CEO’s End of Year Message

Every person counts, every system fair.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this simple message remains our priority, now and into the future.

For while, we’ve all been impacted by the pandemic, these impacts have not been felt equally. We’ve seen growing inequality for women, youth and people from culturally diverse backgrounds. This is why services such as SECLs, that are person-centred and community based, are so important and growing in demand.

During this period there’s been a greater demand for family violence prevention, financial counselling, emergency services as well as connections for youth and programs to help people who are feeling disconnected and socially isolated.

This has also been reflected in the feedback from our clients, where 94 per cent of clients said they felt safe and trusted with referring SECL to family and friends for essential services and needs.

I’m very proud that during the last 12 months, SECL’s services remained open. We were one of the few services that had their doors open for essential services as well as adapting remotely, as appropriate, during lockdowns to make sure that every client was always supported in some way.

It’s been fantastic to see our bi-cultural workers support the community to get the right information, alleviate fears, get vaccinated and stay safe. The team have stepped up our advocacy work, whether it be through the submission to the Federal Government’s Disability Support Pension Inquiry or to advocate for the banking sector to use translators and to have that in the Banking Code of Practice.

This has been all possible with an amazing team and I want to thank the staff, volunteers, students and directors for their phenomenal commitment and focus and audacity over the last 12 months, for coming together to make sure we can make an impact and be there for the most vulnerable in our community.

This also goes for our partners who we do this with. We can’t do this alone and nor should we. Thank you to our funders and community partners who work with us every day to make sure that there’s greater equality for the people we serve.

So as we look towards finishing this year and having a break, I’m excited to see our amazing plans for the year ahead. While there’s going to be challenges as we respond and recover from the pandemic, we have set bold aims and ideals around tripling our impact and reaching more people than ever to make sure they are feeling safe and secure. This can only happen through a commitment from the team and those we partner with – so I thank you all for that.

For now I hope you have a fantastic Christmas, I hope you get a chance to have a break to relax, reflect and find plenty of laughter and I look forward to catching up with you in 2022.

Thank you.

Peter McNamara
Chief Executive Officer