Wage Justice for people with disability The Association of Employees with Disability Legal Centre (AED Legal) is a smart and determined advocate for workers in supported employment, and a key partner in a long legal & community effort to unwind wage discrimination in the Australian Disability Enterprise sector. In 2012 the Federal Court, through the advocacy of AED Legal, struck out a highly discriminatory wage assessment tool (known as BSWAT) which had unfairly suppressed wages though its competency tests. And then in December 2016, through the advocacy of AED Legal and allies, the Federal Court agreed to a settlement for back pay for workers underpaid through the BSWAT mechanism. The landmark agreement won back pay for around 10,000 eligible workers, at an estimated cost to the Commonwealth over of $100M. The Reichstein Foundation is continuing to support AED Legal in 2018-19 as it pursues a new wages framework based on productivity. The Fair Work Commission is due to hand down a decision soon.
Gambling Reform The Alliance for Gambling Reform is having a growing impact in its work to combat the harms associated with Australia’s under-regulated poker machine industry: in July, Collingwood became the latest AFL club to accede to community pressure around its reliance on pokies, joining Greater Western Sydney and Melbourne Demons in a retreat after months of sustained pressure. The Alliance is providing a strong voice for people and communities affected by a rampant industry, from former gamblers and family members, to mayors and local governments.
Safeguarding human rights and opposing the use of race in the ‘law and order’ debate The Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre (FKCLC ) is standing alongside young people from African backgrounds who’ve experienced systemic discrimination by some members of the Victoria Police. The Centre is also working closely with Police Command to secure reform, and Victoria Police has consequently emerged as one of the voices of reason in the State political scene. However the recent upturn in race-baiting in the public discourse has put huge pressure on organisations like FKCLC In the past year, FKCLC has advocated for an independent police complaint investigative system in Victoria. This is a significant reform goal which has real momentum given recent media reports about incidents in which police appear to have used excessive and questionable force. The Reichstein Foundation has been a supporter of FKCLC work since 2007 and this continues in 2018-19.
Human Rights Law Centre The Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC) is making a profound impact. Over the last ten years, it has established constitutional protection of the right to vote; freed children from adult prisons; been fundamental to achieving marriage equality in Australia; led the eﬀort to expunge historical criminal records of people convicted when homosexuality was outlawed; improved access to healthcare for prisoners; provided human rights training to over 15,000 people and held Australia to account for its human rights obligations on the international stage. In 2017-18 the Indigenous Rights Unit of the HRLC contributed to reform efforts in the NT Royal Commission on youth justice; and in litigation and advocacy regarding the case of Ms Dhu and her death in custody in WA, as well as numerous other Indigenous rights issues and cases. The Reichstein Foundation was a founding supporter of the HLRC and the Indigenous Rights Unit and this continues in 2018-19.
Climate change stories gain new prominence Established in 2015, the Climate Media Centre (CMC) is influencing the way climate change is portrayed and reported in the Australian media. The CMC is now a key resource to the environment movement as a whole. Over the past twelve months, more than 6000 media items have originated from CMC, including in media outlets not traditionally known for reporting favourably on environmental issues. The Reichstein Foundation remains a supporter of the CMC in 2018-19 with another core grant. The CMC is a project of the Climate Council.
Rupanyup’s rural development initiative gains recognition The north west Victorian town of Rupanyup is one step closer to achieving its plan to build economic renewal through a new retail hub on its main street thanks to a recent State Government’s grant of $500,000. A partnership between Bendigo Bank, Yarriambiack Shire, Enterprise Rupanyup and the local community has already raised more than $700,000 to develop the retail hub. This is an amazing, wonderful outcome for Rupanyup. We have been pleased and proud to part of the journey, having provided development funding to the project over a four year period. The retail hub will include a community supermarket, farmers market and plaza. The Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford said “Instead of standing back and watching their town lose important services, Rupanyup has come to the Government with an innovative solution – and we’re right behind it”. You can read the Government’s full media release here.
Powerful collaboration against land clearing In 2017 Reichstein joined with 27 other funders to help Australian philanthropy collectively meet Rob Purves’ challenge to support a major new campaign to halt excessive land clearing. The campaign is supporting several major environmental NGOs to seek government action through policy input, legal challenges and lobbying. In the last few months, members of the Land Clearing Alliance have focused particularly on gaining commitments to curtail clearing in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. The Purves Environmental Fund won Philanthropy Australia’s 2018 Environmental Philanthropy Award for this initiative.