series of profiles on the winners and highly commended entries in the Anglicare Australia Review and forthcoming issues of Aspect. Information on all of the nominees is available in the Anglicare Australia Awards Booklet.

Photos from the awards ceremony are available to download here.

Making Our Mark | Anglicare Australia Annual Report
Anglicare Australia's Annual Report is now available online after being accepted at the September Annual General Meeting.

The Annual Report provides an overview of our priorities and how they have informed some of our flagship projects, including our first Jobs Availability Snapshot, The Lived Experience of Jobseekers, our State of the Family Report, Positions Vacant: When the Jobs Aren’t There, and our Rental Affordability Snapshot.

It also showcases the work of our network, our impact in media debates, and our role in influencing social and economic policy.

Click here to download the Annual Report.

Mission Australia, Vinnies and Anglicare Australia say inadequate income support payments are leading to poverty
Anglicare Australia has joined Mission Australia and the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council to call for action on inadequate levels of Newstart and Youth Allowance payments.

Executive Director of Anglicare Australia, Kasy Chambers said:

“This report tells us what we’ve already known for years – that government payments are so low that they’ve have become a poverty trap.”

“Anglicare Australia’s own annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, along with our national food insecurity research, shows that people who rely on these payments cannot afford to pay for their most basic needs. Instead, they are forced to make unfair trade-offs: rent or food; rent or medical needs; bills or transport for work.”

“We need to increase Newstart and Youth Allowance as a matter of urgency, and ensure that they are a living wage for the people who rely on them.”

Click here to read Anglicare Australia's media release, and click here to read coverage of this story in the Daily Telegraph.

Anglicare Network News

Anglicare Network News

Paul_McDonald-290Tireless efforts to improve the lives of young Victorians recognised
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald has been honoured by the Victorian Protecting Children Awards.

Mr McDonald won the Robin Clark Leadership Award for his tireless efforts to improve the lives of young Victorians. Mr McDonald was praised for his leadership of Anglicare Victoria and his advocacy for sector reform, including his role as Chair of the Home Stretch campaign which is urging governments around Australia to give young people the option of staying in state care until they are 21.

Anglicare Victoria chairperson Stephen Newton said McDonald was a leader “who really walks the talk”.

“In addition to his big picture advocacy, he regularly visits our residential units to have dinner with young people and staff,” Mr Newton said.

“I’ve often heard Paul say it’s important that he never loses touch with the most vulnerable children and young people that we work with. It’s a sentiment that makes him a most deserving winner, and has contributed so much to what makes Anglicare Victoria a great organisation.”

Click here to read more or visit Pro Bono Australia to read a profile of Paul.

Celebrating one year at Benetas St Paul’s Aged Care Apartments
Benetas is celebrating one year since opening the doors to its St Paul’s Terrace Aged Care Apartments in Frankston.

The apartments, which reflect the organisation’s new approach to aged care, opened in September last year and have since become a vibrant part of the local community.

Benetas Chief Executive Officer Sandra Hills OAM said the milestone provided a great opportunity for the organisation to celebrate its vision for ageing.

“Our new approach to aged care is all about creating an environment that is as home-like as possible and St Paul’s Terrace is our first custom-built example of this,” said Ms Hills.

“At St Paul’s Terrace, small groups of residents share apartments where they are supported to live the way they like.

“We have deliberately moved away from the traditional, hospital-style of care and while clinical support is available as appropriate, the focus is more on resident choice and control.”

Benetas is currently undertaking an extensive evaluation of the new approach to inform future builds in Heidelberg and Doncaster, and upgrades to existing sites.

“The feedback we have received from residents and their families about the approach at St Paul’s has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Ms Hills.

Benetas has been servicing the local Frankston and Mornington Peninsula areas for over 50 years, with Benetas Corowa Court Aged Care Apartments in Mornington and the former Benetas St Paul’s Court in Frankston.

The organisation also offers the full range of support in the home and respite services in the area.

“We’re very proud to be a part of the local Frankston and Mornington Peninsula community and look forward to supporting the needs of older people in the area well into the future,” said Ms Hills.

Click here to read more.

Anglicare WA Spring Appeal focuses on financial hardship
Anglicare WA has launched its annual Spring Appeal at a time when its financial counselling services are experiencing increasing demand from people struggling with everyday costs of living.

Chief Executive Officer for Anglicare WA, Ian Carter, said the state’s economic downturn, high rate of unemployment and sharp increases in public utility costs was a triple blow to many families who were “just a few paychecks from serious difficulty.”

According to Anglicare WA, some 240,000 Western Australians are living below the poverty line, with a further 150,000 at risk of financial hardship.

“Over the past year, 44 percent of Western Australian households experienced financial stress and just over 13 percent could not pay their electricity, gas or phone bills on time.

“In Perth’s northern suburbs, 30 percent of clients presenting to our financial counselling services are individuals struggling to pay their utility bill in the past six months, with the average utilities debt having jumped from $250 to $1,500 since 2016.

“People are not simply struggling with the jump in prices, but juggling multiple bills. Families and individuals already on tight budgets are sacrificing other essential items, such as food and medications, just to cover power bills.”

Mr Carter said Anglicare WA’s Financial Counselling services are helping eligible clients with advice on reducing energy bills, access to Hardship Utility Grants and negotiating repayment plans with gas and electricity companies. In the last year more than 3,000 people used the service.

