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2020 ‘Summitee’ Shares the Experience

Monday, 2nd June 2008 at 12:46 pm
Staff Reporter
The CEO of the Tweddle Child and Family Health Service, Vivienne Amery took part in the 2020 Summit and came away inspired. Here she shares the experience with Pro Bono Australia readers:

Monday, 2nd June 2008
at 12:46 pm
Staff Reporter



2020 ‘Summitee’ Shares the Experience
Monday, 2nd June 2008 at 12:46 pm

The CEO of the Tweddle Child and Family Health Service, Vivienne Amery took part in the 2020 Summit and came away inspired. Here she shares the experience with Pro Bono Australia readers:

Attending the 2020 Summit in Canberra on 19 and 20 April 2008 was an honour and I am very grateful to my Board for having the foresight to nominate me.
It was an inspiration.

The logistics of bring 1000 people to Canberra, ferrying us around, feeding us, and of course making the process an opportunity for real input meaningful were incredible. It was very well organised in a very short time.

There was a great mix of sharing knowledge and ideas and opportunities to meet people and mix with a diverse group of people with such exciting stories to tell. I met a few well known people, I spoke at length to an Imam, to a Buddhist Monk and to a priest. I discussed volunteerism with the national president of the RSL and talked about aboriginal rock art with a pastoralist from the Kimberley. I shared lunch with a mum working with disadvantaged year 10 kids and I had a laugh with the artists and musicians and rubbed shoulders with Hollywood, and chiefs of global companies.
Most of all we talked, debated, negotiated and fiercely agreed within the stream on Strengthening Communities, Supporting Families and Social Inclusion.

This was a concrete sign of real change in government and its focus on listening and being relevant and responsive to great ideas. Of course not all ideas were new – what matters is that the aspirations are clear and something to work to and that the ideas will as a whole to add to and enhance our society.

I very much look forward to the Prime Minister’s response.

As a result of these discussions some of the big issues I took with me were:
– Healthy families are vital to healthy communities and this could only be achieved through ensuring families could manage daily living. Many cannot. Support needed throughout childhood and in the care of aged dependents
– Services can not be delivered on a fixed term community development project basis – longer term thinking and vision of government in managing relationships with community services is critical
– Community services need to be supported and valued to provide the best quality service delivery. This includes employment conditions, infrastructure, governance and relevant technology
– True partnership with clearly agreed values for working together are needed.
– Community hubs and integrated service delivery is supported recognising it needs to be clarified what exactly is meant by a hub (eg. are they physical structures or virtual hubs?)
– It is critical to have a focus on early intervention and prevention. This is very much about children but embraces other key groups including mental health, homeless, substance abuse, victims of violence etc

Key outcomes that may provide opportunities include:
– Recognition that skills development must start in early childhood and early childhood development (productivity group)
– The need for major policy development in early intervention and prevention (strengthening communities)
– Major workforce review and upgrade across all sectors
– All programs are supported by an evidence base
– Establish a micro finance fund that will provide low or no interest loans to disadvantaged community members to establish small businesses. Funding offered by NAB
– Community corps – the reduction of HECS debt through community volunteerism
– A national health service rather than two tiered (Federal and state)
– Focus on preventative health
– "Closing the Gap" – health for indigenous communities. The same life expectancy for all Australians
– National PM statement and policy on violence against women and children

The Prime Minister has undertaken to respond to each and every idea and to each and every submission that is made by the public. This as you can imagine is a big job in itself. But how good is that? We will all hear where all our work is going. We already know that some things will be adopted – An announcement has already been made about getting a full review of the taxation system going.

I am sure that we will have all heard by the end of the year the government’s response and commitment to the proposals. And what of the summiteers?

We will continue the fantastic dialogue that we started in Canberra and very possibly continue to come up with ideas that we will pass on to our national politicians to consider and act upon. How good is that?! And it is a process we can all be part of! What a great time to be part of Australian democracy?


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