Social services team up to battle disadvantage

Associate Professor Ben Phillips (ANU) Belinda Clarke (CSSA research advisory panel member) and Brenton Prosser (CSSA) at the launch yesterday (CSSA)

More than 20 Catholic social service providers have joined with researchers from the Australian National University to commission new research into entrenched disadvantage. Source: Catholic Social Services Australia.

Catholic Social Services Australia chief executive Ursula Stephens said the Identifying Locational Drivers of Entrenched Disadvantage project “is a significant coming together across the national Catholic social services network”.

The aim of the research is to identify what drives and entrenches disadvantage in every suburb of Australia. Among its innovations is factoring in population change and projecting trends over the next 10 years.

“A key feature of this research is that it was co-designed by academics and those working at the coalface, meaning it can be applied in practice,” Dr Stephens said.

“This process has involved members in every state and territory, with their expertise spanning the full range of services and taking in metropolitan, regional and remote providers.

“Ultimately, these research findings will help our members better target services to address the local drivers of entrenched disadvantage. They will also be used to complement existing research, while we hope they will inform Government decision-making around place-based policy.”

Australian Catholic Bishop Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge delivered a video message supporting the project, which was played at the project’s launch yesterday.

“Each day, the Church works with people living on or below the poverty line. We provide accommodation, meals and support when they have nowhere else to turn,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

Fr Mick Lowcock, head of North West Queensland Indigenous Catholic Social Services, one of the project partners, said it was impossible to overstate the importance of the Church’s ongoing service to those in need.

“No matter how many people are in touch with those experiencing poverty on a daily basis, trying to alleviate poverty should be at the forefront of all our endeavours,” he said.

“While we are among the smaller of CSSA’s members, we are excited to join with others in the network because nothing will make a bigger impact on our nation than enabling every Australian to have the best life we can offer them.”

FULL STORY

Catholic Social Services team up to battle disadvantage (Catholic Social Services Australia)

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