3 May 2010

Social Planning Alert! April 2010

I've reproduced the excellent Social Planning Alert! prepared by Australia Street Company with assistance from Elizabeth Delaney. To receiver it please email aziller@bigpond.net.au

Productivity Commission
Public Inquiry: Caring for Older Australians
The Productivity Commission invites interested parties to register their interest in an inquiry into Australia's aged care arrangements. In undertaking the inquiry, the Commission will develop options for further structural reform of the aged care system so it can meet the challenges facing it in coming decades.’ Issues paper due May 2010 , initial submissions due end July 2010. http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/aged-care

In the press

Jacob Saulick, Problem gamblers add $800m to club coffers, SMH 20-21 March 10: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/problem-gamblers-add-800m-to-club-coffers-20100319-qma2.htmlNSW clubs have conceded that almost $800 million of their annual revenue could come from problem gamblers - a fact that is prompting renewed calls for a shake-up of poker machine laws. The Herald understands the Productivity Commission's final report into gambling, handed to the government last month, has not softened on the need for tougher regulation to reduce habitual gambling on poker machines. The report, more than 1000 pages long, does not have to be released until June. But it is understood to provide significantly more detail on how to reduce gambling losses than was contained in the draft report released in October.’

Julie Robotham, Asthma linked to particles in air pollution , SMH 22 March 2010: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/asthma-linked-to-particles-in-air-pollution-20100321-qo6m.htmlAs many as one in 25 children admitted to hospital for asthma may be there as a direct result of inhaled particles from air pollution, government scientists have found in the most detailed Australian research to date on how air quality affects lung health. For one in 30 adults hospitalised with asthma, nitrogen dioxide pollution could be to blame. The study, which sets the scene for enhanced monitoring of health problems linked to climate change, is the first official attempt to account for variables such as the shifting mix of airborne pollutants and uncertainty about the degree of pollution exposure needed to trigger an asthma attack.’

Andrew Clennell, Keneally’s state plan leaked on the web, SMH 25 March 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/keneallys-state-plan-leaked-on-the-web-20100324-qwt3.html A new state plan … The document Ms Keneally and her Minister for the State Plan, Linda Burney, will release looks very similar to a document released to community stakeholders by the former premier Nathan Rees last November.

Ellie Harvey, Instant credit lets losers keep on betting, SMH 25 March 2010: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/instant-credit-lets-online-losers-keep-on-betting-20100324-qwt4.html?skin=text-only Online betting agency is targeting gamblers low on funds by offering them instant credit of $200 to induce them to spend more, amid renewed pressure to nationalise gambling laws. SportsBet.com.au tracks a gambler's average bet and, when the funds in their account fall below the value of their usual punt, offers them three options including $200 in credit.

Jacob Saulwick, Population growing at twice global average, SMH 26 March 2010: http://www.smh.com.au/national/population-growing-at-twice-global-average-abs-20100325-qzzo.html ABS ‘Australia’s population is growing at twice the rate of the rest of the world, after crashing through 22 million late last year. A demographic report shows the population grew at 2.1 per cent in the year to the end of September, outstripping the Philippines, Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. The world population grew 1.1 per cent in the same period.

Adele Horin, Welfare recipients feel stripped of their adulthood, SMH 27-28 March 2010: http://www.smh.com.au/national/welfare-recipients-feel-stripped-of-their-adulthood-20100326-r320.html A survey [by John Murphy, Univ. Melbourne] has found many shamed by the indignities of Centrelink, writes Adele Horin. Far from enjoying their life on welfare, the unemployed, single parents and disability pensioners are more likely to feel shame and humiliation and to be treated with little respect, a study shows.

Josephine Tovey, Boom town: Sydney tops 4.5m, SMH 31 March 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/national/boom-town-sydney-tops-45m-20100330-rbl4.html Sydney’s population has passed the 4.5 million mark for the first time, with the inner-west area of Canada Bay the fastest-growing area, figures show. The population of Sydney, still Australia's largest city, increased by 85,400 in the year to June 30 last year, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Every local government area in Sydney recorded a population increase during that period. Blacktown, Parramatta and the Hills Shire had the largest increases in residents for the second consecutive year.

