Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #MorrisonGovernmentFAIL. Show all posts

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The words of an Australian prime minister who still hasn't grasped the reality of climate change


As Australia literally burned from the mountains to the sea*, with thousands fleeing the flames after being told to evacuate ahead of extreme fire conditions expected on the east coast for Saturday, 4 January 2020 .

This was Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott John Morrison, speaking at a press conference on the afternoon of 2 January 2020:

“Let me be clear to the Australian people, our emissions reductions policies will both protect our environment and seek to reduce the risk and hazards we are seeing today. At the same time, it will seek to ensure the viability of people’s jobs and livelihoods, all around the country. 


“What we will do is ensure our policies remain sensible, that they don’t move towards either extreme, and stay focused on what Australians need for a vibrant and viable economy, as well as a vibrant and sustainable environment.”


NOTE

* According to Canadian field geophysicist and disaster researcher, Mika McKinnon, by Friday 2 January 2020 the combined size of burned areas across Australia was getting close to 40,000 sq km or 10 million acres - roughly the size of Switzerland. While the smoke plume was 5.5 million sq km or 1.3 billion acres - half the size of Europe.

Monday, 23 December 2019

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison loses control of climate change and ecomomic narratives - bolts for a secret overseas location in December 2019


Australian Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese met with the Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ELCA) group of 29 former emergency services chiefs. 

This is the same group that Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison pointedly refused to meet in the months leading up to the current national climate emergency and still refuses to meet.

As widespread bushfire destruction grows like a cancer across the landscape, Morrison displayed a characteristic that is becoming a feature of his prime ministership - he bolted for cover without a word of warning on the evening of 15 December 2019. 

This time at some undisclosed overseas 'holiday' destination.

On that evening according to the NSW Rural Fire ServiceAt 11:30pm, more than 2,000 personnel continue work on the 108 bush and grass fires burning across NSW, with 57 not yet contained. One fire remains at Emergency Warning and a further two fires at the Watch and Act alert level.

On the evening Morrison slunk out of Australia, fires were also burning in Western Australia,South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland, according to official Twitter feeds of all five state firefighting services.

Statement by ELCA published in the Echo NetDaily, 17 December 2019:

Greg Mullins, former Commissioner, Fire & Rescue NSW, said the group are deeply concerned with the unprecedented scale and ferocity of the current bushfire crisis. ‘Summer has barely begun but record numbers of homes have been lost in Queensland and NSW, major cities have been shrouded in smoke and destructive fires are burning across Australia.
‘Climate change is the key driver to the worsening conditions but the Federal Government remains in denial as far as credible action on emissions goes......
On behalf of the group Mr Mullins said they feel a duty to fill Canberra’s leadership vacuum on the fires and will call our own national emergency summit after the current bushfire season to bring together a range of interested parties to look at how we can adapt to a far more dangerous environment. ‘The safety and well-being of communities, firefighters, and wildlife is on the line.
‘Our coalition of concerned leaders is growing, and we are not going away until we see action that matches the scale and urgency of the climate emergency and gives some hope for future generations,’ he said.
ELCA is releasing in full the list of recommendations it provided to Minister David Littleproud and Minister Angus Taylor in early December.....

It is also worth noting that Morrison left the country the evening before the negative MYEFO 2019 was released which clearly showed the national economy was a long way from being robust under his leadership.

Morrison was clearly enjoying himself when discovered on social media at Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.....
However his mood had obviously changed when public anger caused him to announce he was returning to Australia two days earlier than planned.....
Morrison's Hawaiian jaunt was his third holiday in 2019.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

Fightback against Australian Morrison Government's attempt to scuttle effective global climate change action


The Morrison Coalition Government's use of 'carbon credits' as an accounting trick to cover failure to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions since 2014 will put the international goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C out of reach - thus plunging the world into catastrophic climate change - is being resisted by thirty-one other sovereign nations.


