Daily News - Thursday 12 February 2015

Posted 12 February 2015 11:08am



Scott Ludlam blasts cuts to homeless organisations as 'vindictive' and 'a kick in the teeth'

 Henry Belot - The Canberra Times

The defunding of three peak bodies just days before Christmas has been described as "vindictive" and "a kick in the teeth" by Greens Senator Scott Ludlam after hearing from a formerly homeless Canberra man on Wednesday.

During a senate committee into affordable housing, the three organisations described the decision to cut $825,000 – up to 90 per cent of their funding – as a debilitating blow that could lead to their closure.

Community Housing Federation of Australia executive director Carol Croce said her organisation would lose $350,000 of funding, which would lead to job losses in Canberra and a complete restructure.

"Our organisation had a contract with the government until June of 2016 but our funding has been cut and our contract will now end in June this year," she said.

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Indigenous groups urge government to "stay the course" on closing the gap

Dan Harrison - SMH

Aboriginal groups have urged the Abbott government to "stay the course" in its efforts to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, warning cuts and funding uncertainty risk obstructing further improvements.

The calls came as Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepared to deliver his annual report to Federal Parliament on Wednesday on progress towards the six targets.

"My message is not to take the foot off the pedal at this crucial time, when we've seen small but significant gains," said Kirstie Parker, co-chairwoman of the Close the Gap campaign.

"Where there've been cuts or there is uncertainty around funding to health and related services, that has to be reversed, the funding has to be restored, so the considerable investment we've seen to date as part of a bipartisan effort is not squandered," Ms Parker said.

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Racism 'just rolls off the tongue': The gaping gap for indigenous Australians in Melbourne

Daniel Flitton - SMH

Thorne Smith has an escape plan - a suitcase packed and a cab-charge from Child Protection Service ready to rush his two girls to a cousins' house.

He fears his neighbours and racist taunts, accusations he has bludged off Centrelink payments to buy grog or drugs.

"It just rolls of the tongue, these people, when they are talking about 'Abos'," he said.

Aboriginal service groups in Victoria have dismissed Prime Minister Tony Abbott's pledge to spend a week living in an outback indigenous community, warning the government is ignoring rampant discrimination in cities and towns.

The majority of Australia's estimated 670,000 indigenous population live in urban areas - most in NSW, with about 47,000 in Victoria.


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Why Graduating From University Isn't Enough To Get You A Job Any More

Evan Ortlieb - Lifehacker Australia

Earn a university degree and get a job. This formula has worked with relative success for over 50 years. But increasingly in many fields today the formula is no longer working.

With nearly twice as many full-time students (approximately 1.2 million) enrolled in university study as there were in 1996, competition for jobs is at an all-time high. This competition seems to be manifesting itself in credential inflation — the value of academic credentials decreases over time, along with the expected advantage given a degree holder in the job market.

What’s behind this trend?

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The Torch Project helps indigenous prisoners unlock their creativity

Matthew Westwood - The Australian

PRISON is a punishment and the path to rehabilitation can be hard. But the plight of indigenous offenders seems especially tough. It’s well known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are vastly overrepresented in jail: the Australian Human Rights Commission says the incarceration rate of indigenous people is 14 times higher than that of the general population; and 77 per cent of indigenous prisoners have been in jail before.

In Victorian prisons, a program called the Torch is helping prepare indigenous prisoners for life on the outside, through art.

For the past four years, Kent Morris, a curator and statewide indigenous arts officer for the Torch, has been visiting prisons and encouraging indigenous inmates to paint. The artmaking is more than a diversionary pastime behind bars. Morris prepares for each prisoner a cultural kit, with pictures and information about their language group, totems and country. He believes that by connecting people with their roots, genuine reform and behavioural change is possible.

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