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Brotherhood of St Laurence - Working for an Australia free of poverty Brotherhood Update - Research and policy update from the Brotherhood of St Laurence

March 2020

The Brotherhood of St Laurence, formed amid the Great Depression of the 1930s, is acutely aware of the deep challenge that COVID-19 has brought to all part of our community. We are contributing to the effort to mitigate the impact on the most vulnerable among us.

Read more about our response to these extraordinary times, from our Executive Director Conny Lenneberg last week.

In this issue of Brotherhood Update read about other ongoing research and policy work.

Please share Brotherhood Update with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.

POLICY Cross-cultural responsiveness in early years services

Close shot of child carrying sand-encrusted toy truck

Children from families with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds may be missing out on critical early years services such as kindergarten. Responding to a Victorian Parliamentary inquiry, the Brotherhood argued that solutions include cross-cultural training for staff and simpler enrolment processes.

Read our Submission to the Inquiry into Early Childhood Engagement of CALD Communities (PDF, 497 KB)

RESEARCH PRACTICE Embracing experiences of colleagues who live with disability or mental illness

Four presenters at conference

Our Inclusive Communities team recognises that lived experience is a rich form of research evidence. The team includes members who live with disability or mental illness and are supported and involved in all stages of research from writing grant applications and project proposals to collecting data and reporting results.

Download the presentation by Mutsumi Karasaki, Jasmine Ozge, Dave Peters and Malita Allan, Transforming research: embedding lived experiences in applied research (PDF, 317 KB)

PODCAST A lasting impact: child poverty reforms in New Zealand

Four speakers photographed in BSL garden

This Brotherhood Talks podcast examines major reforms in New Zealand which aim to lower the number of children who live in poverty.

Dr Michael Fletcher, from the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, says while there are no guarantees, these measures are ‘likely to lead to lasting change'.

His analysis is followed by a panel discussion led by Professor Shelley Mallett, head of the Brotherhood’s Research and Policy Centre.

Other panellists are Professor Cindy Kiro, University of Auckland; Brian Howe, former Australian deputy prime minister, and Andi Sebastian, Council for Single Mothers and their Children.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify, and online  https://bit.ly/2Q1vpTL

POLICY Reducing the risks of open-flued gas heaters

Woman with striped shawl adjusting heat thermostat

Several tragic accidents have highlighted the dangers of open-flued gas heaters. To reduce the risks (and energy costs) associated with these heaters, the Brotherhood favours subsidising low-income households to replace them with safer, more efficient solutions.

Read our Submission regarding options for addressing risks from open-flued gas space heaters in Victoria (PDF, 235 KB)

POLICY Informed consent for energy switches

Hands of person signing officlal form

Switching between energy offers is a daunting task for many low-income households, as the Brotherhood’s experience with energy advice shows. Allowing people to consent to reputable parties making a switch on their behalf would open up access to better deals.

Read our submission to the Australian Energy market Commission regarding consumer protections in an evolving market: traditional sale of energy (PDF, 181 KB)

MEDIA Strengthening the aged care workforce

Close shot of older man gripping walking frame

Our research on the health of older aged care workers received coverage in the Community Care Review:

In case you missed it, read the report by Aaron Hart, Dina Bowman and Shelley Mallett Improving the health of older aged care workers (PDF, 437 KB)