Showing posts with label government policy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label government policy. Show all posts

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Nationals MP for Page Kevin Hogan avoids questions about Coalition Government-Indue Limited's punitive cashless debit card for welfare recipients


Clarence Valley Independent, 2 October 2019:

The latest federal budget underwrote $128.8 million over four years, from 2019-20, to fund the trial rollout of the Cashless Debit Card (CDC), including the provision of “funding to expand the Cashless Debit Card to a fifth site”.
Test areas are located in the Ceduna region in South Australia (from March 2016) and the East Kimberley (from April 2016) and Goldfields (from March 2018) regions in Western Australia.
In January this year, a trial commenced in the Bundaberg / Hervey Bay region in Queensland – the Clarence Valley local government area is statistically much the same as Hervey Bay’s, according to the 2016 census, apart from the valley being home to a larger indigenous population.
“This proposal is expected to have a positive impact on regional Australia by reducing alcohol consumption, illegal drug use, and gambling in communities and providing improved technology for participants subject to welfare quarantining,” the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development website states.
Another Clarence Valley publication recently ran a headline with Page MP Kevin Hogan reportedly saying the implantation of the cashless welfare card is a “no brainer” an described his position as an “impassioned defence” of the CDC.
With the possible rollout of another trial area and the similarity of Clarence Valley LGA’s census data to the Hervey Bay area, the Independent sought Mr Hogan’s thoughts, preparing several questions (with context provided) and putting them in an email, along with an invitation to speak directly about the issue, which Mr Hogan declined.....
Read the full article here.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

The world is increasingly seeing Australian PM Scott Morrison as running a climate denialist government


When a country is run by rightwing, anti-science, ideological ratbags this is what happens.......

The Guardian, 25 September 2019:

Scott Morrison is increasingly seen as running a “denialist government” that is not serious about finding a global climate solution and uses “greenwash” to meet its emissions commitments, analysts and former diplomats say.
Australian observers in New York said Morrison’s failure to attend a UN climate action summit on Monday despite being in the US, and his apparent rejection of the need for Australia to do more to address its rising greenhouse gas emissions, eroded goodwill for the country on the issue.
While representatives from about 60 nations spoke at the summit, Morrison gave a keynote speech at the Chicago Institute for Global Affairs in which he challenged China to do more heavy lifting on climate change and suggested it should be treated as a “newly developed” economy rather than a developing one.
He said country representatives at the summit were dismissive of Australia’s intentions. Bill Hare, the chief executive and senior scientist of Climate Analytics and a longtime adviser to countries at climate talks, said the UN summit had been “very disappointing” as most larger polluters, including Australia, had failed to meet the secretary general Antonio Guterres’ call to increase commitments, leaving ambitious strides to smaller nations.
“Diplomatic officials from countries that I speak with see Australia as a denialist government,” he said. “It’s just accepted that’s what it is. It is seen as doing its own promotion of coal and natural gas against the science.”
Hare said Morrison’s suggestion China should be doing more on climate, and be treated similarly to the most developed countries, while Australia’s emissions continued to increase year-on-year was a “ridiculous fake argument”.
He said China, the world’s most populous country and biggest annual polluter, was not doing anywhere near enough to tackle the crisis, but was doing more than Australia on many measures. It had national policies in a number of areas – boosting renewable energy, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and efficiency in industry – where Australia did not.
“Is that having enough of an effect in China? No. But will China peak its emissions by the end of the 2020s? Yes,” Hare said.
“Will Australia? There is no evidence that Australia will peak its emissions as far as I’ve seen in any projections that have been published.”.....
A report backed by the world’s major climate science bodies released on the eve of the summit found current plans would lead to a rise in average global temperatures of between 2.9C and 3.4C by 2100, a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe......

Law Council of Australia not amused by those playing politics with the issue of domestic violence


Law Council of Australia, media release, 23 September 2019: 

Family violence awareness training urged for parliamentarians 

The Law Council has condemned as dangerous suggestions by Senator Malcolm Roberts of One Nation that the family courts are contributing to family violence and called for family violence awareness training for all members of parliament. 

