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Others (2018)


Theme: Power & Compassion

The roles of faith-based organisations and government in social welfare.

What can non-government faith-based organisations add to government services? Can faith communities contribute to turning the curve on family disintegration and unsustainable welfare dependency? Has dependence on government funding subdued important conversations about the foundations of relationships, compassion and flourishing? This symposium will consider a faith-based NGO approach to working with marginalised families, the homeless, refugees, indigenous peoples, domestic violence, mental health issues, substance misuse and diverse faith communities. It will offer good practice examples of how governments and NGO’s can work together in delivering services, balancing their core values with changing and sometimes conflicting government policies. How well are we responding to the international refugee crisis? How are we responding to the findings of the Royal Commission into institutional abuse of children? What have we learned? How do we move forward in our mission to protect children, support and advocate for families, build supportive communities and deliver services in the context of fluctuating of government policies? What are some promising developments in place-based approaches to early intervention and prevention? Participants will be engaged in a conversation about how these issues relate to their practice and how we can work towards improving outcomes for those engaged with our services and contribute to building thriving communities.

Speaker bios:

Russell Rook holds a PhD focussed on how culture affects human behaviour. For the last 20 years, Russ has worked in a wide array of different organisations. He brings this breadth of experience to a range of clients and coaches: senior executives to high-potential leaders in their first major role. Russ is the CEO and founder of Chapel St, a fourth-sector organisation working in healthcare, education, employment and housing and also more recently the Good Faith Partnership. The partnership supports leaders in developing strategic partnerships between faith-based organisations and government. It also provides training on reshaping policy and engaging in the public square.


Helen Lockwood is the Director of Lutheran Community Care an NGO that has effectively engaged with humanitarian entrant resettlement programs for many years and manages the innovative FamilyZone Hub at Ingle Farm. This initiative, developed as a Communities for Children activity engaging with young families at risk of vulnerability, has worked extensively with refugees from many countries, including a large number from Afghan and African communities. The hub provides a space for children and parents to interact and play together, take part in the many learning activities on offer and experience face to face interaction with people from other cultures. Lutheran Community Care has recently been awarded a contract to roll out 7 schools as community hubs in the north western suburbs of Adelaide. It's vision of building strong caring communities that underpins the work of welcoming and supporting new arrivals. Helen believes we are all responsible for creating a welcoming community working together to encourage a vibrant culture which is respectful of all cultures. Helen is also a member of the Australian Churches Refugee Task Force.


David Eldridge is a retired Salvation Army officer who has worked for over 30 years in a variety of senior social policy and programme development roles in Australia and the United Kingdom. He has been an adviser to State and Commonwealth Governments on social policy issues, particularly in relation to young people and homelessness. He chaired the Commonwealth Advisory Committee on Homelessness for a number of years and headed two significant Prime Ministerial Task Forces which delivered ground breaking reports and recommendations. In 2007 David was Chair of the National Youth Commission Inquiry into Youth Homelessness whose report impacted the Rudd Governments White Paper on Homelessness. Upon concluding his service with The Salvation Army, David was approached by Minister Tanya Plibersek to act as a consultant to the newly formed Commonwealth Homelessness Advisory Committee. In 2009 David was awarded an AM (Member of the Order of Australia) for his contribution to developing policy and programs for young people and people who are homeless. He has recently been appointed chair of Concern Australia.

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