It’s been a busy start to Spring at the FRSA office. Last week we were delighted to welcome FRSA members to our annual Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF). I always love bringing our sector leaders together and harnessing that collective expertise to start addressing some of the current issues our sector is facing. It’s also an opportunity to share with members FRSA initiatives and broader policy matters.
This year, we were particularly pleased to be able to launch the findings of our latest commissioned project – Family and Relationship Services Economic Evaluation at the Forum. The family and relationship services sector will be more important than ever in the coming years. When looking ahead to the next five years, the FRSA Board felt it was important to take stock of the social and economic benefits our sector delivers so that we can build on that information to continue to provide early intervention support to children and families and ensure there is sufficient ongoing government investment in family and relationship services.
The cost benefit analysis, which was undertaken by the Centre for International Economics (the CIE), demonstrates the significant return on investment, and financial and social cost- benefits of family and relationship services. In the meetings our members had during SLF with 47 Federal politicians up at Parliament House it was a strong message to share with them that they were investing wisely in family and relationship services with a cost benefit of $8 for every $1 spent! That is of course the ‘headline’ message and I encourage you to take a look at the full Report.
Two public consultations have opened in the past week that will be of particular interest to our members and the broader sector. One is being run by the Department of Social Services – A stronger, more diverse and independent community sector, and the other by the Attorney-General’s Department. This second consultation is tranche two of legislative reform to improve the family law system, with a particular emphasis on making the family law system safer for families. We’ll be seeking the views of members on both these consultations over the coming few weeks.
In addition, the Attorney- General announced that Mr Graeme Head, AO has been appointed to lead the Review of Family Law Services and released the Terms of Reference that will guide that inquiry process. The Australian Institute of Family Studies will be supporting Mr Head with the Review and we look forward to working very closely with our members on this project. We understand the Report is due to the Attorney-General at the end of June 2024.
Last Thursday was R U Ok? day – a reminder to check in with the people around us and really listen, “because a conversation could change a life”. Meaningful conversations are, of course, the bread and butter of our sector and I thank you all for the amazing work you do day in and day out. Take a look to see how some of our members got involved in R U Ok? activities.