Daily News - Friday 12 September 2014

Posted 12 September 2014 8:14am

Scullion favours small and emerging Indigenous organisations to deliver services under new funding regime
Alexandra Kirk, PM. ABC

The Federal Government says Indigenous owned organisations will "get a better crack" at delivering services under new Commonwealth guidelines.

The new $4.8 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy amalgamates 150 programs covering some 2,000 activities. They'll be melded into five broad areas, including getting children to school, adults into work and building safer communities.

The Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion says instead of "action and movement" he wants results.


Indigenous leaders plea to PM Abbott to step in on “chaotic” policy, funding environment
Marie McInerney, Crikey

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) today released a statement on behalf of members expressing concern that discrimination against Aboriginal organisations will jeopardise the capacity of the Aboriginal community controlled sector to deliver services to vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the country.


A new era of Indigenous Grant Funding commences
Nigel Scullion, media release

Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced the first grant round for funding under the $4.8 billion Indigenous Advancement Strategy will open today, Monday 8 September 2014 for six weeks.

“This first round will provide funding for activities that commence from January or July 2015 and provides the opportunity for organisations with a current funding agreement expiring in the 2014-15 financial year to apply for future funding,” Minister Scullion said.


Welfare quarantine ‘must have Aboriginal community support’
Michael McKenna, The Australian

Queensland's Cape York mayors are demanding control over the proposed extension of welfare quarantining that has been trialled in four Aboriginal communities.

In a meeting with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman, six mayors warned that the measures would fail without community support and that the welfare reform trial needed to be independently reviewed before it was rolled out across Cape York.

Six years after the launch of the Cape York Welfare Reform trial, the Newman government last month moved to enshrine the powers of the Family Responsibility Commission, suggested as a model for a nationwide rollout by Andrew Forrest in his blueprint for Aboriginal welfare and employment.


Women focus of G20 labour talks

The nations of the G20 have diverse economies but share a common problem - not enough women in the workforce.

The G20 labour ministers, who have met for two days of talks in Melbourne, have resolved to boost job opportunities and tackle workplace inequality across the group of nations.

Federal Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the G20 was a mix of different economies and cultures, yet "we all do have a lower female participation rate than male participation rate".

"There were all things we needed to improve," Senator Abetz told reporters on Thursday.


More pay the way to growth, says report
Nick Toscano, The Canberra Times

Higher wages and a greater investment in unemployment benefits, not belt-tightening, will stimulate economic growth to avert another unemployment crisis, a landmark international report has found.

The report, prepared for this week's meeting of the G20 labour ministers in Australia, says real wages have stagnated or fallen in many G20 countries while wage growth has lagged behind productivity.


No agreement on call for higher wages, says Abetz
Minister Abetz and Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Prof. Numan Kurtulmuş, Joint Press Conference, G20

Question: There was also modelling that showed or that called for generally a wage rise across the G20 group. What’s the reason that that is not appeared in the final reports?

Minister Abetz: As is the want, there will always be differing views, differing studies, different consideration and it would be fair to say that the view that was expressed for example by our very own Professor Gary Banks who provided a morning session yesterday, a former head of the Productivity Commission from 1998 to 2012 I think, for some considerable period of time, I’m not sure that he would necessarily share that view.


Record jump in employment - or so it seems
Colin Brinsden, AAP

If you think a record 121,000 people joining the workforce in one month is unbelievable, you're probably right.

Official data also showed the jobless rate tumbling to 6.1 per cent in August after an equally-surprising jump to a 12-year high of 6.4 per cent in July.

The truth, probably, is somewhere in between.

Whatever, Employment Minister Eric Abetz believes that while the unemployment rate starts with a six, the government has more work to do.


Youth unemployment remains close to 14 per cent
Norman Hermant, PM, ABC

Youth unemployment for Australians aged 15 to 24 remains close to 14 per cent.

But as bad as that might sound, Australia has actually seen much higher numbers of youth unemployment in the past.

Social affairs correspondent Norman Hermant reports.


Whole generation could be unemployable
Kerry Brewster, Lateline, ABC

The National Australia Bank is warning that a generation of young people could be left jobless unless government and business join forces to reduce youth unemployment, which is now running at 13.4 per cent.

But as Kerry Brewster reports, the Partnership Brokers scheme, which aims to prepare school students for the workforce, is facing the axe.


What do Federal Budget proposals mean for vulnerable young people?

As the Federal Government continues to pursue its ‘earn or learn’ youth unemployment proposals, a forum in Melbourne has heard of the deep concerns this brings.

About 120 people from across Victoria’s community and local government sector packed out the forum on the impacts of this year’s federal budget on young people.

All were concerned about the loss of federal funding for programs that strengthen young people’s engagement in education and employment, and the proposed changes to Centrelink payments, which will leave people aged 18-30 without any income support for six months of each year.


UK - Benefits sanctions are adding to bleak prospects for young people
Beth Watts, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

Negative consequences of benefit sanctions include significant hardship, and in some cases, destitution. While international evidence shows that sanctions – especially severe sanctions – substantially raise exits from benefits, and may also increase short-term job entry, longer-term outcomes for earnings, job quality and employment retention appear unfavourable, as a new report for JRF shows.


