Policy change cut Ministers’ retirement incomes

“I remember being taught that if you did something wrong, you should admit it and try to make it right again,” says Rev Neil Wilkinson. “But will politicians follow this rule?”

Neil is referring to the unfair treatment of Uniting Church Ministers whose retirement incomes were slashed by Scott Morrison as Minister for Social Services in the Abbott government in 2015.  The move was touted as reining in “public service fat-cats” who enjoyed generous superannuation as well as some aged pension. The policy change affected the way in which ‘defined benefit’ superannuation pensions were assessed for Centrelink purposes.Continue Reading

Indigenous Australians embrace new Bible

Imagine if you had never read or heard the message of the Bible in your own language. That is the reality for Australia’s Indigenous community. Although more than half of Indigenous people are Christians, very few have read or heard the Bible in their ‘heart’ language.

Katrina Tjitayi is from the Pitjantjatjara community, in central Australia. She is working on a translation of the whole Bible into Pitjantjatjara. Continue Reading

New opportunities for pastoral care

Aged care and retirement may be the new growth industry for rural communities in the future. People who have spent most of their life in rural and regional areas tend to want to retire and remain where they are, close to family, friends and familiar surroundings.

The opening of a new multi-million dollar Primary Health Care Centre in the Wheatbelt town of Cunderdin, along with eight new Age Appropriate Houses, will be a major boost to services that can be provided to the local people and those from adjoining communities. Continue Reading

Calls for action to reduce over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody

The Uniting Church WA wholeheartedly welcomes the Premier’s commitment to reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody, and calls for further action.

The Uniting Church WA (UCA WA) welcomes recent news that Premier Mark McGowan will make reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody a key priority of this Government. The Uniting Church Western Australia has a long history of advocacy regarding prison justice and the over-representation of Aboriginal people in custody.

The UCA WA believes that Western Australia’s high incarceration rate, particularly the persistent and growing over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the justice system necessitates an urgent overhaul of Western Australia’s policies relating to the criminal justice system. The UCA WA has advocated for improvements to the West Australian justice system, including calls for an end to mandatory sentencing, ending the practice of imprisoning people for unpaid fines, and reforms to the processing of women and vulnerable people, for more than 15 years.Continue Reading

Having a ball in Bidyadanga

Bidyadanga’s La Grant Remote Community School, within an Aboriginal community 180km south of Broome, approached Good Samaritan Industries (GSI) last year, for attire for their end of year ball. GSI is a Uniting Church WA agency providing employment opportunities for people living with disability, largely through their opshops around the state. Continue Reading