Title: Submission to the Ombudsman Investigation into Expulsions at Victorian Government Schools
Date: 23 December 2016
Summary: Figures from the Department of Education and Training show that the number of students being expelled has risen over 25 per cent in the past year. In our submission to the Ombudsman, we share Melbourne City Mission’s perspectives as a flexible learning and education support provider working with students who have multiple and complex disadvantage and concurrent high support needs, many of whom have experienced school exclusion. The case studies and insights presented in this submission come directly from the students who attend our Academy classrooms and the educators and wellbeing staff who work alongside them. This submission aims to capture on-the-ground realities, from a student and teacher perspective, of what gets in the way of education and students’ ability to learn within the classroom and wider school context.
Title: Submission to Commission for Children and Young People Permanency Amendments Inquiry
Date: 23 November 2016
Summary: In March 2016, the State Government introduced changes to Child Protection legislation. The changes – known as the Permanency Amendments – tighten the window for family reunification. The purpose of the amendments is to improve stability for vulnerable children. This is an incredibly complex area, requiring a delicate balancing of sometimes competing rights. Melbourne City Mission’s Cradle to Kinder team is on the frontline of navigating these changes with families. In this submission to the Commission for Children and Young People, Melbourne City Mission provides evidence on how the changes are being experienced thus far.
Title: Submission to the State Disability Plan 2017-2020 Discussion Paper
Date: 13 July 2016
Summary: People with disabilities encounter personal and systemic barriers to social and economic participation. While the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will effect significant transformation, there will still be a role for local, State and Commonwealth governments to ensure access and inclusion for people with disabilities. In our submission to the State Disability Plan 2017-20, we share our perspectives on how the Victorian Government can effect change in the areas of Active Citizenship, Rights and Equality, Economic Participation, and Making the Most of the NDIS.
Title: Submission to the Rents, bonds and other charges Issues Paper (Residential Tenancies Act Review)
Date: 22 April 2016
Summary: Some of Victoria’s most vulnerable citizens are navigating a private rental market that is unaffordable and characterised by processes and practices that heighten and exploit vulnerability. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission advocates for measures that address access, equity and affordability at the point of entry and across the duration of a tenancy. The submission analyses the impact of practices such as rental bidding, unsustainable rent increases (above CPI and/or more than once per calendar year), overcharged bonds and unofficial holding of bond money, and advocates for greater protections via the regulatory system.
Title: Submission to Senate Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Gender Inequality
Date: 31 March 2016
Summary: In this submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee, Melbourne City Mission highlights the role of gender inequality in all spheres of life in contributing to the prevalence of domestic violence. The Commonwealth Government has a key role to play in the prevention of violence against women, through policies and programs that enable women’s equal social, civic and economic participation. This submission highlights the need for more accessible childcare, an employment services system that can meet the needs of women with multiple and complex barriers to participation, and gender equity measures in a range of other associated policy areas.
Title: Submission to the Victorian Gender Equality Strategy
Date: 18 March 2016
Summary: Gender inequality affects all women in all areas of their lives. However, it is clear that different groups of women fare less well than others. This submission examines the intersection of gender inequality, social inequalities and spatial inequalities, and identifies strategies to address inequality among the most diverse and disadvantaged groups of women. The submission draws on Melbourne City Mission’s experience working with women in our employment services, homelessness services, child care services, and disability services.
Title: Submission to the Security of Tenure Issues Paper (Residential Tenancies Act Review)
Date: 24 December 2015
Summary: In this submission, Melbourne City Mission’s focus is on the private rental aspects of the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) review. Due to a lack of supply of social housing, many of our clients seek housing via the private rental market. A lack of security of tenure is a significant issue for many of our clients in private rental, which can contribute to an ongoing cycle of homelessness for the people we support. Melbourne City Mission’s submission flags concerns around legal protections, sustainable rent, and adequate property maintenance. This submission also highlights Melbourne City Mission’s support for the formation of a Quality Rental Standards framework for the private rental market.
Title: What’s Important to YOUth – Final Report from Melbourne City Mission Youth Consultations
Date: 29 October 2015
Summary: Between September and October 2015, more than 2000 young people took part in What's Important To Youth?, a series of consultations across Victoria to help inform the Victorian Government's new whole-of-government youth policy framework. As part of the policy design, the Office for Youth commissioned Melbourne City Mission to proactively engage young people whose voices are not typically heard in policy consultations. A total of 192 young people from our programs and services participated – representing nearly 10 per cent of the total number of young Victorians engaged in the policy consultation across the State. This abridged report provides a snapshot of the key issues highlighted by diverse groups of young people who are working to forge pathways to social and economic inclusion and participation against a backdrop of significant personal challenges and structural barriers.