Logo

Media Release, 14 December 2019:
Leading countries set benchmark for carbon markets with San Jose Principles
MADRID – As UN climate talks in Madrid near its closing, a group of leading countries are working together to secure an ambitious outcome is delivered on the Article 6 negotiations. 
To make that happen, they have agreed on a set of principles, known as the San Jose Principles for High Ambition and Integrity in International Carbon Markets, that constitute the basis upon which a fair and robust carbon market should be built.
Known as the Unconventional Group, these countries (see the list below) have been working since the Pre-COP25 in San José, Costa Rica, to increase the level of ambition in talks dealing with carbon markets. 
The group presented the Chilean COP Presidency a set of principles (see attached) that outline what a successful outcome could look like in this Article, in the hope that this will support the Presidency’s efforts in creating an ambitious outcome.
Parties include (updated December 14, 11:45pm, CET)
  1. Costa Rica
  2. Switzerland
  3. Belize
  4. Colombia
  5. Paraguay
  6. Perú
  7. Marshall Islands
  8. Vanuatu
  9. Luxembourg
  10. Cook Islands
  11. Germany
  12. Sweden
  13. Denmark
  14. Austria
  15. Grenada
  16. Estonia
  17. New Zealand
  18. Spain
  19. Ireland
  20. Latvia
  21. The Netherlands
  22. Norway
  23. Slovenia
  24. Belgium
  25. Fiji
  26. Portugal
  27. France
  28. United Kingdom
  29. Italy
  30. Finland
  31. Trinidad and Tobago
Quotes from country representatives
Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica, said, “This is a definition of success on Article 6. Anything below these San Jose principles won’t create a fair and robust carbon market. The diverse group of countries supporting these principles know we need a just outcome to keep the 1.5C target within reach. The principles keep the door open for 1.5C, while ensuring the highest possible ambition in mitigation and adaptation. We encourage other parties to join our efforts in creating a basis upon which a fair and robust carbon market should be built”
Franz Perrez, Head of Delegation of Switzerland, said, “If markets are to increase ambition, the rules have to be as robust as the San Jose Principles”
Ambassador Janine Felson of Belize said, “An ambitious Article 6 outcome will create a new architecture for markets that moves beyond zero-sum offsetting approaches to accelerate the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is a key principle for members of my group and that is why these San Jose Principles are important”
Ricardo Lozano, Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development of Colombia, said “Colombia, as a highly vulnerable country that has supported an effective implementation of the Paris Agreement will apply these environmental San Jose Principles to guide its participation in the carbon market and ensure our efforts will help to build the basis for a robust system that promotes the highest climate ambition”
Svenja Schulze, Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety of Germany, said, “Art. 6 can be a very important part of implementing the Paris Agreement but it must be designed to increase ambition. The San José Principles lay out the essence of a robust mechanism which ensures environmental integrity”
Isabella Lövin, Minister for Environment and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, said, “The San Jose Principles provide an important foundation for the architecture of Article 6. Robust accounting that ensures environmental integrity and avoids double counting is key for Article 6 to deliver on climate mitigation and raising ambition.”
Dan Jørgensen, Minister for Climate, Energy and Utilities, Denmark, said, “Denmark supports the San José principles. The world is counting on us to secure a robust system that fosters ambition”
Hon. James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change, New Zealand, said, “If we are to prevent the climate crisis, it is critically important for countries to work to the highest possible standards. This is why New Zealand supports the San Jose Principles on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement”
Eric Wiebes, Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy of the Netherlands said, “If we want real emission reductions, we should be absolutely firm on the environmental integrity of the multilateral system. Without proper accounting, our climate action will be meaningless. We can show flexibility on certain issues, but not on the San Jose Principles for international carbon markets.”
Minister Alain Maron, Minister of  the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Climate Change, Environment, Energy and Participatory Democracy of Belgium, said, “We need robust and comprehensive rules for Article 6 so that markets can help drive ambition towards the PA goals and so that its environmental integrity and the SDGs are protected. We also need such rules to facilitate a global level playing field and to provide a signal of trust to all market actors.”
Ola Elvestuen, Norwegian Minister of Climate and Environment, said, “We all need to increase ambition. Carbon markets can have an important role for us to do more together. If we follow the San Jose Principles we are promoting robust markets with environmental integrity.”
Mrs. Camille Robinson-Regis, Hon. Minister of Planning and Development of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, said,"The importance of environmental integrity and overall mitigation are essential and critical elements of the market rules under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. The market must be governed by robust rules to inspire the confidence of the private sector  and state and non state entities to participate fully and so ensure that operational and effective market mechanism under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. To do otherwise would undermine the utility of the market mechanism to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Trinidad and Tobago supports such a robust system of rules.”

San Jose Principles for High Ambition and Integrity in International Carbon Markets
At the Pre-COP, a large number of participants shared their expectations on what is needed to deliver a robust and ambitious outcome for Article 6. 

