Informed, engaged communities for health

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
ACSQHC series
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
Croakey Professional Services archive
#bettercareseries
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
ACSQHC series 2019
Croakey projects archive
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer Reading 2016-2017
Summer Reading 2017-2018
The Koori Woman
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
#HealthElection16
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Budget 2014-15
Federal Budget 2015-16
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Budget 2017/18
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Election 2010
Federal Election 2013
Federal Election 2016
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2015
NSW Election 2019
NT Election 2016
Qld Election 2015
Victorian Election 2014
WA election 2021
Support non-profit public interest journalism
Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
ACSQHC series
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16
#WearablesCEH
#WICC2016
2017 conferences
#17APCC
#ACEM17
#AIDAconf2017
#BTH20
#CATSINaM17
#ClimateHealthStrategy
#IAHAConf17
#IDS17
#LBQWHC17
#LivingOurWay
#OKtoAskAu
#OTCC2017
#ResearchTranslation17
#TheMHS2017
#VMIACConf17
#WCPH2017
Australian Palliative Care Conference
2018 conferences
#6rrhss
#ACEM18
#AHPA2018
#ATSISPC18
#CPHCE
#MHED18
#NDISMentalHealth
#Nurseforce
#OKToAsk2018
#RANZCOG18
#ResearchIntoPolicy
#VHAawards
#VMIACAwards18
#WISPC18
2019 Conferences
#ACEM19
#CPHCE19
#EquallyWellAust
#GiantSteps19
#HealthAdvocacyWIM
#KTthatWorks
#LowitjaConf2019
#MHAgeing
#NNF2019
#OKtoAsk2019
#RANZCOG19
#RANZCP2019
#ruralhealthconf
#VMIAC2019
#WHOcollabAHPRA
Croakey Professional Services archive
#bettercareseries
#CommunityControl Twitter Festival
ACSQHC series 2019
Croakey projects archive
#IndigenousHealthSummit
#IndigenousNCDs
#JustClimate
#JustJustice
Croakey register of influence
Croakey Register of Influencers in Public Health
Croakey Register of Unreleased Documents
Naked Doctor
Poems of Public Health
Summer Reading 2016-2017
Summer Reading 2017-2018
The Koori Woman
Wonky Health
CroakeyGO archive 2017 – 2018
CroakeyGo 2017
#CroakeyGO Adelaide 2017
#CroakeyGO Melbourne 2017
#CroakeyGO Newcastle 2017
#CroakeyGO Sydney 2017
CroakeyGo 2018
#CroakeyGO #QuantumWords 2018
#CroakeyGO #VicVotes 2018
#CroakeyGO Albury 2018
#CroakeyGO Callan Park 2018
#CroakeyGO Carnarvon 2018
#CroakeyGO Marrickville 2018
#CroakeyGO Palm Island 2018
Elections and Budgets 2013 – 2019
#AusVotesHealth Twitter Festival 2019
#Health4NSW
#HealthElection16
Federal Budget 2009-2010
Federal Budget 2010
Federal Budget 2011
Federal Budget 2012-2013
Federal Budget 2013-14
Federal Budget 2014-15
Federal Budget 2015-16
Federal Budget 2016-17
Federal Budget 2017/18
Federal Budget 2018-19
Federal Election 2010
Federal Election 2013
Federal Election 2016
Federal Election 2019
NSW Election 2015
NSW Election 2019
NT Election 2016
Qld Election 2015
Victorian Election 2014
WA election 2021

Welfare reforms continue to sound alarm bells among health and medical experts

(Introduction by Melissa Sweet)

The Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s commitment to introducing drug testing of welfare recipients.

“The Government still strongly supports the drug testing trial because it wants to reduce any barriers people have to meaningful employment,” the Minister said in a statement provided to Croakey today.

The proposed trial – which was opposed by many health and medical groups and experts (see links at the bottom of this article) – was dropped from a package of welfare reforms last month because it would not have passed the Senate.

However, the previous Social Services Minister Christian Porter said at the time the Government was committed to resurrecting the proposal at some later stage.

Today’s comment by Tehan, appointed to the portfolio in a pre-Christmas Ministerial reshuffle, confirms that this remains the Government’s policy.

It comes as the Nick Xenophon Team confirmed recent media reports that it plans to support the amended Social Services Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform) Bill 2017 – in return for a $40 million funding commitment to rehabilitation services and specialist training in drug and alcohol addiction for regional doctors.

