Daily News - Tuesday 23 June 2014

Posted 24 June 2014 8:12am

Funding uncertainty hurts Perth's homeless
AM Radio National

A Commonwealth and state agreement for funding for the homeless services has finally been locked in just a week before the old deal was due to expire. It's a reprieve for those providing support for the homeless around the country, including in Western Australia where some organisations are saying increasing numbers are seeking help.


Ensuring young people in all walks of life ‘earn or learn’ costs money
Grace McQuilten, The Conversation

It is evident in both research and practice that alternative vocational training programs are effective for young people at risk of dropping out of mainstream school. However, in a political climate of increasing cuts to TAFE and university funding at state and federal levels, the opportunity for these programs is fast diminishing.

The benefits to society of supporting young people in their educational journey and pathways to employment are significant. They include less risk of mental and physical health problems, lower crime rates, a more productive workforce and a reduced burden on the welfare system. And yet the will to act on the gaps in young people’s education and career paths is seriously lacking.


Prepare now to enlist an army of young jobless
Barry Cohen, The Australian ($)

Unemployment, at 5.8 per cent, has not yet reached crisis point as the impact of the budget has yet to be felt. When that happens watch for the screams for government to “do something”.

There will be no shortage of ideas to provide jobs, particularly for the young unemployed where the present rate of unemployment has risen to 13.1 per cent. There is nothing more soul-destroying than being unemployed at those levels, particularly when you are aged between 18 and 24.

... The first step should be to form electorate committees that include local MPs, prominent business people, mayors and councillors and those with involvement in running sporting and cultural facilities.

They should then ask the local community for suggestions as to what they would like to see in their area. There will be no shortage of ideas.

Projects should be costed and prioritised and put out for discussion and planning by the local community so that when unemployment rises dramatically a program for developing the area will be ready to go immediately. Now is the time to plan and design. We should not wait.


Children with autism miss out in NDIS
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald

Families of children with autism say they have been short changed under the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with early intervention therapy provisions falling far below international best practice.

Participants in launch sites have been told they will received funding for less than six hours of therapy a week, less than a third of the recommended 20 hours.


A plane with half an engine? The NDIS needs to put people at its centre
Claire Hjorth Watson, The Power to Persuade

The National Disability Insurance Scheme has been many years in the making. A longstanding vision of many progressive governments, it has nonetheless taken decades to establish a social insurance scheme to support Australians with a disability. As some have noted, the NDIS is “too important to get wrong”. Recently, the NDIS was referred to as a plane that took off without a fully built engine. Although awkward, difficult and unwelcome, this criticism is important. In this spirit, there are a number of key issues that need to be considered going forward, particularly when taking into account the needs of people with significant disabilities, and their families.


Archive 2006: The empowerment agenda: Civil Society and Markets in Disability and Mental Health
Vern Hughes, Institute of Public Affairs

State and federal governments should withdraw public funding from peak bodies of provider organizations and re-direct these resources to the provision of incentives for intermediaries to enrol consumers. The current practice whereby governments of all persuasions fund provider peak bodies to act as sources of policy advice to themselves intensifies the already stark power imbalance between provider and consumer voice and capacity.


Meet the Mowbrays: the human face of the NDIS
Natasha, Boddy, Canberra Times

Laughter and chatter echoes through the Mowbray family home upon entering the front door. These are the noises of a happy family.

... The family is just one of nearly 5000 families in the ACT that will participate in the NDIS, which will be trialled in the ACT from next month.

"It gives people with disability control over what things they can do, what's going to fulfil their lives the most and how they want to interact and contribute to society whereas the old way was you're given an agency, the agency got the money and they determined what programs they could put in place and you just had to fit in with them," Mr Mowbray said.


People using both Disability Services and Home and Community Care in 2010-11
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

This report examines the characteristics and service use of people who accessed both Disability Services and Home and Community Care programs. In 2010–11 around 54,800 people were known to have used both programs, and the majority of these people were aged under 65 (89%). The report found that people using both programs required higher, more complex and diverse supports, and relied on a wide range of complementary services from both programs to support their distinct support needs.


