Daily News - Tuesday 12 August 2014
NDIS forerunner beset with poor service, red tape: lawyers
Rick Morton, The Australian ($)
A NSW scheme for victims of motor vehicle accidents that is considered a forerunner for the National Disability Insurance Scheme has spent less than 3 per cent of its funding on actual victims since it started eight years ago.
Lawyers have cited the performance of the Lifetime Care and Support Scheme as evidence that using insuring principles to provide care is beset with problems, including poor service standards, red tape and an inflexible approach to the people it is supposed to assist.
Tasmania - Roll-out of NDIS hailed a success
Georgie Burgess, The Examiner
Young Tasmanians transitioning to the National Disability Insurance Scheme are experiencing a smooth and well planned transition, a report has found.
A progress report released by the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme found the Tasmanian trial site was a success story.
Tensions over 14.5k NSW jobs shift in NDIS
Marie Sansom and Julian Bajkowski, Government News
Debate over one of the most sweeping, if least publicised, attempts to move masses of government jobs to the private and not-for-profit sectors in Australia is intensifying in New South Wales, as unions dig-in for a fight over what they claim claim is bid to outsource 14,500 positions.
In a well-orchestrated series of protests over the past month, industrialised staff working for Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) in NSW have been pushing the message hard that they are deeply unhappy about a potentially forced switch of employers as the federal government’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
Prepayment meters not the answer for Victorians
VCOSS, media release
The Victorian Government should not introduce prepaid electricity metering for low income households as such a scheme would leave people without access to this vital essential service, warns the Victorian Council of Social Service.
“Prepayment meters were banned in Victoria in 2004 for good reason: they significantly increase the risk and incidence of loss of electricity supply and offer no offsetting advantages to energy consumers,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.
ACOSS call for single welfare payment to cover 'life essentials'
Judith Ireland, The Canberra Times
The welfare system should be radically overhauled to replace all working-age payments and pensions with a single basic payment that would cover "life's essentials," according to the country's peak welfare group.
In its submission to the federal government's McClure welfare review, the Australian Council of Social Service argues that welfare payments should be based on people's financial needs and not on assessments about their potential to do paid work.
... ACOSS is also calling on the government to set up an independent commission to benchmark income support payments to broader community living standards.
But while ACOSS is leaving the new payment levels up to the future expert panel, it has renewed its call on the government to increase Newstart by $50 a week ''to reduce the most severe poverty''.
Call for base-payment
Judith Ireland, Sydney Morning Herald
ACOSS chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the social security system was ''complex, unfair and undermines employment participation". "The system is broken and tinkering at the margins won't fix it," she said. "People with the same financial needs receive vastly different payments and those on the lowest payments such as Newstart Allowance receive as little as $35 a day."
De-politicising welfare payments
Michael Mullins, Eureka Street
It’s likely there’s a political imperative behind the government’s toughness against the young unemployed. Voters like to see governments crack down on ‘dole bludgers’ in the way that they want the boats stopped. So perhaps It’s something they feel they have to do to remain electable.
However a group of church welfare organisations this week suggested a way out, which is to de-politicise welfare payments. They want the government to transfer the power to set welfare payments to an independent body that is motivated by fairness rather than electability. It is similar to the idea of an ‘Australian Entitlements Commission’ that Catholic Social Services Australia suggested in 2008 to set and review welfare payments.
In an interview with Andrew Bolt, Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews talks about simplifying the income support system and expanding the government's income management scheme.
Heavy-handed welfare state attacks the most vulnerable
Julie Novak, Sydney Morning Herald
The major risk of a growing welfare state is the threat of overzealous paternalism applied to welfare recipients.
Curiously, a key Abbott government response to the budget emergency has been not to cut middle class welfare or to pare back the unsustainable age pension scheme, but to advocate a set of quick fixes to discourage the take up of the Newstart unemployment allowance.
This explains the apparent zeal with which the government has embraced several ideas serving to impose additional conditions upon Newstart recipients.
Key senator Bob Day vows to kill off Joe Hockey’s no-dole plan
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
Family First senator Bob Day has vowed to lobby all crossbench senators to kill the government’s budget move to kick young people off the dole for six months, saying he is unwilling to negotiate on a compromise deal.
The Australian understands the Abbott government is prepared to reduce the number of months that young people are denied the Newstart payment as a way of securing Senate support for the move.
Senator Day says the entire policy must be dumped. “Not only will it not get my vote I am doing my darnedest to persuade all my crossbenchers and anyone else who will listen not to vote for it either,” he said. “I am lobbying on this as hard as I’ve lobbied on anything in my life, actively.”
We must be bold on Forrest reforms: indigenous council deputy
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)
The deputy chair of Tony Abbott’s indigenous council says we must stop “tinkering around the edges” and embrace large-scale reform in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, strongly backing elements of Andrew Forrest’s report.
Ngiare Brown told The Australian that while the national debit card proposal might be problematic, the report contained many reform ideas with the potential to deliver lasting change.
Benefits threat for parents as truancy returns to APY Lands
Sarah Martin, The Australian ($)
Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion has warned the remote Aboriginal community of Amata that it must improve school attendance rates or lose Centrelink money.
Exclusive figures obtained by The Australian show that fewer children are attending school in South Australia’s remote Aboriginal lands than in 2013, as attendance in some of the country’s most remote communities continues to slide.
100,000 vulnerable children at risk of losing childcare spots
Rachel Browne, Sydney Morning Herald
Almost 100,000 youngsters from low-income families could be forced out of childcare if their eligibility for federal government subsidies is restricted under recommendations put forward by the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into the early childhood sector.
Non-profit childcare giant Goodstart Early Learning has raised concerns that a significant number of disadvantaged families might have to remove their children from care as will not meet tightened work, study or training activity requirements which allow them to claim a subsidy.
Advocacy Voice Won’t be Silenced - ACOSS
Pro Bono News
Australian Council of Social Service has expressed its concern over the direction of Federal Government policy on the funding of advocacy organisations.
ACOSS Chief Executive Officer Dr Cassandra Goldie expressed her concerns in a speech at the ACTCOSS Conference in Canberra where she said the role of civil society was deeply challenged and that its voice would not be silenced.
“There is an attempt to undermine the credibility of civil society as 'bleeding hearts' who don't understand economy,” Dr Goldie said.
Good Christian morality is better than bad science
Matthew Beard, Eureka Street
Even before the controversies surrounding Eric Abetz’s remarks on Channel Ten’s The Project, the World Congress of Families was under fire for its endorsement of Angela Lanfranchi’s research linking abortion to breast cancer.
Dr Lanfranchi was accused by feminist writer Van Badham of 'peddling… information out of a concern for women's health, while playing down their theological or political agenda.'