The Good and the Not Good Enough News in 2023 Federal Budget
May 10, 2023
Community Industry Group CEO Nicky Sloan comments on the 2023 Federal Budget in our recent Media Release
The centrepiece of this year’s budget is a $14.6 billion cost of living package, but with inflation at record highs eating into the pay packets of workers and driving up the cost of essentials, much of the relief is targeted at specific segments of the population.
For the regular Illawarra family, this means some of the benefits will flow through to their household budget, and some won’t.
We are now offering our Become an Incredible Non-Profit Board Chair training online!
After successful in person sessions we are excited to announce we have now opened two online sessions for our CIGroup Board Chair Training! One on Thursday 18 May at 5:30pm – 7:30pm, and, Wednesday 14 June 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
This is a great opportunity to get FREE (for CIGroup members) training with our amazing trainer Judy Daunt.
We hope you can make one of these sessions and enjoy it from the comfort of your own home!
Unacceptable Levels of Poverty in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and South Coast
Research by the University of Canberra’s National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), commissioned by the NSW Council of Social Services, has analysed 2021 Census data to examine the extent of poverty throughout the state.
Community Industry Group is pleased to announce that after an absence of 12 months, Nicky Sloan is returning to her role as Community Industry Group’s CEO.
Nicky is back with new experiences and knowledge she gained from her time working as an executive on the formation of the new national peak body for aged care, Aged and Community Care Provides Association (ACCPA).
While Nicky was away Community Industry Group was incredibly grateful to Anna for taking over at the helm of the region’s peak body. Anna has done an exceptional job of leading the team and the sector through many changes and challenges.
From everyone at Community Industry Group we want to express our thanks to Anna for her devotion to the role, and her passion for the community services sector.
Nicky is excited to be back and is looking forward to catching up with everyone in the community.
March 2023 Temperature Check
April 6, 2023
A report that highlights concerns of our community service organisations
Our March 2023 Temperature Check Infographic is here!
It is our largest survey response yet! We received 72 responses from 70 organisations that provide essential services to people in our communities.
Thank you to everyone who filled out the survey, your responses have created a picture of what the key concerns of our community service organisations are.
The sectors represented include children, youth and family, housing and homelessness, domestic and family violence, aged care, disability, mental health, culturally and linguistically diverse and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
The Temperature Check provides an overview of the areas that need support and where changes need to be made.
‘Temperature Check’ – A Report that highlights concerns of our community service organisations
February 8, 2023
Community Industry Group is the peak body representing community service organisations in Southern NSW. We recently surveyed our members in order to fully understand the significant challenges they are currently facing.
During October and November 2022, we conducted our second Member ‘Temperature Check’ (key issue survey) to find out what issues are most concerning to their organisations, their biggest challenges, and what support they need.
If you have any questions regarding membership please contact our office on 02 4256 4333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The benefits of membership include:
Significant discounts on personal development training opportunities.
Invitations to contribute to regional responses to government submissions.
Invitations to conferences, industry events and regional forums.
Access to highly skilled and knowledgeable Policy and Project Officers.
Free advertising of your events and positions vacant in our fortnightly newsletter which goes out to over 1300 subscribers.
We also offer member only events e.g. the “We Do Magic Community Service Awards” which showcased the amazing work of our members in a special night of celebration.
For full details about membership benefits please see our membership brochure here.
Newsletter – Member Perk!
June 2, 2022
If you are a member of Community Industry Group you can submit your events and positions vacant for inclusion in our newsletter by emailing them to email@example.com with newsletter in the title.
We invite you to attend the Community Care Collective meeting for Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Service Providers and Regional Assessment Service Teams on Wednesday, 8 June 2022, 10:00am–12:30pm.
The Ageing and Disability Commissioner, Mr Robert Fitzgerald, AM, will be in attendance to discuss the role and achievements of the NSW Ageing and Disability Commission.
On the day we will also launch the new Aboriginal artwork posters and checklists for prevention and awareness of older person abuse.
We are currently offering many professional development opportunities including:
Difficult but Necessary Conversations, Wednesday 11 May 2022 at Port Kembla. Free for members, $50 for non members. Click here to book your place.
How to ethically engage and support young people, Wednesday 15 June at Shellharbour Civic Centre. $25 members, $75 non members. Click here to book your place.
Diversity and Inclusion Training, Tuesday 5 July online. Free for members, $25 for non members. Click here to book your place.
Expression of Interest for Family Group Conferencing Facilitator Training. Click here for the form.
Expressions of Interest for Strategic Planning Sessions
March 24, 2022
The ReSoW project run by Community Industry Group and supported by Resilience NSW is offering free strategic planning sessions for not for profit and non-government community organisations in the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla, Bega Valley, Snowy Monaro and Queanbeyan-Palerang areas.
As part of this package, a report will be provided after the planning session to help organisations develop a strategic plan to clearly identify priorities and achieve strategic goals.
Community Industry Group wish to advise of a change in the current leadership at the organisation.
Long term CEO, Nicky Sloan, has been granted a 12 month break in her employment in order to take on a contract as Executive Director Membership & Services/Executive Director NSW, ACT & Qld with Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) effective Friday 25 February 2022.
The Board wish to recognise the experience and knowledge that Nicky will gain during this period will significantly benefit Community Industry Group and its member organisations upon her return.
The Board are pleased to advise that Anna Bacik has been appointed as CEO for this period. Anna previously worked as the Director of Policy at NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) and brings a wealth of experience from both government and non-government sectors.
Anna will represent Community Industry Group in all the current projects and initiatives and is looking forward to meeting the valued members and stakeholders.
Anna and Nicky are currently working through a two-week handover period as Anna officially took up the role on Monday 14 February 2022.
Please join Community Industry Group in welcoming Anna, who will be a great asset to the organisation.
January 11, 2022
Community Industry Group is proud to present the CareForce Hub, a purpose-built website which is the ‘go-to’ place to find your next career in the disability, aged and home care sectors. The CareForce Hub features job vacancies, tools and tips for job seekers, resume templates, employer information and loads of information about the huge variety of roles available.
“The CareForce Hub is an initiative of our Care Careers project,” said CEO of Community Industry Group, Nicky Sloan. “And to coincide with the launch of the CareForce Hub, we are also announcing our Care Careers Jobs Pledge. We were hoping to have employers pledge 150 jobs over the next 12 months, but we look like well and truly exceeding that number.”
We will advertise the pledged jobs for free on our socials and here.
If you are an Care Career employer and want to get involved please contact our Care Careers Policy and Project Officer, Tanya Southworth on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Care Careers Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment as part of the The Local Jobs Program (LJP).
Reconnecting after lockdown
January 6, 2022
Social connectedness is important for our mental health and wellbeing, but for a lot of people, lifting of restrictions and increasing social activities might be cause for some anxiety. We’ve developed some tips and strategies to help yourself, and those you love, ease back into socialising and rebuild social connections in a way that keeps you feeling comfortable and safe.
We have created a short video here and a printable fact sheet here with tips for reconnecting for yourself or to assist others.
20/21 – What a year!
December 28, 2021
Check out our video about all the things we achieved during the 2020/21 financial year, despite COVID-19 restrictions.
Season’s Greetings and Office Closure
December 16, 2021
Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy festive season.
We look forward to working with you, advocating for you and bringing you, our members, lots of professional development opportunities, conferences and information sessions in 2022.
The Community Industry Group office will be closed from 24 December 2021 and will reopen on Tuesday 4 January 2022.
CareForce – a Hub and a Pledge for Care Careers
December 14, 2021
Community Industry Group is proud to launch the CareForce Hub, a purpose-built website which will be the ‘go-to’ place to find your next career in the disability, aged and home care sectors. The CareForce Hub features job vacancies, tools and tips for job seekers, resume templates, employer information and loads of information about the huge variety of roles available.
“The CareForce Hub is an initiative of our Care Careers project,” said CEO of Community Industry Group, Nicky Sloan. “And to coincide with the launch of the CareForce Hub, we are also announcing our Care Careers Jobs Pledge. We were hoping to have employers pledge 150 jobs over the next 12 months, but we look like well and truly exceeding that number. On the very first day, we have received pledges for 124 jobs across the region!”
To check out our Media Release about the CareForce Hub and Pledges click here.
If you are an Care Career employer and want to get involved please contact our Care Careers Policy and Project Officer, Tanya Southworth on email@example.com.
The Care Careers Project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment as part of the The Local Jobs Program (LJP).
Annual Report 2020-2021
November 4, 2021
Our latest annual report is out now! Click here to check it out.
ReSoW – an exciting new project in Southern NSW
October 27, 2021
Community Industry Group is excited to offer the Resources entwined with Support of Wellbeing (ReSoW) project!
Community service organisations played a vital role during and after the bushfire crisis leaving many management committees, staff and volunteers in a state of increased fatigue.
Not for profit organisations in bushfire-impacted regions of Southern NSW will be able to access subsidised supports to build capacity and resilience in staff and volunteers to support them in supporting the community.
We are offering a variety of opportunities to help your organisation and staff thrive such as training opportunities, external supervision, leadership development and more.
The Care Career Project aims to raise the profile of careers in the aged, home and disability care sector. We want to engage with service providers to capture core competency requirements for a new employee before starting work in your organisation. We invite you to take part in this important research by participating in our short survey here.
All information collected by the Care Careers Project provides a foundation for attracting people and designing effective employment pathways. We aim to ensure that care sector jobs and careers are well known and highly regarded across the Illawarra and the South Coast. To find out more about the Care Careers Project, please contact Tanya Southworth here.
Annual General Meeting
October 11, 2021
We invite you to attend our Annual General Meeting featuring special guest speaker Jonathon Welch AM, creator of the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ choir on Thursday 28 October 2021, 11.30am-1.00pm, online via zoom.
Jonathon Welch AM is a multi award winning singer, conductor, teacher, composer, director and recording artist who has performed around the world with some of our biggest stars.
His work creating choirs for the homeless and disadvantaged in Australia was the subject of the internationally acclaimed ARIA, Logie and Helpmann award winning TV documentary ‘Choir of Hard Knocks’.
In 2009 Jonathon created and launched ‘Social Inclusion Week’ making Australia the only country in the world to celebrate Social Inclusion nationally. He is also the driving force behind the arts, cultural and wellbeing program ‘Play IT Forward’. For more information about Jonathon see https://www.jonathonwelch.com/.
For more information and to book your place click here.
Housing Affordability Inquiry Submission
September 2, 2021
The Australian Government has recently announced that the Standing Committee on Tax and Revenue will inquire into and report on the contribution of tax and regulation on housing affordability and supply in Australia.
Community Industry Group will be developing a submission to the Inquiry and we encourage everyone to have their say on this important issue.
Remember, you don’t need to write a detailed, academically referenced paper – a simple email is fine. And you can find some simple, sector developed recommendations on the Everybody’s Home website. Inquiry terms of reference and how to make a submission are available here.
Stop ACNC proposed changes to Governance Standard 3
August 9, 2021
Charities and not for profit organisations (NFPs) need your support. Write a letter to your local Members of Parliament to protect the rights of charities and NFPs to participate in direct, or indirect, advocacy activities.
The Federal Government is proposing significant changes to ACNC Governance Standard 3. If passed, the draconian regulations will prohibit charities and NFPs from participating in, or supporting other organisations with, peaceful protests and common advocacy activities.
59,000 charities across Australia work tirelessly on limited resources to support disadvantaged and vulnerable communities across Australia. They now face being restricted by severe and excessive regulation for giving voice to the communities which they serve. Organisations will need to demonstrate compliance with the new regulation, increasing the administrative burden charities and NFPs already face, and diverting more resources away from frontline service delivery and into paperwork.
A list of Federal MPs is available here for you to contact. NCOSS has drafted a template email for you to use as a guide to write to your local MP or Liberal Senator. Please feel free to use this template as a basis for your own correspondence, and to tailor it as you see fit to include examples of how the proposed changes will impact you or your organisation.
This matter is urgent as Parliament will resume in two weeks. The more people who contact their local MP or Liberal Senator, the more likely this matter will be raised to protect the rights of charities and not for profits to advocate on behalf of vulnerable communities.
Your Data Exchange (DEX) questions
July 28, 2021
Our Project and Policy Officer, Mel Breuker, can help answer your DEX related questions. One commonly asked question is, ‘How many clients do I need to report SCOREs for?’.
In the Target Early Intervention (TEI) program, SCORE (Standard Client/Community Outcomes Reporting) should be reported for the majority of your clients. Circumstances, Goals and Satisfaction SCORE are used to report outcomes for individual clients. Community SCORE is used to report outcomes for groups or community activities (i.e. unidentified group clients).
Recording SCORE Circumstances SCORE and/or Goals SCORE: An initial and at least one subsequent Circumstance SCORE should be recorded for at least 50% of individual clients.
Satisfaction SCORE: At least 10% of individual clients, per reporting period should be recorded.
Community SCORE: The community SCORE should be recorded for the majority of group or community activities where it is not feasible to record SCORE for individual clients.
Please note that service providers are encouraged to collect SCORE information, where appropriate, from a larger proportion of clients to ensure their sample is representative. Services will not be penalised if they cannot meet the 50% requirements if a genuine attempt has been made to record client outcomes.
The full DEX documentation from the Dept of Communities and Justice can be accessed here. Contact Mel on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any DEX queries.
Lockdown Activity Inspiration for Children
June 28, 2021
If you need a little inspiration for keeping the kids amused in school holidays during a COVID-19 lockdown we have some suggestions!
Free! Online Resilience and Self Care – Micro Course
June 28, 2021
We all experience challenges in our lives. It may be our work, family, community, environment or concerns about world events. In order to be able to continue to deliver vital community services, we need healthy ways to care for ourselves.
People who work in the community services sector consistently provide care or support to others. In addition to our working lives, we also juggle various demands on our time and energy from family, friends and the broader community. Having good self-care practices in place will minimise the risk of burnout and help sustain your relationship with others and with yourself.
Community Industry Group is proud to offer this free online micro course. Check it out now. http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/courses/resilience-and-self-care-micro-course/
June 28, 2021
In 2020, Community Industry Group received funding through the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) for a regional custom grant portal. NGOs are able to use the portal to find grant opportunities which are available in our region. Each grant will be summarised in a one-page template, and the portal will include search, planning and automated notification functionality.
Members are able to create a profile on the portal to store their grant info and preferences, and notifications will be sent when appropriate grants are available. It’s easy to use and can track your grants too.
Check out this video for more information: https://vimeo.com/515536162
Check out Grant Guru here: http://communityindustrygroup.org.au/grants/
We Do Magic Community Service Awards
June 7, 2021
A great night was had by all at the glittering We Do Magic Community Service Awards held at the Novotel Wollongong on Friday 4th June 2021.
Our members came from across the Illawarra and far south coast to celebrate the magic performed in order to continue to offer critical support to vulnerable people.
The pressures from disasters like drought, bushfires, floods, and a global pandemic have dramatically impacted the lives of the most vulnerable individuals, families and communities. Demand for community support has dramatically increased in areas such as homelessness, food relief, mental health, and domestic and family violence over the past 18 months.
Community service providers have gone to extraordinary lengths to meet this demand and incredible stories of service, innovation and collaboration were heard and celebrated. While category winners were announced, it certainly was a night to celebrate absolutely everyone who works in the sector.
On 15 April 2021, Minister Linda Reynolds – Minister for the NDIS announced a pause to the roll out of Independent Assessments (IAs) until after a second pilot is finished and evaluated. She has also announced that she will consult with stakeholders across the country.
There is no doubt that the postponement is good news, and a response to significant lobbying by people with disability, their families and supporters, and service providers. However, ‘consultation’ on this new initiative, which could have significant impacts on NDIS plans, has so far been somewhat questionable. Independent Assessments were first floated in November 2019 when then Minister, Stuart Robert announced the new model of assessment using standardised tools. A trial was rapidly rolled out, with very positive results announced, despite the fact that respondents had yet to see the plan developed as a result of the assessment. Further concerns were raised about the veracity of consultation when the winning tenders for IAs were announced only three days after the last consultation period had ended.
The NDIA website says the results of the second pilot will be available ‘later this year’, so really who knows when. The first IA pilot was a prime example of how results can be manipulated to promote a certain outcome. It was originally reported that 91% of people found their experience satisfactory or very satisfactory. However, pilot results were not connected to funding decisions, so people were only reporting on their experiences with the assessment itself. It is possible these people would feel differently if they saw the plan these assessments would produce. We also later learned that only 145 people completed the evaluation survey and only 35 of those people were NDIS participants.
Along with the Every Australian Counts campaign, we call on the Minister to:
ensure that evaluations of the trials is completed independently, transparently and at arm’s length from the NDIA.
conduct trials of viable alternatives alongside these trials, such as allowing assessments to be completed by participants’ GPs.
meaningfully engage with people with disability, their families and supporters, and service providers in co-designing any future model for assessments.
Time Management – Breakfast Series, Nowra
March 9, 2021
Book in now for our Time Management (with breakfast!) training.
