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What’s happening, what’s different, what’s possible?

PROGRAM VCOSS CONGRESS 2011 Friday 5 August 9.00am registration 9.45am - 4.45pm

RACV Club 501 Bourke Street Melbourne Follow the conversation on Twitter #VCOSS2011


STATE OF THE STATE what’s happening, what’s different, what’s possible?

ABOUT VCOSS The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) is the peak body of the social and community sector in Victoria. VCOSS members reflect the diversity of the sector and include large charities, peak organisations, small community services, advocacy groups, and individuals involved in social policy debates. In addition to supporting the sector, VCOSS represents the interests of vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians in policy debates and advocates for the development of a sustainable, fair and equitable society. VCOSS respects the land we live in, recognises its Indigenous custodians, and is committed to reconciling all injustices with Indigenous Australians. VCOSS is committed to social equity and justice, and envisages a society that: •

sees social wellbeing as a national priority;

ensures everyone has access to a fair share of community resources and services;

involves all people as equals, without discrimination; and

values and encourages people’s participation in decision-making about their own lives and their community.

Contact VCOSS W: E: T: Free: F: A: 03 9654 5050 1800 133 340 03 9654 5749 Level 8, 128 Exhibition Street MELBOURNE VIC 3000

Follow VCOSS Congress 2011 on Twitter at #VCOSS2011


WELCOME The social and political landscape has changed dramatically in the two years since our last VCOSS Congress. As we began planning for this 2011 event, the Coalition Government was elected in Victoria, ending more than a decade of government by Labor, and unprecedented events in Canberra had led to the establishment of the country’s first minority government. The obvious question, and one that was being asked widely by the sector, was: What does all this mean for disadvantaged Victorians and their communities, and for the community sector itself? Political change, of course, is a given. So the key for our sector is to explore the opportunities and risks that it brings, to determine how we can achieve real structural change while protecting those gains we have already made, and to make the most of the opportunities that change brings while preparing us for and steeling us against the risks. Looking at those issues, we kept coming back to the evidence – that it is unquestionably better, for the individuals involved and the wider community, to address the causes of disadvantage rather than respond to the inevitable crisis, and that responses must be linked because we can’t predict where the moment of need will reveal itself – at a housing service, in schools, through health care, or in a family violence shelter. The evidence is clear: we must act earlier and in concert with other agencies. How we go about that, including securing support and funding for early intervention approaches, is the dilemma. That’s why we’re very pleased to welcome as our keynote speaker, Naomi Eisenstadt CB, who led the rollout in the United Kingdom of the renowned Sure Start program for disadvantaged children and headed the Social Exclusion Task Force under the Labour Government. Naomi advocates progressive universalism, ensuring maximum support for the most disadvantaged in the community within a universal platform of services for all children – an important insight in Victoria when we know there is poor participation by vulnerable children in kindergarten, maternal and child health services and school. As important as looking at what governments can do, is to look at the ways we ourselves work in the community sector – and how we ensure we are driven by achieving the best outcomes for the people we work with. I look forward to a wide-ranging discussion in our closing session on the successful and innovative approaches being taken by Victoria’s community sector organisations in how they work with the people in their communities, including gaining their input in the way we design services. I hope you enjoy and benefit from your participation at the VCOSS Congress 2011 and look forward to sharing these sessions with you. Finally, our many thanks to our sponsors: mecu, Department of Human Services, HESTA, National Australia Bank, Dixon Appointments, and the State Government of Victoria, through Regional Development Victoria. We very much appreciate your support. Cath Smith, Chief Executive Officer






Welcome to Country Uncle Ron Jones Wurundjeri Elder


Welcome Cath Smith Chief Executive Officer, VCOSS


Opening address The Honourable Mary Wooldridge Minister for Community Services, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women’s Affairs


Session 1: Window of opportunity Keynote Address Naomi Eisenstadt CB Former Director, Social Exclusion Task Force, United Kingdom Now Senior Research Fellow, Oxford University How do we generate and maintain the momentum for reform in a changing political and social environment? The Victorian Government has a clear focus on families – how do we make sure the window of opportunity for children and families is opened from the start, so that services join up around their needs.

