Thursday, 30 April 2015

Only an Aussie would have this last word.....


Oh, would that it were true! :-D


GAG OF THE WEEK

I know it. You know it. It really was a dark and stormy night. And it was just Tuesday last. Off our east coast, two flashing lights are coming closer and closer, each signalling in Morse code as radio contact can't be established, with the static from the lightning.

First flashing light: "Please change your direction fifteen degrees to north to avoid a collision."

Second flashing light: "Highly recommend you divert your course fifteen degrees to south to avoid a collision."

First flashing light: "This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert your course."

Second flashing light: "No. I say again, you divert your course."

First flashing light: "This is Admiral William Saunders III of the aircraft-carrier Enterprise. We are the largest warship of the US Navy. I command that you divert your course now or face the consequences."

Second flashing light: "This is Joe, the keeper of the Barrenjoey lighthouse. Your call."

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

An estimated 650,000 Australians are diddled by their boss. Time to ask your employers for proof that they are contributing to a super fund in your name?



By law, employers have to contribute 9.5 per cent of an employee's salary into their super fund.
However, a report in October by Tria Investment Partners found employer non-compliance amounted to $1.3 billion a year. Those affected by companies that did not allocate a super contribution were, on average, $3750 a year out of pocket, the report found.
In total, $2.5 billion is lost each year, including through the cash economy, sham contracting and businesses that go bust owing employees.
It estimates that 650,000 Australians are diddled by their boss. The worst industries for non-compliance are property services, mining, hospitality and manufacturing.
The report found that a 25-year-old whose super contributions were not paid for five years would lose 14 per cent of their total retirement fund because of compounding factors…..
About $200 million a year is lost by workers at businesses that go into insolvency.
However, Tax Office officials conceded last year that it was often "uneconomical" to chase small, individual amounts.
Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia chief executive Pauline Vamos said that was "disturbing" because the money owed was mainly to low-income earners.

Australian Taxation Office (ATO) page retrieved 27 April 2015:


If you’re eligible for compulsory super guarantee contributions, your employer must pay them into a complying super fund.

Generally, you’re entitled to super guarantee contributions from an employer if you’re 18 years old or over and paid $450 or more (before tax) in a month. It doesn’t matter whether you’re full time, part time or casual, and it doesn’t matter if you’re a temporary resident of Australia.
If you’re under 18 you must meet these conditions and work more than 30 hours per week to be entitled to super contributions. If you’re a contractor paid wholly or principally for your labour, you’re considered an employee for super purposes and entitled to super guarantee contributions under the same rules as employees.

If you’re eligible for super guarantee contributions, at least every three months your employer must pay into your super account a minimum of 9.50% of your ordinary time earnings, up to the ‘maximum contribution base’. (Note: prior to 1 July 2013 the rate was 9% and during the 2013-14 financial years the rate was 9.25%)

If you think your employer isn’t paying your super into the right fund, or isn’t paying as much as they’re supposed to, you should ask your employer about it and check how much your super fund has received. If you still think there’s a problem you can lodge an enquiry with us.

You need to provide your tax file number (TFN) to your employer and/or super fund on a Tax file number declaration form. If you don’t, your super fund may take extra tax out of your super contributions.

Most people can choose the super fund they want their employer contributions paid into. If you’re eligible to choose a fund, your employer must give you a Standard choice form so you can make that choice in writing.

If you take up an Australian employer’s offer to temporarily work for them overseas, your employer must continue to pay super contributions for you in Australia. Your employer may be able to apply to the ATO for a Certificate of coverage so neither you nor your employer will have to pay super (or a super equivalent) in the other country.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

FLOOD WATCH FOR THE NEW SOUTH WALES COASTAL VALLEYS FROM THE QUEENSLAND BORDER TO TAREE FOR THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY


IDN36501
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology New South Wales