Wednesday, 5 May 202, 8:30am – 10:30am
Nowra School of Arts, 12 Berry Street, Nowra
Learn to set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely), use systems for prioritising effectively and improve productivity for yourself and other through effective time management techniques, all while enjoying a delicious breakfast.
At the end of the training you will:
Improve productivity for yourself and others through effective time management techniques
Competently select and use a system for prioritising goals and tasks
Prepare work schedules and learn to prioritise according to importance and urgency
Set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely
Understanding & Responding to Hoarding and Squalor Situations: An Introduction
February 15, 2021
Monday 8 March 2021 Module 1: 10am -11am
Monday 15 March 2021 Module 2: 10am – 11am
We are offering an online course on Understanding & Responding to Hoarding and Squalor Situations: An Introduction, in March 2021.
Support providers often encounter challenging situations involving hoarding and squalor. Responding appropriately requires a fundamental understanding of hoarding disorder and its underlying causes.
This on-line training will take place over two days and consist of 2 x one hour live facilitated discussions with a self paced reading package. Click here for more information.
Protecting Mental Health Grants
February 2, 2021
The Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) Health Promotion Service is partnering with Community Industry Group to offer one-off seeding grants.
Eligible not-for-profit community organisations within the Illawarra-Shoalhaven region can apply for funding for local project activities supporting mental health and physical wellbeing. Funding of up to $2000 is available.
Illawarra South Coast Aged & Disability Services Workforce Forum
February 1, 2021
Illawarra South Coast Aged & Disability Services Workforce Forum, Tuesday 16 February 2021, 8:30–10:30am.
Aged and disability service providers are facing significant challenges attracting the right staff who are suitable and safe for direct support work.
The Illawarra Workforce Action Group (IWAG) invites you to this online forum with representatives from a range of organisations related to the sector including:
Residential and community support service providers
Registered training providers
Local Health District
The forum will drive discussion on aligning workforce strategies and priorities for providers in the region and seek to gain commitment across participating organisations to a Charter of Collaboration to strengthen the aged and disability service sectors.
We are back in the office and look forward to working with, and advocating for our members in 2021.
Community Industry Group: Voice – Influence – Leadership
Season’s Greetings from the Community Industry Group team!
December 21, 2020
Wishing you all a happy, safe and healthy festive season. We look forward to working with you, advocating for you and bringing you, our members, lots of professional development opportunities, conferences and information sessions in 2021.
The Community Industry Group office will be closed from 25 December 2020 and will reopen on Monday 4 January 2021.
It’s been a big year!
November 25, 2020
Check out this short video highlighting all the work the Community Industry Group team achieved in the 19/20 Financial Year.
Local Jobs Program Representation
November 12, 2020
Our CEO, Nicky Sloan, has been appointed to the Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce for the Illawarra South Coast region.
The Local Jobs Program supports tailored approaches to accelerate reskilling, upskilling and employment in 25 regions across Australia. The program will provide for 25 Employment Facilitators across 25 regions, a Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce in each region, a Local Jobs Plan developed for each region and projects funded through a Local Recovery Fund in each of these regions.
Click here for more information about the representatives for the Illawarra South Coast region. View the Local Jobs fact sheet here.
Leadership Program for New and Emerging Leaders
November 11, 2020
To support the NFP sector across Southern NSW, Community Industry Group are extending an Expression of Interest for participants in a leadership program we would like to offer across the region commencing in March 2021.
The Four Legs Leadership Program is a holistic leadership program designed to provide participants with the tools, skills and insights to build resilient, innovative and collaborative teams and deliver outstanding results.
Exceptional leadership is the ability to deeply understand and effectively manage yourself, even in the most challenging times and create a psychologically safe environment where your teams can thrive and consistently deliver their best work. It’s about how you are able to influence all of the stakeholders you connect with.
For more information please see:
Community Industry Group EOI form and brochure here.
Expression of Interest Applications close 13 November 2020.
November 9, 2020
NAIDOC Week 2020 runs from 8 to 15 November and the theme this year is Always Was, Always Will Be. Community Industry Group recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years and are proud of our ongoing commitment to support and promote NAIDOC week events.
To find out about NAIDOC week events in your area click here.
EOI – Aboriginal Cultural Immersion Training Program
October 15, 2020
Community Industry Group is calling for expressions of interest from Aboriginal people and organisations to be contracted as a Consultant as part of the Aboriginal Cultural Immersion Training Program (ACITP). The ACITP aims to prepare leaders and staff of non-Aboriginal organisations to engage with and work with Aboriginal people, families, children and communities through developing a greater understanding of the impact of structural racism on Aboriginal people. As part of the ACITP you will deliver workshops to non-government and government organisations working with vulnerable people and communities in the Illawarra Shoalhaven District.
To read the full Expression of Interest document please click here.
Annual General Meeting invitation
October 14, 2020
We invite you to attend our AGM. It will be held on Tuesday 24 November 2020 commencing at 10am, featuring guest speakers, Dennis Moriarty and Dan Nahum. Join us as they discuss life after COVID-19 and the role of our community services.
We created this short video to highlight what we do as a peak body organisation for our members.
Check out the other videos on our YouTube channel here.
2020/21 Highlights from the Federal Budget – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
October 14, 2020
This year’s federal budget announcement contains a mix of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly for the region’s many vulnerable residents and for the region’s hard working community services organisations, according to the Community Industry Group, the peak body for community services in southern NSW.
Tax cuts for people on low and middle incomes will mean more in the pay packets of many of the hard working people in the community services industry. However unemployment is high across the Illawarra and NSW South Coast, and we must remember that tax cuts do nothing for those who don’t have jobs.
It was good to see some new opportunities in the important community housing sector, but a higher investment in the social housing sector as well would have provided a real economic stimulus for the region.
The doubling of free mental health therapy sessions from 10 to 20 is welcomed, particularly at a time when people are experiencing increased stress and social isolation.
Two payments of $250 have been announced for people on pensions and family tax subsidies, these will undoubtedly enable people on these income supports to make important one-off purchases. However, people on JobSeeker payments will miss out on these important financial windfalls.
The 23,000 increase in Home Care Packages for older people is highly welcomed, but we must remember that there are currently over 100,000 people on the waiting list. So, 77% of the people waiting for these important services will once again miss out.
There was a lack of investment for jobs in the care sector. At a time of increased unemployment, this was a lost opportunity to support new jobs in a growth sector.
Similarly, there was a lack of additional funding for domestic and family violence services. The COVID-19 pandemic has seen an escalation in relationship tensions and relationship violence, so this would have been an ideal time to invest in prevention, intervention and support strategies.
Most disappointing is the lack of increase of investment in residential aged care, instead the government is waiting for the findings of the Royal Commission in February 2021. However more than 670 people have died in residential aged care as a result of COVID-19, and thousands more suffer isolation from family and friends. This would have been an ideal time to invest in aged care and support the Aged Care providers who are working so hard to provide the best care for our valuable older Australians.
The most glaring gap in the 2020/21 Budget has been the failure to deliver a permanent adequate rate for the JobSeeker payment. With the unemployment rate rising, and more people finding themselves out of work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was disappointing that there was no announcement of a permanent increase to the JobSeeker payment. We cannot go back to a payment of $40 per day. While the coronavirus supplement has been invaluable, supplements can be reduced or removed at any time. We urgently need a permanent increase to the base JobSeeker payment.
Finally, although it had been expected, it was disappointing to see the 113% increase to Humanities subjects. It is wonderful that Social Work was excluded from this increase, but we must acknowledge that many people also bring different skills to the social services sector through humanities degrees in a range of important subjects such as human geography, sociology or politics.
Annual General Meeting
October 12, 2020
We are very excited to have two Special Guest Speakers at our (virtual) Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24 November at 10am. Addressing the theme REimagine, REenergise, REsilience we are pleased to introduce to you Dan Nahum & Denis Moriarty to talk about their observations on the future of community services post pandemic.
Dan Nahum is Economist with the Centre for Future Work. His research interests include industrial transformation, labour markets in low-carbon economies, government finances, and inequity and inequality. Previous to joining the Centre for Future Work, he held roles in the Australian government in various social and economic policy fields, including Indigenous Affairs and the Office for Women. He holds a Masters of Political Economy from the University of Sydney, where he focused on the moral dimensions of climate change, and an Honours degree from Macquarie University.
Denis Moriarty is the Group Managing Director of the Our Community group of companies which provide advice, connections, training and easy-to-use tech tools for people and organisations working to build stronger communities and create social change within Australia and internationally. Denis has a strong background in executive management in both the public and private sectors. He sits on a number of private and not-for-profit boards. He is a graduate of both the Vincent Fairfax Ethics in Leadership Awards and the Williamson Community Leadership program. Denis was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honours list in 2020 for his for his significant service to the community, to social welfare, and to public administration.
The Department of Communities and Justice have developed a highly interactive learning module to help organisations understand and develop program logics. It has functionalities that allow users to pause and check their understanding, embedded links to key targeted earlier intervention resources and examples of program logic. Click here for more information.
Social Isolation Survey
September 17, 2020
The impacts of social isolation have become a major concern since restrictions have been put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. For many people living on low-incomes, such as those with part time or casual positions, or people receiving income support payments like JobSeeker, it can be difficult to participate in social activities. Clothing, food or ticket prices can be out of reach for many people and even having friends over for dinner can be outside of the budget.
Community Industry Group is conducting a survey to gain an understanding of how people keep connected when they’re struggling on insufficient income. Please participate in our survey, it is anonymous and should take approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.
Anglicare Australia has released a Special Update to their Rental Affordability Snapshot. The Snapshot highlights the lived experience of looking for housing on a low income, focussing on those on government payments or earning minimum wage.
The report details a major disconnect between commentary on the rental market and how it works for those hardest hit by the pandemic. Affordability has actually become worse for people on low incomes. Governments need to take real action to ensure every Australian has a home.
We worked directly with service providers in disaster-affected areas, and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities. We have heard about what has been and is currently being done, what should be done, and how bushfire affected communities are recovering and rebuilding.
Our report also includes seven recommendations for recovery.
We are advocating for the recommendations to be implemented and encourage community service organisations and individuals to get involved.
We need your help to get these recommendations implemented.
We have created a template letter that you can use to send to your local Member of Parliament. Please feel free to use the text as is, or to personalise it to describe the impacts on your clients or organisation.
We have received funding through the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) for a regional custom grant portal. NGOs will be able to visit the portal to find grant opportunities which are available in our region. Each grant will be summarised in a one-page template, and the portal will include search, planning and automated notification functionality. Members will be able to create a profile on the portal to store their grant info and preferences, and notifications will be sent when appropriate grants are available.
The portal is accessible now and we will run training soon to help people navigate the site and get the maximum usage from it. We would like to give our grateful thanks to our funding partners, DCJ, for partnering with us to bring this great resource to our region.
On 17 June 2020 the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment released a discussion paper Job-Ready Graduates Higher Education Reform Package 2020. The paper notes that Commonwealth subsidy for social work will drop and student contribution will rise from $6,684 to $14,500 per year.
These changes will exacerbate already critical shortages of qualified Social Workers.
The Save Social Work campaign is being undertaken by the Australian Council of Heads of Schools of Social Work to encourage the Federal Government to reverse its decision about the funding formula for Social Work degrees.
We worked directly with service providers in disaster-affected areas, and heard first-hand accounts of the impact on individuals, families and communities. We have heard about what has been and is currently being done, what should be done, and how bushfire affected communities are recovering and rebuilding.
Our report also includes seven recommendations for recovery.
Children, Families and Young People
Housing and Homelessness
Community Development and Support
We are advocating for the recommendations to be implemented and encourage community service organisations and individuals to get involved. For more information click here.
Recommendation 5 – Housing and Homelessness
Our recommendation is $5 million per year for 5 years ($25m) additional program funding for services which support communities in the bushfire impacted areas in South East NSW, including crisis accommodation and outreach services.
Inclusionary zoning – at least 15% affordable housing in new developments, to be introduced across NSW.
Innovative finance solutions to develop more social housing:
– Public Housing to be classed as public infrastructure to open up investment options (i.e. Waratah Bonds).
– Government to work with industry to develop Affordable Housing using institutional investment.
The development of an Affordable Housing Strategy for all NSW Local Government Areas.Permanently increase income support payments to ensure recipients are living above the poverty line, and able to secure safe and appropriate housing.
Click here for a printable sheet of Recommendation 5 on Housing and Homelessness. Click here for the full Bushfire Impact, Response and Recovery Report.
Homelessness Week 2020
August 4, 2020
2-8 August 2020 is Homelessness Week.
This year the theme is Everybody Needs a Home.
Homelessness refers to so much more than rough sleepers. Educate yourself about housing issues with our Housing Spectrum Fact Sheet available here.
Please feel free to share this resource with your networks.
Everybody Needs a Home.
Permanent Increase to JobSeeker a Missed Opportunity
July 23, 2020
Community Industry Group, the peak body for community service organisations in south east NSW, commented on today’s announcement by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenburg on the JobKeeper and JobSeeker payment.
CEO Nicky Sloan expressed concern that the 1.6 million people currently depending on the JobSeeker payment will experience a $150 per week cut to the Coronavirus Supplement from September, with a further announcement about the future of the supplement by the end of the year.
“While we are pleased that the Coronavirus Supplement will continue for another three months, we are disappointed that the amount of the supplement has been reduced,” Ms Sloan said. “But of even more concern is the lack of security about what people living on JobSeeker will receive from December.”
“This is a missed opportunity to announce a permanent, adequate increase to a rate of income support which is widely condemned as insufficient to maintain a decent, fair lifestyle. We encourage the Government to stop dithering about with supplements and lock in a rate of JobSeeker which enables people to live with dignity and respect,” she added.
New video reveals reality of being homeless in a bushfire impacted area
July 1, 2020
Community Industry Group is proud to release a short video revealing the reality of life for people experiencing homelessness in bushfire impacted areas across South East NSW.
“So much of the focus during and after the bushfires has been on people whose homes were destroyed. But this video raises awareness of those people who were not lucky enough to have a home before the fires, and who are finding it even more difficult to find a safe, secure and appropriate place to live now they are competing with insurance companies for scarce rental properties,” commented Nicky Sloan, CEO.
The Homelessness in South East NSW video can be accessed here and an accompanying Fact Sheet here. The South East NSW Bushfire Crisis – Impact, Response & Recovery Report is available here.
Check out the latest news!
June 30, 2020
The latest newsletter is out now! It is full of community service news and events, positions vacant and professional development opportunities.
If you are a member of Community Industry Group you can send us your events for inclusion.
National wage case means cut to service provision
June 30, 2020
On 19 June 2020, the Fair Work Commission handed down their annual wage review decision. The Commission decision is that minimum wages in modern awards will be increased by 1.75% from the start of the first full pay period on or after 1 July 2020 for Group 1 Awards (SHCADS is a Group 1 Award).
While community organisations are only too happy to increase staff pay, there is no doubt that, without funding to cover it, the decision will put added pressure on community sector budgets. Especially since the rate of indexation for NSW funded programs did not cover the previous annual wage review.
Community Industry Group has written to the NSW Treasurer and to the Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services requesting an immediate increase in funding for all NSW government funded community services to enable them to pay the increase and continue to deliver services to their client groups.
We encourage you to do the same.
Below are some template letters for you to put on letterhead and email to the Treasurer and Minister. Feel free to use the text as is, or to personalise it by telling the NSW government about the impact of yet another pressure on your organisational budget.
Free Micro-Course: Prevention of Older Person Abuse
June 7, 2020
Every older person has the right to:
Control and access their own money
Choose to see family and friends when they want to
Attend appointments without another person present
Have access to clean clothing, food and their own medication
Everyone has the right to feel safe and be treated with dignity and respect in their own home and within their community.
Unfortunately, some older people’s rights are not respected and they are not safe. This is called older person abuse.
Older person abuse is defined as a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to another person.
Inquiry Report – Adequacy of Newstart and related payments
May 20, 2020
On 25 July 2019, the Senate referred an inquiry into the adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report.
The committee tabled its report of the inquiry in the Senate on 30 April 2020. The report is available here.
Community Industry Group worked with members and other stakeholders to research and write a submission, and we are pleased to note that many of our assertions and recommendations have been included in the report.
The Report includes 27 Recommendations, most of which are for further areas of Inquiry or review.
Recommendation 2 perhaps sums up the findings best: The committee recommends the Australian Government immediately undertake a review of the income support system to ensure that all eligible income support recipients do not live in poverty.
Release of Southern Bushfire Impact Report and Resources
May 4, 2020
Community Industry Group is pleased to announce that it has released a report outlining the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfires on community organisations, and on vulnerable individuals, families, and communities in South East NSW; as well as two video resources highlighting the issues and responses for aged services providers, and the impact of trauma.
“Throughout the bushfire crisis and beyond, community service organisations have been on the ground providing support to affected individuals, families and communities,” said Community Industry Group CEO, Nicky Sloan. “From alert to evacuation to post-fire recovery, providers across a range of sectors including aged care, disability, child and family, homelessness and more have witnessed and experienced first-hand the successes and challenges of disaster recovery.”
