Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Hopefully I will be ga - ga when the Social Inclusion - Cabinet papers are released in 2043

Hopefully I will be
 ga - ga when the Social Inclusion - Cabinet papers are released in 2043

3 Jan 2012.. as sent to The Australian
Hopefully I will be ga - ga when the Social Inclusion -  Cabinet papers are released. My children's generation should do everything to avoid seeing the inside story of the  political death - knells of this bunch of  Labored  twirps: surely to be  be rebadged as RCP:  'Real Conservative Party. When the revolution comes there will be no more socialist / Communist / non - accountable  foolishness.
Merely contemplating how Gillard destroys so - called high - flyers like the Labored S I Minister Butler should horrify their few remaining supporters.
Why would you be a minister of Gillard's demanding total support for plain absurdium everywhere?
Re:Board's travel bill reveals the cost of social inclusion The Australian 3/1

Geoff Seidner
13 Alston Grove
East St Kilda 3183
03 9525 9299

Board's travel bill reveals the cost of social inclusion | The Australian

THE board advising the government on how to lift people out of social disadvantage spent almost $60000 on airfares last financial year and ...

Board's travel bill reveals the cost of social inclusion

THE board advising the government on how to lift people out of social disadvantage spent almost $60,000 on airfares last financial year and more than $13,000 on accommodation, meals and catering.
The nine-member Social Inclusion Board was set up by Labor in 2008 to improve the lives of marginalised Australians and co-ordinate government services.
The government has struggled to articulate the board's role, but Social Inclusion  Minister Mark Butler, writing in The Australian last month, said social inclusion was aimed at encouraging governments to tackle complex social disadvantage with multi-dimensional policies.
The Coalition is questioning what the board does and has concerns about the price tag associated with running the social inclusion portfolio, which is now a cabinet-level responsibility.
The government has defended the board's travel costs, saying disadvantage is a national challenge and cannot be tackled by policy-makers solely out of Canberra.
In response to a series of questions from opposition disabilities spokesman Mitch Fifield, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has revealed the cost of flights for the board and the secretariat in 2010-11 came to $59,623.41. Board members are entitled to business class travel.
Senator Fifield told The Australian that the social inclusion portfolio was an "example where Labor prefers to be seeming to do something rather than actually doing something".
"Given Mark Butler's inability at his first press conference as minister to explain what the social inclusion portfolio is, he should be keen to explain what his social inclusion board has actually done with its money," he said.
Mr Butler was appointed to the role early last month, and promoted to cabinet.
Senator Fifield said past efforts by the board had raised concerns, including its publication Social Inclusion in Australia - How Australia is Faring, which cost $110,000 to produce.
He said the 2009 report made "the earth-shattering discovery that Australians are pretty happy, they enjoy catching up with family and friends, their family sometimes annoys them and some people are afraid after dark". "If social inclusion means helping those who face extra challenges for reasons beyond their control, then surely that's the core business of most portfolios such as my own," Senator Fifield said.
In answers to Senator Fifield's questions, the department said the Social Inclusion Unit, which supports the work of the board, had a budget this financial year of $3.3 million. The unit has the equivalent of 18.9 full-time staff.
The board, which is chaired by former Victorian Department of Human Services chief Patricia Faulkner, has produced eight research reports looking at the barriers facing jobless families, the nation's employment services, and poverty and low-income indicators.
The unit provided advice to the board and government on a range of policies including "reducing the incidence of homelessness by providing more housing and support services".
A spokesman for acting Social Inclusion Minister Tanya Plibersek - who had ministerial responsibility for the area before being promoted to Health Minister - defended the board's travel costs, saying social and economic disadvantage was a national challenge and "can't be tackled by policy-makers operating solely  from Canberra".
"Getting out of the boardroom is a necessity for the Social Inclusion Board and allows the board to get out and meet people who work at the coalface every day  supporting the most vulnerable and marginalised Australians," the spokesman said.
"The value of the Social Inclusion Board is in the advice it provides to the government to help better understand how we can address disadvantage.
"For example, the Social Inclusion Board advised the government to take a place-based approach, and in the last budget the government announced the Better Futures, Local Solutions initiative, which tackles disadvantage in 10 communities across the country."
The Department of Human Services website says this program will establish a government action leader, a community action leader and a local advisory group  in 10 local government areas to promote long-term economic participation in disadvantaged communities. These individuals and bodies "will help identify and  foster innovative local initiatives to boost engagement, capability and workforce participation among disadvantaged groups".
"A local solutions fund will also be available and will provide funding for innovative and creative solutions to increase workforce participation by supporting projects designed for the local community."
The Social Inclusion Board is charged with advising the government on how to help solve the multiple educational, health and social disadvantages that lock the most disadvantaged 5 per cent of the population into poverty.