“It is inappropriate to be blaming victims, the courts or judges for any person lashing out and hurting another person,” Law Council President, Arthur Moses SC, said today. 

“Politicians must be careful not to use words that may incite those currently engaged in the system or dissatisfied with a court outcome to engage in violence.” 

Mr Moses labelled as “irresponsible and plain stupid” comments by made One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts blaming the family law system for violence by men. 

“These comments could incite violence against partners, children or judges of those courts, or provide excuses for some men to blame anyone else but themselves for hurting a partner or child. The comments of Senator Roberts will undermine, not assist, concerns being raised by some members of the community for law reform as to how custody matters can be dealt with in a less adversarial manner.” 

“The Joint Select Committee Inquiry announced this week provides a critical opportunity for Parliament to examine holistic options to reform the system, including recent recommendations by the Australian Law Reform Commission. The Law Council has offered its support to the Inquiry but it needs to be free from bias and pre-determined outcomes.” 

“But let me be clear – the Inquiry will have no hope of achieving any meaningful reform and will quickly lose support if it is overshadowed by these disgraceful comments or misguided by myths. Reform has to be based on facts not slogans.” 

“This Inquiry must be about finding long-term solutions to a crippled family law system. This will assist vulnerable children, mothers, fathers, families and victims of family violence. Not apportioning blame or seeking to excuse the inexcusable. 

“Cases of family violence are serious matters to be heard and determined by the courts and prosecuted by the police, not Parliament. If parties are unhappy with outcomes, these can decisions reviewed. 

“I acknowledge Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Attorney-General Porter have said earlier comments reported by Senator Hanson about the raising of domestic violence issues in family cases were wrong. The reported comments by the Senator were plainly wrong.” 

“However, Prime Minister Morrison, Attorney-General Porter and Committee Chair Andrews now need to condemn these latest remarks by Senator Roberts in the strongest possible terms and ensure the Inquiry is conducted in a manner that is safe and respectful. Otherwise, the situation will quickly deteriorate and this Inquiry will harm not help children, mothers and fathers” Mr Moses said. 

“The Law Council strongly recommends all parliamentarians including those who participate in this Inquiry be provided with family violence awareness training at the outset to help them undertake their important roles in the Inquiry but also considering any recommendations from the Inquiry.


Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Meet the Indue Class Warfare Card


Think the Australian Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government is not seriously considering a national roll-out of the Indue Cashless Debit Card?

Do you think that living many hundreds of kilometres in any direction from current debit card trial sites proves that that the Liberal Party's head hater of the poor and vulnerable is not yet planning to specifically target you and your family?

Recently noticed that your bank's ATM now has a function icon which allows the limited use of these particular debit cards in order to facilitate a person's ability to access the paltry 20 per cent of a welfare payment which can be paid out in cash under this punitive income management scheme?



Thursday, 12 September 2019

If you are a welfare recipient in any shape of form - be afraid, be very afraid



It appears in his profound ignorance and overwhelming arrogance Australian Prime Minister and Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison intends to privatize the welfare safety net....... 


Morrison has a very particular view of how welfare should be approached. On one level, it is a sort of neoliberal/austerity view, entirely at one with the direction of government policy since the 1980s.

But it is more complex that. Morrison seems to want to move to what we might call a post-neoliberal approach, with welfare built around financial instruments such as so-called Social Interest Bonds (SIBs)…..

To put it another way, there is no money in ending poverty, but there is profit to be had in meeting metrics that break 'the intergeneral cycle of poverty and disadvantage.'

Regardless, the whole approach ties in completely with Morrison's view that, 'welfare must become a good deal for investors' and that 'we must make it a good deal' (emphasis added).

That is to say, to be a good deal for investors, various forms of control and discipline must be enacted upon welfare recipients in order to help ensure targets are met and profits are realised via instruments like SIBs.

Drug testing and cashless welfare cards are two ways of doing that, and that is why Scott Morrison is advocating them. He is laying the groundwork for the introduction of instruments such as SIBs.

