Daily News - Friday 30 May 2014

Posted 30 May 2014 7:54am

Students back work for dole scheme: `We shouldn’t get money for doing nothing’
Terry Collins, Central Coast Gosford Express Advocate

The Federal Government is set to trial a reintroduction of the Work for the Dole system on the Central Coast in July and these Central Coast young people say bring it on.

Robertson and Dobell federal Liberal MPs Lucy Wicks and Karen McNamara announced on Wednesday that the region was one of 18 around the country selected to trial the Work for the Dole scheme for young job seekers.

The Central Coast Express Advocate talked to a group of ET Australia students aged 18-22 studying at Wyong for a Certificate IV in Community Services who said the scheme was a good thing.


Call for Aussie hires first, as apprentice numbers plummet
Natasha Bita, The Australian ($)

Employers should hire “Australians first’’, the Abbott government declared yesterday, as new data exposed a 26 per cent crash in the number of young Australians starting an apprenticeship or trainee last year.

... New Industry Department data reveals the number of apprentices and trainees in Australia fell 13 per cent to 392,200 last year, as commencements plunged 26 per cent and 119,900 apprentices dropping out of training.

Trade commencements — for traditional apprenticeships such as carpentry, hairdressing and plumbing — rose by 2.3 per cent, to 98,300 at the end of last year. Traineeships for other on-the-job training — including bricklaying, childcare, aged care and clerical or sales work — fell 37.5 per cent.


The tentacles of welfare
Simon Benson, Daily Telegraph

Joe Hockey has recently been in correspondence with a single unemployed mother of two who has taken him to task over the apparent cruelty of his Budget.

... A government-wide analysis of the welfare system has discovered this: a single person in a similar situation to the one who has been sparring with Hockey of late can earn a grand total of $54,417 a year in payments from the government — as in the taxpayer — without working. That’s net. Not gross.

In other words, such a person is effectively earning as much as a worker on a gross salary of more than $70,000 a year.

... No one can seriously argue that our welfare system isn’t already very, indeed overly, generous and not in need of dramatic reform.

What this Budget is about is taking money at the top end, from those who worked and earned their money, where at the lower end they are freezing the rise in payments from the taxes to those who don’t work.


The single mum on $55,000 in pensions, benefits, study aid
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

Joe Hockey has condemned a “crippling” welfare culture that weighs down the federal budget, and warned that government benefits will not be treated as a right when the nation faces a $50 billion deficit.

... Mr Hockey said he “totally” rejected the parallel between taxes and benefits in some of the criticism of the budget, given that one took money away from workers while the other did not.

... The Treasurer countered the idea that people “deserved” payments but he backed the role of the state in helping those in need.


Nation can’t afford welfare that is simply too good to swap for work
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

[Joe Hockey's] alarm about entitlements sounds hollow when he is also planning to go ahead with a paid parental leave scheme that will spend billions of dollars a year, albeit funded by a new tax. Tony Abbott’s parental leave scheme was extremely generous from the start, but now looks indefensible. It should have been dropped in April, when the Prime Minister rediscovered his rhetoric about a “budget emergency”.


Free-market think-tanks waged war on entitlement, conscripted an Australian Joe
Dominic Kelly, The Conversation

"We propose things which people regard as being on the edge of lunacy. The next thing you know they’re on the edge of policy." – Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute, 1987

In a speech in London in April 2012, Australia’s future treasurer Joe Hockey boldly proclaimed “the end of the age of entitlement”, and foreshadowed some of the tough measures the Coalition has since taken to reduce government spending, including co-payments for GP consultations and an increase to the pension eligibility age.

... The free-market, anti-welfare ideas informing this budget have been increasing in popularity in conservative circles since the 1940s. They have been propagated by an international network of think-tanks, forming what has been termed a “neoliberal thought collective”. One of these think-tanks, the Institute of Economic Affairs, provided the platform for Hockey’s speech.