COVID-19 leads to enormous impacts for Community Service Organisations
April 8, 2020
Unprecedented is a word I generally detest. I find it has been so overused and hackneyed that it has often lost its meaning. However, life in the time of COVID-19 is truly unique, and the word ‘unprecedented’ has never been more relevant. The Board and Staff of Community Industry Group send our thoughts and good wishes out to all of you. We know that, as is often the case, many of the measures and restrictions now in place are impacting our most vulnerable community members the hardest. We know that our members and colleagues in community service organisations are working hard to continue to support your clients and communities.
Despite the current restrictions, Community Industry Group continues to support your work. Although many of the team are working from home, the office is still open with limited team members on site, and strict safety protocols in place. Like many of you, our workload has increased significantly as we work daily to keep the government aware of the impacts on our sector and in our community. As your Peak Body, we have been keeping up our work as Voice, Influence and Leader.
Some of the key issues/asks so far that we have fed to relevant state and federal bodies include:
Demand for community services has grown and will continue to grow as people who were already in unstable employment – particularly casual staff and people working in sectors such as hospitality and tourism lose income.
The atmosphere of anxiety and fear will have negative impacts on vulnerable people, including ‘at risk’ families, people in violent relationships, people living with mental health conditions etc.
There will be an increase in overall poverty, leading to increases in homelessness, food insecurity, social isolation and mental health issues. We have already heard about increases in suicide as a result of the bushfires, and have grave concerns that suicide rates will increase as the impacts of COVID-19 spreads.
Community service organisations – particularly those in aged and disability – are concerned about the impact on staff and therefore service provision to the most vulnerable people in society. If staff become ill or have to self-isolate, how will they maintain service continuity? Many of their clients will be in dire straits without these services.
Social distancing is difficult to maintain in many essential services, particularly in personal care. Organisations are finding it increasingly difficult to access PPE. And even when they can find it, prices are increasing significantly. When margins are low, such increases will impact organisational sustainability.
The Community Support Program helps people in need to move to Australia, but they must be coming for a job. Many of these jobs are with family-owned small businesses which have now closed, leaving these immigrants without an income, and ineligible for Centrelink benefits.
Supermarkets are no longer offering specials, and this is making food and household products increasingly unaffordable for people on low incomes.
Many charities and NFPs rely on fundraising to keep services afloat. Most fundraising events and activities involve groups of people and will therefore be cancelled for the foreseeable future.
We are therefore recommending:
Immediate recruitment drive and free training to Certificate III level for Individual Support in both Aged and Disability.
Strategy for community organisations to develop and deploy a contingent workforce, share staff etc.
Flexibility in funding agreements for services such as homelessness, family and children, early intervention, community centres etc. Many will have to cease group-type activities so need approval to re-direct funds to alternative activities or to fund alternative forms of delivery. For example, they may need to purchase teleconferencing/video conferencing equipment and licences.
Retention of unspent funds. Most funding bodies require that any funds unspent by 30 June are returned to Treasury. But demand will ramp up when community returns to ‘normal’ and services can use their unspent funds to support community to adjust to life.
Establishment of a Resilient Communities – Support and Connect fund that supplements existing programs and will enable small to medium-sized organisations embedded in their local communities to: expand existing offerings and meet spikes in demand; undertake targeted outreach to connect with people who are most vulnerable and at risk of slipping through the cracks; and/or develop new, tailored offerings – in partnership with the community – that build connections, facilitate recovery and promote psychosocial resilience.
Changes to NDIS rules to allow charging plans for last minute cancellations.
10% increase in NDIS plans to ensure that the 10% Coronavirus increase in service costs does not eat into packages and result in a reduction of services or activities.
A rent subsidy for people and organisations that can no longer afford to pay rent. A moratorium on evictions is welcome, but we cannot have people or organisations accumulating crippling back-rental debt.
Strategies to deal with the impacts of social isolation.
Community service workers, particularly those in aged and disability, perform similar roles as people in the health sector. Many of the measures which have been extended to health workers (free parking, hotel accommodation etc) should be extended to community workers who are providing similar essential services.
Please keep us informed of any issues impacting you and your clients, and any recommendations we can be making to Government on your behalf. Please also reach out if we can offer any help and support in any way.
Stay safe and we’ll look forward to seeing you all again in the future.
Nicky and the team at Community Industry Group.
Our hopes for future Stimulus Packages
April 8, 2020
The Stimulus Packages passed recently have a strong focus on supporting business, something which is very important at a time of falling demand. But community service organisations are struggling with the opposite problem, for many, demand is on the rise. While we are pleased to note the extension of the Business Continuity funding to community organisations, what we really need is long term increases to program level funding.
For many community organisations, demand has been steadily increasing over recent years, as people living on low incomes fall further into poverty and despair. The recent bushfire and flood disasters have placed further pressure on their already strained resources, and demand is already escalating as the impacts of the coronavirus are experienced. As a major employment sector across the region, increasing funding for community service organisations will increase employment and also stimulate the economy.
The other initiative which we would have liked to have seen included in the package is an increase in social housing. With waiting lists for social housing exceeding 10 years in the Illawarra, there is no doubt that substantial increases in social housing stock are required. Building more social housing is a sound way to stimulate the economy as it not only moves people out of homelessness, but also provides jobs during the construction phase.
April 8, 2020
A note on Jobkeeper Payments
The legislation surrounding the Jobkeeper payments of $750 per week for each employee will go before Parliament today. The Australian Government has announced that $130 billion will be available over the next six months to support businesses and charities/not for profits to retain jobs or retain connections with their employees so they can be re-employed when conditions improve.
Most workers at risk of losing their job (or who have lost it since 1 March) will be eligible for a $1500 per fortnight JobKeeper Payment – paid to their employer who will pass it on to the employee. JobKeeper is a flat rate payment for all workers in organisations that meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of their employment status or actual hours of work. Employers will top up the payment for workers who remain employed and who earn more than $1500 per fortnight. Payments will be able to be back- paid to 30 March 2020.
Charities and not for profits will be eligible for the subsidy if:
their organisation has a turnover of less than one billion dollars and their turnover will be reduced by more than 15 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month); or
their organisation has a turnover of one billion dollars or more and their turnover will be reduced by at least 50 per cent relative to a comparable period a year ago (of at least a month).
More information is available here
JobKeeper Payment – Information for employers factsheet.
JobKeeper Payment – Information for employees factsheet.
What you need to know about the Stimulus Packages
April 8, 2020
Last week, both Stimulus Packages announced by the Federal Government were passed through Parliament.
The Packages include:
A $750 one-off payment for social security recipients, including pensioners and concession card holders to be paid late March – mid April.
A payment of $550 per fortnight as a Coronavirus Supplement to both existing and new recipients of JobSeeker Payment (formerly Newstart), Youth Allowance jobseeker, Youth Allowance student, Abstudy, Austudy, Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit. This Supplement will begin in late April for six months.
A second $750 one-off payment for everyone who receives a social security payment but who is not eligible for the 6-month supplement to be paid in July.
People who currently receive a social security payment will automatically receive the extra supports they are eligible for. So if you or your clients are already receiving a social security payment, you do not need to contact Centrelink.
We have been lobbying for many years for an increase to income support payments for job seekers, and the second stage of the Federal Government’s Stimulus Package in particular demonstrates that the $40 a day paid to job seekers under the Newstart Allowance is insufficient to support a reasonable life. This temporary coronavirus supplement of $275 per week is a welcome relief to people who have been struggling to survive on Newstart and Youthstart, but the fight for a permanent increase is not over.
For Community Organisations
Much of the Business Continuity funding which was previously announced for the business sector has been extended to the charity and not for profit sector. NFPs will now be eligible for:
Not-for-profit organisations with a turnover of up to $50 million, will receive a cash payment of up to $100,000. The payment will be worth 100 per cent of the tax withheld from employees’ salary and wages, with a minimum payment of $20,000. It will be paid in the form of cash payments equivalent to 100 per cent of the withholding tax reported by a business over two quarters, beginning in late April. The payments are tax free and will not require new forms to be completed.
Charities registered with the Australian Charities & Not-for-profits Commission will be eligible for JobKeeper Payment if they have a turnover decline of 15% or more. This will apply to all registered charities, including those with a turnover of more than $1 billion. Initially, the payment was only available to charities with turnover less than $1 billion and with a drop in revenue of at least 30 per cent.
Moratorium Must Not Cripple People with Debt
March 31, 2020
Community Industry Group welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of a six month moratorium on evictions as a result financial distress from COVID-19, but cautioned that measures must be taken to ensure that both tenants and landlords are not left with crippling debts.
“The moratorium will be incredibly reassuring for people who are struggling to meet their rental payments,” said Nicky Sloan, CEO of Community Industry Group. “People are feeling particularly anxious at the moment, and with concerns about further job losses and reduced income, some certainty about keeping a roof over their heads will provide a sense of calm in the face of overwhelming unease.”
Community Industry Group are concerned, however, that the announcement comes without any supports such as rental subsidies or rent assistance.
“The Prime Minister’s announcement was somewhat oblique as to how the moratorium will be implemented,” Ms Sloan added. “He has just asked tenants and landlords to sit down together and ‘work it out’.”
The second stage of the Federal Government’s Stimulus Package holds the first acknowledgement that the $40 a day paid to job seekers under the Newstart Allowance is insufficient to support a reasonable life. As part of the Package, Government will increase the Jobseeker Allowance (formerly known as Newstart), and the Youth Allowance Job Seeker payment, through the introduction of a temporary coronavirus supplement of $275 per week.
Community Industry Group welcomed the announcement, but cautioned that the fight to increase Newstart and Youthstart is not over. The temporary payment, which will be paid to both existing and new recipients of the JobSeeker Payment and Youth Allowance jobseeker, as well as to recipients of Parenting Payment, Farm Household Allowance and Special Benefit will only be in place for the next six months.
“There is no doubt that effectively doubling Newstart and Youth Allowance for six months will make an enormous difference to people who are struggling to manage on $40 a day,” said Community Industry Group CEO, Nicky Sloan, “and with job losses expected as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, it will undoubtedly help prevent more people from falling into the poverty trap.”
Click here for a stop the spread poster from NSW Health to put up in your workplace or home.
CHSP grant funding
March 2, 2020
Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) unsolicited proposals for bushfire affected providers
Australia’s bushfires have been devastating for many and the Department of Health has advised they wish to recognise the ongoing effort of CHSP providers in assisting with the bushfire response and recovery in affected areas.
The department is aware the bushfires may have significantly impacted providers’ ability to deliver CHSP services. As such, they would like to remind CHSP providers they may submit an unsolicited proposal for additional grant funding where the provision of services has been significantly impacted. This is for existing CHSP providers and services only and is not available for new services.
CHSP providers may submit a business case outlining the following:
• summary of how the bushfire has directly impacted CHSP service delivery
• capacity for ongoing management of the funds
• information about relevant service types
• requested funding amount for the unsolicited proposal (available until 30 June 2020).
The business case for the unsolicited proposal should be emailed to CHSPprogram@health.gov.au. If providers have any questions about their ongoing CHSP service delivery capacity in fire affected areas, they can contact the Department of Social Services, Community Grants Hub Funding Arrangement Manager in their state or territory.
For other information about bushfire recovery efforts, please visit the National Bushfire Recovery Agency website.
Community Services Mentorship Program Training
March 2, 2020
Community Industry Group mentoring program is based on best practice principles and features tools to guide a safe and effective mentoring program for individuals, teams or organisations.
Mentoring is not a new concept, often occurring spontaneously as informal relationships. In recent years, as growing numbers of people have recognised the power of mentoring, more community organisations, businesses and governments are launching formal mentoring initiatives.
The Community Industry Group program has been designed specifically for the community services sector.
• A half day training session for prospective Mentors and Mentees.
• Mentor and Mentee matching through a questionnaire and
• Support throughout the twelve month mentoring relationship.
• No cost to participate if you are a member.
• Graduation and networking events.
To take part in the program you must attend one of the following training sessions.
Community Industry Group is proud to present this brand new mentorship program designed specifically for our members in the Community Services Industry. We invite you to attend the launch event on Thursday 27 February.
There is no doubt that the beginning of 2020 has brought a great deal of stress and sadness for many. Our heartfelt wishes go out to everyone, especially those who have been personally affected by these devastating fires.
Many of our local community service organisations have been working hard to support the individuals, families, and communities which have been impacted. We recognise the enormity of the work done by community workers and volunteers to offer the practical support, and the personal support needed by so many impacted by the crisis.
We recognise that these services will be needed for many months and years ahead, as we support communities through the crisis, the recovery, the rebuilding, and the future resilience-building phases to come.
There are many resources available to assist across all of these phases and it can seem a little overwhelming, so we have collated many below to help you to continue to keep helping our communities.
Our colleagues at Mountains Community Resource Network developed many practical resources after they supported community after the 2013 fires. Find resources to help individuals here and resources for service providers here. They also have preparedness resources to assist with planning for the future here. Their website has a wealth of information, so please check it out.
Of course Red Cross has expertise in dealing with emergencies, and has many great resources.
Walk With is an online training tool for family, welfare, health and community support workers. The Walk With online training tool translates the lessons learned from the Step by Step experience and integrates these with evidence informed best practice in disaster resilience available here.
Home Care Packages – Key Updates from First Quarter Data Report 2019-2020
January 20, 2020
On 25 November 2019, the Government announced that an additional $496.3 million would be spent on 10,000 home care packages across 2019-20 and 2020-21. This included:
3,000 level 3 packages
2,500 level 4 packages in 2019-20 and;
2,000 level 2 packages
2,000 level 3 packages and;
500 level 4 packages in 2020-21.
The net impact of these changes is that around 44,000 additional packages at a cost of around $2.7 billion have been allocated to the program over the forward estimates since July 2018
There were 28,638 home care approvals in the September 2019 quarter. This was 7.1% (1,893) more than the approvals in the September 2018 quarter (26,745)
The 118,050 people in care at 30 September 2019 represented a 10.6% (11,343) increase from 30 June 2019 (106,707) and a 30.2% (27,404) annual increase from 30 September 2018 (90,646)
48,100 home care packages were released during the September 2019 quarter, with 80.9% (38,900) being offered to people who were not in an interim package
At 30 September 2019, there were 62,942 people seeking a home care package at their approved level, who had not yet been offered access to a lower level package. Of these people, 96.1% (60,495) had been provided with an approval to access support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)
At 30 September 2019, there were 49,295 people who were seeking a home care package at their approved level, who had already been offered a lower level package
Wait times for people entering the National Prioritisation System (NPS) are 3-6 months for a Level 1, or interim Level 1 package, and still 12+ months for Level 2-4 packages
Many people have approvals for both home and residential aged care, and some will choose to take up a residential care place instead of a home care package. At 30 September 2019, 68.3% (76,617) of people in the NPS had dual approvals, having been approved for a permanent place in a residential aged care facility, reflecting their complex care needs, and also seeking a home care package at their approved level
4% of approved home care providers had indicated that they would not deduct an exit amount at 30 September 2019, stable from 41.6% at 30 June 2019
Seven providers published a maximum exit amount of $1,000 or more at 30 September 2019. This count has been gradually trending down over time
At 30 September 2019, the average published maximum exit amount was $222
To read the full Home Care Packages Data Report, click here.
Excess office desks – free to a good home
January 15, 2020
We are moving to a new office soon and as a result have several spare desks that we can’t take with us.
We are offering them for free to a good home!
You need to remove the desk or desks yourself from our office in Oak Flats and there is a stairwell.
They can be dismantled.
Some desks are available immediately and some are not available until after 28/1/2020.
You are welcome to inspect the desks but must make an appointment by calling our office on (02) 4256 4333.
There are also a couple of small drawer units also available.
You can take one or many.
First in basis.
Desks will need to be removed during office hours at a prior agreed time and date.
The staff of Community Industry Group wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season!
Our office will be closed from 24 December 2019 and will reopen on Monday 6 January 2020.
Navigating End of Life Issues Forum and Marketplace
December 8, 2019
We had an excellent turn out of more than 90 people at our latest Navigating Local Services Forum on 28 November 2019. The topic was End of Life Issues and we heard from five keynote speakers plus a great cross section of service providers giving their two minute power pitch.
Priyanka Bhattarai from Flinders University gave an update on the progress of the development of the End of Life Directions in Aged Care Resources website. This is mainly for residential care services but it looks like there is valuable information for everyone and it is continuing to evolve. For more information go to www.eldac.com.au.
Nilda Miranda, Clinical Nurse Consultant from the Palliative Care Service told us about the wonderful services they are able to offer and how Palliative care has evolved in recent years. We are very lucky to have this service covering the area between Helensburgh to Foxground and particularly the fact that there is 24hr support available for patients to receive their services at home. We also learnt that thanks to increased funding there will soon be a specialist bereavement service available too. As Nilda said “We are the most welcome and the least welcome of clinical services” Contact Nilda email@example.com.
