Inner Sydney Voice Annual Report 2020-2021

Page 1




We acknowledge and pay our respects to the traditional owners of the lands across the areas that we service, particularly the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation — traditional owners of the land upon which our Waterloo office is located.

About ISV Inner Sydney Voice is a peak body promoting social justice and social inclusion. We provide information, advocacy, support, and community development for the local government areas of City of Sydney, Bayside, Randwick, Waverly, Woollahra, and the Inner West. A not-for-profit organisation, Inner Sydney Voice has — for more than 40 years — empowered people to demand an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives and their communities.

Our values PARTICIPATION Everyone has the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.

DIVERSITY Diverse backgrounds, cultures, strengths, and perspectives are cherished social assets.

EMPOWERMENT When all people are equally empowered to participate, it leads to fairer outcomes.

FAIRNESS Fairer societies are happier, healthier, safer, and stronger.

Inner Sydney Regional Council for Social Development Inc trading as Inner Sydney Voice Rear 770 Elizabeth Street Waterloo NSW 2017 ABN 86 770 127 254 PHONE 9698 7690 | EMAIL | WEB FACEBOOK | TWITTER @innersydneyrcsd

Contents 4 Resilience stretched but progress made As Chair Michael Mackenzie-Shreenan reports, it’s been a bumpy ride through a period of change.

5 A tough year in tough times The year 2020-2021 has taken its toll in more ways than one, with a strain also felt on ISV’s finances. Treasurer Peter Connelly reports.

6 Delivering during a pandemic Despite a challenging year, ISV continued its important work across various spaces. Acting EO Gretchen Young reports.

8 Don’t mention the C-word! In the midst of a pandemic, ISV’s messaging was dominated by the virus, writes Communications Officer Christopher Kelly.

10 Navigating change through collaboration Following the aged-care royal commission, sector support workers have been busy responding to the proposed reforms. Tim Horton reports.

12 Being emergency ready When the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flooded earlier this year, an ISV project to promote flood preparedness proved invaluable.

14 Financial statements

Resilience stretched but progress made As Chair Michael Mackenzie-Shreenan reports, it’s been a bumpy ride through a period of change. am pleased to present the annual report for financial year 2020-2021. This report provides an overview of how the ISV team has travelled through what has been a volatile year. It also provides an insight into financial performance, current challenges, and future plans. The words uncertainty, frustration, fear, and anger may best describe the feelings many of us faced this year. However, so do the words resilience, passion, hope, and progress. In that regard, I thank all staff, current and past, for their contributions to our collective achievements.


I want to pay tribute to our long-standing EO, Charmaine Jones, who retired on medical grounds following a decade of outstanding service. Charmaine's leadership, raw energy, and strong advocacy for our sector and the communities we serve will be madly missed. I also thank Claire McAteer, whose leadership helped us through this period of change, and extend that appreciation to Gretchen Young who has joined the ISV team for six months to oversee management recruitment and assist the board in reviewing its strategic road map. Sadly, this year, we said goodbye to Tracy Hamilton following the successful end of the Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector Project — which led to Tracy becoming a member of the NSW Government’s resilience team. The continued sector support, capacity building, advocacy, and information our team has given to TEI-funded agencies and Commonwealth Housing Support Providers has been essential work and highly valued. Our involvement in developing a Waterloo human service plan and our support of local residents' action groups across Inner Sydney has ensured that ISV’s advocacy has remained community-led and responsive to circumstances on the ground. However, staff turnover, decreased resources, rising costs, and a pandemic have presented challenges — and will do so into the future. With this in mind, the board is committed to developing an updated road map to be completed by December 2021. The road map will explore income generation and cost-savings options. It will also consider the feasibility and suitability of exploring a merger — but only if it will bring about the best outcomes for ISV. Strategies will be developed through consultation with stakeholders and members with recommendations to be tabled by next year's AGM. I thank our members, funders, and my fellow board members for their ongoing support. As lockdowns ease, the recovery of our communities and our sector will be ISV’s primary focus. I am confident that with the right strategy, leadership and resourcing, ISV can continue to grow, adapt, and provide first-class backbone support wherever we can.

