Daily News - Thursday 24 April 2014
Expect savage budget cuts
Tom Iggulden, Lateline, ABC
The Treasurer has foreshadowed a clamp down on welfare payments and more upfront costs for services such as co-payments for visits to the doctor in his first budget next month.
Joe Hockey does want to frighten the horses ahead of May 13
Michelle Grattan, The Conversation
If Joe Hockey’s first budget runs into problems, it won’t be for want of effort to construct a dramatic narrative about pain, personal responsibility and Australia’s fiscal health.
The Treasurer believes in laying it on thick, whether he’s talking about the frightening state of the nation’s overall finances or the need for individuals to carry heavier loads.
The beginnings of a repair job
Joe Hockey, The Australian ($)
The government will continue to support the most vulnerable. It will do for people what they cannot do for themselves, but no more. Means testing must become an even more important part of Australia’s transfer system to ensure the sustainability of our income support payments. More use of co-payments should be made. On unemployment benefits, government should provide assistance that helps the jobless move into employment, (not) a system that traps them.
Federal drought money delivering for mental health
Andy Toulson, Virginia Tapp and Suzannah Baker, ABC Rural
A mental health care provider in Queensland will use federal drought assistance funding to trial video link counselling services.
The Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland (MIFNQ) will also conduct free counselling on a fly-in fly-out basis to remote locations in the Etheridge, Croydon and Flinders Shires.
Mental health: Coping with stress issues in the bush
Hein Roth, Beef Central
Prolonged stress has the potential to be harmful to our very existence. Faced with prolonged stressful circumstances, we can set our stress levels into motion with unhelpful thoughts, beliefs and attitudes. As a result, we become our own worst enemy in the sense that we help create even more stress for ourselves by overeating, consuming more alcohol than we know is good for our own health, excessive smoking, drinking excessive amounts of coffee and not exercising enough.
NSW - BILLBOARD: Are you OK mate?
New roadside billboards plastered across regional highways are urging motorists to ask a simple question - Are you OK, Mate?
The prominent signs are a joint initiative between NSW Farmers, OOH Media and the R U OK? Foundation and aim to promote the importance of mental health awareness in regional NSW.
A Tasmanian community welfare group is calling for curfews on gaming venues to help address problem gambling.
Fears for childcare quality in overhaul
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The nation’s biggest childcare provider believes a new streamlined assessment of childcare centres will water down the national system set up by Labor.
Goodstart Early Learning wants urgent talks with the Abbott government because it fears that centres may not get the information they need to improve their services currently provided by state regulator’s assessment reports.
No easy fix for youth unemployment
Alexander Philipatos, The Canberra Times
A recent report from the Brotherhood of St Lawrence points to a trebling of long-term youth unemployment since the global financial crisis. Executive director Tony Nicholson said he feared ''large numbers of long-term unemployed people [are] at risk of never getting a foothold in work, of never being able to pursue their aspirations or build a life for themselves''.
It’s About NOT Leaving Anyone Behind
Kasy Chambers, Pro Bono News
On election night last year the Prime Minister made a key promise: that his new government would not leave anyone behind.
We are very interested to see how the Welfare Review commissioned by Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews at the start of this year might inform that promise, and look forward to seeing its interim report which we understand the Minister will release in the next couple of weeks.
Qld - Jobs drive by a not-for-profit company transforms a community
Kerrie Sinclair, The Courier Mail
A Toowoomba community push to create jobs for people on disability pensions has seen a business that is just a year old provide employment and renewed hope for its 34-strong workforce.
Andrews - Reform of disability payments
Kevin Andrews, Transcript, Sunday 20 April
We’re just waiting for advice at the moment from Patrick McClure and his group of experts which will give us some ideas about what we can do. We’ve been looking at various options, and his report will come soon and we will publish it and then take further consultation from the public.
Labor attacks single welfare payment system
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
Labor has attacked the federal government’ s plans to follow Britain’s simplified or single-welfare payment system, arguing the reform has been a disaster that could be abandoned overseas.
Labor welfare spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews’s “simplification’’ of Australia’s welfare system “may not be as simple as it sounds, with the UK single payment plagued by delays and cost blowouts”.
Rethink the benefits balance for smarter savings
David Uren, The Australian ($)
It is easy to conclude that the $132 billion a year that government spends on social security and welfare is too much and that the eight million-odd recipients of government payments are too many. Yet it is difficult to make significant savings without generating electorally significant numbers of losers or without the burden falling disproportionately on the poor.
Incomes and inequality: how does Australia compare?
Matt Cowgill, We are all dead
The American middle class is no longer the world’s richest, according to a feature at the new NYT wonk blog, The Upshot. The feature compares American incomes to those of other advanced economies, and shows that people in the bottom half of the income distribution have fared better in Canada and the Netherlands than in the US over the past few decades. It’s a really interesting feature, but the first question that came to my mind was: what about Australia?
In defence of Cardinal Pell
Frank Brennan, Eureka Street
I write to defend Cardinal Pell in the wake of Elizabeth Farrelly's claim in the Fairfax press that Pell, when appearing before Justice McClellan at the Royal Commission, proposed a 'priestly child abuse insurance scheme' and that 'if you wanted to maximize the damage already done to countless children, you'd be hard put to find a surer way or crueler'.