NSW Spanish and Latin American Association (NSW SLASA)

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1 NSW Spanish and Latin American Association (NSW SLASA) Organization background: NSW SLASA has been operating as a peak organisation for the Spanish speaking communities in NSW for the last 36 years. It has been receiving funding from different government sources continually throughout that period of time- a solid testament to the organisation's ability to effectively and efficiently manage funds to achieve contracted outcomes, and to the level of trust it has earned from funding bodies. We have been providing services and advocating for the community throughout this time, allowing us to have an excellent understanding of the issues affecting not only our, but also other CALD communities, and also of the resources available to address these. Currently we are providing services from our Community Centre in Bonnyrigg, Hurstville and Hornsby, assisting new arrivals as well as providing family support services, English classes, support groups and computer classes for seniors and job seekers. Further, we have a large pool of volunteers who help us with the development and implementation of our programs and activities. In addition during the last 36 years NSW SLASA has developed and implemented many different direct service and community development programs for the Spanish and CALD Communities, in partnership with government and non-government service providers, community organizations, groups and workers. The main aim of these varied programs has always been to provide the necessary assistance to members of our target community in order to facilitate settlement while maximizing self-reliance and social inclusion among the community and with the broader community NSW SLASA has very deep connections forged over its many years with the various Spanish Speaking communities, and has always supported the working of groups dealing with subsets of that community (e.g. the Salvadorean Association, Nicaraguan Association, Spanish Speaking Pensioner's Association, etc). Since 2010, those connections and support have extended to groups and organizations from other CALD backgrounds, and we have found those relationships very rewarding and fruitful. An example of this was the successful Conference carried out last year (2013) by the CALD Communities Coalition and spearheaded by NSW SLASA, which addressed the issue of the future of CALD community organizations. Further, NSW SLASA is an active participant in several networks throughout Sydney - both those that represent the Spanish Speaking Community, like the Spanish Speaking Community Network (which we Convene), but also Migrant lnteragencies, and the Fairfield Advisory Committee, which is a committee that provides advice to Fairfield City Council on issues affecting CALD communities. om funding bodies. The above mentioned activities and programs, have given NSW SLASA extensive knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants around the Sydney metropolitan area. In tum, this has allowed us to develop a strong relationship with service providers, both from government and non-government agencies. Our knowledge and experience has led us to become the convenors of the CALD Communities Coalition which is formed by representatives of different CALD communities

2 and has allowed us to use our experience and knowledge to assist other Social and Community Organisations to establish and to implement their The above mentioned activities and programs, have given NSW SLASA extensive knowledge and understanding of the issues affecting migrants, refugees and humanitarian entrants around the Sydney metropolitan area. In turn, this has allowed us to develop a strong relationship with service providers, both from government and non-government agencies. Our knowledge and experience has led us to become the convenors of the CALD Communities Coalition which is formed by representatives of different CALD communities and has allowed us to use our experience and knowledge to assist other Social and Community Organisations to establish and to implement their activities. Projects defunded: A) The Settlement Grants Program (SGP) B) The Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Agemg Grants (ACSIHAG) The Settlement Grants Program (SGP) The Spanish speaking communities in New South Wales come from culturally and socially diverse backgrounds. Although sharing the same language, the Spanish speaking communities are not a homogeneous group. They come from 23 different countries (21 that speak Spanish officialjy and 2 unofficially) with distinct traditions, political and economic characteristics, history, population and ethnic mixture. Migration from these countries to Australia has occurred at different times for different reasons. Until the 30 June 2015 we used provide settlements services from Bonnyrigg and Hurstville. According to the Settlement Reporting Facility (SRF) information for the last 5 years (date as at 01 April 2014) there are a total of 1049 Spanish speakers arrived in Australia that are eligible for Settlement Services, 1013 Family Migration Stream and 36 Humanitarian Entrants Stream. Difficulties in securing adequate and affordable accommodation due to a competitive market, high rental, lack of rental history, unemployment, and low English proficiency, the mistrust by real estate agents is one of the main issue affecting new arrivals of Spanish speaking background.. Also, the shortage of appropriate and affordable housing stock (both public and private) located close to service providers and public transport systems. There is a constant need for education awareness programs for students and parents to develop a better understanding of the Australian educational system, Humanitarian parents with preschool aged children require more information about the importance of preschool education, including information on the facilities and activities available for parents and children. Parents often have limited capacity to assist with their children's learning homework support, guidance in relation to subject choices, further education or vocational training options, etc. Fostering partnerships between Schools and Parents Establish programs in partnership with local schools which seek to encourage parental involvement in various aspects of children's schooling.