Gail Jugow & Monica Sharma from Multicultural Communities Council of the Illawarra talked about their current project. They are engaging with as many different cultural groups as they can to test out the best way to start the conversation about Advanced Care Directives. They had some amusing experiences to share but also some great insights as to how to approach this sensitive topic. They advised that coming at the subject from the perspective of the children and grandchildren can help to break the ice. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Legal issues, wills and estate planning sound like dull subjects but not when presented by Eloise Young from Access Law! Eloise enthusiastically advised us about the importance of having not just a Will but making proper arrangements for Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship. She even read us a poem she is working on ‘Jack and Jill need a Will’. You will have to invite her to your next event or staff meeting to hear the finished product. There are a number of programs for older people to help with the cost of these services including a program through The Council Of The Aging (COTA). Contact Eloise email@example.com or COTA www.cota.org.au for more information.
Finally we heard from Lee-Ann Wein who works professionally in the funeral industry and is also a volunteer at the local community run Tender Funerals. Lee-Ann spoke about the many options available to farewell a loved one. She spoke about some of the unique services that Tender have to offer, from family and friends participating in preparing the body to their resident choir and artists who make beautiful shrouds from soft cotton naturally coloured by flower petals. She also reminded us that funerals do not need to be rushed and that it is important to discuss your wishes in advance because it can give your family relief and comfort if they know what to do when the time comes.
Coordinare – a new End of Life project plus some up coming funding opportunities coordinare.org.au
Lake Illawarra Police Community Program – Next of Kin forms; particularly for isolated and vulnerable people, there is a simple form that you can fill in and lodge at the local police station to assist in times of emergency.
Wollongong Memorial Gardens – Located next to the Nan Tien Temple at Berkeley, burials and ashes interments etc. They are planning a series of information days/Death Cafes next year. http://memorialgardens.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/
Beyond Empathy Illawarra – starting a new arts project, particularly with disadvantaged communities, using podcasts and pictures to share stories of experiences of death and dying. firstname.lastname@example.org
We will advertise our next forum and marketplace in early 2020 on the topic of Navigating the first 2000 days, Early Childhood Services and Supports. If you have a suggestion for a topic for future forums please contact Tessa Parsons email@example.com.
November 26, 2019
Check out all the great work we’ve done in the past financial year!
Representatives from the Illawarra Disability Alliance recently met with Stephen Jones MP to express their concerns about the impact of government changes to Temporary Transition Plan provisions.
The NDIS introduced the Temporary Transformation Payment (TTP) from 1 July 2019 in order to provide additional funding to organisations to assist them to transform their business. It acknowledges the costs involved for organisations to transform their operations and continue viably under the NDIS. TTP can be applied to in-home support and community participant supports whether provided in a centre or in the community (and when provided one-to-one or in groups). In this financial year, it is set at 7.5%, decreasing by 1.5% per year.
Before claiming the TTP-included price, providers must have the agreement of a participant and agree to meet 3 NDIA-set criteria by December 2019 (the main one being to participate in an NDIA-endorsed benchmarking survey). NDIS plans already in existence at 1 July were increased to accommodate the higher TTP-included prices. This was to ensure participants were not disadvantaged.
However, the funding in new plans since 1 July (for either new participants or following a plan review for existing participants) is not based on the TTP-included prices. The only way the TTP-included prices can be charged is if a participant agrees to forgo some hours of what has been determined as their ‘reasonable and necessary’ support needs. NDIS participants should not have to agree to receive fewer hours of support in order for providers to charge the TTP-included prices (which the NDIA believes they need).
This decision by the NDIA needs to be overturned as soon as possible.
The IDA representatives also discussed concerns about the Australian government’s ‘underspend’ on the NDIS and the inappropriate use of these funds to balance the federal budget. The $3.78 billion underspend is not acceptable and should be invested in supporting people with disability and their families and communities around Australia as it was intended. The Australian government has benefited financially from not meeting its own implementation targets with regard to the number of participants in the scheme combined with underspend on approved participant plans. Australia has much to do in order to achieve an accessible and equitable society and this “underspend” should appropriately be used to support developments in this critical arena to provide for the wellbeing, equality and inclusion of people with disability who at this time lag behind on every indicator of health, wellbeing, employment, education and economics.
Finally, members raised the issue of transport in NDIS plans. NDIS participants, particularly in regional and remote areas, are being disadvantaged by lack of access to transport to support their social supports and other activities. If these supports are deemed reasonable and necessary, then transport to make them accessible must also be included in plans.
AGM 2019 Invitation
September 12, 2019
Community Industry Group invites members, supporters and students to our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 7 November 2019, 9:30 for a 10am start at Shellharbour Civic Centre.
Everyone is welcome but only financial members are eligible to vote at the AGM. Please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to check if your membership is current.
Special Guest Speaker: Mark Isaacs
We last heard from Mark in 2015 about his time in Naru and his book ‘The Undesirables’. His latest book is The Kabul Peace House about a community of peace activists in Afghanistan.
For a printable version of the invitation click here.
Shelter NSW has identified five key elements that could underpin a system to deliver on our vision of A secure home for all.
Everyone deserves a secure home to call their own.
A diverse and integrated system provides a variety of options.
All tenures provide dignity, stability and affordability.
Cities, neighbourhoods and homes are built for diversity and inclusion.
Communities are supported and engaged through change.
Shelter NSW has developed a discussion paper to prompt conversations and engagement to build a coherent and persuasive set of messages that are informed by Shelter NSW members and stakeholders. Community Industry Group is partnering with Shelter NSW to seek the input of organisations in the Illawarra region. We want to hear what a secure home for all means to you.
Friday 27 September 2019, 9.30am-12.30pm (morning tea included), Southern Youth & Family Services, 25 Lake Entrance Road, Warilla.
Discussion Group – Adequacy of Newstart and related payments
September 3, 2019
The Senate Standing Committees on Community Affairs has announced an Inquiry into the Adequacy of Newstart and related payments and alternative mechanisms to determine the level of income support payments in Australia. Details of the Inquiry, including the Terms of Reference are available here.
Many of the clients and community members seeking supports from local community service organisations are living on payments such as Newstart and Youthstart. These payments are inadequate to help people get through tough times and into suitable employment.
Our members report increasing levels of demand for supports for basic needs such as food and housing, and increasing levels of desperation in those people who are trying to survive on income which, by definition, puts them under the poverty line. The rate of Newstart has not been increased for 25 years, while the cost of living, especially housing and energy costs, has gone through the roof.
Community Industry Group is seeking our members’ input into a submission to the Inquiry. Please join us for a discussion group from 1:30pm to 3:30pm on Monday 9 September 2019 at our office 1/106B Industrial Rd, Oak Flats. Please notify us of your attendance at email@example.com.
We welcome case studies and stories about how the people you work with are surviving on these payments. Please de-identify any case studies and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We also encourage you to make a submission to the Inquiry. Together, we can ‘Raise the Rate’.
A visit from the Minister
September 3, 2019
Community Industry Group was pleased to host The Hon Gareth Ward MP, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services at a meeting with members of the Illawarra Disability Alliance (IDA) on Friday 30 August 2019.
The Minister spoke at length about his vision for disability services in NSW, and about his role on the Disability Reform Council, a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) forum for member Governments to progress key national reform in disability policy including the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), and to oversee reforms that are implemented through the National Disability Agreement and the National Disability Strategy to support people with disability, their families and carers.
Members of the IDA had the opportunity to raise issues which are impacting on their clients and communities, and on their organisations. The Minister showed a willingness to continue to advocate strongly for people with disability in NSW. Pleasingly, he announced his intention to ensure that accessibility at Unanderra Train Station would be achieved during this term of government.
The Minister also addressed several other matters of concern to the broader community services sector, including his continued lobbying for an increase in indexation for NSW Communities and Justice funded services.
Connecting Communities Conference
September 3, 2019
Community Industry Group were proud to sponsor and to participate in the Local Community Services Association (LCSA) Connecting Communities Conference held at the Novotel Wollongong on 26–28 August 2019.
Highlights of the Conference included the address from The Hon Gareth Ward MP, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services who recognised the value of frontline community work and outlined some of his key policy directions. Particularly pleasing was his commitment to ensuring recontracting of TEI services would begin within the month, and that he had no intention of going to tender for these services.
Day 2 saw a keynote address from Tony Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of Locality in London, and from Gary Groves, Executive Director Their Futures Matter, followed by a lively panel discussion on the topic Getting the Outcomes Right for all Communities in NSW.
Community Industry Group CEO, Nicky Sloan, participated in the Local Solutions for Global Issues Panel Discussion to speak about how the work of local community service organisations contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Marketing and Communications Officer, Sally Hall, ran a lively and engaging workshop on Social Media for Community Organisations. Feedback was incredibly positive, and many participants reported feeling more empowered and skilled to use social media to promote their organisations.
Training Calendar – July to December 2019 Copy
August 14, 2019
Community Industry Group run a wide range of professional development opportunities especially for people who work in the community services sector.
Training sessions for July to December include:
Aboriginal Employment Recruitment and Retention Toolkit Training
Navigating End of Life Issues
The Data Exchange for Targeted Early Intervention
Dementia Awareness Workshop
Autism Intervention in Mainstream
The Illawarra Way – Reablement Pilot Workshop
Work with Diverse People
Get on Board
Volunteer Training Series
Leadership for Not for Profits
Foundations of Trauma Informed Care and Practice
Same but Different
Hypothetical on Older Persons Abuse Prevention for Aged Care Service Providers
Aged Care Forums
For a printable version of our Training Calendar July to December 2019 click here.
Community Campus – we need your ideas!
August 14, 2019
BlueScope has partnered with The Flagstaff Group and Community Industry Group to repurpose several disused buildings and the large parcel of greenspace off Flagstaff Road in Port Kembla into new community focussed facilities.
It is hoped the buildings and surrounding parkland may be revitalised as a Community Campus, which will bring benefits to local community members, and to local community service organisations. As well as a business incubator for entrepreneurs with a disability, the Campus will bring training and meeting opportunities for community organisations, and
outdoor opportunities for community activities.
We are seeking input and ideas from the local community and invite you to an ideas drop in session.
Join us on Monday 26 August 2019 between 1pm-3pm or 6pm-7.30pm on site at the proposed Community Campus, Flagstaff Road, Port Kembla (turn off Five Islands Road) for a cup of tea or coffee, cake and a chat.
This is your opportunity to ask questions and share your ideas with our friendly staff. For more information please contact Community Industry Group on 4256 4333.
Organisations which receive funding from Family and Community Services NSW have been advised that they will receive indexation of just 1.75% for the next financial year. This rate is the lowest in many years, and will have direct impacts on staffing and therefore on service delivery.
The National Wage Decision this year was for an increase of 3% for workers employed under the Award. This means a deficit of 1.25% for wages alone, let alone all of the other costs associated with delivering services.
We urge you to write to the Premier, to the Treasurer, to the Minister for Family and Community Services, and to your local MPs to ask for a review of this indexation rate.
We have drafted template letters below. Please feel free to use these as a basis for your own correspondence. Feel free to change and to personalise them as you see fit.
We need to stand together to ensure that we receive sufficient funds to deliver vital services for vulnerable people.
Navigating Mental Health Services Forum and Market Place
June 25, 2019
There was an overwhelming response to the forum held on Wednesday 19 June 2019 at Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club. More than 150 delegates from a variety of different services and many TAFE students enjoyed the guest speaker presentations and the popular 2 minute Power Pitches from the market place service providers.
Local Elder, Uncle Gerald Brown, from the Illawarra Koori Men’s Group gave a Welcome to Country and spoke about the mental health challenges faced by Aboriginal people, especially the men and boys he sees at the group.
Deputy Commissioner Pamela Routledge spoke about the NSW Mental Health Commission’s Living Well policy document and the current review. She encouraged everyone to visit the website (https://nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au/) to contribute comments to the review. She congratulated Community Industry Group on organising the forum and agreed that one of the biggest issues for sufferers and carers is navigating the system.
Dr Alex Haines, Regional Manager of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative, (www.suicidepreventioncollaborative.org.au) spoke about the work of the group, gave some alarming statistics on local suicide rates and highlighted the important role the media can play with an emphasis on positive stories of recovery.
Dr Vanessa Lee, Chair of RUOK’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Committee also had many distressing statistics from the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community and how historical trauma is deeply entrenched. RUOK has recently launched a campaign and toolkit ‘Stronger Together’ (https://www.ruok.org.au/strongertogether).
Sally Stevenson AM, General Manager of Illawarra Women’s Health Centre (http://womenshealthcentre.com.au) spoke passionately about the high levels of domestic and family violence in this area and the long term impacts of trauma both socially and economically. There is a committee dedicated to promoting the establishment of a Trauma Recovery Centre in the Illawarra and Sally asked for more volunteers to join the campaign.
Acting Inspector Lee Ingmire, Mental Health Officer, Lake Illawarra Police District spoke about the training she provides to police officers and explained the legal responsibilities of police when responding to mental health crisis situations.
All the speakers have very generously agreed to provide their slides from the day. Please remember to credit the source if you are quoting from them or using the information for assignments.
Presentation: Dr Alex Haines, Regional Manager of the Illawarra Shoalhaven Suicide Prevention Collaborative
Presentation: Dr Vanessa Lee, Chair of RUOK’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Committee, Stronger Together
Presentation: Acting Inspector Lee Ingmire, Mental Health Officer, Lake Illawarra Police District
An innovative model of dementia care
June 11, 2019
Dagmarsminde Care Home in Denmark
May Bjerre Eiby is working at the forefront of dementia care in Denmark. Her care home, Dagmarsminde, which opened three and a half years ago is home for 10 residents with severe dementia. May is an RN with a Masters degree and a keen interest in the humanistic model of care. She bases her care on 18th century principles – use hands, skills, nature and the environment, rather than relying on medication. Staff ratios are 1:4 and are all RN’s or EN’s, and they do everything with residents including therapy, cooking, personal care and activities. The only other staff are cleaners who do all the facility’s cleaning.
The facility, which is in a country area, has been designed and furnished to look like a home. It has no institutional furniture. The animals which include dogs, cats, chickens and goats are looked after by the residents with the help of the RNs and ENs. The residents have their own ensuite bedrooms which are only used for sleeping at night. They spend all day in the common area, which has extra beds for afternoon naps. This gives the signal that day time is not time for a big sleep, but just a rest. During nap time the staff have their meetings, or wander around, bake bread or cakes etc so that residents are still aware of activity around them. Family and friends are welcome to visit at any time.
The same program is followed every day. Residents rise between 6am and 9am and everyone has breakfast together (including staff) at beautifully set tables, with fresh baked bread, fresh juices, with music playing. Afterwards, someone reads the newspaper out loud to keep people in contact with society and what’s going on in the world, and those who can will discuss the news together with nurses just like a normal family.
While the routine appears to convene principles of consumer directed care, it has successfully restored normal circadian rhythm for all residents, ensuring a good night’s sleep (no sleeping pills are ever administered) and completely eliminating both sun-downing and wandering during the night.
There are activities every day, some even led by residents, and everyone must go outside for at least an hour every afternoon for fresh air and to maintain good health. The residents are free to move around the home and large gardens at all times as the grounds are fenced and the security gate is coded. A staff member is present at all times.
There is an ongoing focus on learning and on restoring abilities such as walking. Through therapy, including daily sessions in the indoor therapy pool, almost all residents are able to walk without mobility aids. Staff continually comment how well the residents are able to learn and improve through the many activities, both mental and physical.
Technology use is limited in favour of more stimulating activity, and the TV is never turned on until the 7pm news, which may then be followed by a movie. Evenings are more relaxed with signals for winding down to rest such as reading books, singing and massage. Lighting is subdued to indicate time for rest.
The facility has a medication room and a small laboratory to test urine etc, which has been proven to reduce the need to go to hospital. Hospitalisation rate is 0% over the three and a half years the facility has been opened (compared to 42% p.a. in residential care).
The same GP visits all residents once per month and there is a strong focus on reducing or removing medications. The medication rate is 1.4 pills per person day, compared to 10-12 for most people in Denmark with advanced dementia. Most significantly, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants and sleeping tablets are never used.
The main medications used are antibiotics, pain medication or anti-seizure drugs. This reduction in medications has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of falls. Residents may also go off heart medications with the aim of focusing on improved quality of life rather than quantity. Ethics comes into this, including the age of the resident, and it is all discussed with residents and their families. A dentist and podiatrist visit monthly, and other allied health services and social workers are also brought in when needed.
Medications are used at the palliative care stage, generally the last three days of life or when residents can no longer swallow. During this time they are sedated and an RN is with the resident at all times (their office is moved into the room). When a resident passes away the closed coffin is taken into the common room where everyone sings hymns and says their goodbyes.
The model of care is proving effective not only for the residents. Staff turnover is minimal, limited only to when they are leaving the area to relocate. Sick leave is less than 1%, compared to an average 7%.
