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Spring edition - No 4, 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of SydWest's Community Connections for 2020, our regular newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

Dignity and choice
The state of Home Care has been the focus of last week’s Royal Commission hearings, following the heartbreaking stories we have heard from families about the care their loved ones receive in some residential facilities. During this pandemic, the spotlight has consistently remained on aged care and, as a society, has put us all to shame.

Australia is dealing with an ageing population with more chronic and complex medical conditions than ever before. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australia will have 4.7 million people over the age of 70 by 2039 – two million more than today – and more than one million people over the age of 80.

There are currently 127,748 people waiting for an appropriate level Home Care Package. At the end of March this year, 103,599 Australians were waiting for a Package they had already qualified for and were approved to obtain. The waiting list for Packages keeps growing by about 20,000 every six months, with an average wait time of 22 months for a high-level package. The Royal Commission has already reported that 16,000 people died waiting for a package in 2017-18, with more people waiting for a package than receiving one. These numbers are mind boggling and unacceptable.

For such a prosperous nation, we have proven to have one of the worst aged care systems in the developed world, with very little vision for change. We have been through ineffective policy reforms that have allowed the care of our people to become a privatised, profit-making machine. It is a fundamental and collective failure of our society that we have, once again, allowed fiscal outcomes to determine the value of a human life. A life that expires once an individual stops being ‘productive’.

The draft proposals submitted to the Government in August do not look new or different to the issues that have already been discussed and contain recommendations that have already been made. The Royal Commission has been looking into issues that were raised by previous inquiries and is discussing matters like staffing ratios, funding levels, lack of medical care and an integrated Packaged and Community Care Program, already proposed back in 2015. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is already talking about limited resources that forces them to target only high-risk areas affecting the safety of its consumers. Another recent reform failure.

Although the additional funding the Government has announced to address COVID-19 response plans and workforce retention is welcome, the problem is broader than that. The proportion of older people requiring high levels of care for complex needs has quadrupled from 13% in 2009 to 61% in 2016. The lack of staffing, and private providers cutting corners in the name of profiteering, has seen no attention paid to medical staff and nursing. By 2021-22 the target for Home Care Packages is meant to increase to 45 per thousand, while the residential target was meant to reduce from 88 to 78 per thousand. Do we truly accept these figures as a society?

In addition, it seems the Aged Care Act is completely silent of any legal obligation to take proactive measures in promoting mental health and wellbeing. The standard of care is a human rights issue, and while community home care performs so well, there is still no real choice for the individual that must navigate a flawed system.

Nearly 50% of residents in facilities suffer from depression according to a study by Briony Murphy and Professor Joseph Ibrahim from Monash University Health Law and Ageing Research Unit, with 140 Australians taking their own lives between 2000-2013.

The debate and planning should not just be about residential care. This pandemic saw a large reduction in the hours of home care services, due to the fear and anxiety aroused by consistent news coverage of aged care fatalities. This led to further isolation and a lack of necessary services, especially to people living alone.

Most seniors want to stay in their own homes, which is typically a significantly cheaper option than moving into a residential facility. How will the current recession impact the future of aged care? I believe society would like to see true political will to bring about real change. A change that will allow people to age with dignity, inclusive community engagement, real choice, and a workforce that feels valued and not at all compromised.

 Elfa Moraitakis


SydWest Mt Druitt Office has Moved!

You can now find SydWest Mt Druitt at Level 1, 13 Cleeve Close, Mt Druitt, with entry via Dawson Mall.

We have been joined by our partners Settlement Services International and Relationships Australia NSW at this news site, making life easier for our clients and stakeholders.

COVID-19 Survey Now Open

Central Queensland University and SydWest Multicultural Services are conducting a study to understand the impact COVID-19 is having on migrant and refugee communities in Australia. It’s vital we understand its precise impact to ensure the provision of appropriate support services both during and following COVID-19.
If you are from migrant or refugee background, we invite you to complete this online survey by 30 September 2020. Please click on the link below:

The study will also be undertaking interviews and focus groups in the near future. If you are interested in participating, please contact

Hiring: Disability Support Workers
Arabic and Mandarin speakers!

We’re looking for qualified and experienced disability support workers proficient in either Arabic or Mandarin.

This role might be for you, if you are:
  • Reliable and committed
  • Passionate about supporting people with a disability
  • Looking for work during COVID-19
  • Certificate III or IV in Individual Support / Disabilities
  • Unrestricted driver's licence
  • Right to work in Australia
  • Willingness to obtain a First Aid Certificate, National Police Check, and a Working with Children Check.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, please contact Maham on 96216633 or for further information.
For more information and how to apply , please visit

Youth Training for Retail Future

SydWest has supported 17 young students to enrol in the ‘Certificate II – Retail’ course at the Retail Institute, operated by the Australian Retailers’ Association.

Free vocational education is designed to give students the best chance of gaining a real job. In fact five SydWest students have already secured traineeships, which they will commence upon graduation. It's a great program for young people who don’t have work experience in Australia as this allows them to have the opportunity and great for their CV!

This course includes face-to-face training, online modules and industry work placements, with the bulk of the classes delivered during school holidays to ensure students can focus on schoolwork. 
For more information, contact our Youth Team on Tel: 9621-6633 or

Aged Care Good News  
Keeping Seniors Safe and Happy in HCP!

When Mrs Galina Klimova was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2015, she lost confidence in herself and was ashamed to leave her home. Since choosing a Home Care Package with SydWest shortly after, she was able to receive the at-home support she needed, all in her native Russian. 

Having seen the level of care on offer first-hand, in 2019 her husband Georgy also decided a SydWest Home Care Package was right for him. 