In the meantime, he is more than happy for the State to be an 'enforcer' without them.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

An as yet unconfirmed rumour about the Indue Cashless Welfare Card


Indue Limited (ABN 97 087 822 464) is a bank and Authorised Deposit-Taking Institution (“ADI”) that is regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Indue is owned by financial institutions, each of which is also an ADI. Indue provides transaction processing and settlement services to credit unions, building societies, church funds, mortgage originators, commercial clients and the Australian government.

via @CartwheelPrint


Facebook, The Say NO Seven, 9 August 2019:

🐦⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠ #LNP_CASHLESS_CARD_AGENDA 


Whistle blower testimony sent to the SNS has confirmed the LNP agenda for Indue Cards.


As long time members are aware, the SNS operates an encrypted mail service and drop box specifically for those people within the system to speak out in relative safety.


A rarely used resource, this week and we assume as a direct result of the the muzzling of certain sectors, we have received information from two independent sources attached to the department and public service that corroborate our concerns.


The LNP Agenda is clear. They are "confidant" that regardless of whether ALP support/do not support further expansions, that with Cross Bench support, they will reach this target prior to the next Federal election.


We do not send this notice to generate groundless fear. We send it to inform you and to inform those within our government who feel themselves above the law and the will of the people, that we *will* and will continue to resist.


We have deliberated deeply about presenting this information, which should come as no real surprise to those are literate in card matters and current political machinations.


We concluded it was necessary to post, despite being unable to provide documentation to you at this time, as has been our standard thus far and will continue to be. The risks are simply too great to not speak out now, while we still can, and are as great as the risks whistle blowers face if we provide any further detail.


We can confirm the sources are credible, reliable, are informed, and have been vetted.


⚠ We must reiterate that AT THIS TIME there are NO Bills before parliament that would permit ANY further roll out in ANY location nor are there any current Bills before parliament to expand payment captures to include aged pension aka under the Act as Mature Aged Payment. 


We must continue to remain steadfast and take one step at a time, and take each presentation to parliament as it comes.


Information sharing over several weeks along with these new posts has confirmed that four Bills concerning or including cashless cards are in progress and that these Bills may arrive as a single Omnibus Bill. We are informed that the writing of these Bills has been outsourced to partisan legal interests.


Even so, as we said, we must remain steadfast and take each presentation to parliament as it comes and not allow fear to dictate or determine *our* outcomes decisions or directions.


We send this to you for 'the grace of time' - for your emotional and mental preparation and for wider general awareness of what we are likely to be facing over the next three years.


We will post over the next week on just what this agenda, if successful, could mean for Australians and our nation and economy; on the utilization and role of religious groups as relates to LNP's social welfare policy as a whole; and we will also speak on issues of effective resistance.


Now we know. Time to wake the masses.


Heads up..eyes open..no fear. ✊


- SNS🌿


Monday, 5 August 2019

Morrison Government intends to go ahead with the drug testing of welfare recipients


"…the bill is not written like a research trial, it's written as policy by stealth…and if this is about introducing new policy, then…it misunderstands the nature of drug problems and drug dependence." [UNSW Professor Lisa Maher, Committee Hansard, 23 April 2018, p.18] 

According to data.gov.au, between January 2017 and and December 2018 there were 5.82 million Australian citizens receiving Newstart Allowance unemployment benefits for all or part of that period.

Based on the New Zealand experience of widespread drug testing, it is highly likely that just one year into any Australian scheme which regularly drug tests Newstart recipients running costs would not be less than $3.27 billion.

When you add those receiving Youth Allowance,  then drug testing and intervention costs would run even higher.

Even the limited trial currently proposed by the Morrison Government would in all probability cost somewhere in the vicinity of $20 million in its first year.

In the health care sector there is almost universal condemnation of the Morrison Government's drug testing bill as being either unworkable in practice as a reliable drug detection scheme or ineffective as a method of medical intervention.

