A critical change has recently taken place in regard to the means by which the Australian federal government provides funding to national, community based, peak organisations representing communities known to be at greater risk from exposure to, and incidence of, blood borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
While this change has also affected funding for other organisations it has, unfortunately, effectively excluded AIVL from applying for funding which would allow us to continue our work in this important area of public health policy and advocacy beyond June 2016.
This change is a significant departure from the demonstrably successful and internationally recognised way that Australia has responded to BBVs and STIs in the past. It is an enormous blow to the good work undertaken in the context of harm reduction, and the end of the historic decades long “Partnership Model” where governments worked with key affected communities.
We are urgently appealing to the Federal Health Minister to ensure Australia continues its successful approach in the areas of prevention and treatment of BBVs and STIs among people who use drugs, and that AIVL is in a position to continue to perform this vital role as a key partner with unique insight and expertise in this field as a part of Australia’s ongoing response to these truly ‘life and death’ issues for so many Australians.
The potentially dire consequences to both directly effected communities, and the broader Australian community generally should AIVL no longer be in a position to advocate, lobby, and undertake representation of our community on government advisory and policy panels and committees, amongst our other work, is something that will no doubt in hindsight prove to be a great loss to the wonderful credentials AIVL has in this field.
Please refer below to the resources provided so that you may assist AIVL with this campaign. AIVL is enormously grateful for, and appreciative of, your support of our organisation and work at this time of great uncertainty for the future of our organisation.
Learn about our organisation and the changes that have placed it at risk
Fact Sheet Two – the funding restructure and why AIVL is at risk
Fact Sheet Three - 10 things that AIVL Does
Advocacy Pack: What you can do right now to help #SaveAIVL:
SIGN OUR PETITION to Health Minister Susan Ley and encourage others in your networks to do so too;
WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL MEMBER / SENATOR: Let your local federal member of parliament and/or senator know that our funding is important to you. You can contact them electronically or send them a letter in the mail.
- Click here to download sample letter to help get you started Feel free to change this and make this as personal to you as you feel comfortable with.
- Send it to your local Member of Parliament or Senators.
If you’re not sure who these are, you can find out by searching for your postcode at the following links:
Click here to find your local member and their contact details
Click here to find your Senator and their contact details
- Let us know what response you get via our Facebook page
Other tools that might help you write to your local members/senators:
- AIVL’s Top 10 Tips for Writing to Parliamentarians
- A Guide on how to address Senators and Members from the Parliament of Australia
RAISE AWARENESS OF OUR CAMPAIGN: some of our friends have kindly prepared some material to help spread the word about #SaveAIVL;
- Click here to download the #SaveAIVL Poster
- Click the banner below to download it
KEEP UP TO DATE AND SHARE THE CAMPAIGN
This campaign is currently being added to. To stay on top of what we’re doing follow us on social media
Use the hashtag #SaveAIVL and spread the word.
**This campaign is currently in development so please check in to see new material as it becomes available.**
UPDATE – 8th March 2016
8/03/2016: We here at AIVL would like to thank the broader community for all of the support we have received during our #SaveAIVL Campaign. We have received almost a thousand signatures on our online petition in addition to the hundreds that have been submitted on paper. The comments people have left with their signatures have been very moving, and the staff at AIVL feel humbled by the expressions of support people have shared. We know many of you have written to your local members, expressing your concern regarding the potential loss of AIVL and for that we are truly grateful.
However, the campaign is not over. AIVL has yet to secure any funding necessary to sustain the organisation beyond 30 June 2016.
Despite this uncertainty, AIVL is encouraged by the level of community mobilisation that has been shown for us. We know that this groundswell of support has been noticed by MPs and Senators, a number of whom have been in contact with us not only to share this concern but also to try to find a solution for the current funding problems. We are sure that these conversations would not have happened without our members, our BBV and AOD sector colleagues, and individual community members voicing their concern for us. While we still have not secured any future funding, the level of dialogue we are currently engaged in gives us hope that way out of this crisis will be found soon.
Again, we would like to express our gratitude to all of the support you, the community, have shown us. Please continue the discussion about the importance of Australia’s National peak body representing people who use drugs. We will keep you updated with the situation as it progresses.
For now, from all of us here at AIVL, thank you.
UPDATE – 11th April 2016
COMMUNITY SUPPORT SAVES AIVL
In December 2015, a change to funding arrangements for the national community response to Blood Borne Viruses (BBV) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI) cast doubt over the future of AIVL, the Australian agency representing people who use drugs.
“For over 25 years AIVL has worked in partnership with the drug using community and government to achieve globally recognised results in reducing the harm related to the use of illicit drugs,” said Niki Parry, AIVL President. “The prospect of our organisation’s closure represented a loss for people who use drugs as well as to the broader Australian community who have benefitted from our work.”
In response, the #SaveAIVL Campaign has rallied our community and its supporters to let the government know what AIVL means to them.
“We have had a tremendous response to our campaign and we want to say a big thank you to all of our supporters,” Parry explained. “People who use drugs, peer based organisations, service providers, researchers- even our supporters from overseas- all became vocal about the critical importance of AIVL now and into the future.”
“Accompanying the one thousand signatures on our online petition were hundreds of comments from signatories. As well as citing scientific evidence and policy statements, the commentary supporting AIVL has been personal, often describing how our work has had a direct impact on these people’s lives.”
“We are also aware that many people have written directly to their Members of Parliament and Senators, tabling this funding issue in a range of forums.” Parry was keen to describe the outcome of the community engagement and mobilisation, “We would like our community to know that the government has taken notice of the #SaveAIVL campaign.”
“It’s with great relief that I announce that the government has made a funding commitment that enables AIVL to operate into the future.”
“We have worked closely with Minister Ley and her Department to assess the needs of people who inject drugs and people living with hepatitis C to ensure funding is secured to deliver national BBV and STI prevention programs.”
Craig Cooper, AIVL’s CEO (Interim), describes what this means for the organisation, “AIVL is extremely excited to continue our partnership with government and our other collaborators in the community BBV/STI sector, NAPWHA, AFAO, Scarlet Alliance, ANA, Hepatitis Australia and ASHM to work towards the priorities for the key affected populations we represent.”
“We are entering a new era with hepatitis C treatments, which places people living with hepatitis C in a position to consider treatment options,” Cooper said. “It’s thanks to the broader community who came together to support us that we are able to continue crucial work, such as ensuring the successful access to the new hepatitis C treatments for people living with hepatitis C.”
“AIVL is considering a number of funding options as a result of the funding uncertainty. One way our community can contribute to the work of the agency is by making a donation, which can now be done via the AIVL website.”
For media enquiries contact Craig Cooper on 0422 409 200.
Please distribute via relevant eLists and networks.
Executive Officer (Interim)
Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League (AIVL) Inc.