Stupid Leftist Federal government aims to make accommodation for the poor harder to find
More of those "unintended" consequences of Leftist policy. Sounding good is really all that matters to them. Too bad if the results are the opposite of what is intended. The big bugbear for people providing rental accommodation to the poor is bad tenants. So making it harder to get rid of bad tenants will simply drive more landlords out of the business of providing such accommodation and thus reduce the supply. I used to be a provider of such accommodation myself but when difficult tenants got too much for me, I sold all my houses to owner-occupiers. If ratbag Rudd really wanted to help the decent poor he would make evictions EASIER
Landlords could find it harder to evict tenants under a Federal Government plan to halve homelessness by 2020 and better protect lodgers. The Government's $7.3 billion package also includes a brokerage fund to provide mortgage top-ups and extra security for victims of domestic violence.
The joint Commonwealth-state Road Home white paper, released yesterday by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, sets ambitious legislative reforms and interim targets to 2013. It aims to reduce the rate of homelessness in 2013 from 53 to 40 per 10,000; more services and specialist workers. "A country like this should not have this problem. As a nation we can do a lot better than that," Mr Rudd said. About $6.1billion of funding was previously announced but Mr Rudd and the states yesterday pledged an extra $1.2billion over four years - which the Government said would help create up to 10,000 [bureaucrat] jobs.
A key plank is keeping people connected to family networks and in their homes. The Government will review the impact of without-grounds termination clauses on homelessness in state legislation and the lack of legislative protection for boarders and lodgers. Legislation in many states allows landlords to evict tenants even if they have not breached their agreement, which lobby groups argue enables retaliation and discrimination. "Most state and territory tenancy legislation permits without-grounds termination of a tenancy agreement by a landlord," the white paper said. "As a result, a tenant may be legally given notice and forced to leave their rented home through no fault of their own. "In such a circumstance, people become homeless if they are unable to find other housing that is suitable or affordable."
The review has been welcomed by Tenants Union of Queensland co-ordinator Penny Carr, who said without-grounds evictions would remain in new Queensland legislation to be enacted next year. "We think the introduction of just-cause evictions would be a major step forward," Ms Carr said. She denied investors would be markedly impacted by changes.
The Commonwealth and states will also jointly sponsor a brokerage fund to keep victims of domestic violence in their homes. It will help pay for installing deadlocks, screen doors, security lighting and home alarms, plus fund short-term subsidies or mortgage top-ups.
Stressed nurses quit hospitals for prostitution
Exhausted and demoralised nurses would rather work as prostitutes than in Queensland's crumbling hospitals, says one former registered nurse. The mother of two with 10 years' experience as a registered nurse, who wanted to be known only as Jenna, has told how she and at least four of her colleagues have found new jobs working in brothels. "We could no longer work in such an understaffed and stressful environment," she said. "I was overworked, poorly paid and a mistake could have led to charges if I caused a death. "I came to the conclusion the nursing shortage wasn't my problem but it was my responsibility to protect myself from burning out or making a fatal mistake."
Queensland Nurses Union assistant secretary Beth Mohle said the union was aware nurses were leaving the system due to workloads and burnout, and were experiencing record levels of frustration. "A survey of nurses' attitudes undertaken last year found most nurses love nursing but hate their jobs," she said. "There's a tension there that nurses feel they can't deliver the quality of nursing they want to." She said based on population growth projections, Queensland would need an additional 16,000 nurses in the private, public and aged-care sectors by 2014. "Queensland is already behind the rest of Australia in terms of registered nurse numbers and is over-represented in the unlicensed assistant-in-nursing category," Ms Mohle said. "Of the 16,100 nursing assistants in Australia in 2006, Queensland had a massive 7300, or nearly 50 per cent. This points to a serious skill mix problem, as well as a numerical problem, within the Queensland nursing workforce." The QNU survey also found 45 per cent of nurses had experienced workplace violence, which is more prevalent in the public and aged-care sectors than in the private sector.
Jenna said violence was more of a concern in hospitals than in the sex industry. "The security (at the brothel) is wonderful. We have buzzers in our room, there are bracelets we can request if you have a client you're a bit suspicious of." Jenna said she had gone to great lengths to hide her new occupation from her family. "I wear my nurse's uniform to work, I carry my hospital ID. But when I get to work I change. There's a couple of others who do the same," she said.
