FRSA eBulletin, No. 5, 2023


No. 5, 2023 | 27 April 2023

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From FRSA's Acting Executive Director

Only two weeks and four days to the FRSA National Conference! We are excited (and a tiny bit frazzled) here at FRSA headquarters as we work through our checklist, and conference paraphernalia builds up around us. This year, in the interests of environmental sustainability, we’ve pared back on printed materials and conference mementos, but we still have a lot of gear that’s been unearthed from our storeroom to take up to the Gold Coast.

We are thrilled to include details on our two conference panels in this eBulletin edition – The Early years: giving every child the best start in life on Tuesday 16 May, and Upholding children’s rights in the family law system: Are we doing enough? on Wednesday 17 May. You can read more about these plenary panel sessions below. And, it’s not too later to register for the Conference!

On 14 April 2023, 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.

We are committed to actively listening to the experiences, perspectives and knowledge of First Nations peoples. To this end, FRSA supports a Voice to Parliament, which we see as integral to ensuring that the wisdom, views and experiences of First Nations peoples are truly heard and inform policy and legislative change on matters that affect them. The FRSA Position Statement is included below.

Jackie Brady will be back on deck on 3 May after a well-deserved break in Europe. As always, please do reach out to the FRSA Office if we can assist in any way – 02 6162 1811.

Kind regards,
Dr Robyn Clough
FRSA Acting Executive Director

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FRSA is pleased to share the details of our two Panel Discussions at the FRSA National Conference:

Panel Discussion 1: The Early Years: giving every child the best start in life | Tuesday, 16 May:

This panel discussion chaired by Australia’s National Children’s Commissioner, Anne Hollonds, assembles experts from early education, health, government and child maltreatment research to respond to the question: what will it take to ensure that every child born in Australia has the opportunity to reach their full potential?

Panellists include: Professor Catherine Chamberlain, University of Melbourne, Professor Ben Mathews, Queensland University of Technology, Annette Michaux, Parenting Research Centre, Samantha Page, Early Childhood Australia and Tarja Saastamoinen, Department of Social Services.

Panel Discussion 2: Upholding children’s rights in the family law system: Are we doing enough? | Wednesday, 17 May:

This panel discussion brings together Chris Collett, Attorney-General’s Department, The Hon John Faulks, Family Law Council, Dr Georgina Dimopoulos, Southern Cross University and Megan Solomon, Uniting, to discuss the extent to which the family law system uphold the rights of children and young people.

Panellists will respond to the question: How can we enable children and young people to participate in family law decisions meaningfully and safely?

This panel will be chaired by Dr Rae Kaspiew, Australian Institute of Family Studies.

The FRSA National Conference 2023 aims to deliver the rich knowledge, insights that only the family and relationship sector can offer insight to as we continue to face uncertainty.

Stay up to date on Conference news by subscribing to our Conference and Forum Updates

Gold Sponsor: Interrelate

Improving service delivery

Over the last two years we’ve been busy at Interrelate improving our service reach to meet more people where they’re at in their relationships. Whether that be the relationship they have with themselves, their partner, or their family.

The addition of our two new social enterprises, I relate. Health and I relate. Collaborative Family Law have enabled us to extend our virtual services to assist more Australians with mental health, wellbeing, and separation support. By embracing online modalities of support and delivery, we have found that we are able to service a broader audience and provide more flexibility than before.

With the landscape of family relationships, and support services changing rapidly to meet the needs of our communities, there is a growing question around how services can be more proactive in their approach. Much of Interrelate’s focus in this post-COVID world, has been on adapting traditional methods of support to better suit the evolving family unit.

As most of us have reconciled by now, there is no slowing the rate at which technology is infusing our lives, and therefore our relationships. In our research with UTS, Deakin, and Alan Riva over the past 12 months, we have been able to dig deeper into the benefits of using technology to enhance family relationships. Similarly, our engagement with First Nations culture and knowledge, has enabled us to engage the dynamics of individual and family relationships in an innovative way, bringing together many aspects of relationships, identity, and belonging.

By equipping ourselves to lean into the future of service provision, we can support parents, teachers, and children to build healthier relationships with the support of technology and cultural knowledge.

We are excited to see where this trajectory takes us over the coming years as we continue to address the issues that challenge modern relationships.

