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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

November 2019

This issue of Brotherhood Update announces research on older aged care workers, and a new wave of data in our social exclusion monitor.

Policy submissions about the inadequacy of Newstart Allowance, access to preschool and Australia's emissions reduction target are featured.

The latest Brotherhood Talks podcast focuses on the Productivity Commission; and a series of papers outlines the complexity of Austalia's vocational education and training sytem.

Please share Brotherhood Update with your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe.

RESEARCH Improving the health of older aged care workers

Using an iPad together

Our qualitative study of older 'pink collar' workers in aged care points to the need for policy and practice changes to ensure Australia has enough skilled workers to provide quality care, and to  support the physical and emotional health of those workers.

Read the report by Aaron Hart, Dina Bowman and Shelley Mallett, Improving the health of older aged care workers (PDF, 437 KB)

This is one part of a larger Australian Research Council Linkage Project, Working well, working wisely, about older workers and their workplaces.

RESEARCH: New data on social exclusion

Rack of colourful ties

Poverty has many dimensions, not only linked to income. The Social exclusion monitor developed by the Brotherhood with the Melbourne Institute is a composite measure to reflect multiple kinds of disadvantage.

Recently updated with Wave 17 data from the Household Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, it shows which groups of Australians are most likely to be excluded, and trends over the decade since 2008.

See the latest results of Who experiences social exclusion

POLICY A new start for Newstart and Australia’s social security system

Coins spilled out of jar

Not only is the level of Newstart Allowance manifestly inadequate, but the present approach to social security emphasises personal failings, and too often leaves people feeling belittled and stigmatised. The Brotherhood believes that Australia should value the social safety net as an investment in our nation.

Read our Submission to the Senate inquiry into adequacy of Newstart Allowance and related payments (PDF, 867 KB)


Read more about uenmployment benefits and the Share the Pie campaign calling for a better deal.

PODCAST The Productivity Commission and policy reform

Peter Harris and Alison McClelland

The Productivity Commission is a source of policy advice and research for Australian Governments, conducting public inquiries into areas requiring reform. This function is increasingly important in an era of outsourcing policy advice to commercial consultants.

Peter Harris served as Commission chair for five years to 2018. In this Brotherhood Talks podcast, he says it is a measure of the Commission’s value that many countries are keen to copy it. He talks with Alison McClelland, a former commissioner, and a life member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

Access the podcast.

POLICY Children getting a good start

Child with toy truck

More could be done to improve access to quality preschool education for children experiencing disadvantage and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

The Brotherhood argues for investment in outreach, building cultural safety and strengthening parents’ capacity, among other measures to ensure all children have a great start in life.

Read more in our Submission to the review of the national partnership for universal access to preschool (PDF, 187 KB)

POLICY Meeting Australia’s commitment to the Paris Agreement [on climate change]

Climate change matters collage

To address climate change credibly and honour its Paris commitment, Australia should increase its emissions reduction target and implement policies to achieve it. The Brotherhood supports a target and policy consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5 °C.

Read more in our Submission to the Climate Change Authority re meeting Paris Agreement (PDF, 202 KB)

RADIO Talking about poverty in Melbourne

Melbourne scene

In Anti-Poverty Week, the Brotherhood's Dina Bowman joined a panel on ABC Radio Melbourne’s Conversation Hour discussing the job market and the level of poverty in Melbourne and Victoria.

Access this program on the ABC website.

TOPIC GUIDES Unravelling the complexity of vocational education and training

Young man in recording studio

How has vocational training and education evolved over the last 40 years? What current challenges does it face?

Eight short papers by George Myconos shed light on Australia's complex VET system.

Australia's VET sector since the mid-1970s (PDF, 266 KB)

Participation and transitions in Australia's VET system (PDF, 269 KB)

The architecture of Australia's VET sector (PDF, 1 MB)

Funding regimes in Australia's VET sector (PDF, 794 KB)

Emerging skills and competencies and VET's response (PDF, 799 KB)

VET in Victoria (PDF, 759 KB)

Apprenticeships and traineeships (PDF, 775 KB)

VET: the international context (PDF, 788 KB)