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 Visit CSSA website February 6, 2015

Catholic Church fully supports redress and civil litigation consultation paper

Francis Sullivan, Truth Justice Healing Council Blog

The release of the consultation paper on redress and civil litigation in Sydney last week was a major milestone for the Royal Commission and a beacon of hope for all survivors of institutional child sex abuse.

The Catholic Church is fully supportive of the consultation paper, in particular its option for a national redress scheme, which closely resembles the scheme proposed by the Truth Justice and Healing Council (TJHC) in its submission to the Royal Commission in August 2014.

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Shaping 2015: Social services need more than short-term fixes

Peter Whiteford, The Conversation

Scott Morrison’s appointment as minister for social services in late December 2014 has been seen as an important step for the Abbott government as it moves towards its second budget. The tasks he faces have been variously characterised in the media as “stopping the welfare” and “stopping the bludgers”.

[However] just as Australia does not have an immediate budget crisis, it also does not have a welfare crisis. The proportion of GDP spent on social security cash payments peaked at around 9% of GDP in 1996. It also attained this level in 2000 when compensation for the GST was provided. According to the most recent OECD figures, it was around 8.7% of GDP in 2013.

A sustainable welfare system requires more than just constraining costs to meet short-term budgetary policy. A sustainable system also requires that recipients and current taxpayers view the system as fair and that payments are adequate to meet social objectives, particularly those relating to adequacy of payments.

Getting the right balance between the short term and the medium term may well be the most significant challenge facing Morrison in the Social Services portfolio.

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Pressure for Tony Abbott as families face $60 a day childcare hike

Natasha Bita, The Australian

Families will pay up to $60 a day more for childcare when new staffing rules take force next year, undermining Tony Abbott’s pledge to make daycare cheaper.

Centres in NSW, South Australia and Victoria must hire extra staff in 2016 — fuelling fees that have already soared 8 per cent in a year. Childcare operators calculate fees will jump by an average of $60 a day in Sydney, $28 in Adelaide and $7 in Melbourne.

Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge urged the federal government to postpone the “exorbitant” staffing changes. “Parents can’t afford to pay for them so we’d like a deferral until the government can pay for them,’’ she said yesterday.

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Joe Hockey’s budget backdown

Financial Review

The Abbott government has ­abandoned the search for big May budget savings, will not meet its ­forecast 2018 return to surplus and is privately acknowledging collapsing revenue means it is highly unlikely to offer tax cuts at the next ­federal ­election.

The dramatic dumping of ­long-standing goals came as a two-day meeting of the federal cabinet heard a gloomy update from Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens and Treasury secretary John Fraser.

There has been a major shift in ­economic rhetoric from embattled Prime Minister Tony Abbott and ­Treasurer Joe Hockey in recent days, to a focus on “growth and jobs”.

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New child welfare services roll out


The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS) has announced that the first seven Family and Child Connect services are ready to support vulnerable families.

"Family and Child Connect is a new community-based intake and referral service to provide an additional pathway for referring concerns about children and their families," DCCSDS said on its website.

"Families who are at risk of entering or re-entering the child protection system can be referred to Family and Child Connect."

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Pope Francis as media role model for Tony Abbott

Andrew Hamilton, Eureka Street

The travails of Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott have focused attention on how public leaders engage with their public. Most advice suggests that they should be more controlled and less quirky in their actions and totally on message in their words. A darker shade of grey.

In this climate they might go to school on Pope Francis whose approval ratings are off the scales. He famously engages with the public through symbolic gestures that embody his program, such as moving out of the Vatican palace and washing Muslim women’s feet in a jail.

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