Respondent: Micaela Cronin President, VCOSS




Session 2: Cause not consequence We know that acting early on the causes of inequity, disadvantage, poverty and crime is the most effective way to address intractable social issues. Yet still the focus falls so often at the crisis end. Key community sector leaders and thinkers present the latest insights, approaches and challenges to addressing major causes of disadvantage, particularly in outer urban, rural and regional communities.


Stella Avramopolous Chief Executive Officer, Kildonan UnitingCare Jane-Frances Kelly Director, Cities Program, Grattan Institute Hugh de Kretser Executive Officer, Federation of Community Legal Centres

what’s happening, what’s different, what’s possible?


Afternoon tea


Session 3: Building better outcomes How do we work towards better outcomes for the people who are supported by the community sector? This armchair panel discussion will explore diverse perspectives of and from the community sector on how we can do what we do better, how we can best work with the people we support, and the ways that government can work with the sector to continue improving outcomes for Victorians and their communities. Congress participants are encouraged to join the conversation.

Facilitator: Sarah Davies Chief Executive Officer, Australian Communities Foundation Presenters: Dr Cassandra Goldie Chief Executive Officer, ACOSS Simon Peavey Graduate, Peer Education Support Program, Council to Homeless Persons Tony Pitman Chief Executive Officer, Ozchild Michelle Roberson Director, Policy & Client Outcomes Branch, Department of Human Services Fiona Smith Former Chair, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission


Reflections on the day Cath Smith Chief Executive Officer, VCOSS



KEY SPEAKERS Keynote speaker Naomi Eisenstadt CB Former Director, Social Exclusion Task Force, United Kingdom As Director of the Social Exclusion Task Force in the United Kingdom (UK), Naomi Eisenstadt CB was responsible for the 2008 landmark publication Think Family: improving the life choices of families. It stated that: A system that ‘thinks family’ has no ‘wrong door’: contact with any one service gives access to a wider system of support. Individual needs are looked at in the context of the whole family, so clients are seen not just as individuals but as parents or other family members…Support is tailored to meet need so that families with the most complex needs receive the most intensive support. Earlier, Naomi led the rollout of the UK’s Sure Start program, regarded as one of the most ambitious attempts of any government to improve the outcomes of children living in disadvantaged areas. Other work has focused on the relationship between young people’s aspirations, their neighbourhoods and educational outcomes; and women in the criminal justice system. Now a Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University, Naomi’s key interests are in children’s services, poverty and its impact on children, and family policy. Her upcoming book, Providing a sure start: How government discovered early childhood will be published by The Policy Press in September 2011. Offering insight into the key debates on services for young children, as well as how decisions are made in a highly political context, it will be of keen interest to both policy academics and senior managers of public services. Naomi’s address will focus on how to generate and maintain the momentum for reform in a changing political environment. From her strong background in driving social policy reform, she will reflect on the opportunities and risks that political change presents to addressing long-term social changes, and ways to reframe debate around some of the key tensions inherent in policies that try to achieve too much change too quickly.

Cath Smith Chief Executive Officer, Victorian Council of Social Service Since 2002, Cath has been Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS). VCOSS is the peak body for the social and community sector in Victoria and has more than 460 members. Cath has been actively involved in the Australian and international not-for-profit sector for nearly 30 years, committed to the advocacy of those experiencing disadvantage and seeking to promote a more just and equitable society. Cath is a Victorian Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration and cochairs the DHS-Human Services Partnership Implementation Committee, participates in the Reference Group to the Office of the Community Sector, and convenes the Peaks and Statewide Networks Forum, a key network for the community sector in Victoria. Cath represents VCOSS and its constituency on numerous other Victorian Government advisory and working groups.