Indeed, it is reported that Clinical Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds, an expert in addiction medicine, has stated that the drug testing trial is 'unlikely to bring about any sustained changes in patients' drug use behaviours and may even be counterproductive.'

Nor does it appear that there is any solid evidence that such a testing regime actually assists unemployed people to either find work or successfully access treatment. 


Given how many drug or alcohol dependent individuals currently cannot get a timely appointment or find a inpatient bed in the est. 952 publicly funded drug & alcohol agencies across Australia and the fact that the majority of both private and publicly funded agencies are in large metropolitan areasthis lack of evidence comes as no surprise.

Here is just one submission made to the Senate Inquiry into the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Drug Testing Trial) Bill 2018 in April 2018 by the peak medical practitioners organisation.


http://www.scribd.com/document/420530854/Social-Services-Legislation-Amendment-Drug-Testing-Trial-Bill-2018-Australian-Parliament


Tuesday, 30 July 2019

The unemployed in Australia have been betrayed yet again


A Liberal Party dominated Australian House Of Representatives Select Committee on Intergenerational Welfare Dependence betrayed vulnerable Australians in April 2019.

However, neither the Labor Party nor Centre Alliance can walk away from the shameful part they played in this betrayal.

The Age, 23 July 2019:

A bipartisan call to increase the Newstart allowance was removed from a parliamentary report at the direction of the Morrison government on the eve of the federal election.

As Prime Minister Scott Morrison stares down growing demands by Coalition MPs to lift the unemployment benefit for the first time since 1994, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age can reveal former social services minister Paul Fletcher intervened in an inquiry to erase a major recommendation that would have turbo-charged the sensitive issue.

The probe into the causes of long-term welfare was established by the government in mid-2018 to investigate why some Australians become trapped in the system.
The draft final report - agreed to by MPs from the Coalition, Labor and crossbench - contained a specific call to lift the Newstart payment for singles and families.

But sources said Mr Fletcher demanded to review the recommendations before they were publicly released in April and is understood to have told the committee chair - veteran Liberal MP Russell Broadbent - that the final report could not contain the specific Newstart recommendation.

The committee, which included Liberal MPs Kevin Andrews, Bert van Manen, Ben Morton and Rowan Ramsey, as well as Labor MPs Ged Kearney and Sharon Bird, was then hastily reconvened to change the wording of the report.

The opposition's policy at the time was to merely review Newstart rather than raise it.

Following Mr Fletcher's intervention, MPs agreed to only recommend an examination of the "adequacy of payments on young people and single parent families".

In a sign of the growing sensitivity of the issue, Mr Morrison on Tuesday warned Coalition MPs against airing personal views, telling them "government is not a blank cheque" and that they disrespected colleagues by pursuing personal policy agendas.

Amended Final Report can be found here.

Australian Parliamentary Library Briefing Book, retrieved 18 July 2019;

From 20 March 2020, Newstart Allowance will be replaced by a new JobSeeker Payment. Over time a number of other working age payments such as Sickness Allowance and Widow Allowance will end and recipients will also move to the JobSeeker Payment. The new payment will have the same payment rates and indexation arrangements as Newstart Allowance. This is part of a 2017–18 budget measure that aims to simplify the income support system. [my yellow highlighting]

Monday, 29 July 2019

Domestic violence can be a whole lot more more than being slapped across the face or pushed into a wall - something the religious right in the Morrison Government fail to understand


It appears that the Morrison Government is not backing down from delivering $10 million in federal funding to predominately religious groups for the purpose of providing counselling for couples and couples with children where one adult is a domestic violence perpetrator and the other adult (and perhaps one or more of the children) is the victim of this violence.

By 23 July 2019, mainstream media had reported on the deaths by violence of 29 women this year.

One in every 4 Australian women experience domestic violence during their lifetime.

Shot, stabbed, set on fire, held under water until drowned, rammed by a car, beaten or hacked to death. These are just some of the ways women die at the hands of their husbands, partners or close male relatives.

However, there is one attempt to injure and kill that appears to be the most common.....

news.com.au, 26 July 2019



ABC News, 12 March 2019: 

Women who survive strangulation are up to seven times more likely to go on to die at the hands of their partner, according to recent studies in the US. 

