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No 3, 2021 (June)

Welcome to the latest edition of SydWest's Community Connections in 2021, our regular newsletter that brings you our news and events and more.

CEO Message

The Federal Budget announced by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was well received, and signalled to many Australians that we have taken a step towards the right direction. But I am not sure the advocates for reform in the aged care system felt the same.

The Government agreed in principle with most of the Royal Commission into Aged Care recommendations, and the $17.7 billion pledged over the next five years is definitely a lot of money by any measure. The question that remains is whether it is enough to fix the problem.

Many opinion articles have been written since the announcement, and although we all agree that the individual should be at the centre of every future system design, there seems to be a misconception that such a proposed reform would inconvenience service providers. Over the last 10 years the community sector has faced a series of reforms - both on a State and Federal level. Yes, these reforms require resources, and a lot of change, but they are always well perceived if the reform is genuine.

We welcome the star rating system in home care that will allow providers such as SydWest to showcase our capabilities and the value provided to the community. No provider that prioritises quality, values, and the integrity of the individual over profit will be inconvenienced. The competition in the aged care sector that allowed private providers to enter the space played a major role in the community losing trust. This is now our opportunity to maintain our own integrity and claim, with pride, a service that we all put our heart into.

Although the devil is always in the detail, we also welcome the CALD provider certification. There is a general misconception that working with diverse communities is an easy task, but such a certification will allow for providers to meet certain frameworks, for both consumers and staff, in the name of accountability.

The upskilling of the workforce will provide incentive, but skills shortages will still remain a challenge in the future. We welcome the roll out of the 80,000 packages, but finding the people to deliver the in-home care will be very difficult.

Unfortunately, there was nothing in the Budget to address access and equity for our diverse communities, with regard to both in-home care and the NDIS. 

The government’s controversial independent assessment reforms into NDIS are still going ahead when only 6% of young people with a disability believe they will be beneficial. As of 30 June 2019, there were still only 24,023 CALD participants in the NDIS, making up just 8.4% of all participants. No one seems to be challenging what a culturally independent assessment will look like because there will be none. No one will be there to address the complexity of a person’s support needs, and this will lead to unfair outcomes.

There is still a lack of support coordination allocated to individuals that are entering the scheme. Our diverse communities are once again left behind in the planning for cost cutting measures, therefore will end up with reduced supports and restrictions in choice and control - the philosophy the NDIS is based upon.

As a sector we always welcomed reforms that were more than a ‘tick the box’ exercises, hence some of us are left feeling bittersweet feeling about the quality and availability of service on offer to the people that matter most over the coming years.

Elfa Moraitakis


Solving Aged Care Challenges for CALD Seniors 

SydWest Multicultural Services Aged Care Team had a wonderful opportunity to sit with Julie Owens, Member for Parramatta, and her team at an Aged Care roundtable on the 4th of May 2021 from 10.30 – 12 pm at the SydWest Head Office, Blacktown.

The roundtable was an excellent forum to discuss the current challenges for CALD clients and service providers in accessing Aged Care Services, and express our concerns on the cessation of the Social support Commonwealth Home support funding.

Some of the challenges include:
  1. A lack of equity in accessing services; 
  2. The importance of culturally competent services for our diverse seniors wellbeing 
We also shared our thoughts on the importance of the soft entry point, social support groups and the perception of social activities as a service and the importance of transport in accessing those activities and what challenges we are facing now. 

The Aged Care Team had also extended invitation to our clients to join and share their stories and experiences with regard to the importance of these Seniors Social Support Groups, and how it has benefitted clients and members within the SSSG. 

Volunteers of the Year 2021 

Congratulations to Qing Xia, winner of SydWest’s inaugural Volunteer of the Year award for her work with our Aged Care team, presented at our annual National Volunteer Week celebrations.

We also recognised Nuha Ghazal and Hanna Shamoka, two volunteers whose support has helped SydWest support countless clients for the better part of the last decade.

Special thanks also go to Robert Fitzgerald, 2019 NSW Volunteer of the Year and SydWest Director, our keynote speaker who shared why he enjoys being MAD – making a difference!

Once again, congratulations and thank you to all of our volunteers for your fantastic and important contributions SydWest!

Check out the photos online of all our volunteers at the album on Facebook

Hamper Donations helping SydWest clients 

As in previous years, SydWest has been receiving non-Perishable Food Packs from the Sathya Sai Organization for distribution to our clients, as well as other less fortunate people within the wider community.

Fortunately, donations have sky-rocketed this year, and the number of packs have increased by double the amount from previous years - SydWest is taking receipt of around 500 packs.

Food packs would be filled with items from ALDI and each pack is worth is $20. 

On behalf of everyone who will benefit from this kind donation, thank you to Sathya Sai Organisation for their ongoing support of our work and our community.

For further information, contact the Aged Care Team on 9621-6633 or

BELA Graduation 2021

Eleven young people graduated from this year’s Blacktown Emerging Leaders and Advocates program recently with a special ceremony event.

SydWest hosted the BELA graduation where the young people were awarded certificates for completing the 3 months youth leadership development program.

Special guest and inspirational speaker Clr Sera Yilmaz of Fairfield City Council – the youngest deputy mayor ever – presented each person’s certificate and shared her story of working towards leadership and making a difference in politics.

Two of our young people also gave moving testimonies during the event, highlighting the strengths and vision of these emerging young leaders.

Congratulations to the Youth Team, especially Elizabeth Koudakpo and Bronwyn O’Brien for a successful program and organising the great event.

Sewing Class at TAFE Mt Druitt 

SydWest has been running a Sewing Class at Mt Druitt in conjunction with TAFE NSW, which aims to prepare graduates for employment as professional sewers.

This is an important class for our community, as tailoring is popular in many cultures, but there are no Fashion Manufacturing courses available anywhere else. In addition to developing students’ skills and preparing them for employment, this class also offers the opportunity to continue traditional crafts while learning new techniques, like appliqué. For many students this class will also be their first experience using computerised machines and overlockers.

Students love the friendly environment and social interaction, while teachers encourage students to work together and support their peers. So far this year, one student has already obtained full-time work with her qualification, and we look forward to more success stories throughout the year.
For more information on Sewing Class, Mt Druitt, please contact the Settlement Services team on Tel: 9625-0455 or

SydWest supports clients pursue their dreams 

Isaac arrived in Sydney, Australia in August 2017. He was a driver in Syria, had a vision of opening a driving school in Sydney. This required him to pass the Drivers Knowledge Test to secure his full licence and the Extended Driver’s Knowledge Test on a computer to register his own driving school. He also needed competence in English and the ability to communicate using technology such as texting and replying to clients’ messages. However, his weak computer literacy skills and poor English-speaking ability hindered his vision.  

As Isaac was the only breadwinner of his family, he had the responsibility to support his wife, children, and extended family in Syria. There were times when he felt overwhelmed with his responsibilities, frustrated and anxious about the future of his family who were all dependent on his income. But he knew becoming a driving instructor would help him earn enough money to support them.  

He was able to connect with SydWest Multicultural Services through its partner organisation, Settlement Services International, and undertake free computer and English classes. As a result, he gained confidence in his English speaking and writing ability, as well as computer literacy to pass the theoretical driving tests.  

Today, Isaac runs his own Driving School in Western Sydney and can comfortably speak to his clients in English, as well as communicate with them on social media using technological gadgets and manage his own website. More importantly, he can support his family in Sydney and back home in Syria and lead a financially sound life.  
Stay tuned into all our news by following us on our social media sites too.


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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

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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