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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 2020

How do we respond to the changed world of COVID-19 – and the pressing needs it has produced – while continuing to learn from years of lived experience, and evidence from research and services about how to achieve long-term change?

This Brotherhood Update features many threads of our work.

Please share the newsletter with friends and colleagues, and encourage them to subscribe

SOCIAL POLICY LIBRARY Latest resources on COVID-19

Laptop, tablet and smartphone displaying Source web page

With COVID-19 affecting most of life, it can be hard to keep up with the latest economic and social analysis.

BSL Social Policy Library staff make it easier by combing through and sorting key resources, especially involving the effects on disadvantaged members of our community.

Access these and other resources on Source, our current awareness service at https://bsllibrary.org.au/

INISIGHT COVID-19 and people with disability

The COVID-19 pandemic poses immediate risks for people with disability, their families and carers. It could also have lasting effects, and compound existing inequalities, unless we redouble efforts to  build inclusive communities.

COVID-19 Insights from the BSL Research and Policy Centre will highlight how groups of Australians are affected, and propose policy responses.

Read the first Insight by Diane Brown, People with disability (PDF, 311 KB)

POLICY Tackling the causes of homelessness

Inner city high-rise public housing

Even before the impact of COVID-19, an alarming number of Victorians faced unaffordable and unsustainable rents. In responding to Victoria’s parliamentary inquiry into homelessness, the Brotherhood of St Laurence stressed the need to address structural causes rather than focusing narrowly on crisis support.

Read our Submission to the Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria (PDF, 378 KB)

PODCAST Absolutely possible: how big problems have been solved around the world

Shelley Mallett and Andrew Wear

Public policy specialist Andrew Wear believes we should be optimistic about resolving some of the toughest policy dilemmas in Australia and elsewhere.

In this Brotherhood Talk, he speaks with Professor Shelley Mallett, Director of the BSL Research and Policy Centre.

Listen to Absolutely possible: how big problems have been solved around the world.

You can access the pdocast on our website, on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Soundcloud or Spotify.


Catch up on previous Brotherhood Talks

POLICY Quality aged care for all requires system reform

Cloa-up of man in check shirt grippping walking frame

The Brotherhood argues that Australia needs an aged care system in which all people, irrespective of background or means, receive high-quality care. This will require effective market stewardship, empowering of both older adults and the workforce, and complementary housing options.

Read our submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (PDF, 439 KB)

MEDIA National policy and local action on youth unemployment

White jigsaw pieces on a red background

Effective action on youth unemployment is needed more than ever. BSL Executive Director Conny Lenneberg has joined two recent discussions with Fran Kelly and others on Radio National:

Listen to these programs:
Youth unemployment set to surge during COVID-19 pandemic (29 April)

National Youth Employment Body aims to build workforce skills (14 May)

REPORT Reviewing Australia's youth employment programs

Overlapping railway tracks

In tackling Australia’s high youth unemployment we need to know what’s currently being done and where the gaps are.

This paper outlines numerous employment programs that are funded by the Australian and state governments and are open to young people (at July 2019). It shows the scope and focus of government investment, as well as some limitations.

Read the report by Miranda Cross, Who gets what where: review of government-funded youth employment programs across Australia.

This report was produced to support the Youth Employment Study (YES), funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council and led by the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

PAPER Creating employment opportunities for people with disability

Across Australia, employment rates for people with disability remain unacceptably low. Local councils can help to improve this situation by reviewing how they hire staff and where they purchase goods and services.

Read the paper by Maria Mupanemunda, Councils as employers of choice: how hiring and procurement decisions can create employment for people with disability (PDF, 372 KB)

This research is a product of the Bayside Regional Partnership Disability Employment Project, an initiative of the BSL NDIS Local Area Coordination Team, the BSL Research and Policy Centre and seven local councils.

RESOURCE Tools to guide social procurement planning

Stylised toolkit

This resource provides two tools to help organisations plan their purchasing and procurement to achieve social benefits:

  • a framework to assess the organisation’s progress towards strategic procurement
  • a checklist and action list for each phase in developing a social procurement strategy.

Read Purchasing with purpose: tools to develop an organisational strategy for social procurement (PDF, 289 KB)

JOURNAL ARTICLE Extending work on the front line

Care worker and man with exercise ball

Many older aged care workers are at risk of time and income poverty, since they are on low-wage, part-time contracts and need to pick up extra shifts to earn a living wage. Our qualitative study points to several changes in the sector that could enable longer working lives.

Read the article by Aaron Hart, Dina Bowman & Shelley Mallett, Scheduling longer working lives for older aged care workers: a time and income capability approach, Time and Society, published online 3 May 2020.