CSS National Conference 2024

Registrations have closed. For any queries or late registrations, please contact us at office@css.org.au

Dates: 21-23 February 2024

Location: Catholic Leadership Centre, 576 Victoria Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002

Tickets: $430 for CSSA and CSSV Members (Full price: $480)

Catholic Social Services Australia and Catholic Social Services Victoria are pleased to present the 2024 Catholic Social Services National Conference.

This Conference aims to strengthen and advance our shared work in Catholic social services as part of the social mission of the Church – connecting with colleagues across social services, health, parishes and education. It provides a moment to share expertise, and take pause to think and imagine our place within a broader mission. You might be a youth worker. An executive director. A volunteer. A pastoral associate. A graduate social worker. A retired Religious. A governance professional. A seasoned veteran of social justice. Whoever you are and what role you play – if you want to be inspired, challenged, and be part of values-driven sector committed to nothing less than positive social transformation – this conference is for you.

This conference desires to contribute to creating true communities out of a common effort for the common good.

Conference keynotes, plenary sessions and workshops will include focus on our theme and provide a grounding for all attendees to take back thinking and practical ideas to their own organisations and contexts.

The 2024 Conference provides an opportunity for future leaders (<30) to participate via a two for one ticket. Leadership, governance and program staff will all benefit from the program.

For Pope Francis, everything is interconnected and justice is ecological, inclusive of both social and environmental justice. All our relationships are sustained within our common home. A true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear “both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

No matter our differences, we share a common humanity. There is more that unites us than divides us. People have shared needs for thriving – social, spiritual and material needs. It is important that we hold the opportunity to build relationships and cooperation with others who see the world differently, and in a spirit of solidarity find ways to support each other — no matter age, ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, political beliefs, race, religion, nationality or marital status — so that all may flourish.

Common Good:
Now is a time for reinvigorating the politics of the common good. The Common Good and the “greater good” can be confused. They are very different. The utilitarian approach of “the greatest good for the greatest number” exists in contrast to the principle of human dignity which lies at the heart of a Catholic ethic. All people are inherently valuable and unique. This requires that we do not reduce them to a mere statistic.

The common good incorporates the principle of a preferential option for the poor. This “is an uncompromising and unequivocal taking of sides in a situation of structural conflict. It is not a matter of preaching to some people rather than to others, or a matter of being generous to the ‘under-privileged’, or a judgment about the personal guilt of the rich, or even, in the first instance, a matter of life-style. It is the assertion that Christian faith entails, for everyone and as part of its essence, the taking of sides in the structural conflict between the oppressor and the oppressed” (Albert Nolan OP).

Featuring keynote addresses from:

Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv  

Bishop Vincent Long

Bishop Vincent is Chair of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service. and Bishop of Parramatta. He arrived by boat in Australia as a refugee and was the first Vietnamese born bishop to lead a diocese outside of Vietnam and the first Vietnamese-born bishop in Australia. He is a Conventual Franciscan friar. He was elected Superior of the Order of Friars Minor Conventuals in Australia in 2005. He was previously Episcopal Vicar for Social Services in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. 

Dr Julie Edwards, OAM

Julie Edwards

Julie is CEO of Jesuit Social Services. Julie has over 40 years’ experience engaging with marginalised people and families experiencing breakdown and trauma. She is a social worker, family therapist, and a grief and loss counsellor. Julie completed her PhD in organisational identity. Julie has served on a number of government and philanthropic committees concerned with building a just society.

Professor Mark Considine AM

Mark Considine

Mark is regarded as one of Australia’s most respected and highly cited public policy specialists with a career spanning academic research and applied policy work for government and civil society organisations. He is currently Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne. His recent book The Careless Statereforming Australia’s social services is a significant contribution in both critique of social services markets and in finding new approaches to these service systems that are failing many disadvantaged Australians.

Claire Victory

Claire Victory

Claire has spent 29 years in various roles and capacities with St Vincent de Paul Society, and was its National President from 2019 – 2023.  She is trained in law and after a number of years in legal practice is currently Director of Industrial Policy & Practice at the Australian Nurses and Midwifery Federation (SA Branch). She believes that most people are essentially good, but that we need strong government and a strong sense of community to ensure that the dignity of all people is respected. 

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