Daily News - Friday 9 January 2015

Posted 9 January 2015 8:11am

NDIS expansion across Tasmania 'could create up to 1,500 jobs'
Tom Nightingale, ABC

Jobs in Tasmania's disability sector have been forecast to increase and could even double in the next few years as the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) fully rolls out.

... David Clements from National Disability Services said with that increase in participation would come a huge increase in employment.

"Somewhere in the vicinity of about 1,500 new positions should be created in this industry in two to three years time," he said.

Mr Clements said the peak body of disability service providers was trying to head off skills gaps and a wages bubble.


Disability pensions in parts of Western Sydney number more than five times other areas of NSW
Miles Godfrey, The Daily Telegraph

Parts of Sydney’s west have more than five times the number­ of people on disability support pensions than other areas of NSW, while the north coast has some of the highest claim rates in the country.

The federal electorate of Blaxland is the city’s hotspot for DSP recipients, with 7931 people on the payments, worth up to $1171 per couple or $776 for a single person per fortnight, last financial year. The electorate includes suburbs such as Fairfield, Guildford and Merrylands.


Response to rash of suicides in remote WA regions 'pitiful'
Andrew Burrell, The Australian

The apparent suicide of a young Aboriginal man near the remote Kimberley town of Halls Creek this week has reignited calls for the state and federal governments to address a growing crisis across the troubled region.

The Australian understands at least eight indigenous people in the Kimberley — a region of only 50,000 — have taken their lives in the past eight weeks.


Drugs, alcohol blamed for Aboriginal suicide
Andrew Burrell, The Australian ($)

The Catholic Bishop of Broome, Christopher Saunders, says the Aboriginal suicide crisis in the Kimberley is being fuelled by unprecedented abuse of drugs and alcohol that is contributing to widespread depression and a sense of helplessness.

... Bishop Saunders said Aboriginal people in the Kimberley began committing suicide only in the mid-1980s when rates of alcohol abuse began to climb and drugs found their way into many communities.

“The watershed year for me was 1984 — that was when the first young people I knew committed suicide,” he said.

He said poverty and unemployment remained major factors in the region’s woes. “If you have 20 people in a house, there is no such issue as privacy and there is the possibility of all sorts of untoward stuff happening,” Professor Saunders said.“You are creating an environment which, at worst, is completely destructive.”


A boarding school making an impact on Indigenous students
Natalie Whiting, PM, ABC

Getting children to school has been at the centre of the Federal Government's Indigenous policy.

In the remote APY Lands in South Australia's outback, there are a number of obstacles for children getting an education.

Truancy officers in the region are having a mixed impact; in some schools attendance rates have actually fallen.

But one program having an effect is the Wiltja School.

The innovative boarding school in Adelaide is keeping a connection to country while giving students a secondary education.


The eyes have it: changing kids' minds about bad behaviour
Rhoshel K. Lenroot, The Conversation

Aggression and oppositional behaviour in childhood doesn’t just make short-term problems for children, their friends and families. It also places kids at risk of long-term issues with mental and physical health. And while there are some effective treatments around, not all children respond to them. Now, neuroscience is helping guide better treatment.


We are all hoarders but for some it spirals out of control
Paul Salkovskis and Sinead Lambe, The Conversation

Hoarding looks weird and is often cruelly parodied on television, where shows suggest that the solution to a compulsive desire to keep stuff is simply a matter of heroically chucking it out. But for those of us studying and working with people who hoard, it’s clear that for most of them this isn’t enough – not even close. It’s a bit like trying to help someone with depression, for example, by asking them to simply smile and get better.


Achieving social and economic wellbeing for all Queenslanders - QCOSS releases its election strategy

With the 2015 Queensland election being held on 31 January, it is important that all candidates are aware of the issues surrounding poverty and disadvantage in Queensland.

Queensland Council of Social Service believes that the community sector, government, private sector and the broader community all have a role to play in achieving the vision of strong and resilient communities. Government has the ability to influence this vision in a way that will improve the wellbeing of generations of Queenslanders. To achieve this vision we will have to change the way we engage and act.


States must face facts about GST
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

When Australians think of their fellow citizens living in poverty, there is sadly no surprise about who comes to mind. Yet the most wretched parts of the nation are invisible in the uneven debate under way on the GST.

Some of the neediest Australians are indigenous people in remote areas such as parts of the Northern Territory, where child poverty rates can reach 25 per cent. The unemployment rate in Wadeye, 320km southwest of Darwin, is about 80 per cent.

