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New body gives stronger voice to Catholic social services

The Australian Catholic Welfare Commission and Centacare Australia have been consolidated under the new banner of Catholic Welfare Australia.

The move brings together for the first time the policy and service delivery arms of Catholic social welfare to provide a single, united and vigorous voice for the sector and increase the effectiveness of service delivery programs.

National Director of Catholic Welfare Australia Toby O'Connor said: "We need to deliver the best outcomes for all those Australians most in need.

"In an age of confusion and social divisiveness, the Catholic Church was determined to demonstrate clarity and unity in speaking out on social policy matters at national level.

"The new structure gives us the ability to more forcefully and effectively take the debate on social welfare issues to key individuals and organisations.

"For example, we will be pursuing and challenging even more vigorously the outsourcing of government responsibilities to the non-government sector."

Mr O'Connor, who brings over a decade of experience working at the national level in social welfare, added: "Consultation with member agencies will be paramount in determining Catholic Welfare Australia's main priorities, not only on policy matters but in providing practical support on services and programs."

Inaugural Chairperson David Beaver, also Director of the Centacare agency in Ballarat, stressed the important role to be played by other organisations in creating an even wider social welfare network: "We will be inviting Catholic social welfare groups who are not members of Catholic Welfare Australia to consider joining the new national body, to strengthen and consolidate its presence in speaking for those most in need."

Formal approval for the creation of Catholic Welfare Australia was given by the Catholic Bishops' Committee for Social Welfare after two years of talks between the Commission, Centacare Australia members around the nation and representatives of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutions.

Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission
Centacare Australia
Bishops' Committee for Social Welfare