Daily News - Thursday 15 January 2015

Posted 15 January 2015 8:21am

Abbott government to consider even more spending cuts, says Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg
Gareth Hutchens, The Canberra Times

The Abbott government will consider making even more spending cuts in coming months as it deals with the dramatic fall in global oil and gas prices, new Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says.

But economists say it may not be necessary.


Jobs goal slips out of Tony Abbott’s reach
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

The federal government is falling behind on a key election pledge to create one million jobs over five years, in a blow to its economic agenda as experts warn that the target may never be achieved.

Jobs are being created too slowly to reach the goal, just as Tony Abbott names “jobs and families” as his top priorities for the year ahead after a punishing political fight over last year’s budget.

... Employment Minister Eric Abetz stood by the jobs pledge yesterday but conceded that it was going to be difficult to deliver and sought to blame Labor and the Greens for preventing new jobs schemes getting through parliament.


‘Threats no help for jobless disabled’
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

People with disabilities are keen to work and threatening them with a loss of benefits won’t help them break into the labour market.

That is the conclusion of a ­report sent to Social Services Minister Scott Morrison in the hope he will take a broader look at how to reform the Disability Support Pension, with the sector concerned that the government is considering draconian cuts in the lead-up to the May budget.


Homeless people bad for tourism and should be moved on, say residents and businesses
Aisha Dow, The Age

The sight of homeless people camped in the city is damaging Melbourne's tourism reputation, say residents and business operators, who have demanded rough sleepers be moved from public view.

Fairfax Media has obtained records of emails and calls made to Melbourne City Council complaining about the antics of homeless people and the "disgusting" state of two central camps where rough sleepers had congregated.


Is 'SimCity' Homelessness a Bug or a Feature?
Emanuel Maiberg, Vice

SimCity players have discussed a variety of creative strategies for their virtual homelessness problem. They’ve suggested waiting for natural disasters like tornadoes to blow the vagrants away, bulldozing parks where they congregate, or creating such a woefully insufficient city infrastructure that the homeless would leave on their own.

You can read all of these proposed final solutions in Matteo Bittanti's How to Get Rid of Homelessness, "a 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called 'homeless scandal' that affected 2013's SimCity."


US - How the Cycle of Chronic Homelessness Begins—and Ends
Christina Davidson, Citylab

For the nearly two decades that Charles lived on the streets of Washington, D.C., the nation’s elite hustled past him with their eyes mostly averted. They saw only a homeless crack addict, not a man carrying a weight that finally dragged him all the way down.

Today, inside his own clean, white-walled apartment in Southeast D.C.'s Woodland neighborhood, Charles, 51, pulls up a sleeve of his white polo shirt to show me his scars.

The looped extension cord he recalls his mother using to strike him as a child has left a distinctively curled mark. There are slashes, too, which may have come from the belt his father preferred, sometimes wielded by a brother left in charge of “discipline” when their parents were out.


NDIS - Assistant Social Services Minister on learning from trial sites
Radio 2GB, interview with Luke Grant

MITCH FIFIELD: I think when the trial sites commenced potential scheme participants were essentially given a menu of funded supports and asked what they’d like. And, not unreasonably, people would tick everything. We’ve really tried to turn that on its head. So the conversation with people is now, what are the natural supports in your life? How can we reinforce those. If you’ve got an unpaid family carer, what can we do to help them. What are the mainstream community supports that you should be accessing, that you’re not currently. How can we put you in touch with those. And then once you’ve done that, then look at what someone’s plan is, look at what their goals are and look at what the funded supports are, at that point, for them. So we’ve really turned that process on its head and I think we’re getting much better outcomes for people.


Senate tackles issue of young people in aged care
Linda Belardi, Australian Ageing Agenda

The Liberal Senator who has initiated a Senate inquiry into the issue of young people with disabilities living in aged care says she hopes it will give younger people and their families a voice.

Linda Reynolds said the issue of young people in aged care had “struck a chord” and she would like to see the inquiry deliver a strong report focused on “innovative and more flexible arrangements” for this group, as well as individualised support.

