Daily News - Tuesday 15 April 2014

Posted 15 April 2014 7:32am

Counselling for future newlyweds could save taxpayers $250 million a year
Jessica Marszalek, Herald Sun

Counselling that stops brides and grooms walking down the aisle with the wrong person will save taxpayers an estimated $250 million a year.

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has told the Herald Sun he believes offering 100,000 couples free counselling under a year-long trial from July will prevent 2500 ­divorces, which would otherwise cost $100,000 each in court and welfare costs.

‘Too much’ childcare takes toll on learning
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

Children who spend more than 21 hours a week in long daycare are at greater risk of performing below average in maths, literacy and overall academic achievement, a new study finds.

The Australian National University work, based on four waves of longitudinal data over six years, found “significant” negative academic outcomes for preschoolers who attend on average more than four hours a day at childcare centres.

More women over 55 facing homelessness
Thomas Oriti, The World Today, ABC

While young Australians struggle to find work, many older Australians are dealing with the challenge of finding a home.

Research from the University of Queensland shows an alarming increase in the number of women aged over 55 who are homeless.

Fear, hope and disability
Kathy Evans, Sydney Morning Herald

Last year, amid much fanfare, the NDIS was born. For the last 12 months it has been rolled out at certain sites in Tasmania, South Australia, NSW and in the Barwon region of Victoria.

But this knight in shining armour galloping to the rescue of Australia's 460,000 disabled people has had many stumbles along the way. Stories abound in the media about how the launch was too rushed; how staff were not properly prepared; how it had underestimated the costs of service providers.

... What has been missing in the general hoo-ha has been the voices of those it seeks to protect. As the first year draws to a close, how exactly has it changed their lives?

Disability pensioners should work: MP

Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has hinted disability pensioners could be forced to work part-time once a review into the welfare system is released.

Youth mental health: it doesn't have to be like this
Erin Stewart, ABC

A new, disturbing Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report has found that suicide is now the leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 15 to 24. While the suicide rate of people from this age group has declined overall, at the moment it is stubbornly plateauing. Suicide persists. It's a particularly sobering fact to reflect on at the conclusion of 2014's National Youth Week celebrations.

Youth unemployment: Generation Jobless at risk of becoming reality
Amelia Moseley, Sydney Morning Herald

Australian youth may want more than they did a decade ago. But then, there were also more jobs on offer. The country’s youth unemployment levels may not be as bad as countries like Greece or Spain, but is that really our best comparison? There needs to be an easier transition from school to university to work or we are going to end up with a highly unemployed Australia, not just unemployed youths.

Why our pension scheme is too generous
Peter Martin, Sydney Morning Herald

Our pension scheme is recklessly generous. There’s every sign the government will rein it back in. When the budget position improves, perhaps it can do more. But it will probably find better uses for its funds.

Pension age increase must be met with training for older workers: age discrimination commissioner
Pat McGrath, The World Today, ABC

Employer groups are backing the call by Australia's age discrimination commissioner for the Federal Government to match any changes to pension payments with skills training for older workers.

Are we committed to an inclusive growth agenda…or not?
Cassandra Goldie, The Australian Financial Review

While most of us agree that our nation faces a fiscal challenge, it's harder to get a consensus on the policy solutions to steer the federal Budget on to a sustainable path.

So far the discussion has focused almost exclusively on spending cuts. Yet, as Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson made clear last week, the main problem is declining revenue.

Calls for change to superannuation concessions to accompany any age pension changes
Louise Yaxley, PM, ABC (audio)

Lobby groups argue superannuation tax concessions should be made less generous before any changes to the age pension. They say the most vulnerable need to be protected and any changes should hit the highest income earners.

A real ‘discussion’ about pension and health costs would need details about the options
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation

Treasurer Joe Hockey says we need to have a “sensible discussion about the sustainability of our entire quality of life”. Hockey’s absolutely right, but what we are getting is actually something between a dance of the seven veils and a traditional pre-budget softening-up process.

Government suggests Australians may have to work 'til 70
Sabra Lane, 7.30, ABC

Treasurer Joe Hockey has hinted the aged pension age may increase to 70 prompting Opposition criticism, while one Seniors group says it's willing to discuss the change if the Government's proposed paid parental leave scheme is dropped.

How-to guide: public relations for charities on a shoestring budget
David Hamilton, The Guardian

If you have a smaller hierarchy than the bigger charities then use that advantage to make quicker decisions. If you're quick, you can piggyback on breaking news. Have numbers, email addresses and Twitter handles for relevant journalists ready and contact them if you can add a unique angle to a news story.

Advocacy and lobbying groups should not receive lucrative charity status
Don D'Cruz, The Courier Mail

The tax-exempt status of religion has been in the news a bit recently for various reasons.

For me, the real problem in the charity sector has been the tendency to grant just about every lobby and advocacy group in this country charity status.

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