FRSA eBulletin, No. 11, 2023


No. 11, 2023 | 1 September 2023

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From FRSA's Executive Director

It’s hard to believe that spring is upon us! For some, spring represents a time for a fresh start. It could be just that, as we welcome Prime Minister Albanese’s announcement yesterday of the date of the Referendum for a Voice to Parliament on Saturday, 14 October.

In April, the FRSA Board endorsed the FRSA Position Statement on a Voice to Parliament. FRSA’s vision for reconciliation is an Australia in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities are safe, recognised, respected and valued. Below are various resources for you to be ready and informed:

Next week is National Child Protection Week from 3-9 September. It’s a time to reflect on the ongoing message that ‘Every child in every community needs a fair go’. This year’s theme, ‘Where we start matters’ encourages us to look at how we as a service sector offering children and their families support and assistance can make a significant difference to life outcomes.

We aim to highlight the ongoing work and contribution the family and relationships services sector makes to children, families and communities around the country, during our meetings with politicians at SLF in Canberra in less than two weeks. If you haven’t registered, it’s not to late to join us. Access the registration page here.

Kind regards,
Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director

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Less than two weeks away - Strategic Leadership Forum 2023

Things are shaping up well for the Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF) which is on in less than two weeks, 12-13 September 2023 in Canberra. We have secured around 45 meetings with politicians across Australia and look forward to working with our members to highlight the great value and contribution out services make.  It is not too late to register – click the button below to access the registration website. This is an FRSA Members only event.

If you have any questions, please contact the National Office on (02) 6162 1811 or email our Events and Membership Officer, Narelle at

2023 Intergenerational Report

Last week, Treasury released the 2023 Intergenerational Report which projects the outlook of the economy and the Government’s budget to 2062-63.

This is the sixth report. Its analysis and projections of the key drivers of economic growth will help inform and improve public policy settings to better position Australia for the next 40 years.

The report sets down some clear opportunities and obstacles for the country over the next 40 years, with five major forces shaping the future: an ageing population, climate change, a shift to a caring economy, fragmentation in the global order, and an explosion in digital technologies.

By 2062–63, the economy is projected to be around two and a half times larger and incomes 50 per cent higher in real terms. However, like other advanced economies, Australia’s economic growth is projected to be slower than in the past 40 years.

Read the full report and fact sheets here.

Trends in Well-Being Among Youth in Australia, 2017-2022

Children’s wellbeing in South Australia worsened after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

The findings released by the University of South Australia look at the temporal trends in children’s wellbeing and how the COVID-19 pandemic may have influenced the wellbeing of young Australians. Researchers examined more than 56,000 children aged nine to 14 and found wellbeing measures worsened from 2020 onwards, in line with the pandemic’s start.

The study was based on 2017-2022 data from the South Australian Wellbeing and Engagement Collective census from the state’s Department of Education.

Wellbeing measures looked at in the study included life satisfaction, optimism, happiness, cognitive engagement, emotional regulation, perseverance, worry and sadness.

“Wellbeing clearly dropped during COVID and has shown little signs of improvement since then,” said lead researcher, Dr Dot Dumuid.

“But certain groups were more affected than others, with worsening wellbeing particularly worrying for female students, students in later school grades, and students with socioeconomic disadvantage.” Read the full report.

Australians doing it tough financially, psychologically during inflation crisis

Fewer Australians are earning enough to meet their needs than before the pandemic, leaving people in psychological distress and dissatisfied with the direction of the country, according to new research from the Australian National University (ANU).

The latest ANUpoll, from a sample of over 4,200 Australians, found that 30.3 per cent of Australians are finding it difficult to get by on their current income compared to the low point of the pandemic (17.3 per cent in November 2020), but also a significantly higher proportion than the pre-pandemic baseline (26.7 per cent in February 2020).

There has been a widening gap in financial stress in the inflationary period compared to pandemic periods.

The paper also shows some big differences by age cohorts. The rate of financial stress was highest amongst 35 to 54-year-olds, with under 35s reporting the second highest rate. The lowest rate of financial stress is amongst over 75s. These gaps have also widened during the inflationary crisis.

This glum economic mood is having an impact on people’s wellbeing and financial decision-making. In the 12 months preceding the survey, more Australians had postponed major purchases, fallen behind on bills, spent less on groceries and essential items and provided other indicators that they’ve been mindful of their household financial situation. Read the full paper.

