Reflecting on the short month of April, sprinkled with public holidays, leave and some amazing autumnal weather, I enjoyed getting out and attending some external events of relevance in the sector. The Community Services Industry Symposium was a great opportunity to hear from State Government and sector leaders on the Community Services Industry Plan. VCOSS CEO Emma King welcomed a large gathering, and the keynote speakers, who presented on their portfolios, implementation priorities, and engaged with audience participants with Q&A throughout the day on the immediate needs of the sector. You can read the full plan here https://vcoss.org.au/sector-hub/key-projects/community-services-industry-planning/
I also attended a Global Ideas Lab at Melbourne University, where Dr Brett Sutton, Victoria’s new Chief Health Officer for the Department of Health and Human Services, spoke on the key health issues facing us. Of particular interest was the framing of discourse around ‘Planetary Health’ to link health impacts with climate change, in order to support engagement. He recognised the social and political issues that impede progress on health protection, and also the rapid technological advancement that can both add to the risks but also provide much opportunity to improve health problems. He shared knowledge about the rising threat of antimicrobial resistance and other emergent diseases that present new challenges; and engaged with public health students about key future health issues of lack of quality water and nutrition.
Dr Brett Sutton speaks at the Global Ideas Lab
I was also delighted to attend a VLGA (Victorian Local Governance Association) forum on ‘Activating Community’ to hear from three panellists (VLGA, local government, and a resident) on their engagement techniques and campaign successes, such as opposition to pokie machines; advocating for a local train station; and environmental activism and awareness about a proposed gas facility in Westernport Bay.
At the regional level, I caught up with a range of partnership coordinators representing Mental Health, Alcohol & Drug, Family Violence, Family and Children’s services, and NDIS to share information about service coordination, collaboration, and prevention efforts. This was a valuable exchange and representatives were keen to explore further cooperation in the region.
At the IEPCP we are delighted to have Kate Jeffery (some of you will know Kate from her previous role at Link Health and Community) working with us during May and June to support a couple of partnership projects, so please say Hello; and we are delighted to profile in our ‘Coffee with’ Wina Kung, new Board member, and General Manager of Home Care with valued partner Mecwacare – please enjoy!