Title: Submission to the Review of the Program for Students with Disabilities
Date: 12 October 2015
Summary: Students with disabilities have a legal right to education and training ‘on the same basis’ as students without disability. For many students with disabilities, being able to participate on the same basis as their peers requires adjustments. Funding is critically important, as it determines the level of adjustment that can be made. Presently, Victorian students with disabilities have limited access to targeted additional support through special purpose funding streams, such as the Program for Students with Disabilities. This submission notes that whilst there is an expectation that non-eligible students will have their needs met through general school budgets and other non-PSD programs, parents frequently report that this is not the case. Melbourne City Mission highlights the ways in which the ‘safety net’ is failing, and identifies barriers to accessing PSD funding.
Title: Submission to Senate Education and Employment References Committee Inquiry into the current levels of access and attainment for students with disability in the school system, and the impact on students and families associated with inadequate levels of support
Date: 31 August 2015
Summary: The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes a significant gap between students with disability and those without, notably in the attainment of Year 12 or equivalent, vocational education and training qualifications, and participation in university studies. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission unpacks the barriers to school participation and attainment, and calls for funding that delivers equity for students with disabilities and improves the capacity of schools to provide genuinely inclusive education.
Title: Feedback on the Residential Tenancies Act Review 'Laying the Ground Work Consultation Paper'
Date: 19 August 2015
Summary: Housing is 'the base camp for a good life'. Without safe, affordable and secure housing that’s fit for purpose, it’s difficult to participate in education, training or work, or other community activities. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission highlights a number of discriminatory practices in the private rental market, experienced by people we support. These practices include the misuse of the identification process to cherry pick tenants and resistance to Centrepay (a direct bill paying service available to people who receive a Centrelink payment, designed to help highly vulnerable people budget for essential household bills, such as rent). Melbourne City Mission's submission also flags concerns about the 120-day Notice to Vacate period and advocates for a more nimble bond system.
Date: 7 August 2015
Summary: This submission to the VET Funding Review Issues Paper follows Melbourne City Mission’s earlier submission (April 2015) to the first stages of the review. Whilst the Issues Paper responds to a range of system issues identified in Melbourne City Mission's original submission, in particular equity and outcomes for 'vulnerable, disadvantaged and high needs groups', the impact of 'repeated and erratic funding changes on short notice', and the regulatory burden, Melbourne City Mission restates the need for the regulatory framework to formally recognise that there are different categories of RTOs, and calibrate policy implementation and funding accordingly. Melbourne City Mission's submission also provides feedback on the proposed reintroduction of compulsory or minimum fees, quality measures associated with online learning, and funding reforms to Certificates I and II.
Title: Melbourne City Mission response to the Education State Consultation Paper
Date: August 2015
Summary: The Victorian Government's Education State agenda provides an opportunity to close the equity gap for children and young people experiencing socio-economic disadvantage, and build higher levels of social cohesion across Victoria. To achieve this, Melbourne City Mission contends that the Education State must be a whole-of-government agenda; create the conditions for academic success through targeted investment in early years and at other early intervention windows; and value and resource 'alternate' education models in recognition that a one-size fits all approach does not work for all young people.
Date: 31 July 2015
Summary: Melbourne City Mission is Victoria's largest community education provider of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Through the Melbourne Academy (our high-support Community VCAL program), Melbourne City Mission currently has in the order of 250 students undertaking Foundation, Intermediate and Senior VCAL studies, including Vocation Education and Training in Schools (VETis) offered through our integrated Registered Training Organisation. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission highlights that funding currently allocated to students who are identified as 'disadvantaged' (through the Student Resource Package) does not reflect the true cost of meeting their high-support needs in the classroom.
Date: 27 July 2015
Summary: In this submission, Melbourne City Mission makes the case that any movement in this policy and service delivery space needs to be supported by timely access to high quality palliative care and end of life services that are responsive to diverse needs and preferences.
Date: 10 June 2015
Summary: Critical incidents related to ice use increased by 27 per cent at Melbourne City Mission’s homelessness services last financial year, with many of these incidents involving police or ambulance call outs. Whilst Melbourne City Mission is concerned about the widespread availability of the drug and its relative affordability, it is critical that the factors that underpin demand and use are addressed. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission argues that a law and order approach, in isolation, won’t deliver the community change we want to see. Melbourne City Mission urges the Federal Parliamentary Committee to incorporate a health and harm minimisation lens as part of its ‘law enforcement’ inquiry into ice.
