Daily News - Wednesday 19 November 2014

Posted 19 November 2014 7:56am

Victoria election 2014: Candidates urged not to forget the homeless in campaign
Rachael Brown, ABC

A coalition of Victorian community housing organisations is warning candidates not to forget the homeless in the state election campaign.

Advocates said Victoria needs an extra 50,000 public and community housing properties to meet demand.


Homelessness Costing $22,000 Per Family
Xavier Smerdon, Pro Bono News

A Melbourne community housing Not for Profit says it costs $22,000 in State and Federal Government housing supports for every household requiring assistance after being squeezed out of the private rental system.

Yarra Community Housing – a provider of subsidised accommodation and housing support services to vulnerable people in Melbourne and Geelong – said the figure demonstrated the enormous cost to the community of a lack of investment in affordable housing.


More children in dangerous rooming houses
Aisha Dow, The Canberra Times

It was a place meant to provide shelter and safety for homeless children and their parents. Yet even a security guard who walked the corridors of an Oakleigh rooming house in its last days was hesitant to open the doors of the vacant bedrooms.

Social worker Mark Jones was also there and recounted the scene: "You can imagine a dark room. There were all these cockroaches running to the corner to get away from the light," he said.

"These were the conditions these poor kids were living under."


Future-proof Australia Against Welfare Dependency and Inequality
Matt Gardiner, Pro Bono News

Australians should all care about the findings of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning, recently delivered to the Federal Government and due to be tabled soon, because it affects our future prosperity as a nation, says Executive Director of The Benevolent Society, Matt Gardiner.


Blind job seeker: 'they just can’t look past the disability'
Caboolture News

Rachel Berka has spent five years looking for a chance to prove herself capable in a job despite her blindness.

"I've had countless non-replies, even when I have interviews, no one's actually come and said 'no you're not suitable'," she said.

The 27-year-old has been totally blind since she was 16 from a disease called Familial Exudative Vitreo Retinography but still has her independence with her guide dog Xaviar.

"It's just finding a balance between something that I can do and something that's beneficial for the employer," she said.


Effective, equal support needed for older jobseekers
The Greens, media release

The Australian Greens said today that the Government needs to work to address possible flaws in its Restart program and expand its approach to genuinely help older jobseekers into work.

"There are more than 204,000 older Australians on Newstart, meaning they are living below the poverty line for extended periods of time. Living in poverty erodes a person's capacity to work and had long term health and mental health impacts," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.


Forced out
Russell Marks, The Monthly

Aboriginal people living in remote communities in WA and SA have become the latest pawns in the federal-state conflict over service delivery. Until September, the Commonwealth had responsibility for maintaining services in remote communities, but the Abbott government devolved that responsibility to the states. Premiers Colin Barnett and Jay Wetherill have both complained the funding provided by Canberra isn't enough, and communities in both states now face the prospect of forced closures.

... as Broome's Bishop Christopher Saunders argues, with the backing of new research by Centacare, the history of forced displacement has rarely produced any of the economic or social benefits its proponents have promised. In this case, forced closures are likely to result in more homelessness in Broome, Alice Springs and Adelaide, and additional pressures on other communities like Jigalong, as residents drift into larger centres.


Peace is fleeting in Balgo as threat of closure looms
Paige Taylor, The Australian ($)

The embers are dying out in the fiery feud that many feared would destroy Balgo, but the residents of this remote Aboriginal community in the Kimberley now face a new threat.

Last week, Premier Colin Barnett labelled Balgo a “war zone” as he defended his plan to shut down between 100 and 150 of the state’s 274 remote communities. Although Mr Barnett is yet to identify any community slated for closure, his description of Balgo, 1800km northeast of Perth, as “not that well run” has caused anxiety in the town.


Landmark report reveals scale of indigenous disadvantage
Michael Gordon, The Canberra Times

Levels of self-harm and incarceration for indigenous Australians have increased at alarming levels despite the efforts of both sides of politics to 'close the gap', the most comprehensive report on indigenous wellbeing has found.

The landmark report also finds that virtually no progress has been made in reducing alcohol and substance abuse or in addressing high rates of chronic disease and disability among Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.


Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2014
Productivity Commission

The 2014 Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage (OID) report released today shows some positive trends in the wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, with improvements in health, education and economic outcomes. However, results in areas such as justice and mental health continue to cause concern.


