The purpose of a hardship policy is to assist customers who are struggling to pay their energy bills due to financial distress or hardship to better manage their current and future energy bills. The proposed Retail Law sets out minimum requirements for retailers’ customer hardship policies including ways to identify customers experiencing hardship, early response, flexible payment options, identifying suitable concessions and other programs. The AER now monitors and reports on how the retail companies perform in managing hardship. However, the AER needs indicators to measure these outcomes against.
This submission is written in response to the National Standards for Out of Home Care Consultation Paper. It answers the five consultation questions provided in the paper and additionally recommends the establishment of a National Children’s Commissioner to oversee the national OOHC standards.
The submission provides a review of the issues that have been identified by the Uniting Care network throughout Australia. It provides an analysis and recommendations that address the terms of reference which broadly fall into the following categories:
• Matching funding to care needs;
• Funding outcomes for providers;
• Documentation and administrative arrangements;
• Design issues, including the role of health professionals; and
• Interface with other elements of aged care.
This review provides an opportunity for significant and meaningful reform of Government administration which we believe is well overdue. The consultation paper has identified a number of critical issues for consideration which we endorse. While we recognise the task of the Advisory Committee is to deliver a blueprint for reform, we believe that any blueprint must focus on all aspects of government administration and in particular its efficiency and effectiveness. We would like to see recommendations which drive genuine efficiency of government processes and practices (not merely outsourcing current practices to lower cost sources) which support and indeed enhance both government and non-government service delivery to vulnerable and disadvantaged Australians.
The UnitingCare network is one of the largest providers of community services in Australia providing services to more than 2 million Australians each year, employing 35,000 staff and 24,000 volunteers nationally. It provides services to children, young people and families, people with disabilities, and older Australians, in urban, rural and remote communities.
UnitingCare is pleased to contribute a response to thirteen recommendations related to aged care services that were developed by the Productivity Commission in its review of regulatory burden on business in June 2009.
The Invitation to Treat [ITT] for Disability Employment Network [DEN] Capped program providers is welcomed and supported by UnitingCare Australia as the best way to minimise disruption for participants and employers receiving services from high performing providers who deliver long-term support in the workplace. The ITT will ensure the sustainability of employment for those job seekers already placed into work by high performing providers; and ensure that other job seekers who are currently being supported by high performing providers to secure employment are able to have a continuity of service.
Uniting Care Australia is concerned about gambling because gambling causes significant harm to many Australians. An unacceptable proportion of people who gamble regularly are gambling more than they can afford, and this causes a range of negative impacts in their lives and the lives of those people close to them.
The recent report of Justice Wood’s Special Commission of Inquiry into Child Protection Services in New South Wales has affirmed high-quality early childhood education and care, especially for disadvantaged children. This Inquiry found that the non-government sector is well placed to provide integrated services for the support of families, especially those who are disadvantaged and that this model of service delivery is more likely under a system which is community based and linked to other local community services. This Inquiry also found that for disadvantaged children including children in out-of-home care access to high-quality child care and preschool services can play a key role in developing language and social skills as well as identifying developmental delays. Wood recommends that a year of free early childhood education is provided to children from low income families.
There are currently diverse legal structures for the not-for-profit sector. This could be streamlined.