FRSA E-Bulletin_ 29 January 2016
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WELCOME to 2016!

Our first big news for the year is that we have Minister Christian Porter confirmed as a speaker at SEF this year!

Late last year we announced the theme:  Embracing Diversity – Securing futures and released the dates for the event – 24 & 25 February.  Just to restate that it is being held in February this year due to the way the Parliamentary Sitting Calendar falls (given that SEF has traditionally been held in March).

The Annual Forum aims to open up a conversation focusing on meeting the increasingly complex needs of clients within a very diverse service delivery system.

We all know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to services aimed at improving child, family and community wellbeing.  Recognising, acknowledging and celebrating diversity is key to ensuring that service delivery systems can respond to individual need.  This approach also ensures that we support and promote a strong, sustainable service delivery network into the future.

The month of January has been spent pulling together a solid program for our members.  We are pleased that DSS Families Group Manager, Ms Ros Baxter, will also address those meeting in Canberra.  And, another key presenter on the day will be the ACNC Commissioner, Ms Susan Pascoe, AM.

For the Parliamentary Briefing Day we already have 29 meetings with Senators and MPs secured – and it is only early days!

In an election year, this is an extremely opportune time to present a strong message about FRSA, our members, our services and the role we play in delivering wellbeing for children, families and communities.

Details about the Senior Executives Forum 2016 – including program, registration and accommodation options is available on the FRSA website.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Jackie Brady
FRSA Executive Director 

Communities for Children 30% Requirement

The initial assessment for Communities for Children Facilitating Partners requiring providers to show that at least 30% of funding for direct service delivery is being used to provide high quality, evidence-based programmes will close on 5 February 2016.
Contact CFCA Information Exchange direct for any further advice

Don't forget to get your
ACNC Annual Information Statement in!

If you are a Charity registered with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission, don’t forget your Annual Information Statement 2015 is due in at the end of this month – 31 January.

The ACNC is reporting that they have about half the AIS’s already lodged – so, only about 14,000 to go!

You might also be interested in knowing that the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is proposing changes to the 2016 Annual Information Statement (AIS).

Numerous changes to the AIS have been proposed following a consultation process that is now closed. The proposed changes to the AIS are intended to remove unnecessary questions, improve the way a charity’s information is displayed on the ACNC register and to provide further clarity on the information collected by the ACNC for compliance purposes.

We will aim to keep you informed of these changes as they are made public.

Australian Government response to the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee report

On 15 January 2016 the Australian Government tabled its response to the findings and recommendations presented by the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee in their inquiry into the service quality, efficiency and sustainability of recent Commonwealth community service tendering processes by the Department of Social Services (DSS).

Themes that were presented to the Senate Inquiry by FRSA did feature strongly in the 12 recommendations formed by the Senate Committee in their final report, including in relation to:
  • consultation prior to the commencement of the Funding Round;
  • responding to local need;
  • supporting collaborative practice;
  • innovation;
  • eligibility for Funding and Terms of Funding Agreements;
  • communication and consultation;
  • resources required;
  • quality of DSS documentation and processes;
  • risk and proportionality;
  • communication subsequent to the Funding Round;
  • policy changes and Impact on Services; and
  • suggestions for next time.
In its formal response the Government agreed to or provided an ‘agreement in principle’ response, to four Recommendations.  And that is a positive.  Whilst FRSA is able to acknowledge the ‘sensitivity and confidentiality angle from the Government’s perspective, it is still disappointing that continued calls by the sector (and the Senate Committee) for greater transparency regarding the Department’s own gap analysis will not be made available.  Knowing where the gaps are is still an important resource for helping share an informed discussion of a strategy that ensures vulnerable people are properly supported right across Australia with no gaps.  This has been a constant message in our conversations with the Department and we still hold out hope that there is still scope for a gap analysis into the future.

This topic also features in the Government’s ‘noted’ responses to one of the remaining seven recommendations as tabled by the Senate Committee.  And, as always, FRSA would be happy to assist the Government in any gap analysis project it may look to undertake into the future.  In moving forward, it is also important that we retain an understanding of the past and we would also be hoping that some of the other ‘noted’ responses relating to how future funding rounds might be better improved, how services can be appropriately and adequately funded and how we can ensure that services are meeting community need are always primary considerations for Government in working with the sector.  We look forward to continued conversations with the Department and the Government on these issues.
Access the Government's response here

Australian Government Response to Grandparents Inquiry

On 15 January 2016 the Australian Government tabled its response to the findings and recommendations presented by the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Report:  Grandparents who take Primary Responsibility for Raising their Grandchildren. You can access the Government’s response here.

The Government’s response was issued just over 12 months after the Committee Report was first tabled.  Many of the recommendations in the Senate Committee Report called for a number of ‘tailored’ services to assist Grandparents in their role as primary carers.  In response, the Government has noted a range of already existing mainstream services – including those in the Family & Relationship services sector – that are available for Grandparents to access. 

I would appreciate receiving any advice from our membership as to whether they are seeing an increase in demand for their services from Grandparents and/or the types of services that Grandparents are most interested in accessing.  Please feel free to call the office on (02) 6162 1811 and speak with either myself or Adam Heaton or email Adam at
Contact FRSA to contribute advice on Grandparents Inquiry

Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality

Late last year the Australian Greens successfully established a Senate Inquiry on preventing domestic violence by challenging society attitudes of gender inequality and rigid gender stereotypes.

It is noted on the Committee website that this Inquiry is not intended to cover the same ground as the previous inquiry (completed on 20 August 2015) but to focus on gender inequality as set out in the terms of reference.

FRSA will look to making a submission with 31 March 2016 set as the due date.

See Committee website for more details

Current Senate Enquiries

There are a number of Senate Inquiries into issues relevant to our sector currently taking written submissions. A number of these were referred off to Committees in the last sitting period of this year. A full list is provided for your information.
Community Affairs Legislation Committee
  • Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Measures) Bill 2015
  • Social Services Legislation Amendment (Family Payments Structural Reform and Participation Measures) Bill (No. 2) 2015
Community Affairs References Committee
  • Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia
Education and Employment Legislation Committee
  • Fair Work Amendment (Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2015
  • Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Jobs for Families Child Care Package) Bill 2015
Education and Employment References Committee
  • Current levels of access and attainment for students with disability in the school system, and the impact on students and families associated with inadequate levels of support
Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
  • Interactive Gambling Amendment (Sports Betting Reform) Bill 2015
Environment and Communications References Committee
  • Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet
Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
  • Family Law Amendment (Financial Agreements and Other Measures) Bill 2015

House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
  • Inquiry into surrogacy (the regulatory and legislative aspects of international and domestic surrogacy arrangements)
Click here for further information or to make a submission
Members wishing to promote Job Opportunities in their agencies, please send them through to or call and speak to Amanda on (02) 6162 1811.

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