Daily News - Monday 16 June 2014
NSW - Homelessness a problem that won't go away
Kirsty Needham, Sydney Morning Herald
The windows of the sedan were greasy from the saliva of two dogs that had been couped up for days inside the vehicle with the unkempt young couple who sat uncomfortably in its front seats.
On the dashboard was a complicated array of pills - prescription medicine - the young woman was taking. Did she look pregnant? The back seat was a jumble of their worldly possessions: doonas, pillows, excess clothes, dog bowl, half-empty biscuit packets and sports bags.
Spiralling army of 'new homeless' set to double in Sydney
Deborah Cornwall, PM, ABC
There's a spiralling number of homeless in Sydney. One colony has sprung up right in the shadow of the famed Queen Victoria Building.
The Baird Government has today announced a 12 per cent funding increase for homeless support.
Industry insiders say it reflects a growing alarm about the impact of sweeping welfare cuts proposed in the federal budget.
Devastated: govt cuts hit homeless women, children
Angela Thompson, Newcastle Herald
Two long-time Wollongong homelessness services will be defunded and left to close from October, when government dollars are diverted to bigger operations.
In a long-awaited decision, Family and Community Services announced on Friday that homelessness funding in the Illawarra-Shoalhaven would be given to just seven providers.
Vinnies boss says youth should not be blamed for unemployment
Matthew Bevan, ABC
A major charity has sounded a warning over the Federal Government's youth employment policy.
In the future, job seekers will have to wait six months for unemployment benefits, apply for 40 jobs a month and provide the paperwork to prove it.
The measures coincide with the latest youth unemployment figures, which reached a 12-year high yesterday.
Youth Employment Emergency
Burchell Wilson, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The number of young people employed has contracted by 2.3 per cent over the year to May, yet even this recent slump is merely an extension of a longer term trend decline that continues to pass unnoticed by commentators and policy-makers. Youth unemployment peaked in mid-2008 and has shrunk by in excess of 7 per cent since this time, with almost 140,000 young Australians leaving the labour market.
... The Fair Work Commission is pricing young Australians out of jobs and limiting their capacity to not only support themselves financially but to move from entry level roles to higher paid positions once they have gained valuable work experience.
Encouraging young Australian job seekers to go bush to find employment is not an effective solution when there are already so many rural locals out of work.
That's one finding of a new report commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association.
Depression in the workplace costing workers and businesses
Nick Toscano, The Age
An alarming number of Australians feel their workplaces are mentally unhealthy environments, causing staff to take more sick days due to depression, anxiety and stress, a new survey has found.
Workers say mental wellbeing is even more neglected than physical safety on the job, with 48 per cent of 1126 respondents saying their employers fail to help them through job-related or personal mental health issues.
13 disability services form an Illawarra alliance
Lisa Wachsmuth, Illawarra Mercury
Illawarra disability service providers have formed an important alliance to share information, resources and even staff.
The Illawarra Disability Alliance was officially launched by Minister for Illawarra, Ageing and Disability Services John Ajaka in Corrimal on Friday.
It consists of 13 service providers including the Cram Foundation, Disability Services Australia, Flagstaff group, Greenacres Disability Services, House with No Steps, Interchange Illawarra and The Disability Trust.
Working age Australians have become far less reliant on welfare payments, new figures show
Ben Schneiders, The Age
Working age Australians have become far less reliant on welfare payments since the turn of the century – undermining Abbott government claims of a crisis of welfare dependency in Australia.
The finding comes from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey, an authoritative Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research report that has tracked more than 12,000 people since 2001.
Are we creating a permanent underclass?
Jonathan Green, Sunday Extra, ABC
Are we creating a underclass trapped in poverty or will a growing economy offer jobs and security to people now struggling?
More than 2.2 million of us, including almost 600,000 children live below the poverty line in Australia.
Treasure Joe Hockey's Federal budget proposals mark the beginning of a major overhaul of Australian welfare, how might these changes affect the most vulnerable in the community?
A special Sunday Extra forum on poverty in Australia.
Still the lucky country? New poll shows most Aussies concerned about inequality
Oxfam Australia, media release
New research by Oxfam Australia shows that the wealthiest one per cent of Australians together have more money than 60 per cent of the nation’s population, showing that the ‘lucky country’ is not immune to the creeping inequality that is snaking around the world and slowing the fight against poverty.
An Oxfam poll, also released today, shows 79 per cent of Australians surveyed think the gap between the richest and poorest Australians has widened over the past decade, with the majority of those saying this is making Australia a worse place to live.
Australia has a long and proud tradition of equality, but in recent decades the benefits of strong economic growth have flowed disproportionately to the rich. The growing gulf between those in the top range and those in the lower ranges of wealth and income distribution has profound effects on population health and wellbeing, on educational outcomes and there is increasing evidence that increasing inequality impedes economic productivity and growth.
Time for leaders to get back to basics
Chris Kenny, The Australian
The Treasurer made a speech this week to address claims his budget was “unfair and exacerbates inequality’’. But he had already given credence to that argument by breaking a promise and increasing the top income tax rate to “share’’ the burden.
Now he is trapped in a fairness and equality argument the Coalition can’t win. “Joe Hockey is sounding a trifle guilty when he says that this is a fair budget,’’ said Shorten yesterday. “He is protesting too much.’’
While Abbott strode forward overseas, Hockey was on the back foot. Political debates can’t be won by defending.
Address at ACOSS national conference
The reality of our welfare system in Australia is that we’ve got dozens of payments, supplements and allowances.
If you draw a diagram of the welfare system it looks like a bird’s nest and it’s difficult to understand from that and it must be difficult for lots of people who are participants in the welfare system, who use aspects of the welfare system to actually understand their way through it. And it’s been added to by decision upon decision, often made in an ad hoc manner over years and indeed decades.
“Don’t expect to see any of that money again.” I wonder how many times people in this room have heard that?
As Good Shepherd’s May edition of Microfinance Matters reported, this was precisely the reaction when the Good Shepherd Sisters first put aside $20,000 in loan capital to be lent to low income earners in inner Melbourne back in 1981.
Dept of Social Services to replace core grants system
Paris Cowan, IT News
The Department of Social Services is on the hunt for fresh funding in the next budget in order to undergo a much-needed update to the agency’s grants management system.
DSS – formerly Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - received $2.1 million in the last federal budget to progress its plan for the project through the Department of Finance’s two-pass review process for major IT initiatives.
An adviser to Pope Francis says Catholicism is incompatible with libertarianism. He's right.
Elizabeth Stoker, The Week
It should come as no surprise that Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga's recent comments on American libertarianism have stirred a bit of a furor in free-market circles.
US Church divided on how to 'read' Pope Francis
Michael Sean Winters, The Tablet
Divisions are emerging in public among the American bishops over how to interpret Pope Francis – a split which is likely to be apparent as the US bishops gather in New Orleans this week for their annual spring meeting.
Pope Francis has launched a sweeping attack on the world's economic system, saying it discards the young, puts money ahead of people and survives on the profits of war.
The 77-year-old leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said some countries had a youth unemployment rate of more than 50 per cent, with many millions in Europe seeking work in vain.
"It's madness," the Pope said in an interview with the Barcelona-based Vanguardia daily's Vatican correspondent Henrique Cymerman.
Full text of Pope Francis' Interview with 'La Vanguardia'
Catholic News Agency
“Our world economic system can’t take it anymore,” says the Bishop of Rome in an interview with La Vanguardia. “I’m no illumined one. I didn’t bring any personal projects under my arm.” “We are throwing away an entire generation to maintain a system that isn’t good,” he opines with respect to unemployed youth.