KEY SPEAKERS The Honourable Mary Wooldridge Minister for Community Services, Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Women’s Affairs Following her election to State Parliament in 2006, Mary was immediately elevated to the Shadow Ministry, taking on multiple portfolios, including mental health, drug abuse and ageing. In opposition she was the Shadow Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Community Services and Women’s Affairs. Following the election of the Coalition Government in 2010, Mary was appointed the Minister for Mental Health, Women’s Affairs and Community Services. Prior to entering Parliament Mary was the Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Young Australians and Chair of the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness. Mary has also been a manager at McKinsey and Co. in New York, and an executive director at both Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd and Consolidated Press Holdings in Sydney. She worked as a senior advisor to the Federal Industry Minister from 1999 - 2001. Mary is currently a Director of the Otis Foundation and has previously served on the Boards of the Breast Cancer Network Australia, Foundation Boroondara and Trinity College. She has a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) from Melbourne University and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University in the USA.

Micaela Cronin President, Victorian Council of Social Service Micaela Cronin is the Chief Executive Officer of MacKillop Family Services - one of the largest providers of specialist services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children, young people and their families in Victoria, and more recently with branches in NSW. Micaela has worked in the community sector for over 20 years. She has extensive experience in the delivery and management of a broad range of community services, and has previously held senior management positions with Wesley Mission Melbourne and St Vincent de Paul Aged Care and Community Services. She has a passionate commitment to social justice issues and wants to see children and young people’s voices heard in strong, inclusive communities. Micaela enjoys working in partnership with other community sector organisations, and is President of the Victorian Council of Social Services, Council member of Catholic Social Services Victoria, and Board Member of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare.

KEY SPEAKERS Stella Avramopoulos CEO, Kildonan UnitingCare Stella is a leader with more than 15 years experience in the community services and government sectors. Her qualifications include a Masters of Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) and a Diploma in Community Justice Studies. She also has extensive experience in strategic planning and organisational development. Stella joined Kildonan in 2002, working in senior management roles before being appointed CEO in 2008. She has worked closely with the communities impacted by recent emergencies, including the 2009 Victorian Bushfires and the floods of 2010-11. Stella is passionate about creating a flexible and dynamic organisation that is able to respond and adapt to diverse communities and environments.

Jane-Frances Kelly Program Director: Cities, Grattan Institute Jane-Frances has been Cities Program Director at the Grattan Institute, an independent public policy think tank, since 2009. After moving to Australia in 2004, Jane-Frances has worked as a senior adviser to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Boston Consulting Group, the Vice-Chancellor at Melbourne University, the Chief Commissioner at Victoria Police, and the Victorian and Queensland Premier’s Departments. She played a central role in the 2020 Summit, and has also spent two midwinters working with Noel Pearson. Previous to this, Jane-Frances worked at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit in the United Kingdom, where she led the team which produced the first UK Government’s Strategic Audit.

Hugh de Kretser Executive Officer, Federation of Community Legal Centres Hugh leads the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Victoria), the peak body for Victoria’s 50 community legal centres. He is also a Commissioner on the Victorian Law Reform Commission and a Director of the Sentencing Advisory Council. He has held management, board and volunteer positions in community legal centres after starting his career in a corporate law firm. Hugh has extensive legal practice and policy experience in the criminal justice system, working on both offender and victim issues. He is the spokesperson for Smart Justice, a coalition of 22 leading community and legal organisations, promoting effective, evidence-based and humane criminal justice policies.


PANEL DISCUSSION Sarah Davies Chief Executive Officer, Australian Communities Foundation Sarah started her professional career in airport management in the United Kingdom, before moving into consulting and the education sector. In 2008, she was appointed as the CEO of the Australian Communities Foundation (previously Melbourne Community Foundation). The Foundation’s mission is to inspire and enable accessible philanthropy and to match donor interests to emerging social issues and needs of communities. This appointment marked the merging of Sarah’s personal and professional careers. Sarah’s involvement in not-for-profits spans 20 years, from volunteering to board directorships. Her current community roles include Director and Board Chair of Kids Under Cover, board member of the Centre for Social Impact, member of the Victoria Police BlueLight State Council and a Victorian Bail Justice.