An NXT staffer told Croakey today that negotiations with the Government over the Bill were still underway as there remained “some outstanding matters” regarding further amendments. ACOSS and others have previously raised concerns about the Government and NXT arrangement, as “a bad deal for people struggling on income support payments”.

Under the reform package, welfare recipients would face tougher compliance requirements, including finding it more difficult to use drug and alcohol addiction as a reason for failing to meet mutual obligation requirements.

In the compilation article below, health and medical experts – including a senior member of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) – warn that these “draconian” measures will have dire consequences for health, especially mental health.


Punitive systems bode ill

By Dr Tim Senior, GP and a contributing editor at Croakey

TimSen
Tim Senior (R) with Sir Michael Marmot

Reading about the welfare reforms, and being asked about their health effects always sends me back to scouring the evidence. The link between poverty and poor health has been shown time and time again, and the gradient in health from richest to poorest is well known among health professionals.

It’s also become clear that more unequal societies are less pleasant places to live, as well as less healthy.

I’d direct you to the evidence that economic policy has mental health outcomes, and that welfare policy probably contributes to this, and point out that there is even early evidence that this contributes to suicides.

I’d worry that policies that crack down on welfare will have a disproportionate effect on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, as 47% of Indigenous Australians receive government payment as their main source of income (p112), compared to 14% of non-Indigenous Australians.

Perhaps this is all worthwhile if it means people do get jobs. After all, employment – provided it is not exploitative or abusive – does lead to better heath. Except that it looks like it doesn’t. Reducing welfare payments doesn’t help people find work. It doesn’t create jobs that aren’t there, either.

But I don’t need to convince you. I need to convince our politicians. And I don’t see them being convinced by any evidence about what keeps people well. Our politicians are happy to spend multiple billions harming people in offshore detention and subsidising private health insurance for those who need health care the least – spending that wipes out the potential savings of $204m from these proposals many times over.

I don’t see any desire to help vulnerable people, or to say that human dignity would demand that people have adequate food, a roof over their heads and not try to deliberately bring about circumstances that make them sick.

I don’t see any desire to do anything other than punish people for having the temerity to be unlucky enough not to have opportunities presented to them from birth. I see no attempt to understand all the different problems coinciding to make the total problem faced much greater than the sum of its parts.

People depending on welfare for their income have to deal with the complex form-filling bureaucracies of Centrelink and Housing, the multiple appointments and symptoms of chronic disease, the juggling of caring for family members with similar problems, all the while having their energy and joy sucked out of life by mental health. All I see the desire for is punishment for being on welfare.

I will see people desperate for help, trying to find the sympathetic people in a system designed to make sympathy impossible. While a policy response is required, I don’t see one coming. Health professionals must not only advocate. We must be imaginative in the way we link with services to provide food and shelter. Individual services will struggle to do this, but perhaps PHNs could organise for subsidised fruit and vegetables, or help set up health justice partnerships.

I apologise for my pessimism. The evidence seems clear but doesn’t seem to influence policy. We must continue to advocate for policy, but it’s time for imaginative local solutions to poverty as well. I fear the alternative is food banks and self harm.


Poor policy will lead to poor health outcomes

By Dr Megan Williams, senior lecturer in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing at UTS in Sydney and a Croakey contributing editor

MWThe most vulnerable in our community, who rely on income support, often have multiple health needs and experiences of trauma, difficulties learning and other issues that mean full time employment in the formal economy is just not viable.

Penalties will create an additional burden – more debt, more financial hardship and stress which erodes health, for the individual and across generations.

Compliance is fraught with difficulties. It costs more money to administer by governments, draining money away from income support. This compliance will divert and potentially cost more money than keeping people on income support, and also investing in support and education strategies to support them.

I don’t think there are as many people who want to be on government income support as politicians think there are. Whilst we debate these income support issues we are diverted from arguably more important issues including the broader health of our environment.

Missing interviews and appointments often has a context. Removal of “intent to claim” as part of this bill is unforgiving and is blatant in its decision to not even seek to address the underlying issues and needs and individual has before they are job-ready. This is the work of a government who has no real-life experience, no empathy and no creativity for addressing complex social problems.

Further, we waste funds placing people in jobs when they are not ready. People with histories of disrupted employment or minimal employment histories often have other things going on. Being more punishing won’t address that. Cheaper, community-based support and education programs for them may.

The savings will not be real. A reduction of payments on the one hand will lead to poorer health and wellbeing on the other. International evidence shows us time and again that people with lowest incomes have poorest health and highest risk of incarceration and early death, not to mention the day to day misery of poverty.

