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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

May 2016

Australia’s ageing population and changes in aged care services and policy are the background to two new research reports in this issue of Brotherhood Update.

Another paper points to the complexity of age discrimination in employment, this time focused on gender, and we introduce a new project investigating the impact of variable incomes on Australian households.

The Brotherhood’s responses to the recent Victorian and federal budgets are also reported.

REPORT Working together towards excellence in residential care

Responding to the changing needs and expectations of older adults in residential care requires a skilled, well-supported workforce. Teaching and Research Aged Care Services (TRACS) was a Commonwealth initiative to address this issue. One of 16 projects funded was a partnership between the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) and RMIT, designed with the ambitious goals of developing Sumner House (a 42-bed facility operated by the BSL) as a Centre of Excellence, enhancing resident wellbeing and improving support for aged care staff and students.

This research summary outlines how the BSL–RMIT TRACS project fostered collaboration and provides some lessons on why linking research and service development is so important in aged care and other sectors, and yet so challenging.

Read the short report by Ashley Carr and Helen Kimberley  Pursuing a vision for aged care: impacts and outcomes of the BSL–RMIT TRACS project (PDF, 134 KB)

REPORT Adjusting to Consumer Directed Care

Australia’s approach to providing care for older adults living at home has undergone radical change, under the banner of Consumer Directed Care. Clients now have individual choice and control of their government-subsidised Home Care Packages.

An action research study was undertaken to track the challenges of introducing the new model of community aged care, as developed at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. This report focuses on the experiences of older adults and their carers. While capable consumers appreciated being able to choose their services and activities, the study suggested that others will need adequate, ongoing support to exercise meaningful choice and control.

Read the report by Bonnie Simons, Helen Kimberley and Nicky McColl Jones Adjusting to Consumer Directed Care: the experience of Brotherhood of St Laurence community aged care service users (PDF, 787 KB) 

PAPERThe double disadvantage of being older and female when looking for work

Analysis of age discrimination in employment shows that women’s experience is different from men’s and that perceived ageism has been more persistent in female-dominated occupations. A one-size policy response is therefore unlikely to fit all older jobseekers.

Read A gendered analysis of age discrimination among older jobseekers in Australia, by Michael McGann, Rachel Ong, Dina Bowman, Alan Duncan, Helen Kimberley and Simon Biggs, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre Working Paper 16/01

PROJECT How do low-income households cope with volatile incomes?

Many Australians who are working casually or on contracts find that their wage one week is higher or lower than their wage the next week. A new Brotherhood of St Laurence research project is designed to understand how much household incomes vary from payday to payday, and how low and moderate income households are coping with financial uncertainty.

The researcher, Marcus Banks, is currently recruiting participants. Read more about the Spinning the plates project and eligibility on its web page.

MEDIA Victoria’s budget and young jobseekers

The Brotherhood welcomed the Victorian Government’s budget measures to help people, including young jobseekers, to build the skills and experience needed in the modern economy, as well as its investment to tackle the social challenge of family violence.

Read the media release Victorian Budget: recognition for disadvantaged job seekers

MEDIA Budgets are not just about bottom lines

The youth employment package announced in the federal Budget was also welcomed by the Brotherhood. At the same time there remains a big task for governments to ensure that the benefits of economic growth reach the most vulnerable members of our society.

Read the media release Federal Budget: youth jobs measures welcome, big picture still challenging