Government progress on family, domestic and sexual violence commitments

The Australian Government has recently announced progress on commitments to help those impacted by family, domestic and sexual violence.

Stronger workplace protections

On 25 August Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Tony Burke MP, announced that the next round of workplace reforms, which will be introduced to Parliament in September, will amend the Fair Work Act to protect victims and survivors of family and domestic violence against workplace discrimination.

The proposed changes will:

  • prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees because they have been subjected to family and domestic violence by making it a “protected attribute” under the Act
  • prohibit terms in enterprise agreements and modern awards that discriminate against a person on this basis
  • require the Fair Work Commission to advance the goal of eliminating this type of discrimination.

Support for family, domestic and sexual violence survivors

Six Primary Health Networks (PHNs) across metro, regional and remote areas have been selected to pilot the Supporting Recovery Program – a new model of trauma-informed care to victim-survivors of family, domestic and sexual violence.

Th pilot services are expected to commence in 2024.

The Government has committed a further $36.8 million to build on a successful pilot, Supporting the Primary Care response to Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence PHN Pilot, already underway to increase the skills of staff in primary care to better identify, care for and refer people who are experiencing family and domestic violence.

Read the Health Minister’s press release for more information.

Building the workforce for family, domestic, and sexual violence support services

The Albanese Government announced it is delivering on its commitment to increase frontline and community sector jobs for family, domestic and sexual violence support services, with funding to support the first tranche of workers now flowing to all states and territories.

The Federal Government will provide a total $169.4 million over four years to deliver new jobs in the women’s safety sector. A total of $14.9 million has been delivered under this first transfer of funds.

Submissions open for Multicultural Framework Review

Submissions are open for the Multicultural Framework Review, which is being coordinated by the Department of Home Affairs.

The Review will assess and make recommendations on the institutional arrangements, legislative and policy settings required to advance a multicultural Australia and meet the current and future needs of multicultural Australia at the Commonwealth level.

The Review Panel invites submissions that respond to the terms of reference, seeking views on what is working well and what could be better.

Submission close on 29 September 2023.

Senate Inquiry – Family Law Amendment Bill 2023: Report tabled

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee has tabled its report on its inquiry into the Family Law Amendment Bill 2023. The provisions of the Bill were referred to the Committee on 11 May 2023.

The committee has recommended that the Senate pass the Bill, subject to a few further amendments and adoption of supporting recommendations. The committee’s proposed changes include (but are not limited to):

  • that the simplified list of best interest considerations includes a history of family violence, abuse and neglect involving the child or a member of the child’s family
  • the language is strengthened in the additional considerations around the right to enjoy Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander culture (S60CC(3))
  • the Bill is amended to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are not subject to more onerous disclosure obligations as a result of the expanded definitions of ‘member of the family’ and ‘relative’ in the Bill (a concern FRSA members certainly raised).

FRSA was particularly pleased to see the committee recommend that the Government delivers an awareness and education campaign to ensure the changes are well understood by separating families. As we argued in our submission and verbal evidence to the inquiry, close to 80% of separating parents work out their parenting arrangements on their own, just under 6% have the assistance of a lawyer and another 10% access family dispute resolution and family counselling services. It’s therefore important that the consequences of proposed changes are contemplated beyond the courts. Plain English guidance and a public education campaign will help ensure the changes are broadly understood and applied in keeping with the legislation’s intent.

Evaluating Policy Impact – Address by the Hon Dr Leigh MP

On 29 August, Dr Andrew Leigh, Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities, Treasury and Employment gave an address the National Press Club of Australia on “Evaluating Policy Impact: Working Out What Works”.

He used this opportunity to help launch the Australian Centre for Evaluation (ACE), a body funded in the May 2023 budget with an initial $10m over four years to design better policies. It’s expected that the ACE will collaborate with existing evaluation bodies within the Australian Government.

In seeking to improve evaluations of government-funded programs, Minister Leigh explained that the ACE will operate across government but won’t be compelling agencies to participate in evaluation partnerships. He said, “Good evaluation needs to be built into program design from the outset, which means working collaboratively with the departments that are deploying the programs. We will be complementing high‑quality impact evaluations with other culturally safe evaluation methods that help us to understand the lived experiences of Australians and deliver better services”.

You can read a transcript of Minister Leigh’s address here.

FRSA Members wear it purple!