Another site has now been opened in Copenhagen which is not government funded. As this is in the city it operates slightly differently. It is called a ‘sanatorium’ for treating dementia, and operates as a day program with just a couple of bedrooms which are available for short respite stays.
This is such a beautiful and respectful model for caring for people with dementia.
Free event – Navigating Mental Health Services
May 27, 2019
Community Industry Group is pleased to present a forum for members and other stakeholders to hear the latest developments in the local mental health services system on Wednesday 19 June at Warilla Bowls and Recreation Club.
This free event is particularly targeted to non-mental health service providers, carers/supporters, front line staff in schools, GPs, housing, neighbourhood centres, Job Network providers, multicultural & refugee services, faith communities etc.
Back by popular demand – Mental Health Services participating in the marketplace will have the opportunity to present their two minute ‘Power Pitch’.
The forum will be followed by a light lunch and networking.
Mental Health Service Providers are encouraged to book an information table please contact Tessa on email@example.com or call our office on 02 4256 4333.
Our CEO, Nicky Sloan, took part in the final session of the NCOSS Investing for Good Conference on Thursday 8 May. The Great Debate, moderated by Julian Morrow, (Founder of The Chaser, Giant Dwarf & The Checkout) explored the topic Increasing demand for community services in the context of relatively static government investment in the sector means that rethinking of funding and financing is imperative. Private investment & philanthropic funds have a critical part to play. Do you agree?
Ben Gales, (Executive Director, Economic Strategy Division, NSW Treasury) and Mary Delahunty, (Head of Impact, HESTA) argued for the affirmative, but Nicky and her colleague, Jenna Price (Senior Lecturer Journalism Program UTS & Fairfax columnist) won a resounding victory on behalf of the negative.
Nicky and Jenna argued strongly that the premise of the proposal was flawed in two key ways:
Firstly, that we cannot accept that government can keep funding relatively static, particularly when disadvantage and demand on service providers is increasing. Conversely, we must continue to advocate for increased government investment in community services.
Secondly, while private investment & philanthropic funds can contribute to community service delivery in a meaningful way, we must never put ourselves in a position where we are dependent only on private organisations for the delivery of core community services. That’s government’s role.
The debate followed an unusual format, with introduction of speakers and a brief scene-setting by the moderator. Speakers then presented a 5 minute talk in the affirmative or negative after which the moderator made a brief summation of both positions, then invited the audience to pose a question to any individual on the panel – or to the panel as a whole. At the conclusion of question time, each speaker was invited to present a 1 minute closing statement. By applause from the audience, the debate was emphatically declared for the negative.
Aged Care Forum
May 8, 2019
There are only a few tickets remaining for the Regional Aged Care Forum – Illawarra which is being held on Wednesday 15 May 2019 at Gerroa.
This Regional Forum is aimed at CHSP and HCP Providers and the Regional Assessment Teams.
Calling on the community to support our disability providers at the NDIS Make It Work Rally
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) promises a brighter future for thousands of Australians. But that promise is falling short. Complicated planning processes, lots of red tape and inadequate funding in participants plans are causing problems. Providers and participants are calling on both major political parties to deliver on the promise.
Join disability organisations at the NDIS Day of Action Rally in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
Friday 3 May 2019
Nowra School of Arts, Berry St, Nowra
Premiers Room WIN Stadium, 46 Harbour St, Wollongong
2019 Federal Budget – No relief for the poorest in our region
April 10, 2019
2019 Federal Budget – No relief for the poorest in our region
This year’s federal budget announcement contains little relief for the many vulnerable residents or the hard working community services organisations in our region.
In fact it’s a cruel blow, that while high income earners will receive generous tax cuts, all people on pensions will receive is the $75 one off energy payment. Even this meagre measure has been denied to people on unemployment benefits, and there is once again no increase to Newstart and Youthstart, making it 25 years since any real increase in the Newstart allowance. We must continue to remind our political leaders that keeping people living under the poverty line is not conducive to employment outcomes. It is difficult to look for work while you are concentrating on day to day survival.
There are few bright points for vulnerable people, but there are some Budget initiatives to support ageing in place and enable older people to live well in their own homes. The announcement of a further 10,000 new Home Care Packages is welcome, but while this is a step forward, let us not forget that there is currently a shortfall in excess of 100,000 packages across the country.
There is also an $84m commitment to carer respite. Carers contribute so much to the lives of those they care for but they also contribute to the Australian community. The recognition that they deserve and need some time out is a national acknowledgement for their contribution. Particularly for young carers, this means time to study or work towards their own future.
The investment in mental health services is also welcome. Maintaining good mental health, and being able to access services when people are struggling with mental health issues is a major factor in being able to live a good, productive, and enjoyable life for many people. We only hope that the $460m investment in mental health services will bring additional services to the south east of NSW.
Media Release – Access to Transport
March 12, 2019
Community Industry Group today highlights the impact that not being able to access transport is having on many people’s lives.
Public transport in regional areas falls well short of what is available in metropolitan areas, and Community Industry Group is calling on candidates to commit to measures which will increase affordable and accessible transport options across south east NSW.
Media Release – Affordable Housing a key issue in 2019 NSW election
March 6, 2019
Community Industry Group is calling for access to safe, secure and affordable housing to be recognised as a key driver for social and economic outcomes by candidates in the upcoming NSW election.
“Access to safe, accessible and affordable housing is the number one issue affecting families on low incomes in NSW,” said Nicky Sloan, CEO of Community Industry Group. “The reality is, that with waiting lists for social housing exceeding ten years, many people on welfare or on minimum wage are trying to navigate the private rental market. We need incentives to encourage more affordable private rental properties as well as an urgent investment in social housing.”
“A safe, secure, long term home is a foundation for better social, economic and health outcomes,” Ms Sloan said. “Children are healthier, happier and achieve better educational outcomes when they know they have a secure long-term home to go to. They become less stressed, so their health and behaviour improves. They make friends when they know they have a home to bring them back to, and they won’t be moving away from these friends at short notice.”
We will be asking the 2019 NSW Election candidates to answer questions posed by our members, focusing our efforts on the five top issues that consistently arise from our membership:
– The Right to a Home – Affordable Housing and Homelessness
– Domestic and Family Violence
– Mental Health
– The future of small to medium community service providers
We need specific questions from our members which will be sent to the candidates for comment and/or short case studies (200 words or less) to help illustrate the issues. As we receive the candidates’ responses we will publish them on our website here.
Please email your questions and/or case studies to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
2019 NSW Election Platform
February 11, 2019
Community Industry Group will be keeping you up to date with the 2019 NSW election news, focussing on the issues that affect those working with the community services sector and vulnerable individuals in our community.
This is an important year in the political future of our state and our nation. Having a state election and a federal election in the one year brings the opportunity to highlight to our future representatives and leaders the issues which are important to our members and to their clients and communities, and to seek their commitment to address these issues in meaningful ways.
The community services industry is at the vortex of a cataclysmic collision of reforms and direction changes at present. Last year marked a quarter of a century of service by Community Industry Group (Illawarra Forum) to community organisations and the communities they serve, and our inception occurred at just such a moment.
Our training calendar has been updated for January to June 2019 with a wide variety of training courses designed specifically for people who work in the community services industry.
For a printable version of the calendar click here.
Welcome Additional Funding for Aged Care
February 11, 2019
The Federal Government has just announced a further $662 million investment in aged care, which is in addition to the recent Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) funding announcement late last year, bringing the total amount to approximately $1.3 billion. Both residential and home care providers will also be supported through a new $7.4 million business advisory service, to help improve their operations. With 126,000 people currently on the waiting list for the appropriate level of Home Care Package, the increase in funding is welcome, but we also recognise even more funding is needed to be able to provide the quality aged care services our older community members require.
Additional funding for Home Care services includes:
A further 10,000 home care packages across all levels – at a cost of $282.4 million;
A 1.5 per cent increase to home care supplements for dementia and cognition and veterans – at a cost of $35.7 million; and
New funding to enhance the safety, quality and integrity of home care – at a cost of $7.7 million.
Additional funding for Residential Aged Care services includes:
An immediate one-off $320 million general subsidy boost for residential care providers this financial year, in recognition of the viability issues many providers are facing;
A $4.6 million trial of a new residential care funding tool to replace the Aged Care Funding Instrument; and
A $4.2 million mandatory national aged care quality indicator program. This will make the current voluntary indicators (physical restraint, pressure sores and unexplained weight loss) mandatory. An indicator on medication management will also be investigated and added to the program.
Wishing all our members a happy, healthy holiday season!
Please note our office will be closed from 21/12/18 to 2/1/19.
December 4, 2018
You are invited to our 2018 AGM
We invite you to our 2018 Annual General Meeting on Thursday 13 December 2018, 9.30am for a 10am start at the Ocean Room, The Central, UOW Innovation Campus, Squires Way, North Wollongong. Please RSVP by 7 December 2018 to email@example.com.
For a printable version of the invitation with full details click here.
My Aged Care Updates
November 15, 2018
My Aged Care Updates
To provide greater transparency and assist consumers to more easily compare different service offers, all providers will be required to publish current pricing information on My Aged Care by the end of November 2018. Information comparing prices will become available on the My Aged Care website from April 2019. A government committee is considering putting a cap on home care package administration fees amid claims some providers are charging up to 45 per cent on top of service fees.
Additional home care packages will be funded by reallocating unused residential care funding. The government announced in the budget that it would combine the residential and home care programs from 1 July 2018 to allow for greater flexibility in the allocation of aged care funding, allocating $1.6 billion over four years for the budget measure. Extra high-level packages in the budget followed the government’s decision to convert 17,825 Level 1 and 2 packages into 6,000 high care packages. The latest government data shows that 38,803 people are on the waiting list for a Level 3 or 4 Home Care Package (HCP) with no lower level package assigned, and 56,481 are awaiting their Level 3 or 4 HCP and have been assigned a lower level interim package. The waiting times for approved packages Levels 2-4 are still 9-12 months.
My Aged Care and GP software integration continues to progress, and consumers will be able to register for an assessment via the My Aged Care website by late 2019.
Support for providers in transitioning to the new Aged Care Quality Standards
November 14, 2018
Organisations providing Commonwealth subsidised aged care services are required to comply with the Aged Care Quality Standards (Quality Standards). This includes Home Care services, CHSP, Short Term Restorative Care, Residential Aged Care and the National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program. Organisations will be assessed and must be able to provide evidence of their compliance with and performance against the Quality Standards from 1 July 2019.
The Quality Standards focus on outcomes for consumers and reflect the level of care and services the community can expect from organisations that provide Commonwealth subsidised aged care services and are made up of eight individual standards:
Consumer dignity and choice
Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
Personal care and clinical care
Services and supports for daily living
Organisation’s service environment
Feedback and complaints
A webinar to support service providers to get to know the new standards is scheduled for Friday 30 November at 11am AEDT. To register for the webinar click here.
For information on the Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality & Safety click here.
Free Webinar – The Housing Spectrum
October 30, 2018
Community Industry Group is proud to offer this free webinar on The Housing Spectrum.
This free webinar describes the steps of the housing spectrum (from homelessness to home ownership) and the definition of housing stress. It discusses homelessness, boarding houses, temporary accommodation and various resources.
Tea, Toast and Talk. Don’t miss out!
October 28, 2018
Today is the last day to book in for this event!
Join us for Tea and Toast: Mentally Resilient Workplaces in our office at Oak Flats, Tuesday 30 October 2018, 9:30am – 11:30am, Free event for members $10 for non members.
In support of Mental Health Month across NSW, Community Industry Group will be hosting ‘Tea, Toast & Talk: Mentally Resilient Workplaces’ on Tuesday 30 October from 9.30-11.30am. The event will highlight the importance of workplace wellbeing and resilience for employees of the not for profit sector, and will explore best practices in developing a mentally healthy workplace.
The latest Home Care Packages Data Report reveals that 64,668 people in the National Prioritisation Queue are still waiting for a higher level Home Care Package, 12,427 new people were able to access a home care package over the most recent quarter, and 30,281 new people were receiving support during the period 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018. At 31 March 2018, there were 84,971 people in a home care package.
A further 56,750 people on the queue were either not in, or assigned, a lower level home care package. Of those, it is estimated that around half were accessing CHSP services. Therefore, it is estimated that around 75% of people in the queue are accessing Government subsidised home care support to assist them to remain living in their home.
The efficiency of home care package assignment and the accuracy of the wait-time calculator are reliant on the consistency of home care assessment nationally. Improving this efficiency will include educating people on their option to leave the queue if they do not currently need additional support, noting they will not be disadvantaged if they choose to re-join the queue in future. This could reflect that they are not currently actively seeking home care services, or electing not to take up a higher package if their current package matches their current care needs. There is no disadvantage for the person if their care needs increase and they later choose to opt back in. An individual’s place on the national home care queue is based on their original approval date and priority.
It is also important to note that not everyone on the queue will enter home care. Many people have approvals for both home and residential aged care (approximately 75%), and will choose to take up a residential place instead of a home care package. However, they may prematurely enter residential aged care because their needs can no longer be met at home without the allocation of a satisfactory level Home Care Package.
The Community Industry Group recently worked with Opal Residential Aged Care Denhams Beach, Red Cross and the NSW Health Dementia Behaviour Assessment & Management Service to pilot an Individualised Music Intervention Program.
People with dementia maintain the ability to process music long after their ability to process verbal communication has deteriorated, and personalised music can be an intervention that provides a range of important benefits to individual residents, their family and staff.
These guidelines were collated to enable other aged care service providers to offer similar programs.
You will no longer need to lodge annual reports with Fair Trading or pay the annual lodgement fee. This applies if your association has not yet lodged your NSW annual summary for your current financial year end by 1 October 2018.
You mustlodge your association’s Annual Information Statement (and financial statements if required) with the ACNC for each financial year. The change only applies to annual financial reporting obligations.
All incorporated associations must continue to notify Fair Trading of any changes, such as the association’s name, details, constitution or public officer.
If your association is not on the ACNC charities register, your reporting obligations do not change. You must continue to lodge all annual reporting with Fair Trading and pay the lodgement fee.
The change only applies if the association continues to be registered with the ACNC.
The change is not retrospective. For associations that must lodge their annual summary before 1 October 2018, separate annual reporting must be submitted to the ACNC and Fair Trading.
Associations must hold their AGM within 6 months of their financial year end date. All financial statements must be submitted to members at this meeting. For more information about your reporting obligations, visit the Running an association page on our website.
If the ACNC has agreed to withhold or remove any of the charity’s information from the ACNC register (e.g. revenue or address), then the exemption does not apply.
NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the provision of disability services in NSW
NSW Legislative Council Inquiry Portfolio Committee No.2 – Health and Community Services announced an inquiry into the provision of disability services across New South Wales following the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. You can find details of the Inquiry here.
Community Industry Group held a discussion group, which was well attended by representatives from key disability service providers across the region, and prepared a submission to the Inquiry. What we heard from our members is that, while all providers were committed to the principles of the NDIS in providing choice and control for people with disability, the transition to NDIS has not been without its problems for both providers and participants. Read our submission here.
August 28, 2018
Today we released a special bulletin with information on the Stronger Communities Grants Program and the Shellharbour Child Safe Workshop.
Community Industry Group is proud to offer this free workshop in conjunction with the Office of the Children’s Guardian and Shellharbour City Council. The workshop will help you understand and implement Child Safe principles in your workplace.
Tuesday 16 October 2018, 10 am to 4.30pm
Shellharbour Civic Centre Auditorium
76 Cygnet Avenue, Shellharbour City Centre
Participants will learn about:
• Creating a child safe culture
• Codes of conduct
• Situational prevention and effective risk management
• Recruitment and selection tips
• Obligations under the Working With Children Check
• Complaints management techniques
Participants will receive a workbook with helpful information and templates and a certificate of attendance.
Places are strictly limited. Click here to book your space now.
The Nous Group were engaged by the Department of Health in early 2017 to conduct a comprehensive review of Wellness & Reablement (W&R) approaches within the home care sector, including CHSP services, Home Care Packages, Transition Care, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Programme and Short Term Restorative Care.
A summary of these consultations is now available, and key findings include:
There is strong support for W&R approaches, and some great examples are emerging across the country. However, W&R approaches are not yet deeply embedded or consistently applied across the home care sector.
Australia is home to international W&R trailblazers, with Victoria and WA already having W&R embedded in their programs for some time now.
A lack of financial incentives is a constraint for some providers.
Implementation progress varies across the five home care service types.
Culture change remains the key challenge, with aged clients being the least prepared of all those involved in supporting W&R.
The review heard consistently that, if W&R approaches are to be embedded, addressing the attitudes and concerns of consumers and carers will be critical. Despite the challenges, the review’s consumer survey responses also indicated a desire among consumers to learn about W&R, with 65% of respondents saying they would like to know more. This suggests that well-designed communications would find a ready audience.
Christine Racar, Policy and Project Officer, recently attended the Filipino social group at Figtree Community Hall to talk about My Aged Care. After group discussion and many questions a wonderful lunch was served.