FLOOD WATCH FOR THE NEW SOUTH WALES COASTAL VALLEYS FROM THE QUEENSLAND BORDER TO TAREE FOR THIS FRIDAY AND SATURDAY

Issued at 11:52 am EST on Wednesday 29 April 2015
##
Note: This Flood Watch is a "heads up" for possible future flooding along all rivers and creeks within a nominated valley and is NOT a Flood Warning [see note below].
Onshore winds and rain will increase as a trough deepens off the northern NSW coast on Thursday and Friday. Another East Coast Low is expected to form within this trough on Saturday near the QLD border before moving south to be offshore of the Mid North Coast on Sunday. The northern half of the coast (Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers) will receive the heaviest rain with multi-day falls of 150-200mm, locally 350+mm from Wednesday night to Saturday. Friday and Saturday will see the heaviest widespread falls.
At this stage there is a greater than 70% chance of flooding in the following river valleys developing during Friday and Saturday:
1. Tweed River valley - moderate to major flooding
2. Brunswick River valley - moderate to major flooding
3. Richmond and Wilsons River valley - moderate to major flooding
4. Clarence River Valley, including the Orara River - minor to moderate flooding
5. Coffs Harbour - minor to moderate flooding
6. Bellinger and Kalang River valley - moderate to major flooding
7. Nambucca River valley - moderate to major flooding
8. Macleay River valley - minor to moderate flooding
9. Hastings River valley - minor to moderate flooding
10. Camden Haven valley - minor to moderate flooding
11. Manning River Valley, including Gloucester - minor to moderate flooding
There is still the possibility of renewed flooding in the Hunter Valley (including the Paterson and Williams Rivers) on Sunday and Monday. This will be reviewed on Thursday based on the latest information.
This Flood Watch means that people living or working along rivers and creeks must monitor the latest weather forecasts and warnings and be ready to move to higher ground should flooding develop. Flood Warnings will be issued if Minor Flood Level is expected to be exceeded at key sites along the main rivers for which the Bureau of Meteorology provides a flood warning service. Across NSW over 70% of Flood Watches are followed by flooding within the catchment.
FloodSafe advice is available at www.ses.nsw.gov.au
For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500.
For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Weather Forecast:

For the latest weather forecast see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/forecasts/

Next Issue:

This Flood Watch will be renewed by 11am Thursday morning.
For latest rainfall and river level information see www.bom.gov.au/nsw/flood/

One more reason not to buy pizza from an American multinational fast food chain


Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Florida, media release, 23 April 2015:

BARTOW, Fla. - The Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR Florida) has announced they will pursue a lawsuit for public accommodation discrimination and other legal claims against a Davenport Domino's Pizza for the horrendous treatment of a Muslim customer on July 27, 2012.
Hakima Benaddi, a Florida woman who was wearing a Muslim head covering at the time, was accused by Domino's Pizza management of threatening to blow up the location after she complained about the service and pizza she received. On July 27, 2012, a pregnant Benaddi went to Domino's to order a veggie pizza with her 23-month-old daughter. When Benaddi opened her pizza box she discovered that it was grossly inadequate and returned to complain and seek a refund.
"I was surprised because what I got was nothing like my order," Benaddi explained. "That pizza was barely suitable to feed to a dog."
Prior to the incident, Benaddi was a regular customer at the location. There was one small difference, however, on the day of the incident Benaddi had recently started covering her hair by wearing the hijab, the Muslim head scarf.
The Domino's Pizza did not assist Benaddi when she returned, they did not offer to make her a new pizza or offer her a refund. Instead, the cashier laughed at her and mocked her limited English proficiency.
Then, in what could only be described as a brazen discriminatory act, the Domino's Pizza management called local police claiming that Benaddi had threatened to blow up the location resulting in Benaddi's arrest.
Benaddi was in custody for over 24 hours before she was released. She was also forced to remove her headscarf before her booking image was taken.
CAIR Florida's investigator revealed that eyewitness accounts were consistent with that of Benaddi's and admitting that Benaddi never made any threats other than to file a complaint. The story the Domino's Pizza's manager provided to the police was completely, intentionally and maliciously fabricated.
Although the felony charge against Hakima was dropped before the arraignment, Domino's Pizza has yet to confirm any wrongdoing.
"Without them acknowledging what they did wrong, this is our only opportunity for her voice to be heard," said Thania Diaz Clevenger, Civil Rights Director of CAIR Florida. "We need to tell people that this is not okay, to let Domino's Pizza know this is not okay, and to let other Muslim women who are targeted to know that they can stand up for themselves."

###

CAIR Florida is the state's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties of all people, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Coal seam & tight gas miner Metgasco Limited puts a dollar price on walking away from its NSW North Coast exploration leases


Metgasco chief executive Peter Henderson said they would be seeking compensation for the year-long suspension of the drilling licence and all associated losses of the suspension, which could run as high as $15 million.
Mr Henderson said Metgasco would require a further $110m if the company was forced to exit its operations in the state’s north.
[The Australian, 27 April 2015]

One hundred and ten million dollars is a small price to pay to protect an existing NSW North Coast* regional economy which annually contributes an estimated $20.6 billion plus to the Gross State Product (GSP) or 15% of the total NSW GSP.

