Showing posts with label access & equity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label access & equity. Show all posts

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Will all working women in Australia ever achieve equal pay?


Most Australians appear to understand that gender-based discrimination against women is a fact of life females of all ages have to cope with at some point in their lives - often at multiple points in their lives.

This poll gives a clear indication of the level of community awareness of this issue.

Essential Report, Sexism and Discrimination Against Women, 5 December 2017:


A majority of respondents think there is a lot or some sexism in the media (64%), politics (60%), advertising (60%), workplaces (57%) and sport (56%).

Women were more likely than men to think there is a lot or some sexism in all areas – but especially in workplaces (women 67%, men 46%) and politics (70%/49%).

There has been some small changes in these figures since this question was asked in January last year – sexism in workplaces has dropped 4%, in the media up 6%, in sport down 4% and in schools up 8%. However, there has been more significant change in the differences between men and women on some issues. On sexism in the workplace the gap between perceptions of men and women has increased from 12% to 21%.

Despite society knowing that gender-based discrimination against women exists, institutions put in place by government to allegedly mitigate inequality and ensure fairness still manage to entrench such discrimination.

The shorter version of the observations and conclusions set out below is that if you are a female worker on minimum wage working in an industry sector which employs significantly more women than men, then you still cannot reliably look to either the private sector or the Liberal-Nationals version of the Fair Work Commission for the equal pay first promised by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1972.


Excerpt from Barbara Broadway & Richard Wilkinson, Melbourne University (October 2017), Probing the effects of the Australian system of minimum wages on the gender wage gap, pp.3-4:

In Australia, minimum wages are binding for a large part of the labour market: in 2014, 24% of all employees were paid the applicable minimum wage. Based on the above studies, one would therefore expect minimum wages in Australia to reduce the gender wage gap substantially. However, somewhat unusually, the Australian labour market contains many different minimum wages arising from industry and occupation-based ‘awards’ made by an industrial court. These awards specify legally binding minimum rates of pay, which vary considerably across occupations and industries, applying not only to the low-pay sector of the labour market, but to occupations of all levels, including high-skilled, high-paid jobs such as airline pilots, university professors and medical practitioners.1 The effects of these many minimums will therefore depend, in quite complex ways, on how men and women are distributed across occupations and industries and how minimums are distributed across occupations and industries.

The industrial court does not set different wages for men and women. However, it could, in principle, produce a gender wage gap by setting lower minimum wages in occupations and industries in which women are relatively more concentrated. A gender wage gap caused by legally set minimum wages could therefore be greater than or less than the gender wage gap created by market wages.

Indeed, the raw median gender wage gap among full-time employees in Australia is, at 18%, in the middle range of all OECD countries (Figure 1)2, providing a hint that the minimum wage system does not reduce the gender wage gap as much as might be expected given the high proportion of employees that are paid the applicable minimum wage. This is reinforced by the finding that the raw mean gender wage gap among full-time employees is approximately 20% (and indeed the gap has persisted at this level since the early 1990s (ABS 2016), despite relative growth in female educational attainment and work experience)…….

We therefore doubt that the observed job-femaleness penalty is actually derived from compensating differentials determined by the Fair Work Commission. Rather, what seems more likely is that the award-wage decisions have been influenced by observed “typical” wages in industries and occupations, and male-dominated fields have benefited from a long history of strong unionisation that led to higher average wages.

In any case, irrespective of whether non-skill-related differences in award wages are justified by other job characteristics, what is clear is that the gender wage gap among minimum-wage employees is greater than it would be were award wages neutral with respect to the gender composition of jobs.

Indeed, the gender wage gap within the award system would probably be negative if minimum wages depended only on the skill requirements of jobs, since the observed human capital of female minimum-wage employees is on average greater than the observed human capital of male minimum-wage employees…..