“Young people with disabilities have very different needs and requirements and I’d like to see a report that canvasses the broad spectrum of requirements,” Senator Reynolds told Australian Ageing Agenda.


$12.4 million funding boost for home support services in Western Australia
Mitch Fifield, media release

More than 71,000 older people and people with disability in Western Australia will get extra support to stay in their own homes thanks to a $12.4 million funding boost from the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments.

The funding is for new or expanded Home and Community Care (HACC) Services in Western Australia.

We know that many older Australians and people with disability prefer to stay in their own home as long as possible. The HACC programme provides critical services to help people to do just that – to stay independent in their own home for longer.


New workforce strategy for aged care
Linda Belardi, Australian Ageing Agenda

The Federal Government has begun an audit of government-funded aged care workforce programs with the aim of developing an aged care workforce development strategy, Australian Ageing Agenda can confirm.

Community services and healthcare consulting firm Health Outcomes International is undertaking the audit, which began in October 2014 and is expected to be completed by mid-2015.


‘Use house’ to pay for aged care
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)

The commonwealth needs to seriously consider intervening in the finance market to allow older Australians to access the value in their family home to pay for their own aged-care costs and may need to go as far as developing a government-backed equity release scheme, the sector says.

Aged-care costs are expected to double to $26 billion a year in less than a decade but forcing seniors who can afford to pay more of their own costs, which is the current direct­ion of reforms, is difficult where most of their wealth is tied up in a principal residence, according to a position statement from Aged and Community Services Australia, the peak body for mission-based and non-profit providers.


QLD ELECTION: The Silence Is Deafening On Policies To Tackle Domestic Violence
James Farrell, New Matilda

When Queenslanders get off the beach and start to think about the upcoming election, there is a long list of issues that might influence their votes.

Jobs, economy, health, public transport, education, candidates’ personalities, bikies, state debt, the environment… the list goes on, and on, and on.

One issue that has so far been completely ignored is the rising, and fatal, issue of domestic violence.


Vocational training is too complex, too job-specific, too underfunded
Gavin Moodie, The Conversation

The Australian government is reviewing vocational education and training qualifications. The aim is to streamline a system that has educators, employers and government baffled by its complexity. The government has released two discussion papers exploring some of the major issues facing vocational education.


Preschool attendance boosts language in disadvantaged children
Penny Roy and Shula Chiat, The Conversation

All children with early language problems are at increased risk of struggling at school, and having reduced employment opportunities and life chances, but the risk of early language problems is disproportionately high for children from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Given the key role of language in acquiring literacy and accessing the school curriculum, early identification of speech and language deficits and appropriate intervention are crucial. Our new research has found stark deficits in the most basic language abilities of children from poorer areas compared to those from more well-off areas. But children who regularly attend nursery performed better on our tests.


‘Stop rejecting our budget ideas’
Rosie Lewis, The Australian

Crossbench senators have lashed out at Tony Abbott for calling on them to produce alternative budget savings and revenue raisers when they have already suggested a number of measures ignored by the government.

The Prime Minister accused Labor and the crossbench yesterday of being unprepared to ­“accept any tough decisions” and questioned whether they were ­serious about economic reform and budget responsibility.

But half of the crossbench senators have for some months been publicly promoting their proposals, from stopping industry assistance to including the family home in the Age Pension assets test to halving the nation’s foreign aid budget. Writing in The Australian today, Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm says fixing the budget is seen as a “problem to be discussed in theory rather than addressed in practice”.


Policies to cut out and keep
David Leyonhjelm, The Australian

First off, I would abolish the $100 billion of commonwealth government payments to states, territories and local governments, using some of the savings to cut income tax. This would prompt the states to look for ways to deliver services more effectively, with better targeting to those in need. Measures such as means-testing access to public hospitals and schools, and putting tolls on arterial roads and highways, might be considered. Even if they reacted by increasing taxes, which I would not encourage, the states have access to substantial tax bases, many of them more efficient than the commonwealth’s income tax.