Matthew Moore, Lend Lease pushes for flats in Barangaroo pier hotel, SMH 1 April 2010, www.smh.com.au/.../lend-lease-pushes-for-flats-in-barangaroo-pier-hotel- 20100331-rewy.htmlThe proposed 200-metre high landmark hotel to be built on a new pier at Barangaroo could also include apartments, documents filed with the NSW Planning Department show. In a request to the department to change the concept plan for the massive site, JBA Urban Planning Associates on behalf of Barangaroo's developer, Lend Lease, said the building would not be used exclusively as a hotel. ''Lend Lease's winning scheme envisages a mixed-used development comprising 500,000 square metres including … approximately 42,000 square metres of tourist, residential and public uses for the purpose of a landmark building……

Peter Martin, The incredible colossal homes: bigger than ever, SMH 1 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/the-incredible-colossal-homes-bigger-than-ever-20100331-rewz.html New houses in NSW are an extraordinary 100 square metres bigger than they were a quarter of a century ago, according to the Bureau of Statistics. In 1984 the average new NSW house was about 159 square metres, giving each of the people in it about 60 square metres of personal space.

Harvey Grennan, Compulsory acquisition justifiable to council planners, SMH 6 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/compulsory-acquisition-justifiable-to-council-planners-20100405-The state government’s plan to set up a development authority with powers to compulsorily acquire private property for resale to developers is anathema to elected representatives of local government, but not necessarily to the professional planners who work for councils.

Mark Davis, Gap widens for mega rich, SMH 8 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/luxury/gap-widens-for-mega-rich-20100407-rsaw.html A 30-YEAR trend of rising inequality has continued with the rich boosting their share of Australian income significantly over the last five years, according to new research. An analysis by Australian National University economist Andrew Leigh and Oxford University's Tony Atkinson shows the richest 1 per cent of taxpayers - those earning more than $197,000 - accounted for 9.8 per cent of all income in 2007-08. That was up from an 8.8 per cent share of the nation's income which went to the richest 1 per cent five years earlier in 2002-03. It took the top 1 per cent of taxpayers' share of all income to its highest level since the 1950s. The analysis shows the ''super rich'' - the top 0.1 per cent of taxpayers - increased their share of total income to its highest level since the 1920s during 2007-08. That was up from 2.7 per cent in 2002-03 and took the share of income going to the super rich to its highest level since the 1920s, barring a one-off spike in 1950 at the height of the wool boom fuelled by the Korean War. Professor Leigh said the latest analysis updated earlier research showing significant changes in income inequality in Australia over the past 80 years. The income share of the richest taxpayers peaked in the 1920s before declining gradually until the early 1980s when it started rising rapidly. He said the main reasons for inequality since the 1980s were the emergence of an international labour market for chief executives, technological change and cuts to the top marginal tax rate which had given high income earners more scope to invest in property and financial markets.

Matthew Moore and Yuko Narushima, The big country takes a lean turn, SMH 10-11 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-big-country-takes-a-lean-turn-20100409-ryty.htmlThe appointment of a Minister for Population has sparked a debate on how many people Australia can support.

Hugh Mackay, Close bars early to stop alcohol-fuelled violence, SMH 10-11 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/close-bars-early-to-stop-alcoholfuelled-violence-20100409-ryns.htmlThe recent Newcastle experiment in which 14 pubs adopted earlier closing hours has attracted the attention of anyone who is worried about the rise in alcohol-fuelled street violence or concerned about Australia's reputation as the country with the highest rate of serious assault in the world. (Yep, world champions, according to a 2004 survey published in The Economist.) The results of the experiment are staggering: a 30 per cent reduction in cases of street violence. The normally unflappable Don Weatherburn, the director of the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics, said he was "stunned" by the results and keen to see the measures extended. He predicts this one measure, if extended, could see the first reduction in this state's serious assault statistics in more than 20 years.

