Daily News - Wednesday 31 July 2013

Posted 31 July 2013 8:19am

Single parents forced to move interstate after Labor's reforms to Parenting Payment system
Jackson Gothe-Snape, News Limited Network

More than 63,000 single parents have been stung by the government's reforms to the Parenting Payment system - forcing some mothers to move interstate to a bid to squeeze more value out of their payments.

... the areas hardest hit are almost exclusively electorates controlled by Labor, including marginal seats in Fowler, Richmond and Dobell in New South Wales and the vacated Lalor electorate in Melbourne.

Not Looking for Work: The Rise of Non-Jobseekers on Unemployment Benefits
Andrew Baker, Centre for Independent Studies

Following the global financial crisis, the incumbent Labor government introduced policies that reduced the job search requirements for people on unemployment benefits. As a result, there are now around 350,000 people receiving unemployment benefits who are classified as ‘non-jobseekers’, meaning that they are not required to look for work.

People on welfare who are not required to look for work will stay on welfare for longer. Furthermore, because people who would otherwise be looking for work are no longer doing so, the government policy change likely had an impact on the unemployment rate in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis. The rise of non-jobseekers on unemployment benefits provides a partial explanation for the unusually low unemployment rate following the financial crisis.

Fiddling with criteria to hide unemployed
Andrew Baker, The Australian

The main reason for the skyrocketing number of non-jobseekers on unemployment benefits is that NSA recipients are required to enter into work experience activities (including education and training) after 12 months, and early school-leavers are required to complete Year 12 or its equivalent to receive Youth Allowance (Other) (YAO) instead of looking for work.

Interpret non-jobseeker numbers with caution, says OECD
Activating Jobseekers: How Australia Does it, OECD (2012)

The jobseeker/non-jobseeker categorisation should be interpreted with caution, because people who are meeting their participation requirements through work or training may still have job-search activities specified in their Employment Pathway Plan (EPP), and DES clients are not necessarily exempt from job-search requirements.

Rudd's Risky, Rushed Populism
Ben Eltham, New Matilda

The government might need another $20 billion over three years to reach its target of a 2015-16 surplus. As ANZ economist Cherelle Murphy told the ABC's The Business last night, that equates to roughly $7 billion a year. “That's worth about 0.4, 0.5 per cent of GDP, its a fairly substantial number.”

Perhaps that's why some of Bowen's colleagues are looking for easy “announceables” that will make headline and save money at the same time. Kate Ellis and Bill Shorten have reportedly taken a proposal to the Expenditure Review Committee for a “boot camp” style policy for unemployed youth, which would, according to Shorten, “provide motivation, focus and employment skills for young jobseekers.” They would also provide some extra money that could be allocated out of current Job Services Australia providers to pay for reinstating benefits to single mothers. The proposal has yet to go to cabinet, but it is of a piece with recent Rudd Government announcements: long on populism, short on substance.

What’s behind our failure to return more injured people to work?
Alex Collie, The Conversation

A recently released report by SafeWork Australia shows that there has been no improvement in our national return-to-work rates for the past 15 years.

'Coaches' to help mentally ill battle the blues
Larissa Nicholson, Canberra Times

Canberrans with mild depression and anxiety will soon be offered mental health ''coaches'' as part of a $13.25 million trial by not-for-profit organisation beyondblue.

NewAccess is a free early intervention program based on a successful British model and the first trial will be launched at the ACT Medicare Local in Canberra on Tuesday morning.

New mental health workforce to improve mental health services in Australia
Media release, beyondblue

A ground-breaking new beyondblue program powered by Movember funds will allow thousands of Australians with depression or anxiety to refer themselves to free early intervention services before their condition worsens.

UK - Employers need to do more to overcome mental health stigma at work
Mary O'Hara, The Guardian

Whether they are applying for a new job or in long-term employment, people experiencing mental health difficulties are highly likely to encounter stigma and discrimination if they are open about having a diagnosis.

UK - The fit-for-work test fails mentally ill people – not the other way round
Dick Acworth, The Guardian

As a 76-year-old archdeacon and former vicar, I never imagined that in retirement I'd end up starting a fight with the government. But that's exactly what happened this week, when I launched the I Agree With Dick petition, in conjunction with the charity Rethink Mental Illness. We're demanding that the government stops using the work capability assessment to judge whether people with mental illness should receive benefits, until the test is improved.

How to tackle Australia’s drug addiction: legalise and tax them
Antony Loewenstein, The Guardian

Current policies bolster a dangerous cartel culture. The only way to tackle Australia’s addiction to drugs is to cautiously legalise and tax them – a move that simultaneously accepts that prohibition always fails, and gathers revenue to assist in rehabilitation for any negative health effects.

Child obesity linked to disadvantage
Kate Hagan, The Age

Disadvantaged children are more likely to be overweight and obese at age four than children from more affluent backgrounds and the gap increases with age, a study of 5000 Australian children has found.

Wanted: Wasteful restaurants
Jane Holroyd, The Age

Australian restaurants generate a huge amount of food waste, a large proportion of which currently goes to landfill. But a local company is hoping to convert that waste into compost for city vegie patches.

... Pascoe's plan is to help restaurants cut their food waste to zero and in the process help fund a social enterprise aimed at getting disadvantaged young people into work building vegetable gardens in and around the CBD.

Coalition's 'tent city' trip funded by logistics company that provides tents
Jonathan Swan, The Age

A logistics company that stands to profit from the Coalition's "tent city" on Nauru funded the trip of its immigration spokesman Scott Morrison and a journalist and photographer from News Corporation to the remote island to announce the plan.

Serco: the company that is running Britain
John Harris, The Guardian

From prisons to rail franchises and even London's Boris bikes, Serco is a giant global corporation that has hoovered up outsourced government contracts. Now the NHS is firmly in its sights. But it stands accused of mismanagement, lying and even charging for non-existent work.

ACNC makes reporting online easy
Media release, Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) is writing to all of Australia’s 57,000 registered charities, to explain how to complete the 2013 Annual Information Statement (AIS).

The letter will contain a user name and password that will allow charities to log in at acnc.gov.au/2013AIS to complete their statement. The 2013 AIS is due by 31 December 2013, or six months after the end of an approved substituted accounting period.

Australian psychiatrist talks to Vatican about effects of child sexual abuse
Eliza Harvey, PM, ABC

An Australian psychiatrist who specialises in child sexual abuse is just back from a special meeting with senior members of the Catholic Church in the Vatican.

The Pope invited Associate Professor Brett McDermott to address his advisory council on child welfare and development.

How Pope Francis is revolutionizing the church
Rev. James Martin SJ, CNN

Other popes have visited the poor. In fact, John Paul II visited a favela in Rio in 1980. Other popes have spoken about the poor and economic injustice.

The Catholic Church’s social justice tradition reaches back to the 19th century Pope Leo XIII, and, frankly, all the way back to Jesus.

But I don’t think I’ve ever seen a pope embrace the poor—literally and figuratively—the way Pope Francis did during his visit to the Varginha favela. Perhaps he felt at home among the Latin America poor. During his time as Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he spent a great deal of time in the slums.

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