How the free-market ideology of IEA has gained political ground
James Foreman-Peck, The Conversation

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) is enjoying another moment in the sun. Australian politics is starting to move to the beat of its drum as Treasurer Joe Hockey talks about an “end to the age of entitlement”, a sentiment he expressed while in opposition in a 2012 speech to the IEA. In the UK, the IEA strongly pushed the case for market-orientated economic policies since 1955 - years before the intellectual climate changed in its favour. But was the IEA responsible for the shift?

... It is clear, however, that for those concerned with improving (rather than implementing) economic and social policy in Britain from the 1960s to the 1990s, the IEA was a fundamental influence. Joe Hockey’s flirtation with the institute as his government attempts to redraw its relationship with the Australian electorate is only the latest sign that its inspiration continues.


Looking for Long-Termism: The Centre for Policy Development
Sam Gibbs, Generosity

[The the Centre for Policy Development's] mandate is to inject new ideas into Australia’s public policy debates. Its research papers and community of research fellows are charged with the task of “reimagining” the public sphere, of seeking out new ways of thinking about the state of the country, and of translating policy discussions for the general public.

“Independent research institutes such as CPD are vital for combatting the short-termism that pervades current politics and business,” Travers says, citing the carbon tax and the ever-on-the-precipice ACNC as just two examples of the “moving sign-posts” that Australians are subject to in a short-termist environment.


UK - The answer to combating loneliness lies in the community
James Kempton, The Guardian

Loneliness causes misery and a poor quality of life for too many people. As the thinktank CentreForum's new report Ageing Alone shows, it is over-85s who are the worst affected. Nearly half of the oldest admit to experiencing loneliness, some or most of the time. For every one of them and their families, this is a personal tragedy. But with numbers in this age group set to double over the next 20 years, it should be a key public health priority, too.


UK - Target loneliness by encouraging pensioners online
Media release, Policy Exchange

The elderly should be taught basic digital skills such as how to send emails, use search engines and go on to social networking sites in a new initiative to prevent loneliness.

Ahead of the launch of its Technology Manifesto, leading think tank Policy Exchange says that the entire British population should be online by 2020. It estimates that spending £875 million on educating the 6.2 million people who do not have basic digital skills – the equivalent of £141 per person – would lead to huge economic and societal benefits for the UK. Currently four out of ten people aged 65 or over do not have access to the internet at home, with over 5million having never used the internet.


UK - Loneliness is not a bug with a technological solution
Ros Coward, The Guardian

In the UK, four out of 10 over-65s do not have internet access. At a time when so much of our lives is conducted online – the payment of bills, access to information – that should be a real source of concern about potential social exclusion.

But does this mean that by widening internet access, elderly people will feel more socially connected? Or, even, more radically, as a new report suggests, could this be a solution for loneliness in old age?


Broadband for Seniors – Continuing to 2017
Broadband for Seniors

The Australian Government has committed to the continuation of Broadband for Seniors for a further three years until 30 June 2017.

This will enable Broadband for Seniors kiosks to continue to provide senior Australians with the high quality training and support they have come to expect.

Broadband for Seniors will form part of a new grant programme structure being implemented by the Department of Social Services.


Stressful Relationships vs. Isolation: The Battle for Our Lives
James Hamblin, The Atlantic

"In your everyday life, do you experience conflicts with any of the following people?"

Other family

A Danish health survey asked almost 10,000 people between ages 36 and 52 to answer, "always," "often," "sometimes," "seldom," or "never" for their applicable relationships.

Eleven years later, 422 of them were no longer living. That’s a typical number. What’s compelling, Rikke Lund and her colleagues at University of Copenhagen say, is that the people who answered "always" or "often" in any of these cases were two to three times more likely to be among the dead. (And the deaths were from standard causes: cancer, heart disease, alcohol-related liver disease, etc.—not murder. Were you thinking murder?)


Disability Employment Services Out for Tender
Pro Bono News

The Federal Government is opening up the tender process for the first time to full competition for the delivery of the Disability Employment Services – Disability Management Services (DES-DMS).