Comparing mean wages of award-reliant men and women shows there is indeed a gender pay gap among award-reliant employees, although it is considerably smaller than among non-award-reliant employees. The mean wage is $20.74 for men and $18.63 for women, corresponding to a mean gender pay gap of approximately 10%, compared to 19% among non-award employees.

1 These minimum wages are, however, less likely to be binding in high-paid occupations, where greater proportions of employees receive a salary that is above the applicable award rate.
2 Note that the OECD estimates are not entirely comparable across all countries because of differences in the way the median gender gap is calculated. For example, the wages variable may be measured over an hourly, weekly, monthly or annual time-frame. Figure 1 nonetheless provides reasonable indicative information on where Australia fits relative to other OECD countries.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Australians with lower incomes are dying sooner from potentially preventable diseases than their wealthier counterparts


The Conversation, 28 November 2017:

Australians with lower incomes are dying sooner from potentially preventable diseases than their wealthier counterparts, according to our new report.

Australia’s Health Tracker by Socioeconomic Status, released today, tracks health risk factors, disease and premature death by socioeconomic status. It shows that over the past four years, 49,227 more people on lower incomes have died from chronic diseases – such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer – before the age of 75 than those on higher incomes.

A steady job or being engaged in the community is important to good health. Australia’s unemployment rate is low, but this hides low workforce participation, and a serious problem with underemployment. Casual workers are often not getting enough hours, and more and more Australians are employed on short-term contracts.

There’s a vicious feedback loop – if your health is struggling, it’s harder to build your wealth. If you’re unable to work as much as you want, you can’t build your wealth, so it’s much tougher to improve your health.

Our team tracked health risk factors, disease and premature death by socioeconomic status, which measures people’s access to material and social resources as well as their ability to participate in society. We’ve measured in quintiles – with one fifth of the population in each quintile.

We developed health targets and indicators based on the World Health Organisation’s 2025 targets to improve health around the globe.

The good news is that for many of the indicators, the most advantaged in the community have already reached the targets.

The bad news is that poor health is not just an issue affecting the most vulnerable in our community, it significantly affects the second-lowest quintile as well. Almost ten million Australians with low incomes have much greater risks of developing preventable chronic diseases, and of dying from these earlier than other Australians.


Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Australia - where the rich get richer as wealth & income inequality grows (interactive mapping)


The Guardian, 12 October 2017

Australia is among countries with the highest growth in income inequality in the world over the past 30 years, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Vitor Gaspar, the IMF’s director of fiscal affairs, has told an audience at the launch of the IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor that Australia’s income inequality growth has been similar to the US, South Africa, India, China, Spain and the UK since the 1980s.

Last month the treasurer, Scott Morrison, said that income inequality was not getting worse in Australia.

Morrison told the Business Council of Australia in late September that Treasury and the Reserve Bank had found, in specific analysis of current wage fundamentals, that Australian wages were growing slowly across most industries in the economy, and most regions of the country, so the slow growth was evenly shared.

However, he would not release the Treasury analysis.

Graph showing inequality by country by the IMF. Illustration: IMF

Gaspar said IMF staff had used the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s income distribution database, Eurostat, and the World Bank’s Povcalnet data, among other sources, to calculate that income inequality had increased in nearly half of the world’s countries in the past three decades, and Australia had experienced a “large increase” in that time.

“Most people around the world live in countries where inequality has increased,” he said.

The IMF’s latest Fiscal Monitor, released overnight, is dedicated to the global growth in income inequality. It warns that while some inequality is inevitable in a market-based economic system as a result of “differences in talent, effort, and luck”, excessive inequality could “erode social cohesion, lead to political polarisation, and ultimately lower economic growth”. 

It also warns that income inequality tends to be “highly correlated” with wealth inequality, inequality of opportunity, and gender inequality……

Earlier this year, the OECD economic survey of Australia in April found “inclusiveness has been eroded” in the past two decades.

“The Gini coefficient has been drifting up and households in upper-income brackets have benefited disproportionally from Australia’s long period of economic growth,” the report said.