Amy Corderoy, Healthy food not so great for the wallet, study finds, SMH 13 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/wellbeing/healthy-food-not-so-great-for-the-wallet-study-finds-20100412-s43r.html?skin=text-onlyEat healthy food, nutritionists and chefs advise; not only is it better for you, it's cheaper. However, a new study shows the prices of fruit and vegetables increasing at a much faster rate than those of junk foods. The five-year study in Queensland, which is likely to reflect national trends, found that while snacks and confectionery increased in price by about 31 per cent, the price of fruit soared by more than 112 per cent. Overall, fresh produce and other healthy foods increased in price by 50 per cent between 2000 and 2006, well above the 32.5 per cent inflation rate for food in general. The research, which was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health yesterday, follows a report in the Herald last week which revealed that obesity had overtaken tobacco as the leading cause of illness and premature death for the first time, and Australia was unprepared for the huge number of health problems this will cause.

Nick O’Malley, Brain tumour cases to be investigated a day after publicity, SMH 13 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/brain-tumour-cases-to-be-investigated-a-day-after-publicity-20100412-s43x.html Kristina Keneally has ordered an investigation into the apparent cancer cluster in Singleton Heights, revealed by the Herald yesterday. Five neighbours near the junction of two suburban streets have been struck with brain tumours, with some fearing pollution from the nearby coalmines and power stations many have contributed to their conditions.

Vanda Carson, Battle for the posh dosh as Beresford sell for a song, SMH 14 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/business/battle-for-the-posh-dosh-as-beresford-sells-for-a-song-20100413-s7m8.htmlSydney’s largest hospitality outfit, Merivale Group, has snapped up the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills for a bargain price, as part of plans to cater for an influx of cashed-up drinkers.’

James Spigelman, When laws clash with culture, SMH 16 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/when-laws-clash-with-culture-20100415-shfy.htmlSexism in the European cultural tradition has been attacked on a broad front, including violence against women. However, there are important racial, ethnic and religious minorities in Australia who come from nations with sexist traditions which, in some respects, are even more pervasive than those of the West.

Mark Metherell, The great hospital gamble, SMH 17-18 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-great-hospital-gamble-20100416-skfs.htmlKevin Rudd's decision to boost hospitals rather than promote primary care carries a significant risk of failure, writes Mark Metherell.’

Stuart Washington, Global house prices remain low, SMH 19 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/business/by/Stuart-Washington ‘The return of economic good times in Asia is reflected in a muted fashion in Sydney, the only Australian city in the survey. Sydney recorded a 0.5 per cent gain despite 2009 representing the worst lows of the global financial crisis. On the whole, Knight Frank estimates Australian house prices have fallen by about 10 per cent to 15 per cent from their peak in early 2008. But whether this means Sydney and Australia have escaped the worst predictions of the global housing turmoil remains a matter for debate.

Jacob Saulwick, Melbourne and Sydney lead the price surge, SMH 19 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/melbourne-and-sydney-lead-the-price-surge-20100418-smlr.htmlAUSTRALIA'S housing market might be booming, but the shape of that boom varies by town and state. For the past year, the sharpest growth in prices has been in Sydney and Melbourne.

Phillip Coorey, Rudd’s $5b health revolution, SMH 21 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/national/rudds-health-revolution-20100420-srtm.htmlThe federal government will cut a separate GST revenue deal with every state and territory other than Western Australia, if necessary, to secure its health and hospitals reform package after the mining state held out against signing a deal yesterday. The West Australian Premier, Colin Barnett, the only Liberal leader, refused Mr Rudd's key demand to surrender 30 per cent of his GST revenue to fund the reforms, which would make the Commonwealth the dominant funder of health and hospital services. NSW and Victoria, which had also been holding out over the GST, dropped their opposition after Mr Rudd threw more money on the table, taking it to $5.4 billion in inducements for the states and territories over the next four years.

Mark Davis, Housing Review aims to alleviate price pressures, SMH 22 April 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/housing-review-aims-to-alleviate-price-pressures-20100421-t0ml.htmlThe federal and state governments are moving to ease the pressure on house prices by commissioning a review of factors curtailing the supply of new houses and artificially pushing up the demand for housing. The popular first home owners scheme, which offers a $7000 government grant to people buying their first home, will also be included in the review to assess whether it is driving house prices higher by giving home buyers more spending power.