3 There is an increase in the number of clients presenting who are suffering from mental health, their language barrier, social isolation, and cultural adjustment will mean that they are more vulnerable to the effects of these issues, and are more likely not to access services. * Language is a major barrier that prevents Spanish speaking new arrivals from utilising services * Social isolation may increase as the result of difficulties in acculturation, broken social networks, discrimination and racism, socio economic restrictions, and due to the stigma often attached to 'mental illness.' The pressures of unresolved settlement issues eg.housing, employment, social isolation etc) is likely to have a negative impact on the mental health of individuals causing high rates of anxiety and depression. Additionally these pressures act as a trigger for individuals who already have a predisposition to mental illnesses such as Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia and Clinical Depression.. Other needs/ issues affecting Spanish speaking new arrivals include: Lack of social and family support continues to threaten family harmony and leads to intergenerational conflict and relationship breakdown. Poor access to mainstream services includes: Housing, Mental Health Services, and Centrelink, unemployment, Lack of recognition of overseas qualifications. The Aged Care Service Improvement and Healthy Ageing Grants (ACSIHAG) The percentage of older people from CALD backgrounds is higher than that in the general population. As at 30 June 2011, 18% of people born overseas were aged 65 and over, compared with 12% of people born in Australia (AIHW 2013). Along with increasing age comes an increase in the problems of age- including higher numbers of individuals suffering from the various types of dementia. This can be a devastating disease, which can have severe impacts not only on the individual suffering from it, but also on those who take responsibility for caring for a loved one who is affected. Existing research, including that carried out for the Fairfield City Council Draft Ageing Strategy has shown a significant need for educational, social and recreational activities that will assist older people of CALD backgrounds to achieve a healthy and active ageing process, break down their social isolation and help them fully participate in their local communities and wider society. Social isolation encompasses both social and emotional isolation. Social isolation of seniors has a detrimental impact on physical health and is a significant risk factor for depression and suicide. Limited social networks, an absence of close relationships, a lack of perceived support and loss of social ties are all strong predictors of depressive symptoms amongst older adults. The link between communication and interaction with others and mental and physical wellbeing is important for older people so they have the opportunity to be socially connected and, if they wish, to participate in community life.

4 Although many CALD older people are socially connected, some combined factors commonly impact on this more than other groups. These include leaving the workforce, physical disability and ill health, loss of relationships, and loss of transport options. Other identified risk factors for social isolation include fear of crime, living alone, living on a low income or in disadvantaged localities, being a carer, being a victim of elder abuse, the presence of significant negative life events, geographic isolation, being from a culturally and linguistically diverse background, and a lack of information about community services. Negative social attitudes and perceptions of ageing can also strongly influence CALD individuals' opportunities to be actively involved in the community and in health improvement activities - direct discrimination or negative attitudes and images of ageing can result in seniors themselves feeling that they have nothing to offer or that their contribution is not valued. 26 organisations who received ACSIHAG funding in , none received funding in this latest round. All of these organisations claim to have addressed the necessary selection criteria. This has raised concerns about access and equity for CALD communities. D There is a view that ACSIHAG funds appear to have been distributed in favour of large mainstream organisations. As one in four persons aged over 65 is from a CALD background, we would have expected that more of the funding would have been directed to ethno-specific and multicultural service providers. D We highlight the value of smaller CALD community organisations particularly the nonmonetary contribution made by staff and volunteers and the value of grass-roots community connections that larger mainstream organisations may not have access to. O If the current trend of cuts in funding to CALD community organisations continues, this will erode the capacity of these organisations to deliver services to their communities and/or to provide brokerage services to mainstream organisations. O The CALD community services sector has a vital role to play as a bridge between CALD communities and aged care service providers. With the implementation of My Aged Care on 1 July 2015, we have significant concerns regarding access to aged care services by older persons from CALD backgrounds. Research has identified that persons from CALD backgrounds are under-represented in the uptake of aged care services, and it is feared that the loss of ACSIHAG funding will result in the older CALD community getting lost in the aged care system. Our communities require assistance in navigating aged care services especially during the transition period to ensure that they receive services that meet their care needs. We ask that the Government recognise and acknowledge the unique ability of ethno-specific and multicultural agencies to assist their communities to understand and accept the changes in the aged care system. Of particular concern are capacity building with respect to Consumer Directed Care and access to MyAgedCare. We wish to highlight the vital role that ethno-specific and multicultural agencies play in bridging the gap between CALD communities and aged care service providers.

5 Furthermore, we ask the Government to continue to endorse the principles set down in the National Ageing and Aged Care Strategy For People from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Backgrounds and that these principles inform future decision making and Government Tender processes.

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