“We can also help eligible clients with no-interest loans of up to $1,500 so they can buy more energy efficient white goods to lower their bills,” Mr Carter said.

Mr Carter said monies raised from the Spring Appeal would go towards a range of services provided by his organisation, including support for homeless people and counselling services for children experiencing domestic violence.

“Our Spring Appeal is a reminder that supporting vulnerable Western Australians is something we do throughout the entire year, and we look to generous members of the public to assist us in this work,” Mr Carter said. 

Click here to read more, or make a donation by calling Anglicare WA on 9263 2091.

Churches to provide support to refugees to prevent them being forced back to danger
The Very Reverend Peter Catt, Anglican Dean of Brisbane has called on Australians to support a network of agencies who will provide necessary shelter and support to refugees whose income support and accommodation has been removed by the Turnbull government.

Rev CattLaunching an appeal for funds, the Rev Peter Catt, Chair of the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce, said it would ensure people who have come to Australia seeking safety and protection, will be supported, so that they will not choose to return to places of harm through desperation.

“The people under attack are those who were offered Sanctuary last year,” Rev Catt said. “The Sanctuary offer is still on the table should the government make moves to forcibly remove these people.

“Our offer of Sanctuary precipitated a huge outpouring of support as the community recognised that the government was preparing to send people, including children, to places of harm. This lead to schools, hospitals and most states and territories being declared places of sanctuary, safety and welcome.

“We were very encouraged by this and call on the government to reverse its latest attempt to return these people, including children, to places of harm, such as Manus and Nauru, by starving them into it.

"Yesterday, over forty men and women went into an appointment with immigration, emerging penniless, without housing and terrified of returning to harm on Manus and Nauru. Among them were pregnant women and women that came to Australia for treatment after being sexually assaulted on Nauru.

We will not stand by and allow them to be made destitute and forced back to danger on Nauru. When this government is cruel, the community will be kind.”

The agencies include the Asylum Seeker Centre in Sydney, the Romero Centre in Brisbane and the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre in Melbourne and others.

Click here to read more or donate to the appeal by visiting

Research and Resources

New research: The Australia Institute, Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, ACTU, and SPRC

TAIWage Suppression a Time Bomb in Superannuation System
The Australia Institute
The record-slow pace of wage growth in Australia’s economy is not just making it difficult for families to balance their budgets, it also threatens severe long-run damage to Australia’s superannuation retirement system.  That’s the finding of new research from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute. The report is available here.

Australian Catholic Social Justice CouncilEveryone’s Business: Developing an inclusive and sustainable economy
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council
This Social Justice Statement considers Australia’s economic priorities. We draw from the teachings of Pope Francis and his predecessors, highlighting how extreme versions of free-market economics have failed to serve all. The report is available here.

ACTURising Inequality: An Australian Reality
Australian Council of Trade Unions
Income inequalities are greater than at any time in the last 70 years. Small elites have amassed vast fortunes and massive political power. While for the vast majority of people, living standards have declined and job security has disappeared. The report is available here.

SPRCBudget Standards: A new healthy living minimum income standard for low-paid and unemployed Australians
Social Policy Research Centre
This report builds on previous Australian and recent international research to develop a set of budget standards for low-paid and unemployed Australians and their families. The results will be used to inform debate and guide decisions about the adequacy of minimum wages and income support payments for the unemployed required to support healthy living consistent with individual needs and prevailing community standards. The report is available here.

Policy, consultations and grants

New consultations and grants

Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Cashless Debit Card) Bill 2017
This inquiry will investigate legislation that extends the trail of the cashless debit card, one of the measures announced as part of the Government’s welfare package in this year’s budget.

Submissions close Friday 29 September 2017. More information is available here.

2018-19 Pre-Budget Submissions

On 20 September 2017 the Assistant Minister to the Treasurer called for submissions from individuals, businesses and community groups seeking their views regarding priorities for the 2018-19 Budget.

Submissions are requested by Friday 15 December 2017. More information is available here.

Sector Events

Sector Events, September, 2017

Anti-Poverty Week
Anti-Poverty Week is a week where all Australians are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas. It was established in Australia as an expansion of the UN's annual International Anti-Poverty Day on October 17. In 2017 Anti-Poverty Week will be held from the 15th to the 21st of October. Anglicare Australia is a principal national sponsor of Anti-Poverty Week.

7th International Carers Conference
Carers Australia is proud to host the 7th International Carers Conference in Adelaide, South Australia, from 4-6 October 2017. The conference aims to re-imagine caring into the future, providing a catalyst for innovation and collaboration; sharing improvements in the way we support unpaid carers, care-recipients, their families, networks and communities.

FRSA National Conference
The 2017 FRSA National Conference: Connecting the dots: Creating wellbeing for all is an opportunity to promote creative ways to strengthen wellbeing across the family life course – together, and by connecting people, sectors, disciplines and many more ‘dots’. It will be held at the Convention Centre in Melbourne from 22-24 November 2017.

Anglicare Australia HR Network meeting
The Anglicare Australia HR Network will hold a meeting on Wednesday 14 March to Friday 16 March 2018. Staff with interest in and responsibility for HR are invited to join this meeting and learn from the experience of others and provide leadership themselves. Further information on the meeting location and program will be available shortly.

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