Kristy Needham, Homeless crisis hit by family collapse, SMH 30 April: http://www.smh.com.au/national/homeless-crisis-hit-by-family-collapse-20100429-twmw.html ‘YOUNG women and children continue to be the biggest users of homelessness services, with the breakdown of relationships the most common cause for people to flee their homes, an annual report has shown. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's report on government-funded homelessness services showed the situation of the homeless remained little changed in 2008-09. One in every 105 Australians needed help from a homelessness service, most commonly for meals and showers. Of those who could not be helped, accommodation was the greatest unmet need.’

Overseas press

Patrick Wintour, Key to saving libraries: free internet access and Sunday opening, Guardian 22 March: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/22/public-libraries-overhaul-proposedBritain's public libraries, fighting declining use and an inevitable wave of spending cuts by local councils, can still flourish if they offer free internet access, Sunday opening and a promise to provide any book in the national book collection, a review on the future of libraries concludes today.’

Julie Bindel, Iceland: the world’s most feminist country, Guardian, 25 March: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/mar/25/iceland-most-feminist-countryWhile activists in Britain battle on in an attempt to regulate lapdance clubs – the number of which has been growing at an alarming rate during the last decade – Iceland has passed a law that will result in every strip club in the country being shut down. And forget hiring a topless waitress in an attempt to get around the bar: the law, which was passed with no votes against and only two abstentions, will make it illegal for any business to profit from the nudity of its employees. Even more impressive: the Nordic state is the first country in the world to ban stripping and lapdancing for feminist, rather than religious, reasons.

Anushka Asthana, Toby Helm and Tracy McVeigh, Black pupils ‘are routinely marked down by teachers’. Teachers assessment of children’s ability is undermined by stereotyping, says research. Observer 4 April 10: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/apr/04/sats-marking-race-stereotypesAcademics looked at the marks given to thousands of children at age 11. They compared their results in Sats, nationally set tests marked remotely, with the assessments made by teachers in the classroom and in internal tests. The findings suggest that low expectations are damaging children's prospects. The study concludes that black pupils perform consistently better in external exams than in teacher assessment. The opposite is true for Indian and Chinese children, who tend to be "over-assessed" by teachers. It also finds that white children from very poor neighbourhoods were under-assessed when compared with their better-off peers. "What is worrying is that if students do not feel that a teacher appreciates them or understands them, then they are not going to try so hard," said Simon Burgess, professor of economics at the University of Bristol and co-author of the report. His study finds that the differences are a result of stereotyping, as opposed to other factors, and are particularly pronounced in areas where there are fewer black children – or fewer children from very poor estates.‘

Will Hutton, Capitalism is at a moral dead end and it’s the bosses are to blame. Observer, 4 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/04/will-hutton-capitalismChief executives were paid 47 times average pay in 2000; today, they are paid 81 times the average. And all directly or indirectly colluded in the change that triggered the greatest economic calamity since the 1930s. None blew a whistle, raised a doubt or suggested strategic options. All trousered the bonuses.

Press Association, Nurse loses crucifix discrimination case, Guardian 7 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/apr/06/christian-nurse-loses-battle-crucifixA Christian nurse who was moved to a desk job after refusing to remove her crucifix lost a claim for discrimination today.

Press Association, Tenfold rise in stay-at-home dads in 10 years, Guardian 7 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/07/rise-stay-at-home-fathers-study The number of fathers who give up work to look after their children has soared tenfold during the past decade, research suggests. Around 6% of fathers, or 600,000, now consider themselves to be their child's primary carer, said insurance firm Aviva. Eighteen percent of couples said they shared childcare responsibilities equally. The main reason families gave for men looking after the children was that the woman was the higher earner. The woman is the main breadwinner in 16% of families with dependent children. The study also found that in 85% of households with children one parent had reduced working hours or given up work to look after their offspring. A third said they had done so because of the cost of childcare.

Randeep Ramesh, Britain becomes a nation of borrowers spending wildly on ‘experiences’, Guardian 9 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/08/social-trends-ons-spending…according to the Office for National Statistics. Its latest research paints a picture of the ways in which we spend and accumulate money over the last four decades have changed. We have grown richer: between 1971 and 2008, GDP per head in the UK more than doubled in real terms. But, by 2008, we saved less than ever before with just 1.7% of total resources put away – the lowest recorded since 1970. Instead, Britons spent wildly by borrowing: in the eight years up to 2007 household debts went up by 125% while household income increased by only 40 per cent. There were more credit cards than people in the country and personal debt rose to £3.2bn in 2008. In that year, banks wrote off £6.9bn of loans to individuals – and the recession began.