A tough year in tough times The year 2020-2021 has taken its toll in more ways than one, with a strain also felt on ISV’s finances. Treasurer Peter Connelly reports.


verall, ISV had a net surplus of $7,547 in the year ending 30 June 2021, compared to $87,069 in 2019-20. In 2019-20, ISV received $100,000 of cash flow boost from the ATO. Without this, the result would have been a deficit of $12,931. In financial year 2020-21, the employment costs were down by $109,000 comparing with 2019-20. The loss of grant income comparing with 2019-20 comes to about $100,000, which explains the surplus of 2020-21. ISV continues to receive significant funding under the TEI and CHSP programs. However, funding has been reduced over recent years with the non-renewal of key grants. All the while, organisational costs have remained at historic levels. As a result, ISV has had to draw on reserves to keep operating. This is not viable in the medium to long term. ISV needs to increase income or reduce costs, or both. l Grants and other income fell from $835,750 in 2019-20 to $590,802 in 2020-21 — or a reduction of $244,948 (-29%). l Total expenses in 2020-21 were $583,255 compared to $748,682 in 2019-20, reflecting the termination of previous grants. ISV has had to use its assets to keep the organisation running. This has meant that the level of total assets was reduced from $727,631 on 1 July 2020 to $534,079 by 30 June 2021 — a reduction of $193,552 (-27%). Net assets reduced from $394,735 in 2019-20 to $386,862 in 2020-21. It is not sustainable for ISV to keep using its reserves to pay for day-to-day operations. If ISV received no new funds after all current grants were exhausted, it would only be able to survive for around eight months (based on average monthly costs). A range of strategies have been adopted by ISV to move towards greater financial sustainability. Firstly, the ISV board and staff applied for new grants — one of which has been successful. Resilience NSW has funded ISV under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund over two years commencing in 2021. There has also been some additional small funding support from the DCJ and City of Sydney. Secondly, the board has adopted a new financial reporting format, which provides greater transparency and enables more effective monitoring of ISV’s financial position. Thirdly, the board is developing an organisational and financial strategy to address the ongoing finances of ISV. A series of conversations and workshops are underway with staff, members, key stakeholders, and board members. Outcomes of this strategy and any proposals for organisational change will be brought to the AGM in 2022. (Full financial statement page 14.) l Peter Connelly was appointed Treasurer in April 2021; Sylvie Ellsmore was Treasurer between July 2020 and April 2021.


Delivering during a pandemic Despite a challenging year, ISV continued its important work across various spaces. Acting EO Gretchen Young reports.


nner Sydney Voice continued to be funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice to empower children and families’ sector organisations by increasing social and community involvement. To achieve this, connections were established during the year with service providers and public bodies across five LGAs, and “street meets” were held with residents on social housing blocks. A number of educational workshops were also held tackling issues such as inclusive play for children with disabilities; supporting families affected by drug and alcohol abuse; and child protection. Advocacy in this space included a call for IT resources for vulnerable children and young people, and support for awareness-raising of the effects of the threat of homelessness on children and families. ISV also developed program logics — rated ‘excellent’ — in relation to this funding and will continue to provide an outcomes framework that will provide optimal results for community members.


At the Emergency Handbook launch, Northcott Community Centre in Surry Hills on 9 June