“Real incomes for the top quintile of households grew by more than 40% between 2004 and 2014, while those for the lowest quintile only grew by about 25%.”

In July the Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, when asked about his views on inequality at a charity lunch in Sydney, said it had grown “quite a lot” in the 1980s and 1990s and had risen “a little bit” recently, but it was important to make a distinction between income and wealth inequality.

“Wealth inequality has become more pronounced particularly in the last five or six years because there’s been big gains in asset prices,” Lowe said. “So the people who own assets, which are usually wealthy people, have seen their wealth go up.”

He said income inequality had increased slightly in recent years, but wealth inequality was more pronounced because of rising asset prices.

So how do individual regions across Australia fare?

The Guardian on 4 February 2016 published this Australia-wide interactive graphic:



Income Distribution in NSW Northern Rivers Region (based on Australian Taxation Office data for 2012-13)

Byron – top 10%  of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 38.5% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.544

Kyogle – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 33.9% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.554

Ballina – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 33.2% of income – Gini coefficient 0.495

Tweed – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 31.7% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.473

Clarence Valley – top 10%  of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 31.1% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.493

Lismore – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 29.7% of total income – Gini coefficient 0.459

Richmond Valley – top 10% of individuals lodging personal tax forms held 28.1% of total income  – Gini coefficient 0.448

*  Some low income earners, eg. those receiving Government pensions/allowances or earning below the tax free threshold may not be present in the data, as they may not be required to lodge personal tax forms. [Australian Bureau of Statistics, Estimates of Personal Income for Small Areas, Total Income, 2012-13]

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Aboriginal Australia seeks more than the symbolic recognition of first peoples status on offer from the Liberal-Nationals Federal Government


“The Australian story began long before the arrival of the First Fleet on 26 January 1788. We Australians all know this. We have always known this.”


Recommendations

The Council recommends:
  1. That a referendum be held to provide in the Australian Constitution for a representative body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament. One of the specific functions of such a body, to be set out in legislation outside the Constitution, should include the function of monitoring the use of the heads of power in section 51 (xxvi) and section 122. The body will recognise the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia.
It will be for the Parliament to consider what further definition is required before the proposal is in a form appropriate to be put to a referendum. In that respect, the Council draws attention to the Guiding Principles that emerged from the National Constitutional Convention at Uluru on 23–26 May 2017 and advises that the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, in terms of both process and outcome, will be necessary for the success of a referendum.

In consequence of the First Nations Regional Dialogues, the Council is of the view that the only option for a referendum proposal that accords with the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is that which has been described as providing, in the Constitution, for a Voice to Parliament.

In principle, the establishment by the Constitution of a body to be a Voice for First Peoples, with the structure and functions of the body to be defined by Parliament, may be seen as an appropriate form of recognition, of both substantive and symbolic value, of the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australian history and in contemporary Australian society.

The Council recommends this option, understanding that finalizing a proposal will involve further consultation, including steps of the kind envisaged in the Guiding Principles adopted at the Uluru Convention.

The Council further recommends:
  1. That an extra-constitutional Declaration of Recognition be enacted by legislation passed by all Australian Parliaments, ideally on the same day, to articulate a symbolic statement of recognition to unify Australians.
A Declaration of Recognition should be developed, containing inspiring and unifying words articulating Australia’s shared history, heritage and aspirations. The Declaration should bring together the three parts of our Australian story: our ancient First Peoples’ heritage and culture, our British institutions, and our multicultural unity. It should be legislated by all Australian Parliaments, on the same day, either in the lead up to or on the same day as the referendum establishing the First Peoples’ Voice to Parliament, as an expression of national unity and reconciliation.

In addition, the Council reports that there are two matters of great importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as articulated in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, that can be addressed outside the Constitution. The Uluru Statement called for the establishment of a Makarrata Commission with the function of supervising agreement-making and facilitating a process of local and regional truth telling. The Council recognises that this is a legislative initiative for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to pursue with government. The Council is not in a position to make a specific recommendation on this because it does not fall within our terms of reference. However, we draw attention to this proposal and note that various state governments are engaged in agreement-making.


