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

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

The Morrison Government's COVIDSafe app has not identified any close contacts of a person infected with coronavirus who had not already been found through manual contact tracing


The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 June 2020:

The federal government's COVIDSafe app has not identified any close contacts of a person infected with coronavirus who had not already been found through manual contact tracing, despite being downloaded by more than 6 million Australians in two months. 

As the number of infections soars in Victoria, Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick said the government was being dishonest about the effectiveness of the app, which Prime Minister Scott Morrison touted as "sunscreen" against major outbreaks and as the key to lifting restrictions..... 

The $2 million app — downloaded more than 6.44 million times and launched amid the height of the pandemic in Australia on April 26 — was built to help assist state and territory contact-tracing teams uncover close contacts of infected COVID-19 cases who may have been within 1.5 metres of them for more than 15 minutes in public places such as restaurants, cafes or shops. 

But testing data provided to the Senate showed its effectiveness, particularly on Apple iPhones, remains an ongoing issue. The testing data, released to the Senate's select committee on COVID-19, shows when an iPhone is locked there remain issues with the app detecting another nearby iPhone user. 

Only 25 to 50 per cent of the time did it work on May 26 in locked iPhone-to-iPhone testing. At launch, it was worse, working only 25 per cent of the time or less for locked iPhone to locked iPhone. When it was running in the background, the app also didn't work well. Issues were also prevalent on Android smartphones, with problems remaining on May 26, especially when the app's testers tried to get iPhones and Androids to share information. 

At the app's launch, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert said: "To be effective, users should have the app running in the background when they are coming into contact with others. Your phone does not need to be unlocked for the app to work." 

Labor's government services spokesman Bill Shorten accused the government of being "secretive" about the app's dysfunction. "The current app is clearly not working well enough and the government is being secretive about how often it has actually made a difference," Mr Shorten said..... 

On the app's launch day, 6696 Australians had coronavirus. Since then, a further 926 cases have been identified, many returned travellers. Of the 926, only 40 of those have had the COVIDSafe app and have allowed health officials to look at their close contact data..... 

On Wednesday, Victoria's Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton said his contact tracers had downloaded the app's data 30 times but had not identified anyone who wasn't already uncovered through the manual interview process..... 

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt revealed on Thursday that NSW health officials had downloaded people's contact data from the app 10 times. 

But the NSW Health Department confirmed on Saturday no contacts or cases had been identified using the app.....

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Australian National Audit Office found the federal environment department has been ineffective in managing risks to the environment, that its management of assessments and approvals is not effective, and that it is not managing conflicts of interest in the work it undertakes


The Guardian, June 2020:

The government has failed in its duty to protect the environment in its delivery of Australia’s national conservation laws, a scathing review by the national auditor general has found.

The Australian National Audit Office found the federal environment department has been ineffective in managing risks to the environment, that its management of assessments and approvals is not effective, and that it is not managing conflicts of interest in the work it undertakes.

The report also finds a correlation between funding and staffing cuts to the department and a blow-out in the time it is taking to make decisions, as highlighted by Guardian Australia.

The review, which comes in advance of the interim report on Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, has prompted renewed calls for the establishment of an independent national environmental regulator.

It is the sixth audit of the department’s administration of the EPBC Act.

The report examined how effective the department had been in administering referrals, assessments and approvals under the Act, which is the main decision-making work for developments likely to have a significant impact on nationally significant species and ecosystems.

Despite being subject to multiple reviews, audits and parliamentary inquiries since the commencement of the Act, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s administration of referrals, assessments and approvals of controlled actions under the EPBC Act is not effective,” the report concludes.

Among its findings, the auditor found the department could not demonstrate that the environmental conditions it set for developments were enough to prevent unacceptable risk to Australia’s natural environment.

Of the approvals examined, 79% contained conditions that were noncompliant with procedures or contained clerical or administrative errors, reducing the department’s ability to monitor the condition or achieve the intended environmental outcome.

The report also found that a document the department is required to produce to show how the proposed environmental conditions would produce the desired environmental protections was in most cases not being written.

From a random sample of 29 approvals from 2015 to 2018, the auditor found this document had not been produced in 26 cases.