This is the work of a government who is ill-informed, obviously, by the best information in the world readily available about the link between poverty and poor health, and the costs then to taxpayers.

Prevention of poor health is assuredly off the list too. This is a government investing in the most expensive options we have available, and which chooses not to learn the lessons from wealthier, more socially just nations.


Mental health will suffer

Associate Professor Lesley Russell Wolpe, health policy analyst and a Croakey contributing editor

LRThe various changes to welfare payments to be made under the rubric of ‘reform’ look more like stigmatisation of those who receive these payments than any effort to help them overcome the current barriers they face to employment.

Moreover, these policy decisions have clearly been made in isolation from the various issues that impact welfare recipients: their physical and mental health status, levels of disability, transport needs, ability to purchase and prepare healthy foods.  Having less money to cover the costs of living will impact all of these.

In particular, at a time when the Turnbull Government is making much of its support for mental health services, data from the UK highlights that cuts to welfare benefits and sanctions there have had a toxic effect on the mental health of the unemployed: levels of severe  anxiety and depression among unemployed people have soared by more than 50 per cent in the last four years as the impact of harsh austerity policies take their toll.


Exacerbating difficulties for vulnerable people

Associate Professor Adrian Reynolds, President of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine within the Royal Australasian College of Physicians

Clinical Associate Adrian ReynoldsIf passed by Federal Parliament, we believe the Government’s changes to reasonable excuse and temporary exemptions provisions will put people at increased risk of losing their income support payments when they are struggling with alcohol or drug dependency and are already extremely vulnerable and unwell.

These changes will only compound social and psychological stress for people who are often struggling with mental health problems and trauma.

Overcoming addiction isn’t easy and there are times where people will stumble and relapse. People need to feel supported in seeking help for their problems. We would like to see these welfare recipients referred to an appropriate health professional who can assess their treatment needs to guide them through recovery and onto a path of finding employment, without dealing with the added stress of losing their income support.

As addiction specialists, we want expert involvement in monitoring and evaluating these measures, if they are approved by Parliament.

It’s important staff who are developing job seeking plans have sufficient knowledge and skills to assess mental health and substance abuse issues and are able to appropriately determine what activities are ‘reasonable’ and possible to help someone get back into the workforce

Background:

The changes are that an individual will no longer be able to use substance dependency as a ‘reasonable excuse’ for failing to meet their participation requirements, or request a ‘temporary exemption’ from their participation requirements because of substance dependency.

Specifically:

Schedule 13: removal of exemptions for drug or alcohol dependence—provides that exemptions from job seeking participation requirements will no longer be granted in circumstances directly attributable to drug or alcohol addiction. Jobseekers may meet their participation requirements by attending drug and alcohol treatment or will risk losing their welfare payment.

Schedule 14: changes to reasonable excuses—provides that drug or alcohol dependency will no longer be accepted as a reasonable excuse where a jobseeker has failed to meet their participation requirements.

The reasonable excuse and exemption provisions currently allows Centrelink staff to identify people struggling with substance dependency.

In 2016, there were 4,325 occasions where substance dependency was recognised as a reasonable excuse for not meeting participation requirements. In 2016-17, there were 16,157 people granted temporary exemptions from mutual obligations due to substance dependency.  The fact the Government holds this data shows it already knows who these people are. We believe they should continue to encourage people to disclose their addiction in a supportive and constructive way, without fear of penalty.


“Draconian sanctions” are a health threat

Emeritus Professor Ian Webster, physician

IanWTo save $204.7 million the Government plans to impose draconian sanctions on those needing income support who miss appointments, or work interviews, or who don’t take up the jobs proposed for them. That can’t be the real reason, since the dollar savings count for nothing against the inestimable human and economic costs of these impediments. So much for ”mutual obligation”.

Does anyone ask why appointments are not kept or interviews attended?

The Government assumes the people needing social security are shiftless and “work shy”. Travelling to endless and barren appointments, the process, is soul-destroying, practically difficult and often at high personal costs.

The telephone, “we apologise for the inconvenience but we are facing high numbers of customer calls….” and then…. the line goes dead.

I have watched the frustration and anger of homeless people as they attempt to speak to a Centrelink officer. The tone and body language in these interactions is commonly humiliating and dispiriting– questions asked and assumptions made.

The pervading culture is that people needing income support do not want to work and don’t deserve to be supported. An attitude which says more about us, than them.