Pat Anderson AO
Mark Leibler AC
Megan Davis
Andrew Demetriou
Natasha Stott Despoja AM
Murray Gleeson AC
Tanya Hosch
Kristina Keneally
Jane McAloon
Noel Pearson
Michael Rose AM
Amanda Vanstone
Dalassa Yorkston
Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM

The Australian, 18 July 2017:

Two indigenous Labor MPs have expressed doubts about the Referendum Council’s proposal for indigenous constitutional recognition, saying the councils’ final report, delivered yesterday, does not provide a clear line of sight to constitutional change.

Malcolm Turnbull yesterday cautiously backed what he called “a very big new idea” put forward by the Referendum Council he and Bill Shorten appointed 18 months ago, namely their sole recommendation of a special indigenous advisory body to the parliament.

But WA Labor Senator Pat Dodson said the recommendation had surprised some people, while NSW Labor MP Linda Burney said the sole recommendation was “limiting”, and most Australians would be “shocked” to learn that it has ruled out addressing race powers in the constitution.

Prime Minister Turnbull yesterday promised to consider the Referendum Council’s proposal, but indicated he was cautious about putting it to a national vote.

“We do not want to embark in some sort of exercise of heroic failure. I have some experience in trying to change the constitution and know better than most how hard it is.”

Senator Dodson said he wasn’t sure that progress is being made on the recognition of indigenous Australians.

“Unfortunately I think we’re going in circles a bit at the moment,” he told 7.30.

“I don’t think we’ve got a clear line of sight as to where any constitutional change whether it’s going to take place or not. Certainly on our side of politics we’re open to that. I’m not sure whether the government side is quite open as we are to the proposition.”

UNSW Dean of Law George Williams said a strong process would be needed to convince the Australian electorate that the Referendum Council’s proposal is worth voting for.

The Guardian, 18 July 2017:

These powers, s.51xxvi, were inserted into the constitution as part of the 1967 referendum and give the commonwealth power to make laws for “the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws”.

That allowed for the construction of laws such as native title and Aboriginal heritage laws but it also allowed the federal government to make discriminatory laws.
Burney said while the idea of an Indigenous voice to parliament was huge and important, it was limiting to consider it as the only option.

“I think that is very limiting,” Burney told the ABC. “I think that is more of a minimal approach when ... they don’t want us to address the issues of the race powers and recognition of first peoples in the constitution.

“I think the Australian community would be shocked to think that we are not going to deal with the archaic race powers in the constitution but that is what the Referendum Council is instructing the parliament.”

Burney underlined that it was unclear what the Indigenous voice would do, its structure or how people would be elected. 

She said the Coalition and Labor needed to consider the report. Labor’s Indigenous caucus meets on Wednesday. She warned that any idea needed to be passed in the parliament and the idea of enshrining a national body would be a “challenge for some people”.

Sky News, 20 July 2017:

Indigenous Liberal MP Ken Wyatt has expressed disappointment at the decision to abandon the push for constitutional recognition, saying the timeline for a referendum has now been pushed back to beyond this term of government.

Notes

(xxvi)  the people of any race , other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws;

Government of territories
                   The Parliament may make laws for the government of any territory surrendered by any State to and accepted by the Commonwealth, or of any territory placed by the Queen under the authority of and accepted by the Commonwealth, or otherwise acquired by the Commonwealth, and may allow the representation of such territory in either House of the Parliament to the extent and on the terms which it thinks fit.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Malcolm Bligh Turnbull's agile & innovative NBN accused of screwing the poor. Why am I not surprised?


“Examining the rollout of NBN technologies as of December 2016, our preliminary analyses suggest areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage overlap with regions typically receiving NBN infrastructure of poorer quality.”  [The Conversation, 22 June 2017]

c|net, 23 June 2017:

The richer you are, the better the NBN getting rolled out in your area.

