No. 1, 2023 | 3 February 2023
From FRSA's Executive Director
Welcome to the FRSA e-bulletin for 2023!
The month of January has already been a busy one – as it has for everyone in the sector.
It has also been a month in which I am sure all FRSA members have been able to breathe a sigh of relief with the confirmation of increased funding for 2022-23 to help meet increased costs of service delivery. First, the Attorney-General’s Department advised overall increases to funding for organisations funded under the Family and Relationship Services Program in the order of 4.71%. Then, this week we had the Department of Social Services advise that the increase they would be applying to all eligible grants (which includes all programs under the Families and Children Activity) would be well above the 5.3% identified by the sector as the minimum required to meet increased costs. Whilst these increases are a combination of pre-existing indexation commitments and the October Budget measure ‘to support Community Sector Organisations’ ($560 million over four years), they provide assurance to service providers that the Government has been listening and are committed to supporting community sector organisations to do the important work they do. It is a very welcome outcome!
FRSA is also in the thick of work with the Centre for International Economics (The CIE) to contribute to the evidence base of the value of Family and Relationship Services through the cost benefit analysis project. The work the team at CIE have been doing is very impressive and we can’t wait to deliver the results of that report before the Federal Budget this year.
Looking to the year ahead there are significant opportunities for FRSA and the broader sector to be involved in consultative processes aimed at improving the outcomes for the children, adults, and communities we work with. Already we have two significant consultation processes underway with the proposed amendments to the Family Law Act and the ALP’s Early Years Summit (more on these below). We will be actively involved in both and look forward to working with our members to bring the views of our sector to the table.
In February we will be delivering two ‘Member Only’ webinars, a new deliverable exclusive to the FRSA Membership base. The first will be on the Exposure Draft of the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 on 8 February 2023, with Rebecca Mills, Assistant Secretary of the Family Law Branch at the Attorney-General’s Department. The second webinar on 21 February 2023, will have Catherine Liddle, CEO of SNAICC, talk about their recent work for the Department of Social Services looking at the role of ACCOs and services for families and children.
My special thanks to members of the FRSA Conference Reference Committee and a couple of other FRSA friends we have had to lean on for assessing and scoring the 147 abstracts over the month of January. We are going through the final stages of assessment and hope to have the concurrent session program out to you in the next few weeks. It is looking really impressive, and we hope you will be able to attend the FRSA Conference at the Gold Coast Convention Centre from 15-18 May 2023.
I am also gearing up for the FRSA member forums we are convening in every state and territory in mid-late March. I can’t wait!
With 2023 well underway, just a reminder that the FRSA team is here to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch:
- Jackie Brady, Executive Director – ExecDirector@frsa.org.au
- Robyn Clough, Manager, Policy and Research – email@example.com
- Narelle Kay, Events and Membership Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vanessa Lam, Communications Officer – email@example.com
- Sandra Rabjohns, Communities of Practice Project Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carol Reeve – Administrative Officer – email@example.com
Or contact the National Office on 02 6162 1811.
FRSA Executive Director
FRSA National Conference 2023 - EARLY BIRD REGISTRATIONS OPEN!
Don’t miss out on early bird registration rates, which end 14 March 2023. As the sector’s ‘go to’ National, annual event – FRSA will not fail to deliver great speakers, great sessions, great networking and a great venue.
Early Bird Registration Fee* Until 14 March 2023
|Member Rates||Non-Member Rates|
|Complete Conference Experience – Including dinner||$995.00||$1,295.00|
|Conference Only – No dinner||$920.00||$1,220.00|
* To be entitled to the early bird registration fee you must have registered and paid by 15 March 2023.
Pre-Conference Workshops – FRSA MEMBERS ONLY
|Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workshop||$175.00|
|Family Law Workshop (All Day)||$175.00|
|Communities for Children Facilitating Partners (CfC FP) Workshop||$175.00|
|Australian Institute of Family Studies||$175.00|
FRSA National Conference 2023 - Sponsorship Prospectus released
FRSA is pleased to release our Conference Sponsorship Prospectus. This year’s Conference is expected to attract 550+ delegates, including practitioners, researchers, managers, executives, and policy and program developers from government and non-government agencies.
FRSA is delighted that the Department of Social Services and the Attorney-General’s Department have committed as Conference Partners for this year’s Conference. Just this week Uniting (Sydney) have also come on as a Gold Sponsor for Conference 2023.
Sponsorship has always been a big part of FRSA’s Conferences and in acknowledgement of this support, we have designed packages that will allow for maximum visibility to showcase the work and activity of your organisation/business. This includes a new Wellness Sponsor, that will provide a “Wellness Zone”, a dedicated space for delegates to recharge, relax and reenergise.
