Daily News - Wednesday 7 May 2014
NDIS faulted over funding
Ian Kirkwood, Newcastle Herald
Service providers say pay rates under the National Disability Insurance Scheme are unsustainably low.
Individuals and disability advocates are worried the scheme is throwing up wildly different funding outcomes for people with similar disabilities and needs.
Disability carers resilient and resourceful but support services vital to long-term wellbeing
Wesley Mission, media release
While disability carers are extremely resilient and resourceful their mental and physical wellbeing would decline significantly if support services disappeared or were diminished.
That’s the conclusion of a new 60 page Wesley Mission report, Giving disability carers a break [pdf]. The results are from a survey and interviews with disability carers in January this year.
The Coalition's society is no place for disabled people
John Maloney, The Guardian
Last year, I wrote about my impressions of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, along with other readers. I tried to point out that improving the life of disabled people is about a lot more than improving how they’re cared for and treated.
I’ve thought about that a bit since. Not long ago, I went to the doctor to discuss a battery of tests I’ve had in recent months: an ultrasound of my kidneys; a blood test; some x-rays of my back and pelvis; a bone density scan; a gait analysis.
'Fit note' could replace doctor's certificate
Noel Towell, Sydney Morning Herald
A decades-old Australian workplace tradition, the sick note, looks set to be consigned to history and replaced by the 21st century version; the "fit note".
Australia is taking the first steps towards following the UK with a certificate for sick or injured workers that tells bosses what their employees can do, instead of what they can't.
Health expert and doctor Dame Carol Black led the transition in Britain and is in Australia this week to spruik the health benefits of work and to warn against the harm caused by the traditional approach of simply sending sick employees home and waiting for them to get better.
Job Services Reform Key to Reversing Unemployment Trends
Kevin Robbie, Pro Bono News
Recent analysis from the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) shows youth unemployment at crisis levels in a number of areas across the country, with long-term youth unemployment having tripled since Global Financial Crisis six years ago. With these figures pointing to the risk of a ‘jobless generation’, it’s clear that something needs to change if we are to stem this rise in joblessness and create sustainable job opportunities for those at risk of permanent exclusion.
Welfare Review Gets More Time
Pro Bono News
Federal Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has delayed the release of a review of Australia’s welfare system - the interim report not expected now until after the May 13 Federal Budget.
The report was expected to be released before the Budget however a spokesperson for the Minister said Minister Andrews had asked Patrick McClure, who leads the review team, to take Budget decisions into consideration as part of his review of the welfare system.
Commission of Audit’s poverty traps for low wage earners
David Peetz, The Conversation
There was nothing in the Commission of Audit’s terms of reference inviting it to make recommendations on the minimum wage. The Commission was asked to produce a report on “government expenditure”.
Yet the commission has recommended fundamental changes to the fixing of the minimum wage including, over time, cuts averaging 21% across the workforce, and up to 31% for South Australian workers and 33% for Tasmanians. (Minimum wages should fall, it recommends, from 56% to 44% of average weekly earnings, and vary between states.)
Audit commission's rationalist market approach a glimpse into a less caring future
Ross Gittins, Sydney Morning Herald
We will hear a few toned-down echoes of the report of the National Commission of Audit in Tuesday’s budget but, apart from that, the memory of its more extraordinary proposals is already fading. And for most Coalition backbenchers, that can’t come soon enough.
But I think the audit commission has done us a great service. It has been hugely instructive. The business people and economists on the commission offered us a vision of a dystopian future.
The state of Australia: welfare and inequality
Eva Cox, The Conversation
Is Australia a good place to live in these days? On a range of economic indicators we are doing well, but who has and who has not benefited socially from our two decades of growth? Can we still call ourselves egalitarian now there are visible social fractures?
The Commission of Audit in a nutshell: ideology over evidence
Greg Jericho, The Guardian
The Commission of Audit is a rare example of a government attaching itself to a document that appears to hate Australia. Its recommendations start from a premise that the Australia which has become the envy of the world needs to be drastically changed. Notions of equality and fairness which have underpinned our health, education and welfare systems would be replaced with a view that efficiency trumps all.
You can't just tax your way to a surplus
Chris Berg, The Drum
The audit commission report is remarkable. It is incredibly rare to see major government reports so explicitly driven by philosophical beliefs about the proper scope of government.
Vanstone joins Costello, Hewson speaking out against debt levy idea
Alexandra Kirk, PM, ABC
Another prominent Liberal, former Howard government minister Amanda Vanstone, has joined the ranks of those speaking out against the Federal Government's idea of a debt levy. Like Peter Costello and Dr John Hewson she argues it has no long term economic value and could damage the economy. The Coalition's now considering a levy only for those earning upwards of $150,000 to avoid hitting middle income earners twice and limit the political fallout.
Shame, shame, shame on the Commission of Audit
Jim Hyde, Crikey
The Commission of Audit report demonstrates a wilful disregard for evidence and for the history of system development, while dragging up and relying on old myths and urban legends in health.
State and territory governments are being accused of placing vulnerable young people at greater risk by making child protection systems less transparent and answerable.
UK - Poor diet is the result of poverty not lack of education
Lynne Kennedy, The Conversation
Contrary to popular belief, people who are experiencing food poverty are not ignorant of what they should eat as part of a healthy diet or even where to buy affordable food. There is a wealth of research showing that the most important factor for having a healthy diet is access to affordable healthy food.
Are e-cigarettes good for your mental health?
Jack Dutton, The Guardian
In all the debate over electronic cigarettes and their health implications, one issue is largely neglected: the implications of e-cigarettes on mental health. Nicotine has a history of being used as treatment for mental health problems and studies have found that it can quell the symptoms of several conditions, including attention-deficit disorder, depression and schizophrenia. Nicotine fuses with nicotinic receptors, which trigger the release of several neurotransmitters – including serotonin and dopamine – which are both associated with positive side-effects, including elation and excitability.
It began as one man's challenge to the Federal Government's right to pay for religious chaplains in the nation's secular schools.
It could end with billions of dollars of Commonwealth spending being ruled unconstitutional.