New ways to bring disadvantaged in from cold

FOR most Australians, Christmas is a time of joy and togetherness shared with family and friends.
But it's also a time when loneliness and isolation are felt most keenly, particularly for the one in 20 Australians living with complex disadvantage not able to be remedied simply by putting a little more money in their pockets.
For those Australians, traditional social welfare approaches don't always work and the combination of disadvantages can severely limit their ability to participate productively in our community.
In the past few days, I have been asked: What is social inclusion? The best way to answer that question is to contrast social inclusion with the traditional analysis of disadvantage in Australia that centres on poverty.
Social inclusion recognises that disadvantage does not rest only on the amount of money you have in your pocket (though that is obviously important) but also on a range of other factors including educational opportunities, disability or mental illness, access to services and shelter, family and social relationships, and more.

The concept of complex and multidimensional disadvantage is not particularly revolutionary. Where the rubber hits the road, though, is when governments are able to put together a multi-dimensional response, and that is the value of social inclusion.
Australians living with complex disadvantage interact with several government agencies and non-government organisations delivering government funded services. Traditionally, those agencies have stuck rigidly to their area of responsibility (such as income support or housing). This "silo" approach by government means that individuals end up having to tell their story over and over again. Worse, one arm of government rarely knows what the other is doing, which can result in duplication, gaps or, sometimes, serious mistakes.

Social inclusion encourages governments to build multidimensional policies and services for Australians living with complex disadvantage. It also encourages the development of innovative models, recognising that more traditional approaches to disadvantage simply don't work for a sizeable group in our community.
The social inclusion initiative is best placed in the Prime Minister's Department, able to look across the whole of government and connect the government's different agendas in a way that best supports disadvantaged people. A good example of where the initiative already has significant runs on the board is the co-location of Centrelink and Medicare offices. This initiative is changing the way services are delivered and providing better support to people when they need it.
Just before being sworn into the social inclusion portfolio, I saw first-hand the work being done by the Local Connections to Work Program in Campsie, Sydney. This program hosts 13 community partners - a combination of employment service providers and welfare organisations - all offering services on a rostered basis out of the Campsie Centrelink-Medicare centre.
What this means in practice is that disadvantaged jobseekers are able to have joint meetings with their Centrelink case worker and employment service provider. They're telling their stories just once, their needs are being quickly identified and they're being met with the right support.
Just as in Campsie, this new approach is paying dividends in other local communities where it's operating. More than 1200 highly disadvantaged Australians have found job and training placements thanks to Local Connections.
In my own portfolio, the government is introducing widespread reforms to the mental health system. We've invested heavily in a combination of services that break new ground and services that have been proven to work. We've made significant gains in clinical mental health services during the past decade, but more needs to be done to support people to live well in the community. People living with mental illness and their families tell me they need more support to manage their financial affairs, gain and retain employment, establish friendships and secure stable housing, and to integrate the different services the government gives them.
The new Partners for Recovery Initiative funded through this year's record mental health package symbolises a new approach to providing support for those Australians living with the most severe and chronic forms of mental illness. A care facilitator will take responsibility for co-ordinating all of a person's clinical and non-clinical needs, and require service providers to sign on to a single care plan.
This initiative will provide great comfort to families, who will know there is a single point of contact to call on when a gap or a need emerges, and I'm sure it will result in greater levels of recovery and social inclusion for some of the most severely disadvantaged Australians.
Teenage parents, jobless families, the homeless and people locked out of paid work because of mental illness or disability are the real, everyday faces of social exclusion and marginalisation.
While wrapping their needs up in the language of social inclusion is relatively new and perhaps unfamiliar, what's not new is our unwavering commitment to doing all we can to give those Australians a helping hand.
Mark Butler is Minister for Social Inclusion, Mental Health and Ageing and assisting the Prime Minister on Mental Health Reform.


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