In further findings, the audit concluded:
  • environmental assessments were not being undertaken in full compliance with procedures and decisions were being overturned in court;
  • the department is failing to keep key documents related to its decisions;
  • the department has been failing to meet statutory timeframes for decisions. This has been markedly the case since 2014-15 when the number of decisions made within legal timeframes dropped from 60% to 5% in 2018-19. This correlated with cuts to staff in the department who could assess development proposals
  • the department is not properly monitoring if developers are meeting their environmental conditions;
  • briefing packages written by the department when assessing environmental management plans for developments did not contain any consideration of other statutory documents under the Act that are supposed to protect threatened species, including recovery plans;
  • the department has not established any guidance or quality control measures for assessing the effectiveness of environmental offsets. It also has not mapped where all of its approved environmental offsets are, meaning they cannot be properly tracked;
  • agricultural clearing is rarely being referred to the department for assessment under national law;
  • potential conflicts of interest are not being managed, despite the existence of sound oversight structures;
  • the average overrun of statutory timeframes for approval decisions in 2018-19 was 116 days.
This report is a scathing indictment of the federal government’s administration of our national environment law and highlights why we need a stronger law and a new independent regulator,” said James Trezise, a policy analyst at the Australian Conservation Foundation....

In advance of the interim report, due next week, the government has expressed a desire to streamline approvals and cut so-called “green tape”.

But environment groups said the audit confirmed Australia’s laws were “fundamentally broken”.

The Wilderness Society’s Suzanne Milthorpe said the findings showed a “catastrophic failure” to administer the law and protect the environment.

This report shows that the natural and cultural heritage that is core to Australia’s identity is being put at severe risk by the government’s unwillingness to fix problems they’ve been warned about for years,” she said.

It shows that even when the department is aware of high risks of environmental wrongdoing, like with deforestation from agricultural expansion, they are unwilling to act.

The Morrison government announced last week that they want to load this failed system up even further by slashing approval times in the name of slashing ‘green tape’. But this audit shows that the current system is not capable of making good decisions, let alone quick ones.”....

Note

Referrals, Assessments and Approvals of Controlled Actions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [the ANAO audit] can be found at 
https://www.anao.gov.au/work/performance-audit/referrals-assessments-and-approvals-controlled-actions-under-the-epbc-act.

Sunday, 7 June 2020

And the bad news concerning Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government rorting just keeps coming


The New Daily, 1 June 2020:

I was wrong. The Community Development Grants program isn’t the Coalition’s hot $1.126 billion political rort – it’s the Coalition’s hot $2.5 billion-plus political rort.

It’s not 11 times bigger than #sportsrorts, it’s 25 times bigger and counting.

The government has a number of corrupt slush funds, but none more blatantly designed to buy votes with taxpayers’ money than the CDG scheme purpose built in 2014.

As reported last week, analysis of the government’s GrantConnect website showed Coalition seats “luckily” scored 75.5 per cent of last year’s CDG money, while Labor seats managed just 19.9 per cent.

Of the 68 federal seats Labor now holds, 22 have never received a cent in CDGs while those that did score well tend to be of particular political interest or history.

And the Coalition has quietly arranged to keep this particularly rich pork barrel rolling for another six years.

As Michael West Media has posed, why buy one election when you can buy three?

Billions of dollars in corrupt pork barrelling can seem a little abstract, so using Vince O’Grady’s spreadsheet analysis, I’ve chosen an example of a frontline seat and those that adjoin it to demonstrate how much an Australian Electoral Commission boundary costs or benefits communities.

The Labor-held seat of Hunter in regional New South Wales abuts three National seats to its west and north.

It is a particularly rich green line that separates Hunter from the Nationals’ Calare, Lyne and New England.

Since the Coalition invented CDGs in 2014 through to and including the 2019 election year, only $108,000 in CDGs show up on the GrantConnect site for the good folk of Hunter.
Source: AEC map; TND graphic

..CDGs are not supposed to be purely regional grants – some of the biggest winners are rich Liberal-held city seats – but it is the National Party that has done by far the best out of the way this barrel has rolled.

In 2019, the 68 Labor seats averaged $836,000 in CDGs, Liberal seats $2.086 million, LNP seats in Queensland $2.473 million – and the 10 National Party seats scored an average of $6.712 million.

That contrast is stark on the ground……

As previously reported, the CDG process was designed by the newly elected Abbott government to avoid any embarrassing involvement of public servants in divvying up the spoils, as subsequently happened with the McKenzie/Morrison #sportsrorts scandal, and the $100 million environment grants program that was also conveniently established before the 2019 election.

Read full article here.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Like most political bullies 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison runs away when he is publicly caught out


Crikey inq, 1 June 2020

Crikey inq, 1 June 2020: 

It’s been a while since Australian politics saw an act as gutless as Scott Morrison’s on Friday. 

Mere minutes after the prime minister finished another of his interminable post-national cabinet monologues and walked away from journalists, Government Services Minister Stuart Robert issued a media release revealing one of the most expensive backflips in Commonwealth history. The government would repay at least $720 million in fake debts it had “raised” against welfare recipients under the now discredited robodebt scheme. 

 At a media conference conveniently on the Gold Coast, rather than before the same journalists Morrison had just walked out on, Robert tried to claim he’d moved quickly to address the scheme’s flaws: “the information presented to me saw a change in November, I acted swiftly on behalf of the government to pause debt recovery and to refine the system.” 

Robert refused to apologise to the 373,000 victims (at a minimum) of the scheme. Christian Porter, appearing on the ABC yesterday, also refused to apologise. Both at least fronted the cameras. 

Scott Morrison ran away. 

Coward. 

This was Scott Morrison’s scheme, one he — the former social services minister — proudly boasted about as treasurer in the 2016 election campaign, claiming it would pump billions into the budget bottom line. 

Now it’s fodder for a Friday afternoon garbage dump, with junior ministers sent out to publicly eat the shit sandwich. 

It’s unlikely the scheme will ever generate a single cent of additional revenue, given the repayment, the likely compensation, the legal costs associated with a number of cases, and the extraordinary costs of implementing the supposedly automated scheme, including the siccing of debt collectors onto innocent welfare recipients. 

Morrison and his colleagues, and the Social Services public servants who devised and implemented the scheme, will be hoping to avoid accountability for the debacle, which goes back to a single fact: there was always a serious question mark over the legality of the mechanism at the heart of robodebt, income averaging. 

The government gave up pretending income averaging was lawful last November, just before settling the case brought by Deanna Amato in the Federal Court. 

Robert is trying to pretend that that was when the penny dropped about income averaging, and the government is refusing to say how long it knew about the lack of a legal basis for its flagship savings measure. 

As is now well documented, however, the lack of a lawful basis was clear from early on. 

Social security law expert Matthew Butt raised serious questions about the legality of income averaging in early 2017, noting the limitations on its use under legislation and that Human Services’ own guidelines recommend that averaging be used selectively. 

Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) member Terry Carney found that there was no legal basis for the debts raised at the same time, in decisions the government declined to appeal. The government instead dumped Carney from the tribunal while it stacked it with former Coalition MPs, staffers and party members. ....

Why did public servants prepare and implement a scheme they knew had a strong chance of being found unlawful? Was legal advice sought? Or did Social Services, like the Department of Health in the sports rorts scandal, refuse to obtain legal advice it knew would show there was no legal basis for the proposed actions? 

The financial cost of the debacle is only one aspect. Robodebt needlessly inflicted misery and anxiety of hundreds of thousands of Australians. The number of suicides caused by the receipt of automatically generated debt letters is unlikely to ever be known. 

Throughout, the bureaucrats involved have sought to stymie or evade accountability. In the most recent round of Senate estimates hearings, departmental officials like Social Services secretary Kathryn Campbell refused to provide basic information, like the number of victims of income averaging, to a Senate committee. 

Similar obfuscation is likely to be used against attempts by the Senate to establish the crucial issue of how much Social Services knew about the unlawfulness of income averaging when the scheme was crafted in 2015, what advice was sought and what was communicated to the minister.....

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

From the moment then Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott became Australia's prime minister the National Broadband Network became one enormous rolling disaster


This is what est. $50 billion dollar spend of taxpayer money by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has delivered in rural and regional Australia.....

Clarence Valley Independent, 21 May 2020:

As far as stories about inept management go, the bungled provision of National Broadband Network (NBN) services for the residents of Woombah features a tangled web of politics, bureaucracy, obfuscation and buck passing. 


Seven years after the process began; a recent survey conducted by the Woombah Residents Association has revealed that 60 per cent of the village’s residents are still unable to connect to the NBN. 

The association has written to Page MP Kevin Hogan, Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Mc Cormack expressing their dissatisfaction. 

The COVID-19 lockdown has served to amplify the problem, with one frustrated couple, Robin and Einion Thomas, writing to Mr Hogan: “After contacting your office my email was sent to [NBN Co’s regional manager] Ian Scott. 

“He phoned me and suggested, as we had been unable to connect to the fixed wireless tower, a satellite service would be a good option, [however], a 300Mb plan I saw was for $200 per month. 

“It was also suggested we keep our ADSL line, as satellite is limited and ADSL would be needed if we wanted to do streaming, video conferencing and working with cloud-based services. 

“…Right now [the ADSL] is struggling and this is putting additional pressures on us in our home-based working environment. 

 “Neither of the suggestions made by Ian [is] workable, acceptable or affordable to us.” 

The saga began in April 2013 when Woombah residents were informed that a 40 metre high fixed wireless (NBN) tower was going to be erected at 97 West Street – within weeks a group of residents known as the Woombah Tower Action Group (WTAG), began lobbying to prevent its construction. 

The tower was erected in December 2013 and was commissioned in March 2015. 

As it turned out WTAG’s failed campaign was on the money when it was revealed that fewer than two in ten residences were covered by the tower’s broadcast footprint. 

One of the group’s members, Dane Webb, wrote to Page MP Kevin Hogan, declaring at the time: “This has to go down in history as one of the most ridiculous exercises ever, as it [the tower’s service area] covers – wait for it – TWO complete streets and a few partial streets.” (‘NBN tower fails to deliver’, Clarence Valley Review, March 23, 2015).... 

A panacea to the problem appeared to be close in March/April 2019 when NBN Co’s regional manager, Ian Scott, advised the Woombah Residents Association that two towers – one at Mororo and another at Palmers Island – would provide NBN services to Woombah residents. 

However, according to residents, things have not improved since the towers were commissioned. 

On May 12 the residents association wrote in its media release and/or correspondence: “Despite the huge expense involved in building these additional towers fewer than 40 per cent of our community members can successfully access the NBN fixed wireless internet. 

“Woombah has a population of approximately 1,000 residents and is dependent on tourism, farming and fishing. “It is the second fastest growing community in the Clarence. 

“The population is set to expand over the next year with the development of 147 new homes in a caravan park in the village. 

“…We note that a recent media release from [Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s] office stated: ‘The importance of fast, affordable broadband delivered quickly has never been clearer than during the current COVID-19 pandemic (27/4/2020).’ 

“We agree wholeheartedly with your statement and would like to draw your attention to the problems we in Woombah face connecting to the NBN.”

According to finder on 21 May 2020, by the end of June 2020 it is expected that:

By the end of the rollout, roughly 40% of premises will be connected via Fibre to the Node or Fibre to the Basement (also known as Fibre to the Building) – the vast majority of these will be Fibre to the Node. 

Fibre to the Node connections still rely on the copper phone lines to cover the last few hundred metres, while Fibre to the Basement runs copper into the basement of multi-dwelling buildings and relies on the building's copper wiring. 

Meanwhile, around 12% will be dependent on Fibre to the Curb, reliant on much shorter copper runs, while 19% will be lucky enough to have Fibre to the Premises running all the way into their home. 

That leaves 21% using the HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) cable networks, 5% on fixed-wireless and 3% on SkyMuster satellite.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Broadband Performance Data, May 2020:



Tuesday, 19 May 2020

How will up to 7.2 million Australians respond to Scott Morrison's willingness to abandon them in the worst global recession since the Great Depression


"Fiscal measures will need to be scaled up if the stoppages to economic activity are persistent, or the pickup in activity as restrictions are lifted is too weak."  [IMF WORLD ECONOMIC OUTLOOK: THE GREAT LOCKDOWN, April 2020] 

Brisbane Times, 15 May 2020:

Something has changed in the Liberal Party since John Howard was prime minister. Key business lobbies now have such a grip they can frogmarch the government towards political suicide.

It is only weeks since a million Australians lost their jobs by government decree to protect us all from a health crisis. Most are yet to receive their first benefits, but the government has said the guiding principles on the way out will be self-reliance and personal responsibility.


The Prime Minister and the Treasurer have moved in recent weeks to flag that the JobSeeker and JobKeeper programs are a short-term aberration and will be returning to their traditional small-government, competitive-individualism philosophy.


‘‘Open markets will be central ... not government,’’ declared the Treasurer on Tuesday. ‘‘The values and principles that have guided us in the past ... encouraging personal responsibility, maximising personal choice, rewarding effort and risk-taking’’ will be central.


It is hard to imagine a more tone-deaf piece of communication to the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are now gripped by sleepless nights about where their next job is going to come from and whether they will lose their houses.


Social movement research has found that you only need 2.5 per cent of people to be in a political movement for it to be large enough to drive major political and social reform. That is enough for everyone to have friends and family involved and to feel personally connected to the issue.


Almost every Australian will have someone they love who has lost a job in the past six weeks. Telling people they are on their own has to be pretty much at the top of the "what not to do list" in the political leadership manual. Yet Scott Morrison is not an idiot or an ideologue, so why is he doing it?


Even if the government was privately planning this approach, you wouldn’t expect the Prime Minister to say it publicly. The announcements suggest he is having to quell his own political storm and there is a pile-on going on behind the scenes. It is the wrong message for most Australians, but it is the right message for those who dictate his grip on power.


Some of it will be the same Coalition ideologues cum powerbrokers who are worried the pandemic response is a symbolic loss. These tribal warriors are not going to let the fact the country is in the grip of an unfolding catastrophe distract them from the red team-blue team contest.


However, they are not the only force in play. Leaders of our largest businesses are embracing the maxim "Don’t waste a good crisis". They are circling the carcass of the not-yet-cold COVID economy, and seeking to take the opportunity to drive through some long-sought-after tax cuts and industrial relations reform.....


One has to wonder how Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg came to believe that the 1. 7 million people expected to be unemployed by September 2020 will fare well going into the worst recession since the Great Depression where the unemployment rate is predicted to be 13 per cent for starters. 

Or why he believes the up to 5.5 million workers, hanging onto insecure jobs which are only guaranteed for as long as businesses are receiving government wage subsidies for their workers, will all keep those jobs when the subsidy ends on 27 September 2020.

This is the changed reality that the Liberal & National parties must face:

The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 2020







If Scott Morrison continues down this track, what will Christmas look like?

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Saga of the Morrison Government's COVIDSafe App


The New Daily
First came the announcement that the Australian Dept. of Health was creating a virus contact tracing app to allow health officials to discover how many people had been in contact with future confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.

This announcement was followed with an app name, COVIDSafe. Branding it would appear that was shamelessly filched from another app being trialled in the United States.

Soon after we were told that at least 40 per cent of the Australian population would have to voluntarily download the free app for tracing to be an effective public health tool.

Once the $1.5 million app was released on the evening of Sunday 26 April 2020 it was found to only be supported by a ministerial determination rather than legislation and, to be riddled with design & implementation flaws. Some of which were dangerous to the wellbeing of individuals whose vital health aids were supported by Bluetooth.

Draft legislation limited in scope and publication of the app source code surfaced days later.

By 1 May Prime Minister Morrison was reported as saying that easing COVID-19 public health restrictions and a return to normality will depend on uptake of the Covidsafe contact tracing app.

On 4 May the app's visuals were slightly changed and a few bugs were allegedly fixed in an automatic update. However, significant problems with use continued to be reported.

By 9 May it was obvious that the more than 10 million people needed to make digital contact tracing effective were not about to materialise.

Once the number of app downloads failed to reach 6 million the Morrison Government's rhetoric changed.

It went from saying '4 million downloads were required', to 'as many downloads as possible is the aim' and on to 'there is no target number set' for app downloads.

It also ceased linking download/registration numbers with the easing of public health restrictions and, by 8 May the National Cabinet had released its three-step plan to ease restrictions which the states and territories are beginning to implement subject to their own individual circumstances.

So it comes as no surprise to hear that the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 has been told that virus contact tracing is not dependent on the use of the app and, tracing methods currently in place will continue even after the app tracing system is fully operational.

It would appear that Morrison & Co were lying when they stated or implied that easing public health restrictions was dependent on widespread uptake of the app. 

Despite people installing and registering the COVIDsafe app from 27 April onwards, as of Wednesday 13 May the app tracing sytem was not yet fully operational because health departments in the states and territories are yet to avail themselves of the virus contact database.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Morrison's refusal to release the written finding of the Gaetjens investigation into the allocation of Community Sport Infrastructure Grants during the 2019 federal election campaign is raising eyebrows


The handling of the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program during the 2019 federal election campaign - otherwise know as SportsRorts scandal - has already taken the scalp of former Agriculture Minister & Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, after poor personal polling on 12 January  and growing public anger on the release of the Auditor General's adverse report of 15 January 2020 caused Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to order an internal investigation into this $100 million dollar scheme.