Victoria - Long term plan for mental health needs detail and dollars attached

Labor’s Plan for Mental Health recognises the disruptions caused by the recent recommissioning of community mental health services and the uncertainty faced by mental health carers in relation to the continuation of programs like mutual support and self-help. But more information is needed about how Labor will fill the gaps identified and what funding will be made available to the sector.

Labor also recognises of the risks that people with mental illness face in the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The community mental health sector estimates that up to 10,000 Victorians with mental illness who currently receive community mental health support may be ineligible for the NDIS and will under current arrangements be unable to access services. The recognition in Labor’s Plan will need to be backed by funding for continuation of community mental health support services outside the NDIS model.


Family violence: How utilities providers can help, not hinder
Loren Days, VCOSS

As essential services, energy and water play a unique role in domestic households and the costs can present challenges to households experiencing financial difficulty. In circumstances where domestic violence is present, these challenges are further complicated when there is a breakdown of the domestic setting and a victim is at a point of crisis.

The Consumer Utilities Advocacy Centre (CUAC) released the report Helping Not Hindering: Uncovering Domestic Violence & Utility Debt, which explores the policies and practices of utility providers and the legal and operational framework as it applies to victims of domestic violence with utility debts, specifically where domestic abuse leads to a breakdown of a household and victims are at a point of crisis. Often when such a breakdown occurs, victims of domestic violence also suffer economic abuse.


Government cuts off resettlement in Australia for another group of asylum seekers
Alexandra Kirk, PM, ABC

The Federal Government has taken another step to make it harder for asylum seekers in Indonesia ever to reach Australia.

The Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has announced that Australia will not resettle any asylum seeker who registered with the UNHCR in Indonesia on or after the 1st of July.

Mr Morrison says the move should reduce the number of asylum seekers travelling to Indonesia in the first place, and encourage more to seek resettlement in the country they first flee to.

The Greens leader Christine Milne says it's the exact opposite of what the Government should be doing.


Why is Australia happy to sell out its youth?
Leith van Onselen, Macrobusiness

The AFR’s Brian Toohey – a long time champion for inter-generational fairness – published a timely article over the weekend arguing that young Australians are getting a raw deal ...


Why the rich are getting richer
David James, Eureka Street

... the financial sector is becoming progressively disconnected from the reality of economics in late stage capitalism. And the mainstream economics profession is aiding this detachment from the real by pursuing timeless scientific principles that do not exist.

The consequences of allowing such a parallel universe to develop became clear enough during the global financial crisis. But the basic lesson, that the money class should not be allowed to set its own rules, has not been learned.


UK - Charities should comfort beneficiaries and disturb those in power
David Robinson, Civil Society

I think the voluntary sector, to the extent that it is definable at all, has a responsibility to both comfort and disturb. We do the comforting well in enough in 2014 but what of the disturbing? Ministers would have us say less but in truth we haven’t said enough. We don’t all have to do everything all the time but between us we need keep challenging, keep exposing, keep pushing forward. My first and biggest plea to the sector for the coming years – recover the mojo, raise the voice, revive the anger.


Interview with Anthony Fisher, Archbishop of Sydney
Noel James Debien, ABC

One thing I'd say is we don't have to be afraid of tension between Bishops or between theologians. If you look at the great councils of the Church that really settled the big Christian beliefs like is Christ really god and really man or is Mary really the mother of god if she's the mother of man or is god really three persons in one. Those big, big Christian doctrines, they were huge debates, they were pulling out each other's beards and pushing each other over cliffs and I mean it's nowhere near that level of tension today and...

... if there's going to be some rigorous debate I think that's exactly what Pope Francis hoped would happen. That these matters are so serious, they go to the heart of our faith they're also personally very strongly felt, they're very intimate for people. They need an airing and they need discussion, and there's going to be different points of view and we shouldn't say oh that's terrible, we don't want any disagreement but I think we can have that kind of discussion in charity without riots and pushing people over cliffs, like happened in earlier centuries.


Pope Francis will meet with autistic kids Saturday
Nicole Winfield, Crux

Pope Francis will meet with autistic children and their families in a bid to help raise awareness and end the stigma and isolation of people living with autism spectrum disorders.


Quiz: Pope Francis or Pope Benedict XVI?
Joel Abrams, Crux

It has been centuries since there were two living Popes, and nobody would mistake the personal styles of Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI. Their words, however, can be pretty similar. Can you tell which said what?

To make things a little tricker, we also threw in one quote from the Dalai Lama.

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