We welcome your support of the conference and hope that you will take advantage of the opportunities available to you in joining with FRSA as a Conference 2023 sponsor.
If you are interested in a more bespoke package for your organisation don’t hesitate to get in touch with the FRSA team on (02) 6162 1811 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Report on Government Services 2023
The Productivity Commission has released part F – Community Services – of its Report on Government Services 2023. This report provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia and is produced annually.
Within the context of this report, community services include four sub-sections:
- Aged care services
- Services for people with disability
- Child protection services
- Youth justice services
The following report sections have also been released:
- Part C Justice (includes police, courts and corrective services)
- Part D Emergency management (includes fire and other emergency events)
- Part E Health (includes primary and community health, ambulance services, public hospitals, services for mental health)
- Part G – Housing and homelessness
Part B Child care, education and training (includes early childhood education and care, school education, vocational education and training) will be released on Tuesday 7 February.
National Early Years Summit
FRSA is looking forward to participating in the National Early Years Summit, which will be held in Parliament House on 17 February 2023.
FRSA’s Executive Director, Jackie Brady, has been asked to sit on a panel during the Summit event.
The Summit will bring together a range of stakeholders across the early years sector to start a national conversation on key early years issues and identify opportunities to strengthen how the Government supports young children and their families.
This will help inform development of an Early Years Strategy, which was announced by the Albanese Government in November 2022, to create a more integrated, holistic approach to the early years. The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP, Minister for Social Services, and the Hon Dr Anne Aly MP, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister for Youth, will lead development of the Strategy over 18 months.
Further information will be made available on the Department of Social Services website.
Public consultation commences
Consultation on the Strategy has commenced with a short survey, which will be open until 3 March 2023. Public submissions will open shortly.
FRSA Pre-Budget Submission
Last week FRSA lodged our Pre-Budget submission 2023-2024 with the Treasury, with the call for submissions closing on 27 January.
We outlined three priorities for consideration in the Federal Budget:
- Funding for family and relationship services that meets the real costs of service provision and increased service demand.
- Increased investment in child inclusive practice in Family Dispute Resolution.
- Greater investment in Australian children, adults and families experiencing poverty and financial disadvantage.
The submission includes seven recommendations across these three priorities and while all are important, we cannot overstate the clear and pressing need for immediate economic relief for children, adults and families living in poverty in Australia. To this end we have recommended that Government increases income support payments to at least $73 per day in line with the minimum increase identified by ACOSS in its Raise the Rate Campaign.
We have also joined the growing body of voices recommending that the Government abandons the stage three tax cuts and redirects these Budget savings to reducing poverty in Australia. The commitment to these tax cuts was made in a different economic environment. Global instability, ongoing domestic crises and rising inflation, and the consequent impacts on children, adults and families mean a new decision is warranted.
FRSA’s submission is available on our website.
Safe and Supported – first Action Plans launched
The Government has released the first Action Plans under Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children (2021-2031) – First Action Plan 2023-2026 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Action Plan 2023-2026.
Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth and Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney launched the Action Plans, outlining the actions and activities needed to improve outcomes for children and young people in Australia.
Key actions under these two Action Plans include:
- agreeing a national approach for a sustainable and skilled children and families workforce
- improved early and targeted supports for children and families
- supporting First Nations people and communities to exercise authority in family support services and child protection
- investing in the First Nations Community Controlled Sector, and
- fully implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle to the standard of active efforts.
The Action Plans, the National Framework and related information are available on the Department of Social Services website.
Latest figures show that it’s time to fix Commonwealth Rent Assistance
Anglicare Australia has released ‘Reforming Rent Assistance‘, a paper showing that rental stress is rife in spite of billions spent on Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
The paper found that:
- One in two people who get rent assistance (46%) are still in rental stress
- Young people fare even worse, with two in three young people on rent assistance (60%) still in rental stress
- The payment leaves out people on the lowest incomes
- Only one in three people on the JobSeeker payment is eligible for the payment (38%), and only one in ten young people out of work (12%)
- Almost no rental vacancies are affordable for people who get rent assistance.
The report was released at the same time as the latest numbers from the Productivity Commission, which show that the Government spends more than three times as much on rent assistance ($4.9 billion) than on social housing and homelessness services combined ($1.6 billion).
Paid Family & Domestic Violence Leave to come into force
Paid family and domestic violence leave is now in effect across Australia , replacing the existing unpaid leave on offer for those affected by family and domestic violence.
Full-time, part-time and casual employees in businesses with 15 or more employees will all have the right to access 10 days of paid family and domestic violence leave in a 12-month period, with the Government having passed the law through federal parliament in August. For workers in small businesses, with fewer than 15 employees, the entitlement will start from 1 August, this year.