Toby Helm and Denis Campbell, Alcohol and obesity mar Labour’s NHS record, Observer 11 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/11/kings-fund-nhs-obesity-alcoholismA major report by the independent health charity the King's Fund, obtained by the Observer, paints a depressing picture of a nation afflicted by deteriorating eating and drinking habits, despite a number of public health campaigns.’ ‘On the battle against excessive drinking, the King's Fund is damning. It sees "no sign that the government's aims to reduce harmful alcohol consumption have been achieved". Ministers, it points out, took six years from the time they promised an "alcohol harm reduction strategy" in 1998 to the point where they finally published one. Hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption have increased by 69% between 2002-03 and 2007-08, to 863,000…On obesity the report says "there is no sign of the tide turning" despite numerous healthy eating campaigns, improving antenatal nutrition and a rise in the level of exercise taken by young people and adults. In 2007, 24% of men and women were classified as obese but experts predict this will rise to 41% of men in 2020 and 36% of women.

Will Hutton, This country’s renewal is being betrayed by cheap, paltry politics, Observer 11 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/apr/11/economic-recession-recoveryQuantitative easing has become the most flagrantly regressive public policy intervention in modern times. It has enriched the wealthy further by putting a floor under especially high-priced property, boosted share prices and done nothing for small- and medium-sized business.

Rachel Williams, Top comprehensives ‘more socially exclusive than grammar schools’, Guardian 12 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/apr/11/comprehensive-schools-socially-exclusiveThe Worlds Apart report, from the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, found that of the 100 most socially selective schools in the country, 91 were comprehensives. Only eight were grammars and one was a secondary modern. The authors, Alan Smithers and Pamela Robinson, said the problem was letting parents choose which school they wanted their children to attend, which inevitably led to the "best" schools being oversubscribed. These schools could then impose selection criteria such as which families lived closest or religious affiliation.

Sarah Boseley, Women less likely to die in childbirth in Albania than in UK, Guardian 12 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2010/apr/12/women-die-childbirth-albania-ukThe safest country in the world in which to give birth appears to be Italy, with a death rate of 3.9 women for every 100,000 births – down from 7.4 in 1990. Next come Sweden, Luxembourg and Australia. All have brought their death rates down by more than 1% over the same period. Israel, in 8th place and Malta, in 9th, have brought their death rates down by 3.2% and 4.7% respectively. But the UK had 8.4 deaths per 100,000 births in 1990 and 8.2 deaths in 2008, a drop of just 0.1%.

Rebecca Smithers, Do you take cash? Retail revolution grows, Coins for fewer than half of payments ‘in five years’. Guardian 14 April: http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/apr/14/cash-credit-card-retailthe forecasts are made today in The Way We Pay 2919 by The Payments Council – the national body which has decided to phase out cheques October 2018 provided alternatives are developed’

Randeep Ramesh, London’s richest people worth 273 times more than the poorest, Guardian 21 April : http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/apr/21/wealth-social-divide-health-inequalityLondon is most unequal city in the developed world, with the richest tenth of the population amassing 273 times the wealth owned by the bottom tenth – which creates a "means chasm" not seen since the days of a "slave owning society", according to a new book. In Injustice: Why Social Inequality Persists published by Policy Press, Danny Dorling, a professor of human geography at Sheffield University and an expert on social disparity, paints a bleak picture of an extremely unjust Britain where differences in wealth have led to a profoundly divided society…This wealth gap has produced an alarming health gap – with the life expectancy at birth of the richest group rising by a year annually, while the poorest are seeing almost no rise at all….In Europe, only Portugal appears more unequal than Britain. Instead of seeking to reduce inequalities, Dorling argues, Westminster politicians simply accept that it is unfortunate but inevitable, rather than seeing it as undoing the "warp and weft of society"…The effect on politics has been the dramatic "super concentrating" of the Conservative vote in a series of wealthy constituencies in areas such as the south- east. By 2005, one in six Tory voters would have to shift from some of the most Conservative seats to other party strongholds to spread the Tory vote equally across the country. Dorling says this "geographical polarisation in underlying beliefs is where David Cameron finds his party". In the past, this feature of Conservative voters, combined with large now inequalities, has led to a "decade of political instability".’ The result is that the affluent have been allowed to lose touch with the everyday norms of society.

