(02) 6620 1800 [email protected]
National 2023 Volunteering Conference in February

National 2023 Volunteering Conference in February

The 2023 National Volunteering Conference will be held on Ngunnawal Country, Canberra at the Australian National University from 13-14 February 2023.

Join us as we come together to launch Australia’s first National Strategy for Volunteering in ten years. Early bird registration until 16/12/22 here: https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/2023-national-volunteering-conference/register-now/

NCOSS Election Advocacy Toolkit for 2023 NSW Policy Platform: Working Together for a Fairer NSW

NCOSS Election Advocacy Toolkit for 2023 NSW Policy Platform: Working Together for a Fairer NSW

NCOSS (New South Wales Council of Social Service) is holding a discussion around effective advocacy ahead of the next state election.

This Online discussion will be held on Friday 9 December at 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Register here.

The NSW state election on 25 March 2023 is a real opportunity to work towards a New South Wales where everyone can access the basics, the resources and the supports we all need in order to lead a decent life.

Through consultations and a targeted, comprehensive research agenda, NCOSS has developed a policy platform called ‘Working Together for a Fairer NSW’.

The policy platform sets out how the next NSW Parliament and the social service sector can work together to achieve a fairer NSW.

Join us for a highly useful and timely discussion.

In this hour-long online session, you will learn more about NCOSS’ 2023 NSW election advocacy toolkit, and how to use it in order to optimise your advocacy efforts.

You will hear practical tips from ‘subject matter experts’ on how to best advocate for your ‘asks’ with key decision makers.

Guest speaker/s: to be confirmed

Who should attend

  • Small to medium-sized organisations across the NSW social service sector
  • Community and sector advocates

Register HERE.  

Attendance is free, but RSVP is required. You will receive an online meeting link shortly after registering.

Heads up: NCOSS election advocacy toolkit

The toolkit will be uploaded and available to view on NCOSS website from Friday 25 November. Watch this space!

Queries to: [email protected]

Mixed budget reaction from community services sector 

Mixed budget reaction from community services sector 

The Community Service sector newsletter, Pro Bono, published the following article on the Federal Budget.

‘The community sector is giving a mixed reception to the federal budget, with nods for community services funding and support for volunteering, but roundly condemning the lack of movement on JobSeeker rates even as the government issues its much-criticised stage 3 tax cuts.

“As cost of living and housing pressures go through the roof, people who rely on income support are unable to pay for many of the essentials of life,” Mission Australia’s CEO Sharon Callister said.

“Mission Australia acknowledges the $33 billion allocated to income support in the budget over the forward estimates, which reflects rises in payments linked to the cost of inflation and the projection that unemployment will worsen in the coming years. However, this does nothing to adequately increase support to a level that keeps people out of poverty and homelessness.”

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie shared Mission’s concerns. 

“We remain deeply concerned for people who have the least and are in chronic financial distress – people who are unemployed, single parents, people with disabilities, students and people on temporary visas. There isn’t enough in this budget to help them right now,” she said.

“People on the lowest incomes are facing multiple and unrelenting crises right now – extreme weather events, rising rents, food and fuel costs, and the prospect of more losing their jobs means that government must deliver on lifting incomes and social and affordable housing.

“Instead of spending money on stage 3 tax cuts, we could lift incomes, including jobseeker and disaster recovery payments, fund social housing, and adequately fund community services so they can help people when they need it most.”

Anti-Poverty Network SA spokesperson Duncan Bainbridge said the most recent $1.83-a-day rise to JobSeeker, an automatic, twice-a-year indexation to ensure JobSeeker matches inflation, does not even come close to matching what is happening to people’s lives. 

“JobSeeker is only $48 a day. People on JobSeeker are facing unprecedented, unsustainable rises in rents, and other basic costs. We hear of $30-$50-a-week rent rises, compounded by double-digit percentage increases in utility and fresh food costs. These increases are blowing a low-income person’s budget to pieces,” he said. 

