Daily News - Monday 8 December 2014

Posted 8 December 2014 7:19am

Youth, unemployment services can't keep up with demand: report
Judith Ireland, The Canberra Times

About 80 per cent of frontline community services say they are not able to help all the unemployed Australians and single parents who come to them for help, a new report says.

The annual survey of the community sector found that nearly 50 per cent of services that deal with people on low incomes were unable to meet demand, while 72 per cent of legal services could not meet demand and 51 per cent of accommodation services reported they were turning people away.


2014 Australian Community Sector Survey Report Launch

Monday 08 December 2014 - Friday 12 December 2014
Weave Youth & Community Services, Corner Elizabeth & Allen Streets, Waterloo, NSW, 2017

The [Australian Community Sector Survey Report] remains the only annual, national survey of the community services sector in Australia. It is conducted by the sector and for the sector and provides a critical evidence base for the sector’s policy development and platform for advocacy.


Rich mums denied paid parental leave cash with savings to be spent on childcare
Samantha Maiden, The Daily Telegraph

Wealthy mums will be banned from big payouts under Tony Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme and the savings will be ploughed into making childcare more affordable for all Australians.

The Prime Minister will announce today he has bowed to pressure to change his paid parental leave scheme in the hope it will secure Senate support allowing the government to deliver PPL in 2015.


Don't ignore stay-at-home mums, MPs warn Prime Minister
Judith Ireland, The Canberra Times

Coalition MPs have welcomed Prime Minister Tony Abbott's move to water down his unpopular paid parental leave scheme, but have warned that he should not ignore support for stay-at-home mothers in the process.

Mr Abbott will spend the summer holidays revamping his signature policy, but faces a tough task with divergent backbench views about how he should approach it. Some MPs are keen to see him pay down national debt with PPL savings, rather than boost funds to childcare.


Labor slams Tony Abbott's paid parental leave scheme changes
Anna Prytz, The Canberra Times

Labor has slammed Prime Minister Tony Abbott's announcement he will restructure his signature paid parental leave scheme, condemning it as "a complete and utter mess."

Speaking in Melbourne on Sunday Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said the Prime Minister's backdown showed "a government in damage control mode."


Tony Abbott's parental leave backdown is meek and messy
Tom Allard, The Brisbane Times

After almost five years of doggedly defending his paid parental leave scheme, Prime Minister Tony Abbott's backflip on the signature policy was as meek as it was messy.

Boldly announced in early 2010 by the newly minted opposition leader without consulting his colleagues, the ignominious backdown on Sunday was arranged to ensure as little scrutiny as possible.

After leaking the news to the sympathetic News Corp press, Abbott's declaration that the policy will be "restructured" came at an early morning press event at a Five Dock school.


We risk an indigenous lost generation
Jeremy Sammut, The Australian ($)

The number of indigenous children removed from their parents has risen from 4146 children in 2000-01 to almost 14,000 children in 2012-13. The proportion of the indigenous child population in state care has tripled from 2 to 6 per cent. Indigenous-specific child protection policies are intended to prevent past mistakes associated with the Stolen Generations. The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle means the preferred option is to place indigenous children into kinship care with relatives or local community members.

First embedded in legislation in the 1980s, the ACPP was also a product of the indigenous policies of the 70s that sought self-determination — the idea that indigenous advancement required separate development to retain traditional culture and maintain indigenous identity. However, placing indigenous children in accordance with the ACPP threatens to compromise child wellbeing and risks creating another lost generation trapped in disadvantage.


Hundreds of thousands of people with a disability in the dark about when the $22 billion NDIS will get to them
Sue Dunlevy, The Sunday Telegraph

Hieke Folbig has racked up a $300,000 disability debt caring for her two severely disabled children as she desperately waits for Disability Minister Mitch Fifield to reveal how and when he will roll out the full NDIS.

In the past year, her 14-year-old son Kye, who suffers hereditary plastic paraplegia, has lost the ability to walk, go to the toilet independently and swallow.


