Wednesday 4 November 2020

Dear *|FNAME|*,

Last week the WA Not-for-profit Landscape 2020 report was released by the Not-for-profits University of Western Australia Research Team, which showed that charities in WA are facing increased financial pressure, which is resulting in fewer services and lower quality jobs in the sector.

The latest report pre-dates COVID-19, and demonstrates that community services were already struggling to meet demand even before the largest health and economic crisis in our lifetimes hit. Some of the high level findings include:

  • There was a net increase in the number of charities of 10.5% or 356.
    • 743 charities wound up and 1,099 were established, with a loss of 9,356 employees by head count.
  • Services are likely contracting as evidenced by:
    • The service mix contracted by 45% - charities provide less service types.
    • The beneficiary mix contracted by 53%.
  • Job quality has reduced as aggregate full-time and part-time jobs have fallen in total by 1,136 or 1.33% while casual employment is up 21.39%.
  • Aggregate profitability has fallen by 49% highlighting funding levels are likely insufficient to recover costs of service delivery.

Health care and social assistance employs the second largest number of people in WA, and it's projected to grow faster than any other area of the economy over the next five years. We should all be very alarmed that jobs growth in our predominantly female sector is happening in the form of precarious and insecure jobs. Investment into care work is investment into the capability and resilience of our most precious asset - our people.

Yours sincerely,

Louise Giolitto
Chief Executive Officer

COVID-19 Update

Stay up-to-date on all COVID-19 health matters via the WA Government Coronavirus webpage. Community service organisations can visit the WACOSS Community Services COVID-19 resources page on the website for resources and information relevant to the sector. 

WA will transition to a safe and sensible controlled interstate border based on the latest health advice. Effective Saturday, 14 November, the existing hard border exemption system will be removed and replaced with an updated nationwide health-based threshold that allows for safe travel into Western Australia from interstate with conditions, and subject to trigger points being met.

New Submission on the Continuation of Cashless Welfare

The Federal Government introduced a Bill in October to make the Cashless Debit Card trials permanent. The Senate is expected to vote on it by Christmas. We presented a submission to the inquiry, which re-states our position, which is that we strongly oppose the continuation of the Cashless Debit Card, and the removal of the trial parameters to establish it as an ongoing program.  

  • Mandatory income management disempowers participants. While income management can be effective, it must be genuinely voluntary and supported by wrap-around, holistic services that enable those affected to address their particular needs and take control of their own finances. 
  • The weight of evidence of income management models clearly shows that loss of self-control and the ability to make timely decisions to manage limited finances for people living below the poverty line is a barrier to achieving employment outcomes and maintaining family wellbeing. 
  • Attempting to solve complex social issues with a blunt instrument like the Cashless Debit Card is misguided and fails to meaningfully target the causes of the issues being experienced in the regions the card has been introduced, such as investment in job creation in regions and providing culturally-appropriate services. 

Read the full submission on our website.

Community sector contract extensions

We understand that some State Government line agencies are in the process of writing to service providers, offering an extension to contracts that end between now and June 2021. For contracts that pre-date 1 July 2013 services should receive an additional ERO supplementary payment - which is explained in the Department of Finance 2019-20 ERO Supplementation Fact Sheet. Whilst this is positive from a certainty perspective, we are very mindful of the sustainability of existing funding for contracts that were entered into after July 2013, particularly with the final SACS ERO payment due in December 2020. CEWA and WACOSS are continuing to advocate with the central agencies of government on the need for a funding uplift to cover the ERO for contracts awarded post 1 July 2013, especially for those being extended.

We strongly suggest that organisations who are asked to sign a contract extension, look closely at the implications of extending your contract and maintaining existing service levels. Some government agencies appear willing to renegotiate service specifications, although we appreciate that this isn’t always possible for every service or contract.

The latest Department of Finance Community Services Bulletin provides advice for organisations with contracts expiring before 30 June 2021, and if you have concerns about sustainability, they encourage you to discuss them directly with your agency contract manager.

Infrastructure WA holds first Reference Group Meeting

The first meeting of the IWA External Stakeholders Reference Group meeting was held last week. Louise Giolitto, CEO, WACOSS is joined by Michelle Mackenzie, CEO, Shelter WA as representatives of the community services sector on the group. Infrastructure WA's role is to provide advice and assistance to the WA Government on infrastructure matters. Highlights from the wide consultations were shared, and it was pleasing to see one of the key themes coming out of the consultations was that investment in infrastructure should consider the social impact. Other highlights that may be of interest to the sector include energy, transport, social and affordable housing, and digital connectivity.

