Daily News - Wednesday 18 June 2014

Posted 18 June 2014 8:34am

Hard times getting harder for cash-starved community services
Natasha Cortis and Megan Blaxland, The Conversation

The federal government’s austerity budget is expected to hit disadvantaged people the hardest, including the unemployed, single parents and people with a disability. In times of increasing social need, it would seem logical to ensure the community sector is well-resourced and sustainable. After all, these organisations work at the front line of social problems and provide support where governments fail to deliver.


How to make outcomes-based funding work
Fiona Buick, Gemma Carey and Pauline McLoughlin

Firstly, let us be clear about what outcomes based funding is and how it differs from, say, outputs funding. Outcomes are impacts – those changes or effects arising from the activities of social programs and policies. These outcomes can be intended or unintended, positive or negative.


One in five young people struggle with mental illness but few seek help: report
Sophie Scott and Sophie Quinn, ABC

One in five young Australians are dealing with a serious mental illness but more than 60 per cent feel uncomfortable seeking professional support, a new report from Mission Australia and the Black Dog Institute has found.


Pain now, rewards later? Young lives cannot be relived
Johanna Wyn and Hernan Cuervo, The Conversation

Extended periods of poverty, unemployment, lack of access to meaningful and purposeful education or training and insecure work for 18- to 25-year olds robs them of the building blocks to make productive lives. The momentum lost during these crucial years is very difficult to recover.


Stronger Relationships Trial
Department of Social Services

Supporting Australian couples to have happy, healthy and strong relationships makes social and economic sense.

That's why the Government will deliver the Stronger Relationships trial from 1 July 2014.

The one-year trial is open to all couples in a committed relationship, including engaged, married, de-facto and same-sex couples.


Stronger Relationships Trial – information for service providers and celebrants
Department of Social Services

The Australian Government is seeking applications from existing Family and Relationship Service providers or other not-for-profit providers of relationship education or counselling to help us deliver the Stronger Relationships trial.

... Service providers can apply to be on the Stronger Relationships Panel up to 31 March 2015 through the Providers portal.

Applications from not-for-profit providers will open from 19 June 2014.


NSW - At-risk children to get extra protection through budget
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald

The state's most vulnerable young people received a half-billion dollar boost in the NSW budget with the money going to ensure more check-ups on children who are at risk of serious harm.

The $500 million of new funding comes following public outrage over several high-profile child deaths in which the young victims were reported to be at-risk but did not receive appropriate follow up from Family and Community Services staff.


NSW - A budget that delivers more for the vulnerable
NSW Government, media release

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will deliver more support for children and young people in the child protection system and increased funding for social housing as part of a major investment in the 2014-15 NSW Budget.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will be investing $5.8 billion in 2014-15 to better place individuals, families and local communities at the centre of everything we do,” said Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton.


NSW - Budget increases spending on mental health
NSW Government, media release

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government will boost spending in mental health care with a record $1.6 billion commitment in the 2014-15 NSW Budget.

Major mental health projects to attract funding in the 2014-15 NSW Budget include ... $1.8 million to fund the ‘LikeMind’ pilot of the fully integrated community based care for adults living with mental illness in Nepean/Blue Mountains and Western Sydney.


NSW - $100m lift for disability housing
Rick Morton, The Australian

Spending on accommodation for people with disabilities in NSW rose $100 million to $1.6 billion in the budget even as the Baird government pushed ahead with plans to move people out of state-run institutions.


This new home comes with independence
Di Bartok, Parramatta Advertiser

At 27, Andy Waite has left home for the first time — and he can’t wipe the smile off his face.

He has his own space, can come and go as he pleases and have his friends over at all hours if he wishes.


Time to let go of the medical model
Jarrod Marrinon, Ramp Up, ABC

When people with disabilities seek funding and support, they are told to plead their case by expressing how useless their bodies are. They ask specialist doctors to write up reports about everything that is wrong with them and they get their families to tell stories of how the problem - that is, the person with the disability - is contributing to family stresses.

To be fair, these techniques often end in the desired result of funding being granted. But something that funding can never fix is the feeling of worthlessness.


Paid parental leave and childcare belong together
Marie Coleman, The Age

What a time for the Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews to finally release the report reviewing the operation of the existing Rudd-Macklin Paid Parental Leave (PPL) Scheme.