They were of the view that the implementation of the Paris Agreement must be firmly grounded in what the best available science tells us is necessary to deliver on the long-term temperature goal of the Agreement: the highest possible ambition in mitigation and adaptation.
As the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol approaches, there is an urgent need for clarity with regard to the future international framework for use of market-based approaches towards international climate goals.
They expressed support to the COP presidency, and to work together with others to secure an ambitious outcome in Madrid to deliver the following principles, through an Article 6 rule book that at minimum:
  • Ensures environmental integrity and enables the highest possible mitigation ambition
  • Delivers an overall mitigation in global emissions, moving beyond zero-sum offsetting approaches to help accelerate the reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions
  • Prohibits the use of pre-2020 units, Kyoto units and allowances, and any underlying reductions toward Paris Agreement and other international goals
  • Ensures that double counting is avoided and that all use of markets toward international climate goals is subject to corresponding adjustments.
  • Avoids locking in levels of emissions, technologies or carbon-intensive practices incompatible with the achievement of the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal.
  • Applies allocation methodologies and baseline methodologies that support domestic NDC achievement and contribute to achievement of the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal
  • Uses CO2-equivalence in reporting and accounting for emissions and removals, fully applying the principles of transparency, accuracy, consistency, comparability and completeness
  • Uses centrally and publicly accessible infrastructure and systems to collect, track, and share the information necessary for robust and transparent accounting
  • Ensures incentives to progression and supports all Parties in moving toward economy-wide emission targets.
  • Contributes to quantifiable and predictable financial resources to be used by developing country Parties that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change to meet the costs of adaptation
  • Recognizes the importance of capacity building to enable the widest possible participation by Parties under Article 6
They further recognize the importance of Article 6.8 in supporting Parties in the implementation of their NDCs through non-market approaches.
They invited other countries, multi-national and sub-national entities and multinational institutions to join us in the full operationalization of all the above principles, to support the highest possible ambition and environmental integrity.
ENDS

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan told he has ‘blood on his hands’


Echo NetDaily, 29 November 2019:


Around 200 people have joined together outside Kevin Hogan’s office in Lismore this morning declaring he has ‘blood on his hands’ as the federal government continues to refuse to take real action on climate change.
Red hand prints are covering the pavement and the front of Hogan’s office. Around 20 kids and students are currently in his office writing him letters about their climate concerns.The police have been in attendance and asked protestors to remove themselves from the road. They said that if protestors remain on the road they would be back with more staff.
One local parent with two children, Ivy Young, was there to point out that politicians need to listen to the experts on climate change and take action.
‘We live on Wallace Ridge which is the ridge dividing Tuntable and Terania Creeks. The fire got to within about two or three properties from us, about 5km up in the forest,’ Ivy told Echonetdaily.
‘I’m here today because I care. I see the urgency to act. I’m worried for the future. We have a window of time where we can actually take the steps to mitigate the worst effects of climate change before we reach tipping points where the sea levels rise and temperatures become too high for many of the places in the world to become habitable......

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

The toll on New South Wales as of 1 December 2019 flowing from the Morrison Government's refusal to take meaningful action on climate change


If one looks at media records the year 2019 commenced with the odd isolated bushfire fire and continued in the same manner through to July when fire outbreaks began to increase. 

By early September major fire activity was occurring in the Clarence Valley and, by October it was obvious that northern NSW was going to go up in flames.

When November came along many other regions were also battling huge unprecedented bushfires.

The state toll as of 1 December 2019 was:


It is hard to calculate accurately - but at this time it appears that at least 36% to 38% of the 10,441 sq. km Clarence Valley Local Government Area has experienced bushfires, with est. 100 homes and two irreplaceable lives lost.

I hope that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, every member of his Cabinet, each and every Liberal and Nationals MP and Senator are proud of what their negligence over the last six years of Coalition rule has brought about.

The bushfires continue with no sign of stopping.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Greg Jericho: “Those wanting to appear reasonable and balanced are actually condemning us to inaction on the climate crisis”


Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison's inability to face the reality that climate change has well and truly arrived and, that the Liberal-Nationals response has been alarmingly inadequate for the last four years under not one but three Liberal Party prime ministers, means that newspaper opinion pieces such as the one below are going to continue to make it into print.   

The Guardian, 24 October 2019:

There is an invidious strain of centrism in Australian media and politics that is one of the most powerful forces against effective action on climate change.

It is a strain that has become more virulent in response to protests by Extinction Rebellion and the raised voices of those who care not to genuflect to the systems that have led us to the current crisis.

It is a strain that conservatives use to their advantage.

Two weeks ago, as New South Wales and parts of Queensland burned, the prime minister was at pains to argue that now was not the time to talk about climate change.

