Daily News - Monday 21 July 2014
New figures show income of parents goes backwards when children are in care
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald
A woman on a low income with two children would lose almost her entire wage if she put her children in care in order to return to full-time work, according to new research.
The study by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling was commissioned by non-profit childcare giant Goodstart Early Learning, which is calling for increased subsidies to cover the cost of care.
NDIS ready for rollout, says disability advocate, despite suggested delay
Gabrielle Chan, The Guardian
A leading disability advocate says there is nothing in a KPMG review of the National Disability Insurance Scheme that would justify a delay in its rollout.
The report, released late last week, found there was a “lack of clarity” around the design of the full scheme which could impede the transition to full rollout, particularly around issues such as eligibility tiers and pricing.
NDIS agency board puts cloud over rollout
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
The National Disability Insurance Scheme shows “limited evidence” of having created the flexible environment of individual support promised and there are “serious risks” to its sustainability, says a long-awaited review of its preparedness.
The review, commissioned by the NDIS agency board and authored by auditors at KPMG, has long been touted by the federal government as the crucial factor in helping decide if the $22 billion scheme should be delayed.
... One of the key problems yet to be addressed by the agency is how to set the barrier between the 430,000 “Tier 3s” with severe disabilities who are eligible to use the NDIS and the four million “Tier 2s” who will miss out.
“For the scheme to work well, you have to make sure there is not a big difference between the last person to get in to it and the first person to miss out,” agency chairman Bruce Bonyhady said.
Current state: A large proportion of current disability support service providers are not-for-profit, small and the service system is fragmented.
Future state: Suppliers will not only include not-for-profits, but new providers, including niche, national and large providers, for example from adjacent industries (e.g. aged care, health care) and entrepreneurs.
Parents of truants to lose benefits, unemployment
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
A radical measure that allows Centrelink to suspend unemployment and other benefits for those who fail to respond to warnings about poor school attendance by their children will be expanded across the Northern Territory by the Abbott government as part of its crackdown on truancy.
The Abbott government’s School Enrolment and Attendance Measure — started by Labor — will be rolled out in the East Arnhem Land communities of Milingimbi, Galiwinku, Gapuwiyak, Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala at the start of Term 3 this year.
Catholic homelessness hostel at 120 per cent of capacity
David Ellery, The Canberra Times
If St Vincent de Paul's Samaritan House in Hackett was a luxury hotel, its directors would be laughing all the way to the bank.
Every night, 365 days of the year, it is operating at 100 to 120 per cent of its 12-bed capacity.
It's easy and common to presume that the people living in boxes on the streets are a product of their own poor decisions.
Sometimes its also true.
But a new campaign is attempting to breakdown the stereotypes usually associated with the homeless and show that, in a post-recession economy, losing your home happens to everyday people.
Rethink Homelessness is the product of nonprofit organization Impact Homelessness centered around a video filmed in Orlando.
Welfare review flags significant reforms for public housing
Matthew Taylor, Centre for Independent Studies
One of the most significant possibilities for reform flagged in the interim report is to the way rents are charged to social housing tenants. While social housing is a state and territory responsibility, the Commonwealth contributed just over $1.7 billion in 2012-13 through the National Affordable Housing Specific Purpose Payments, on top of $2 billion spent by state and territory governments.
... Another approach to the conceptualisation of socio-spatial disadvantage which seeks to transcend income-based measures of social exclusion is the focus on indicators of ‘social pathology’ seen as causes of intergenerational poverty. Hence, while low incomes were included as one of its measures, Vinson’s (2007) mapping study of factors that ‘cause or demonstrate disadvantage’ also included rates of computer and internet access, early school leaving, physical and mental disabilities, long-term unemployment, prison admissions and recorded child maltreatment.
Illawarra's changing face not working
Ben Langford, Illawarra Mercury
If the Illawarra's economy is evolving, it hasn't yet found a place for Shane Szakacs.
And the trouble is, Mr Szakacs, 39, is just the kind of job candidate this region is producing in numbers.
One of 80 workers laid off from MM Kembla at the start of the year, he has joined the ranks of former manufacturing workers trying to find work in the post-steel city of Wollongong.
But after going for "well over 200" jobs, he has found only bits and pieces - a couple of interviews and not many calls back.