In my experience as a physician, more than anything these people want to work with some sense of value and dignity; they want to be able to live a contributing life, like the rest of us.

Punishing sanctions add to the difficulties that people out of work face; they are demotivating not motivating.

There are many groups in the population who need and have entitlements to income support – universally amongst the homeless, almost universal amongst those living with psychotic illnesses, a high proportion of those with continuing physical pain – the list could go on.

Many of those out of work and needing help are impaired in some way or have major obstacles to overcome – single parent families, families without accommodation, usually headed by a mother.

The opioid epidemic in the US caused that nation to realise it has an epidemic of “diseases of despair” – opioid addiction, alcohol diseases and injuries and suicide – to which we would add – ICE addiction, mental illness, obesity, unrelenting and unresolved symptoms such as chronic pain and complex disabilities.

The sanctions on those out of work and needing social support will further impoverish their lives and add to the “diseases of the despair”.

Rather than saving $204.7 million, the community and public health and social services will be further overwhelmed by the diseases and conditions arising out of modern despair – opioid and other addictions, alcohol diseases in injuries, suicides, mental illness, obesity, unrelenting symptomatic conditions such as chronic pain and increasingly complex disabilities and predicaments.


Further reading

• See some of the speeches from when the Bill was being debated when the Senate rose for the Christmas break. Senator Richard Di Natale’s speech gives an overview of previous health and medical advocacy about the drug testing proposals.

This article at the Sydney Criminal Lawyers blog gives an overview of the latest iteration of the Bill, although Croakey has been advised that its statement on the bereavement allowance for pregnant women is incorrect, as the Bill has since been amended to protect pregnant women; however, other bereaved people will still get a reduced amount compared with current rules.

• Financial journalist Jim Parker deconstructs the silly season “tabloid hysteria about dole bludgers” at his blog, The Failed Estate. He says Australia’s social spending in 2016 was just over 19 percent of GDP, below the OECD average of 21 percent, while our overall spending on unemployment benefits as a proportion of GDP is also below the OECD average. He says: “The call on taxpayers to fund our not particularly generous social safety net is not especially onerous.”

• Previous Croakey articles on the drug testing proposal include:
Humiliating welfare recipients is no solution to addiction;
Sending a strong message- welfare reform is a health issue;
Health leaders call for welfare drug testing to be scrapped; and
Punitive drug testing of welfare recipients is not an act of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments 1

  1. JohnF says:

    Next month, the government will introduce two Bills into parliament designed to dismantle our social security system.

    To fight this, today the AUWU is launching #Operationfebruaryflood. The goal is simple – flood crossbench politicians with letters urging them to vote against this welfare crackdown.

    The AUWU’s #OperationFebruaryFlood webpage has two templates letters (one for the welfare reform bill and one for the cashless card legislation), the email addresses of all the politicians we should target and further information about each Bill.

    http://unemployedworkersunion.com/operationfebruaryflood/
    https://www.megaphone.org.au/petitions/oppose-welfare-reform-bill

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Search by: Categories or tags