Elizabeth Kneebone, The Suburbanization of Poverty, Next American City: http://americancity.org/podcast/episode/interview-with-elizabeth-kneebone-the-suburbanization-of-poverty/ Contrary to popular belief, suburbs are now home to the largest and fastest growing poor population in the country.’

Samuel Staley, The Use and Abuse of Multipliers, Samuel Staley’s blog, http://www.planetizen.com/node/43417First, input-output studies, as well as any analysis that calculates a “multiplier” to assess impacts, are fundamentally forecasting tools. They are used to predict and estimate future impacts. They do not estimate or measure outcomes. Nor do they evaluate what actually happens… Second, multiplier-based studies are not rooted in an analysis of the productivity or efficiency of spending… Third, input-output studies don’t factor in the effects of debt and borrowing costs to fund projects.

Lisa Bachelor, Why Cooperatives are cool again, All the main parties want workers to co-own and run public services as social enterprises, but advocates warn against seeing them as a way to cut costs, Guardian 1May, 10: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/may/01/co-operatives-social-enterprisesWhile there is much to like about the idea of co-operative social enterprises that gets to the heart of community problems, they are not without their problems when it comes to getting them started and running them smoothly. [Guy]Turnbull says access to equity finance for setting up a co-op can be difficult. …Ed Mayo agrees there can be start-up issues. "Co-operatives can tend to be harder to start than getting an off-the-peg company," he says. "Spending time early on thinking about issues like membership and using your identity as a co-operative in business planning takes time upfront, although it can pay dividends down the line. "Finding managers with the right balance of entrepreneurial skill, ethical value base, and technical skills can also be a challenge, says Turnbull. Mayo adds that other employee issues later down the line can be trickier to tackle than under a conventional business model. "If there is one thing that co-operatives learn, it is that people's behaviour matters," he says.

Recent reports / papers

Australian Social Trends, March 2010
The March edition includes five articles:
The labour market during recent economic downturns; Are young people earning or learning?; Health and socioeconomic disadavantage; Income support for people of working age; and, Repeat imprisonment.
ABS regional information easier to find thanks to Google Maps interface
Finding out about a specific area of Australia is now easier, thanks to the release today of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) new-look National Regional Profiles. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mediareleasesbyCatalogue/573DFC4A8EB7DF40CA2574930083BD6E?Opendocument

Mike Berry and others, Mortgage default in Australia: nature, causes and social and economic impacts This is the second and final report on the problem of mortgage default in Australia.
Simon Pinnegar and others, How can shared equity schemes work to facilitate home ownership in Australia? Research and Policy Bulletin, Issue 124, ‘Small, well-targeted shared equity schemes provide an opportunity for lower and moderate income households to achieve home ownership in Australia. Government involvement is required to manage the risks associated with achieving affordability objectives whilst maintaining the financial viability of the schemes.’
Guy Johnson and others, Pathways from out-of-home care, Final report 26, April 2010, ‘This project focuses on the housing experiences and outcomes of young people leaving state care. It is the first Australian study to specifically examine the connection between accommodation and young people’s transition to independent living. The project aims to inform policy and service practice to promote positive and sustainable housing outcomes for young people ageing out of the state out-of-home care system.
Max Travers and others, Regulatory frameworks and their utility for the not-for-profit housing sector, Positioning paper, 22 April 2010, This Positioning Paper reviews the potential strengths and weaknesses of regulation as a means of expanding the not-for-profit sector in Australian housing.’ http://www.ahuri.edu.au/publications/

Australian Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, [FaCHSIA]
Regulation and growth of the not-for profit housing sector: discussion paper
Key messages in the discussion paper include:
• Addressing the shortage of housing supply through growth in the not-for-profit housing sector;
• Regulation that protects the interests of government, tenants and providers; and
• Attracting private investment into the sector.
The aim is to seek input from the not-for-profit sector, investors, tenant groups, Indigenous community housing, developers and the business community into the formulation of clear policy direction to support the growth and sustainability of the community housing sector in Australia.

Australian Institute of Criminology
Emerging issues in domestic/family violence research
‘This paper presents an overview of the key emerging issues in Australian domestic and family violence research. In particular, the paper considers this research in the context of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities; the elderly; those with disabilities; people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; Indigenous communities; homelessness; the impact on children; and issues around perpetrator programs.’

Responding to intimate partner violence victimisation: Effective options for help-seeking “Approximately one in four women in most Western nations are at risk of becoming a victim of intimate partner violence (IPV). Interventions for IPV victims have proven significant in preventing negative outcomes. Using data from the International Violence Against Women Survey, this paper examines predictors of help-seeking by IPV victims.” 16 March 2010 http://www.aic.gov.au/en/publications/current%20series/tandi/381-400/tandi389.aspx
Australian Crime, Facts and Figures 2009: http://www.aic.gov.au/en/publications/current%20series/facts/1-20/2009.aspx

Australian Institute of Family Studies
Divorce and the wellbeing of older Australians, April 2010
‘This paper provides estimates of the effects of divorce on a number of aspects of wellbeing of older Australians (aged 55-74 years)…The paper shows that divorce has a longlasting, negative impact on wellbeing and the effects appear to persist into later life for both men and women. However, the negative effects of divorce on wellbeing are largely confined to those who do not re-partner and remain single. An important difference between men and women is that for women who are divorced and single, negative effects of divorce are found for general health, vitality and mental health, while for men, there appear to be no effects of divorce on these health measures. For life overall and all seven of the aspects of life about which the HILDA survey asked - including their home, feeling safe, their local community, other aspects of their lives - women who were divorced and single were less satisfied than those who were married and never divorced (but otherwise similar). In comparison, while divorced and single men were less satisfied with several aspects of their lives than married and never divorced men, not all of the differences were significant. Furthermore, the effects of divorce on satisfaction with various aspects of life were smaller for men than women. While divorce appears to have some effects on perceived social support for both men and women, its effects on social support are less pervasive than its effects on satisfaction with life and, for women, health. Divorced singles appear to have more social contact with people living elsewhere. This is perhaps not surprising given that many of them were living alone. The negative effects of divorce on wellbeing are likely to have negative economic consequences for society as a whole, particularly in relation to the health consequences for women, which are likely to increase the demand for publicly funded or subsidised health services. It is clear that the costs to government of divorce last for two or more decades.‘

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Health and wellbeing of young Australians: indicator framework and key national indicators, AIHW bulletin no 77, 30 March 2010, http://www.aihw.gov.au/publications/index.cfm/title/11294 ‘The bulletin presents 71 key national indicators, along with brief justifications explaining the relevance and importance of the indicators to young people's health and wellbeing. The indicators cover a broad range of areas of young people's health and wellbeing, including: morbidity, disability, mortality, health risk and protective factors, community, socioeconomic and environmental factors and measures of system performance.

Australian Council of Social Service
Out of the Maze: a better social security system for people of working age
http://acoss.org.au/ACOSS is calling for the introduction of a single base payment rate for all people of working age on income support to fix problems in the current system where some people are paid $120 per week less than others.’

Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability
Social Partnerships for Governance and Learning towards Sustainability 2010
http://www.aries.mq.edu.au/publications/aries/The paper argues that the key functions for partnerships are a) to provide new forms of social governance to address mounting concerns such as climate change, food security and human rights issues associated with global supply chains, and b) to foster the inter-organisational learning that would enable more creative and effective responses to these challenges. Armed with this analysis of why partnerships have emerged, and arguing partnership effectiveness needs to be assessed against these functions, the author identifies critical success factors for their implementation. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research.

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention
How to Design Communities to Support Good Health: 20 April 2010 http://www.asla.org/land/LandArticle.aspx?id=26622
The report ‘illustrates the importance of considering public-health factors, such as physical activity, respiratory and mental health, water quality, social equity, healthy ageing and social capital, when creating the built environment.