In 2012-13 the Northern Rivers** (where Metgasco has its exploration leases) contributed $13.6 billion in Gross Regional Product (GRP) to the North Coast regional economy, in large part via its tourism, agribusiness-forestry, manufacturing and commercial fishing sectors.


* Local Government Areas: Ballina, Bellingen, Byron, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Gloucester, Great Lakes, Greater Taree, Kempsey, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Richmond Valley, Tweed.

** Local Government Areas: Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley, Tweed.

Destroy the Joint is counting dead women - Part Five


Destroy The Joint

Since 1 January 2015 thirty-three women have died in violent incidents. That equates to two women killed each week so far this year.

Destroy The Joint keeps a register of these deaths here.


This is the latest death.

NSW Police media release 26 April 2015:

Man charged following alleged domestic-violence related murder - Brewarrina

Sunday, 26 April 2015 01:19:56 PM

A man has been charged with murder following an alleged domestic violence incident in Brewarrina yesterday afternoon.
About 5.45pm (Saturday 25 April 2015), police from Darling River Local Area Command were called to a Byron Street home where they found a woman suffering serious injuries.
Additional emergency services were called to assist but the woman, aged 18, died at the scene.
A crime scene was established and investigated by specialist forensic officers
A 22-year-old man was arrested at the scene and taken to Brewarrina Police Station where he was charged with murder and three outstanding warrants.
He was refused bail and is due to appear at Bourke Local Court tomorrow (Monday 27 April 2015).
Police from Darling River Local Area Command, with the assistance of neighbouring commands have established Strike Force Goninan to investigate the matter.
Initial investigations suggest the incident was domestic violence related.
                                         

Monday, 27 April 2015

NSW Supreme Court rejected CSG miner Metgasco's contention that the NSW Government acted unreasonably in finding its community consultation process "inherently ineffective"



74.          Fourthly, to the extent that Metgasco submitted that it was unreasonable for the Delegate to find that the consultation undertaken was inherently ineffective, in the sense of lacking attributes and qualities that would make it efficacious, I respectfully reject that submission. The Delegate was entitled, by way of more than one pathway leading to the guidelines, to consider whether Metgasco had engaged in consultation that could be characterised as being effective in its attributes but not its results. That includes whether the community consultation plan was sufficient. I do not propose to engage in an impermissible review of the merits of that decision; to my mind it was not so unreasonable to be amenable to judicial review. It follows that, if this were the only ground upon which Metgasco relied, I would not intervene on the basis of it.

Coal seam and tight gas miner Metgasco Limited sets out on a deliberate collision course with Northern Rivers communities yet again


Coal seam and tight gas miner Metgasco Limited sets out on a deliberate collision course with Northern Rivers communities yet again and, just as before, it intends to drag the NSW Government and police along for the ride.

The Sydney Morning Herald 24 April 2015:

Energy company Metgasco says it will need police to escort gas drilling equipment onto its site on the NSW north coast following a court victory overturning a suspension imposed on it by the state government.
Chief executive Peter Henderson said protesters would return to the site at Bentley once the company seeks to start drilling in about three months' time.
"When we drill now we know there are going to be protesters and we will need police in there to uphold our rights," he said.
"Otherwise NSW will be the state of anarchy."….. [my red bolding]

The Northern Star 24 April 2015:

PROTESTERS will continue to fight Metgasco at Bentley even if the State Government passes legislation banning protests at drilling sites, Ian Gaillard says.
Mr Gaillard, of Gasfield Free Northern Rivers, said locals would not allow Metgasco to start drilling at Bentley and called on the State Government to revoke all gas licences…..

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis has also expressed his unhappiness with the decision.
"I am extremely disappointed with the decision of the NSW Supreme Court to quash the decision of the NSW Government to suspend Metgasco's drilling licence at Bentley," Mr Gulaptis said.
"I will be urging the Minister to seek every opportunity to appeal this decision because I believe it is wrong."….

Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan says it would be "foolish" for Metgasco to consider returning to the region, adding the legal avenues over their licence suspension are far from exhausted.
Mr Hogan said he had been in touch with state colleagues who were already in talks with Resources and Energy Minister Anthony Roberts about grounds for an appeal. He said he was "extremely disappointed" by the news.
"We do not want CSG in the Northern Rivers and we need to do everything we can to make sure that is what happens.
"This isn't over, while they may be feel happy with the decision today, I don't think it's over legally and it's certainly not over as far as them coming back into our community to do what they want to do."
Mr Hogan added it would be "quite foolish" for Metgasco to consider returning to Bentley in the near future.
"I think this community has shown very strongly that they do not want coal-seam gas in this region," he said.
"While they have won this court case, there are still legal options for the state government to take, and the first one would be an appeal.
"I think the suspension should remain until that appeal is heard."


 Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell on Twitter:


Excerpt from NSW Greens media release 24 April 2015:

Greens Member for Ballina Tamara Smith said, “Despite the court victory, Metgasco should heed the clear message from the community that they want a gas field free Northern Rivers.  Metgasco should pack up and leave. “If Metgasco try to drill again, the community will resist and I will be standing with them.

The Knitting Nannas Against Gas (KNAG) on Facebook, 25 April 2015:

Excerpt from an editorial in The Northern Star, 25 April 2015:

If past history is anything to go by, protesters will likely be setting up camp at Bentley in the very near future.
So are we back to square one on this issue? Or has the government's election results on the Northern Rivers taught them any lessons?
Considering the government trumpeted its buy back of CSG licences during the last election campaign, perhaps they should extend it to the licence that covers Bentley.
Otherwise we are in for more of the same.
Another blockade at Bentley and the government forced to make the difficult decision of sending hundreds of police officers north, at taxpayers' expense, to remove thousands of protesters.
The NSW Supreme Court has delivered a sharp rebuke to the government which is going to cost them a lot of money.
But the circumstances that led them to the suspension still remain.

Comments published in The Northern Star on 25 April 2015:

Lynne Stebbing: There is going to be trouble!
Hugh Nicholson: This decision only relates to the way the government went about suspending Metgasco's license.
It has nothing to do with the reason for the suspension - namely Metgasco's failure to consult with the community. Go away Metgasco.

From Land Water Future tweet on 24 April 2015:


UPDATE

The Northern Star 27 April 2015:

Bentley landowners Meg and Peter Nielsen believe that if energy company Metgasco returns to the region public resistance will be even stronger than it was at last year's blockade.
"It will be on for young and old," Mr Nielsen declared.
"Our resolve will never turn. Metgasco would be absolutely foolish to try it again."
But the couple believes the NSW Government will "see common sense" before it comes to that.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A good news story cartoon



http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/24/rescue-dogs-fostered-by-first-dog-on-the-moon-a-short-history

Metgasco says it could be back drilling at Bentley within three months




Within hours of the NSW Supreme Court handing down its judgment in Metgasco Limited v Minister for Resources and Energy, Metgasco Limited publicly stated that it could be back drilling at Bentley in the Northern Rivers region within three months.

I’m sure the Northern Rivers community will be there to greet the return of this coal seam & tight gas mining company with its own unique, non-violent and uncompromising resistance.



Saturday, 25 April 2015

A distressingly familiar list in Abbott's Australia



So far in Abbott's Australia thirteen of the fourteen signs of fascism have become obvious elements in the national government's interaction with citizens and/or in the formation of government policies.

Fourteen Signs of Fascism*

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism—Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays. 

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights—Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need".  The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc. 


3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause—The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc. 


4. Supremacy of the Military—Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized. 


5. Rampant Sexism—The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, 
traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and anti-gay legislation and national policy. 

6. Controlled Mass Media—Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common. 


7. Obsession with National Security—Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses. 


8. Religion and Government are Intertwined—Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions. 


9. Corporate Power is Protected—The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite. 


10. Labour Power is Suppressed—Because the organizing power of labour is the only real threat to a fascist government, labour unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed. 


11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts—Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free-expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.


12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment—Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.


13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption—Fascist regimes are almost always governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections—Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.


* Attributed to Dr. Lawrence Britt, a name which is possibly a pseudonym


* Photographs found at Google Images

Friday, 24 April 2015

NSW Coalition Government response to Supreme Court judgment in Metgasco Ltd v Minister for Resources & Energy



This is what passes for community consultation at Clarence Valley Council in April 2015


Take a good look at this concept plan below.

