Daily News - Monday 23 March 2015

Posted 23 March 2015 3:54pm



Scott Morrison gives homelessness groups two-year, $230 million funding extension

Eliza Borrello and Susan McDonald - Yahoo News

Homelessness groups say they can now focus on the services they provide with federal funding secured for another two years.

A funding agreement had been due to run out in June but Social Services Minister Scott Morrison has approved grants of $115 million a year.

Homelessness Australia's chief executive Glenda Stevens said she was pleased the money had been announced ahead of the May budget.

"This funding ensures that people who are the very vulnerable — including those who are sleeping rough, women and children in domestic violence situations and young people — can continue their care under services and actually new people can be taken into care," she said.

She said the minister indicated he wanted the focus to be on women and children escaping domestic violence as well as young people.

"We support both those areas but we are concerned that focusing solely on those two areas should not come at the expense of other groups such as rough sleepers and people leaving institutional care," she said.


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Scott Morrison rejects call for apology to Save the Children staff deported from Nauru

Heath Aston - The SMH

When he announced that 10 Save the Children staff had been booted off Nauru for allegedly coaching self-harm and encouraging protests to embarrass the Abbott government, former immigration minister Scott Morrison declared the "public don't want to be played for mugs".

But Mr Morrison on Monday rejected claims he smeared Save the Children staff and said he would not apologise for their treatment by his then department, despite an investigation failing to back up the original accusations.

"They are employed to do a job, not to be political activists. Making false claims, and worse allegedly coaching self-harm and using children in protests is unacceptable, whatever their political views or agendas," Mr Morrison said in October during a press conference as he launched the Moss Review into allegations of sexual abuse in the Nauru detention centre and suspected "subversive" behaviour of aid workers.

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'Healthy Welfare Card' trials to tackle violence and alcohol abuse

Jufith Ireland - The SMH

Welfare recipients will be given cashless cards to stop them from spending money on alcohol and drugs in a bid to combat violence against women and children. 

Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge said the government was planning trials of the cards "in a small number" of  places that are yet to be decided later this year.

He said the government was talking to communities where there were problems with "welfare-fuelled alcohol and drug abuse" and community leaders were prepared to back a trial.

"The potential upside could be absolutely life changing in terms of community safety for women and children," Mr Tudge said.


The card, which was suggested by mining magnate Andrew Forrest in a report to the government last year, would be redeemable at any Australian shop that accepts Visa with electronic and EFTPOS payment facilities. But it could not be used to buy alcohol or drugs or gamble.

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Homelessness funding extended for two years under National Partnership Agreement

Jufith Ireland - The SMH

The Abbott government will extend homelessness funding for another two years, providing $230 million for the National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness, with priority given to domestic violence services and young homeless people.

The news will come as a relief to the community workers who have been begging the federal government to announce its funding plans and provide stability to the sector. Current funding is due to run out on June 30.

Before the Coalition's announcement, more than 30 chief executives of community organisations had arranged a crisis meeting in Melbourne on Monday. They have been concerned that with contracts and leases up for renewal, they would have to make staff redundant and turn clients away.

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