Raise the Rate for Good - Seasons Greetings campaign

The holiday season is approaching and right now our politicians are deciding on the future of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments. An announcement is likely in late November. We have less than three weeks to make our voices heard. Enough is enough of the uncertainty and delays - no more cuts, and no more short-term measures. Send a holiday card or call on your MP to deliver a permanent and adequate increase to income support before Christmas, so that people can cover the basics.

Community Services Excellence Awards - nominations closing

Now more than perhaps ever, it's important to recognise the outstanding contributions made by the community service sector. The new challenges we have come to face have made clear our reliance on these services and individuals, as well as the importance of fostering and celebrating them. Submit your nomination to celebrate a star of the community sector before 5pm Friday 12 November 2020. These awards are a partnership between the Department of Communities and WACOSS, and are supported by Lotterywest. 

Neami National: BPD & Complex Trauma Workshop

Neami National is partnering with complex care specialists Our Curious Minds to deliver Recovering Function, Building Hope, an online workshop designed to help both clinical and community services gain a better understanding of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Complex Trauma, learning important and effective practice and engagement skills. To support regional workforce development, the workshop will be offered in November specifically for practitioners based in Regional WA, on Monday 16 November and Thursday 19 November. Read more and register for the workshop.

WA Men's Gathering: No Man is an Island

A Men’s Gathering is a space for men to meet, laugh, learn and explore some of the issues affecting men’s lives. It's an annual event that allows men to meet in a safe, confidential and respectful way to share their story, reflect on life, have some fun, and better understand themselves and their place in the world. The 2020 gathering will be held at Jarrahfall Bush Camp located near Dwellingup over the weekend of 13 - 15 November. Run by a dedicated group of volunteers, the event is in the true spirit of a compassionate and connected community, and supports the social and emotional wellbeing of men so they can lead more fulfilled lives. Read more and register for the event.

Applications open for Emerging Leaders in Governance Program

The Emerging Leaders in Governance Program is one of three components of the Engaging Young Leaders on Aged Care and Community Boards initiative, and is an innovative four-month program running from January to May 2021 that pioneers the engagement of young leaders (aged under 40) on the Boards and Committees in the aged care and community sector. Read the prospectus and apply up until 5 December 2020.

TAFE Health Skill Sets available 2020/2021 - North Metro TAFE

We continue to hear of challenges being experienced by some members in attracting suitably skilled staff, which has been raised with the Department of Training and Workforce Development and other networks. We are always interested to hear from members of your recruitment experiences. Read about some of the sector TAFE courses available, and a summary of the costs of these courses.

2021 Injury Matters Injury Prevention & Safety Promotion Awards

The Awards recognise individuals and organisations who are having a positive impact on the community by conducting activities that aim to prevent and reduce the impact of injury within Western Australia. Applications for the Awards are open until Friday 11 December 2020 and are encouraged from the diverse injury prevention and safety promotion sector, including not-for-profit organisations, private sector, community groups, educational institutions and government bodies.

WA Consumer Protection Award nominations open

The Consumer Protection Awards recognise the outstanding work done by Western Australian individuals, organisations, businesses, local governments and the media to address consumer issues, help disadvantaged consumers or contribute to child safety. You can nominate yourself or others. Watch this video for more details. Get your nomination in by 11:59pm, Monday 30 November 2020. 

9 NOV | Change the World Digital Marketing Summit
Hancock Creative - Online - $ Free, $59 to watch replayed conference

11 NOV | The role of technology for not-for-profits, in the context of COVID-19
Centre for Social Impact/Infoxchange - Online - $ Free

11 NOV | New Child Wise training program: Child Safety in Emergencies
Child Wise - Online - $121

12 NOV | The role of technology for not-for-profits, in the context of COVID-19
Centre for Social Impact - Online - $ free

12 NOV | Spotlight on Sexual Violence in Western Australia
WCHNWA / Alambee Counselling / Desert Blue Connect - West Perth - $ free

13-15 NOV | WA Men's Gathering 2020
WA Men's Gathering - Dwellingup - $195

16-18 NOV | Recovering Function, Building Hope - BPD and Complex trauma webinar
Neami National / Our Curious Minds - Online - $260+GST

24 NOV | Strategic Planning Skills - One Day Course
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $125-$285

25 NOV | Dignity of Risk - One Day Course
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $125-$285

25 NOV | 2020 Mental Health Awards
Western Australian Association for Mental Health - Perth - $ varies

26 NOV | Shelter WA 40th Anniversary Awards event
Shelter WA - Northbridge - $16.75 - $48.07

27 NOV | 30th Annual Silent Domestic Violence Memorial March
Women's Council for Domestic and Family Violence - Perth - $ free

27 NOV | Mental First Aid Half Day Refresher
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $75-$170

1 DEC | Symposium: Legal representation in protection & care matters
Family Inclusion Network of WA - Crawley - $10-55

2 DEC | Develop your Emotional Intelligence - One Day Course
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $125-$285

