Monday 21 December 2020
Dear sector colleagues,
As 2020 draws to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for the important contribution you’ve made to our communities.
It goes without saying that 2020 has been a hard year. However, in many ways, it has also been uplifting, moving and life-changing despite the obstacles faced.
As a department we worked hard to respond to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic and support the sector, while continuing to progress a number of important reforms and deliver vulnerable South Australians the support and advocacy they deserve.
We farewelled our last resident at Highgate Park this year and progressed transitioning the Fullarton campus to new ways of supporting people living with disability in the community; we supported the development of disability access and inclusion plans across all government agencies, and launched the Inclusive SA website as a central resource for disability access and inclusion information in South Australia.
We commenced reform of the 30-year legacy Home and Community Care program in order to better support South Australians ineligible for the NDIS; delivered the Youth Action Plan; and rolled out a range of campaigns to prevent violence against women, including opening regional safety hubs for women at risk of domestic violence.
In the Youth Justice space the State Plan was launched, a cultural space at Kurlana Tapa was developed, and a raft of important changes were implemented including the prohibition of spit hoods, and the introduction of body scanners and body worn cameras.
As well as establishing an Aboriginal Reference Group and Aboriginal Leadership Group, DHS has increased its focus on meaningfully engaging with the Aboriginal community, and we saw a great increase in attendance at our Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events this year.
DHS could not deliver the supports and services our communities need without our partners and colleagues in the NGO sector.
I know many of you and your organisations personally, and I know that the impact of COVID-19 on our sector has been massive. Whether you work in a large organisation delivering services across the state, or in one of our many small to medium enterprises, the work you do is critical and highly valued by the South Australians we exist to serve. I acknowledge that the restrictions, demands and constant change has had a personal impact on your workforce, and I encourage you to familiarise yourself with the many mental health and wellbeing supports that are in place. When we care for others, we must not forget to look after ourselves.
This year has tested us, but I believe that it has also made us better. As a sector, we are more connected than ever, and I am proud of the relationships we have built, the trust that has been developed, and the camaraderie that we have nurtured over this past year.
I believe that it is the department’s duty to keep you informed and to engage with you meaningfully on the issues that affect us all. We are partners in delivering positive outcomes for South Australians and I truly look forward to strengthening our relationships further in 2021.
I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas and New Year, and all of the South Australians we exist to serve the peace and happiness they deserve in 2021.
If you have any questions or concerns, I encourage you to contact DHS’s COVID-19 Response team at DHSCOVIDResponse@sa.gov.au
Ngaityalya (Kaurna: thank you)
Read the NGO Newsletter online - 21 December 2020Page last updated : 12 Aug 2021