Daily News - Thursday 10 July 2014

Posted 10 July 2014 8:03am

Homeless hope: New reforms to get people off the street
Sophie Harris, Forbes Advocate

Tackling homelessness will soon be a priority in Forbes with the introduction of new reforms which will be rolled out by CentaCare Wilcannia-Forbes.

CentaCare has recently been announced as the successful tenderer for the delivery of specialist homelessness support services under the Going Home Staying Home reform.


Focus on jobless need, Anglicare tells Abbott
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald

The Abbott government needs to focus on individuals and what is going on in their lives, rather than forcing them into intensive job searching, if it is to fix long-term unemployment, one of the country's biggest providers of community services says.

Ahead of the first round table on the McClure welfare review, Anglicare will release a study into what works to get disadvantaged job-seekers into employment.

The paper, prepared by the Australian Centre for Community Services Research at Flinders University, says job-seekers' individual aspirations need to be identified, as well as their life circumstances.


When job seekers outnumber jobs 5 to 1, punitive policy is harmful
Eva Cox, The Conversation

The prime object of welfare reform should be to increase the well-being of people rather to reduce public expenditure. Good policy should be able to achieve both goals over the longer term. Too many current proposals, however, are likely to cause damage that increases costs and affects social cohesion.


Welfare to many may soon be cut
St George and Sutherland Shire Leader

The federal government is defending sweeping reforms that could lead to disability pensioners having their payments cut off, arguing that it would be irresponsible not to do anything about a "dysfunctional" system.

A government-released draft report into the welfare system calls for thousands of disability support pensioners to be moved onto a lower, new working-age payment.


Governments must address the vulnerability of social institutions, OECD says

Future generations will pay a high price if countries fail to reform pension, health care and unemployment schemes, according to a new OECD report.

Vulnerability of Social Institutions warns that population ageing and slower growth will threaten the sustainability and the adequacy of benefits in the coming years while undermining the risk sharing across society that social institutions have long provided.

... Effective labour activation policies can reduce spending on unemployment benefits, and by getting people back to work, will also buttress government revenues. Contingency plans should be in place to cope with a surge in unemployment, and activation policies should be scaled up during crises.


Hints NDIS full coverage to change

The national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) will be fully rolled-out on time in 2019, but not all the 400,000 eligible people might be covered by then.

That's the prospect outlined by the NDIS agency's head, who's queried the pace of the scheme's intake.


Disability advocates speak out against any slowdown of NDIS rollout
Dan Harrison, Sydney Morning Herald

Disability advocates have warned against any delay to the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, following a speech by the scheme's architect which has been widely interpreted as foreshadowing a slowdown.


US - How Much Could We Improve Children’s Life Chances by Intervening Early and Often?
Isabel V. Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow, Brookings

Children born into low-income families face barriers to success in each stage of life from birth to age 40. Using data on a representative group of American children and a life cycle model to track their progress from the earliest years through school and beyond, we show that well-evaluated targeted interventions can close over 70 percent of the gap between more and less advantaged children in the proportion who end up middle class by middle age. These interventions can also greatly improve social mobility and enhance the lifetime incomes of less advantaged children. The children’s enhanced incomes are roughly 10 times greater than the costs of the programs, suggesting that once the higher taxes and reduced benefits likely to accompany these higher incomes are taken into account, they would have a positive ratio of benefits to costs for the taxpayer. The biggest challenge is taking these programs to scale without diluting their effectiveness.


US - For Poor Kids, New Proof That Early Help Is Key
Alison Gopnik, The Wall Street Journal

Twenty years ago, I would have said that social policies meant to help very young children are intrinsically valuable. If improving the lives of helpless, innocent babies isn't a moral good all by itself, what is? But I also would have said, as a scientist, that it would be really hard, perhaps impossible, to demonstrate the long-term economic benefits of those policies. Human development is a complicated, interactive and unpredictable business.

... I still think I was right on the first point: The moral case for early childhood programs shouldn't depend on what happens later. But I was totally, resoundingly, dramatically wrong about whether one could demonstrate long-term effects. In fact, over the last 20 years, an increasing number of studies—many from hardheaded economists at business schools—have shown that programs that make life better for young children also have long-term economic benefits.


UK - MPs should challenge their councils on Troubled Families progress
Harry Phibbs, Conservative Home

The Troubled Families Programme has been a great – though largely unsung – success story for the Government. Two years into the three-year programme, over 97,000 of the 120,000 families who will be helped by the programme are being worked with, and nearly 40,000 have been turned around.

The measure of success concerns getting people back into work, reducing the amount of anti-social behaviour, and getting children back into school. The programme is being extended to help 400,000 families. These are families where there was vast public spending – an average of £75,000 per family per year – and endless visits from state functionaries, to little effect.


UK - Labour's welfare policy is a cynical pitch to focus groups, Ed Miliband's policy chief says
Matthew Holehouse, The Telegraph

Labour's pledge to deny unemployment benefits to jobless youths is a “cynical” move designed to “chime with focus groups,” the party’s policy chief has said.

In a leaked recording, Jon Cruddas said Ed Miliband’s pledge to replace Jobseekers’ Allowance with a training allowance was “punitive” and intended to create a “topline” for 24-hour news.


