Ensuring every child’s, a winner in the birth lottery
This week is National Families Week and the aim is to celebrate the vital role that families play in Australian society.
When it comes to families, the Government’s Budget makes it clear that it sees the provision of incentives for those earning wages as more important than providing a liveable level of income support to those who are under- or un-employed.
“This leaves the future of children overly dependent on the birth lottery” says Claerwen Little, National Director of UnitingCare Australia. We know that there is a social gradient in child health and child development, with those at the bottom of the scale doing worst and being most in need of increasingly expensive and difficult interventions to reduce the impact of adversity as they age.
A stronger economy for the haves, but little hope for the have nots
UnitingCare Australia tonight welcomes the government’s commitment to older Australians and their care. The extra 14,000 home-care packages go some way to relieving the pain for those 105,000 people still waiting for support. The many other measures in More Choices for a Longer Life package such as the rural and remote initiatives, indigenous funding, investment in mental health services, and the $50 million Quality Care Fund are all positive and reflect the growing ageing demographic in the community.
A healthy budget means everyone should benefit
On Tuesday the Turnbull Government will release its 2018-19 Budget. With an expected windfall in revenue this is the time to direct spending to the people most in need.
Inequality is growing in Australia with over 3 million people living below the poverty line. UnitingCare Australia calls on the Federal Government to use the Budget funds to invest in programs and services that support individuals and families that are struggling.
It’s not just about jobs and growth
Every May in Canberra, as winter hibernation begins, the nation’s capital comes alive as commentators descend on Parliament House to hear the Treasurer’s reading of the Federal Budget. Eager to examine the announced measures and their impact on our community, analysts compare, contrast and scrutinise the finer details, determining ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ and assessing the overall state of our economy. Of course, the frenzy of activity on Budget night is the culmination of perpetual forecasting, strategizing and planning to determine how best to economically organise ourselves to thrive as a society. But, Budget night itself represents a time for optimism and opportunity—a moment to take stock, plan and unpack the economic roadmap laid out by our political leaders, policy and decision-makers that collectively, hopefully, form a pathway towards our national prosperity.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
UnitingCare Australia congratulates the Turnbull Government and Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt for creating the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. This is a step in the right direction for a country that needs to strengthen the provisions around caring for all of us as we age.
This morning Minister Wyatt visited Resthaven – a member of the UnitingCare Australia network of services – to announce a number of responses to last year’s Carnell-Paterson report on Quality Regulation in Aged Care. The Government has also accepted recommendations to increase transparency around quality for consumers, and to appoint a Chief Clinical Advisor to review certain clinical decisions in residential care.
UnitingCare National Director Claerwen Little said “UnitingCare Australia believes the creation of an Australian Aged Care Commission with responsibilities, including quality improvement and complaints management, has the potential to be a positive and effective way to improve quality and consumer protection arrangements for aged care residents.
“We have been increasingly concerned about the anxiety that negative coverage creates for residents and families, as well as the stress that it creates for our staff. This is the first step in re-establishing confidence in a system which, by and large, works well.
“We look forward to working with the Government to ensure that these measures effectively complement the expertise within the sector. Creating a single agency can promote efficiency in the regulatory system. It is critical however that it all areas are properly resourced, with assurance that field staff have the skills and experience for the job.
“Every older person who needs care and support, whether at home or in a residential facility, should have confidence that the services they receive are high quality and represent value for money. High quality care must be accessible regardless of a person’s financial and personal resources, where they live, or their cultural background” said Ms Little.
We would like to reiterate the concerns around the establishment of a drug testing trial which we raised in our Submission to the Senate Committee Inquiry on the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017. While we were pleased that the drug testing trial was removed from that original Bill, we are disappointed that the initiative has been reintroduced under a separate Bill with little consideration of the feedback provided by ourselves and others in the community service and health sector.