And the centrists agreed.

This week Scott Morrison was ready to talk about climate change and he had the script all prepared.

Morrison told the ABC’s Sabra Lane that “the suggestion that any way, shape or form with Australia accountable for 1.3% of the world’s emissions, that the individual actions of Australia are impacting directly on specific fire events, whether it’s here or anywhere else in the world, that doesn’t bear up to credible scientific evidence either”.

It’s a line straight out of the climate-change denial playbook.

No one is suggesting if we had a price on carbon there would be fewer bushfires, or it alone would significantly reduce global temperatures, but that does not mean Australia cannot make a difference.

Only on climate change do you ever hear conservatives argue we are powerless. Our economy is only around 1.5% of the world’s total GDP and yet we have no qualms in going to the G20 every year and pushing our agenda.

But on climate change? Sorry, we are impotent.

Except we’re not.

We are the 15th biggest emitter in the world, the biggest on a per capita basis among advanced economies. We have massive power, because we are wealthy enough to show what can be done. If we do nothing, it becomes a strong reason for anyone who emits less than us either in total or per capita to do the same.

And the problem is we are using what power we have to obstruct action on climate change.

Morrison argued that “if anything, Australia is an overachiever on our commitments, on global commitments, and for 2030, we will meet those as well with the mechanisms that we’ve put in place and we’ll ensure we do achieve that”.

What utter tosh.

Our Kyoto commitment is based on the dodgy counting of land use; and our commitment to Paris targets doubles down on that dodginess by using carry-over credits from the Kyoto target – something nations such as the UK are now fighting hard to have removed.

Our target is also well below what scientists say is needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5C.

Thirteen months ago the UN issued a report that concluded we have 12 years to do something to limit climate change, after which it will be too late to keep the rise in temperatures below 1.5C.

The science has not changed in that time; all that has is we now have only 11 years.

But this week it was reported that fossil fuel production by 2030 is set to be double that which is needed to keep temperature rises below 1.5C.

We are failing, and Australia’s own policy is ensuring that failure will continue.

But heck, pointing that out will seem biased, and so the centrist looks for a chance to appear balanced…..

Not all extremism is equal and no force of social or economic change happened due to people refusing to make waves. It happened because people were prepared to go to prison, be attacked, and seek to disrupt those who would go about their lives ignoring the issue.

Centrists love the final vote that sees change occur – where politicians from both sides sit together and agree; they care only in retrospect for the work, suffering and effort over decades that leads to that change.

And they ignore that throughout those decades, the powerful in the media and politics actively prevented change occurring by spending more time calling for calm and reason than noting reality.

And so long as powerful journalists believe that arguments are worthy purely because they call for a middle ground, then ever will they be a force that prevents effective action on climate change.

Read the full article here.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

One of the many calls from northern NSW for urgent national climate change action, that the Morrison Government appears determined to ignore


A cry from the heart......

The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 November 2019:

On Friday I lost my beautiful home. I am thankful we are all alive and safe and for the few possessions we were able to salvage. Many others in the small community of Nymboida, near Grafton, where I have grown up, were not even that lucky. They have lost pretty much everything.
I feel numb. It all feels so unreal but the fire was unstoppable. I know the firefighters did everything they could to protect our house and other homes and to them I am extremely grateful.
The fires that joined up and devastated our community were not normal bushfires. For weeks and weeks fires had been burning and community efforts had been unable to get them under control.

Fires burnt for weeks in the regions around Grafton. AAP

But the nightmare really began with the sky changing colour. The blue changed to an orange glow as the fire advanced over the hill. We watched from our veranda as it got progressively darker. It felt like an apocalypse and by 4.30pm it was dark as night. We evacuated from our home on Friday afternoon, following our carefully prepared bushfire action evacuation plan.

I haven’t returned home yet (I still call it home even though it’s gone). The fires are still burning and there is still a huge threat hanging over many places. I and many of my friends don’t want to return home yet; we’re not ready to see the results of the devastation. For many of us, this is where we have lived our entire lives; the only homes we have ever known, filled with memories, have been ravaged by a firestorm that has left only the ghosts of our past.

From what I know more than 45 houses have been lost in Nymboida, it could easily be more. I’ve heard from those who witnessed it that walls of flames 40 or more metres high ravaged the landscape. Catastrophic. 


We are devastated, but we are a strong community, we’ll support each other and get through this together. So many people have been so supportive, kind and helpful; it is incredible, we are so thankful. 

