Susie Moloney recently joined Jesuit Social Services as the Executive Director of our new Centre for Just Places. The Centre will provide leadership in national research, advocacy and capacity-building in addressing inequality and social injustice through place-based approaches.
Prior to joining Jesuit Social Services, Susie worked at RMIT for over 15 years, most recently as Associate Professor of Sustainability and Urban Planning. Susie says one of the factors that shaped her decision to join Jesuit Social Services was that “the organisation has been focused on ecological justice for some years, and I was really interested in the fact that this focus is closely connected to building a just society. This aligned with my own work exploring the connections between ecological and social justice. You can’t deal with one without the other. For example, we know that climate change is impacting health and well-being and for those already experiencing disadvantage these impacts are disproportionately severe. Bridging together the work of environmental and social justice is so important. I think this is a relatively new space and it is inspiring to see such leadership from a social change organisation like Jesuit Social Services speaking about ecological justice, which will be at the foundation of the Centre for Just Places.”
Susie sees the role of the Centre for Just Places as being “a place that brings people together. There is a lot going on in Australia and globally that can be characterised as place-based work to tackle entrenched social disadvantage. There is still a lot to learn about what works, what doesn’t and why. We see an opportunity and a need to bring leaders, practitioners, researchers and their lessons together so that we can share them, elevate them and advocate for them. This includes learning from and enabling communities leading place-based action in different parts of Australia.
“One element will be to learn from the work Jesuit Social Services has been doing for many years in places like Western Sydney, the Northern Territory and parts of Victoria – to shine a light on it and elevate it as different examples of place-based approaches. We’ll be drawing on the Dropping Off the Edge research and learning from the evidence that is brought to bear from that work around place-based disadvantage to advocate for change.
“The setting up of this Centre and the work that the centre will do aligns strongly with Pope Francis and Laudato Si, acknowledging that we have to change the ecological and the social. The two are critical and you have to do them together.”
The Centre for Just Places gratefully acknowledges funding received through Gandel Philanthropy and the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety.