News briefs, 20/08/12


News briefs, 20/08/12

Reform of unemployment supports advocated | ANF launches national awareness campaign | Unions attack Libs | NSW Labor introducing jobs commission Bill.


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Reform of unemployment supports advocated | ANF launches national awareness campaign | Unions attack Libs | NSW Labor introducing jobs commission Bill.

Reform of unemployment supports advocated
A major reform of Australia’s income support system is needed to help unemployed people find decent, secure work, according to the ACTU.

ACTU president Ged Kearney said reform must start with a $50 a week rise to the Newstart payment, which has not increased in real terms since the early 1990s and was barely enough to live on, let alone pay for the costs associated with finding a decent job.

‘The rate now is so low it is just 18% of average wages in Australia and widely regarded among both the welfare and business communities as a major contributor to entrenching people into long-term poverty, with insecure work playing a large role,’ Kearney said.

‘Newstart is a bedrock component of Australia’s social protection system, but it is letting the most vulnerable members of our community down.’

Welfare reform
In its submission to the Federal Government’s Allowances Inquiry, the ACTU has called for welfare reform, including an increase to the Newstart payment, an increase of the level at which the payment starts to be withdrawn when people begin work, and a broader independent inquiry into the effects of insecure work on the welfare system.

As part of the submission, the CPSU conducted a poll of its members working at the federal Department of Human Services, including frontline Centrelink staff who spoke of their experiences with unemployed income support recipients.

The poll found almost two-thirds of DHS workers believed the current Newstart rate was inadequate, while 75% reported insecure work was keeping many people dependent on welfare and unable to support themselves thanks to short-term and inadequate hours of work.

ANF launches national awareness campaign
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) has launched a new national campaign to raise the awareness of the valuable contribution nurses and midwives make throughout the Australian health system.

ANF federal secretary Lee Thomas said the campaign — Australia’s Nurses and midwives. You couldn’t be in better hands — showcases the amazing and invaluable work that nurses and midwives do, day in and day out across Australia.

‘We have spent months meeting and consulting with nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing, as well as members of the wider community to find out their feelings about the health system in Australia, and how they felt health care should be improved,’ Thomas said.

‘The campaign is partly in response to Australia’s national nursing shortage and it will promote positive images of nursing and midwifery that will in turn attract people to the nursing and midwifery professions.’

Ms Thomas said the new campaign features a two-minute cinema ad, showing real-life nurses and midwives filmed as they work at three different hospitals. In addition, there is a 60-second TV commercial airing from yesterday (Sunday) as well as a radio ad, which starts today. Other campaign material includes posters, leaflets, bumper stickers and a new campaign website.

The ANF, with over 220,000 members, is the professional and industrial voice for nurses, midwives and assistants in nursing in Australia.

Unions attack Libs
Front line public sector workers from New South Wales will today warn their Northern Territory colleagues that they can’t trust Liberals to protect their jobs, wages and conditions, at the official launch of the Unions NT election campaign.

Kerry Rodgers, a nurse and workplace delegate at Nepean Hospital in Western Sydney, and Martin Dixon, a Fire Fighter at Revesby in Sydney’s south west, will address a crowd of workers and explain the reality of life under Barry O’Farrell and the NSW Liberals — a neverending cycle of pay cuts, sackings and asset sales.

‘Don’t make the same mistake that thousands of people in NSW did and think you can vote Liberal without having your pay frozen and your conditions stripped,’ Kerry said.

‘Before the NSW election Barry O’Farrell told us he would employ more public servants, but instead he is sacking thousands of us, cutting services, freezing our pay and selling off public assets.’

NSW Labor introducing jobs commission Bill
Opposition Leader John Robertson has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish a NSW Jobs Commission — aimed at ‘driving jobs growth across the State and stemming the alarming rise in unemployment under the O’Farrell Government’.

‘Barry O’Farrell has broken his promise to create 100,000 new jobs — and it’s time for some fresh ideas to get the people of NSW into work,’ Robertson said.

‘I’ve introduced a Private Member’s Bill to establish an expert Jobs Commission that would advise this struggling Government on how to drive jobs growth across NSW.’

‘The Commission would be mandated to report annually to the Parliament — and I would expect the Premier to act upon its recommendations.’
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