Australian Maltreatment Study – findings released

The findings of Australia’s first nationally representative study of prevalence of all five forms of child maltreatment (physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic violence) was released earlier this month.

The findings of the study are deeply concerning. The study surveyed 8503 randomly selected Australians, aged 16-65+ about their childhood experiences.

The study found that child maltreatment was widespread amongst this diverse cohort:

  • 32% had experienced physical abuse
  • 28.5% had experienced sexual abuse
  • 30.9% had experienced emotional abuse
  • 8.9% had experienced neglect
  • 39.6% had experienced exposure to domestic violence.

Girls are at greater risk of sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect, with comparable levels of risk to boys for physical abuse and exposure to domestic violence. Many Australians have experienced multiple forms of child maltreatment.

The findings of the study are available on a website dedicated to the study. You can also read an article in the Conversation reflecting on the findings, by Prof. Daryl Higgins, a Chief Investigator on the study.

FRSA is pleased to report that Professor Ben Mathews – one of the Australian Child Maltreatment Study team – will join our Plenary Panel Discussion on the Early Years at the FRSA National Conference on Tuesday 16 May.

ACOSS releases community services report – At the Precipice

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has released its latest report into how the community services sector is travelling – At the precipice: Australia’s community sector through the cost of living crisis. The findings are concerning.

Australia’s community service sector delivers essential services to people affected by poverty, disadvantage and inequality. But community services are at breaking point. Only 9 percent of leaders agreed that funding covers the full cost of service delivery while 47 per cent of leaders said staff turnover is too high.

ACOSS Deputy CEO Edwina MacDonald said, “As Australia faces high inflation, dwindling housing options and year-round disasters, the community sector are the rapid responders, offering support to people who are overlooked by the Federal Government. Yet every year the Government just assumes our sector can continue to run on empty. It cannot go on like this.”

The report was based on the Australian Community Sector Survey undertaken by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney for ACOSS and the State and Territory Councils of Social Service.

Release of Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee Report

The Government has released the first report of the interim Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee.

The Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee was established in December last year to provide advice in the lead-up to budgets on policies to address disadvantage and boost economic participation.

The report looks across a number of matters including the adequacy of income support payments. Full employment, place-based arrangements and supports for families.

Unsurprisingly, the Committee has recommended a substantial increase in the base rates of JobSeeker payment and related working age payments as a priority. The inadequacy of these income support payments has been repeatedly highlighted by social services organisations over several years and with the current cost-of-living crisis the situation is getting tougher.

The Committee has stressed that economic inclusion for all requires targeted initiatives tailored to local conditions in partnership with local people. Within the context of this place-based approach, the Committee has recommended that ‘the Government use the Early Years Strategy to explore how it can partner with States and Territories, philanthropy and other stakeholders to expand holistic child and family models across community, school, primary health, early learning and other relevant settings, including by creating common infrastructure, workforce and standards to support these at network scale.’

The report is available online.

Federal Budget 2023

The Federal Budget will be handed down by the Treasurer on Tuesday 9 May.

In the lead up to the Budget, social service organisations have been working hard to make the case for increased income support payments. Yesterday, ACOSS delivered an open letter to the Prime Minister, signed by community sector leaders, politicians and prominent Australians calling for an increase to JobSeeker in the Budget. FRSA has signed this letter. We continue to hear from Members about the financial and housing pressures that are pushing the families they work with into crisis. You can read ACOSS’ media release and the open letter here.

As we do every Federal Budget, the FRSA team will be working back late on Budget night to bring a Budget brief to FRSA members.

Anglicare Australia releases Rental Affordability Snapshot

This morning Anglicare Australia released its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, which shows the need for more social and affordable housing is more urgent than ever.

In short, there is no or very limited affordable rentals for people on income support payments and affordable listings for a person on the minimum wage have dropped to below one percent. Anglicare Australia Executive Director, Kasy Chambers, said “Each year, we think the market couldn’t get any worse. And each year, we’re shocked to see that it can.”

The Snapshot surveyed 45,895 rental listings across Australia and found that:

  • 345 rentals (0.8%) were affordable for a person earning a full-time minimum wage
  • 162 rentals (0.4%) were affordable for a person on the Age Pension
  • 66 rentals (0.1%) were affordable for a person on the Disability Support Pension
  • 4 rentals, (0%) all sharehouses, were affordable for a person on JobSeeker
  • 0 rentals (0%) were affordable for a person on Youth Allowance.