NDIS ‘up against it to meet deadline’
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

The agency in control of the ­national disability insurance scheme is fast running out of time to make critical decisions about its future design, and the policy uncertainty is hurting the ability of service providers to prepare effectively for it, a major new report says.

The first ever survey of organisations in the disability sector, released by National Disability Services today, paints a picture of an industry willing to adapt for the future but without any clear indication of what lies ahead.

Crucially, the report reveals concerns state and territory ­governments will abdicate ­responsibility for funding ser­vices not included at the costly, high needs end of the NDIS reserved for people with severe and permanent disabilities.


US - Being drug free shouldn’t be a requirement to receive housing
Miriam Boeri, The Conversation

Housing First works because it focuses primarily on social recovery; it allows drug users to take on responsibility for their social lives. It gives them dignity by providing more opportunities to be involved in conventional life, community networks, and respectable social roles. Whether it is in a single home or a shared home, when the disenfranchised have a place to live, shower, cook and invite people over to socialize, it allows them to reintegrate in society.

Since social problems are the main cause of both substance abuse and homelessness, social solutions are needed.


Job seekers in remote communities to face tougher rules under new work-for-the-dole program
Susan McDonald, ABC

Job seekers in remote communities will face tougher rules than those in the city under a new work-for-the-dole program, as the Government tries to end "sit-down welfare".

The Federal Government's new scheme will force job seekers aged 18 to 49 to do work-for-the-dole activities for up 25 hours a week.


Greens reject discriminatory work for the dole plans
Rachel Siewert, media release

The Australian Greens have rejected a discriminatory Government plan to make different rules for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote communities in order to access income support.

"The Government has waited until after Parliament has finished for the year to announce their plans to force people in remote communities to undertake work for the dole for 12 months a year in order to receive income support," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues said today.

"The Government is once again ignoring the underlying factors that are contributing to unemployment. It is unjustifiable that this scheme would be so much tougher in remote communities compared to the rest of the country.


The ‘muddled narrative’ of indigenous affairs reform
Stephen Easton, The Mandarin

The uncertainty created by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s takeover of indigenous affairs has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice commissioner Mick Gooda “deeply worried”, but he sees some steps in the right direction.

Reviewing the past year in his annual Social Justice and Native Title Report, Gooda (pictured) says the transfer of responsibility for 26 programs from eight federal agencies to the Prime Minister’s Department has caused “immense anxiety” among indigenous Australians.


Jobs agency helps newly arrived refugees, migrants get off welfare
Alison McClymont and Elise Worthington, ABC

The million dollar view at Cafe Sydney is a long way from war-ravaged Liberia.

Brother and sister Lawrence and Windy Gtbusseh fled the Liberian civil war in the 1990s. Both have now just graduated from a hospitality course in western Sydney.

Lawrence has just landed a job at Cafe Sydney, one of Sydney's premier restaurants, and his sister Windy hopes to follow in his footsteps.

... Bright Employment was established 18 months ago with the aim of helping newly arrived refugees and migrants get off welfare and into full-time work.

It is the brainchild of Tim Davies who spent the last decade in China, London and New York as a hedge fund manager.

He funds the programs from his own pocket to provide training and employment in the agriculture and hospitality industries.


Mission Australia eyes jobs contract
Patricia Karvelas and Anthony Klan, The Australian ($)

Mission Australia has joined forces with the US-based employment services company Therese Rein sold her jobseeker company to.

Mission Australia, one of the nation’s largest welfare groups, and international human services experts Providence Service Corporation will tender for a share of the federal government’s $5.1 billion job-search scheme.

... The joint venture would be called Mission Providence.

In March last year, Ms Rein, the wife of former prime minister Kevin Rudd, sold Ingeus to Providence Service for as much as $222 million.


Providence Service Corporation pursues opportunities for international expansion
Providence Service Corporation, media release (5 Nov 2014)

"We are pleased to report our first complete quarter that includes the results of Ingeus, which comprises our new Workforce Development Services segment," said Warren Rustand, Chief Executive Officer. "The integration of Ingeus is proceeding as planned and we continue to pursue new opportunities for international expansion."