Work for the Dole – A Myopic Policy Failure?
John Spoehr, The Adelaide Review

It is a tragedy that Work for the Dole has become the centerpiece of the Australian Government’s employment policy.

The program flies in the face of decades of accumulated evidence about what constitutes effective labour market programs and the necessity that they be accompanied by a jobs generation strategy. At a time when we urgently need a sophisticated and effective national employment strategy, the Abbott Government is expanding a proven policy failure – Work for the Dole. As it does so, it is also cutting funding for vocational training in South Australia by around 23 percent over the next three years.


The strong case for randomised trials in policy development
David Donaldson, The Mandarin

Governments should use more randomised trials in policy development, according to federal Labor frontbencher and former economics professor Andrew Leigh.

Randomised trials are used extensively in the private sector — “you are having randomised trials done on you every time you enter a supermarket or every time you use Google”, Leigh told The Mandarin at his Parliament House office recently. New South Wales has been conducting randomised trials with letters asking people to pay fines and tax, among other things, building on the work of the British government’s Behavioural Insights Unit.


Community groups fear G20 impact on homeless and other vulnerable people
Cameron Atfield, Brisbane Times

Community groups will meet in Brisbane next to discuss concerns over the G20 summit's impact on the homeless, the mentally ill and other vulnerable people.

The issue was raised at a Westender newspaper community forum at West End this week by Joan Beavis from the West End Uniting Church, who raised the concerns with the two senior Queensland police in charge of the G20 Taskforce – Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll and Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett.

Ms Beavis said vulnerable people who might be "having an episode" could be incorrectly assumed to be dangerous.



Wentworth Park homeless raising ire of community
Michael Koziol, Sydney Morning Herald

Lenny Mitcherson and Leonie Valentine woke to the sound of strangers dismantling their home. From beneath a tarpaulin, they could hear someone removing the steel bars keeping their shanty fortress upright.

"They were going to try dragging the tarp out from under us and all," Lenny says.

The pair are at the front line of the schism that develops when a city's homeless population surges. For several years, rough sleepers have found shelter beneath the 21 arches that form the light rail bridge through Wentworth Park, between Pyrmont and Glebe. It has never been a more popular spot – about 17 of the tunnels are occupied, some with large tents erected to protect against the harsh winds that blow in from Blackwattle Bay.


High court verdict spells the end for Australian immigration detention as we know it
Joyce Chia, The Guardian

Today’s high court verdict, which dealt another blow to the federal government’s plans to give asylum seekers temporary protection visas, set significant new limits on Australia’s policy of mandatory detention. It will throw into doubt the legality of detention of thousands of people in Australia, potentially spelling the end for Australia’s mandatory detention regime as we know it.

In the unanimous decision handed down today, the court threw out the federal government’s strategy of granting temporary visas to asylum seekers through a legal loophole. Unable to get temporary protection visas through parliament, the federal government had been granting other temporary visas which blocked asylum seekers from applying for permanent visas, but today’s case ruled against that practice.


Detention damages children, says bishop

A senior Anglican cleric says the government appears to be ignoring the damage done to children by offshore detention while rightly pursuing churches and other institutions over historical abuse.

Anglican Bishop of Canberra-Goulburn Stuart Robinson will make the comment in his address to his diocese's annual "parliament", or synod, in Goulburn on Friday.


Doctors call for medical community to consider boycotting working in immigration detention
Sarah Dingle, PM, ABC

Doctors who've worked at offshore detention centres are calling on their colleagues in medicine seriously to consider boycotting the Federal Government's immigration detention facilities.

In an article published in the Medical Journal of Australia, the doctors say there's a conflict of interest in working at the detention centres because they're required to put their loyalties to their employer above patient health.

They say it's time the medical colleges, such as the Royal College of Physicians and the College of GPs, considered boycotting working in immigration detention altogether.


The Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) Study: Phase 2
Ben Edwards, Killian Mullan, Ilan Katz and Daryl Higgins, AIFS

This report presents a medium- to long-term evaluation of the Communities for Children (CfC) initiative. This Australian Government initiative aims to improve services for young children and their families and the communities they grow up in. The evaluation, known as the Stronger Families in Australia (SFIA) study, looks at the impact of CfC on child, family, and community outcomes. Phase 1 of the evaluation, published in 2009, found a small but positive impact of the initiative. This new report presents findings from Phase 2 of the study, which followed up 1,927 of the original study families, with the children now aged from 8-10 years old. Phase 2 also introduced a new cohort of 1,800 families and four new "contrast" sites.

... CfC has had some of the desired effects on parents and children, but these were not strong or sustained for long enough to make statistically significant differences over the long term.


The ‘perfect family’ has created an ethical and moral vacuum
Zoë Krupka, The Conversation

Whether we’re reading about family studies research in Women’s Day , Scientific American or the Journal of GLBT Family Studies, most of us look for evidence that will help us understand where we sit along the continuum of functional and dysfunctional family systems.

Unfortunately, research doesn’t often give us answers about what to do with the evidence we find. But that doesn’t stop opinionators, policy-makers and psychologists lining up to tell us how research evidence should shape our lives, particularly when it comes to our families.

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