“Labor should recognise this, and implement an immediate raise to JobSeeker and other payments, lifting them above the poverty-line, something long supported by most of the community.”

Anglicare Australia executive director Kasy Chambers said the most disappointing part of the budget was the stage 3 tax cuts. 

“Even those set to benefit say they don’t need them,” she said. 

“These tax cuts will damage our progressive tax system and lock-in unfairness. Our costings show that if the government scrapped the tax cuts, it could lift 2.4 million people out of poverty and boost affordable housing – with savings to spare.

“If the government is serious about wellbeing, it should be lifting people out of poverty – not handing money back to people who don’t want or need it.”

Youth

Mission Australia welcomed funding for a new Office for Youth and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition. 

“The government has recognised that now is a critical time to ensure young people are heard and should play a key role in creating and advising on solutions that will address issues that affect them, other young people, and Australia,” said Sharon Callister.  

“Young people have the answers. It’s a matter of ensuring they are genuinely listened to, included in decision-making processes, and their concerns acted upon. Because Australia’s future rests on the shoulders of our young people.”

Advocates had called for extensive measures easing the pressure on young people in the lead up to the budget.

Community services  

Anglicare Australia said it welcomed $560 million investment in community services, as well as investment in aged care, paid parental leave and child care. 

“The government is also making a start on the cost-of-living crisis. Charities and community groups are seeing more and more people come to us for help, but our funding isn’t keeping up,” said Chambers. 

“Tonight’s fund for one-off top-ups will help in the short-term. In the long-term, we will work with the government to make sure the services people rely on are funded to keep up with rising costs – nothing short of a fair and transparent indexation will fix this.”

Mission Australia’s Sharon Callister also said the the community services funding is a good first step to “meet the funding gap to deliver support to people in need, when they need it”.

“However, we are concerned that the competitive process to access those funds will force non-profit organisations to compete with each other and will divert valuable resources towards jumping through hoops for extra funding,” she said.

“We look forward to hearing more from the government about their future plans for the long-term adequacy and sustainability of community services.”

Volunteering

Volunteering Australia says significant new funding will support major volunteer-involving organisations, recognising the “crucial role volunteers play supporting the priorities of the federal government”.

The Disaster Relief Australia (DRA)’s National Veteran Volunteer Service will receive a  $38.3 million funding boost, which will lead to around 6,700 veterans providing over 13,600 volunteer days a year. 

“Volunteering Australia welcomes the Australian Treasurer’s commitment to putting wellbeing and ‘measuring what matters’ at the heart of future budgets,” Volunteering Australia CEO Mark Pearce said. 

“It is essential that volunteering is included in the frameworks and metrics that are used to track wellbeing and to guide the allocation of spending.”

ACOSS responds to the Federal Budget

ACOSS responds to the Federal Budget

This is a budget that delivers on some of the government’s important election commitments, and the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) welcomes them.

Here is ACOSS’s response to the budget –

‘We are pleased to see the $560m investment in community services, as well as investment in aged care, paid parental leave and child care. We also welcome funding for 500 frontline workers to support women and children escaping domestic violence. We will continue to advocate for the government to improve the level of investment in community services over the longer term.

We now have a new cross-government housing accord, which lays the foundations for increasing the supply of social and affordable housing in Australia to deal with the housing crisis. The Commonwealth’s housing investment will build 40,000 dwellings (half social, half affordable) over five years. This is a serious start to tackling the housing crisis. We will need a lot more social housing dwellings to ensure everyone has a home.  

Other measures we welcome include provision for at least $3b in disaster payments over 5 years, investment in The Voice and an Anti-racism Strategy, 500,000 fee-free TAFE places, and restoration of frontline jobs at Centrelink.

We remain deeply concerned about the lack of action to lift the incomes of people living on payments like JobSeeker, which is just $48 a day. There are over 3 million people living in poverty, with many on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance forced to skip meals and essential medication, and live in their cars.

In a wealthy country like Australia, we should not condemn people to living on such inadequate incomes.

