Cover the Costs

UK Children’s Commission on Poverty providing a voice for children

23 September 2014  |  

Too often children and young people’s voices are absent from debates about the impact of poverty.  In the UK, the Children’s Society has established the Children’s Commission on Poverty.  The aim of the Commission is to highlight children’s experiences of poverty to better understand the impact of poverty on their lives and to consider what more can be done to improve living standards. Fifteen young Commissioners will direct the work of the Commission over an 18-month period and will start reporting findings in 2015. Some of the work to date is available on the Commission’s website. The ... Read More

By under Budget, cost of living, Education, Education

What do Federal Budget proposals mean for vulnerable young people?

11 September 2014  |  

As the Federal Government continues to pursue its ‘earn or learn’ youth unemployment proposals, a forum in Melbourne has heard of the deep concerns this brings. About 120 people from across Victoria’s community and local government sector packed out the forum on the impacts of this year’s federal budget on young people. All were concerned about the loss of federal funding for programs that strengthen young people’s engagement in education and employment, and the proposed changes to Centrelink payments, which will leave people aged 18-30 without any income support for six months of each ... Read More

By under Budget, Young people

Time for energy retailers to respect customers in hardship

9 September 2014  |  

Spiralling energy costs are forcing more people into hardship and are consistently cited as one of the biggest cost imposts on households. Consumer Action’s Problems with Payment report presents the experience of real people finding it hard to pay their energy bills in. Claire Maries outlines the report’s findings and explains how retailers should do more to respect their customers’ needs. Australian energy bills have increased by 45 per cent in the last three years and a staggering 82 per cent in just seven years. If you’re not feeling the pinch yourself, you’re likely all too aware of the ... Read More

By under Energy and Water

Hazelwood mine fire added ‘insult to an already vulnerable community’

4 September 2014  |  

The Hazelwood Mine Fire Board of Inquiry has found that the Hazelwood mine fire ‘added further insult to the already vulnerable community’ of Morwell. The Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry Report, tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, reported that Morwell is less prosperous and less healthy overall than the rest of Victoria, with median household incomes significantly lower than the Victorian average, and a much higher proportion of low income households than in Victoria at large. In addition, Morwell has an ageing population with a higher incidence of cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and the ... Read More

By under Emergency management

Raising Voices Against Violence for women with disabilities

3 September 2014  |  

Women with disabilities experience higher rates of violence against them than women in the general community, but are often too scared to report it. To help raise awareness of this and to help women with disabilities who have experienced violence to tell their stories, several organisations have joined together in the Voices Against Violence research project. Funded by the Legal Services Board and carried out by Women with Disabilities Victoria (WDV), the Office of the Public Advocate (OPA) and the Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria (DVRCV), researchers listened to the experiences ... Read More

By under Disability, Family violence, Victorian state election, Women

Bringing the community sector into emergency planning

2 September 2014  |  

It’s time for Victorians to start talking about how to better protect our vulnerable people in emergencies. Key to this will be recognising that community sector organisations are crucial to assisting these people before, during and after emergencies. We need to weave the community sector’s expertise and connections to vulnerable people into Victoria’s emergency management planning reform, if we are to better protect these people. Bushfires, floods, droughts and heatwaves can all cause physical, financial and psychological hardship to everyone across the community. However they hit ... Read More

By under Advocacy, Community sector, Emergency management, Rural and regional, State Politics

Back to the future: the seductive illusion of prepayment energy meters

28 August 2014  |  

A discussion paper by the Energy and Water Ombudsman NSW on prepayment meters as a tool to help people in hardship has generated some debate among consumer advocates and the energy industry. Here we explain why we continue to oppose them. Our submission to the discussion paper is here.  Prepayment meters (PPMs) are often proposed as a solution to energy affordability for low-income households. We oppose them because they harm vulnerable customers. PPMs: do not solve the problem they are supposed to offer nothing to vulnerable consumers that cannot be delivered by other means cannot ... Read More

By under cost of living, Energy and Water, Essential Services

Alternative approaches to justice – Expanding the Victorian Drug Court

25 August 2014  |  

David Taylor and Sam Biondo, Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA). People who end up in prison are overwhelmingly those who were already facing disadvantage before they committed their crimes. With the Victorian Government’s ‘tough on crime’ approach, more and more of these people are now ending up in prison. Unfortunately this is unlikely to reduce crime rates; once a person enters the prison system they often continue to churn in and out, perpetuating the cycle and expense. As a result of the Government’s approach, the Victorian prison system is expanding at an unprecedented ... Read More

By under Advocacy, Justice

Preparing the vulnerable for climate change

19 August 2014  |  

Australians face the prospect of less rain, more heatwaves, more droughts and more extreme fire danger as our climate heats up, according to the State of the Climate Report 2014. This is not just an environmental issue – it is a social justice issue. The effects of climate change hit people facing disadvantage the hardest. This is for a range of reasons. People facing disadvantage often have poorer quality housing that is more susceptible to floods, fires and heatwaves. People renting their homes are also less able to modify them with energy-efficient or protective measures. They may live ... Read More

By under Uncategorized

Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse: A safer future for children

11 August 2014  |  

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions have responded to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse. The Royal Commission is encouraging people who have a story to tell to share that story with the commission via the means outlined in this guest blog. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and incidents of child sexual abuse. In its first 19 months of operation, ... Read More

By under Advocacy, Children