At their last reassessment, the Klimovs’ daughter Anna said that her parents life had changed for better thanks to our service, with both feeling safe and supported with their carer, Aiman – both at home and outside.

They are particularly appreciative of Aiman encouraging them to make independent decisions and be as active as possible, while taking the time to patiently explain things in their own language .
For more information on our Aged Care services, please call Tel: 9621-6633 or

Settlement Services News 

Digital Literacy at Blacktown TAFE 

Started in early August, SydWest Multicultural Services has arranged Digital Literacy training for clients at Blacktown TAFE.

With computer skills particularly important at this time, up to 12 newly arrived residents have joined the 8-week course to learn basic computer skills. 

SydWest thanks its generous donors who are supporting these students with home computers.

DRUMBEAT builds harmony 

SydWest is proud to announce a partnership with Anglicare, to deliver DRUMBEAT – an evidence-based music program focused on exploring healthy, supportive relationships, and emphasising teamwork & cooperation.

Commencing onsite at SydWest Blacktown in October, the 8-week program is aimed at 14 to 24 year olds experiencing alienation, mental health issues or are otherwise at-risk.

More info on DRUMBEAT can be found at:

Community Leaders Forum

SydWest is pleased to share that the new Community Leaders Forum is now a bi-monthly series, bringing together community leaders from the Blacktown LGA to connect, discuss issues and share ideas.

The Mayor of Blacktown, Clr Tony Bleasdale, attended the August session, updating the group on Blacktown Council’s actions during COVID-19, as well as opening channels of communication with the local communities. 

Business Accelerator Puts Manhal in Jobs Fast Lane

In 2017, Manhal left his native Syria to come to Australia on a humanitarian visa. Shortly after arriving, he had to deal with the added burden of losing his mother to cancer. 

Following the grieving period, Manhal realised he needed to find a job to ensure he could support himself and help his family. He enrolled in SydWest’s Business Accelerator, which helped him develop his job application and interviewing skills, and supported him to complete a Certificate IV in Accounting. During this period, he also volunteered with Settlement Service International to build his local experience. 

Following 12 months of support, Manhal secured a workshop assistant position with APC Prosthetics in Northmead earlier this year, and has managed to keep this role during COVID-19. 

“I also have a disability with my feet, which helps me to better understand what our patients are experiencing,” said Manhal.  “My goal is to learn as much as I can in this role, and maybe in the future I will find a better treatment for myself and others with my disability.”

Manhal has been receiving ongoing support since he landed this role, to help him acclimate to working life in a new country. He is also interested in securing a second job, so SydWest helped him obtain his Responsible Service of Alcohol & Responsible Gambling Services certificate to help him find work in the hospitality industry.
SydWest Families client-volunteer secures job with NSW Health

Arslah Khan first came to SydWest as a client with three young children, joining the Mt Druitt Mother Support Group in 2013. Arslah appreciated the support she received from the group so much, that in 2016 she started volunteering with the team to help other mothers in the community with the support they need. 

Originally a medical doctor in her native Pakistan, the volunteering experience helped her gain confidence in an Australian role while she took he Australian Medical Council exams. Upon completion, she then completed her Statement of Attainment in Medical Records and Coding.

In June this year, Arslah secured a full time role as a Medical Coder at St George Hospital. SydWest workers supported her through the application process, with one providing a reference. 

Community Connectors – New!

SydWest is pleased to announce the commencement of the National Community Connectors Program (NCCP), an initiative of the NDIS that it will be implementing over the next 10 months. 

The NCCP aims to increase the participation of people from CALD backgrounds with disabilities in the NDIS. Currently there is a large number of people from CALD with a disability who are eligible for the NDIS ,but are not  the accessing the Scheme due to a variety of issues, including the understanding of disability and the services that the NDIS offers. 

The three full-time Community Connectors, located at SydWest’s Blacktown, Mt Druitt and Penrith offices, will engage CALD communities and families as well other stakeholders across the Outer Western Sydney region to improve their understanding of the NDIS and support eligible individuals to register.

For more information please contact SydWest Multicultural Services on (02)9621 6633 and request to speak to one of the Community Connectors.

With thanks to our many Donors

SydWest Multicultural Services wishes to thank the many generous donors who have helped to support our clients and their engagement through the COVID-19 time. Thanks to our donors, we’ve been able to distribute laptops, PCs, tablets, smart phones to our clients and ensure they can stay connected.

In addition, donors have provided vital household goods for some of our clients, including those who were previously homeless and those escaping domestic violence. It’s hard for clients to start over again in a new place, but household items like beds, sofas, TVs, and microwaves, certainly help clients settle into their new accommodation.

A very special thank you to donors and Thread Together who have also been supporting our clients with new clothes, including getting them clothes-ready for job interviews, and helping out single mothers with young children.
Donate Today

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Business Hours

Monday to Friday 9:00am to 4:30pm
Please feel free to send mail to

Blacktown Office

PO Box 869, Blacktown NSW 2148
Level 2,125 Main Street, Blacktown NSW 2148
Phone (02) 9621 6633
Fax (02) 9831 5625

Castle Hill Hub

The Community Hub, Castle Hill Towers Shopping Centre, 6-14 Castle Street Castle Hill
(on Old Northern Rd, near Gold Class cinemas)
Phone (02) 9621 6633

Mt Druitt Hub

Level 1, 13 Cleeve Close, Mt Druitt NSW 2770
Phone (02) 9625 0455
Fax (02) 9625 0322

Penrith Hub

Suite 113, Community Connection Building, 114-116 Henry Street, Penrith NSW 2750
Phone (02) 9621 6633

Rouse Hill Hub

Vinegar Hill Memorial Library, 29 Main Street, Rouse Hill Town Centre, NSW 2155
Phone (02) 9621 6633
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