Cassandra Goldie Chief Executive Officer, Australian Council of Social Service Cassandra has built an extensive career in the community sector in Australia and internationally, working in human rights and law and justice. Cassandra joined ACOSS in July 2010 from the Australian Human Rights Commission where, as Director of the Sex and Age Discrimination Unit, she played a pivotal role in the inquiry into pay equity and paid parental leave. She has previously been the Director of the Homelessness Legal Rights Project at the University of New South Wales, a consultant to UN Habitat, Solicitor in Charge of Client Services with Legal Aid in Western Australia and Executive Officer of the Darwin Community Legal Service. Cassandra has also been President of NTCOSS and a Board Member of ACOSS (2001-2002), and was an ACOSS Law and Justice Policy Advisor (2000-2006).

Simon Peavey Graduate, Peer Education Support Program, Council to Homeless Persons Simon has completed a two year tenure in Council to Homeless Persons’ (CHP) Peer Education Support Program (PESP), which provides people who have experienced homelessness with training, skills and the opportunity to participate in and inform homelessness policy and practice. CHP is the peak Victorian body representing individuals and organisations with a stake or interest in homelessness. Simon’s journey now continues through studying the Diploma of Community Services and other volunteer work. He is a member of the CHP’s Policy Advisory Group, StreetSmart, and Homeground’s Disability Advisory Committee and he has connections with many other organisations.

KEY SPEAKERS Tony Pitman Chief Executive Officer, Ozchild As OzChild’s Chief Executive Officer since 1998, Tony has been a major driving force behind the growth of the agency. Tony champions the strategic direction of the organisation, with a particular focus on innovations, corporate partnerships and leading the organisation towards continual improvement in every area of operation. Tony is a psychologist and educator with extensive practice, professional development and management experience. Tony was the winner of the inaugural Equity Trustees CEO National Innovators Award in 2002, and is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and the Australian Institute of Management, and Visiting Fellow of the University of Melbourne.

Michelle Roberson Director, Policy & Client Outcomes Branch, Department of Human Services Prior to joining DHS, Michelle worked in the New South Wales public sector in a range of senior strategic policy and planning roles across the areas of housing, communities, child and family, ageing, disability and health. She was also involved in the early days of the Commission for Children and Young People and the Office of the Children’s Guardian and previously worked in direct service delivery in community health, sexual assault and child protection services across the government and non-government sectors. Michelle has a long held interest in the intersection of research, policy and practice and reform to drive better outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged people and communities. Michelle’s current role includes responsibility for leading the development of a One DHS Outcomes Framework.

Fiona Smith Former Chair, Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Fiona helped establish one of Australia’s first client-directed attendant care agencies in the early 1980s which became a model for what is now part of mainstream service provision. Fiona combines this perspective with her background as a public interest and human rights practitioner, regulator, policy adviser and biodiversity farmer. Fiona’s past roles include Chairperson of Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and full-time Executive Chair of the Business Licensing Authority. She is currently a non-executive director of the Reichstein Foundation and Yooralla and works as a Policy and Research Advisor to Victoria’s Trust for Nature.


We hope you enjoyed the


COMMUNITY SECTOR LEADERS’ DINNER The lead-in event to this year’s Congress – Thursday, 4 August, 2011

Guest Speaker Dr Cindy Blackstock Executive Director First Nations Child and Family Society of Canada Dr Cindy Blackstock is Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada and Associate Professor at the University of Alberta. A member of the Gitksan Nation, Cindy has worked in the field of child and family services for over 20 years. Cindy is a dynamic social change leader, a clear innovator in action who is much sought after internationally for her bold and innovative views on key social challenges. An author of over 50 publications, Cindy’s key interests include exploring and addressing the causes of disadvantage for Aboriginal children and families by promoting equitable and culturally based interventions. The First Nations child welfare case, currently before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, has become one of the most watched legal cases in Canadian history.