The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners.

The Snapshot is available here.


We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country. (Uluru Statement from the Heart, 2017)

FRSA acknowledges and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of this land. We recognise that First Nations’ Sovereignty was never ceded or extinguished, and we endeavour to tread lightly on the lands that FRSA traverses.

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. We are committed to actively listening to the experiences, perspectives and knowledge of First Nations peoples. To this end, FRSA supports a Voice to Parliament, which we see as integral to ensuring that the wisdom, views and experiences of First Nations peoples are truly heard and inform policy and legislative change on matters that affect them.

FRSA applauds the Government’s commitment to implementing the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. Enshrining a First Nations Voice in the Constitution is a critical foundational step. We will continue to support and contribute to Australia’s full reconciliation journey.

Endorsed by the FRSA Board 14 April 2023.

Change to Shadow Attorney-General

On 18 April 2023, the Opposition leader, the Hon Peter Dutton, announced changes to the Coalition Shadow Ministry.

This included the return of Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash to the role of Shadow Attorney-General. Senator Cash’s re-appointment to the role follows the former Shadow Attorney-General, Julian Leeser’s decision to resign from the opposition frontbench following the Liberal Party’s decision to oppose the Voice to Parliament.

Public consultations

Measuring what matters – second consultation process

The Treasury has opened the second consultation process on Australia’s first national framework on wellbeing.

The government has committed to release a new standalone Measuring What Matters Statement this year. Traditional economic indicators provide important insights, but not a complete picture or holistic view of the community’s wellbeing. The Statement will seek to assess progress on a broad range of social and environmental indicators alongside traditional economic measures.

Drawing on submissions from the first consultation phase and a review of international and domestic approaches, 5 broad themes important to wellbeing have emerged for consideration: prosperous, inclusive, sustainable, cohesive and healthy.

The second pashed consultation provides an opportunity to look at these emerging themes.

More information about the consultation, including a consultation pack, is available on The Treasury website. Submission close 26 May 2023.

Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum – submissions have closed

Submissions to the Joint Select Committee on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice Referendum on the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 closed on 21 April 2023.

The committee is inquiring into and will report on the provisions of the bill introduced by the Government to be submitted to a referendum on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

FRSA has lodged a short submission letter to this inquiry, which will be published on our website once it has been accepted by the committee.

Early Years Strategy – submissions closing soon

Public submission on the Australian Government’s Early Years Strategy close 30 April 2023.

The Strategy will help the Commonwealth create a more integrated, holistic approach to the early years and better support the education, wellbeing and development of Australia’s children.

More information, including a discussion paper, are on the DSS Engage website.

Cost of living

The submission closing date for the Cost of Living inquiry has been extended to 12 May 2023.

The Select Committee on the Cost of Living has been asked to inquire into and report on the cost of living pressures facing Australians and ways to ease these pressures.

For more information visit the Committee’s webpage.

Productivity Commission Philanthropy Inquiry

The Productivity Commission has been asked to analyse motivations for philanthropic giving in Australia and identify opportunities to grow it further.

The Commission released a discussion paper in late March, which outlines the scope of the inquiry. Submissions are due by Friday 5 May 2023.

Single Parenting with Success: Top Tips to Empower You and Your Children Webinar

Are you a single parent looking for some extra support? Register now for Relationships Australia WA’s free webinar, Single Parenting with Success: Top Tips to Empower You and Your Children. Educators Mark and Suzanne will be sharing their own experiences and providing strategies to help you navigate the unique challenges of single parenting. They’ll provide tips on staying connected to your kids, how to manage co-parenting and different parenting styles and how to look after yourself as a single parent.

Sign up now to access this free webinar recording on Wednesday 26 April, 2023.


YFS haS announced the appointment of Christopher John as their new Chief Executive Officer. Christopher will join YFS on 3 July 2023.

Christopher has 17 years of CEO experience within the not-for-profit sector. He is current CEO of Bloomhill Cancer Care, following roles as CEO at Prince’s Trust Australia Ltd, United Synergies Ltd (now YouTurn Ltd) and Lifeline Hobart Inc.