Last week on 25 August 2023 it was Wear it Purple Day, an annual LGBTIQA+ awareness day especially for young people.

See how FRSA Members around the country celebrated the day:

  • Meli staff celebrated the day with a fun fancy dress day, shared purple snacks and decorated their office spaces purple.
  • FamilyCare staff celebrated with a morning tea and at a Wear It Purple event at GoTafe.
  • Odyssey House Victoria celebrated across various sites with morning teas and wearing purple.
  • Uniting Communities staff wore purple and had purple cupcakes.
  • Kyabra Community Association Inc. staff and community members gathered for a discussion, statistics reflection and purple morning tea.
  • YFS staff shared what makes them unique.
  • MacKillop Family Services shared the story of their foster carers Mathew and Leonardo.
  • Relationships Australia Tasmania staff had some purple cupcakes baked especially for the occasion.
  • Cafs CEO, Wendy Sturgess wore purple and shared a message of support, “As the CEO of Cafs, I am proud to lead a team that stands as strong allies for the LGBTIQA+ community across the Central Highlands. Our people are committed to providing a culturally safe, mentally healthy and inclusive workplace and service provision for everyone. At Cafs diversity is not only welcomed, but celebrated.”
  • Anglicare Victoria shared some words of affirmation in support for LGBTQIA+ youth to help them embrace their uniqueness and individuality, let their voices be heard and to share their story with others.
  • Relationships Australia Canberra & Region staff dressed up in purple.
  • Family Life staff wore purple to celebrate the day and held a rainbow themed afternoon tea.
  • Drummond Street Services staff wore purple to celebrate the day, see below:

Anglicare WA School Sleep Out

On Friday 11 August, 520 school students in Western Australia braved the cold and spent the night at Optus Stadium to raise awareness for homelessness for this year’s Anglicare WA School Sleep Out.

It was the biggest sleep out of its kind in Australia and together they raised $180,000 for Street Connect, Anglicare WA’s outreach service for young people in Perth experiencing homelessness.

Gateway Health launches a new psychology clinic in Wangaratta

On 23 August, Gateway Health launched a new psychology clinic in Wangaratta which will provide affordable mental health services to the local community.

Members of the University of Melbourne’s Department of Rural Health, Gateway Health staff and the Federal MP for Indi came together to celebrate.

The clinic is serviced by qualified provisional psychologists from Victorian universities who are supervised by licensed and experienced psychologists. This approach allows Gateway Health to attract more psychologists to the region and offer more affordable mental health services to the community.

“We’ve seen more demand for mental health services in our region and the Gateway Health Psychology Clinic is an innovative way to increase access to these services,” said Alana Pund, General Manager, Mental Health and Wellbeing at Gateway Health. Read more.

Cafs are a finalist in the 2023 Federation University Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Cafs, who are finalists in two categories of the 2023 Federation University Commerce Ballarat Business Excellence Awards.

Cafs are finalists for the Gellibrand Support Services Inclusion Business Award and the Nevett Wilkinson Frawley Large Business Award.

The aim of the Awards is to showcase, celebrate and support local businesses in all that they have achieved, and contribute to the city of Ballarat. Take it a step further by nominating others that you believe are worthy of recognition and reward.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 31st August 2023.

Relationships Australia Victoria celebrates 75 years

This year Relationships Australia Victoria (RAV) is celebrating the organisation’s 75th anniversary.

RAV first began in 1948 as the Marriage Guidance Council of Victoria and since then they have supported more than 620,000 clients. The organisation has grown from a volunteer-based counselling and education organisation based in Collins Street, to providing over 100 services to clients across Victoria from more than 21 sites, and through additional outreach locations and telepractice.

They will be marking the anniversary later this year with their staff, Board members and stakeholders. Read more.

Survey: Workforce requirements for work with young people using violence

The Australian Institute of Family Studies is leading a consortium research team, including the Centre for Excellence for Child and Family Welfare, Drummond Street Services, the Centre for Innovative Justice and Tjallara Consulting. Commissioned by the Department of Social Services (DSS), this consortium is investigating workforce requirements for work with young people who are using violence.

They are conducting a nationwide survey to gain insight into practitioners’ levels of experience, knowledge and confidence in responding to young people (12-18 years) who are using – or at risk of using – violence, either in the home against parents/carers/siblings or in their intimate partner relationships.

They are looking for respondents all over Australia who are involved in any type of direct service with children, young people and families. Even if you don’t work with young people using violence, they would still like to hear from you!