That's according to a new study that maps Australia's disadvantaged communities against the NBN technology they're receiving. The findings show that when it comes to accessing the technology of the future, the poorest in our community are being left behind.

Conducted by the Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity at Flinders University, the study ranked Australia's richest and poorest communities according to ABS data. The team used the ABS's 2011 socio-economic indexes for area (SEIFA) and index of relative socio-economic advantage and disadvantage.

Matching these metrics against NBN technology, the researchers found "areas of greatest socio-economic disadvantage [shown on the left of the graph below] overlap with regions typically receiving NBN infrastructure of poorer quality."  

There is massive difference in the NBN technology rolled out to the least advantaged parts of our society (on the left-hand side) and the most advantaged. The wealthier you are, the more likely you are to be using fibre (shown in blue). 
Centre for Research Excellence in the Social Determinants of Health Equity

The Conversation, 22 June 2016:

This result tells a similar story to an early analysis by Sydney University’s Tooran Alizadeh of 60 NBN release sites that were announced in 2011. She found some of the most disadvantaged areas of Australia were not gaining equal access to the new infrastructure.

If we look only at major cities in Australia – where the level of fibre technology is higher overall – areas with the greatest disadvantage, while exceeding similarly disadvantaged areas nationally, still received significantly less FTTP and FTTN: 65% of areas with a SEIFA decile of one had FTTP and FTTN, compared with 94% of areas with a SEIFA decile of 10…. 

NBN services in outer regional areas

Composition of currently available* NBN service technologies in outer regional areas by Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas deciles (SEIFA). SEIFA decile 1 denotes the most disadvantaged areas, and SEIFA decile 10 denotes the least disadvantaged areas. 
Note: Decile 10 has been excluded from this chart because only one suburb falls into this category, whereas other deciles have between 129 (Decile 8) and 341 (Decile 4) suburbs.
Notes: 
(i) A suburb can have multiple NBN service types. The data is for services that are currently available*. (Services that are planned or where build has commenced is not included).  
(ii) Fibre denotes both Greenfields and Brownfields fibre, and includes Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Building (FTTB) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN). 
(iii) HFC is Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial service. 

*Technology available at December 2016

Another perspective on the issue……..

How the early NBN roll out was originally determined.

Telecommunications Policy, Volume 41, Issue 4, Tooran Alizadeh,  and Reza Farid, Political economy of telecommunication infrastructure: An investigation of the National Broadband Network early rollout and pork barrel politics in Australia, May 2017:

Abstract

It has been argued that infrastructure unevenness rigidifies into more lasting structures of socio-economic and political privilege and advantage. This paper focuses on telecommunication infrastructure as the backbone of the fast-growing digital economy, and raises important questions about the early National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout in Australia. The paper asks whether there was any case of pork barrelling in the selection of early release sites that enjoyed a regional competitive advantage against other localities that had to wait several years to receive the infrastructure. The answer to this question then leads to a second question about the degree to which voting in the early NBN release sites has swung following the infrastructure rollout. In order to answer these questions the paper examines the voting patterns in the earlier NBN release sites versus all electorates in the Federal elections in 2007–2013 using the data available via Australian Electoral Commission. Findings show trends of politically targeted funding, followed by vote swing in the very next election.


An analysis of the voting behaviours within the suburbs that were selected by governing Australian Labor Party, for the early NBN release, reveals that those suburbs that voted for the opposition Liberal/National Coalition and where the Coalition-held marginal seats were the key beneficiaries. This pattern occurred in all three states, as highlighted in Figure 3. In New South Wales and Queensland, electorates where either party held marginal seats had the most likely chance of receiving the NBN, followed by those were the Australian Labor Party-held safe seats. Chances of receiving the NBN in Victoria differed to the northern states, with electorates where the Australian Labor Party-held safe seats almost as likely as suburbs where marginal seats were held by the Liberal/National Coalition to receiving the NBN in the early rollout. Moreover, across the three states, the opposing Liberal/National Coalition-held safe seats were least likely to receive the NBN. With this said, fairly safe-held seats by either party also lucked out, although those held by the Australian Labor Party overall had slightly higher chances. Thus, in terms of receiving the NBN early rollout, the overall winners were those seats held marginally by the opposing Liberal/National Coalition. At the same time, the biggest loosers where the safe seats held by the opposing Coalition.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Would believing Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt's denials be the height of foolishness?