DES-DMS provide specialist help for people with disability, illness or injury to find and keep a job.

The Government, which has released an Industry Information Paper on the purchasing approach, said it was seeking comment from stakeholders on the draft selection criteria contained in the Paper before the Request for Tender was released in the coming months.


UK - Welfare-to-work groups seek scale before next round of contracts
Gill Plimmer, FT

Private sector suppliers of the government’s £5bn welfare-to-work programme are braced for a wave of consolidation as they seek to bolster their position ahead of the next round of contracts in 2016.

Staffline, a recruitment agency that runs one work programme contract, bought privately-owned Avanta, which runs the service in three regions, for £65m on Wednesday. This makes it the third-largest provider behind Ingeus Deloitte and A4E.

... Andy Hogarth, chief executive of Staffline, said the Avanta deal would help the company bid for the next round of contracts.

“One of the ways to be successful is to add scale,” he said. “Companies would have made little in year one and little in year two but 10 per cent now . . . the average margin over three years is 5 or 6 per cent, which for the risk involved and the amount of working capital tied up is pretty low. We’ve been pretty successful but the ones that are less successful must be suffering.”


Hello again Community Business Partnership. Goodbye ACNC?
Sam Gibbs, Generosity

The 2014 Federal Budget may have been a bitter pill for students, the sick, the unemployed, Indigenous services, and the arts, but a commitment to dust off the Community Business Partnership of the Howard era with $6 million has been warmly welcomed by Philanthropy Australia.


The Spillover Effect: Philanthropic Responsibility?
Tessa Boyd Caine, Pro Bono News

In my first blog I talked about the origins of the title ‘The Spillover Effect’. It comes from the Productivity Commission’s landmark study into the contribution of the Not for Profit sector in 2010, which talked about the broad contribution charities make to community development and wellbeing as a ‘spillover’ effect of their charitable activities.

The PC made some laudable arguments on this assumption, including that it warranted extending of deductible gift recipient tax status to registered charities. However the idea that a charity’s community benefit is an unintended consequence or spillover of its true purpose doesn’t sit well among charitable sector colleagues who feel such a contribution is central to their work. The altruistic mission and the organisational priority on people not profits are defining, not peripheral values.


Sexual abuse report due
Rony Jones, Lateline, ABC

A special commission of inquiry into sexual abuse and alleged cover-up in the New South Wales Hunter Region is due to hand down its findings [on Friday], but part of the final report will kept confidential.

The special commission investigated allegations against clergy and police in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.


When it comes to public housing, Sydney has a stigma problem, says City councillor and public housing tenant Irene Doutney
Jessic Clement, Wentworth Courier

When it comes to inner-city public housing, one City of Sydney councillor insists Sydney has a stigma problem.

And Irene Doutney is well placed to know, she has after all, been a Redfern public housing tenant for 19 years.

Cr Doutney is the City’s sole Greens councillor, a job that earns her $33,000 a year and allows her the privilege of “being a voice for the voiceless”.

Now, as the curtain comes down on the Millers Point community and conjecture over the future of similar housing communities in Woolloomooloo and Surry Hills continues, Cr Doutney is speaking out.


Hope for bowling night to pull pin on problem gambling
ABC Indigenous

Centacare's Gerard Kelly says as part of Responsible Gambling Awareness Week, a tenpin bowling night is being held for Mildura's Indigenous communities next month.

"Gambling's a problem right across our community - it's just that we partner with MDAS [Mallee District Aboriginal Services] on a range of activities," he said.


US - New App Ensures Homeless People Don't Use Donations On Alcohol, Cigarettes
Robbie Couch, Huffington Post

Some people face a fairly common dilemma when coming across a homeless person they'd like to help: Will my spare change be used for food or water, or on stuff that won't benefit (and maybe even worsen) their situation?

A new smart phone app is eliminating the need to fret. Carebacks -- available now on Android and mobile web formats, and soon for iPhone users -- lets its users give digitally to those who need it, and ensures the money cannot be used on alcohol or tobacco products.

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