People on the lowest incomes face multiple and unrelenting crises including high inflation, 150,000 more people unemployed in 2023, rents up 10% in just one year, high debt as well as multiple climate disasters. So, this must be the beginning and not the end of the hard work this government must do. We must see an urgent increase in income support for people on the lowest incomes in Australia.

The Federal Government must lift JobSeeker and related income support payments to at least $73 a day, increase Rent Assistance by 50%, and establish supplements for people with disability and single parents to recognise the additional costs they face.

The Government must also take urgent direct action to reduce inflation, including by capping increases in gas prices, and invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy for low-income households.

We’re also very troubled to see that budget spending is forecast to increase by only 0.3% per annum, after inflation, when we know we must deliver critical essential services to meet community need. It’s obvious the government will need more revenue to meet the community’s urgent needs, and for this reason, we cannot afford the $19b a year tax cuts starting in 2024. The government must reverse these tax cuts.

Australian Council of Social Service CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said:

“We remain deeply concerned for people who have the least and are in chronic financial distress – people who are unemployed, single parents, people with disabilities, students and people on temporary visas. There isn’t enough in this budget to help them right now.

“People on the lowest incomes are facing multiple and unrelenting crises right now – extreme weather events, rising rents, food and fuel costs, and the prospect of more losing their jobs means that government must deliver on lifting incomes and social and affordable housing.

“Instead of spending money on stage 3 tax cuts, we could lift incomes, including jobseeker and disaster recovery payments, fund social housing, and adequately fund community services so they can help people when they need it most.

“These are the very essentials at the heart of a wellbeing budget, and what so many in our community need to get through difficult times.’

Businesses Have Your Say on Future Business Development in Lismore

Businesses Have Your Say on Future Business Development in Lismore

In May 2022, Lismore City Council released a discussion paper that presented a range of recommendations for growth and post-flood recovery.

A total of 327 submissions were received after extensive online and face-to-face engagement activities were undertaken.

Council has incorporated this feedback and produced a Draft Growth and Realignment Strategy that sets out potential growth areas for residential, commercial and industrial land, as well as recommending a long-term planned retreat from the most high-risk flood affected areas.

Council will be hosting a public forum at Invercauld House on Monday, 10 October from 5 – 6.30pm to discuss the strategy including:

  • How to re-invent the CBD to be fit for the future
  • Potential new commercial/residential mixed-use precinct in East Lismore (Golf Course site)
  • Potential mixed-use development precinct around SCU in East Lismore
  • Potential new industrial land locations identified, including significant expansion of Goonellabah Industrial Precinct (Oliver Avenue).

For more information or to register for the session visit:

https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/growth-and-housing

ACOSS says budget must provide relief from energy bills

ACOSS says budget must provide relief from energy bills

ACOSS is calling on the Federal Government to use the October Budget to provide support for people on low-incomes to be able to afford essential energy needs, after stark warnings by two energy market bodies of higher electricity prices and energy hardship.

 

Two energy reports were released today – The Energy Security Board (ESB) released the Health of the NEM 2022 and The Australian Energy Regulatory (AER) released the State of the Energy Market 2022.

Both reports expressed concern that energy prices were significantly increasing in an environment where consumers already face higher costs of living pressures and that this will create additional debt pressure on customers, particularly those facing hardship.

ACOSS Acting CEO, Edwina MacDonald, said:

“When energy market bodies are raising the alarm that rising energy prices are going to push more people into energy hardship and have limited levers to address the problem, governments need to step in.

“People on low-incomes are already depriving themselves of energy and going without food or medicines to afford their energy bills, and this is seriously affecting their health and wellbeing.

“With energy debt levels already increasing for thousands of people, the Federal Government must take urgent action in the October budget to provide immediate relief and address the drivers of energy debt.

“We must also address the challenges that lie ahead, as highlighted in today’s reports. The Federal Government must take fair, fast and inclusive action to transition to a zero-emissions energy system.”

