Historic win for workers with intellectual disability
Around Australia there are more than 300 Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs) – formerly known as sheltered workshops – employing around 20,000 people with disability. Two community organisations raised concerns about the method by which wages are set for workers with disability, and proved a key wage assessment tool was discriminatory. Strategic litigation against the Commonwealth by AED Legal Centre resulted in a class action settlement, which will see up to 8,000 workers gain back pay. This settlement was approved by the Federal Court in December 2016. Lead litigant Tyson Duval-Comrie is pictured above talking to the media outside the Federal Court.
The Reichstein Foundation assisted AED Legal to mount their representative action. We also supported the national cross-disability organisation People with Disability Australia (PWDA) to undertake systemic advocacy work on issues of wage discrimination and inequality experienced by employees with disability working in ADEs.
Alliance for Gambling Reform
The Australian gambling industry pocketed $16.3 billion dollars in the year to March 2014, largely from low-income and vulnerable citizens. A complacent attitude to the gambling industry has resulted in few marketing, planning or technology constraints. Many of the hardest communities hit are those which already suffer persistent disadvantage.
The impact of gambling addiction is manifold. Gambling contributes to family violence. Among families where there’s problem gambling, 52% also live through family violence.
The Reichstein Foundation is proud to support a new alliance of community groups who seek to reduce the harm created by this untrammeled transfer of wealth out of some of Victoria’s poorest suburbs.
For more information visit this page: http://www.pokiesplayyou.org.au/
Without Suspicion- Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre
A recent Federal Court Race Discrimination case has highlighted systemic racism within the Victorian police force including racial profiling of African Australians. Data shows that African youth in the Flemington and North Melbourne area have been 2.5 times more likely to be stopped by police than other groups despite having a lower crime rate. There is a high risk of systemic breakdown in trust and relationships between some communities and the Victoria Police.
Police in the US (especially New York City) and the UK have been under pressure over the practice of ‘racial profiling’ through targeted ‘stop and search’ activities. The practice causes alienation and disengagement. It leads to social exclusion and generates high levels of distrust. It undermines confidence in policing.
As part of the Federal Court case settlement, and a subsequent enquiry undertaken by the Victoria Police, a series of sweeping reforms will ensure racial profiling is recognised and addressed at a systemic level. Significant changes are on the table, including:
o Australia’s first trial of stop and search receipting,
o A data collection and monitoring program
o Policy reforms concerning police field contacts, and
o Substantial reform of cross cultural training provided within Victoria Police.
Overall, Victoria Police’s response to the public review of its field contact and cross cultural education policies is indicative of a genuine intention to address racism and racial profiling.
The statement by Victoria Police includes many crucial acknowledgements and commitments that, if properly implemented, could see a genuine reduction in racism and racial profiling by Victoria Police members as well as increasing the overall fairness of and human rights compliance by police members.
These reforms are an acknowledgement of the problems in existing policing and the need for reform. The quality of work and persistence of the team is impressive and the outcomes to date give us hope for better policing and stronger, more inclusive policy and approaches into the future.
The Reichstein Foundation, with other philanthropic and individual partners and Arnold Bloch Leibler, has supported the Flemington Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC) in this matter since 2012.
There is plenty to do to entrench more inclusive and human rights focused policing in Victoria but the crucial first steps have been taken. For more information see the Police Accountability website, a project of the FKCLC, which provides resources for victims, community members, advocates, media and researchers on police accountability law.
Indigenous Rights Unit – Human Rights Law Centre
Significant human rights concerns are produced as imprisonment rates continue to rise. The incarceration rates of Indigenous men, women and children are all of significant concern, with conditions in detention for young people also prompting human rights scrutiny.
The Reichstein Foundation was a founding supporter of the Indigenous Rights Unit at the Human Rights Law Centre and continues to support its work in 2015-18. The Unit is both responsive and agenda-setting, receiving requests for assistance, as well as working with organisations to identify significant and systemic human rights issues.
Indigenous Rights Unit (IRU) lawyer Ruth Barson assisted family members and friends of Ms Dhu at the coronial inquest into Ms Dhu’s death in custody (pictured). The IRU is also working with local community organisations to develop strategies to prevent the possible forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.
The IRU is part of the National Justice Coalition to tackle the over-imprisonment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
For more information please contact Ruth Barson (03) 8636 4451
The Climate Media Centre connects journalists with key stories and talent
Heat records are being smashed all over the country as the climate warms rapidly: 2015 was the hottest year on record. Again.
Australian impacts include significant agricultural losses resulting from the dry and warm conditions; a major algae bloom in the Murray River and the worst coral bleaching event in the history of the Great Barrier Reef.
Australia’s inconsistent and inadequate response to climate change can be traced to several problems including a lack of stories directly about people and communities affected by these changes – the ability to put a face to the issue.
The Climate Media Centre was established in 2015 to educate the media and connect journalists to key stories and talent. It is intended as a go-to resource for reporters and in particular, commercial media who have struggled to tell the climate change story. It provides media training, support, preparation and coaching to spokespeople who have an important story to tell about climate change impacts or solutions. The Reichstein Foundation is a proud founding supporter of the Climate Media Centre. The Climate Media Centre is a project of the Climate Council.
(Picture: Joshua Gilbert – Tractor Talks. Photo: Paul Mathews.)
Rupanyup ‘the town with pulse’
Small towns across rural Victoria are struggling to maintain their local stores. The Enterprise Rupanyup in the north west Victorian shire of Yarriambiack is developing a blueprint of how its local community can initiate a new model of community enterprise. Reichstein is supporting the Enterprise Rupanyup to develop an attractive retail hub in Rupanyup with the ability to win back local shoppers and to provide them with strong retail choices.
Minyip-Rupanyup Community Bank was the first ever community bank franchise for the Bendigo Bank (and there are now more than 300 Bendigo Community Banks around Australia). The Rupanyup community has the potential to play a pioneering role for rural community enterprises.
Rupanyup’s innovators feature in this story from The Australian: Wheatbelt boom offers new arrivals la vida buena – The Australian – 17-01-03