Work progressed on the Aged-Care Sector Support and Development Project. Despite the lockdowns, the Eastern Sydney CHSP Forum continued to meet online. As did the Eastern Sydney Digital Inclusion Working Group, which was established to overcome barriers for vulnerable people in Eastern Sydney to get online. Meanwhile, a Digital Inclusion Showcase was held in November with 78 people and six presenters attending. At

the showcase, the SSDO launched the Eastern Sydney Digital Inclusion Directory, which lists local agencies that support digital inclusion for older people and people with disability. The City of Sydney and the Eastern Sydney Abuse of Older People Collaborative produced an awareness-raising video; the collaborative also held an awareness-raising webinar in April. The SSDO also participated in the Community Aged-Care Forum, which is developing a policy platform to raise the profile of community-based aged care. (More on page 10.) ISV also continued its work in the resilience space. This included flood awareness and preparedness training. The training sessions were facilitated by ISV, NSW SES, Infrastructure NSW, and the University of Sydney. And a Resilience NSW Community Engagement Strategy workshop was held. Flood information packs were also developed and produced and distributed to social housing tenants in properties on the Hawkesbury-Nepean floodplain. Meanwhile, the Resilience Officer attended the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference. Presentations were delivered to the Penrith Multicultural Interagency, the Hawkesbury Local Emergency Management Committee, and the Local Community Services Association Members Forum. Coordination and secretariat support was provided for the Riverstone flood early recovery efforts. (More on page 12.)

7 ISV — in conjunction with the Redfern and Surry Hills Community Resilience Committee — developed and produced the Emergency Preparedness Handbook for people living in social housing. The handbook is a five-step guide to becoming emergency prepared. The 20-page handbook covers storms, heatwaves, fires, floods, and power outages. A digital version of the handbook was made available for download in seven community languages — Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Russian, Vietnamese, Spanish, Indonesian, and Korean. Meanwhile, a launch event — attended by the SES, Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Police, and the Red Cross — was held at the Northcott Community Centre in Surry Hills on 9 June. Online workshops were also organised to encourage discussion on residents’ personal emergency preparedness. A working group — consisting of ISV, City of Sydney, Counterpoint Multicultural Centre, Meals on Wheels, the Red Cross, SES, and tenant representatives — was also established to facilitate the roll out of the handbook to social housing communities in the Inner Sydney region. Throughout the year, ISV continued to attend the Waterloo Redevelopment Group (WRG) meetings. ISV also hosted and coordinated the WRG tenant sub-group, remained a part of the Groundswell NGO Group, and a vital member as co-chair of the Human Services Frontline Group as part of the wider Collaboration Group. ISV also coordinated the COVID-19 community workers’ groups, supported the Redfern/Waterloo CDAT Group, and organised workshops in partnership with TAFE and Family Drug Support Australia. We were successful in applying for a number of small grants during this period and despite the funding environment being focused on the pandemic response, ISV will continue to provide advocacy, support and information to our valued partners and stakeholders in 2021-2022.


Don’t mention the C-word! In the midst of a pandemic, ISV’s messaging was dominated by you know what, writes Communications Officer Christopher Kelly.


o say it’s been quite a year would be an understatement. We began the 2020-21 financial year in lockdown 1.0 and thanking our lucky stars we weren’t living in Melbourne. Then — just when we were beginning to think we managed to dodge the worst of COVID — the Delta strain emerged and we masked up as Sydney was shut down for a second time.


Throughout the pandemic, ISV’s COVID Updates provided inner-city residents with the very latest information, including the evershifting list of restrictions. Our social feeds distributed health guidelines and encouraged people to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, the ISV website promoted numerous community support initiatives — such as food relief programs, mental health hotlines, and children’s services. But our messaging wasn’t completely wall-to-wall COVID. ISV’s socials supported — among other causes — the Aboriginal affordable housing campaign; an elder abuse awareness drive; council recycling programs; and the push for greater social housing in the Waterloo redevelopment. As well as circulating information through our socials, this year also saw the launch of a monthly newsletter: ISV E-NEWS. Content included a brief history of the Aboriginal Legal Service, which commemorated its 50th anniversary earlier this year; the NSW Government’s failure to address social housing in the Budget; the revised redevelopment plans for Waterloo; and efforts in eastern Sydney to tackle digital exclusion. ISV’s flagship publication — Inner Sydney Voice magazine — continued to roll off the presses. The spring 2020 issue explored, perhaps rather optimistically, what life would be like after COVID. As Richard Florida discussed, post-pandemic two scenarios emerge. One, “the urbanist’s utopia of widened sidewalks, ample