There is no scale to accurately judge distance, eg. changes to road width.
There is no legend to decode symbols drawn on areas which are to be altered, eg. footpaths and outdoor dining areas.
There is no gradient given for the ramps on either side of the proposed change to the Coldstream Street pedestrian crossing.
There is no indication of how high the proposed roundabout will be above the road surface or its final design and visual impact, eg. potential to obscure a pedestrian’s view of oncoming traffic.

Without scale, legend, gradient and full description of the roundabout, Yamba residents have no way of judging whether it will be safe to step onto the new pedestrian crossing. 

Neither will they be able to calculate the stopping distance required by the Yamba to Grafton bus if it is negotiating the roundabout at the same time an elderly person is traversing this pedestrian crossing. Nor judge whether the traffic lane narrowing at one point accommodates the full width of a standard passenger bus.

It is also difficult to judge whether there will be a significant loss of the outdoor dining tables locals enjoy.

The small central business district in Yamba probably has the highest number of pedestrian movements within the town as it services not only local residents but also the many tourists who visit or holiday in the area.

So one wonders why Clarence Valley Council decided that this sketchy concept plan was the single document it would post online when exhibiting Proposed Roundabout Intersection Yamba Street/Coldstream Street, Yamba for comment.

Just as one may wonder why council appears to believe there is a compelling need for a roundabout in the centre of town when there appears to have been no call from the local community to install one there, no history of serious accidents and apparently no traffic movement study conducted on the intersection to determine if there are significant capacity/delay issues associated with it to date.

A roundabout and associated modifications which in council's March 2012 monthly meeting minutes was costed at an estimated $371,688 and will in all likelihood exceed that amount in 2015.

Click on image to enlarge

Committee For Economic Development Of Australia: more than a million Aussies living in poverty is a national disgrace


The number of Australians living in entrenched disadvantage is a disgrace and without a radical policy shake-up Australia will never reduce this number or the cost to taxpayers, CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin has said….
Professor Martin said the past 20 years had essentially been a massive failure by successive governments to address entrenched disadvantage and policies have been economically short-sighted…..
“We need to tear up the rule book and have a radical overhaul of how we tackle entrenched poverty. Labour market programs – essentially using a big stick to tell people they’ve got to get a job or face even further financial disadvantage – should not be the primary policy instrument for this group of people.
“It is absolutely clear that labour market policies have not worked because they fail to tackle the heart of the problem and yet it seems they are the only approach successive governments are willing to focus on.
“The main problem often isn’t that people don’t have a job, but the consequence of a range of other issues including education levels, mental health, social exclusion or discrimination. [Committee For Economic Development Of Australia (CEDA) media release 21 April 2015]

Excerpts from the Overview in the Committee For Economic Development Of Australia (CEDA) report, Addressing entrenched disadvantage in Australia April 2015:

How serious is disadvantage?

There are many ways to measure and define disadvantage, including the poverty line, the deprivation and the social exclusion approaches. Each method has its own shortcomings and strengths, with this study focusing on the deprivation and social exclusion approaches, as they are more representative of experienced disadvantage.

Using the 50 per cent of median income poverty line approach, and after taking into account housing costs, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) found that the threshold for poverty in 2011–12 was a disposable income of less than $400 per week for a single adult and $841 for a couple with two children. This implies that 13.9 per cent of the population (or 2.55 million Australians) had an income below that necessary to acquire a socially accepted standard of living.

An alternative to using poverty lines is to attempt to describe whether households have access to goods and services deemed necessary as defined by a survey of community attitudes (the deprivation approach). An example is the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) surveys conducted in 2006 and 2010 using a list of 25 items identified as essential for all Australians.

In Chapter 1 of this report, Professor Peter Saunders finds that deprivation (using the SPRC surveys) is highest among sole-parent households, and deprivation was pronounced in items that provide protection against future risks related to poor health and unforeseen circumstances (for example, dental treatment or emergency funds). He also finds that only about 40 per cent of those below the poverty line are considered deprived.

A third methodology, the social exclusion/inclusion approach, is generally seen as multidimensional, with concepts based on the capability and deprivation approaches. It captures social inclusion as having the resources; having opportunities and capabilities to work, learn and engage; and having a voice in society.

One such example is the Social Exclusion Monitor (SEM) by the Melbourne Institute and the Brotherhood of St Laurence.10 The SEM captures social exclusion through 30 indicators of disadvantage in seven life domains:

1. Material resources;
2. Employment;
3. Education and skills;
4. Health and disability;
5. Social connection;
6. Community; and
7. Personal safety.

