(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Members sought for the Old Byron Hospital community hub advisory group

Byron Bay community members, who want to help shape a new community hub at the Old Byron Hospital site, are encouraged to apply for a position on the advisory group.

Up to eight members are needed for the group to provide advice and community insights into developing a vibrant for-purpose hub, connecting Byron residents to social, wellbeing, arts and culture, and educational services.

The not-for-profit Northern Rivers organisation, Social Futures, has the job of managing the new community facility. For 45 years, Social Futures has been delivering community services in the Northern Rivers, and runs programs in areas of homelessness, housing and employment, youth and family support, mental health and wellbeing, and community inclusivity, including support for people with a disability.

Social Futures CEO Tony Davies said his organisation’s Byron-based housing and homelessness service met daily with local residents feeling the impacts of the pandemic, job losses and the housing shortage.

“Few community service providers are able to find office space Byron Bay. The social impact hub will bring essential community services right into the heart of town,” he said.

“It will be a dynamic community space with a mix of business, community services, health, the arts and education. It will be a wonderful asset for Byron Bay.”

He said the community advisory group would:

  • look at community needs, service gaps and opportunities, then deliver on a shared community vision for the hub. This includes identifying and recommending tenancy applications best suited to community need
  • make recommendations on site fit out, landscaping and operations requirements
  • provide guidance on how any profits can be distributed back into local community groups and projects.

Mr Davies said the social impact hub would have tiered rent with anchor tenants – larger organisations, like a university – supporting affordable rents for local and smaller groups with any profits invested back into local community projects and groups.

“We want to create a vibrant centre in Byron that connects individuals, community groups, charities and other organisations and we want to do that in partnership with the community – this community advisory group is essential.”

Mr Davies said Social Futures would appoint the advisory members, striving to set up a group that represents the diverse Byron community with an array of knowledge and insights.

“We are particularly keen to hear from people in Byron with a long history of involvement in community organisations, and we also want social impact and business representatives to come forward,” he said.

Advisory group members will meet four times a year for around two hours beginning in November and continuing for up to two years, when the social impact hub will be operational. The positions are voluntary.

For more information about the Expression of Interest process for the advisory committee, visit the Social Futures website https://socialfutures.org.au/service/socialimpacthub/.

To apply for a position, fill in the form online. Senior Manager – Business and Social Strategy at Social Futures, Sam Henderson, is also available to answer questions on  0439 652 638  or email: [email protected] Applications close at 5.00 pm on Tuesday 5 October 2021.


More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

More than 8 out of 10 are Locked Out in Lockdown

The Australian Council of Social Service has found that eighty-five percent of people receiving some form of income support are locked out of receiving any extra Covid Disaster Payment, pushing people on the lowest incomes to the brink of their ability to survive.

ACOSS released the latest update of its ‘Living in Lockdown’ survey, which finds that almost all of the 216 respondents (96%) were seriously struggling with the cost of living and almost half (41.5%) were at risk of homelessness because of the high cost of housing.

“Compared with last year when everyone receiving unemployment and related payments was provided extra support, this year more than 80% are seriously struggling to survive,” said ACOSS Program Director – Social Security, Charmaine Crowe.

“When people can’t afford to cover basic costs like food, rent, electricity, medicine and public transport, they find it harder to travel to get vaccinated and are more exposed to the risk of COVID-19,” said Ms Crowe.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare found that there were four times as many deaths from COVID-19 in the lowest socio-economic group (which includes most people on social security payments) compared with the highest socio-economic group. It is unconscionable to leave behind people who most need support.

“Even the OECD is recommending that Australia lift our appallingly low level of unemployment payment – at $44 a day it’s the very lowest rate of all comparable countries. People on Youth Allowance and Austudy are at an even lower rate of $36 a day.

“The Federal Government must urgently extend Disaster Payments to all people on social security or without other incomes including those on temporary visas. As soon as Parliament is recalled, it must pass legislation to lift social security payments to above the poverty line including JobSeeker, Commonwealth Rent Assistance and family payments.”

“The biggest stress people on low incomes face is housing costs – with the highest rate of Commonwealth Rent Assistance for a single person without children at just $70 a week when people in Sydney can’t find rental properties for less than $340 a week (and up to $540 a week in the city).

“ACOSS urges the Federal Government to increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by at least 50% to better support people afford private rentals.”

Living in Lockdown – Key Findings:

  • 96% are struggling with living costs
  • 85% are ineligible for the COVID disaster payments
  • 41.5% are at risk of homelessness
  • 40% feel less safe

Key Recommendations

  1. Immediately extend COVID Disaster Payments to lift incomes for all people without paid work to at least $600 per week, including those in receipt of social security and those without any other income source at all.
  2. As soon as Parliament resumes in August, pass legislation lifting working-age income support payments (JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, parenting payments and related income support) to the pension rate, which is just above the poverty line (at least $475pw for the single rate). See further below for increases to supplements needed for specific groups.
  3. Index all income support payments twice per year in line with wage growth as well as prices.
  4. Extend income support to all affected by inadequate paid work, including people on temporary visas.
  5. Increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50%.
  6. Provide supplementary payments for people with disability or illness, and single parents, recognising the additional costs they face.
  7. Invest in social housing to address the critical shortfall of supply.

