Catholic Social Services Australia member agency leaders convened for a two-day advocacy event at Parliament House this week, strengthening connections with ministers, policymakers and senior advisers.
The gathering, held on Tuesday and Wednesday, was a pivotal moment for the CSSA network to engage with the federal Government on critical social justice issues.
Monique Earsman, CSSA executive director, highlighted the pressing concerns within the CSSA member network.
“With rising costs of living, increasing homelessness, and food insecurity affecting more Australians, the challenges faced by ordinary people are intensifying. Our services are experiencing an unprecedented demand for help,” Ms Earsman said.
“Our assembly focused on highlighting these critical issues, communicating service delivery challenges, and collaborating with the Government to create actionable solutions to support vulnerable Australians.”
The agency heads’ meeting provided a unique platform for direct engagement with influential Government representatives, including ministers, members of Parliament, and policymakers.
Peter Monaghan, chair of CSSA and chief executive of Marist180, said the meetings were essential for “putting a spotlight on critical issues impacting our sector”.
“This event facilitates substantive discussions on policy matters and amplifies the Catholic voice for social justice and positive change,” Mr Monaghan said.
Minister for Skills and Training Brendan O’Connor, who delivered a compelling address at the event, expressed gratitude for the crucial work undertaken by CSSA and its network.
He acknowledged the transformative power of the services provided by CSSA member agencies, noting their dual impact on changing lives and contributing to national productivity and workforce participation.
Mr O’Connor emphasised the significant workforce challenges faced by Australia, particularly in the care and social services sector, due to a shortage of skilled workers. He referred to the Employment White Paper released in September, which identified improvements in service delivery, especially in the care and support sector, as a key opportunity for future productivity growth.