bike lanes, parking lots converted to green spaces and extended networks of pedestrianised boulevards”. The other, “a dystopia of empty streets and boarded-up shops, and masked citizens, scurrying quickly between their jobs and their homes”. The summer issue of ISV magazine called for urgent climate action. Despite the catastrophic damage caused by the Black Summer bushfires, the Morrison Government remains reluctant to accept climate change — let alone do anything about it. As the cover story reported: “Viewed as a ‘regressive force’ in global climate negotiations, Australia’s climate policy ranks amongst the worst-performing countries in the international Climate Change Performance Index. This year, Australia held the ignominious honour of ranking last out of 57 countries on climate policy.” All the while, “Morrison clings to coal like a junkie to a crack pipe”. The autumn issue of Inner Sydney Voice focused on the NSW Government’s insatiable appetite for peddling off public land. One feature lamented the sell-off of the Sirius building. “Sirius was far more than prime real estate. Sirius was Aussie egalitarianism set in concrete. Where some of Sydney’s most disadvantaged citizens shared multi-million-dollar waterfront views alongside filmstars, prime ministers, and bombastic talkback hosts.” Further addressing the issue of Government land grabs, the cover story — written by Elizabeth Farrelly — offered a stark warning: “It’s time to end the habitual prostitution of our public lands and buildings to private corporations. Little by little, our politics is being debased and our environment degraded. The tipping point is close. Can the city we love survive?” Finally, the winter issue led with a report setting out a vision to revitalise Kings Cross in which the authors called for a reclaiming of the street. “In building our neighbourhoods we focus too much on land use and the design of buildings, rather than on the much more important places in between — the street. The street is where the real life of a city happens.” And, ahead of the local council elections, political analyst Ben Raue predicted an historic fifth win for Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore: “Remarkably, over four council elections, no one has come at all close to defeating Moore — and there doesn’t appear to be much chance of her losing on 4 September.” As it was, the elections were postponed — which brings us back to the C-word . . .


Navigating change through collaboration Following the aged-care royal commission, sector support workers have been busy responding to the proposed reforms. CHSP Sector Support and Development Officer Tim Horton reports.



Older Australians receiving tech training

he Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) has been publicly acknowledged as the most successful agedcare program, both in terms of cost effectiveness and consumer satisfaction. Yet — following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, and the Government’s Budget response — it is the one aged-care program that is earmarked for fundamental change. As the long-awaited release of the Government’s review into the subprogram in May 2021 made clear, the changes will particularly impact the role of Sector Support and Development (SSD). As the CHSP Sector Support and Development Officer (SSDO), the review’s recommendations served to confirm that I continue to focus on maximising the strength of CHSP and its network of providers through 2020-21. During the year, the SSDO worked through the CHSP Forum to help its membership of about 50 providers navigate the post-royal commission changes. Of most impact, the SSDO presented two online sessions led by Director of the Australian Health Services Research Institute, Professor Kathy Eagar, whose extensive experience has included providing expert testimony to the aged-

care royal commission. The second session attracted almost 200 participants and provided the impetus for a group of CHSP peak bodies to advance a sector-led response to the Government’s proposed reforms. On behalf of the forum, the SSDO wrote a letter to MPs — including the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged-Care Services — voicing concerns over the post-royal commission changes, such as the move to payment in arrears, and the tenor of reforms that appear to shift the program towards a market focus. Meanwhile, groundwork laid in 2019-20 bore fruit, with the convening of the Eastern Sydney Digital Inclusion Working Group. The group was formed to address the growing digital divide between vulnerable residents of Eastern Sydney and other members of the community. A Digital Inclusion Showcase was held in November 2020 to highlight innovative digital practice amongst Eastern Sydney providers. The group also secured $15,000 total funding for a digital affordability project. This project will provide training to vulnerable residents and their support workers in understanding how to get the most value out of data plans and digital devices, and to provide data plans to the most vulnerable. It is expected about 100 people will benefit from the training, and another 50 from the data plans.