Download the Locked Out in Lockdown survey report here

ACON presents On-line forums: COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence

ACON presents On-line forums: COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence

ACON is presenting an online forum with the theme ‘COVID Coping and Vaccinate with Confidence’. (ACON is Australia’s largest health organisation specialising in community health, inclusion, and HIV responses for people of diverse sexualities and genders.)

Figuring out how to cope and stay strong through COVID-19, as LGBTQ+ people, is so important. Let’s get the community together and have a conversation about it. We’re bringing in some community experts to share how they’re going, what they’re up to and how they’re getting through lockdown, and you’re invited.

We welcome a panel of psychologists (Hi, Ellis from Pride Counselling!), social workers, body workers, mutual aid heroes and even a music producer. Our experts will also answer your questions so please ask. 

 The event is on

Date: Thursday 2 September 2021

Time: 6:00 -7:30pm


Take the Women’s Health Survey

Take the Women’s Health Survey

All women on the NSW North Coast are being encouraged to do a new women’s health survey.

Health North Coast says it is  important to get it to as many of you and your participants or clients as possible to ensure there is representation across different socioeconomic groups of women who are living with health disadvantage, including access to services.

The survey will be available online for two weeks until September 16.


ACON Community Partnership Grants

ACON Community Partnership Grants

Community Partnership Grants 2021 are now open!   

ACON is excited to once again partner with LGBTQ community groups across NSW.

ACON look forward to supporting the amazing work that community groups do for sexuality and gender diverse people.

ACON are offering $20,000 worth of grants this year, up to $2,000 per eligible LGBTQ community group.

Blue Knot Foundation delivers Professional Development

Blue Knot Foundation delivers Professional Development

The Blue Knot Foundation – National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma – has announced its new professional development training calendar for the second half of 2021. The training calendar for NSW and ACT is listed below. (In the event that a COVID-19 outbreak occurs which prevents the delivery of face-to-face training, Blue Knot Foundation will move the training to a virtual classroom wherever possible.)

For more information or to register, visit the Blue Knot website.

Sydney, NSW
8 November 2021 – Foundations for Building Trauma Awareness in Sydney CBD
29 November 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Sydney CBD

Canberra, ACT
13 September 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Canberra 
19 November 2021 – Using a Trauma Lens when working with Domestic and Family Violence in Canberra

Nowra, NSW
29 October 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Nowra -​

Newcastle, NSW
6 December 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Newcastle

Virtual Classroom
20 August 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Virtual Classroom
27 August 2021 – Trauma Responsive Leadership in Virtual Classroom
27 August 2021 – Managing Wellbeing and Recognising Vicarious Trauma in Virtual Classroom
1&2 September 2021 – Trauma Informed Diversity Awareness (Masterclass) in Virtual Classroom
8 September 2021 – Three Phased Approach: Safety and Stabilisation in Virtual Classroom
17 September 2021 – Foundations for Building Trauma Awareness in Virtual Classroom 
23&24 September 2021 – Three Phased Approach: Processing and Integration in Virtual Classroom
13&14 October 2021 – Trauma Informed Diversity Awareness (Masterclass) in Virtual Classroom

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia News Update

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia News Update

The National LGBTIQ+ Palliative Care Survey for LGBTIQ+ People and all Health Professionals is LIVE

Barriers stand in the way of LGBTIQ+ people having their needs met in palliative care.

Healthcare discrimination, legal barriers (including reduced rates of Advance Care Planning), inconsistent recognition of LGBTIQ+ partnerships and chosen families, and distrust of health professionals can all reduce LGBTIQ+ people’s end-of-life care experiences.

However, current research shows that much can be done to create positive change.

We are calling on LGBTIQ+ community members as well as all health professionals to consider completing this national survey. The data collected will inform the development of education around LGBTIQ+ inclusive practice.

Participants can access the survey here:


Webinar: Feeling Safe, Finding Safety

From 20-26 June we will celebrate Refugee Week with the theme of ‘Unity’.

“In 2019 there were 70 countries that criminalized consensual same-sex sexual acts and death penalty was a possibility in 11.” – Forcibly Displaced People’s Network (FDPN)

To show your solidarity with LGBTIQ+ refugees, sign on to the Canberra Statement on the access to safety and justice for LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees. It is the first in the world statement created by LGBTIQ+ refugees to enact change around the world.

Why not host a morning tea or lunch and screen our webinar – Feeling Safe Finding Safety:

10am, Wed 23 June 2021.

RSVP here 

My Health Record Survey

We’ve been working with the Australian Digital Health Agency to try to understand the best ways to use My Health Record (MHR) to support older LGBTIQ+ people.