It is childcare costs, not paid leave, that is confronting new parents
Jonathan Hastie, Brisbane Times

There is a growing divide between the reality of raising a family and the political language associated with it. Paid parental leave is an excellent example of this, and recent calls by the Centre for Independent Studies to replace it with a HECS-style loan scheme demonstrate how wide the gulf has become. I argue PPL is fast becoming a noisy distraction to the real issue confronting working parents, which is the cost of childcare.


Stigma just makes problems worse
Justin Frewen, Wanganui Chronicle

The world Health Organisation (WHO) has identified stigma and its associated discrimination as the "single most important barrier" facing people with mental health and behavioural issues.

Indeed, organisations such as the WHO, the World Psychiatry Association and the World Association have identified stigma as a key public health challenge.


Event - Social Determinants of Health Research Forum
Social Determinants of Health Alliance

1pm - 3:30pm, Monday 14 July 2014
The Brassey of Canberra, Belmore Gardens & Macquarie Street, Barton ACT


Leadership tools for wicked problems
John Fien, Swinburne Leadership Institute

Leadership for the Public Interest is not easy to achieve.

Many of the issues leaders face are so complex that they have been called 'wicked problems' – not in the sense of being evil, but because they seem almost intractable.

Patience, insight and collaboration are required to resolve wicked problems and, even then, many preferred solutions often lead to unintended consequences that demand new actions in a cycle that often descends to quick-fix solutions.

Policy failure and crisis management often result, as seen in wicked problem areas such as climate change, resources tax policy, refugee responses, Indigenous health, and catchment management.

This dialogue event covered the type of leadership that’s needed to address these complex issues and the tools and strategies that leaders need to succeed.


Senate kills all savings in budget
David Uren, The Australian ($)

Measures being blocked in the Senate will leave the budget as much as $7 billion worse off than if the government had done nothing at all.

With the combined numbers of Labor, the Greens and the Palmer United Party blowing a further $2bn hole in the budget yesterday by rejecting tax legislation, the tally of measures that the Senate appears likely to block has reached $43bn over the next four years.

This exceeds the $36bn net savings achieved by the Coa­l­ition’s first budget, after allowing for the loss of revenue from abolish­ing the carbon and mining taxes.


Newly sworn-in Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm gives a libertarian agenda to repeal and de-legislate
Malcolm Farr, news.com.au

New Liberal Democrat senator David Leyonhjelm doesn’t like being told what to do and that includes being told to call police should he or his loved ones be at risk.

... “Not long after I started full-time work as a veterinarian I recall looking at my annual tax return and being horrified at the amount of money I had handed over to the government,” he said.

“When I looked for signs of value for that money, I found little to reassure me. To this day I'm still looking. Our liberty is eroded when our money is taken as taxes and used on something we could have done for ourselves at lower cost.

... “It is eroded when the money we have earned is taken and given to those of working age who simply choose never to work.


Family First Senator Bob Day delivers on personal tax cuts, ‘as promised'
Peter Jean, The Advertiser

South Australian Family First Senator Bob Day has helped blow a $1.5 billion hole in the federal budget by blocking the repeal of income tax cuts that were originally planned as compensation for the carbon tax.

The Senate is expected to vote on Thursday to abolish the carbon tax after several minor party senators voted with Labor to kill off a bid by the government to rush the debate yesterday.

Senator Day teamed up with rookie NSW Liberal Democratic Party Senator David Leyonhjelm to protect personal tax cuts, which would save many Australians about $80 from next year.


Ricky horror picture shows nothing settled
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

The nation’s most secretive senator has just issued his declaration of independence.

Ricky Muir, the former sawmill worker who now sits in the upper house, made a sudden move yesterday to make sure nobody would take his vote for granted.

When the government tried to gag debate on the carbon tax, Muir sided with Labor and the Greens rather than his allies in the Palmer United Party. This is a powerful message to Clive Palmer that the agreement he announced with so much ­fanfare last October — in which Muir would “vote together” with PUP — may not be worth much after all.


Senate crossbencher John Madigan urges integrity among new senators
James Glenday, ABC

Key crossbench Senator John Madigan has called on his new colleagues in the Upper House to show some integrity and honesty.

... Senator Madigan says he has been repeatedly misled during negotiations over the carbon tax repeal bills.

"Some people would call it lying, some people would call it cunning, some people would call it, well, partially misled," the Democratic Labour Party Senator said.


Inside the senate beyond the cross bench
John Warhurst, Brisbane Times

The swearing in of 36 senators on Monday is a good opportunity to reflect on the composition of the new Senate.

But this doesn’t mean solely concentrating on the six new, much talked about cross-benchers.


Philippines - Priests apologize for shaming of unwed mom
N.J. Viehland, National Catholic Reporter

The priest who harangued and scolded an unwed teenage mother during the baptism of her baby has apologized and his religious order has promised to discipline the priest.

The baby's grandmother recorded the incident on her cellphone and later uploaded it to her Facebook page. She also wrote about the humiliation the priest subjected her daughter to.


From BBC to right hand of Pope: Patten to advise Vatican on media strategy
John Hooper, The Guardian

Lord Patten has been recruited by the Vatican to sit, if not at the right hand of God then not so very far away, as chair of a high-level committee to advise Pope Francis on media strategy.

The former Conservative party and BBC Trust chairman will head a committee to advise the pope on how to revamp and modernise media handling, the Vatican said on Wednesday.

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