The SEM finds that about five per cent of Australians faced deep social exclusion and a further one per cent faced very deep social exclusion in 2012, amounting to almost one million people, or about 39 per cent of those living below the poverty line, echoing the findings of SPRC’s deprivation approach……

…evidence of the persistence and of the risk of chronic poverty:

*About a quarter of the people who manage to exit poverty have returned to being poor within two years; and
* About 12 to 15 per cent of poor households are still poor 11 years later.

…individuals with a high risk of facing long-term disadvantage fall into the following categories:

* Those with low education attainment, including those who did not complete high school;
* Indigenous Australians;
* Households with someone living with a long-term health problem or disability;
* Those aged 65 and over;
* Jobless households; and
* Those living in disadvantaged areas……

Low-income individuals and households tend to have the poorest health outcomes: They are more likely to have higher mortality rates, lower life satisfaction, poor self-assessment of their health, and higher rates of long-term or severe health conditions.19 Individuals with poor health conditions are less likely to participate fully in the workforce and in some cases, particularly for the more acute and long-term illnesses, there is the additional cost of caring for those who cannot care for themselves……

Policy lessons While each of the three areas of disadvantage comes with its own challenges and policy implications, this study suggests some overarching perspectives that are applicable to all policies, regardless what aspect of disadvantage is being addressed. Entrenched disadvantage is a complex and significant problem: • An estimated four to six per cent of our society experiences chronic or persistent disadvantage. This amounts to about one to 1.5 million Australians; • Between 12 and 15 per cent of disadvantage spells last more than a decade; • The longer an individual spends with significant disadvantage, the more likely they are to be stuck in the spell; • The risk of falling back into a disadvantage spell is highest in the first two years of exiting poverty, affecting about a quarter of people who have exited; and • Children who grow up in a home with entrenched disadvantage are more likely to face the same problem……

Conclusion

Addressing entrenched disadvantage is an onerous task. Current policies are not working as well as we would hope and despite Australia’s relatively good economic performance, our scorecard when it comes to getting people out of the cycle of disadvantage has not been as good. There is a lot more work to do to reduce disadvantage and make sure it does not become entrenched. To do so would require a suite of policies that are evidence-based, focused on long-term objectives, with the view to address the drivers behind the persistence of entrenched disadvantage, including the need to ensure that individuals have the right environment (such as stable housing) to enable better participation. These policies would be subject to transparent evaluation, including ongoing evaluation to ensure they remain effective and have a long-term impact on individuals.

More research into the dynamics of disadvantage, perhaps through the development of better longitudinal data, is required to develop this suite of policies and to inform good policy. One thing is certain: Entrenched disadvantage is a complex problem and in the absence of appropriate and effective policies, it is not going away. A nation as rich as Australia has no excuse for not doing better – we can, and should, do better not just for the benefit of those who are disadvantaged, but for the benefit of all Australians.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

In NSW last year domestic violence was still trending upwards according to the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research


Reported domestic violence related assaults in New South Wales numbered 29,070 incidents for the year ending December 2014.

A 2.7%  increase according to the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research’s New South Wales Recorded Crime Statistics 2014, making this category of assault the fifth highest trending crime across local government areas and the crime category with the highest percentage of legal proceedings commenced last year.

Conversely non-domestic violence assaults were down 5.7% across NSW in 2014, making this category of assault the ninth highest trending crime across local government areas and the crime category with the eighth highest percentage of legal proceedings commenced last year.

Clarence Valley Local Government Area's reported domestic violence related assaults numbered 192 in 2014, a ratio of 1.0 (per 100,000 persons) which had it on par with the state average.

One hundred and ninety-two domestic violence related assault reports in the Clarence Valley represented an 11.5% fall since 2013 or a reduction of 25 incidents.

Reported domestic violence related assaults in other Northern Rivers local government areas in 2014 were:

Ballina – 164 incidents (up 28 on the previous year)
Byron – 135 incidents (up 17 on the previous year)
Kyogle – 33 incidents (up 2 on the previous year)
Lismore – 215 incidents (up 26 on the previous year)
Richmond Valley – 120 incidents (up 15 on the previous year)
Tweed – 407 incidents (up 70 on the previous year).