"In our legacy operations, our [Non-emergency transportation services] Services segment continues to produce increases in revenue while preserving favorable margins. In our Human Services segment, we are focusing on increasing our margins in certain markets. This initiative has resulted in our exit from the Texas foster care contract during the third quarter. We intend to continue to make additional progress in the quarters ahead."


US - Providence Service Corporation Pulls Out of Foster Care Redesign
Alexa Ura, The Texas Tribune (1 Aug 2014)

The private contractor leading the state’s foster care redesign initiative has voluntarily terminated its contract with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Providence Service Corporation of Texas has notified DFPS of its intention to terminate the contract through which it was caring for 1,100 foster children in 60 counties in North and West Texas as part of the state’s foster care redesign initiative. An increased reliance on private contractors is pivotal to the department's redesign initiative to streamline the foster care placement process and keep children closer to home.

... Following the contract termination, Ashley Harris, child welfare policy associate for Texans Care for Children, said its concerns were not specific to Providence’s performance but instead focused on the state’s attempt to “put a new model in place” while not sufficiently funding Child Protective Services.

“This news confirms it's time to stop expanding privatization and start adequately funding child protection, reducing caseloads for overwhelmed CPS staff, and establishing basic safety and training standards for foster parents,” Harris said.


Case builds for scrapping housing, super tax breaks - but who is brave enough to do it?
Nassim Khadem, The Age

As the case builds for the Abbott government to get rid of a host of tax breaks that primarily benefit the rich, create distortions and increase financial risk, the question then becomes, how politically palatable is it?

The financial system inquiry report by former Commonwealth Bank chief executive David Murray calls for the examination of a raft of tax breaks that he says distorts borrowing and raises the risk of the financial system collapsing. These include negative gearing, capital gains tax concessions, super concessions and dividend imputation.

Together, these tax breaks cost the federal budget hundreds of billions of dollars every year.


US - Nonprofits, Community and the Whole Person
William Schambra, Nonprofit Quarterly

When the professional services come to the nonprofit sector and seek out its responsiveness and flexibility, they implicitly acknowledge the insufficiency and sterility of their own approach to human beings as mere bundles of needs to be serviced uniformly and efficiently. Services provided through nonprofits, it is hoped, will somehow combine professionalism and efficiency with individualized attention to the whole, unique person emerging from civic association.

How is that effort at combination coming along today? Were Tocqueville here to comment, I suspect he would advise us to be wary. He would be deeply concerned about the trends that you all face today.

Ironically, the very qualities that professional services seek within nonprofits are the qualities that tend to be suppressed over time by the imperialistic demands of professionalism. For those demands are remorseless. Any nonprofit recruited to be the vehicle of service delivery, no matter how much latitude the initial contract affords, inevitably faces more and more regulatory constraint.


The days of ripping off the Vatican are over
Cardinal George Pell, Catholic Herald

Recently a young Spanish lad asked me to explain the nature of my work in the Vatican as prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, as well as the past and present economic situation of the Holy See.

Why? Because as a member of Opus Dei and a first-year university student, he wanted to be able to answer the questions of his fellow students and defend the Church.

A member of a British parliamentary delegation put it in a somewhat different way: why did the authorities allow the situation to lurch along, disregarding modern accounting standards, for so many decades?


Pope's Message to Participants at the Festival of the Family

Many women see the need to be recognized better in their rights, in the value of the tasks they carry out habitually in the different sectors of social and professional life, in their aspirations within the family and in society. Some of them are exhausted and almost crushed by the amount of commitments and tasks, without finding sufficient understanding and help. It is necessary to find a way so that women, due to economic needs, are not constrained to have a job that is too harsh and a schedule that is too heavy, which are added to all their responsibilities in managing the home and educating the children. But above all it is necessary to consider that the commitments of women, at all levels of family life, also constitute an unsurpassed contribution to life and to the future of the society.

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