In 1988, Rebecca Hansen, along with two others who were all Officers of the Australian Philippine Association Illawarra Inc. (APA) started a social group. The group started meeting at the old office of Illawarra Migrant Resource Centre at Rawson Street, Wollongong. Fifteen people attended the first meeting and one of the males from this group is now ninety three and still attends.
These days the group meets at Figtree Community Hall and has grown to 35-40 financial members with approximately 20-25 in attendance on monthly meetings. The social aspect continues (including bus trips) along with information sessions and for new immigrants how to settle into the community. Everyone brings a plate of food to share for lunch. As there is no government funding the group also undertake fundraising at different times of the year.
Members of the senior group APA Golden Group of Illawarra pictured above from the left, Agapita Dorninger, Assistant Coordinator, Cora Ibasco, original member and present treasurer of APA, Rebecca Hansen, Coordinator.
August 15, 2018
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Wellness & Reablement Update
August 7, 2018
Wellness & Reablement Update
With Wellness & Reablement (W&R) now an official requirement of all CHSP contracts, providers need to start measuring how they are supporting clients through a W&R approach to services. On 31 October each year, providers will need to submit an Annual Wellness Report covering assessment, support planning and service delivery. A new Wellness & Reablement Reporting Template will be distributed to providers by the end of August, so you will have a better idea of what information the Department of Health requires.
The Government have allocated $5 billion over 5 years for the More Choices for a Longer Life Package, and $29.2 million of this funding will be used to promote independent living, with a reablement focused assessment model being trialled across four RAS locations over a 2-year period. Training and support for the trial RAS sites will be provided, based on the successful WA Active Assessment Model, which includes an initial reablement stage prior to referral for ongoing service delivery. Concurrent evaluation will be conducted throughout the trial period to assess the effectiveness of the revised assessment model, comparing the results of client outcomes between trial and non-trial regions.
The Department of Health will also be developing a range of resources and supports to assist service providers, as well as older Australians and their families and carers to better understand the benefits of W&R approaches to care. Community Industry Group will continue to work with providers to embed W&R within their organisations and service culture.
To support more equitable payment for services across the aged care system, new CHSP Client Contribution Guidelines will also be available in the near future.
For further information on implementing a Wellness Approach, please click here for the ‘Living Well at Home’ CHSP Good Practice Guide.
July 24, 2018
As part of our NAIDOC week celebration at Community Industry Group, we decided to collate some information on some of the female leaders, activists and social change advocates who are being honoured in this year’s NAIDOC Week theme – Because of Her We Can.
Barangaroo was an Aboriginal fisherwoman, from the Cameragaleon group, who lived around Manly and North Harbour and was one of the most powerful figures in Sydney’s early history.
Cammeraygal women were highly skilled at fishing from their simple bark canoes with intricate crescent fishing hooks carved from a shell, and bark fibre lines weighted with stones. They lit fires on clay pads for cooking and warmth, and cared for small children and babies in rough surf while catching fish. As primary providers for their people, they were respected and powerful within their societies.
Barangaroo’s first husband and two children died of smallpox. She later went on to become the second wife of Bennelong, a man who acted as a go-between for the Aboriginal people and the British colonists. Barangaroo fiercely opposed her husband’s interactions with the British and was very outspoken about the fact, refusing to visit the Governor with her husband. Bennelong spent considerable time in the British settlement in Sydney while Barangaroo maintained her way of life with her people.
In 1791, when Barangaroo became pregnant to Bennelong, he wanted her to give birth in a British established hospital in Sydney but she refused, instead giving birth on Country, alone, to a daughter, Dilboong. Barangaroo died shortly after and was buried in Governor Phillip’s garden (in the area now known as Circular Quay). The baby only lived for a few months.
Years later, Bennelong became disillusioned with the violence and broken promises and abandoned his attempts at smooth diplomacy. He should have listened to his wife.
Celuia Mapo Salee
Celuia Mapo Salee was part of a group of Meriam people (Murray Islanders in The Torres Strait) who lodged a case with the High Court of Australia for legal ownership of the island.
In May 1982, five Torres Strait Islanders: Eddie Koiki Mabo, Sam Passi, Reverend Dave Passi, James Rice and Mrs Celuia Mapo Salee, launched a legal challenge that altered the legal and social understanding of the impact of settlement on traditional Australians and their legal relationship to land, which became known as the Mabo case.
Through the Queensland Supreme Court and the High Court of Australia, they sought legal recognition of their traditional lands in the Torres Strait, land that had been in their families for countless generations, yet under Australian law was deemed to belong to the Crown. The applicants sought a declaration that the annexation of Mer by Queensland in 1879 had not extinguished native title in respect of its lands and waters.
The Mabo case was heard over ten years and generated 4000 pages of transcripts of evidence. Information such as the structure of traditional family property boundaries drawn on a map by Eddie Koiki Mabo in the 1980s played a key role in the evidence presented by the plaintiffs. During this period, three of the plaintiffs passed away, including Eddie Mabo, Celuia Mapo Salee and Sam Passi.
On 3 June 1992, six of the seven judges agreed that the Meriam held traditional ownership of the lands of Mer. This decision led to the passing of the Native Title Act 1993, providing the framework for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to make claims of native title.
The Mabo decision delivered a measure of justice to Indigenous Australians by recognising their rights to their traditional lands.
Dr Thancoupie Gloria Fletcher (Thanakupi), AO
Thancoupie was born in 1937 as Gloria James near Napranum, Weipa on the western coast of Cape York, Queensland. Thanakupi, or wattle flower, was birth ritual name. Her early years were spent as a pre-school teacher and artist. In her mid-thirties she moved from her remote home in the Cape to the urban environment of Sydney.
She began her training at the East Sydney Technical College under the guidance of famed Australian ceramicists and artists including Peter Rushforth, Peter Travis, Derek Smith, Joan Grounds, Bernard Sahm, Mollie Douglas and the great Japanese potter Shiga Shigeo.
Thancoupie produced more than 20 solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas, and with assistance from her close friend Jennifer Isaacs exhibited at many of Australia’s finest commercial galleries. She spent much of the last 20 years of her life mentoring aspiring artists from communities in Far North Queensland, Arnhem Land, the desert, and the Tiwi Islands, as well as influencing Indigenous and non-Indigenous students enrolled in art and professional development courses.
As a community leader she founded the Weipa Festival, and inspired many generations by running holiday programs to teach bush knowledge and art to younger generations.
Thancoupie passed away in 2011 leaving a modest sum in her will for a fund to support emerging young Aboriginal artists and is offered to Indigenous youth of the Western Cape York communities.
Fanny Cochrane Smith
Fanny Cochrane Smith was born in 1834 at the Wybalenna Aboriginal Mission, Flinders Island, Tasmania to mother Tanganooturra and father John Smith. Fanny was taken from her home at the age of seven and put into domestic service in the household of Robert Clark, the Catechist of Flinders Island where she suffered conditions of neglect and brutality.
In 1847 the 46 survivors of the Aboriginal mission were removed to Oyster Cove. Fanny was placed into domestic service in Hobart, but returned to her mother and sister soon after. In 1854 she married William Smith an ex-convict and had 11 children.
After Trugernanner’s death in 1876, Fanny renewed her claim to be the last surviving Tasmanian Aboriginal. In recognition of this claim, she received 300 acres of land and an increase to her annuity of 50 pounds.
Proud of her Aboriginal identity she continued to hunt and gather bush foods and medicines, and dive for shellfish. She also moved with confidence in the European world and was an early convert to Methodism. Services were held in her kitchen until a church was built on land she donated.
In 1899 & 1903 she recorded songs on wax cylinders: these are the only audio recordings of any Tasmania’s Indigenous Languages. Fanny died in Port Cygnet 1905, her voice and story lives on through her recordings housed at the Tasmanian Museum & Art Gallery.
Justine Saunders was born on 3 January 1953, one of seventeen children, part of Keppel Island’s Kanomie clan. She was removed from her family and taken to a convent school at a young age. As a teenager, she left Queensland for Sydney to pursue a career as an actor.
Justine got her first professional acting job in 1974, at a time where there was little work for indigenous actors. Justine fought against the stereotypes. She was sassy and determined and became a role model, particularly for young women.
She came to national and international prominence with roles in The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (1978), the TV mini-series Women of the Sun and the movie The Fringe Dwellers. She also appeared in No. 96, Prisoner, Blue Heelers, Farscape and MDA. Her theatre credits were also extensive including the Last Cab to Darwin with Barry Otto in 2004.
Saunders played a prominent part in establishing the Black Theatre and the Aboriginal National Theatre Trust. She famously handed back her Order of Australia in 2000 to highlight Prime Minister John Howard’s attitude to Aboriginal reconciliation.
Saunders died of cancer on 15 April 2007 leaving behind a lasting legacy having paved the way for future Aboriginal actors.
Mrs Rose Richards
Rose Richards, a proud Yalangi and Tagalaga Elder from far north Queensland, was working as an Aboriginal Welfare Officer with Cairns Base Hospital during the 1970’s when she became aware of abnormally high instances of Aboriginal children from Far North Queensland requiring treatment.
After being discharged following long term hospitalisation these children were taken back to their communities where follow-up treatment was inadequate or impossible, meaning they became patients once again.
When it became obvious that an appropriate place to house patients was urgently required Rose began taking these patients into her own home. She sought funding for a halfway house with Mick Miller and Clarrie Grogan. In 1983, the funding was approved and later became known as Rosie’s Farm. The new purpose built complex in Cairns can now house up to 36 clients.
Oodgeroo was born Kathleen Ruska in 1920 on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah). She dreamed of being a nurse, but went to work as a domestic servant in Brisbane. Like many Aboriginal servants, she received her board and a small stipend – much less than white domestic staff. She enlisted in the Women’s Army Service in World War II, where she was trained in signals and reached the rank of lance corporal.
In the 1940’s she joined the Communist Party of Australia, because it opposed racial discrimination. In 1943, she married Aboriginal man Bruce Walker and had a son, Denis. After the marriage ended, she raised her son as a single parent, and later had a second child. She continued to work as a cleaner and taking in ironing to support her family.
Her time in the Communist Party enabled her to pursue writing, and after she left the Party, she joined the Brisbane Realist Writers Group. Her 1964 book, We Are Going was the first poetry publication by an Aboriginal Australian. She wrote many acclaimed poetry anthologies, and two children’s books.
She became a leader in the Federal Council for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement, and the Queensland Aboriginal Advancement League. She campaigned widely for citizenship rights and equality. Her campaigning, along with that of other great Aboriginal leaders, lead to the 1967 referendum.
Kath Walker returned to Minjerribah in 1971, and established a facility for cultural learning. She adopted the Noonuccal name, Oodgeroo in 1988, and died in 1993. She is remembered as a great writer, Indigenous rights leader, anti-nuclear campaigner, and cultural teacher. Her poetry lives on, and some examples are available here.
Pearl Mary Brown Gibbs was born in La Perouse, Sydney, in 1901.
In 1930, Gibbs helped run a camp to support unemployed Aboriginal workers, in 1933 she organised a strike for Aboriginal pea-pickers. She was one of the first members of the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA), and attracted large crowds when she gave speeches in Sydney.
She was involved with organising the Day of Mourning protests in 1939, which at the time was the most significant Aboriginal civil rights demonstration in Australia.
She acted a spokesperson for the Committee for Aboriginal Citizen Rights, a group that was set up to carry on the work of the Day of Mourning Congress. Later she became secretary of the APA, a position she held until 1940.
In 1941, Gibbs made the first radio broadcast by an Aboriginal woman, on 2WL in Wollongong. Her speech was on Aboriginal civil rights, and was carefully scripted to be allowed to air. In 1960, Gibbs set up a hostel in Dubbo to care for the families of Aboriginal hospital patients. From 1954 to 1957, Gibbs was the only Aboriginal member of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, and was the only woman to ever serve on the board.
Gibbs continued to be politically active, including supporting the establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. She died in Dubbo in 1983.
Discussion Group – Inquiry into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme
July 23, 2018
Inquiry into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the provision of disability services in New South Wales.
The NSW Legislative Council Committee for Health and Community Services has announced an Inquiry into the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the provision of disability services in New South Wales. You can find the Terms of Reference here.
Community Industry Group will collate a submission to the Inquiry, and we are keen to have input from our members, providers, carers and participants.
We will be holding a discussion group to inform our submission at 9am on 31 July 2018 at Interchange Illawarra, 81 Kenny St, Wollongong NSW 2500. We encourage you or your representative to attend.
Standing Committee on State Development Inquiry into Regional development and a global Sydney
July 10, 2018
The report of the Standing Committee on State Development into ‘Regional development and a global Sydney’ has now been released.
Community Industry Group prepared a submission to the Inquiry, and appeared twice before the Committee to give evidence. We are pleased to see that much of our evidence has been included in the report, and that it has contributed to many of the recommendations.
The report is available on the Committee’s website, along with submissions, transcripts of evidence and other documents associated with the inquiry.
Affordable Housing among the missing in the ‘cost of living budget’
June 26, 2018
Community Industry Group were eagerly awaiting the release of the so-called ‘cost of living’ budget on 19 June 2018. However, despite a few bright moments, the budget largely holds little for community service organisations, or for people living on low incomes.
Access to safe, accessible and affordable housing is the number one issue affecting families on low incomes and vulnerable people in South East NSW but there is little in the budget to address the issue. While we once again welcome the extension of the Social and Affordable Housing Fund in the 2018/19 budget, the reality is that many people on welfare or on minimum wage are trying to navigate the private rental market. We need incentives to encourage more affordable private rental properties as well as an urgent investment in more social housing.
It’s great that the 2018/19 budget holds a further $61.3 million for the whole of government homelessness strategy, but we would argue it is much better to implement measures to stop people becoming homeless in the first place. The trauma and stress associated with becoming homeless can have devastating impacts on individuals and families. What NSW needs is safe, secure, long-term housing solutions with adequate support services to keep people from falling into homelessness.
Community Industry Group are pleased to see the investment in early childhood education in the budget, and the commitment to pre-school opportunities for children as young as three. There is much evidence to suggest that good quality early childhood education can have significant impacts in improving the prospects of disadvantaged children. This extends beyond the educational advantages, because attending pre-school can also improve connectivity to other services and to community and this could have major outcomes for areas like the Shoalhaven, where almost 1 in 5 children live below the poverty line. However, education is not the only driver of positive change. We need more investment in early intervention programs to support families and communities. Investing in early intervention programs including capacity building and community development programs could prevent families slipping into crisis, and reduce disadvantage – as well as reducing the number of children and young people entering the child protection and Out of Home Care system.
Finally, while Community Industry Group welcomes the commitment to road infrastructure in the region, we once again highlight the need for greater investment in an effective and efficient public transport system for the Illawarra, Shoalhaven and South East NSW. Affordable and accessible transport is, without doubt, one of the main barriers to employment and training in the region. The investment in TAFE NSW, and in promoting apprenticeships by waiving fees, could offer major opportunities for our many unemployed young people but we need public transport to enable them to take advantage of these opportunities.
Community Industry Group Inc. is seeking a dynamic and passionate Project Officer to implement a range of short-term projects.
We are a not for profit peak body which supports community organisations, promotes industry expertise and pursues social justice issues in South East New South Wales, with offices in Oak Flats and Batemans Bay.
We’re a membership based organisation which offers training courses and conferences specifically designed for people employed within the community services industry. Our aim is to improve outcomes for the region’s disadvantaged communities and build a strong and informed community service industry.
Our staff enjoy flexible work hours, a friendly office environment, rewarding projects with clear objectives, managerial support and mentoring.
The Project Officer will work on a range of projects as determined by the CEO. We are looking for someone with an enthusiastic can-do attitude. Experience with social housing tenants, or within the housing industry, would be looked upon favourably.
Click here for full details and the information package.
June 13, 2018
NAIDOC Art Exhibition – Because of her we can
Community Industry Group is supporting an art exhibition in Wollongong featuring artwork by Coomaditchie Aboriginal Artists Corporation artists (including Lorraine Brown, Narelle Thomas and Amy Day).
The exhibition is located in the Curio Gallery, Church Street, Wollongong (opposite David Jones carpark entrance) and will be on display until the end of July.
June 13, 2018
On Tuesday 5 June 2018, Community Industry Group staff members Amadis and Tessa joined board members Danna, Marlene and Alice as guests of the Sisters Cancer Support Group (www.scsg.org.au) for their Iftar Dinner at Dapto Ribbonwood Centre. Everyone in attendance was made to feel very welcome and enjoyed the meal of soup, chicken, rice, salad and sweets prepared by the group and their supporters.
Ramadan 2018 occurs from 17 May to 15 June. Traditionally it is a period of spiritual and inner reflection. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and it is during this time that Muslims fast (sick people, travellers, women in certain conditions and children are exempt from the fast). The daily period of fasting starts at the breaking of dawn and ends at the setting of the sun. The usual practice is to have a pre-fast meal “Suhoor” before dawn and a post-fast meal “Iftar” after sunset.