You might think a discussion about changing the GST would at least mention the people who could be hurt most by the change, but you would be wrong. This is just one sign of the weakness in a growing dispute over how to share tax revenue worth $50 billion a year. A more honest political debate is essential if the nation is to have any lasting fix to the enormous pressures on federal and state budgets.


How to extend the GST without hurting the poor
Matt Grudnoff, The Australia Institute

The Coalition Government's proposed amendments to the GST have been attacked for disproportionately impacting low-income households. But the GST doesn't have to be so regressive. By extending the tax to include private health insurance and private education, the government can boost revenue, broaden the tax base, and do so in a way that does not overburden Australia's poorest families.


Put the GST on private health insurance and private schools, not fresh food
Gareth Hutchens, The Age

Drawing on work by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM), [The Australia Institute] paper shows the government would raise an extra $1.5 billion a year from a GST on private health insurance and $790 million from private schools.

Most of that money would come from families living in capital cities, rather than regional areas..


Labor needs to find a new big idea
Dennis Glover, The Australian Financial Review ($)

Almost everyone I know in the political class thinks Labor will win the next federal election. Most surprisingly, this confidence is coming from people with enormous experience who have held positions of considerable responsibility in the ALP. These former party secretaries, ministerial advisers, chiefs of staff and so forth look at the hole the Abbott government has dug for itself and can't see it getting out. They may be right, but as someone who worked for Kim Beazley back in 2001, I'm going to hedge my bets.

... It is gratifying therefore that an Australian social-democratic thinker has provided something of real practical use to Labor as it grapples with what to do with power. I suggest every Labor parliamentarian and decision-maker put a copy of Andrew Scott's new book Northern Lights in his or her beach bag.

... It's an obvious point, but with its emphasis on creating greater prosperity through greater equality, the model of Nordic social-democracy makes moral sense to the members and supporters of the ALP most of all, as they begin looking for a new way forward. With Labor's conference in May, and the big-picture direction for the next Labor government yet to be settled, a look at the Nordic countries might be just what Labor needs.


Northern Lights: The Positive Policy Example of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway
Andrew Scott, Challenge Magazine

Former Treasury Secretary Ken Henry has made clear the need to now increase taxation in Australia. He has said that both major political parties in Australia need to face up to the fact that they cannot deliver new services, and a budget surplus, without any increased taxes. If they do not face up to this reality, he says, then governments will have to keep cutting spending as a ‘permanent process’. Australia instead needs to ‘improve the tax system so it’s capable of producing more revenue with minimal economic damage’, he says; and, as part of that, it will still ‘need to find ways to apply higher rates of tax to natural resources including mineral resources.'

Australian political leaders must therefore stop focusing on cutting government spending and start focusing on fair ways to increase government revenue to fund vitally needed new social programs. These include both expanded public childcare AND more extensive, broadly-based paid parental leave like there is in the Nordic nations


How workers ended up in cubes—and how they could break free
The Economist

In the 1960s Robert Propst, an inventor and artist who had patents in heart valves, livestock-tagging machines and aeroplane parts, was asked by Herman Miller, an American design company, to find problems outside the furniture industry that could be solved with design. He flooded the company with concepts ranging from agriculture to medicine, but in the end found himself drawn to the problems of office life. He was particularly troubled by how sedentary people were. The consequences were clear in insurance and medical data. As a sufferer from back pain, he understood the need for regular movement and good posture.


Rise of the Great Reformer: Austen Ivereigh and the Making of Pope Francis
Frank Brennan, ABC

Ivereigh has produced a comprehensive book that avoids crass generalizations, attends to the evidence at hand and portrays its subject within a rich Latin American context. It is a definitive biography.


Setting the Record Straight on Pope Francis: A Reply to Frank Brennan
Austen Ivereigh, ABC

It is not usually wise for an author to respond to reviews, especially when they are full of kind praise; inevitably it makes the author look churlish or soft-skinned.

Nevertheless, I have accepted the editor's invitation to do so in this instance because the review by Father Frank Brennan, a well-known Australian public intellectual and senior Jesuit, raises issues which deserve a response for the sake of the historical record.


Pope Francis condemns Paris attack
Vatican Radio

Pope Francis has decried the deadly attack on a Paris-based journalistic outlet on Wednesday morning, expressing his “firm condemnation” of “the horrible attack” that saw a dozen people killed, and offering prayers for the victims and their families.

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