And there are side effects that aren't always obvious to treating doctors, paramedics or police officers — everything from voice changes to blood clots, strokes and paralysis. 

Survivors and medical professionals are now pushing for increased training and awareness around non-lethal strangulation — something they say could help save lives. 

Sue* was strangled by her partner about a year ago in Queensland, and knows too well that the side-effects can be delayed, and severe. 

 "I have PTSD. I have vocal cord dysfunction," she says. "I'll get halfway through a sentence and have to stop because I can't swallow properly and I can't breathe properly because the neck just spasms because of the damage done to the vocal cords.... 

A quarter of all NSW murder victims had suffered a strangulation attack prior to their deaths.


ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Strangulation injuries:

There are numerous anatomic neck structures that, when collapsed, can cause morbidity and mortality in hanging injuries. Jugular veins collapse under 4.4 pounds of pressure. Carotid arteries collapse under 5.5 to 22 pounds of pressure. The vertebral arteries will collapse under 18 to 66 pounds of pressure. The trachea will collapse under 33 pounds of pressure. The cricoid cartilage will fracture under 45 pounds of pressure. The collapse of each of these vital structures can lead to immediate death, as well as delayed complications. Damages to both anterior and posterior ligaments and cervical spine dislocations have been documented as a result of strangulation injuries. Direct spinal cord injury, hematoma, or hemorrhage can both cause immediate death and paralysis.

Acute death will ensue when compression or occlusion of the trachea occurs. In the past, this was proposed as the mechanism of mortality in most strangulation injuries. Swelling to the airway and surrounding structures may also lead to acute or delayed death. Death has been documented up to 36 hours after initial strangulation injuries. Compromise to vascular structures has been proven to cause significant morbidity and mortality. This has been proven in tracheostomy patients who have committed suicide. Death in these cases did not involve compression of the trachea or airway due to the presence of an intact tracheostomy.


Compression of the jugular veins results in acute death by causing cerebral hypoxia followed by loss of muscle tone. Once muscle tone is compromised, increased pressure is applied to both the carotid arteries and trachea. Direct compression of the carotid arteries also leads to decrease or loss of cerebral blood flow and brain death. Direct pressure on the carotid sinuses causes a systemic drop in blood pressure, bradycardia, and other arrhythmias. Consequences are anoxic and hypoxic brain injury death.


Many of the martial arts “submission holds” are known to place direct pressure to these vascular structures primarily and can result in strangulation injuries. There can be long-term consequences of strangulation injuries due to vascular compromise as well. Long-term anoxic brain injury, thrombotic stroke, dissection, and aneurysm of vessels can all cause significant morbidity. [my yellow highlighting]

Friday, 26 July 2019

Land clearing law in New South Wales




It’s been almost two years since the NSW Government introduced a new scheme for regulating land clearing and biodiversity in NSW. While the business of tree clearing has continued apace under self-assessed codes and a new Vegetation SEPP, fundamentally important parts of the scheme are still missing. This EDO NSW series of legal updates looks at how the laws are being implemented and the regulatory gaps that are putting our wildlife and healthy sustainable landscapes at risk.

Our first update looked at clearing in rural areas and outlined the fundamentally important parts of the scheme that are still missing even while tree clearing has continued apace under self-assessed codes. The second update looks at elements of the new scheme that are missing or lack clarity for tree clearing in urban areas and e-zones. This third update looks at compliance and enforcement of new clearing laws.

Read the third update here.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

No you weren't imagining it - wages are stagnating in Australia


Whenever the Fair Work Commission reviews the minimum wage, one of those making a submission* to keep any increase in the minimum wage a modest one will be the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.

By way of example:
https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/wagereview2014/submissions/ausgovt_sub_awr1314.pdf
First 5 points in a 12 point statement of Australian Government's position
https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/sites/wagereview2015/submissions/austgov_sub_awr1415.pdf


This is the result.......


As the asset-driven wealth gap has widened, incomes generated by employment have failed to keep up.