The ACOSS report, How JobSeeker and other income support payments are falling behind the cost of living, found that more than half (57%) of respondents surveyed are shortening or taking fewer showers because of increased energy costs, 70% are cutting their use of heating, 46% of respondents are going to bed early to keep warm, 28% currently have energy bill debt and a further 22% expect to go into debt when they receive their next bill.

ACOSS is calling on the Federal Government to:

  • Provide up to $2,000 per customer experiencing payment difficulties via an emergency payment. As this measure will help relieve debt for energy retailers, we expect retailers to also step up and provide additional relief.
  • Invest in energy efficiency and solar retrofits for low-income homes, including public housing, community housing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander housing, private renters and low-income homeowners.
  • Lifting Jobseeker and related payments to at least $73 a day to ensure people can cover living costs and increase Commonwealth Rent Assistance by 50% to reduce rental stress.
  • Work with the states and territories to:

1.    Change the National Energy Objective to include social equity and affordability as well as emissions reduction.

2.    Establish a dedicated Agency to ensure people experiencing disadvantage benefit from the energy transition.

ACOSS responds to the Federal Budget

ACOSS Daily Bulletin Wednesday 5 October 2022

ACOSS Daily Bulletin

Wednesday 5 October 2022

 

 

RESEARCH & REPORTS

Restoring full employment: policies for the Jobs and Skills Summit

Australian Council of Social Service

August 2022

 

Jobs and Skills Summit – maintaining full employment and growing productivity

Business Council of Australia

August 2022

 

FECCA Jobs and Skills Summit Issues paper

FECCA

August 2022

 

Jobs and Skills Summit – Issues Paper

Australian Treasury

August 2022

 

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, July 2022

Australian Bureau of Statistics

August 2022

 

Voice, Treaty, Truth? The role of truth-telling in Australian, state and territory governments’ reconciliation processes: a chronology from 2015

Parliament of Australia

August 2022

Redefining progress: global lessons for an Australian approach to wellbeing

Centre for Policy Development

August 2022

 

High net wealth giving in Australia: a review of the evidence

Centre for Social Impact

August 2022

 

Eight opportunities to increase the potential of humanitarian migration to Australia

Refugee Council of Australia

August 2022

 

Meals on Wheels Australia social impact report

Meals on Wheels Australia

August 2022

 

Woke up call: Australians’ attitudes to and perceptions of “wokeness”

The Australia Institute

August 2022

 

Unfinished Parliamentary business: an overview of potential Indigenous Australians portfolio measures

Parliamentary Library (Australia)

August 2022

 

2021 Early childhood education and care national workforce census

Social Research Centre | Department of Education

August 2022

 

Family, domestic and sexual violence: National data landscape 2022, Summary

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

August 2022

 

A life course approach to determining the prevalence and impact of sexual violence in Australia: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health

Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety

August 2022

 

‘Mental health shapes my life’: COVID-19 and kids’ wellbeing 2022

Australian Human Rights Commission

August 2022

 

Australia’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Australian National Audit Office

August 2022

 

Indigenous health checks and follow-ups

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

August 2022

 

Specialist Homelessness Services: monthly data

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

August 2022

Understanding how policy settings affect developer decisions

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

August 2022

 

The economic dynamics and population change of Australia’s regional cities

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

August 2022

 

Growing Australia’s smaller cities to better manage population growth

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

August 2022

 

Urban Indigenous homelessness: much more than housing

Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute

August 2022

 

Addressing infrastructure inequality: a path to equality for Melbourne’s outer suburbs

The McKell Institute

August 2022

 

Options to improve access to existing and alternate accommodation to address the social housing shortage

Legislative Assembly Committee on Community Services (NSW)

August 2022

 

Decarbonising construction: putting carbon in the business case

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia

August 2022

 

The Grattan truck plan: practical policies for cleaner freight

Grattan Institute

August 2022

 

Power pain: an investigation of energy stress in Australia

Brotherhood of St Laurence

August 2022

 

Millions of Australians own Big Super – report 2

Industry Super Australia

August 2022

 

New politics: preventing pork-barrelling

Grattan

August 2022

 