Along with making home-owning aged pensioners pay for their Centrelink/Vet Affairs pensions by way of a debt against the value of their houses, it appears as though funding private hospitals at the expense of public hospitals may be on the Liberal-Nationals-Murdoch-IPA Coalition wish list.

A list voters never actually get to see unless the Liberal and National parties are re-elected to government - at which time its contents are usually presented to the electorate as fixed policy.

Basic outline of unsubmitted recommendations of the
Global Access Partners (GAP) Taskforce on Hospital Funding
Via Twitter


Health department bosses have described their radical proposal to remake hospital funding as "future gazing" after the Turnbull government declared it would never adopt the controversial policy.
The private health insurance rebate would be abolished, consumers would be charged more for extras cover and the states would be forced to find more money for public hospitals under the plan.
As revealed by Fairfax Media on Monday, the nation's most senior health bureaucrats – Department of Health Secretary Martin Bowles and his deputy Mark Cormack – are members of a secretive taskforce formed to develop the policy around a "Commonwealth Hospital Benefit" (CHB).

Health Minister Greg Hunt immediately ruled out adopting the policy.

"Not government policy. Won't be government policy. Will never be government policy," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said the taskforce – funded by the department but run by a private think tank called Global Access Partners – pre-dated his time in the portfolio and he had already told bureaucrats he was not interested: "I've rejected it once. If it ever comes forward, I'll reject it again."

Officials attended a GAP meeting that explored the proposal just four days after Mr Hunt apparently told them not to pursue the idea in March.

And Mr Cormack met with members of GAP as recently as May, two months after they say Mr Hunt ruled out the proposal…..

They insisted there was nothing secret about the taskforce even though it was never announced, never released anything publicly and branded its material – leaked to Fairfax Media – as "confidential".

Mr Bowles insisted the taskforce was fully independent – even though the government paid for it with a $55,000 contract…….

Under the plan, the Commonwealth would "pool" the approximately $20 billion it currently gives to public hospitals each year with the $3 billion it pays to private sector doctors and the $6 billion it spends on the rebate to help people pay their private health insurance premiums. 

It would use the money to pay a standard benefit for services regardless of whether they are performed in a public or private hospital, or whether people choose to be treated as public or private patients.

While the Turnbull government struck a three-year hospital funding deal with the states last year, it has flagged it wants a more long-term, less ad-hoc agreement – and a CHB proposal could fit the bill. COAG is set to revisit the issue of hospital funding next year to set the course for a post-2020 agreement.


News.com.au, 29 May 2017:

He told Senate Estimates yesterday it was his job as head of the department to look at the future of health funding.

He confirmed the department had entered into broad policy work on the proposal.
However, it emerged he did not put the $55,000 contract for the consultancy work to tender.

Mr Bowles said he gave the work to Mr Peter Fritz, the head of GAP, after they met in 2016 and told the Senate it was possible for him to award contracts for work costing less than $80,000 without a tender process.

Senator Watts probed Mr Bowles about connections between GAP and the Australian Health Research Centre which is funded by a number of large health insurers.

Members of the AHRC attended taskforce meetings, he revealed.

However, Private Healthcare Australia which represents insurers has raised major concerns about the plan.

“I’m genuinely stunned,’ Private Healthcare Australia chief Rachel David said when she was told the work had been paid for by taxpayers.