For more information visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.
Consultation – Rights of Children and Young People in Australia’s Family Law System
The Family Law Council is currently consulting on the rights of children and young people in Australia’s Family Law System.
An online stakeholder survey is being conducted to help the Council identify areas of improvement in Australia’s family law system regarding the rights of children and young people.
The survey will help the Family Law Council to understand:
- The extent to which the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Whether or not particular parts of the family law system manage the participation of children and young people effectively.
- What, if any, changes would improve the way the family law system upholds the rights of children and young people?
The survey is open until 26 February 2023.
Government response to Joint Select Committee Family Law Inquiry
On 25 January 2023, the Albanese Government released its response to the two-year inquiry conducted by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System. The inquiry was relatively broad in scope and included exploration of the operation of the child support scheme.
The Joint Select Committee released four reports with the final report tabled in November 2021. The inquiry came close on the heels of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) review of the family law system. As covered in this edition of the eBulletin, the Government has also released for consultation an exposure draft of legislation that responds to some of the recommendations of that review. Given the ALRC review and the parliamentary inquiry were conducted in quick succession, there is, unsurprisingly, some overlap in recommendations.
The Government’s response to the inquiry of the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System is available here.
Consultation on draft Family Law Amendment Bill 2023
The Government has just released draft legislation – the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 – which aims to foreground the best interests of children and make the Family Law Act simpler and safer for separating families.
The draft legislation responds to some of the recommendations from the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) 2019 Final Report No. 135: Family Law for the Future – An Inquiry into the Family Law System. It also implements elements of the Government Response to the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Family Law System (see article in this edition).
A consultation paper has been released to accompany the legislation. Information about the consultation, the exposure draft, and the consultation paper are available on the Attorney-General’s Department website.
Submissions on the Bill are due by 27 February 2023.
FRSA is holding a Members Only webinar on the Exposure Draft on 8 February 2023, with Rebecca Mills, Assistant Secretary of the Family Law Branch at the Attorney-General’s Department.
Improving the competency and accountability of family report writers – report released
The Attorney-General’s Department has released a summary report from its 2021 consultation on Improving the competency and accountability of family report writers.
In summary, submissions to the consultation expressed strong support for action to increase the competency and accountability of family report writers, with the majority calling for mandated competencies and standards.
The department has used feedback to inform proposed reform to the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth). The recently released Draft Exposure – Family Law Amendment Bill 2023 includes a measure which will give government the power to make regulations that set standards and requirements for family report writers.
RAQ appoints Natasha Rae as CEO
Natasha Rae as been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Relationships Australia Queensland (RAQ).
She commenced the role earlier in the month, having worked for RAQ for almost 20 years, with over a decade in Executive leadership most recently in the role of General Manager – Client Services.
“Natasha is a visionary, engaging leader with an unwavering commitment to delivering genuine outcomes for individuals, families, and communities,” said RAQ Board Chair, William Owens.
RAQ is a vibrant, resilient organisation that is in an excellent position for the future. Natasha will deliver a seamless transition of leadership ensuring continuity of RAQ’s service excellence with renewed energy and strategic focus. Read more.
Australia Day Honours
FRSA congratulates former The Smith Family CEO, Lisa O’Brien on receiving Australia Day Honours. Lisa was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community, particularly through social welfare organisations.
National Reconciliation Week 2023 theme announced
The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2023, “Be a Voice for Generations”, encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives – where we live, work and socialise.
For the work of generations past, and the benefit of generations future, act today for a more just, equitable and reconciled country for all.
National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June – is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
Australian Government Youth Advisory Groups
Do you or have you worked with a young person aged between 16-25, who would be a great advocate for young people on the Australia Government’s Youth Advisory Groups?
We know that people with lived experience are vital contributors to policy and program change whatever their age. The Australian Government has a specific process established to engage with young people wanting to take action on issues that matter to them. There are five advisory groups available for application:
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Promotion of STEM
Climate Change and Conference of the Parties (COP)
Safe and Supported: The National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children 2021-31
Applications close at 5PM AEDT on Sunday 12 February 2023. Find out more or click here to apply.
Australian ADR Award Nominations due 15 February
Nominations for the 7th Annual Australian ADR Awards 2022 close in two weeks on 15 February 2023.
The Australian ADR Awards recognise both individual and team excellence in the area of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The ADR Awards bring together a broad-church dispute resolution community to recognise distinction in the sector.
The Awards are open to all Australian citizens and permanent residents, and Australia-based Dispute Resolution teams.