CONSULTATIONS & INQUIRIES

 

Missing and murdered First Nations women and children

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Law enforcement capabilities in relation to child exploitation

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Consultation hub | Offshore renewable energy infrastructure area proposal: Bass Strait off Gippsland

Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources

Submissions currently open

Productivity Inquiry

Productivity Commission

Submissions close 7 October

 

Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Lifting the Income Limit for the Commonwealth Seniors Health Card) Bill 2022 [Provisions]

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 [Provisions]

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Jobs and Skills Australia Bill 2022 [Provisions] and the Jobs and Skills Australia (National Skills Commissioner Repeal) Bill 2022 [Provisions]

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Fair Work Amendment (Equal Pay for Equal Work) Bill 2022

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Climate Change Bill 2022 [Provisions] and the Climate Change (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2022 [Provisions]

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Statutory Review of the Consumer Data Right

Treasury of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

ABC and SBS complaints handling

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Senate Select Committee on COVID-19

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Joint Select Committee on Parliamentary Standards

Parliament of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Quality of Advice Review

Treasury of Australia

Submissions currently open

 

Aged Care Employment

Productivity Commission

Submissions currently open

 

Carer’s Leave

Productivity Commission

Submissions currently open

 

 

 
Northern Rivers Future Day a big success!

Northern Rivers Future Day a big success!

The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation thanks the community for joining them at the Northern Rivers Future on Monday, September. 19 It was a great day of learning, discussion and connection.  The foundation was grateful for the contributions shared and your ongoing leadership work to support the region.

The ARLF team alongside RAI and the Australian Resilience Centre hope the conversations have stimulated your thought and that your engagement with peers and family has benefited from your attendance.

The foundation hope to be able to share the ‘Future Factor’ report produced by Regional Australia Institute soon. The information shared throughout the day will also be shared in the lead up to the intensives (we need some time to format your shared wisdom!)

The next opportunity in the LARC journey is to apply for the Intensive Leadership Workshops. Delivered in the region, the first Intensive will run over three days from 26th – 28th October 2022, followed by a two day Intensive 20th – 22nd February 2023.  Upon graduating from the Intensives, you will not only be equipped with practical leadership tools and skills, you will also join a network of over 2000 Australian Rural Leadership Foundation from around Australia – a valuable and incredibly broad resource of expertise with an enormous capacity to lead, inspire and create change.

Applications close 28th September 2022 so be quick.  Apply now or reply to this email should you have any questions regarding the program. Please feel free to share this opportunity and tap someone on the shoulder you know. Who wasn’t in the room….and would be a valuable contributor, value the learning from within a leadership program?

In the meantime, we’d love to stay in touch. Why not sign up to our newsletter (click and scroll right to the bottom of the page!) or follow us on socials (see social media buttons underneath my email signature).  We also encourage you to draw from your one day with us and share your insights and our work amongst your communities and networks.

Opportunity for NSW Volunteering sector to have a say

Opportunity for NSW Volunteering sector to have a say

The NSW government has established a NSW Volunteering Taskforce which is consulting with the volunteering sector throughout September.

The NSW Volunteering Taskforce is consulting with NSW volunteers and volunteer involving organisations to identify emerging trends, issues, and opportunities across the Volunteering Sector.

The Taskforce, chaired by the Hon. Scott Farlow, is made up of 13 volunteers and volunteer organisations and will look into a number of topics including volunteer recruitment, retention, research and recognition.

Responses from the sector will help to shape a final report which will be presented to the minister, Natasha Maclaren-Jones, by December and will include recommendations for action.

The Taskforce’s report will recommend future actions to grow and support the NSW Volunteering Sector, enhance our understanding of volunteering, and increase awareness and recognition of the contributions and benefits the sector generates.

The Taskforce encourages the NSW Volunteering Sector to provide input into the report through an online written submission form.

To provide an online submission please visit the NSW Volunteering Website (https://www.volunteering.nsw.gov.au/nsw-volunteering-taskforce ) and follow the links.

