Daily News - Thursday 23 October 2014

Posted 23 October 2014 7:56am

I’ve been on dole, don’t delay payments, says Ricky Muir
Stefanie Balogh, The Australian ($)

Crossbench senator Ricky Muir, who once worked for the dole, remains unconvinced about several key budget measures, including a waiting period for unemployment benefits, the GP co-payment and dereg­ulation of universities.

The Australian Motoring Enthusiast Party senator, who has a critical vote, said because he came from a low socio-economic background he remained concerned about the proposed $7 GP co-payment as well as the impact of budget initiatives on low- to middle-income earners.

Senator Muir, who said he had spent time before entering politics working for the dole, said he did not believe there should be any waiting period before accessing unemployment benefits.

“Putting people who already have no money in a poverty-type situation by giving them no money is probably going to be very anti-productive,’’ he told Melbourne radio station 3AW.


Govt welfare bills class warfare: Labor

he Abbott government has been accused of advocating class warfare with its contentious welfare cuts.

It fast-tracked three bills to the Senate on Wednesday that cut the seniors supplement, change family welfare benefits and charge interest to young people who owe Centrelink money.

The most controversial measures cut off families with kids over the age of six from the Family Tax Benefit Part B, and push jobseekers aged between 22 to 24 years onto the lower Youth Allowance payment.

Labor accused the government of gagging parliamentary debate on the bills because it was afraid to air its planned hits on the poor.


Pension reform makes Tony Abbott’s dinner menu
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

Pension reform is back on the agenda in the federal government’s talks with crossbench sen­ators over more than $9 billion in social security savings that have been stalled for months.

Tony Abbott stepped up his efforts to secure the changes by meeting crossbench senators last night in his second consecutive evening of talks over dinner.

The discussions are aimed at overcoming objections to the Prime Minister’s agenda, including controversial changes to the Age Pension, supplements for seniors and family tax benefits.

... Mr Abbott had dinner with Victorian independent senator John Madigan on Tuesday night and with Family First senator Bob Day last night, as ministers try to secure some of their reforms when the upper house resumes its routine business next week.


Jobless gap costing $2bn a year
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian

At least $2 billion a year would be saved on public housing and prisons if indigenous employment reached the level of the non-­indigenous population, economic modelling commissioned by the Abbott government shows.

Governments could save $800 million on public housing and $1.6bn as a result of a reduced prison population, says the Australian National University paper.

The paper, based on the latest available data, was commissioned by the Prime Minister’s Department to help inform the work of the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review chaired by mining magnate Andrew Forrest.


New Relocation Assistance helping more job seekers into work
Luke Hartsuyker, media release

Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker today released figures showing the Australian Government’s Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job programme is helping job seekers to move from welfare to work, especially in regional Australia.

“Since 1 July 2014, 145 job seekers have received Relocation Assistance to help them with the costs of moving to a new area to take up a job,” Mr Hartsuyker said.


Extending Existing Grant Arrangements: Two Month Extensions

DSS is offering two month funding extensions to the majority of existing grant agreements due to expire on 31 December 2014 to ensure continuity of important community services over the Christmas/New Year period.

A list of extensions is available.

To reduce the impact on organisations, extensions will be offered through a simple variation to existing grant agreements.

Variations will be modelled closely on existing agreements allowing organisations to continue delivery of current services under the same arrangements they have in place now.


ACT community providers 'ready' to take over early intervention disability services

The ACT Government has confirmed private providers will be announced within a week to handle early intervention programs for children with autism and developmental delays.

Earlier this year parents expressed concerns the roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would see key government-funded programs dumped in December with no details about the replacements.


Vulnerable children to get extra staff, says Napthine government
Henrietta Cook, The Age

Vulnerable children in residential care units will be supervised by at least two staff members during the day and one at night as part of a $55 million Napthine government announcement aimed at improving safety.

The new funding, to be unveiled on Monday, follows reports of sexual exploitation of children in state care and concerns about inadequate staffing arrangements.

The package includes more than $31.5 million to ensure every residential care unit has a "stand-up" overnight worker, at least two staff members during the day and more therapeutic placements.