Australia is on fire. The federal government must take urgent action on climate change. Scientists and firefighters have been warning about the consequences of doing nothing for so long. Surely now, with multiple fires burning throughout NSW and Queensland, Scott Morrison must realise that doing nothing is not an option any longer. 

I’m heartbroken at what’s happened but I’m also angry. I’m angry that the government is not adequately addressing the climate crisis. We thank you for your thoughts and prayers Prime Minister, but we need action. 

I am thinking at this moment of everyone in other communities affected by these fires. Please, stay safe. 

Shiann Broderick is an 18-year-old year 12 student.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Quote of the Week


"We mustn’t bring politics into the disastrous situation that was created by ... wait for it ... POLITICS"

Friday, 1 November 2019

A record high of 200,000 Newstart recipients only had a partial capacity to work in December 2018 & by June 2019 the figure was higher still


The Guardian, 24 October 2019:

Official government statistics have underreported the number of sick and disabled Newstart recipients by as much as 40% or as many as 80,000 people.

Guardian Australia revealed earlier this year that Newstart recipients with partial capacity to work has reached a record high of 200,000 in December 2018 as people increasingly languish on the unemployment payment, now for an average of three years.

But new data for June 2019, released on Wednesday, provided different figuresshowing 284,900 on Newstart had “partial capacity to work” in December 2018.

The figure for June increased to 289,489, of a total of 686,000 people on Newstart. It means 42% of recipients now have an illness or disability that prevents them from working full-time. In September 2014, the figure was 25% using the new figures.

Notes provided in the updated quarterly statistics report confirmed the previous data only included people who had been assessed as having a “partial capacity to work” within the past two years. This is also stated in the previous reports.
But it means sick and disabled people who have been languishing on Newstart for years but had not been reassessed in the past 48 months were excluded from the statistics.

The new statistics are significant because welfare groups have long argued changes to the disability support pension would result in a large number of people languishing on Newstart because they were too sick to work.

It’s shocking that 40% of people on Newstart have an illness or disability,” said the Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie.

No one can survive on $40 a day and it’s even tougher if you’re sick or have a disability. It’s heartless and negligent.”……

The Department of Social Services’ Nathan Williamson rejected that the previous data contained “errors”, saying the department had found a “better way, a more fulsome way” to report the statistics.

People with a partial capacity to work are considered not sick or disabled enough to be granted the disability pension as a result of the tightening of disability support pension eligibility. They are assessed as being able to work more than 15 hours a week but less than 30 hours a week.

The Howard government introduced “partial capacity to work” for people on Newstart in a bid to get more people into work and reduce spending on the more generous disability support pension.


Monday, 28 October 2019

The Dept. of Human Services incorrectly sent out 10,000 "accounts payable notices" and did not inform the welfare recipients of its error


Senior government officials have confirmed 10,000 'robodebt' notices were accidentally sent to welfare recipients in April 2019 when they were meant to remain on hold for review.

Departmental bureaucrats discovered the error within two days and placed the alleged debts on hold.

However, the department did not contact those persons who had received these 10,000 "accounts payable notices".

To date only 200 welfare recipients who received these improper debt notices have contacted the Dept. of Human Services/Centrelink.

That leaves 9,800 current and/or former welfare recipients probably worrying themselves sick over a debt it is highly likely they don't actually owe. Readers can listen to the short ABC report here:

https://abcmedia.akamaized.net/radio/local_sydney/audio/201910/pam-2019-10-25-robodebt-estimates.mp3

In addition to this error, in seeking recovery of money allegedly owed by welfare recipients Centrelink deliberately sent out debt notices to 169 welfare recipients who were already dead, while it also approached representatives of “deceased customers” in 515 cases.

According to The Guardian on 25 October 2019, in a recent Senate Estimates hearing the Department of Human Services has also not ruled out targeting age pensioners and other vulnerable people as part of the controversial robodebt scheme, saying any decision to expand the scheme in order to meet budget targets would be made “further down the track”.

On 3 October 2019 the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) informed the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into Centrelink's compliance program that:

ACOSS has held deep concerns about Centrelink's compliance program, otherwise known as robo-debt—which I will refer to here mostly in that way—since its inception. Despite some improvements to the implementation of the program, two fundamental design flaws remain inherent. One is the use of the averaging of ATO-reported annual income over the period someone has received income support, which is leading to incorrect calculations of overpayments. The other is the reversal of the onus of proof, which requires people to disprove alleged debts on the basis of very limited information. Under the current system, an individual's earnings data is matched with ATO data through an automated process. Where a discrepancy is identified, an individual is invited to confirm or update their income. This may go back some years and be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for people to obtain the necessary information from previous employers. Where they don't provide the relevant information, the department uses averaged ATO data as a default. The department does this in full knowledge that's it's unlikely to produce an accurate or fair outcome, which its own debt recovery guidelines indeed warn. 

