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Brotherhood of St Laurence - Working for an Australia free of poverty Brotherhood Update - Research and policy update from the Brotherhood of St Laurence

February 2020

Welcome to Brotherhood Update for 2020!

There are two new podcasts to listen to, and Research and Policy Centre team members have been busy writing policy submissions about retirement incomes, emissions reduction, energy and vocational education. Also, if you missed it, catch up on the December Youth Unemployment Monitor with its new data and personal insights.

Brotherhood Talks resume this month with our Executive Director Conny Lenneberg interviewing policy expert Andrew Wear (see details in What's On).

Please forward Brotherhood Update to your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.

Tell us what you like – or don't like – about the enewsletter so we can better meet you needs. Email research@bsl.org.au

PODCAST Towards a just future

Jenny Macklin

In this Brotherhood Talks podcast, former federal minister Jenny Macklin argues we must find a path to a just and sustainable future for all, through an Emissions and Employment Accord. She presented the Brotherhood’s 2019 Sambell Oration.

Brotherhood Executive Director Conny Lenneberg outlines the Brotherhood’s approach to addressing issues raised in the oration.

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud or Spotify and online https://bit.ly/2SAY1U2


Read Jenny Macklin’s speech, The case for an emissions and employment accord – Sambell Oration 2019 (PDF, 63 KB)

Find out more about the Sambell Oration

PODCAST The gap: why Australian women earn millions less

Danielle Wood and Dina Bowman

There’s a vast gap between the projected lifetime earnings of the average Australian man with children and the projected earnings of the average Australian woman with children.The gap is about two million dollars.

In this Brotherhood Talk, the Grattan Institute’s budget policy director, Danielle Wood, looks at the main factors that contribute to women’s economic disadvantage. Brotherhood researcher and University of Melbourne economic sociologist Dr Dina Bowman argues many of those factors have persisted for decades.

Listen to the podcast

You can listen to all episodes of Brotherhood talks on our website or on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud or Spotify.

POLICY Acting to protect older Australians from poverty

Preventing financial hardship in retirement requires reform across several interrelated policy areas. The Brotherhood has recommended reform in four domains: adequate and decent social security before and during retirement; equitable and sustainable superannuation; mature-age employment opportunities; and affordable and secure housing.

Read our submission to the Treasury’s Retirement Income Review (PDF, 334 KB)

POLICY Enabling transitions from school to work

Close-up of propagating seedlings

There is a stark gap in terms of school engagement, educational attainment and uptake of further and higher education between young people experiencing disadvantage and their peers.

Groups that face extra barriers to education must be put back on governments' radar.

Our submission to the Education Council review called for improvements to career guidance, vocational training and all-round support to recognise the talents and develop the skills of these young people.

Read the submission to the Education Council Review of Senior Secondary Pathways (PDF, 608 KB)

POLICY Energy efficiency in rented housing

Single storey brick houses with tiled roofs and small gardens

Renters often miss out on the health benefits and cost savings of energy-efficient appliances because their landlord would have to approve and pay for improvements such as heating, cooling or hotwater.

Victoria’s proposed new tenancy regulations take a step towards addressing this, but the Brotherhood believes they should go further.

Read our Submission regarding energy efficiency provisions of Residential Tenancies Regulations 2020 (PDF, 324 KB)

POLICY How could the Emissions Reduction Fund method of helping small energy users be improved?

Bright orange umbrella in blazing sun

The Commonwealth’s Emissions Reduction Fund has had limited success in attracting projects to reduce energy emissions by small energy users. This points to a need to rethink both the method and the specific requirements for applicants. The Brotherhood has suggested relevant changes.

Read our Submission to combined review of Emissions Reduction Fund energy efficiency methodologies (PDF, 236 KB)

CAMPAIGN The challenge of youth unemployment

Front wheel of car on potholed road

Despite Australia notching up 30 years of overall economic growth, ABS figures show an estimated 265,000 young people in the unemployment queue by late 2019. Skilled workers with vocational qualifications will be needed in growth sectors but current VET enrolment and completion rates leave much to be desired.

Find out more in the December issue of our Youth Unemployment Monitor

Read the research report Prosperity’s children: youth unemployment in Australia (PDF, 133 KB)

POLICY Building skills for all

Looking up at commercial crane against deep blue sky

The new National Skills Commission could play a key role in lifting social and economic outcomes for learners, employers, local communities and our nation.

To address limitations of the current system, however, it will need a clear mandate to improve access and equity. It should aim to build an vocational education system that prepares students for the changing world of work, rather than simply oversee a competitive training market.

Read our submission re Co-designing the National Skills Commission (PDF, 274 KB)

ARTICLE Bad timing and economic insecurity

Glass coin jar on its side, some coins spilled

A study of low-income households reveals how uncertain incomes interact with unpredictable risks such as job loss, car repair expenses or illness to exacerbate economic insecurity. The authors use the concepts of riskscapes and timescapes, and May and Thrift’s four categories of time, to analyse this interaction.

Access the article by Marcus Banks and Dina Bowman 2019, 'Bad timing: the temporal dimensions of economic insecurity', Critical Sociology, published online 13 November.