… and the impact of the Stolen Generations on all Aboriginal people in Australia. Our thoughts are with our staff, our participants, our wider communities and their loved ones. We remember and honour Elders past, present and those who are yet to come.
Sorry Day has been held annually on 26 Maysince 1998. It provides an important reminder for everyone in Australia to remember the past policies of forced child removal. On Sorry Day we reflect on the sad and painful history of the Stolen Generations and recognise moments of resilience, healing and the power of saying Sorry.
The first Sorry Day was held ten years after the publication of the Bringing Them Home report. However a report on government services, released by the Productivity Commission last year, said there were 17,664 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care in 2016-17, compared with 9,070 in 2007-08. So is sorry enough?
The 2019 Better Chances Regional Forum will focus on the skills, support and relationships we need to do better. It’s an opportunity to challenge ourselves as workers, managers and organisations in community, health and education services, and as community members, families and commissioning agencies (funders), to think about what we need to do differently. What do we need to operate in a more trauma responsive way? How can we create better chances for children, young people and their families in the Northern Rivers?
Date: Thursday 13 June 2019 Time: 9am-4pm Venue: Lennox Head Cultural and Community Centre Tickets: $35/ticket Online bookings: www.trybooking.com/BCGDE
Fifteen young songwriters have been chosen to perform live at this year’s Lismore Young Songwriters Competition Finalists Showcase on Friday 12 April [tomorrow] at Studio One29, Southern Cross University.
The young songwriters hail from Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Lismore, Lennox Head, Grafton, Evans Head and places in between and will battle it out for more than $11,500 worth of prizes.
Lismore Young Songwriters Competition committee member, Madeline Seely of Social Futures, said prizes on offer included professional RODE microphones, double passes to Splendour in the Grass, mastered track recordings at Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Institute Byron Bay, and Southern Cross University, a fantastic stereo system from The Audio Room, paid gigs at Crankfest Youth Festival, and the Lismore Lantern Parade and more.
“It’s such a great opportunity for our budding musicians to get their name out there, but also to win some real prizes for their talent which can help launch their career,” Madeline said. “The Finalists Showcase is popular and tickets to last year’s event sold out quickly. It’s a free event but it’s important to reserve a ticket well in advance so you don’t miss out.”
Social Futures CEO Tony Davies has welcomed the Federal Budget announcement that $527.9 million has been set aside for the proposed Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People With a Disability – but says there is little else to celebrate for residents of the Northern Rivers.
“Congestion-busting initiatives are all well and good for big city residents but we actually want some decent social and economic infrastructure in places such as the Northern Rivers,” Mr Davies said.
“Beyond the Royal Commission there’s not much for vulnerable people in this Budget.”
Mr Davies said the most obvious area overlooked by the Budget was the urgent need to lift the Newstart allowance, as called for by organisations including the Australian Council of Social Service and the Business Council of Australia.
Opportunity Pathways is a new program that is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage for social housing recipients. It will also reduce their reliance on government-funded social housing or Rent Choice subsidies.
Anita Mansfield from Social Futures, says “This new program is designed to help people realise their career aspirations and transition away from social housing toward housing independence. We will create personalised support plans and pathways to career opportunities, but we can also support participants with Social Futures wrap-around services, so it’s an entirely holistic approach.”
The program will be offered in Lismore and Tweed Heads to people aged 17 or older who are: social housing tenants or members of their household; approved social housing applicants on the waiting list; and people who receive the Rent Choice subsidy. Social Futures anticipates it will support 165 participants over the next three years.
New national research backs the Northern Rivers community’s call to address the housing crisis in our region, where over 12,000 households are experiencing rental stress and more than 3,000 households are on the social housing waitlist.
The research is contained in a just-released report from the University of NSW’s City Futures Research Centre and finds more than one million social and affordable homes need to be built across Australia by 2036 just to meet current demand and keep pace with population growth.
Social Futures CEO and President of the NSW Council of Social Service, Tony Davies said the research also revealed the current social and affordable housing shortfall in NSW was 216,400 homes with the shortage particularly acute in the Northern Rivers.
Entrants in the Lismore Young Songwriters Competition this year are in the running to win $11,500 of prizes.
Deb Hall from one of the organising partners Social Futures hopes young people will be encouraged to enter and help fire up their musical careers. “Our two top prizes are valued at almost $4,000 each. The winners will have their songs professionally recorded and receive double passes to Splendour in the Grass and Professional Performer Kits from RØDE,” Ms Hall said.
On 12 April, the People’s Choice Award winner will be selected by the audience at the Finals Showcase, to win a hi-fi system valued at $2,000, a mastered track recording and a Studio Recording Kit.”
Five runners-up prizes include professional quality microphones and paid gigs at Crankfest. All finalists will have access to songwriting masterclasses at Southern Cross University during the year.
The Lismore Young Songwriters Competition is organised and supported by Social Futures and its programs headspace Lismore and The Clubhouse, Southern Cross University and the Northern Rivers Conservatorium. We are also grateful for prizes from sponsors Rockinghorse Studios, SAE Creative Media Institute Byron Bay, Splendour in the Grass, RØDE Microphones, The Audio Room, Crankfest, NORPA and Lismore City Council.
On Tuesday 5 March, Homelessness NSW and the New South Wales Council of Social Service will provide an opportunity for Northern Rivers residents to put their questions about housing to candidates standing for the NSW Elections on 23 March.
The Northern Rivers event, one of just three such events in the state is supported by the Northern Rivers Housing Forum, which is convened by Social Futures.
Housing affordability and homelessness are both at crisis points in Northern NSW, with high rates of rough sleepers (ABS Census 2016) and some of the most unaffordable housing in the world, according to a recent report for North Coast Community Housing.
Residents are very concerned
“Northern rivers residents are rightly concerned about housing and homelessness in our region” says Tony Davies, CEO of Social Futures “and many will be considering what the candidates have to say on the issue to inform their vote.”
Last October, the Northern Rivers Housing Forum event in Lennox Head developed an URGENT action plan to address the housing crisis in the region. Since then, it has been encouraging voters to contact their local candidates and asking what they intend to do about it if elected to represent them on 23 March.