Average weekly disposable household incomes have grown just $44 over the past decade. In the four years to 2007-08, average weekly household incomes grew by $220. They dipped in the immediate wake of the global financial crisis before reaching $1067 in the 2013-14 survey. They fell in the next survey and rose $8 a week to $1062 in the 2017-18 survey.

In NSW, those in the lowest 20 per cent of income earners have seen their incomes go backwards in real terms since 2015-16, from $412 a week to $397 a week. They are only $6 a week higher than in 2011-12. The biggest increase has been for people in Tasmania, where disposable incomes jumped $83 to a record-high $922, with households across all income ranges boosted. The largest slump has been in Western Australia, where disposable incomes are $157 lower than their peak in 2013-14. [my yellow highlighting]

However, lest Australian voters seek to blame the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison or any employer lobby group for paltry wages growth, the Australian Treasury and participants at a recent conference organised by the rather esoteric Economic Society of Australia - est. in 1925 and delighting in producing articles such as "Community and Expert Wine Ratings and Prices" and "Non‐monotonic NPV Function Leads to Spurious NPVs and Multiple IRR Problems: A New Method that Resolves these Problems" - have rushed to the defence of both government and the business community.

With Treasury in particular pointing a finger at employees, who are reluctant to quit their current jobs and chance their arm in an uncertain labour market, as a possible cause of low wages growth.  
So there you have it. Despite both the federal government and employer groups constantly pushing to limit wages growth, it's really the fault of workers. 

Regardless of the fact that productivity growth mainly from workers' efforts has averaged 1.4 percent a year since the end of 2010 having risen at a relatively steady rate since 1991.

Note:
* See https://www.fwc.gov.au/awards-agreements/minimum-wages-conditions/annual-wage-reviews/annual-wage-review-2017-18-3. Go to right hand sidebar, open a wage review link, select Submissions &  then click on Initial Submissions.


Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Australian Prime Minister Morrison's relentless hammering of the poor and vulnerable set to continue?


The Guardian, 7 July 2019:

The Morrison government says it remains committed to a plan criticised as “brutal” to dock the welfare of those who repeatedly fail to pay state fines, and may still proceed with cuts to student payments claimed by the unemployed, the disabled and sole parents.

The Coalition introduced a number of welfare measures in 2017 which drew the ire of social service groups but ultimately never came into effect because the government failed to win the support of the Senate or the states and territories.

Guardian Australia reported this month that internal documents suggested the contentious plan to drug test welfare recipients was not a priority, but the government has insisted it remains on its agenda.

Other welfare proposals from the last parliament included about $90m in cuts to student payments, legislation to automatically deduct rent from welfare recipients living in social housing, which critics said could put family violence survivors at risk, and a plan to impose the “demerit point” compliance scheme on those doing the remote work-for-the-dole program, which has seen payment suspensions surge…...

But the spokesman did confirm the government still intended to create the scheme to automatically dock 15% of payments for those who have unpaid fines…...

The Encouraging Lawful Behaviour of Income Support Recipients proposal remains government policy and requires legislative approval,” Ruston’s spokesman said…..

Labor had opposed the cuts to the $208-a-year pensioner education supplement and the $32.20-a week education entry payment, which are intended to help low-income people with the cost of study.

The changes would save the budget $95m over five years, but the opposition said the policy would hurt people with disability, carers, sole parents and the unemployed.

The Australian Council of Social Service has previously lashed the plan to dock welfare payments from people with court-ordered state fines as “particularly brutal”.

The proposal would automatically dock 15% of an income support payment, but critics say it will push vulnerable people into homelessness.

Welfare groups including the Australian Unemployed Workers Union have also expressed grave concerns about a plan announced last year to link Newstart recipients to farm work using the national database.

The unemployed would face losing their welfare payments for four weeks if they turned down what the government described as a “suitable job without reasonable excuse”.

The department of employment confirmed the policy would begin in July next year.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Tears before bedtime under The National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management?