The consultation process is open and will close at 5pm on Friday, September 30.

If you have any questions regarding making a submission, please contact the Volunteer Taskforce Secretariat, Kellie May at [email protected] or on 0491 217 036.

Gambling Trends in Australia Study – participants sought for a confidential survey about gambling

Gambling Trends in Australia Study – participants sought for a confidential survey about gambling

The Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) at the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is conducting a research study about gambling trends in Australia. McNair yellowSquares is their fieldwork partner.

The aim of the study is to monitor trends in gambling participation and impacts on health and wellbeing. Findings from the study will help to inform the development and implementation of evidence-based policy and practice responses to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm in Australia.

How you can help:

McNair yellowSquares are seeking people who gamble on land-based poker machines (‘pokies’) to complete a confidential online survey during July through September 2022. The survey should take about 15-20 minutes to complete. For their time, participants will be offered to enter into a draw to win one of five $200 gift vouchers.

Surveying as many participants as possible is critical to understanding the experiences and views of people who gamble on pokies and we are seeking the assistance of community organisations and service providers to help us to promote the study.

Next steps:

We have attached a copy of our recruitment flyer for your information. We would be very grateful for your assistance to post the flyer on your service/community notice board/s or to distribute it to your clients or members through other means, which can include electronically (e.g., via email, online newsletters, social media etc).  We can post or drop off hard copies of this flyer.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the McNair yellowSquares team at: [email protected]. For further information about the AGRC, please do not hesitate to contact me at: [email protected]

A summary of key findings from the project will be available on the AGRC website in late 2022: Australian Gambling Research Centre (aifs.gov.au)

Workshops to improve Northern Rivers mental health and alcohol and other drugs services

Workshops to improve Northern Rivers mental health and alcohol and other drugs services

Healthy North Coast is holding workshops to help improve the design and delivery of mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services in our region.

The workshops, being held with our local health partners, the North Coast community and health care providers, are part of a new reform project for mental health, suicide prevention and AOD services.

Data from the Healthy North Coast 2022-25 Health Needs Assessment and other sources shows us that we need to do things differently to meet the needs of our community. To find out more, visit the reform project webpage today.

Thanks to those who participated in the Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie workshops. There’s still time to join tomorrow’s Grafton session or Tweed (Thursday, September 1) and Lismore (Friday, September 2). If you can attend, click here to register now.

You’ll be joining professional colleagues, service providers, community groups, people with lived experience and carers to help improve health outcomes for our community.

We know not everyone will be able to make it to one of the workshops, to be held in Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Tweed Heads and Lismore. So, we’re planning follow-up sessions for GPs and mental health clinicians to ensure all voices can be heard as part of the reform process.

Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW

Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW

An online seminar, Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW is still open for registration.

It is presented by Dr Jodie Bailie and Associate Professor Michelle Villeneuve

This seminar will be streamed via Zoom
Date: Thursday 18 August 2022
Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm AEST

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The severity and frequency of weather-related disasters are likely to increase because of a warming climate. Catastrophic flooding occurred in the Northern Rivers, NSW in 2017 and again in 2022, exacerbating existing social inequalities. For people with disability and carers the impact can be especially profound.

In this session we will: 1) explore the risk and experiences of people with disability and carers of the Northern Rivers, six-months after river flooding in 2017 and 2) share tools that multiple stakeholders can use to address the gaps in preparedness for people with disability and carers.

LIVE CAPTIONING LINK

This is being run by the University Centre for Rural Health in Lismore

Workshops to improve Northern Rivers mental health and alcohol and other drugs services

Healthy North Coast invites you to participate in reform of AOD services

Health North Coast is looking for community input to improve the design and delivery of mental health and alcohol and other drugs (AOD) services in the region.

Healthy North Coast is working with local health partners, the North Coast community and health care providers on a new reform project for mental health, suicide prevention and AOD services.

Data from the Healthy North Coast 2022-25 Health Needs Assessment and other sources shows us that we need to do things differently to meet the needs of our community. Together, we can make the change that makes peoples’ lives better!