Outgoing CEO Cath Bartolo AM, who spent more than 20 years building YFS into a dynamic organisation, will continue as CEO until the end of June.

“We are confident that Christopher will build on Cath’s work, retaining YFS’ values of excellence, integrity, optimism, steadfastness and courage while pursuing strategies to increase our impact and support more people,” said YFS Board Chair, Philip Beresford.

FRSA congratulates Christopher on his new appointment and wishes Cath all the best for the future.

Bethany Group now Meli

Bethany Group and Barwon Child, Youth & Family (BCYF) have merged and become one organisation, now known as Meli.

Meli Chief Executive Officer Grant Boyd said the merger brought together two like-minded organisations to consolidate their expertise and be better placed to respond to changing needs in the community.

The organisation’s new name was inspired by the word ‘meliorism’: the belief that the world can be made better through human effort. It encapsulates the role they play in supporting people and strengthening communities.

While the name has changed, Mr Boyd said it would be business as usual for the merged organisation which has offices and kindergartens in Greater Geelong, the Bellarine, Surf Coast, Winchelsea, Colac, Bannockburn, Warrnambool and Horsham.

“Meli will continue to provide its current community services to children, young people families and individuals  including our network of 29 kindergartens, with plans to grow our services to meet the changing needs of our communities.” Mr Boyd said. Read more.

SNAICC virtual town hall - barriers to ECEC access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families

SNAICC – National Voice for our Children is holding a virtual town hall event on 2 May 2023 at 12pm (AEST) to discuss the barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children in accessing early childhood education and care.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are 67% less likely to attend early childhood education and care than non-Indigenous children and are as a direct result 2.5 times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable in two or more domains by age five. Despite efforts taken in the past to help close the gap, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children still face many structural barriers preventing them from accessing the vital care they need in their early years.

This event provides an opportunity to hear directly from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years workforce about the experiences of families accessing early learning services and supports. Minister Anne Aly, Minister for Early Childhood Education and Minister Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians will be joining the discussion as well as SNAICC CEO, Catherine Liddle. Click here to register.

Understanding ACNC advice on advocacy around the Voice Referendum

Stronger Charities Alliance, in partnership with ACOSS and Australian Democracy Network, is hosting a webinar to help charities understand ACNC advice on advocacy around the Voice Referendum.

ACNC Commissioner Sue Woodward AM will be explaining ACNC guidance and answer your questions. This webinar is for Australian charities who are interested in, or planning to, advocate around the Voice Referendum. The event will be held via Zoom on 16 May 2023 from 11am – 11:45am AEST. Click here to register.

National Reconciliation Week - Register your event

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) – 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.

The NRW 2023 Event Calendar is now open! Submit your own public event to the calendar – or register a private event if its for invitees only.

Check in on the calendar over the next few weeks to find events and activities happening near you. We’d love to share what FRSA Members have planned for NRW. If you would like to promote you NRW event, please email Vanessa at

The 2023 Mission Australia Youth Survey is now open!

Mission Australia’s Youth Survey 2023 is now open. Now in its 22nd year, the Mission Australia Youth Survey is the largest online survey of its kind in Australia and provides an important annual snapshot into the experiences and views of young people aged 15-19.

Share the survey link:

Oct 10
Oct 13

SHAME – Sydney

October 13 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm AEDT
Oct 23

HEY WARRIOR! – Adelaide

October 23 @ 9:30 am - 4:30 pm AEDT

Webinar: Supporting children to participate in evaluation | 3 May 2023 | 1:00pm (AEST)

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) invites practitioners, evaluators and researchers working directly with children to join an upcoming webinar exploring how to involve children in evaluation in a meaningful and ethical way. This webinar will build on AIFS upcoming practice guide Involving children in evaluation. What should I know? and will delve deeper into key points covered in the guide as well as providing practical advice about how to involve children in evaluation.