Welfare backing for single payment
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

The National Welfare Rights Network has told the McClure welfare review it would support a single welfare payment and a “transitional” benefit for people with disabilities who have some capacity to work.

Patrick McClure says the recommendation of his report to the Howard government — that all working-age benefits be ­replaced with a single payment — is no longer feasible because of the dramatic expansion of the welfare system since 2000.

Instead it will call for about five payments, mirroring the New Zealand system. The welfare rights submission, obtained by The Australian, warns that no one must be left worse off if the system is to be reformed.


Welfare reforms miss deadline
David Crowe, The Australian ($)

The federal government will be forced to wait until September at the earliest to try to legislate $12 billion in welfare reforms as Bill Shorten escalates his attacks on the changes to convince voters of the unfairness of the budget.

The moves ensure the government will miss out on budget savings meant to take effect on July 1, including a freeze on family tax benefits and an end to a seniors supplement that goes to 290,000 people.


A smarter approach to corrections that tackles the causes of crime

Putting people in prison doesn’t solve crime, and it doesn’t deal with the problems that lead people to commit crimes.

Victoria has spent at least five years rapidly increasing spending on prisons and prison building and implementing a ‘tough on crime’ approach that has resulted in longer and harsher sentences. Our prison population has grown more than 40 per cent over the last decade.

But we haven’t seen a matching drop in crime rates or increased community safety.


When the UK goes 'digital by default', who will be left behind?
Elizabeth Rust, The Guardian

Richard Taylor has signed on for Jobseekers Allowance twice since October and has received two payments. Each time he signed on, his payments were stopped almost immediately because he couldn’t prove that he was searching for work 35 hours every week. “I don’t own a computer and I am reliant on my local library,” he said. “You can book two hour blocks of internet use in advance, but if you just turn up you can only use it for 15 minutes.”


Mind the gap: on the challenges ahead for small community organisations
Michelle Reid, The Power to Persuade

This Government is creating a climate where only large organisations will have a future in the community sector and small groups will be forced to merge to become more cost effective.


The Civil Society National Centre for Excellence - An opportunity, depending how you take it
Andrew Young, Centre for Social Impact

The Centre for Social Impact (CSI) is conducting a research and stakeholder engagement project to provide recommendations for the Australian Government about the establishment of a proposed Civil Society National Centre for Excellence (NCE).

Make no mistake – this is a tough gig. I’ve had lots of positive reactions, and a very constructive response in forums like focus groups and in an online survey so far. I am also seeing (and expected) some concern about the project, its purpose and scope.


C20 Summit Communique
C20 Australia 2014

The C20 (‘Civil Society’) Summit at the University of Melbourne was the first of the lead-in G20 ‘satellite’ conferences, providing a platform for dialogue between civil society and the political leaders of the G20 countries.

Over the two days on June 20 and 21 2014, more than 80 leading international and domestic experts spoke on issues including tax transparency, anti-corruption, climate change and renewable energy investment, youth employment, food and resource security and infrastructure. Around 400 delegates were in attendance.


C20 position paper: Inclusive Growth and Employment
C20 Australia 2014

The C20 believes that growth should not be an end in itself, must be balanced against long-term sustainability issues, and should not be at the expense of any sector of the population, particularly those most vulnerable. Inclusive growth means not only greater labour force participation, but that all citizens can share in the benefits of growth.


The Forgotten Freedom: Defending Religious Liberty against Aggressive Secularism
Jeremy Sammut, ABC

The High Court's recent decision about the constitutionality of the school chaplaincy program has revived the debate about the relationship between church and state in Australia.


Drugs, capitalism, homosexuality -- little is off limits for outspoken pope
Michael Pearson, CNN

Pope Francis made headlines Friday by coming out against the legalization of drugs, saying "drug addiction is an evil, and with evil there can be no yielding or compromise."

Elbowing out space in the news cycle is familiar work for the 77-year-old leader of the world's Catholics, whose man-of-the-people style and frank way of speaking have endeared him to millions.

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