3 DEC | Communities in-focus: Navigating an ever-changing world
City of Joondalup - Joondalup - $ free

7-8 DEC | Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid - Two Day Course
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $220-$480

9-10 DEC | Mental Health First Aid - Two Day Course
Evolve Events - Subiaco - $220-$480

10 DEC | Rally for Mental Health
WAAMH - Perth - $ free

22-24 FEB | Finding Ground: Building a better way back together
WACOSS - Fremantle - $ varies

23 FEB | Community Services Excellence Awards
WACOSS - Fremantle - $45 - $110

Lifeline Australia, in partnership with The Centre of Best Practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention, last week launched the Wellbeing and Healing Through Connection and Culture Report. The report is the first literature review undertaken in Australia analysing emerging research and knowledge, key themes and principles surrounding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives and concepts of healing and social and emotional wellbeing as they relate to suicide prevention.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2020 released a report, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle Indicators 2018-19: measuring progress, which shows an increasing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care being placed away from their families and carers. The data shows that more than half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are living without an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander carer.

Systems Support Project Officer
WANADA - applications closing Monday 16 November 2020

Organisation Coordinator
WANADA - applications closing Monday 16 November 2020

Psychologist / Mental Health Social Worker
Women's Health and Wellbeing Services - applications closing ASAP

Resources for people experiencing financial hardship

Many people may be feeling the effects of COVID-19 right now, and help is available from community service organisations, including financial counselling, food vouchers, assistance with bills, emergency accommodation, and referrals to other supports and services. To find these services, use WAConnect, a state-wide directory.

Feel free to share the resources, including:

If you're looking for assistance in sharing this info, here is an example post for Facebook.

Find Financial Hardship Resources on the WACOSS website.

Housing First Support Services Tender

The tender for the Housing First Support Services is now live on TendersWA. The HFSS forms the second integral part of the Housing First Homelessness Initiative that is aimed at implementing a housing first approach across the Perth metropolitan area, Rockingham/Mandurah, Bunbury and Geraldton. View the Tender. The tender process will close at 2:30pm, Friday 20 November. 

Women’s grants program now open for applications

Grants of up to $10,000 are available for community organisations and local governments to implement projects that focus on the unique issues faced by Western Australian women. The funding is available through the Department of Communities to support projects that align with the vision, outcomes and actions detailed in 'Stronger Together: WA's Plan for Gender Equality' by addressing one or more of its priority areas, which include: Health and Wellbeing, Safety and Justice, Economic Independence and Leadership. Grants applications are being accepted until 4pm, Thursday 26 November. 

Broader impacts when WA charities put at risk from lack of funding: UWA report

The Age, Tuesday 27 October 2020

Western Australia's second biggest sector behind mining for growth and retail for employment is under threat from a lack of funding despite increased demand of its services. A new University of Western Australia report has found WA's not-for-profit community services, considered a substantial part of the state's healthcare, social assistance, education and training sector, helped make up almost $24 billion in gross state product in 2018. WA Council of Social Service chief executive Louise Giolitto said it was alarming funding was not keeping up with the costs of charities' crucial services, which in some cases may prove "life threatening". Read the full article.

Not-For-Profits Under Pressure

RTRFM Tuesday 27 October

According to the second WA's Not-For-Profit Landscape report, WA charities are under increasing financial pressure, resulting in fewer services and lower quality jobs in the sector. However, even before COVID-19 the demand for services was higher than ever. Danae Gibson discusses the situation with CEO of the WA Council of Social Service, Louise Giolitto. Listen to the interview.

Food industry, food security and a healthy Australia

Food Australia October-December 2020

Health sells, particularly when it comes to food. That’s why many food manufacturers and retailers focus on the health benefits of their products in their labelling and promotion and health is often a key feature of their corporate social responsibility statements. Although Australian supermarkets make such commitments, research suggests there is room for improvement in many of the key areas where change is needed to improve public health. Read the full article.

Join the Movement - Become a WACOSS Member 

COVID-19 has forced us to evolve in new and challenging ways, and as a sector we are faced with an extraordinary challenge. It's a challenge we cannot take on alone, and to effectively Build Back Better we need to ensure no one is left behind. Joining WACOSS is joining the growing movement of people and organisations who have an unwavering commitment to social justice. Help us to continue doing the important advocacy work that is needed. Become a member today.

Members can submit news and events for publication in each Sector News edition for free, and non-members for a nominal fee.

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Acknowledgement of Country

Ngala kaaditj Noongar Wadjuk moort keyen kaadak nidja boodja.

In the spirit of deepening relationship, we acknowledge Wadjuk Noongar people as the original custodians of the land on which our metro office sits. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Western Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.

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