Reproduced with permission, Hood collection, State Library of NSW

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Dear supporters, today DHHS posted the results of the tender to operate Open Place on their website: see link below. Relationships Australia Victoria is the successful tenderer. This closes this phase of protracted uncertainty for Forgotten Australians.

AFA is deeply appreciative of all of you who fought so hard to keep Open Place going. Many of you did this publicly; many of you did it quietly and powerfully behind the scenes. The result shows what we can achieve when we work together. We know this has been a distressing and traumatic time for all of you.

Relationships Australia already operates services for Forgotten Australians in NSW/ACT; TAS; SA; WA and NT. They have been members of AFA since we were incorporated, and even before. We look forward to working with RA VIC to ensure the best possible service for Forgotten Australians in Victoria.

https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/open-place-transition-new-service-providerhttps://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/open-place-transition-new-service-provider



AFA is very concerned that what was initially called the 'Centre for Excellence' which the Prime Minister announced on 22 October 2018 at the Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse is losing its focus on Forgotten Australians and other survivors, and is morphing in to the National Centre for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse - focusing on prevention rather than the impact of child sexual abuse on ageing survivors. It also has the potential to duplicate the role of the National Office for Child Safety.

Here is the latest news from DHHS about the tender to operate Open Place from 1 July 2020. It was put up on the Department's website on 16 January 2020, and tenders close at 2pm on 20 February 2020, https://services.dhhs.vic.gov.au/open-place-transition-new-service-provider

A copy of the tender document is attached.

Two points to note:

Submissions from service providers who have previously provided institutional care (out-of-home) will not be considered. Institutions that are participating in the National Redress Scheme and/or who have redress liability are eligible to apply noting that one of the selection criteria is management of conflict of interest and depending on the individual circumstances for the organisation, conflict of interest may not be able to be satisfied.
In the first 6 months, $400,000 needs to be set aside to honour existing outsourced counselling and brokerage plans for the 2020 calendar year.




Read what we've all achieved by working together to save Open Place. But there's still much to be done.

Read about the protest held on 15 November 2019 in front of Berry Street to save Open Place. Thank you to all Forgotten Australians for your courage and determination.

It is important that Forgotten Australians have their say about the future of Open Place. The service is not closing - the Victorian and Australian Governments want to make sure they hear from you about how Open Place will best meet your needs in the future. Register for a consultation:

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/...


We were honoured to have our new patron, Jennifer Coate AO, former Commissioner for the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, come and meet with us this week.

We have had a lot of support for Open Place. Thank you to everyone fighting so hard to keep Open Place going as an integrated, one-stop-shop for Forgotten Australians. Here is a letter to the President of Berry Street's Board from Coleen Clare, who was CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, Manager of VANISH, and founding member of Open Place. We deeply appreciate the support of Ms Clare.

A police commander, a parole officer, a matron, a court artist and a mounted police officer - the author found all of these key players from the seventies when she investigated the story of Veronica Knight, the first victim of the serial killers in the infamous Truro murders in South Australia. Forty years after the discovery of the remains in the Truro bush, what started as a foster carer’s exploration of a sad memory, developed into a search that took an unexpected direction, uncovering the long held grief and sadness of an ever-widening circle of co-victims in this tragedy.

The writer found herself confronted with the need to forgive as she revisited the events that still horrify South Australia. Woods wrote this well-researched narrative against a background of ‘forgotten Australians’ in institutions, tandem serial killers and Adelaide in the 70s, bringing a faith perspective to Veronica’s story and finally giving her a voice.

To coincide with the Federal election and the forthcoming 10th Anniversary on 16 November 2019 of the Prime Minister's Apology to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, AFA has launched a new campaign with the theme of 'Still waiting for justice - unfinished business'.

We want a redress scheme that covers all forms of abuse.

We want priority access to health care, social security benefits, housing and dental care.

We have published brochures called 'Still waiting for justice' and are distributing these widely. Federal and opposition politicians and state premiers and chief ministers are our initial targets.

We have also published a Forgotten Australians Facebook page, and an Instagram account (afa_2k19) to support the campaign. We will be publishing responses to our campaign from all politicians on Facebook.

If you would like copies of our brochures, please contact AFA on admin@forgottenaustralians.org.au or phone 0419854980.

AFA has developed an Identity Card for Forgotten Australians. You can use it to hand out to people (like medical professionals) so that you don't have to keep explaining who you are and how your childhood experiences may have affected you. (Please note it's not a concession card). You can get copies by contacting us at admin@forgottenaustralians.org.au or phone 0419854980.

Caroline Carroll OAM, Chair of AFA, is with Senator Slade Brockman, Chair of the Community Affairs Legislation Committee, and Senator Claire Moore, during a break after giving evidence on the draft Commonwealth redress legislation.

AFA has made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee urging the Australian Government to work with states and territories to ensure that the proposed redress scheme is truly national and inclusive of all types of abuse. The tabled draft legislation is cause for serious concern, as very few Forgotten Australians would be eligible for the scheme as it stands.

See all submissions to the inquiry here

A number of AFA's members went to the Royal Commission's final hearing in Sydney on 14 December 2017 prior to the release of the reports the following day, 15 December 2017. It was an emotional and significant day for Forgotten Australians and all survivors. AFA congratulates the Commissioners and all their staff for their outstanding work and for enabling the voices of survivors to be heard with such sensitivity. AFA thanks the Australian Government for its support of the Royal Commission and for enabling the release of the reports without delay.

See the final reports here.