11 In March 2021, the City of Sydney and Eastern Sydney Abuse of Older People Collaborative completed its first awareness-raising initiative through a series of promotional videos. The filming was carried out — pro bono — by Fiona Tait from Relationships Australia (a member of the collaborative). As well as the videos, the collaborative also presented a webinar featuring local experts in the field, which attracted approximately 35 participants. In collaboration with other NSW SSD projects, organisation of the Let It Shine! 2021 CHSP Conference progressed: the online platform provider has been locked in, and invitations sent to a range of dignitaries (most of whom, since the end of 2020-21, have accepted). They include Dr Kay Patterson, Age Discrimination Commissioner; Janet Anderson, Aged-Care Quality and Safety Commissioner; Robert Fitzgerald, NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner; and Nick Hartland, First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health, with responsibility for CHSP). The conference committee is expecting 400 registrants. Collaboration remains the key to achieving outcomes for the SSDO role. One such collaboration includes the Community Aged-Care Forum and the Aged-Care Industry Information Technology Council. Working together, the aim is to represent the workforce needs of CHSP in relation to the aged-care reforms. Another partnership draws on feedback from and connections with the public housing neighbourhood advisory boards to target broader initiatives such as the digital affordability project. By supporting collaboration and sharing information, significant work went into updating the Eastern Sydney CHSP services brochure, which continues to be the key single source of information detailing services available in the area. Plans are afoot to make the brochure available online in a searchable


Being emergency ready When the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley flooded earlier this year, an ISV project to promote flood preparedness proved invaluable.


On 19 March, the day came that the Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector Project had been preparing for when the HawkesburyNepean Valley experienced a 1-in-50 chance per-year flood. About 3,000 people were successfully evacuated, which only goes to prove it really does pay to be prepared.

ommunity surveys undertaken in 2018 revealed that there was a lack of awareness of flood risk and limited preparedness undertaken within social housing communities in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. The social housing sector was identified as a “community of concern” for its high concentration of social and physical vulnerability, with around 3,300 properties at risk of being impacted by flooding — either by direct floodwater or essential services being cut off. Many social housing residents have complex needs due to mental health, drug and alcohol misuse, ageing, and other factors. There is an increasing proportion of social housing tenants aged 65 years and above in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. Many have poor mobility, have physical or intellectual disabilities or psychiatric conditions that impair their functional capacity. Many of the tenants live in isolation and have no connections with the wider community or communication avenues such as social media. The Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector Project was a partnership between Infrastructure NSW, Inner Sydney Voice, and the University of Sydney. Infrastructure NSW manages the flood strategy for Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, is well networked in the region, and was able to advocate for needs to be addressed as identified through the project. Inner Sydney Voice has a long history of working with tenants, housing providers and community organisations, and is well-regarded for its resilience work in the Inner Sydney region. The project aimed to develop lasting partnerships between stakeholders to promote flood awareness and disaster risk reduction as a shared responsibility; empower local stakeholders to increase resilience and emergency preparedness throughout their community; and embed preparedness building activities and strategies into the local community.

During phase one of the project, a Social Housing Community Resilience Network was established. The network brought together tenant representatives, housing providers, community organisations, local councils, emergency services and regional government representatives. Initially, the group met monthly with the aim to identify and progress pieces of work to support the strengthening of resilience within social housing communities, including mapping housing properties against the floodplain and the production of a simple flood preparedness resource for tenants. Another focus in phase one was to build relationships with housing providers in the floodplain and link in with and enhance existing community development work for the purpose of connecting directly with tenants and strengthening resilience at the grassroots level. During this phase, Inner Sydney Voice worked with University of Sydney to develop a group work facilitator guide using the Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness tool. This could then be used to partner with housing providers and local organisations to facilitate community events and information sessions. Tenant engagement was a core project focus in phase one and it was intended that this would be carried over into phase two. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic engagement became limited. Instead, the focus turned to continuing to strengthen relationships with already participating tenant representatives and capturing their feedback throughout the project. Another focus was the production of a flood preparedness flyer, with the tenant representatives informing the content and layout. On Friday 19 March 2021, the day came that the Get Ready for Flood Social Housing Sector Project had been preparing for when the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley experienced a 1-in-50 chance per-year flood. Approximately 3,000 people were successfully evacuated, which only goes to prove it really does pay to be prepared.


