Daily News - Wednesday 16 April 2014

Posted 16 April 2014 7:45am
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Older Women's Pathways out of Homelessness in Australia
Mercy Foundation

There is strong anecdotal evidence that a growing group of people becoming homeless in Australia are women aged over 55.

The Mercy Foundation commissioned a research report from the University of Queensland to investigate this issue and look at possible solutions to the problem. Dr Maree Petersen and Dr Cameron Parsell undertook the research. Dr Petersen will be present at the official launch.

Bitter rift on youth mental health provider headspace
Jill Stark, Sydney Morning Herald

A major rift within national youth mental health service headspace has erupted, with one of its founding board members publicly raising questions about how the organisation is run and whether it is reaching the vulnerable young people it was set up to help.

Ian Hickie, who was a key player in securing $420 million in early- intervention funding from the Gillard government, including the roll-out of 90 headspace drop-in centres across Australia, is now calling for an ''urgent, systematic national evaluation'' of the organisation he helped build, claiming only half its centres are functional.

The NDIS must bring disruptive change without doing harm: mental health leader
Frank Quinlan , Crikey

If it is implemented successfully, the NDIS will disrupt and disturb our existing systems. In fact, it will turn them on their head.

... We owe it to those people and the community to make certain that our pursuit of change is not so enthusiastic that we actually increase hardships for people who are already disadvantaged.

This is particularly the case for those whose mental illness leads to psychosocial disability. For these people there are immediate challenges to be resolved for the NDIS to achieve its great promise.

Liberal MP warns disability scheme could be run more efficiently
Margaret Paul, ABC

The Liberal MP who is chairing an inquiry into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has guaranteed there will be no cuts or delays to the scheme in next month's federal budget.

Mal Brough is the chairman of an inquiry that is looking at how the scheme is being rolled out at its trial sites.

Speaking at a public forum in Geelong, Mr Brough said there is no plan to cut funding for the NDIS, which is forecast to cost $22 billion a year by 2019.

Federal funding for welfare agencies starves Aboriginal kindergartens
Daniella Miletic, The Age

Welfare agencies specialising in services for the disadvantaged, financial and legal assistance, and the needs of youth and emergency relief believe the country's most vulnerable are at increased risk because of the uncertain future of federal funding, a new report shows.

Joe Hockey’s austerity designed to hit the poor hardest
John Falzon, The Australian ($)

The budget deficit should never be reduced by increasing the public goods deficit. Austerity measures might maintain the comforts of the already comfortable, but they will plunge the marginalised into deeper pain. The people who depend most on public goods such as social services, social housing, free healthcare and public education are the people who cannot afford the market-based user-pay alternatives. By undermining the quantity and quality of these public goods, we stigmatise and punish people who already experience the unbearable burden of entrenched inequality.

Vinnies fears budget cuts will unfairly victimise poor
Patricia Karvelas, The Australian ($)

The St Vincent de Paul Society’s national council fears budget cutbacks flagged by the government will unfairly target the poor and has urged Joe Hockey to find savings to re­invest in “essential social expenditure such as social housing”.

Poll vow to see pension reform put on hold
Sid Maher, The Australian

Tougher pension rules are likely to be pushed beyond the next election as Tony Abbott vows to keep his campaign promise not to change pensions, but to get the budget under ­control.

However, The Australian understands the sustainability of the pension remains an “active’’ discussion in the government’s expenditure review committee this week and that no final ­decision has been taken on any changes to income or assets tests.

Sharing benefits, sharing costs
Peter Whiteford, Advance

We need to have an informed debate about who wins and who loses from tax and welfare reform, writes Peter Whiteford.

Palmer United Party Senator-elect Jacqui Lambie proposes fighting youth unemployment with national service
Daniel Piotrowski, AAP

Combat youth unemployment with national service.

That’s what Palmer United Party senator-elect Jacqui Lambie suggests.

The former Australian Army soldier who joins the upper house in July wants to see a greater utilisation of military national service.

“You can put them in for 12 months. I’m not saying they sign on for war,” she told ABC TV on Monday night.

UK - While there is evidence that workless spells are associated across generations, the ‘culture of welfare dependency’ argument does not hold
Lindsey Macmillan, British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics

The “curse of intergenerational worklessness” as the Department for Work and Pensions called it in a 2010 press release sets out a bleak scenario. Generations of people living in poverty whose families have never known work and who depend on benefits to survive – a so-called “culture of welfare dependency”. Iain Duncan Smith paints a picture of estates where families haven’t had a job in three generations, “with life expectancy lower than the Gaza strip”. Popular culture has stoked the debate; Channel 4’s ‘Benefit Street’ has helped create a sense that sections of society prefer to receive handouts than wages.

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