Iftar dinners are meant to be enjoyed in the company of others. Muslims break their fast in the company of not only their family and friends, but also with people whom they have never met before. Joining together with other Muslims and non-Muslims at the Iftar table increases feelings of inclusiveness and belonging.
Aged Care Updates
May 28, 2018
A number of positive changes are on the way for our aged care system, thanks to recent Federal budget allocations and the ongoing evolution of My Aged Care (MAC). Whilst the increased Home Care Package allocation is not enough to meet the demand, it is nevertheless welcome. The Department of Health have also allocated funds for MAC system navigation support, which is something many of us have been advocating for. Again, the amount allocated is not huge, however hopefully the pilot projects will demonstrate the benefit and wider need for this vital, ongoing support.
Here’s a summary of key beneficial changes:
A further 14,000 level 3 & 4 Home Care Packages. In addition to the 6,000 packages released in the Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, this takes the total up to 20,000 over the next 4 years. It is estimated that 8,000 will be available over the course of the 2018-2019 financial year
13,500 Residential Aged Care places
775 Short Term Restorative Care places
$40 million over 5 years for Regional, Rural & Remote (RRR) communities, for building improvements, maintenance and infrastructure
$105m allocated to expand services to the Indigenous community in RRR locations
Streamlined National Screening & Assessment Form (NSAF), due for release in June 2018
Aged Care system navigation pilots to enhance face-to-face support across Australia; 30 aged care information hubs, 20 community hubs (peer-to-peer support), 6 specialists offering one-on-one support for vulnerable people, 6 Financial Information Support Officers in DHS
Integrated national assessment workforce combining ACAT & RAS from 2020
$29.2m for a revised reablement assessment model in CHSP: Trialed in 4 RAS sites, National evaluation
$5.3 million over four years from 2018-2019 for the development of technological solutions to support people living with dementia
$22m allocated to fund trials of specialist elder abuse services to protect vulnerable Australians
$300,000 allocated for an impact study to look into ‘funding following the consumer’ rather than being given to service providers
$50 million over 2 years from 2018-2019 to assist Residential Aged Care providers to implement the new Aged Care Quality Standards. However, Home Care providers will not receive any funding to support the transition to the new standards
The Department of Health are in the process of issuing new CHSP Agreements for 2018-2020, and these are being emailed to service providers.
Service Providers submitting an annual report including wellness and reablement outcomes on 31 October each year
From 1 July 2018, the department will be undertaking an internal audit of up to 10 per cent of service provider’s service delivery data on My Aged Care and the Data Exchange. The audit will assist the department to better understand CHSP client pathways and to review whether the services delivered are assisting clients to meet their independence and wellness related goals as agreed in their support plans
All clients currently receiving CHSP services who are not registered with MAC will need to be registered in the system
Updated CHSP Programme Manual: A new chapter on implementing wellness & reablement, Clearer flexibility provisions, Clearer guidance on CHSP interactions with other programs
This year’s budget announcement once again contains a mixed bag for the region’s community services organisations and for its many vulnerable residents. We welcome Budget initiatives to support ageing in place and enable older people to live well in their own homes, such as the announcement of a further 14,000 new high level Home Care Packages over four years. Community Industry Group has been lobbying for an increase in Home Care Packages for some time, and while this is a step forward, we should not forget that there is currently an estimated shortfall of 104,000 packages across the country.
The commitment of $146m towards improving aged care in rural, regional and remote Australia is also welcome, as is the commitment to ensure more older Aboriginal people are able to receive culturally sensitive accommodation.
The investment in mental health services is also a positive outcome, but once again fails to fulfil all the needs of this sector. The recognition of the mental health needs of older people in residential aged care has resulted in an $83m investment in psychosocial services in residential aged care, and the budget includes the announcement of a pilot program to support socially isolated older Australians to connect to their communities.
Sadly, some of the most urgently needed budget measures were once again ignored. There was nothing in this budget to address homelessness or increase the supply of affordable housing and no mention of the much-needed increases to Newstart and Youthstart. The reality is that keeping people living under the poverty line is not conducive to employment outcomes. It is difficult to look for work while you are concentrating on day to day survival.
One good and spontaneous response to the budget has been the rise of the ‘KeepMy10Dollars’ hashtag on Twitter which shows the resounding support ordinary people have for an increase to income support for people who are unemployed. It is heartening to see that Australian people on middle incomes would rather forgo their meagre tax break in order to ensure a better life for people who are currently subsisting on these welfare payments.
We issue a free fortnightly e-newsletter full of community service industry information, upcoming events, training courses and positions vacant.
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For more information contact Sally Hall, Marketing and Communications Officer, on 02 4256 4333.
May 1, 2018
The latest Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot available here shows that renting in the private market is still unaffordable for people on government income support. For people on low incomes, the reality is that they must often choose to go without essentials like food or medication just to have a roof over their head.
This year’s snapshot report reveals that there are no properties available for rent across the whole of the Illawarra, South East NSW or in the capital region, which are affordable for a single person, or a single person with one child, living on Newstart or Youthstart Allowance. This includes shared accommodation.
Across Sydney, Illawarra and whole of South East NSW, there were only 26 properties suitable for a single person living on the aged pension, the majority of these in the South East and capital region of NSW.
Overall for people on low incomes, including singles and couples earning minimum wage, the opportunities to find somewhere to rent which is appropriate and won’t push them into housing stress are minimal. We need all three levels of government to commit to strategies which will support more social housing, more affordable rental properties, and the opportunity for people on low incomes to own a home.
Care Worker Wellbeing
May 1, 2018
Care workers across the aged and disability sectors support our most vulnerable community members with compassion and skill. Justine Evesson and Sarah Oxenbridge from Employment Research Australia have compiled an excellent report and practice guide for workers and managers to better understand how they can support each other and prevent undue stress and burnout for carers. By taking better care of their employees, organisations also reduce staff turn-over, additional time and resources spent on recruitment & training and can provide more consistent quality of care for their clients.
The most commonly experienced stressful impacts on care workers include:
Emotionally demanding and complex clients
Poor worker management such as insufficient and variable work hours, rostering issues or lack of open and responsive communication
Compromised quality of care for clients due to insufficient staff numbers or time allocated for the client’s needs
Low pay rates
Lack of respect and recognition for the valuable care work undertaken
Employer practices that can mitigate these impacts and improve job quality and satisfaction include:
Supportive and receptive management and administration staff with an understanding of what care workers do on a day-to-day basis
Ongoing respectful and responsive communication
De-briefing sessions for staff post stressful client encounters
A buddy-system for care workers to support each other
Better use of available technology to facilitate transparent communication and organisation
Rosters that are responsive to both client and employee needs
Equitable distribution of work hours across care workers
Encouraging care workers to take leave and have time to renew their natural capacity for caring
Above award pay rates
Bringing care workers together for paid meetings and important connection time with each other
Encouraging and acting on client care improvement suggestions from care workers
The full report and excellent guide for reducing care worker stress can be found here Report and Guide.
Navigating Mental Health Services Forum
April 17, 2018
Over 150 people attended the Navigating Mental Health Services forum on 11 April 2018 at Shellharbour Civic Centre to hear Deputy Commissioner Karen Burns from the NSW Mental Health Ombudsman’s office and speakers from the Local Health District, Coordinare, Grand Pacific Health and the NDIS Stakeholder Engagement team.
Karen spoke about ‘Living Well’, a Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024, adopted by NSW Government and the current work of the commission reviewing Strategic Framework for Suicide Prevention in NSW, Lived Experience Framework, Review of Headline Indicators and Community Based Mental Health Project.
George and Shane from Illawarra Shoalhaven Community Mental Health Team spoke about the services offered by the Local Health District including the 1800 triage number, acute care, case management and special services for different age groups.
Dr Rebecca Sng, Manager Primary Mental Health at Grand Pacific Health spoke about being a Not-for-Profit organisation providing physical and mental health services. GPH has hubs at Wollongong, Nowra and Shell Cove as well as rural locations such as Moruya, Bega, Queanbeyan and Goulburn. They provide clinics with psychologists at Shellcove and Nowra, Headspace (Young People 12-25) in Wollongong and Nowra plus Partners in Recovery services. They also have Suicide prevention programs and Child and Family mental health programs.
Alanna Hector from Coordinare described the Primary Health network shift to stepped care. Their objectives are to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of services, particularly for those at risk of poor health outcomes and Improve coordination of care to ensure people receive the right care in the right place at the right time. Their goal is to effect change from a health care system which is fragmented, hospital-centric and designed to provide episodic treatment, to ‘one’ coordinated system that better supports people with long term and complex conditions, and is financially sustainable. They will be consulting with the community on the regional mental health and suicide prevention plan which will be on the website: www.coordinare.org.au
Leisa Markey, Stakeholder Engagement for NDIS spoke about Psychosocial Disability and the NDIS. She described the recovery approach and the NDIS, eligibility and access to the NDIS for people experiencing psychosocial disability, functional impact v’s symptoms and the mental health sector and the NDIS. She explained what funds can and cannot be claimed for and encouraged sufferers, their advocates or carers to discuss their circumstances with an NDIA provider. The domains of impact the NDIA requires information on are: mobility, communication, social interaction, learning, self-care, self-management. NDIS funded supports must address the impact of a functional impairment and not the underlying symptoms of a mental health condition.
There was a video presentation by Way Ahead (https://youtu.be/sI1qzVNRY5g) followed by a panel discussion of questions from the audience. In-between the main speakers 15 local services provided two minute Power Pitches. A marketplace for attendees to gather further information to take back to their clients and services was also held with lunch and networking. We thank our co-hosts Shellharbour City Council.
Reactions to the day were very positive. Community Industry Group have made a commitment to continue to pass on information and links to the proposed online consultation with The NSW Mental Health Ombudsman.
Navigating Mental Health Services – Options & Referrals for non – mental health service providers
Join us for this half day event which will engage, inform and advise non-mental health providers including community service organisations to understand the mental health system, in order to support their clients more effectively.
Participants will go away with an understanding of:
the layers of the mental health system
the customer journey and how to find services
how to refer clients into the system
the NDIS effect
The event will also include:
‘Power pitch’ sessions from local providers to advise you of their services.
Marketplace stalls for a chance to meet and network.
Community Industry Group was proud to partner with Big Fat Smile to bring this important event to the Illawarra Region on 9 March 2018.
Participants heard from Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM, who spent five years as a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission, and Steve Kinmond, Deputy Ombudsman & Community and Disability Services Commissioner with Ombudsman NSW.
The full day event gave attendees the opportunity to hear about the findings and recommendations from the Royal commission, to understand the roles of the National Children’s Commissioner and the Deputy Ombudsman, and explore how providers in the region could work together to develop and implement best practice in the protection of children and vulnerable individuals. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions in many different ways, and the day culminated in a facilitated workshop to explore how we can work together as a region to keep children and families safe.
Always wanted to work at Community Industry Group?
We currently have positions vacant for Policy & Project Officers.
Part- time (21 hr pw), Contract to 30 June 2020
SCHADS Grade 4
Community Industry Group is seeking experienced and passionate people. These varied roles will support community services organisations to build their quality and capacity both at organisational level and collectively to improve outcomes for clients.
Department of Health Webinar Updates for Aged Services
February 20, 2018
The latest Department of Health Webinar Updates for Aged Services were released on 14 February 2018. See our summary below:
My Aged Care Operational Update – Release 10, December 2017, improvements:
Changes to reduce clients having their packages withdrawn.
Capacity to transfer clients between same service outlets, without MAC contact centre involvement.
Incoming referrals process improved for service providers.
Release 11 will be active 26 February 2018.
Improvements in service providers listing availability of current services, service types and inability to provide services.
My Assessor App:
ACAT can now refer and register clients via the app, which follows the same template as the MAC Assessor Portal.
Important that assessors search for a client record prior to creating a potential duplicate record.
Only ACAT can use the app at this point, however RAS usage is in the pipeline.
Improved management of client status for assessors and service providers, such as when a person passes away. This will free up places in the queue more efficiently.
The data report for Q4 2017 will be available in the next couple of weeks.
Currently 100,000 plus people are in the queue.
40,000 of these people have been allocated interim packages.
Home Care Consumer Readiness letter is now being provided, as:
A number of clients have been slow to activate their HCP.
Clients are not opting out if they no longer want a HCP.
Clients are not choosing their service provider quickly enough.
First NSAF created in 2015, and was the first nationally consistent assessment form.
As per the Tune Review Report, the NSAF will be altered to make it more efficient and easier for assessors and clients.
320 responses to the NSAF consultation were received.
More free text fields for the capturing conversational client information (less proscriptive).
Assessor and service provider training to use the new NSAF will be provided.
Aged Care Quality Standards:
Aim, to have a single set of Aged Care standards, improve standards assessment, provide clear information to consumers about their rights and choices.
Reviewed to enable consistency, minimise duplication.
Consumers will play a more active role in the assessment of how standards are met.
1. Consumer dignity and choice
2. Ongoing assessment and planning with consumers
3. Personal care and clinical care
4. Services and supports for daily living
5. Organisation’s service environment
6. Feedback and complaints
7. Human resources
8. Organisational governance
For more detailed information, visit: Draft ACQ Standards
Standards will be law by 1 July 2018, however service providers will have until 1 July 2019 to fully transition.
A guide for the new ACQ Standards will be available post Easter 2018.
Event Invitation – Understanding the Royal Commission
February 14, 2018
Friday 9th March 2018
Community Industry Group in partnership with Big Fat Smile invite you to book in for a unique opportunity to explore how providers in the region can work together to develop and implement best practice in the protection of children and vulnerable individuals.
We are excited to welcome Commissioner Robert Fitzgerald AM, Commissioner with the Productivity Commission, formerly a Commissioner on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse for five years, Megan Mitchell, National Children’s Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission, and Steve Kinmond, Deputy Ombudsman & Community and Disability Services Commissioner to the Illawarra.
This important event is perfect for all human services providers – education providers, children’s services, social workers, emergency services, community workers or anyone working with children and vulnerable individuals or communities. Book tickets here: www.royalcommission.eventbrite.com.au
Celebrating 25 years of service
February 13, 2018
Celebrating 25 years – and a new name!
We were very proud to host a morning tea on Monday 12 February 2018 to celebrate 25 years of service to local community services, and to launch its new name and brand. The celebration was held at Wollongong Town Hall and was well attended by our member organisations, local MP’s, the mayors of Wollongong and Shellharbour as well as many of our board members.
Gareth Ward MP, Parliamentary Secretary to The Premier Illawarra and South Coast congratulated CEO Nicky Sloan and the Community Industry Group on their outstanding service to the community and was on hand to cut the cake with board member Danna Nelse.
CEO Nicky Sloan said, ‘The Illawarra Forum was incorporated in 1993 to be a central body that could speak out and challenge a range of issues on behalf of the community services sector in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. Our services are now delivered over a large geographical reach throughout South East NSW and therefore, at the annual general meeting held on 7 December 2017, members unanimously voted for a special resolution to change the name of the Association to Community Industry Group.’
‘We are proud of our long history of service to the community services sector and appreciate all of the guests who helped us celebrate this special event,’ said Ms Sloan.
February 1, 2018
The Illawarra Forum is now proud to be known as the Community Industry Group.
The name change was voted in by our members, at the recent Annual General Meeting, to better reflect the work we do and the greater geographic area we reach with our programs.
We are currently in the process of updating our marketing materials and documents and will replace these on our website as they become available.
January 30, 2018
Policy & Project Officer – Aboriginal Initiatives
Community Industry Group is seeking an experienced and passionate person to support the growth and development of community services organisations in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven region; leading to more culturally appropriate service delivery and improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Wednesday 14 February 2018
9.30am to 4pm, Illawarra Forum, 106B Industrial Road, Oak Flats
Members $180, Non Members $280
Workforce challenges are a high priority for disability and aged care services. How do you get the right staff for the right job and retain them in the future? Move beyond band aid solutions for recruitment and retention with Workforce Planning.
At the end of the training you will:
• Identify the benefits of Workforce Planning for your organisation
• Understand the process and resources needed for successful Workforce Planning
• Learn how to integrate Workforce Planning into your organisations strategic and business planning
• Develop skills to design and implement a Workforce Plan
Recruitment Strategies in the Aged and Disability sector
January 9, 2018
Increased competition for care workers in the aged and disability sector has led employers to look for creative strategies to hire the right person for the job. Traditional methods of recruitment are no longer returning the results needed. Here are some approaches for broadening your recruitment strategies to access a more comprehensive talent pool.
University students – Both the aged and disability services are experiencing an aging workforce and are looking for a diverse workforce to match their client’s needs. Part time and casual employment suits many university student timetables. Students studying nursing, social work and psychology may have an interest in working in the industry prior to graduation but don’t limit yourself to those areas as many other students may have the skills and attributes you are looking for. Click here to access the UOW 2018 Employer Guide. For more comprehensive information, please click here.