Ms. McKenzie has been made Leader of the Nationals in the Senate as compensation for the fact that she was forced to resign in an effort to put a lid on the whole affair.

Nevertheless disquiet remains after Morrison refused to release the written finding of the Gaetjens investigation.......

Former head of the Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Finance, and Employment and Industrial Relations and currently Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University, Michael Keating, writing in Crikey.com.au on 11 February 2020:

In my view the Gaetjens’ report reflects poorly on its author.

It would seem on the evidence that Gaetjens has produced a report whose only purpose was to get the government off a political hook.

One suspects that finding McKenzie guilty on the grounds of political bias in her administration of these grants would have implicated other ministers and/or their offices, and therefore she was exonerated on this charge.

However, as head of the public service, Gaetjen’s first duty is to uphold its values and integrity. And as set out in its enabling legislation, the Australian Public Service is meant to be apolitical, serving not only the government but also parliament and the Australian public.

Gaetjens should be setting an example for the rest of the APS — indeed the head of any organisation has their greatest impact on its culture.

My other concern about this sports rorts saga is what it tells us about the prime minister’s attitude to the public service.

As the High Court has found: “the maintenance and protection of an apolitical and professional public service is a significant purpose consistent with the system of representative and responsible government mandated by the constitution”.

But the Gaetjens’ report reinforces doubts about whether Morrison accepts the independence and impartiality of the APS.

Furthermore, this report comes on the back of the Morrison government’s rejection of all the recommendations from the independent ThodeyReview of the APS which would have strengthened that independence, and therefore reinforces that concern.

On 5 February 2020 the Senate resolved to establish a Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants to inquire into and report on the administration and award of funding under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program.

The first and, perhaps the only, hearing day is today Thursday 13 February 2020 -  beginning at 4.30pm when the Auditor General Grant Hehir will be giving evidence.

The closing date for submissions is 21 February 2020 and the committee is to present its final report on or before 24 March 2020.
BACKGROUND
Terms of Reference 

1. That a select committee, to be known as the Select Committee on Administration of Sports Grants, be established to inquire into and report on the administration and award of funding under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program, with particular reference to: 
a) program design and guidelines; 
b) requirements placed on applicants for funding; 
c) management and assessment processes; 
d) adherence to published assessment processes and program criteria; 
e) the role of the offices of the Minister, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, and any external parties, in determining which grants would be awarded and who would announce the successful grants; and 
f) any related programs or matters. 

2. That the committee present its final report on or before Tuesday 24 March 2020. 

3. That the committee consist of 5 senators, as follows: 
a) 2 nominated by the Leader of the Government in the Senate; 
b) 2 nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate; and 
c)1 nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens. 

4. That: 
a) participating members may be appointed to the committee on the nomination of the Leader of the Government in the Senate, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate or any minority party or independent senator; and b) participating members may participate in hearings of evidence and deliberations of the committee, and have all the rights of members of the committee, but may not vote on any questions before the committee. 
c) a participating member shall be taken to be a member of a committee for the purpose of forming a quorum of the committee if a majority of members of the committee is not present. 

5. That the committee may proceed to the dispatch of business notwithstanding that not all members have been duly nominated and appointed and notwithstanding any vacancy. 

6. That the committee elect as chair one of the members nominated by the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate and as deputy chair the member nominated by the Leader of the Australian Greens. 

7. That the deputy chair shall act as chair when the chair is absent from a meeting of the committee or the position of chair is temporarily vacant. 

8. That, in the event of an equality of voting, the chair, or the deputy chair when acting as chair, have a casting vote. 

9. That the committee have power to appoint subcommittees consisting of 3 or more of its members, and to refer to any such subcommittee any of the matters which the committee is empowered to consider. 

10. That the committee and any subcommittee have power to send for and examine persons and documents, to move from place to place, to sit in public or in private, notwithstanding any prorogation of the Parliament or dissolution of the House of Representatives, and have leave to report from time to time its proceedings and the evidence taken and such interim recommendations as it may deem fit. 