... We also need to bring back a central support role for family and community in caring for those in need, so that taxpayer support can be focused on the least well off. With that in mind, we should revisit the recommendations of the Commission of Audit, which include the removal of the Schoolkids Bonus and FTB Part B.

We should also include the family home in the assets test for the aged pension. So long as only the home’s value above a certain threshold is taken into account, and provided there is always access to a pension-equivalent payment via a reverse mortgage or something similar, there is no reason to exclude the family home.


Canada - A case for basic income
Justin Mathews, The Journal

Our current welfare system not only fails to eradicate poverty, it effectively reproduces it.

Instead of addressing poverty head-on, we spend billions on programs to address substance abuse, family violence, housing and everything in between. If poverty was a wound, Canada is the idiot doctor who’s done everything except stop the bleeding.

There’s a very simple solution to eradicating poverty in Canada: a guaranteed basic income.


Australia’s Charities and Not-for-profits Consultation Report
Department of Social Services

Earlier this year, the Minister for Social Services, the Hon Kevin Andrews MP, released the Australia’s Charities and Not-for-Profits Options Paper outlining the proposed replacement arrangements for reporting obligations of charities following the abolition of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC).

This report provides a summary of consolidated feedback as it relates to the four elements outlined in the options paper ...


Finding the Real Value in Impact Investing
Pro Bono News

The time is right for a national conversation on further catalysing Social Impact Investing, a new phase of development for ethical investing writes Sandra Nugent, Manager Strategy and Development at Foresters Community Finance.

In recent years, Foresters Community Finance (Foresters) has witnessed a high demand for alternative sources of capital in the Not for Profit sector.

Initiatives supporting the demand are diverse, but are rooted in sustainable financial solutions for social enterprises to pursue their long-term sustainability. Finance has a direct impact on enterprise through assisting it to get started, to expand or to maintain its business activities.


Unwanted donations are leaving charities out of pocket as they clean up after dumpers
Ian Paterson, Penrith Press

Charities are being forced to shell out up to $1 million to clean up the mess left by dumpers.

A spokeswoman for The Smith Family, which has 20 collection bins throughout Penrith, said it cost them $750,000-$1 million every year to remove dumped items from its bins.


Donor Aspirations and You
Simone Joyaux, Nonprofit Quarterly

I give through organizations to achieve my desires, to fulfill my aspirations. That’s what all donors do. It’s about them, not you.

Forget this at your peril.

Donors of time volunteer their time, serve on your board, whatever—to fulfill their own aspirations, live out their feelings.

Donors of money give money to fulfill their own aspirations, live out their anger, assuage their guilt, create their own salvations. (And that’s what volunteers are doing, too.)

What if you added this kind of information to your donor database for your most loyal donors…for the donors who give the most money?


Climate-change encyclical may lay ground for UN progress
Neil Ormerod, The Sydney Morning Herald

This is the year the Catholic Church will join the battle to save the planet; as Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, stated, "2015 could be a decisive year in history".

From the start of his pontificate Pope Francis indicated his intention to publish an encyclical on the environment. Encyclicals are the most authoritative documents a pope can issue, and it has become increasingly clear that global warming will be its central theme.

Previous popes – both John Paul II and Benedict XVI – referred to the environment and climate change in various communications, and committed the Vatican City to being carbon neutral, but this will be the first time a pope will have dedicated an entire encyclical to it.


On the road, a good narrative is a pope’s best friend
John L Allen, Crux

Colombo, Sri Lanka — Just like Francis’ last trip to Asia, when he visited South Korea in August 2013, the pontiff’s Jan. 12-19 outing to Sri Lanka and the Philippines has been fascinating so far on many levels, one of which is the power of narrative in shaping how he’s perceived.

The broad outlines of the usual narrative about Francis, as it has taken shape in the media and in the popular imagination, are by now familiar. He’s seen as a peace-loving advocate for the poor and downtrodden, as well as a maverick reformer steering Catholicism in a broadly progressive direction.

It’s exposed him to some intra-Catholic blowback, especially among more conservative and traditionalist believers. Yet in terms of public opinion and media coverage in most places, that narrative often means Francis gets a free pass where other popes might find themselves in hot water.

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