Dinner MC: Dr Helen Szoke Commissioner Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission Helen Szoke is the Commissioner with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and has worked with the Commission since December 2004. She previously held positions relating to management, community development, organizational development and regulation in the education and health sectors. Helen is currently a board member of Multicultural Arts Victoria. She has held various other statutory and directors positions including the Adult Migrant Education Services, National Health and Medical Research Licensing Committee, the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Key Centre for Women’s Health, Women’s Health Victoria and various community agencies.

Thanks to our Community Sector Leaders’ Dinner Sponsor


STATE OF THE STATE what’s happening, what’s different, what’s possible? Registration and information desk For general enquiries about VCOSS Congress 2011 and any specific assistance, please contact the Registration and Information Desk in the pre-function area of Level 17 at the RACV Club.

Location of rooms All VCOSS Congress 2011 sessions will be held in the Level 17 Ballroom of the RACV Club.

Venue accessibility VCOSS seeks to provide accessible facilities at all its events. The RACV Club is wheelchair accessible and includes one accessible bathroom located on Level 17, built to Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) standard with a pull handle door. Hearing loop systems are available at RACV Club for attendees who have requested them when registering for VCOSS Congress 2011. Large print programs are also available at the registration desk for vision-impaired participants.

Mobile phones Please ensure that your mobile phone is switched off or on silent for both calls and messages while you are participating in the conference.

First aid Please ask for assistance from the Registration and Information Desk.

Shared registrations If you are sharing a registration, may we remind you that only one co-registered participant can attend conference sessions and breaks at any one time.

VCOSS Congress 2011 evaluation and feedback To assist VCOSS to build on the value of this event, please complete the evaluation form provided in your VCOSS Congress 2011 Kit. Completed forms may be placed in the evaluation box at the Registration Desk before you leave, or posted to VCOSS: Level 8, 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000. An online evaluation form will also be forwarded by email to attendees.

Name badges It would be appreciated if all VCOSS Congress 2011 participants wear their name badges at all times, as this identifies you as eligible for entry to all conference sessions and for registration, lunch and afternoon tea refreshments. Name badges should be returned to the Registration and Information Desk at the close of VCOSS Congress 2011 for recycling.

Disclaimer The information contained in the VCOSS Congress 2011 Program is correct at the time of printing. VCOSS reserves the right to alter or delete items from the program as circumstances dictate and takes no responsibility for any errors, omissions and changes.



Join VCOSS... a strong, compassionate voice working for social change The Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) is the peak body of the social and community sector in Victoria. We represent the interests of vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians and advocate for the development of a sustainable, fair and equitable society. We work with our members to persuade governments to act on policies that address the causes of disadvantage, not just the consequences. We also support our members and the community sector as a whole, and act as a link between the sector and the Victorian Government. We offer our members discounted specialist training and link them to the highly effective Clearinghouse network, which has provided $1 million worth of skilled volunteer input to the sector over the past two years. What are the benefits for you and your organisation? • Networking with other community sector organisations in Victoria and as part of the national COSS network • Strengthened advocacy from and for the sector • Reduced fees for specialist training • Access to skilled volunteers through the Clearinghouse network • Free subscriptions to our quarterly magazine Insight, the monthly Noticeboard e-bulletin and other e-newsletters, and same-time access to our media releases • Early notice and reduced fees for our events and policy forums, including Congress • Access to meeting rooms and equipment To join VCOSS, contact Bridgette Wraight. T: 03 9654 5050 or E:


OUR SPONSORS VCOSS thanks the following sponsors for their valued support of the VCOSS Congress 2011. Our sponsors have provided much-appreciated financial support, and also ensured that a diverse group of community sector organisations from across the State were able to attend today’s sessions.

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VCOSS Congress 2011 Program  
VCOSS Congress 2011 Program  

Program for the VCOSS Congress 2011 event, State of the State.