11. That the committee be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the committee with the approval of the President. 

12. That the committee be empowered to print from day to day such papers and evidence as may be ordered by it, and a daily Hansard be published of such proceedings as take place in public. 

The resolution establishing the committee is available in the Journals of the Senate No. 37 - Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Australian National Audit Office (ANAO), Award of Funding under the Community Sport Infrastructure Program, Report NO. 23 OF 2019–20, which found:
  • The award of grant funding was not informed by an appropriate assessment process and sound advice.
  • The successful applications were not those that had been assessed as the most meritorious in terms of the published program guidelines..... 
  • There was evidence of distribution bias in the award of grant funding. Overall statistics indicate that the award of funding was consistent with the population of eligible applications received by state/territory, but was not consistent with the assessed merit of applications. The award of funding reflected the approach documented by the Minister’s Office of focusing on ‘marginal’ electorates held by the Coalition as well as those electorates held by other parties or independent members that were to be ‘targeted’ by the Coalition at the 2019 Election. Applications from projects located in those electorates were more successful in being awarded funding than if funding was allocated on the basis of merit assessed against the published program guidelines.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Regulation, policy oversight and funding of aged care services are predominantly the role of the Australian Government - under three successive Coalition governments needs are not being met


Regulation and policy oversight of aged care services are predominantly the role of the Australian Government. It funds residential aged care, home care and home support, with state, territory and local governments also funding and/or delivering some of these services directly. However, most services are delivered by non-government providers such as private-for-profit, religious and charitable organisations.

Government subsidises a significant portion of the cost of providing aged care, but clients and residents are expected to contribute where they can and may be charged fees and payments by service providers.

In 2018-19 there were est. 3.9 million people 65 years of age or older in the Australian population.

Of these older people:

236, 213 were in permanent residential care;
64,117 had received respite care;
24,137 had received transition care or short-term restorative care;
1,072 national ATSI flexible age care program places were operational;
826,335 were receiving home support; and
131,534 were receiving home care packages. 
[Productivity Commission, REPORT ON GOVERNMENT SERVICES 2020]

That is est. 1.2 million older Australians who are receiving some form of government funded care.

Government recurrent expenditure on aged care services was $20.1 billion in the 2018-19 financial year or $4,874 per older person, with the federal government providing 98.2 per cent of the funding.

That low annual level of expenditure per person may be one of the reasons for this…..

The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 2020:

The time it takes for older Australians to enter a nursing home after being assessed as needing residential care has blown out almost 50 per cent in two years, while waiting times for the highest level of home care package are 34 months.

The Productivity Commission reports that the median "elapsed time" between getting approval from an aged care assessment team (ACAT) and going to a nursing home was 152 days in 2018-19. This is up from 121 days in 2017-18 and 105 days in 2016-17.

In New South Wales, the median wait time was 143 days in 2018-19 and 124 days in Victoria. Across Australia, almost 42 per cent of older people entered a nursing home within three months of getting ACAT approval. Almost 60 per cent of people entered a nursing home within nine months.

The Productivity Commission explained the waiting time was influenced by the availability of places as well as an older person's "preference to stay at home for as long as possible". The commission noted people may choose to try to access formal help at home or more family help, instead of taking up a nursing home place.

It said there may also be delays if people sold their family home before going into residential care.

The Productivity Commission's annual report on government services follows the aged care royal commission's recent scathing assessment of the sector. In its interim report, the royal commission slammed the aged care system as "sad and shocking", "diminish[ing] Australia as a nation". It also comes amid pleas from the aged care sector for $1.3 billion in urgent financial assistance to keep nursing homes open around the country.

The Productivity Commission's report, released today, said the median time between ACAT approval and the offer of a home care package ranged from seven months for a level one package, to 34 months for a level four (highest needs) package in 2018-19.

The commission said there was no comparable data on home care package "elapsed times" for previous years, due to a change to the approval process in 2017. Federal government data released before Christmas showed more than 112,000 people were waiting for home care. The royal commission singled out the home care wait list for urgent attention last October, noting "many people die waiting".

According to the Productivity Commission, in 2018, 84.4 per cent of those who received a formal aged care service in the home over the previous six months said they were satisfied with the quality of help they received. This was down from 89.2 per cent in 2015.

The report also found that 34 per cent of people over 65 who live at home and were classified as "in need of assistance" said their needs were not "fully met"…..