“It was a dramatic overhaul of the health system that totally changed the role of private health insurance, eliminated the difference between public and private hospitals and wold have put doctors on salaries,” she said.

“It would have been inflationary, there was no demand management,” she said.

This is what Global Access Partners Pty Ltd (formerly CSD Pty Ltd estab.1969) says of itself:


It appears to have been founded by:
Peter Fritz - who besides being GAP Chair & Group Managing Director of TCG Pty Ltd also chairs a number of influential government and private enterprise boards - and Catherine Fritz-Kalish currently GAP’s Managing Director.

Its offices are at 71 Balfour St, Chippendale NSW 2008 Australia.

GAP sees its participation in health public policy to date thus:

* The Australian National Consultative Committee on Health (formerly known as the Australian National Consultative Committee on e-Health) was established as a result of Global Access Partners’ 2004 Forum on ‘Better Health Care through Electronic Information’.
The ANCCH represents the major ICT industry players and other stakeholder groups. The Committee contributes to the debate around the public and private health agenda in Australia with a view to promote and realise better patient health outcomes through the application of changes to process, and the interaction of technology to improve efficiency, safety and productivity.
The group also provides a forum for public-private partnerships in order to promote improved execution and industry development.
The Committee  raises issues of national importance, influences government policy and supports the interests of its members. Its four broad areas of interest are agency coordination, chronic disease management, connectivity and infrastructure, and change management.
The ANCCH initiatives in the area of health and wellbeing over the last seven years have ranged from discussions of national health policy to the problems of implementing an Australia-wide e-health infrastructure and the potential applications of genetic testing in drug therapy to the management and long term funding of chronic "lifestyle" diseases in an ageing Australian population.

* GAP Taskforce on Government Health Procurement (2015-2016) is a cross-sectoral multidisciplinary group established by Global Access Partners to analyse Australia’s public health procurement and offer practical proposals for reform (see final report). The Taskforce considered the impact of procurement processes on the age and reliability of medical equipment, service levels, innovation and competition. Its final report highlights some of the inefficiencies of current health government purchasing  and calls for a more rational tendering process to reduce costs and waste in the system, while improving the quality and safety of care.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Rental housing affordability in regional Australia, 2017


Anglicare Australia’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot, April 2017, does not offer good news for individuals, couples and families in regional areas who cannot afford to purchase their own home:


Single income households

Single people in regional areas are still hard hit by housing unaffordability. Regional areas generally have fewer services and higher unemployment rates, raising the dilemma of “if you can afford to live there, there are no jobs and if there are jobs, you can’t afford to live there!”

Of the 13,739 regional properties analysed on the collection weekend, there were fewer than five properties that would be suitable for a single person on Youth Allowance (#9 or #10) (n=2 & 3). For those on Newstart, the appropriate properties ranged from 0.1% for singles on Newstart (#8) (n=18), increasing to 1.7% (n=235) for a single parent on Newstart (#5). Singles on the Disability Support Pension (#7) could access 3.49% (n=542) of properties surveyed. An age pensioner (#6) could access 5.0% (n=687) of properties surveyed, however, many of these properties were share houses so there are questions about how successful an application by an age pensioner for this property type would be.
Singles living on the Parenting Payment with one child (#4) could access 7.2% of rentals (n=986), while those on the same payment with two children (#2) could access 5.5% (n=751).
Singles living on the minimum wage might apply for 1,207 properties (8.8%) if on their own (#13) or 2,534 properties (18.4%) if they have two children (#12).
Double income households
A couple living in regional area with two children on the minimum wage (#11) might access 46.7% of all rentals (n=6,422). However, the same family living on Newstart (#1) might only access 8.2% (n=1,133).
An Age Pension couple (#3) could afford 16.7% (n=2,295) of the 13,739 properties.
Couple households living with two children on minimum wage and parenting payment (#14) might access 28.1% of the rentals (n=3,854).