Date: 29 May 2015
Summary: In this submission, Melbourne City Mission highlights the need for ‘no wrong doors’ for people seeking support for family violence; provides evidence of insufficient integration and coordination between the specialist family violence service system and service systems such as homelessness and disability; and identifies opportunities for system improvement, including a sector capacity building framework and opportunities to adapt or scale up existing models of good practice.
Date: 10 April 2015
Summary: Melbourne City Mission is not, in its whole context, a small community service organisation. However, our Registered Training Organisation – with a total student population of 250 high needs learners – operates in a market with private for-profit providers, some of which enrol many thousands of students. The current Vocational Education and Training (VET) system disadvantages small not-for-profit community sector providers like Melbourne City Mission, which need to build in greater support and regulation per student relative to large for-profit providers servicing ‘mainstream’ learners. In this submission to the Victorian Government's VET Funding Review, Melbourne City Mission advocates for equity measures to maintain diversity in the VET market and ensure the needs of students with high support needs are met.
Melbourne City Mission submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the adequacy of existing residential care arrangements available for young people with severe physical, mental or intellectual disabilities in Australia
Date: 11 March 2015
Summary: There are around 6,000 young Australians with disabilities who are currently living in residential aged care. These facilities have limited capacity to meet the complex physical, social and rehabilitation needs of young people with disabilities – young people are only entering residential aged care because there are no other housing options. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission draws attention to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a landmark social policy reform that is based on principles of choice and control. Melbourne City Mission asserts that, unless there is a strategy to address the issue of housing supply, people’s pathways to inclusion and participation will be frustrated.
Date: 20 February 2015
Summary: For early school leavers, who predominantly exit into insecure jobs or unemployment, the Vocational Education and Training system can be a circuit-breaker that provides an opportunity to ‘reset’ by building foundation skills (literacy and numeracy) and industry-specific skills that create pathways to sustainable employment. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission highlights the social and economic ‘value add’ of community sector providers which have an intentional focus on re-engaging highly marginalised young people, and advocates for equity measures to ensure a diverse VET market inclusive of values-based not-for-profit providers.
Melbourne City Mission submission to the Senate Inquiry into Out of Home Care
Date: 10 November 2014
Summary: The Out of Home Care (OOHC) system continues to fail our most vulnerable children, young people and families, many of whom come into contact with Melbourne City Mission services at some point in their Child Protection/OOHC experience. This submission profiles the issues that confront people Melbourne City Mission supports, particularly young people who are seeking to make a life for themselves post-care, as well as vulnerable families trying to address risk factors and keep their family together. The submission showcases best-practice approaches and advocates for systems improvement and change.
Summary: This paper was submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services, in response to the Interim Report of the Reference Group on Welfare Reform. Melbourne City Mission agrees that participation – a major focus of the Interim Report – can provide a pathway out of disadvantage, but only if that participation is meaningful and is underpinned by a just approach. Melbourne City Mission's submission also draws attention to the need for significant structural changes and calls for a national jobs plan.
Date: 12 March 2014
Summary: This paper was submitted to the Parliament of Victoria's Family and Community Development Committee, as part of the Inquiry into Social Inclusion and Victorians with a Disability. Melbourne City Mission's submission provides evidence that significant obstacles to participation and inclusion persist, despite legislation and policies that are designed to promote and protect the rights of Victorians with disabilities. Melbourne City Mission's recommendations to Government are detailed on page three of the paper.
31 Oct 2013
Summary: Every year, more than 5,000 young Victorians, adults and families access Melbourne City Mission’s homelessness or justice services. Use of legal substances (tobacco and alcohol) and illicit substances is common amongst these client groups. In this submission, Melbourne City Mission reflects on the factors underpinning substance use generally, and the use of methamphetamine particularly, and makes five policy recommendations for government going forward.
Date: 5 April 2013
Summary: The Victorian Government, in partnership with the community services sector, is identifying opportunities to improve how we work together to improve the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged Victorians. Melbourne City Mission has played an active role in the Service Sector Reform project. In this submission to the Independent Project Leader, Professor Peter Shergold, Melbourne City Mission uses case studies to highlight what currently works well and areas requiring systems reform.
Date: August 2010
Summary: Melbourne City Mission has been a long-time advocate for a National Disability Insurance Scheme. This 2010 submission was made to the Productivity Commission inquiry into Disability Care and Support.