Counsellor | Relationships Australia NSW


Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (Full Time or Part Time) | Relationships Australia Northern Territory

Counsellor – Darwin – Full Time | Relationships Australia Northern Territory

Counsellor – Alice Springs – Full Time | Relationships Australia Northern Territory


Senior Family Dispute Resolutions Practitioner | OzChild

Family Relationship Counsellor | Relationship Matters

Senior Child Contact Worker | Mallee Family Care

Child Contact Worker | Mallee Family Care

Webinar: Reinventing schools to support learning & wellbeing for all | 10 May 2023 | 7:30pm (AEST)

How can schools become places which equally support children’s health, wellbeing and learning? Global thought leaders, Finnish teacher and academic Pasi Sahlberg, and paediatrician, public health researcher and previous policymaker Sharon Goldfeld will share their vision for a reinvented school system in a webinar hosted by the Australian Human Rights Commission. National Children’s Commissioner Anne Hollonds will moderate the conversation.

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.


Communities in crisis: Lifeline QLD supporting those in need | The McKell Institute

Poor mental health and suicide are significant public health issues. This report calls for the funding model for community response services, like Lifeline, to move from a ‘crisis response’ model to one that is proactive and regularised.

Safeguarding worker wellbeing for remote delivery of domestic and family violence support | Australian Institute of Family Studies

Just released, this new short article focuses on wellbeing challenges for practitioners working remotely who support individuals experiencing family and domestic violence.

Putting children first: A rights respecting approach to youth justice in Australia | Save the Children

The report reveals every Australian state and territory jurisdiction has a long way to go to uphold the rights of children across the areas of policing, bail and remand, diversion, court processes, sentencing practices, and detention.

Mental health and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic: the lived experience of Australians aged 75 and over | COTA Australia

Researchers surveyed over 1000 Australians aged 75+ about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on their mental health. This report details the findings.

Audit and review report templates for charities | ACNC

To comply with new regulations that came into effect on 1 April 2023, the ACNC has updated its audit and review report templates for charities. Use these templates for any audit or review report signed on or after 1 April 2023.

Towards best-practice access to services for culturally and linguistically diverse people with a disability | Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Using strengths-based inquiry, a desk top review and consultations with stakeholders this study sought to identify actions, practices and approaches to increase access to systems and services for people with disability from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

The Times They Aren’t A-Changin (enough) | The Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute

This report examines the barriers to closing the gender gap by reviewing Australia’s position within the industrial countries of the OECD. The report also uses data from the ABS and the ATO to highlight gender disparities across all levels of income, ranges of occupation and ages, as well as disparities regarding who undertakes the greater share of unpaid work.

Forced marriage as a form of family violence in Victoria | Monash Gender and Family Violence Prevention Centre

Since 2013, forced marriage has been understood and responded to in Australia as a form of human trafficking and a slavery-like practice. This report details the consistent support for the inclusion of forced marriage as family violence, and the recognition that this is a welcome opportunity to expand service supports for persons affected by forced marriage.

Helplines, telephone and online counselling services for children, young people and adults | Australian Institute of Family Studies

It is designed to provide practitioners and service providers with the contact details and links to helplines, telephone and online counselling services for children, young people, and adults.

State of the nation’s housing 2022–23 | National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation (Australia)

This report provides a snapshot of housing demand and supply across Australia, with a view to identifying supply shortfalls that could over time exacerbate affordability problems.

Health of mothers and babies | Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Health and wellbeing during the perinatal period can have lifelong implications for mothers and babies. Maternal demographics, such as maternal age and country of birth, can impact on maternal and perinatal health. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy and attending routine antenatal care contributes to better outcomes for both mother and baby. The health of a baby at birth is a key determinant of their health and wellbeing throughout life, for example the gestational age of a baby, and their birthweight, have important implications for their health, with poorer outcomes generally reported for those born early and with a birthweight below 2,500 grams.

Asking For It: Creating Consent Culture | SBS Learn, the eSafety Commissioner and Body Safety Australia

This resource is based on the SBS documentary series Asking For It. The documentary, explores sex, consent and power, and how educational, social and systemic changes must occur to address the far-reaching consequences of sexual violence. This resource supports teachers in empowering young people to develop and maintain safe and respectful relationships by exploring consent, unpacking language and gender stereotypes, and highlighting safe online practices.

Climate concerns and young people’s mental health: Findings from the 2022 Mission Australia Youth Survey | Mission Australia

The 2022 Mission Australia Youth Survey shows 1 in 4 (26%) young people in Australia are ‘very’ or ‘extremely concerned’ about climate change, and nearly 2 in 5 (38%) of those respondents also experienced high psychological distress.

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