Shortage of housing, increased homelessness and associated needs, floods, fires, the COVID pandemic, and inflation are all compounding what is already a difficult time for many who live in the Gippsland region of Victoria, in the state’s east. In a recent forum hosted by Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) at St Mary’s parish centre in Bairnsdale, more than 30 locals attended to hear from members of parliament and experts working in social services in the area, to discuss what’s important to them leading up to the Victorian state election on 26 November.
CSSV was disappointed with the communique from the November Meeting of the Australian States and Territories’ Attorneys-General (MAG) in relation to the serious issue of young children in custody. With experts unified across the board, it is time for national leadership and to heed the call to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14. Our kids are worth a second chance.
Those who were already vulnerable and marginalised, are more so now, due to the compounding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Catholic Social Services Victoria and its members remain deeply committed to serving those who are most vulnerable and marginalised, and to calling out the political and social structures that entrench disadvantage.
With the first assembly of the Plenary Council soon upon us, the Council of Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) has written an open letter to members of the Plenary Council.
Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) stands in solidarity with the people of Afghanistan at this time, with particular thought for those in Victoria on temporary protection and bridging visas. CSSV’s members, and a number of parish communities across the state, provide practical and pastoral assistance to people living in Victoria who are originally from Afghanistan.
CSSV welcomes the focus of the 2021/22 Victorian Budget, ‘Creating Jobs, Caring for Victorians’. The sentiment, as stated by Minister for Regional Development, Mary-Anne Thomas, in her address at the budget lock up, that ‘Good, secure and meaningful jobs must be at the heart of our recovery’ is a solid foundation.
Catholic Social Services Australia’s report, Strong Economy, Stronger Australia, argues that a post-pandemic economic recovery cannot proceed by withdrawing support from people in an environment of high unemployment and under-employment, job insecurity and slow wage growth.
CSSV has released a report outlining the particular social service and infrastructure needs in the Warrnambool region. “Communities experiencing persistent disadvantage, need long-term and place-based solutions that address the underlying causes of disadvantage”, according to Joshua Lourensz, Executive Director of CSSV.
“More than ever, communities in the Gippsland area need particular assistance. For those facing significant disadvantage in the region, improving infrastructure would help to improve access to important health, welfare, education and employment services and opportunities,” said Netty Horton, CEO of CatholicCare Greater Melbourne, and Gippsland.
During this time when nine sites across three public housing estates have been completely locked down in two Melbourne suburbs for public health reasons, it is of vital importance that each one of the 3,000+ residents is treated with respect in regards to their inherent dignity.