To find out more, visit our reform project webpage today.

Participate in an upcoming workshop

Join your health professional colleagues, services providers, community groups, and people with lived experience and carers at one of 5 workshops being held in the last week of August — Tweed Heads, Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie.

Having a voice in the early stages of the reform process will be your chance to change the future for the better.

To register CLICK HERE

Out of Home Care Report- Advocate for Children and Young People

Out of Home Care Report- Advocate for Children and Young People

A new report released by the NSW Advocate for Children and Young People, Zoë Robinson, calls for greater safety, accountability, support and transparency in the Out-of-Home Care (OOHC) system.

The Voices of Children and Young People in Out-of- Home Care report outlines, in their own words, the experiences of strong and resilient, children and young people and defines practical recommendations to help us as a community better support the needs of and improve outcomes for children and young people in OOHC.

There are currently more than 15,000 children and young people in care in NSW. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people are almost 10 times more likely to be in OOHC than non-Indigenous children and young people.

Ms Robinson said, “While this report makes a series of critical recommendations in relation to improving how we support children and young people throughout their journey in the care system, the overwhelming call from young people in the report was incredibly simple – they want to be heard.”

As one young person who participated in the Advocate’s research said, “You need to listen. You honestly need to listen to what a young person’s got to say.”

The Office of the Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP) heard from young people aged from six to 24 years who have experience in the OOHC system in NSW.

Ms Robinson said she was confronted by the findings in this report.

“What is clear is that we are not consistently listening or providing a place for children and young people in care to be heard about all the decisions that affect their lives.”

“I was saddened to read about the experiences of these strong and resilient, but vulnerable, children and young people. As a collective, we must do better, and it starts with listening,” Ms Robinson added.

The report reveals one young person had lived in 44 different placements, while another young person reported having 20 placements during their time in care, none of which lasted more than six months.

One of the key findings is that children and young people living in OOHC often feel completely excluded from critical decisions affecting their lives.

They are often left out of court proceedings and case meetings only to be informed of key outcomes after the fact.

A participant in this study said, “Young people should be included in their case meetings and rights to their decisions and learn about what’s going on in their life…I don’t think I remember ever going to a case meeting until it was the one three weeks before turning 18 about leaving care.”

Since 2015 there have been numerous reports and inquiries into the OOHC system in NSW.

Ms Robinson calls for government to continue to not only listen to children and young people but to act on what they are saying.

“When designing programs, roads and healthcare systems we always include the voice and perspective of consumers, the same should happen in this space. Children and young people who have had experience of the out-of-home care system should be meaningfully involved in designing and developing policies, programs, solutions and supports, to ensure the experience of other children and young people is improved,” Ms Robinson said.

The Voices of Children and Young People in Out-of Home Care Report outlines 19 recommendations and accompanying actions for government to implement to help improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable children and young people in NSW. This includes actions aimed at better supporting families, enhancing children and young people’s voice whilst they are in OOHC, and ensuring that young people are provided with holistic supports upon exit.

Click here to visit website which includes a video with findings from the report

Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW

Experiences of Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers

The University of Sydney’s Centre for Rural Health recently published their findings from work carried out after the 2017 floods on the experiences and impacts of flooding for people with disability and carers.

The research team is presenting the findings at an online seminar on 18 August and everyone is welcome to join them online.

‘Exposure to Risk and Experiences of River Flooding for People with Disability and Carers in the Northern Rivers of NSW’ presented by Dr Jodie Bailie, This seminar will be streamed via Zoom Date: Thursday 18 August 2022 Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm AEST

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

The severity and frequency of weather-related disasters are likely to increase because of a warming climate. Catastrophic flooding occurred in the Northern Rivers, NSW in 2017 and again in 2022, exacerbating existing social inequalities. For people with disability and carers the impact can be especially profound.

In this session we explore the exposure to risk, experiences and mental health impacts for people with disability and carers six-months after river flooding in 2017. After the presentation there will be time for discussion

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