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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

June 2020

The short-term and long-term effects of COVID-19 add extra complexity to our work of tackling poverty and disadvantage among  Australians.

This issue of Brotherhood Update includes policy insights about aged care. effective vocational education and the Emissions Reduction Fund.

It also featuress research about employment services for young people and about financial wellbeing.

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INSIGHT COVID-19 and aged care

Polystyrene COVID-19 words and virus particles

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health measures to combat it have exacerbated existing barriers and created new challenges for providing care, services and supports for at-risk older people.

Read the new COVID-19 Insght by Amber Mills and James Finnis, Older people and aged care (PDF, 309 KB)

REPORT Finding a spark for youth employment pathways

Lighted sparkler

What works to achieve effective employment services for young people? A new report presents lessons from our evaluation of the Transition to Work Community of Practice. This is a network of 11 organisations that implement an innvovative, collaborative model of TtW services in 13 locations across Australia.

Keys to success include a positive, Advantaged Thinking approach with young people, and involving local employers and communities.

Read the reports by Sharon Bond and Deborah Keys:

Research summary  (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Full report (PDF, 5.5 MB)

PAPERS Financial capabilities and economic dignity

Three red piggy banks eyeing a hand with a coin

How can we understand ‘financial capabilities’ in a way that embraces the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable households? Researcher Jeremiah Brown explored how the concept of economic dignity can help.

Read the paper,  Economic dignity and financial capabilities: connecting principles and concepts (PDF, 468 KB)

Jeremiah Brown held the inaugural ANZ Tony Nicholson Research Fellowship, a one-year position funded by ANZ in honour of former BSL Executive Director, Tony Nicholson.

This work contributed to a financial wellbeing framework, which will help guide practice and strategic thinking across the sector.

Read the framework paper by Jeremiah Brown and Dina Bowman, Economic security and dignity: a financial wellbeing framework (PDF, 292 KB)

POLICY Aged care for those experiencing serious disadvantage

Older women sitting in a hammock by a river

The Aged Care Reference Group (including the Brotherhood of St Laurence) has urged the Royal Commission to consider the particular care and support needs of older Australians who experience deep and persistent disadvantage. This might be a result of many factors including poverty, trauma, social isolation and homelessness. The aged care system must be designed to respond to the needs of these members of our community.

Read the Joint submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (PDF, 494 KB)

Read also the earlier BSL submission (PDF, 439 KB)

POLICY Valuing applied learning pathways

Young female worker carign for kitten in animal shelter

Currently too many young people are left with few realistic educational choices. Relevant applied learning options – including VCAL – are essential and our submission to the Victorian Department of Education and Training outlines key measures to strengthen these.

Read our Submission to DET Review into Vocational and Applied Learning Pathways in Secondary Schooling (PDF, 434 KB)

POLICY Making the most of Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund

Strong sun shining on open orange umbrella

As the key policy to provide the emissions abatement needed to meet Australia's international commitment to keeping global warming well below 2° C, the Emissions Reduction Fund has considerable limitations. Nevertheless, the Brotherhood of St Laurence argues that the ERF should prioritise projects that provide co-benefits and increase climate resilience, for example, retrofitting homes to be more energy efficient and resilient against high temperatures.

Read our Submission to the Climate Change Authority review of the Emissions Reduction Fund (PDF, 163 KB)

Read more about our work on Energy and climate change

ARTICLE The effect of growing up with two jobless parents

Young woman walking towrds city skyline

How are young people’s employment outcomes affected by having both parents without a paid job? In both Australia and the United States the effect of growing up with two jobless parents is much greater than if only one parent is jobless, according to new research involving the BSL’s Matthew Curry and colleagues at the Melbourne Institute.

Read the article by Irma Mooi-Reci, Mark Wooden, & Matthew Curry, The employment consequences of growing up in a dual-parent jobless household: a comparison of Australia and the United States, in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.