Equality Trust, UK
Recent Blog Posts,
430 parliamentary candidates from all parties have so far signed the Equality Pledge. They have promised to actively support the case for policies to narrow the gap between rich and poor. This is a significant commitment by many potential members of the new parliament to work towards greater income equality over the next five years.’

HIA Connect
Evidence Summaries:
http://www.hiaconnect.edu.au/evidence_summaries.htm This page on the HIA Connect website ‘provides reviews that summarise the links between various activities and health’ There are 17 categories incl. crime, education, employment and income and links to other sources of evidence.

National Ethnic Disability Alliance
People from non English speaking background with disability in Australia: What does the data say
, http://www.apo.org.au/research/people-non-english-speaking-background-disability-australia-what-does-data-sayThis report highlights issues of significance for people from NESB with disability on the basis of the currently available data.

OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs
Rising youth unemployment during the crisis: how to prevent negative long-term consequences on a generation?
http://www.apo.org.au/research/rising-youth-unemployment-during-crisis-how-prevent-negative-long-term-consequences-generat ‘… this paper discusses what governments could do to minimise the possible scarring effects of the crisis on youth and thus avoid a lost generation. About 30-40% of school-leavers in the OECD are estimated as being at risk, either because they cumulate multiple disadvantages (the group of so-called “left behind youth”) or because they face barriers to find stable employment (the group of so-called “poorly integrated new entrants”).

Platform Journal of Media and Communication
Communication patterns within social networks: a case study of Australian women,
http://www.apo.org.au/research/communication-patterns-within-social-networks-case-study-australian-women Communication patterns are examined drawing on findings from a case study of 26 women aged 35-76 years.

Workshops, seminars and short courses

Shelter NSW Conference
Estates in the balance: best practice in redevelopment and regeneration of public housing estates: Thursday 17 July 9-4.0
Auditorium, NSW Teachers Federation Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
This conference will focus on best practice in redevelopment and regeneration, before, during and after redevelopment and regeneration of public housing estates. It will cover the resettlement and rehousing of current tenants, community engagement, social mix and tenure mix, poverty and social exclusion, and design and density. Speakers include: the Hon. David Borger MP, NSW Minister for Housing, Simon Pinnegar, Deputy Director, and team from the City Futures Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Dr Kathy Arthurson, Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Flinders University, Adelaide.
Registrations are open until Friday 11 June. An 'early bird' rate applies to registrations received before Friday 28 May: docs/fly10conference-rego.html>. For more information, contact Yana Myronenko. Tel: (02) 9267 5733 ext.13, e: admin@shelternsw.org.au

A National Homelessness Research Network event
28 May 2010, 9:45 - 13:45, SMC - 66 Goulburn St, Sydney
‘This event, hosted by AHURI Limited, will provide an opportunity to meet and identify critical issues to inform homelessness research. Following a keynote address by Associate Professor Eileen Baldry, a panel discussion will be held to highlight some of the critical issues in homelessness policy, practice and research.’

Australian and New Zealand Institute of Criminology
This, the 23rd conference of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Criminology (ANZSOC) will be our most challenging and we hope our most successful yet, located in the Red Centre in Alice Springs of Australia.To be held from 28 to 30 September 2010 in the best weather of the year. It will be preceded by a one-day post-graduate workshop on the 27th. http://dreamediant.com.au/anzsoc%202010/anzsoc-welcome.htm

Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference
7 -9 July 2010, Melbourne Convention Centre http://conference.aifs.gov.au/registration.php

Urban Research Centre, UWS 2010 short courses
Writing Policy; May 24 and November 8
Effective Community Consultation; June 21-22
Planning for Non Planners: June 28 and November 22
An Introduction to Urban Design for Planners: July 7-8 and 29-30

Developing Sustainable Places: August 5-6 and 19-20
Financing Cities: September 9-10 and 23-24
An Introduction to Property Development for Planners: September 23-24
Social Impact Assessment: October 25-26
More details: http://www.uws.edu.au/urban_research_centre/urc/short_courses
Inquiries: Prof Peter Phibbs p.phibbs@uws.edu.au

The social planning Alert is prepared by Australia Street Company with assistance from Elizabeth Delaney. To leave or join this list please email aziller@bigpond.net.au