Daily News - Tuesday 19 August 2014

Posted 19 August 2014 8:20am

NDIS rollout on track as costs 'trending downwards at all trial sites': NDIA report
Judith Ireland, The Sydney Morning Herald

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is being rolled out under budget, according to a report from the agency implementing the scheme.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) says that the average cost of individual packages in the first year of the NDIS was $34,600, compared to the expectation of $35,000.

This follows concerns about cost blowouts earlier in the year, with the average cost of care plans in the first three months coming in at $46,290.


Calls to extend NDIS funding to housing for mentally ill
James Hancock, PM, ABC

JAMES HANCOCK: Pat and Keith Sutton share their home at Semaphore in Adelaide's north-west with their 44-year-old son Peter.

He has schizophrenia, but requires additional care because of diabetes and a brain injury. He also doesn't speak.

PAT SUTTON: Getting on now, my husband's 70 and I'm not far behind, and we have grave concerns about where he's going to live when we're no longer able I guess to supply the support that we give him now.

JAMES HANCOCK: Pat Sutton says there isn't anywhere else for him to live.


No crisis but DSP still needs reform
Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies

Over the course of this year there has been considerable media coverage on the record numbers of Australians who receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP). However, calling the recent growth in DSP a crisis is hyperbole. Two thirds of the increase has come from declining economic conditions and mistakes in Australia's income support policy framework that can be rectified.

Over the last decade DSP recipients have increased by 22%, with 821,738 on the payment as of June 2013 costing the taxpayer $16 billion in 2013-14. The National Commission of Audit predicts expenditure on DSP could increase by as much $9 billion over the next 10 years.


Needs a better basis of help
Cassandra Goldie, The Australian ($)

In its submission to the welfare review, ACOSS put forward a plan to overhaul the payment system for people of working age so that it’s based on needs, not deservingness. A single common income support payment would replace the various pensions and allowance payments for people of working age.

The age pension would not be affected. The level of the new common payment would be set with reference to an independent commission, based on the cost of life’s essentials.


Welfare Reform Must Include Refugee Employment - RCOA
Pro Bono News

The Federal Government’s welfare system reforms must pay more attention to addressing barriers to employment faced by refugees and humanitarian entrants, says the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA).

In its submission to the Department of Social Services Review of Australia’s Welfare System, RCOA said it was concerned that an interim review produced by the Reference Group gave very little consideration to the challenges faced by people from refugee backgrounds.


Smith Family seeks national crackdown on truancy
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

One of the country’s leading charities has called for a national crackdown on truancy by all disadvantaged children.

The Smith Family has told the McClure welfare review that Australia takes a very slack approach to the issue of school attendance, which it says is key to ending welfare dependence.


UK - Whose fault is poverty? The election blame game is on
Zoe Williams, The Guardian

The problem of “problem families” is much larger than we could ever imagine. Louise Casey, head of the government’s Troubled Families programme, delivered this stark conclusion at the end of her three-year operation. There are not 120,000 families, as we previously thought, there are 500,000. So the cost is not £9bn – the figure calculated in 2012 – it is £30bn.

To recap: Casey was given this charge back in 2011, after the riots. The figure then for families afflicted by these “troubles” came from a study in 2004, when families were counted who met five of seven criteria: having a low-income; no one in the family working; poor housing; parents with no qualifications; the mother has a mental health problem; one parent has a long-standing illness or disability; and the family is unable to afford basics, including food and clothes.


Federal privacy authorities called in over Centrelink breach
Noel Towell, The Canberra Times

Federal privacy authorities have been called in after Centrelink left revealing personal and financial details of clients lying around at a suburban railway station last month.

Documents containing details of 23 clients’ full financial disclosures, including bank account numbers and details of property holdings, superannuation and investments, were left by an official from the welfare agency at Darra in the southern suburbs of Brisbane in mid-July.


Govt to release asylum seeker children

The government has confirmed it will release hundreds of children and their families from detention centres on bridging visas.

The families of children under the age of 10 will be moved into the community while their refuge applications are processed, after the government approved new bridging visa arrangements.

However, the children must have arrived before July 19 last year to be released.


Joe Hockey's budget is beyond salvation
Jenna Price, The Canberra Times

... when the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling took a long hard look at the budget, the news was even worse. It showed that 1.25 million low- and middle-income families with children will be $3000 a year worse off (but, as with all things Abbott, the rich stay richer, because of the impact of the removal of the carbon tax – if consumers actually do get some kind of price cut).

Ben Phillips, principal research fellow at NATSEM, based at the University of Canberra, says that given more time he could also have modelled the impact of removing access to the dole for thousands of young Australians.

“So, in reality, the numbers will be worse than that . . . what we modelled was a best-case scenario.”


Greens sound out ALP, crossbenchers about ending budget impasse
James Massola, The Age

Greens leader Christine Milne has moved to re-enter the political debate over the budget, seeking meetings with Labor and the Senate crossbench to a discuss alternative revenue measures in a potential circuit-breaker before Parliament's resumption next week.

Senator Milne says she is also ready to sit down with Treasurer Joe Hockey or any other minister to discuss budget compromise proposals, but she would not compromise on unfair proposals such as the $7 GP tax.


Joe Hockey wobbly on Budget details but apologises for insensitivity
Peter Martin, The Canberra Times

Joe Hockey has apologised for being insensitive. He hasn’t apologised for having an at times shaky grasp on the budget he is meant to be selling.

Hockey has approached his budget radio interviews as if they were debates – high school debates. His biography says he repeatedly won high school debates, taking out his school’s public speaking prize in almost every year he was eligible to compete.

But debates are the not the same as salesmanship. They are what experimental economists call ‘'one-off’' rather than ‘'repeated'’ games.


The state of the community service sector in New South Wales 2014
Natasha Cortis, Megan Blaxland, Social Policy Research Centre (vio APO)

This report provides unprecedented detail about the characteristics of not-for-profit community service organisations in NSW, and their experiences of the funding and operational environment. Based on responses from leaders of 576 organisations, survey findings provide insight into the mix of financial resources that organisations access; leaders’ perceptions of the funding environment; and priorities for tackling poverty and disadvantage in the future. The findings provide a basis for monitoring the characteristics of community service organisations, and for developing strategies to improve sector engagement, capacity and sustainability.

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