Jobs Australia National Conference 2014
There is currently a great deal of interest in the way outsourced contracting is transforming the foundations of social services delivery.
This year’s Jobs Australia conference will focus on the meaning and practical implications of these transformations for employment and social services and the not-for-profit sector generally.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 9:00am - Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 4:00pm
US - Work vs. Poverty: Expanding work among the poor
Work is a family affair. Strategies designed to help low-income kids succeed in life frequently center on education: pre-K programs, after-school programs, college readiness. Often overlooked, however, is the key connection between adult work and children’s success. “If you actually want to help children, help the adults. Parents’ actions have the greatest impact on their children,” noted Donn Weinberg of the Weinberg Foundation. “Philanthropic investments in education are muted unless we acknowledge this reality. Work is the key.”
Strengthening Families and Rewarding Work
Kevin Andrews, Australian Polity (2012)
A problem is that the modern welfare state largely involves accepting the consequences of societal dysfunction and is loath to tackle the causes. This arises from a number of factors. First, the emphasis on individualism has led to a reluctance to interfere with other people’s choices. There is a fear of being accused of moralising, should one seek to address the causes. Even holding out an aspiration is criticised as demeaning the poor or the afflicted, insensitive to their plight, or paternalistic.
Yet this is a modern notion. As recently as a century ago, poverty, for example, was seen as a moral issue. A distinction was drawn between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Taking a sense of responsibility for one’s own situation was a central feature of policy responses.
Paternalism in Australian welfare policy
Kemran Mestan, Australian Journal of Social Issues (abstract only)
Compulsion is the dominant means by which Australian governments seek to relocate people from welfare support programs into employment. Since 1997 requirements have become increasingly onerous and the sanctions harsher. Further evidence of the work-first nature of workfare in Australia is that only a little over half as much is spent on active labour market programs as the OECD average (OECD 2011). In explaining why ‘authoritarian’ workfare policies have been implemented over alternatives, a policy maker frankly stated: ‘It’s cheaper, it’s a resourcing issue in the end’ (former Policy Advisor DEEWR/FaHCSIA).
The rise of data and the death of politics
Evgeny Morozov, The Observer
The true politics of algorithmic regulation become visible once its logic is applied to the social nets of the welfare state. There are no calls to dismantle them, but citizens are nonetheless encouraged to take responsibility for their own health. Consider how Fred Wilson, an influential US venture capitalist, frames the subject. "Health… is the opposite side of healthcare," he said at a conference in Paris last December. "It's what keeps you out of the healthcare system in the first place." Thus, we are invited to start using self-tracking apps and data-sharing platforms and monitor our vital indicators, symptoms and discrepancies on our own.
This goes nicely with recent policy proposals to save troubled public services by encouraging healthier lifestyles. Consider a 2013 report by Westminster council and the Local Government Information Unit, a thinktank, calling for the linking of housing and council benefits to claimants' visits to the gym – with the help of smartcards.
Why cry over the return of populist politics? It's an opportunity!
Jason Wilson, The Guardian
Our proven appetite for the 'political weepie', a genre of book lamenting the decline of managed politics, betrays the frank elitism, even paternalism, of our political class
... Weepies weave recent changes in Australian political life into a story of decline. The genre takes The Reform Era as its golden age. This always includes the Hawke-Keating governments, and frequently the earlier part of the Howard years.
The measure of this period’s excellence was politicians’ refusal to give people what they wanted. The very unpopularity of privatisation, trade liberalisation, deregulation and the farming out of economic decisions to appointed bodies is evidence that these policies were brave and sound. True “leadership” on this view is about giving people what elites know we need, even over our objections.
Does Pope Francis have a cunning plan?
John Waters, The Irish Independent
A key to understanding Pope Francis may be the fact that he has long been an admirer of Father Luigi Giussani, the founder of the Catholic movement Communion and Liberation, who denounced traditional moralism as ‘idolatry’, warning that the obsession with certain issues was detrimental to a true understanding of Christianity.
Certainly, it seems clear from a closer observation of his statements that the Pope’s statements on moral issues are intended less as a manifesto for changing the Church’s teachings than a call for a restoration of perspective with regard to the core meanings and concerns of Christianity.