For the past 30 years, UnitingCare Australia has given voice to the Uniting Church’s commitment to social justice through advocacy and by strengthening community service provision. Today the UnitingCare Network of community services is one of the largest in the country. Together we have significant impact and influence – and we’re just getting started.
The early years:
BECOMING BETTER, TOGETHER
When Rev Brian Whitlock told Rev Harry Herbert in 1991 that we needed a national network of community services in the Uniting Church, it sparked a movement that has grown to become one of the most influential bodies in community services today.
Back then, these two Reverends realised that the Church’s community services needed a national voice and presence in Canberra. Their vision was to create a national body which could leverage and connect the lived experience of community service providers in the pursuit of social justice and reform of government policy in Australia. Its establishment was approved by the Assembly Standing Committee in 1993.
Under the name of Community Services Australia, the focus was on offering the Church’s community providers a unified point of connection for national advocacy and collaboration. Through its leadership, UnitingCare Australia grew from strength to strength and with its immense footprint across Australia, it had many invitations to sit on government working bodies and ministerial committees.
The legacy of this early collaboration and unwavering courage to advocate for the common good continues to this day.
Growing in strength:
INFLUENCE THROUGH IMPACT
By the late 2000’s, the federal government was becoming more sophisticated in its policy reform and development agenda. A great idea was no longer the only catalyst for change, evidence mattered even more.
Leveraging the lived experience and evidence of UnitingCare Australia’s vast network of service providers was now the crucial ingredient for effective change and reform. The expertise of the network in aged care, children and family services, employment, welfare payments, tax and transfers as well as confronting issues of equality and service sustainability became the foundations of UnitingCare Australia’s advocacy agenda.
Facing the future:
UnitingCare Australia will continue to play its part in addressing the many challenges ahead as an even stronger and more influential voice of impact for justice and equality. It will do this by drawing on the collective wisdom and experience of a robust and innovative network of community service providers, willing to share and work together in the advancement of the greater good.