Inner Sydney Regional Council For Social Development Inc ABN: 86 770 127 254 Income statement for the year ended 30 June 2021

Grants Grants Other income Newsletter: Subscriptions Other Income Transfer from Employee Reserve Workers Comp Payments Rec'd


Expenses Accounting Adjustments and Roundings Audit Bank Fees Board Catering Cents per km/mileage Cleaning Compliance Computer Software, Accessories Conferences & Seminars Depreciation Insurances Internet & Email ISV Inner Sydney Voice IT Repairs & Maintenance Lodgement Fee Minor Equipment Office Expenses Postage & Freight Printing — external Productions/ Media Designs Professional Fees, Consultant Programme Expenses Rent Expenses (Paid) Rent in Kind — Cos Repairs & Maintenance Salaries Staff on Cost Stationery & Printing

2021 $

2020 $



40 52,071 15,420 17,499 85,030 590,802

149,418 80,739 230,157 835,750

15,600 (2) 2,458 472 2,704 1,414 3,870 721 220 1,908 4,296 6,042 18,500 1,702 201 730 2,950 254 8,566 5,043 10,255 9,156 1,406 49,527 10 415,428 1,134 9,466

17,682 (49) 2,300 31 227 5,307 2,983 102 136 4,901 3,838 4,810 323 55 3,285 478 505 19,354 3,975 6,917 1,046 597,750 7,142 10,368

Inner Sydney Regional Council For Social Development Inc ABN: 86 770 127 254 Income statement for the year ended 30 June 2021 continued

Subscriptions & Affiliations Sundry Expenses Telephone, Fax, Mobile Travelling Expenses Website Net Surplus Retained earnings at the beginning of the financial year Retained earnings at the end of the financial year

2021 $

2020 $

4,299 4,404 342 182 583,255 7,547 369,682 377,228

2,536 21 8,448 4,212 748,682 87,069 282,613 369,682

Inner Sydney Regional Council For Social Development Inc ABN: 86 770 127 254 Balance Sheet for the year ended 30 June 2021 2021 $

2020 $

3 4 5

532,130 180 1,769 534,079 534,079

550,900 116,920 59,812 727,631 727,631

6 7 8

79,794 48,231 19,193 147,218 147,218

179,783 128,267 24,847 332,897 332,897

Net assets



Members' funds Employee Reserve Retained earnings Total members' funds

9,633 377,228 386,862

25,053 369,682 394,735

Current assets Cash and cash equivalents Trade and other receivables Other current assets Total current assets Total assets Current liabilities Trade and other payables Provisions Employees Other liabilities Total current liabilities Total liabilities

The accompanying notes form part of these financial statements. These statements should be read in conjunction with the attached compilation report of MEAGHER HOWARD & WRIGHT.




Inner Sydney Voice would like to thank staff members, board members and funders for all the hard work and support during 2020-2021.

STAFF Saskia Eichler-Cheney | Office Manager 2011-present Tracy Hamilton | Community Resilience Officer 2020-2021 Tim Horton | CHSP Sector Project Officer 2019-present Christopher Kelly | Communications Officer 2020-present Claire Mennie | Executive Officer 2020-2021 Gretchen Young | Acting Executive Officer 2021-present

BOARD Philippa Barr | Vice Chair 2017-present Samuel Beattie | 2019-present Thomas Chailloux | Secretary 2018-present Peter Connelly | Treasurer 2021-present Niels Dempster | 2019-present Sylvie Ellsmore | 2019-present Damiya Hayden | 2019-present Michael Mackenzie-Shreenan | Chair 2019-present Lucy Stewart | 2019-present