Amid strong opposition to the Abbott government’s proposed parental leave extensions and the prospect of outright mutiny by National Party senators, it’s unsurprising that the beleaguered government has seized on this report to legitimise its controversial scheme.


Paid parental leave prolongs 'age of entitlement', says Ian Macdonald
Daniel Hurst, The Guardian

Tony Abbott's signature paid parental leave scheme is inconsistent with government claims that the "age of entitlement" is over and the country faces a "debt crisis", the Liberal National party dissident Ian Macdonald has told the Senate as he sharpened his criticism of key government policies.


Betting and investing behaviour: it's in the genes says study

An American study of more than 200 people has found that a person's genetics can affect how they act when betting and investing.


Responsible gambling: why occasional use is generally safe
Matthew Rockloff, The Conversation

Unlike tobacco smoking, which can be harmful at any level of use, modest levels of gambling can be both entertaining and non-harmful. In fact, a recent New South Wales prevalence survey found that many regular gamblers nominated that their lives had been made “more enjoyable” as a result of their gambling.


Victoria - Napthine government fails to act on child sex abuse
Bryan Keon-Cohen and Joseph Poznanski, The Age

In response to community concern about the media coverage of extensive child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church and Salvation Army, the Victorian government initiated an inquiry. It was a significant milestone.

The inquiry’s report identified the Catholic Church and the Salvation Army to be the largest institutional offenders, among many 'offending' institutions.


Lifters and leaners: why the idea of equality of opportunity is a big con
Bill Garner, The Age

... since it is not politically acceptable to repudiate the cherished and widely held belief that Australians are all equal, it is necessary to pay lip service to the idea, even while emptying it of content. "Equality of opportunity" is a well-tried cover. It is the version of equality you claim to believe in when you do not believe in equality at all. Indeed, some in the Liberal Party are now coming close to embracing the extreme neo-liberal position that it is actually inequality that is desirable, because it releases individual initiative and is economically more productive. That is a very difficult argument to sell in a country that boasts of its egalitarianism.


Need to re-engage silent majority
Emma Alberici, Lateline, ABC

Venture capitalist Mark Carnegie discusses his proposal that compulsory national service be reintroduced ...

EMMA ALBERICI: You've actually described civic service tonight as our means of defence. What did you mean by that?

MARK CARNEGIE: What I was saying was the enemy that we face at the moment is growing inequality, growing divisiveness, growing disengagement, getting people through some universal program to get re-engaged is going to defend us against what's happening in America where you see the society just absolutely sheering because the rich and the poor are just getting further and further and further apart.


Canada - Why do we vilify the poor?
Cheryl Clock, The Standard

If you are on social assistance and choose to be poor in Ontario (because, of course, we all know poverty is a lifestyle choice), you will need to follow certain rules.

If you abide by these simple rules, you will be allowed to remain poor. On assistance. Forever.

Oh, and they're not my rules. These have been imposed on you, by your peers.


UK - Attitudes to benefits are not as negative as they seem
Ben Baumberg, The Conversation

Year after year, when the British Social Attitudes (BSA) survey is released, newspaper headlines tell us of how our attitudes to benefits have hardened, feeding this into their wider discussions about the unpopularity of welfare, how our attitudes to one another have changed, and how the major parties should respond.

Last year was an exception, with headlines instead telling us that our attitudes might now be softening, although in my chapter in this year’s report I show how this softening was probably illusory.


What do we get for $6000 each on social security?
Matt Cowgill, We are all dead

Joe Hockey on welfare spending:

This year the Australian government will spend on average over $6,000 on welfare for every man, woman and child in the country.

The Budget shows that total spending on social security and welfare this year will be $140 569 million. Our population is 23.5 million. Divide one number by the other and you arrive at spending of about $6000 per person on social security and welfare, so I think that’s where he got the figure from.


What is absolute poverty?
Matt Cowgill, We are all dead

Poverty, particularly in advanced economies, can be a nebulous and difficult-to-measure concept. Reasonable people differ on how to define it, and measuring it is inevitably arbitrary at the margin and requires judgement.


How to be happy? Give away your money
Ross Gittins, The Age

If I wanted to get more happiness into my life, I wouldn’t do it by trying to earn more money. I’d concentrate on spending more time with family and friends and getting more satisfaction from work itself rather than the money it brings in.

That’s because, though money does buy happiness, it buys far less than we expect it to. It suffers from rapidly diminishing "marginal utility" – each extra $1000 you spend brings less satisfaction than the one before.

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