We have been asked to circulate some questions for community members to raise or reiterate community benefits, concerns or suggestions for MHR.

Please take a moment to complete this survey so that we can represent your views.

Take the survey

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia


LOVE Project – Living Older Visibly and Engaged

LOVE Project – Living Older Visibly and Engaged

The LOVE Project, ACON’s ageing initiative, aims to empower lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) seniors to lead healthy, active and more social lives. Understanding your needs and preferences helps us to deliver better community programs. We invite you to join the LOVE community for:

• Healthy ageing information

• Events and activities

• Sharing stories and experiences

• Make new friends

• Finding LGBTQ welcoming services


The weekly ONLINE LOVE CLUB GATHERING is social catch up and check in for all LGBTQ elders across NSW to share. How you are keeping busy? How you are managing your health and wellbeing?

What you are reading, watching or listening too? What’s making you laugh?

When: Every Tuesday from 10.25am to 11.30am (EST)

Where: On your mobile device or computer


You will receive a ZOOM link prior to the ONLINE Gathering


Regional Rainbow Socials – 3rd Thursday of the month

Regional Rainbow Socials – 3rd Thursday of the month

We have an exciting new monthly online social gathering we are running from May to September in 2021!

Join us and other regional LGBTQ+ community members [18+] online for ACON’s ‘Regional Rainbow Social’ series.  Connect with others from across regional NSW as we look at what brings us together as a community, and how to look after our health and wellbeing.

Regional Rainbow Socials will be held on the third Thursday of each month from: 7pm to 8.30pm (1.5 hrs in total)

• Thursday 20 May 

• Thursday 17 June

• Thursday 15 July

• Thursday 19 August

• Thursday 16 September

To register and for more information: https://www.aconhealth.org.au/regional_rainbow_social 

Scholarships for the Health In Difference and LGBTI Aging and Aged Care Conference

Scholarships for the Health In Difference and LGBTI Aging and Aged Care Conference

Scholarships Open

Scholarships are open for our Health In Difference and LGBTI Aging and Aged Care Conferences. Thanks to sponsorship we’ve received, from Thorne Harbour Health, NGO Recruitment, the Australian Association of Gerontology, and the Department of Health and Ageing, we have 40 free scholarship tickets to announce. We really want to welcome you in and make a space for you. So please, we would love you to consider applying for these scholarships. 

Apply Now

A first for Australia: ACON’s Primary Prevention Project – LGBTQ+ Survey about the drivers of relationship violence

A first for Australia: ACON’s Primary Prevention Project – LGBTQ+ Survey about the drivers of relationship violence

ACON would like support promoting this survey to LGBTQ+ people in your networks: https://sayitoutloud.org.au/learn-more/survey-understanding-lgbtq-relationships

The survey is open to anyone who:

• Is LGBTQ+.
• Lives in Australia.
• Is over 18.

ACON’s national primary prevention project is a first for Australian queer and trans communities. Ahead of designing and executing a series of public-facing campaigns, we have launched this survey to gather data that will:

• Provide us with a deeper understanding of the drivers of violence and how they play out in LGBTQ+ intimate and sexual relationships.
• Allow us to deliver campaigns that are both community-led and evidence-based.
• Add to the existing and limited evidence base in support of developing and strengthening future primary prevention projects for LGBTQ+ people.

Primary prevention is about preventing violence before it starts – this is done by addressing and deconstructing the social drivers and attitudes that lead to violence.

Historically, primary prevention activities have been focused on the drivers of violence by (cis/het) men against (cis/het) women and it is only very recently that funding has been made available for primary prevention activities in LGBTQ+ communities. Some of the early (and limited) evidence suggests that the drivers of violence in LGBTQ+ relationships include, but are not limited to, rigid gender norms, inequality, prejudice, cisnormativity, heteronormativity, power and control.

Pride in Prevention (Rainbow Health Victoria 2020) is a useful evidence guide (and the first of its kind in Australia!) on primary prevention activities for LGBTQ+ communities, should you wish to learn a bit more about this important work.

Please feel free to make contact if you have any questions or would like to arrange LGBTQ+ specific resources for your service or program.

The survey closes on 31 March.

Understanding and Exploring LGBTQ Family and Domestic Violence- 7 Short Videos Released

Understanding and Exploring LGBTQ Family and Domestic Violence- 7 Short Videos Released

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), ACON and Relationships Australia NSW have just released a series of mini videos to challenge perceptions that domestic violence is a heterosexual issue, improve understandings of how violence plays out in our relationships including identifying those who are perpetrating violence and promote LGBTQ inclusive practice The videos are primarily aimed at professionals working with clients who may be impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence or using abuse in LGBTQ relationships. The videos feature 7 domestic and family professionals who highlight in very practical terms some of the key findings from a multi-year research project about developing LGBTQ programs for perpetrators and victims/survivors of domestic and family violence.