Click here to complete the survey, it will take around 11 minutes. The information you provide will be de-identified and summarised in a report and submitted to DSS. The survey closes Thursday 7 September 2023.

Information, Linkages and Capacity Building – Social and Community Participation Grant Opportunity

The Australian Government is inviting organisations via an open, competitive grant process to apply to deliver services under the Social and Community Participation (SCP) stream of the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Program from April 2024 to June 2026.

Funding of up to $50 million will be available to deliver one-off, time-limited activities to support people with disability, their families and carers to participate, contribute and benefit from mainstream community activities including arts, culture, sport and recreation.

The intended outcomes of the SCP stream are people with disability, their families and carers:

  • have greater opportunities to participate and contribute in the community
  • have increased accessibility to, and inclusion in, communities.

Applications close at 9pm AEDT on Friday 6 October 2023. Find out more on GrantConnect.

Fri 31

Online workshop: Supporting Separated Families

May 31 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm AEST

Pacifica Congress Conference 2023 | 31 August – 2 September 2023 | Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania

This is an annual event and aims to stimulate and push our thinking so, family law professionals from the Pacific region, are challenged to focus on better meeting the needs of the children and families we serve in the family court process.


Family Advisor | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region

Client Services Officer | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region

Case Manager – Youth Programs | Relationships Australia Canberra & Region


Team Leader Family Relationship Centre | Mallee Family Care

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Mallee Family Care

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | Relationships Australia Victoria


Placement Worker | UnitingCare Community

Child and Family Case Practitioner |  UnitingCare Community

Family Counsellor | UnitingCare Community

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner | UnitingCare Community


Family Dispute Resolution practitioner | Relationships Australia NT

Counsellor – Family and Relationship Services | Relationships Australia NT

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 Please note that posting onto the FRSA website is reserved for FRSA Members only.


Climate of distress: responding to the youth mental health impacts of climate change | Orygen

Nationally and internationally, young people have expressed high levels of concern about climate change, which has been consistently associated with psychological distress. To inform this report, Orygen commissioned a YouGov survey of young Australians (16–25 years old) to understand how climate distress is impacting the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

The tip of the iceberg: measuring unemployment in Australia | The Australia Institute

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s decisions on interest rate increases rely on the concept of balancing inflation and unemployment. The authors of this paper argue that the official unemployment rate is based on strict and outdated definitions, and significantly underestimates the actual number of Australians looking for work.

Voices of country: Australia’s national action plan for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022–2032 | First Languages Australia

The United Nations General Assembly has declared the period between 2022 and 2032 as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. This action plan provides a framework to guide Australia’s participation.

Community influence in public decision-making | IAP2 Australasia

This research paper arises from a drive to understand more deeply the intersection of community influence and public decision-making, especially in the context of the increased visibility of engagement, on the one hand, and declining trust in government, on the other.

Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care: report | Royal Commission into Early Childhood Education and Care

This final report contains 43 recommendations and details an ambitious vision for the future of early childhood education and care in South Australia.

The Community Well | The Benefolk Foundation

A resource hub to provide tailored tools to support staff and volunteers’ mental health and wellbeing. The Community Well aims to help prevent and address changemaker burnout.

Parents’ welfare receipt and their children’s employment and education outcomes | Australian Institute of Family Studies

This snapshot shows that children who grow up with a parent receiving welfare payments (especially for longer total durations) are themselves at risk of not being in education, employment or training at age 18–19. This finding presents several implications for Australian policy and practice.

Gender trap: the gender structure, violence, and women’s unfreedom | Life Course Centre

The aim of this research was to deepen our understanding of how gender-based violence functions as a mechanism of disadvantage in women’s lives. Through improving this understanding, the authors aim to help draw attention to key sites and opportunities for disrupting this process.

AccessResolve Property Dispute Resolution for Court-Ordered Clients: Satisfaction and Outcomes | Relationships Australia Victoria

In 2019-20, RAV evaluated their AccessResolve service with a view to whether client satisfaction, practitioner impartiality and client self-determination could be achieved when conciliation was court-ordered.

Key findings include that:

  • 78% of respondents were ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied with the way conciliation was carried out
  • 90% of respondents stated that their practitioner was ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’ impartial and even-handed
  • 82% of respondents felt that they were ‘very much’ or ‘somewhat’ able to express their point of view in conciliation

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