Police officer says family violence matters make up 40 per cent of workload
Alison Caldwell, PM, ABC

A senior constable with Victoria Police has told an inquest that family violence cases account for 40 per cent of her job.

The inquest is examining the way police and the Department of Human Services handled the case of 11-year-old Luke Batty.

His father Greg Anderson killed him at a sports oval in suburban Melbourne in February this year.

There were four warrants out for Anderson's arrest when he killed Luke.

Police today conceded they could have done more to serve the warrants on Anderson.


Creating change in government to address the social determinants of health: What can we do better?
Gemma Carey, Brad Crammond and Robyn Keast, Crikey

While there is broad agreement that addressing the social determinants of health is critical to health equity, the pathways to change remain elusive. Some researchers have argued that the gap between social determinants of health research, political action and policy trends is actually widening, despite this growing consensus.

The WHO has recommended that national governments adopt a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to address the social determinants of health, aimed at securing critical ‘upstream’ change (i.e. change within governments, which will result in widespread health benefits).


Cash for refugees shames both Australia and Cambodia
Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

Cambodia's agreement with Australia to receive refugees from Nauru is moving to implementation, with Cambodian officials soon to visit Nauru. It has also been widely criticised, and refugees on Nauru have protested against it.

The urgency with which the Australian Government has pursued the agreement is politically motivated. Many asylum seekers on Nauru have been found to be refugees. Nauru is in no position to accept them into the community, and is unwilling to hold indefinitely those found to be refugees. The PNG Government is likely to adopt the same stance. The difficulty for the Australian Government lies in its declaration that none will be resettled in Australia. Cambodia is the circuit breaker that will allow Australia to save face.


Investors Scored A 7.5% Return On Bonds To Create Better Parents, Now The NSW Government Wants To Expand The Plan
Alex Beber, Business Insider

The NSW Government is planning to issue more social benefit bonds soon, following a successful trial last year.

The Newpin bond, created to improve parenting skills, delivered a 7.5% return to investors in its first year, according to Community Services Minister Gabrielle Upton.

With $7 million in working capital tipped in by investors, the returns from the bond allowed UnitingCare Burnside to run intensive parenting courses to restore 28 children to the families from out-of-home care.


J.P. Morgan to Help Drive Social Enterprise in NSW
Pro Bono News

Global financial services firm J.P. Morgan and national social enterprise development organisation Social Traders have announced a new partnership to accelerate the social enterprise sector in NSW, supporting social enterprise ideas that address youth unemployment.

Under the program, social enterprises and startups across NSW are invited to participate in youthCANwork, a competition to identify and develop investment-ready ideas for addressing youth unemployment.


Whitlam’s forgotten legacy: a voice for the poor
Fiona Davis, The Conversation

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam, whose death at age 98 was announced on Tuesday, left significant legacies from his short time in office. Whatever their condition today, many of his government’s initiatives, including free tertiary education, will long be remembered. Yet there is another legacy that is largely overlooked: the Commonwealth Commission of Inquiry into Poverty.

Whitlam advocated for this inquiry for years before then-prime minister William McMahon finally agreed in August 1972. In doing so, McMahon instituted an impressive political backflip in the face of a looming election.


Memories of Gough
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street

Gough Whitlam once asked me why there were so many social reformers to emerge from Queensland in the early 1970s. I told him it was simple. We had someone to whom we could react: Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen; and we had someone to inspire us: him.

I have written elsewhere about Gough’s contribution to Aboriginal rights, human rights and international law. Here, I reflect on the man who inspired me so affectionately, so supportively, and with such a sense of fun.


Royal Commission ignites action
Francis Sullivan, TJHC Blog

This week I was part of a panel at Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA) Leadership Forum in Canberra. CSSA is the Church’s peak national body for Catholic social service organisations, which help over one million Australians every year.

I always welcome the chance to spend time with people who are delivering on the core message of the Gospel, to help and support disadvantaged people. These dedicated workers are a witness to the true value and contribution the Catholic Church makes to the community every day.

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