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SHDr Sonja Hood heads up an organisation dedicated to helping migrant and refugee families connect with the community. She has a doctorate in population health, a master's degree in policy, and over 20 years of international social policy and program experience. She's also a member of ICDA's Community Directors Council.

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Brace for impact of elections, inquiries, board quotas

By Sonja Hood, CEO, Community Hubs Australia

Elections a time to take stock

Elections and likely changes in governments will mean inevitable changes in priorities for the community sector in 2019. I'm talking about the federal election, but also the NSW state one. In Victoria, there was no change of government at the last state election, but the re-elected Andrews Labor government outlined policy directions that might affect some organisations.

A change in government can be a challenge, but regardless, it's a good opportunity for your organisation to take stock and for you to ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your organisation rely on government funding, and is this under threat?
  • Are the government regulations you're subject to likely to change?
  • Do you have the right relationships and the right communications strategy in place?

Why it's time to ensure your house is in order

Royal commissions have a way of spotlighting issues even well after they've been completed.

For example, the banking and finance royal commission has left in its wake a renewed focus on the role of boards, particularly from a governance standpoint, so while we are all busy pointing the finger at bank boards, it's not a bad time to make sure your own house is in order.

And following the child abuse royal commission, the redress scheme will have implications for many organisations

In Victoria, as the mental health royal commission gets underway, focus will shift to this sector, which presents both challenges and opportunities.

  Community Directors Intelligence, Feb 2019

A diverse board is essential for balance

Ensuring your board represents the diversity of the community you serve is not just desirable, in some places it's now required. For example, all sporting organisations in Victoria that receive funding through Sport and Recreation Victoria must have women in at least 40% of their board positions by July 1 this year (see https://vicsport.com.au/board-quotas).

Diversity is an amazing opportunity, but for organisations that haven't yet started considering the issue, it brings challenges too.

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