Painaustralia says of itself that it is “Australia’s leading pain advocacy body working to improve the quality of life of people living with pain, their families and carers, and to minimise the social and economic burden of pain on individuals and the community”.

On 11 June 2019 it released a copy of The National Strategic Action Plan for Pain Management having convinced the Morrison Coalition Government that this plan is the bee knees when it comes to pain management.

If the following article is anything to go by it will be tears before bedtime for many chronic pain suffers as the plan does not contain any mention of actually increasing the number pain specialists practicing in Australia or of attempting to lower wait times to see such specialists.

Currently NSW Health only lists 35 pain management services in the state and most of these are attached to metropolitan public hospitals.

Instead people experiencing acute and chronic pain are to be offered 10 Medicare-funded group services and 10 individual services each calendar year, with access to telehealth pain management advice for regional areas where pain management services are not available.

As for pain management using prescribed medications – that is apparently going to be more difficult to access as Painaustralia and the Morrison Government are alarmed that opiate prescriptions in rural & regional Australia have risen in the last ten years. 

Seemingly conveniently blind to any relationship between increased prescribing and low GP numbers, smaller often poorly resourced public hospitals, a reliance on what might be termed 'flyin-flyout' medical specialists who prefer not to live in those rural or regional areas their patients inhabit and the economic tyranny of distance for the patient.

The Daily Examiner, 18 June 2019, p.8:

Doctors will be sent back to school to be re-educated about treating chronic pain and patients given a Medicare boost under a new national strategy.

The first national pain strategy launching today also calls for a national one-stop website to be set up to educate people about how to manage pain without drugs and where to find help.

“There is a screaming need here because pain is a significant burden on the economy, on society and the health system,” Pain Australia chief executive Carol Bennett said.

More than 3.24 million Australians are living with chronic pain and many are becoming addicted to opioid medications while they wait up to four years to see a pain specialist for help.

Last year Australians paid $2.7 billion in out-of-pocket expenses to manage their pain and missed 9.9 million days of work because of the condition.

The new strategy funded by the Federal Government and developed by Pain Australia wants pain to be treated in the same way as mental health, with Medicare funding up to 20 medical and group sessions to help people get it under control. It also calls for a new certificate in pain medicine for GPs and other health professionals that would require six months of study.

The consultation work that took place around the development of the new plan found doctors’ knowledge about the latest pain management techniques was out of date.

“For lower back pain people are popping pills and having surgery but for the last 15 years we’ve known you’ve got to get moving and rehabilitate yourself with physical management,” Ms Bennett said.

Anti-inflammatory medications should not be used for more than a few days and long-term strengthening of the muscles, good nutrition and sleep were the key to treating the problem rather than drugs, she said.

Instead of helping patients manage pain in this way, doctors were prescribing increasing amounts of dangerous and addictive opioid medicines.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

How the Prime Minister is reorganising our lives in 2019


On the day Scott Morrison arranged to be sworn-in as Australian prime minister for the second time he also made a few administrative changes.

From now on the Dept. of Human Services, which delivers social and health payments through such services such as Medicare, Centrelink and Child Support, will have the word "Human" erased from its title.

It will now be called Services Australia. A neutral name which will probably make privatisation of its more human service components that much easier down the track.

Services Australia has also been expanded to include responsibility for whole of government service delivery. 

The new Minister for Government Services and Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme is noneother than the Qld Liberal MP for Fadden Stuart Robert, who in 2016 resigned as the Minister for Human Services after questions were raised over his fitness for officeThus proving that when it comes to political probity it's not what you did in the past but who you pray with now that matters.

The new Minister for Families and Social Services was listed on 26 May 2019 as Liberal Senator for South Australia Anne Rushton. However, there is no mention of that title in her official parliamentary profile to date. 

Morrison has also decided that settlement services for refugees and humanitarian migrants are being transferred from the Social Services portfolio to the Home Affairs portfolio, giving the Minister for Home Affairs and Liberal MP for Dickson Peter Dutton control of every aspect of the lives of those seeking asylum or resettlement in Australia.

These and other changes are set out below........