Monday, 1 May 2017

Looking for all those vacant residential dwelling being deliberately kept out of the Australian housing market


In the 2011 Census there were 2,297,460 rented private dwellings recorded. This was 29.6 per cent of the 7,760,322 private dwellings declared covering an est. 8,420,000 households.


Simple maths shows there was possibly around 534,000 private dwellings for which there were unlikely to be tenants and which were potentially available for sale.

Given these excess dwellings are likely to be unevenly spatially distributed, a number of metropolitan suburbs and regional urban areas would still be experiencing limited availability of housing stock for rent or sale and therefore demand may be unmet.

However, according to BIS Sharpnel; In 2017After a record breaking building boom in most capitals, Australia will have 24,039 extra homes above what are needed and will be oversupplied for the first time in more than a decade, a new report shows.

So why is it so hard to find a place to rent in large metropolitan areas and why is housing for sale so expensive?

It appears there is an artificial drought which can only be explained by the high percentage of investment properties in the housing stock mix which had reached 23 per cent by 2015, comprising one quarter of all house stock and two-thirds of apartment stock.

Domain.com.au released a ball park estimate of all vacant properties on 4 April 2017, based on Prosper Australia  research:

QUEENSLAND

An estimated 59,000 properties are standing empty in Queensland.

NEW SOUTH WALES

There are an estimated 121,000 properties vacant across New South Wales (with up to 90,000 properties standing empty in Sydney suburbs).

VICTORIA

The president of Prosper Australia, Catherine Cashmore, who has collected data on water usage to show there are 80,000 empty homes in Melbourne, said an empty home tax was an intuitively appealing policy that could pave the way for greater reforms.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

There are an estimated 23,000 properties vacant in South Australia.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

An estimated 21,000 vacant properties.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

There are an estimated 2,000 vacant properties in the Territory.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRIOTORY

An estimated 5,000 vacant properties.

TASMANIA

An estimated 7,000 vacant properties.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported on 28 March 2016:

Vacant properties were among the "perverse outcomes" of tax incentives that encouraged some investors to favour capital growth over rental returns, according to the analysis by the UNSW's City Futures Research Centre.

"Leaving housing empty is both profitable and subsidised by government," researchers Bill Randolph and Laurence Troy said. "This is taxation lunacy and a national scandal."

The ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods analysed Australian Taxation Office data and found at least 4,204 “legislators” who owned investment properties of which more than 13.87 per cent appear to negatively gear their properties.


So it is not hard to see why the Turnbull Government is dragging its heels when faced with the “perverse outcomes” arising from negative gearing and capital gain tax concessions.

Or why a Coalition state government like the NSW Government would decide that the best way to address a perceived housing shortage is to give its political supporters free rein.

Sky News, 9 January 2017:

The NSW government will be able to fast-track developments under a massive shake-up of the state's planning system aimed at tackling Sydney's chronic housing shortage.
Councils will determine fewer development applications under the proposed changes but will be responsible for devising more planning strategies with local communities.
Other proposals include providing incentives for developers if they consult with neighbours and the community before lodging development applications and simplifying building regulations.

It defies belief that the NSW Coalition Government would believe that just building more private housing for investors to warehouse for financial gain is a solution to rising house prices and limited availability.


Realestate.com.au calculates that it requires at least one person in a marriage/
partnership, presumably without children, to be in full-time employment - and earning more in wages each week than half the current workforce - for the couple to have any hope of saving for a deposit within a reasonable time period:


So if our multimillionaire prime minister, Malcolm Bligh Turnbull, and his parliamentary fellow travellers won’t act to ease housing affordability by removing taxation loopholes which allow the greedy to manipulate the housing market to their advantage, then it is up to voters to apply a cattle prod to their privileged haunches – and vote them out in 2018-19.

And if state governments won’t move to penalise investors who deliberately leave residential dwellings vacant for a trouble-free capital gain as well as a tax deduction, then voters with an eye to the future of their children and grandchildren might consider letting them know how they feel about the situation.