Search
Generic filters
Filter by Categories
@WePublicHealth2021
#CroakeyLIVE #Budget2021Health
#MHReform
#OutOfTheBox
#QldVotesHealth
#RCIADIC30Years
#RuralHealthJustice
#ShiftingGearsSummit
#TRIPSwaiver
2021 Floods
Budget2020Health
Bushfires
codesign
community control
COVID-19
Croakey Conference News Service
#2020ResearchExcellence
#21OPCC
#BackToTheFire
#GiantSteps21
#Govern4Health
#HealthReImagined
#HearMe21
#RANZCP2021
#SAHeapsUnfair
#ValueBasedCare
#WCepi2021
#YHFSummit
Croakey Professional Services
#BetterCareCOVID
#CommunityControl
ACSQHC series
Healthdirect Australia series 2019
Lowitja Indigenous knowledge translation series
Croakey projects
@WePublicHealth
@WePublicHealth2020
#CommunityMatters
#CoveringClimateNow
#CroakeyLIVE #USvotesHealth
#CroakeyREAD
#CroakeyVOICES
#CroakeyYOUTH
#JusticeCOVID
#LookingLocal
#MRFFtransparency
#OutOfPocket
#TalkingTeeth
AroundTheTraps
Caring for the Frontline
COVIDglobalMHseries
Croakey longreads
CroakeyEXPLORE
Gavin Mooney
Inside Story
Journal Watch
PIJ Commissions 2020
Summer Reading 2019-2020
The Conversation
The Health Wrap
TOO MUCH of a Good Thing
CroakeyGO
#CroakeyGO #NavigatingHealth
#GamblingHarms
#HeatwaveHealth
Mapping CroakeyGo
CroakeyNews
Cultural determinants of health
Digital platforms
Elections and budgets
Federal Budget 2019-20
Federal Budget 2020-21
Federal Budget 2021-22
Global health and climate change
2019-20 climate bushfire emergency
asylum seeker and refugee health
Climate emergency
disasters
Ebola
extreme weather events
flooding 2011
global health
NHS
NZ Election 2017
WHO
health
Healthcare and health reform
abortion
adverse events
aged care
allied health care
Australian Medical Association
cancer
cardiovascular disease
child health
Choosing Wisely
chronic diseases
co-payments
Cochrane Collaboration
complementary medicines
conflicts of interest
death and dying
diabetes
digital technology
disabilities
e-health
emergency departments and care
Equally Well
euthanasia
evidence-based issues
general practice
genetics
health & medical marketing
health and medical education
health and medical research
Health Care Homes
health ethics
health financing and costs
health reform
health regulation
health workforce
HIV/AIDS
hospitals
HRT
infectious diseases
influenza
international medical graduates
journal articles
LGBTIQ
medical marijuana
Medicare Locals
men's health
mental health
MyHospitals website
National Commission of Audit 2014
National Health Performance Authority
naturopathy
NDIS
NHMRC
non communicable diseases
nurses and nursing
oral health
organ transplants
out of pocket costs
pain
palliative care
paramedics
pathology
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
pharmaceutical industry
pharmacy
Pregnancy and childbirth
primary health care
Primary Health Networks
private health insurance
quality and safety of health care
rural and remote health
screening
sexual health
social media and healthcare
suicide
surgery
swine flu
telehealth
tests
TGA
trauma
women's health
youth health
Indigenous health
#CTG10
#NTRC
Acknowledgement
cultural safety
Indigenous education
Lowitja Institute
NT Intervention
social and emotional wellbeing
Uluru Statement
WA community closures
News about Croakey
PIJ Commissions 2021
Public health and population health
#PreventiveHealthStrategy
#UnmetNeedsinPublicHealth
air pollution
alcohol
consumer health matters
COVIDwrap
environmental health
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
food and nutrition
gambling
Government 2.0
gun control
health communications
health impact assessment
Health in All Policies
health inequalities
health literacy
human rights
illicit drugs
injuries
legal issues
marriage equality
Media Doctor Australia
media-related issues
nanny state
National Preventive Health Agency
obesity
occupational health
physical activity
plain packaging
prevention
public health
public interest journalism
road safety
sport
sugar tax
tobacco control
transport
vaccination
violence
Web 2.0
weight loss products
Royal Commission
Social determinants of health
discrimination
education
justice
Justice Reinvestment
NBN
Newstart
poverty
racism
social policy
Summer reading 2020-2021
Tasmanian election 2021
Testing Croakey News category 1
The Croakey Archives
#cripcroakey
#HealthEquity16
#HealthMatters
#IHMayDay (all years)
#IHMayDay 2014
#IHMayDay15
#IHMayday16
#IHMayDay17
#IHMayDay18
#LoveRural 2014
Croakey Conference News Service 2013 – 2019
2013 conferences
Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation Forum 2013
Australian Health Promotion Association Conference 2013
Closing the Credibility Gap 2013
CRANAplus Conference 2013
FASD Conference 2013
Health Workforce Australia 2013
International Health Literacy Network Conference 2013
NACCHO Summit 2013
National Rural Health Conference 2013
Oceania EcoHealth Symposium 2013
PHAA conference 2013
2014 conferences
#IPCHIV14
AIDA Conference 2014
Congress Lowitja 2014
CRANAplus conference 2014
Cultural Solutions - Healing Foundation forum 2014
Lowitja Institute Continuous Quality Improvement conference 2014
National Suicide Prevention Conference 2014
Racism and children/youth health symposium 2014
Rural & Remote Health Scientific Symposium 2014
2015 conferences
#CPHCEforum
#CRANAplus15
#HSR15
#NRHC15
#OTCC15
Population Health Congress 2015
2016 conferences
#AHHAsim16
#AHMRC16
#ANROWS2016
#ATSISPEP
#AusCanIndigenousWellness
#cphce2016
#CPHCEforum16
#CRANAplus2016
#IAMRA2016
#LowitjaConf2016
#PreventObesity16
#TowardsRecovery
#VMIAC16