At present, there is a lack of transparency about the proportion and the number of debts raised as a result of ATO averaging processes, so we urge the committee, as part of this hearing, to seek information from the department for public release to inform this inquiry and the broader public debate about the policy. The robo-debt scheme also shifts the work of verifying income onto individuals, work that used to be done by the department, as well as shifting the onus of proof. As such, individuals are required to obtain historic payslips, bank statements and other records going back up to six years. If they are unable to do so, they risk incurring a debt erroneously. We note that Centrelink's previous guidelines advised people to keep employment records for six months, in stark contrast to the six-year period over which robo-debt ranges. This is deeply unfair. 

In addition to these fundamental design flaws, we hold concerns about the role of third party private companies in the compliance system, both as frontline staff in private service centres and in private debt collection agencies. We understand that to date one in three robo-debts have been sent to debt collectors. Direct engagement with people, often on low incomes and facing a range of life stresses, about their financial situation requires sensitivity and technical expertise. It's not appropriate for these functions to be outsourced to private operators who sit outside Centrelink, while Centrelink itself remains grossly understaffed. 

There are a range of other factors that compound unfairness of the current system. The first is that the government has extraordinary powers to enforce the debt owing to it, including to ban people from travelling internationally to garnish their tax returns and to charge interest on debt load. The automatic imposition of a debt recovery fee on debts prior to June 2017 adds further insult to injury for people affected. There is higher rate of erroneous debts calculated through the flawed data-matching algorithm, many of which will not be challenged and so we have no way of knowing, in fact, how many are in error, and the higher cost of administering the program at a time when our government says it doesn't have funds available to address other urgent priorities in social security systems. 

Finally, we'd like to remind the committee of the human impacts of this policy. Around a million income discrepancy notices have been issued since 2015 and half a million alleged it. And while every person's situation is different and not everybody is in a vulnerable situation, we know these notices have caused deep distress and anxiety for many people who've received them. Despite some exemptions, we know that they have been sent to people with mental health problems, people who've experienced trauma, people recently bereaved, people who are currently living on very low payments, people who are in financial hardship and people who are homeless. We also know that the impact has been devastating for many of those people, and they are very concerned at reports that the government might seek to narrow the range of available exemptions. We urge the committee to ensure that they hear from people directly affected by this scheme in the course of these hearings, including as witnesses. 

In closing, improvements to the implementation of the scheme, which we do acknowledge have not cured the fundamental design flaws at its heart, continue to cause great harm and distress. We urge the committee, therefore, to recommend suspension of the program and its replacement by a more transparent, fair, accurate and humane system of debt recovery


Thursday, 24 October 2019

The hidden costs for rural & regional older Australians when accessing Home Care packages


There are a number of people in the Clarence Valley who are hesitant to apply for Home Care packages - often because the houshold budget maths just don't add up when it comes to what is now essentially privatised and very expensive assistance for older people in their own home.

Here is yet another example......

The Daily Examiner, 21 October 2019, p.3:

Clarence Community Transport CEO Warwick Foster said there were misconceptions surrounding how government funding works with Commonwealth Home Support, NDIS and Home Care Package clients.
“People don’t have the correct information about how the system actually works, and that’s understandable because it’s a confusing system,” he said.
Mr Foster said Clarence Community Transport was primarily a home support program, designed to provide subsidised transport to eligible clients.
“When it comes to clients who transition to a Home Care Package, regardless of the level, then they technically become ineligible to access Commonwealth Home Support Programme services,” he said.
“I think where the problem comes in is that there’s not enough education for the clients about what it means when they accept a Home Care Package.
“Unfortunately clients who had been using community transport to get to appointments go from paying one fee then having to pay another fee because we’re no longer able to provide subsidised transport. That’s why it’s such a shock.
“Three days a week we transport clients to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and to get them up and back for a subsidised client is $80, but that fee goes up to $780 once someone accesses a Home Care Package.
“We get notified by the government, who tell us when a client is in receipt of a Home Care Package, that they’re no longer eligible for CHSP services.”.....
“We’re a not-for-profit but that doesn’t mean we’re here to provide free transport.
“We are required under our contracts to recoup some costs of the transport service from our clients.”