Alcohol is involved in a significant proportion of reported domestic violence incidents:

[Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, Policy options paper: Preventing alcohol-related family and domestic violence, February 2015]

Is Abbott living in a perpetual political phantasy land unable any longer to distinguish truth from lies?


This was Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott altering political history on a whim on 28 March 2015:

Mitch Fifield, the architect of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, who will deliver a genuinely insurance-based scheme which will benefit a half a million Australians with disabilities and everyone who cares for them and which will have its head office in Geelong.

Perhaps someone should remind Abbott that the Australian Parliamentary Library clearly identifies who set the National Disability Insurance Scheme in motion and laid out its basic structure:

On 30 April 2012, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced that the Government would fund its ‘share’ of the cost of the first stage of the NDIS in the 2012–13 Budget.[10] The Government’s NDIS media release accompanying the Budget states that its share includes ‘the total administration and running costs for the first stage of an NDIS’.[11] In addition the media release says that ‘states and territories that host the initial locations will also be required to contribute to the cost of personal care and support for people with disability’. At this stage, it is not clear what the Government has in mind as ‘locations’ for the first stage of the NDIS but the Commission’s proposal was for ‘regions that each contained a modest number of people who were likely to be eligible for the scheme (say, around 10 000 per region)’.[12] Commencement of the NDIS in 2013 is one year ahead of the timetable proposed by the Commission.
The $1.0 billion to be provided by the Australian Government includes:
* $342.5 million over three years from July next year for individually funded packages for people with significant and permanent disability
* $154.8 million over three years from July next year to employ Local Area Coordinators to provide an individualised approach to delivering care and support to people with a disability
* $58.6 million over three years from July next year to assess the needs of people with a disability in the launch locations
* $122.6 million over four years to start preparing the disability sector for the new way of delivering disability services
* $240.3 million over four years to build and operate an NDIS information technology system and
* $53.0 million over four years to establish a new National Disability Transition Agency to coordinate implementation and manage the delivery of care and support to people with a disability and their carers in the initial launch locations from 2013–14.[13]

During the final days of the Gillard Labor Government ABC News reported on 3 June 2013:

...the regional Victorian city has been chosen as the headquarters of the new DisabilityCare agency.
All states and territories - except Western Australia - have signed up to be part of the scheme, formerly known as the NDIS.
Once DisabilityCare is fully rolled out, the national headquarters in Geelong will employ 300 people, in addition to 150 people in the regional office......
The Barwon region of south-west Victoria, which includes Geelong, was chosen last year as one of the sites where DisabilityCare would be trialled. The trial will start on July 1 and involve 5,000 people.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Next time a News Corp newspaper tries to tell you that it has an independent editorial stance remember this.....


The Independent 21 April 2015:

Rupert Murdoch berated journalists on his tabloid papers for not doing enough to stop Labour winning the general election and warned them that the future of the company depended on stopping Ed Miliband entering No 10.

The proprietor of Britain’s best-selling tabloid warned executives that a Labour government would try to break up News Corp, which owns The SunThe Times and The Sunday Times. He instructed them to be much more aggressive in their attacks on Labour and more positive about Conservative achievements in the run-up to polling day, sources told The Independent.

Mr Murdoch is understood to have made his views clear on a visit to London at the end of February, during which he met with senior Tories including the Conservative chief whip and former Times executive Michael Gove.

The News Corp boss, who has made no secret of his dislike of the Labour leader, told the editor of The Sun, David Dinsmore, that he expected the paper to be much sharper in its attacks on Labour……

Two days after Mr Murdoch’s visit the paper devoted a two-page spread to the election – with the left-hand page containing a 10-point “pledge” to voters written by David Cameron. The right-hand side of the spread was an attack on Ed Balls under the headline: “I ruined your pensions, I sold off our gold, I helped wreck [the] economy, Now I’m going to put up your taxes.”

It is understood that Mr Murdoch reminded executives that Labour would try to break up News UK, which owns The Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times. The party has suggested that no owner should be allowed to control more than 34 per cent of the UK media, a cap which would force News UK to sell one of the titles.

It has also pledged to implement recommendations in the Leveson report for an independent press regulator backed by statute, bitterly opposed by Murdoch. Mr Miliband has made “standing up” to Mr Murdoch over the phone-hacking affair a central plank in his attempts to persuade voters that he is a strong leader. A source said: “Rupert made it very clear he was unhappy with The Sun’s coverage of the election. He basically said the future of the company was at stake and they need to get their act together.”……