High School Students – High school students often don’t consider a career in the aged and disability sector because they either don’t know what is involved or they have negative views. Two ways to engage high school students are through career expos and Schools Based Traineeships. The largest Schools Career Expo is Illawarra Schools Career Expo providing exposure to approximately 5000 Year 10 to 12 students. Click here for more information. School Based Traineeships combine paid work, training and school. Students gain an industry recognised national qualification and credit towards the HSC. Click here for more information.
RTO’s – TAFE and other training providers have a pool of engaged potential employees with their study already underway. A great way to engage students is to have regular student placements and work in partnership with your local training provider to explore ways to be involved in the student experience. A more proactive approach in now needed in courses such as Individual Support Certificate 3 as competition for these graduates is high.
People currently studying other fields – Given the competition for students studying community services, have a look at other qualifications that may have transferable skills such as Hospitality, Retail, Allied Health Assistant and Sport and Recreation.
People employed in declining industries – In the Illawarra these include mining and manufacturing. Be ahead of the game and keep an eye on what companies are offering redundancy packages and be pro-active to not only raise awareness of the aged and disability sector as an employer of choice but also have employment and training packages to offer that would make an easy transition into the aged and disability industry.
Family and friends of current staff – Incentive schemes can provide an opportunity for staff to actively encourage friends and family to apply for employment. This can encourage people into the sector that may not have considered a position in aged and disability. Click here to see a case study of a successful employee referrals program.
People from a culturally and linguistically diverse background – Workforce diversity is key to providing clients with the perfect match. Recruiting people from diverse cultural backgrounds has many benefits for organisations including being a more attractive provider to people from a CALD background and broadening your talent pool. Click here for more information on building a diverse workforce.
Working with Interpreters
January 8, 2018
Working effectively with interpreters is essential in delivering culturally responsive services to people from non-English speaking backgrounds. The Illawarra Forum has developed a simple fact sheet to assist community service professionals to effectively use interpreters with their clients. The fact sheet includes tips about when and how to use an interpreter, as well as some of the interpreting services available in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region.
Click here to view the Working with Interpreters Fact Sheet.
Wellness and Reablement Self Audit
December 12, 2017
Illawarra Forum have developed a Wellness and Reablement (W&R) Self-Audit for CHSP services. This short questionnaire allows you to do a quick stocktake on where you are now in your W&R practice, and where you may want to look at changing your procedures.
We will also be using the data from these surveys to plan for future training, professional development and organisational support for 2018.
December 12, 2017
Thank you to everyone who attended our Annual General Meeting on Thursday 7 December at Warrigal, Shell Cove.
We welcomed a new Board Member, Alice Lans, and the special resolution regarding our name change passed unanimously (we will keep you informed of the changes in the new year).
At the conclusion of the official business, attendees were fortunate to hear inspiring words from our Guest Speaker Karen Willis OAM, the Executive Officer, Rape & Domestic Violence Service Australia. The R&DVSA are doing remarkable work for their clients while showing incredible fortitude to stand against the impacts of privatisation and commodification of services.
Copies of our Annual Report were also made available to attendees.
Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies Review Submission
December 11, 2017
The Illawarra Forum is pleased to have provided Transport for NSW with a submission regarding the recent Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies Review 2017. Our submission reinforced our view that transport across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions remains a significant issue that is characterised by availability, affordability and geographical variety.
Transport, specifically for people with a disability and for persons requiring wheelchair accessible travel, is often further restricted by physical access, reduced service availability, reliability and affordability. Whilst the Illawarra Forum supports recent amendments to Point-to-Point travel, and welcome increased choice and availability of differing modes of transport for people with disability, we urge Transport for NSW to provide continued leadership and commitment to safeguards, nationally accredited driver training and a transparent complaints process that ensures consumers of accessible travel are safe and protected.
For further information on the submission, please contact Karen Kirk-Torresan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Annual General Meeting
November 27, 2017
The Illawarra Forum will be holding its Annual General Meeting on Thursday 7 December 2017, 9.30am at Warrigal Shell Cove, 50 Harbour Boulevard, Shell Cove.
Our Guest Speaker is Karen Willis OAM. Karen is the Executive Officer, Rape and Domestic Violence Service Australia (R&DVSA), and has worked in the field of violence against women for over 30 years.
She is a fearless advocate for women’s rights and particularly for those who have experienced sexual, domestic or family violence. Karen and her organisation strive to provide the highest standard of compassionate professional assistance to women affected by violence to aid their recovery.
Recently, the R&DVSA withdrew their services for the 1800 Respect trauma counselling service after negotiations broke down with Medibank Health Solutions over the issue of handing over existing confidential client files.
Light refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome to attend. To rsvp click here.
Aboriginal My Aged Care Session
November 27, 2017
Claire Bishop of NSW Health together with Sheree Rankmore from the Illawarra Forum provided a Koori My Aged Care (MAC) information session at the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation in Wollongong in November. The morning provided local elders with practical information with regard to how to best access MAC, the role that various agencies play in referring persons onto MAC, the assessment process, and what services are available once a MAC package is allocated. The elders were joined by service providers from across the region that provide culturally appropriate aged care services.
The session further highlighted the confusion for consumers in accessing services and the lack of Home Care Packages available. Illawarra Forum will continue to lobby for the simplification of processes for consumers, and the increase of more packages for the region.
Submission – Redesign of Dementia Consumer Supports
November 27, 2017
The Illawarra Forum recently sent a submission to the Federal Department of Health (DoH) on their discussion paper for the redesign of dementia consumer supports. Consultations with service providers, carers and people living with dementia were held across the region in order to form our response. The paper outlined how DoH was proposing to support people with dementia with a focus on improving dementia literacy within the community and medical professionals, improving service accessibility, and supports to encourage reablement and independence for people newly diagnosed.
Illawarra Forum strongly argued that the allocated $12m per annum was insufficient, and that investment in people to provide face to face supports, not just phone lines, websites and social marketing campaigns, was imperative to make a real impact. In addition we argued that regional and rural areas and marginalised groups required significantly more support than metropolitan areas as supports and medical specialists are scarce; and that specific resources should be allocated for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities in order engage effectively. Thank you to all those who contributed to our response.
Translation Interpreting Services
October 31, 2017
Translating Interpreting Services
NDIS participants can now access fee-free interpreting through Translating Interpreting Services (TIS) National to implement funded supports in their NDIS plan. This includes all activities that are associated with the implementation of funded supports delivered by NDIS registered service providers.
Individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds are just as likely to be living with a disability when compared to the mainstream population, yet are far less likely to engage with disability specific services. The NDIA is working to address the numerous access barriers to the NDIS for people from NESB; providing fee-free interpreting services is a significant change that will improve outcomes for individuals in our community.
The Illawarra Forum’s Multicultural Policy and Project Officer, Mikaela Belling, is able to provide individualized support to your organisation to register with TIS National, receive training on interpreter use, or develop internal procedures to guide staff in the effective use of TIS. Please contact Mikaela on 4256 4333 or email@example.com.
Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies Review
October 31, 2017
Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies Review 2017
Transport for NSW Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies Review 2017 is now open for public consultation. The purpose of the review is to make recommendations on the future operation of the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme and the incentives provided to Wheelchair Accessible Taxi operators and drivers to provide services to customers with a disability.
The public consultation provides for written submissions to be received by Transport for NSW up until 30 November 2017. You can read more about the review and discussion paper here. The Illawarra Forum will be providing a submission, and is holding a consultation session with community and industry on Wednesday 15 November 2017. Please register your attendance by booking here.
Alternatively, if you are unable to attend the session but would like to provide comments for consideration by the Illawarra Forum, please contact Karen Kirk-Torresan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A WayAhead Found
October 17, 2017
A WayAhead Found
Illawarra Shoalhaven Partners in Recovery (ISPIR) and the Illawarra Forum have officially released the findings of an Illawarra/Shoalhaven Service Mapping and Communication Project. The project aimed to find out how people with enduring mental health conditions find and access services in the local area and what the most reliable source of information is in order to direct consumers, clients and carers towards this.
Illawarra Forum surveyed a range of consumers both in person and online to discover how they access information and the types of contact methods they look for when seeking out a new service. We also engaged with carers and professionals across the sector.
As a result, ISPIR and Illawarra Forum will now be promoting the WayAhead Directory, a service directory specifically focussed on mental health services, that can be used by community service organisations and the general public when trying to find support for people with enduring mental health conditions. Consumers can access telephone numbers as well as online contact details and all of the information is kept up to date.
Illawarra Forum were pleased to support the Highlights on Mental Health fundraising lunch held last Friday at Centro CBD as part of Mental Health Month. The audience were treated to a fantastic range of speakers including David Burroughs who challenged the audience to reframe their understanding of mental health, and the importance of everyone being proactive in the workplace to support each other.
The most recent findings from the University of Wollongong were showcased including their work on repurposing other drugs. Angry Anderson also told his story, highlighting how early childhood trauma and experiences affected his mental health journey.
Illawarra Forum was proud to provide a silent auction item of a Mental Health First Aid training session for the highest bidder to support understanding and action within the workplace which raised over $1000.
All proceeds from the day went to Highlights for Mental Health. If you would like a Mental Health First Aid course for your organisation please get in touch with us.
NDS provides NDIS Special Briefing in Kiama
October 17, 2017
NDS provides NDIS Special Briefing in Kiama
National Disability Services (NDS) delivered an engaging and insightful seminar on the current NDIS climate on Monday 9 October at the Sebel Harbourside in Kiama, hosted by Illawarra Forum.
NDS provided local disability service providers and their board members with evidence based information regarding NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, pricing and workforce development.
The speakers provided useful and practical presentations surrounding the complexities and opportunities facing disability service providers as NDIS implementation continues across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.
Human Services Agreement Update and NSW Benchmarking Tool
October 3, 2017
Human Services Agreement Update and NSW Benchmarking Tool
From 1 August 2017, all government agencies are required to use the new NSW Human Services Agreement, which is a standard contract, when procuring human services from NGOs and for-profit organisations. Agencies will also use the Agreement as existing contracts expire. This means that any organisation that has, or will tender for, a contract with any NSW agency will be subject to this contract. If you have not yet read the agreement, you may find it here.
Illawarra Forum Members have raised numerous concerns with both the process, and the final document including the limited consultation process which did not provide feedback on original submissions, and which resulted in the delivery of a final document with limited opportunity for comment.
The Illawarra Forum has pursued the matter directly with NCOSS – as co-chair of the Social Innovation Council and with the Dept Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI). This is what we have achieved.
The Human Services Agreement is currently being reviewed by Justice Connect, and will then go to a more thorough review. Both NCOSS and DFSI have agreed that the Forum can participate in the review process. Of course, when the review happens we I will share it with our membership and invite more comment.
Furthermore, DFSI have agreed to come to the Illawarra on a quarterly basis to discuss the various projects that the Social Innovation Council (SIC) are working on. This will be an open meeting with all members invited to attend. We hope to hold the first session before the end of the year.
The membership of the Social Innovation Council will be reviewed late this year, and we have requested that a broader representation from the sector be included.
The new Benchmarking Tool is currently open, and the date for completion has been extended to 9th October. We urge local service providers to complete it, and to give feedback. Any organisation which completes the Tool will not only receive a report, but will be eligible for free training on Commissioning, Outcomes Measurement and/or Design Thinking. If we can get enough people locally to complete, DFSI have agreed to bring the training to our region. The Benchmarking Tool is available here.
Recruitment Project Aged Care
October 3, 2017
The Community Services and Health Sector is the largest employer in the lllawarra and Shoalhaven.
In the aged care sector alone there are 200-500 new workers needed every year in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. The Illawarra Forum is responding to members concerns about the challenges of recruiting and retaining new staff by running a pilot recruitment project.
This project is in the scoping phase and we are looking for employers who are interested in tapping into new potential employees.
Time is running out to participate in stage one of the NGO benchmarking model before it closes on 1 October 2017. It is important that as many NGOs as possible trial the tool and give feedback.
You can register here to complete the online self-assessment.
The NGO Benchmarking Model is a self-assessment tool that NGOs self-assess against ten capabilities to determine how customer-centric their organisation is in relation to other providers.
According to the Department, participation in stage one means your organisation will:
Benefit from the insights gained through the self-assessment process – they’ve heard from NGOs that they are using this information to guide their strategic plans and professional development programs.
Access the resource library – it includes resources on customer-centric service delivery, governance, outcomes measurement etc.
Be eligible to attend free training in October 2017 focussed on commissioning for outcomes, outcomes measurement or design thinking.
Provide feedback on how your organisation, and the broader NGO sector, want to use the NGO Benchmarking model from 2018 onwards.
For more information about the NGO Benchmarking Model or other Social Innovation Council initiatives to improve human services outcomes, see the website.
The Illawarra Forum will undertake the benchmarking, and will hold a session at our office from 9:30am – 12:30pm on 22nd September for any service providers interested in discussing the model or sharing their feedback. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Local Partnership Projects
September 19, 2017
Local Partnership Projects
The Tenant Participation Resource Service is launching a new project to assist organisations supporting social housing tenants and applicants on the social housing waiting list.
Local Partnership Projects provides resourcing and support to community groups and organisations for small initiatives that address the needs of this target group; supporting them to become engaged in their communities; and increasing their skills and resources to participate in community life.
Projects could include community engagement events, skills training or providing volunteering opportunities. Applying for funding through the Local Partnerships Projects is a very simple 3 step process. Simply submit a project idea on our 2 page form then complete your project and then tell us how it went. Feel free to contact TPRS to discuss possible projects or for more information click here.
Active Ageing Conference
September 18, 2017
Active Ageing Conference, Melbourne
Our Policy and Project Officer – Regional Issues, Amadis Lacheta, recently attended the Active Ageing Conference in Melbourne, which had a strong focus on Wellness & Reablement (W&R). The conference provided inspiration and best practice case studies to better support the uptake of W&R with service providers across Australia.
Throughout the day various presentations were conducted on the importance of open communication to tease out a client’s aspirations and strengths, how better questions can both inform the goals and care plans for elderly people to facilitate their best quality of life, and also improve the culture of service providers to adopt a more enabling approach.
Other presenters focused on person-centred measurement tools that complement the NASF (National Assessment & Screening Form), a comparison of how well W&R have been integrated into policy and practice in New Zealand, Denmark, the UK and Australia, the importance of resistance training exercise for physical strength, balance and better cognitive function, allied health support programs, the use of technology to support healthy mental and social activity, social reablement and volunteer programs and collaborative approaches to facilitating better outcomes for elderly people and the many organisations and groups that support them.
The Illawarra Forum will be offering programs to support CHSP service providers to better engage their elderly clients from a W&R approach. If you are interested in participating, please let us know via: email@example.com
Industry Breakfast – Energy & Water Affordability
September 6, 2017
Thank you to everyone who attended our Industry Breakfast on Tuesday 5th September at The Woolshed, Yallah.
Participants enjoyed hearing from Helen Ford, General Manager of Governance, Awareness & Policy, Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW speak about the critical issue of energy and water affordability.
Governance training with Illawarra Koori Men’s Support Group
August 29, 2017
Sarah Wilson and Sarah Gadd spent a great morning last week with the Board of the Illawarra Koori Men’s Support Group, helping them to refresh their knowledge of governance, and look at future improvements. It was a real pleasure to work with such a knowledgeable, committed and passionate group.
If you would like Illawarra Forum to run a session for your Board on Governance, Risk Management or Finances please get in touch.
Thank you to all of the services and the board members who attended our Targeted Earlier Intervention Program (TEIP) information events in the Illawarra and the Shoalhaven. It was great to hear from you, answer your questions and assist in addressing any concerns and information gaps.
The Targeted Earlier Intervention Consultative Committee (TEICC) are continuing to work on the District Planning Framework that includes the planning principles, people, places and outcomes.
The next step is to consult with services regarding the draft framework and embark on local planning with services funded under the TEIP. This is an exciting time in the process when services get plan collaboratively on how to achieve the kind of communities wanted in the future. These place based planning sessions are due to commence in August. FaCs will be informing services of dates and locations over the coming weeks.
July 26, 2017
Several Illawarra Forum staff members attended the annual Illawarra NAIDOC Awards held on Saturday 22 July 2017.
This inspiring event is an opportunity for communities, businesses and organisations to celebrate the contribution and achievements of Aboriginal communities in Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and Shoalhaven Local Government Areas. Congratulations to all the Award winners:
Young Achiever (Female)- Berrima Blakeney
Young Achiever (Male)- Mark Hudson
Worker of the Year- Kirili Saunders
Volunteer of the Year- John Keith Williams
Elder of the Year (Female)- Aunty Bev Armer
Elder of the Year (Male) Uncle Ivan Ardler
Organisation of the Year- Cullunghutti Child and Family Centre
Outstanding Contribution to Reconciliation- Djirang Dance Ensemble
We would also like to congratulate all nominees, including Joni Braham, a previous Illawarra Forum employee, who was nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to Reconciliation Award.