Survey: Working with difficult colleagues
Researchers from Curtin University are seeking past and present employees of the Australian community services sector to take a survey about their experiences of working with difficult or dysfunctional people in the workplace. The questions are aimed at better understanding the impact on workplace wellbeing and job satisfaction.
This confidential, online survey will take about 20 minutes to complete. Click here to complete the survey.
Chief Executive Officer | YFS
Project Manager – Family and Carer Led Centres | Gateway Health
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (or Trainee) | Centacare Catholic Country SA
Counsellor | Relationships Australia NSW
Aboriginal Counsellor | Relationships Australia NSW
Family Support Worker | CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes
Family & Carer Mental Health Support Worker (Broken Hill) | CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes
If you have any events you’d like listed on the FRSA Events and Training Calendar or job vacancies you’d like listed on the FRSA Jobs Board, email Communications Officer, Vanessa Lam at email@example.com. Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.
Predicting risk to inform housing policy and practice | Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute
This study explores how critical life events can be used to predict short-term, medium-term and long-term periods of housing stress for individuals and households, which might, in turn, lead to further housing and related forms of disadvantage and support needs. It considers how the identification of ‘risk pathways’ support an early intervention model of housing assistance for different population groups.
What works to improve young children’s social, emotional and behavioural wellbeing? | Australian Institute of Family Studies
This policy and practice paper presents the findings of a rapid evidence review and identifies national and international prevention and early intervention programs that are effective at improving the social, emotional and behavioural health and wellbeing of at-risk children.
Safer Internet Day educator campaign kit | eSafety Commissioner
Use these resources to support school’s Safer Internet Day activities. The kit includes content for your school newsletter, social tiles, a poster and flyers, a chatterbox activity and more.
This resource was developed for practitioners who work with children and want to better respond to their disclosures of bullying involvement. It offers key considerations for providing supportive and curious responses to children who are experiencing bullying behaviour and those who are engaging in bullying behaviour.
After the silence: Media reporting of child sexual abuse in the wake of a royal commission | News and Media Research Centre
This report provides a snapshot of the wide-ranging work that has been undertaken for the Breaking Silences: Media and the Child Abuse Royal Commission project. Funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Projects grant (DP190101282), over the past four years the Breaking Silences team has been researching the role of journalism and social media advocacy in triggering, reporting on, and keeping alive the recommendations of the ground-breaking Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (2013-17).
Results of the latest Parenting Today in Victoria survey | Parenting Research Centre
The Parenting Research Centre has released its latest Parenting Today in Victoria survey results, which show that parents are struggling with their mental health, feeling fatigued and under pressure. Access the survey snapshot and technical report here.
Australian Journal of Community Work 2022, Volume 2. | Australia Community Workers Foundation
The Australian Journal of Community Work features original research and articles, both peer reviewed and ‘from the field’. This edition covers place-based collaboration, pathways to socio-ecological change, burnout, workforce reform and much more.
Leadership in the charity sector: how Australians view the integrity, competence and contribution of charities | Swinburne University of Technology
Drawing on over twelve months of data collected by the Australian Leadership Index, this report shows how the public views the integrity, contribution, competence and leadership of the charity sector, revealing how the sector compares with national benchmarks. It also offers fresh insights into the types of things that charity leaders can do to foster public trust in, and support of, the sector.
Kids Cyber Security Checklist | Australian Cyber Security Centre
The internet has enabled kids to learn, share and create more easily. But it has also become a space for cybercriminals to cause trouble and steal information from others. It’s vital to instil cyber secure behaviours early, so children learn how to identify cyber threats and mitigate against them. The Australian Cyber Security Centre have released the Kids Cyber Security Checklist for parents and carers. It helps them teach their primary school-aged children the basic cyber security steps to stay secure online.
Australians are facing increasingly severe and frequent extreme weather disasters driven by climate change. In December 2022, Climate Council undertook an extensive two-part national study designed to better understand the impact of climate-fuelled disasters on mental health in Australia, and how best to support the wellbeing, recovery and resilience of communities.
The first part of this study was a poll conducted by YouGov with a representative national sample of 2,032 Australians. The second part, conducted in parallel and hereafter referred to as the “community survey”, sought to gain some deeper insights from those in disaster-affected communities, and saw 476 self-selected Australians share their personal experience of climate-fuelled disasters.
This paper provides a snapshot of some of the most significant findings from both of these surveys.
Loneliness as an unresolved issue in social inclusion programmes | Australia Community Workers Foundation
This paper examines the approach to loneliness in 62 community-based social inclusion centres and programmes for people experiencing exclusion in the Basque Country (Spain). The aim of the study was to identify good practice in dealing with loneliness in centres and programmes and to understand the main challenges in providing support from the perspective of practitioners.
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