Health Minister Stephen Robertson said it was disappointing some nurses were seeking alternative careers. "Queensland nurses are now among the highest paid in Australia, having benefited from a 26 per cent wage increase since 2006," he said. "This is one of the factors which has helped us to recruit an extra 5834 nurses since June 2005."
Jenna highlighted the "tiny tea-rooms" for nurses and the lack of recognition they received. "After the Bali bomb blasts, the burns unit of the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital treated many additional patients. At the end, the doctor was given an award. The nurses got nothing," she said. She also revealed how doctors at the RBWH referred to nurses as "Libra fleurs" - because they believed the floral tops of their uniforms resembled tampon boxes.
But Mr Robertson said the Government had created a "safe and supporting working environment for nurses". "We'll continue to work ... to ensure we have a strong nursing workforce, equipped to give Queenslanders the first-class health care they expect and deserve," he said.
Consumers given faulty phone advice by government consumer advisers
One in every 10 consumers seeking help over the telephone from the Office of Fair Trading in the past year was given the wrong advice, according to the latest audit of the Government department, while customer satisfaction has dipped to a five-year low. The 2008 NSW Auditor-General's report has attributed the poor result to longer waiting times and insufficient staff knowledge and notes that the department is working on strategies to lift its game. Detailed results published in the NSW Department of Commerce's annual report also show that although Fair Trading exceeded its targets for resolving complaints and successful prosecutions in 2007-08, overall the number of successful prosecutions was down 3 percentage points from the previous year, while 10 per cent of callers had received inaccurate advice.
The results come as the consumer advocate group Choice released its report cards on 12 key federal and state consumer protection agencies, none of which managed to achieve a performance level higher than adequate. NSW Fair Trading, along with its Victorian, Queensland and West Australian equivalents, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, were among those regulators which scraped through with a pass, while the remaining state and territory consumer affairs bodies were below standard or unacceptable. Although analysed as part of the study, the Therapeutic Goods Administration and the Australian Communications and Media Authority were not given a ranking, due to insufficient data.
Choice's policy director, Gordon Renouf, said he hoped the forthright analysis would encourage consumer protection regulators to improve their planning, consultation, enforcement and transparency. "Consumer protection laws exist to ensure markets operate fairly but they will not achieve their purpose unless they are effectively enforced," he said. "Our report shows regulators have different strengths and weaknesses but none is meeting good practice across the board."
The NSW Minister for Fair Trading, Virginia Judge, argued that NSW was leading the charge in enforcing fair trading laws. Although down on last year's figures, Fair Trading had pursued criminal prosecutions involving 605 offences and won 92 per cent of those cases, with fines and penalties of more than $1.2 million, she said. "Strong compliance and enforcement activities act as a deterrent against repeat offenders," Ms Judge said in a statement. The minister said that she had nevertheless ordered an immediate review of the department in light of the Auditor-General's findings. "I'm disappointed, I'm not going to gloss over it." She said that a raft of training programs would be implemented for departmental staff early in the new year.
The Opposition spokeswoman on fair trading, Catherine Cusack, said she was alarmed but not surprised by the surge in dissatisfaction from the public. She said 2008 had been "an utterly inglorious year for NSW Fair Trading and its former minister, Linda Burney, whose mishandling of Beechwood typified the avalanche of incorrect advice to consumers". She urged the Premier, Nathan Rees, "to pay closer attention to the current minister, Virginia Judge".
Australia's proposed Warmist laws a big pain for little gain
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change model of dangerous, human-caused climate change has failed. Independent science relevant to supposed human-caused global warming is clear, and can be summarised in four briefpoints.
* First, global temperature warmed slightly in the late 20th century and has been cooling since 2002. Neither the warming nor the cooling were of unusual rate or magnitude.
* Second, humans have an effect on local climate but, despite the expenditure of more than $US50 billion ($70 billion) looking for it since 1990, no globally summed human effect has ever been measured. Therefore, any human signal must lie buried in the variability of the natural climate system.
* Third, we live on a dynamic planet; change occurs in Earth's geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and oceans all the time and all over the world. No substantive evidence exists that modern rates of global environmental change (ice volume; sea level) lie outside historic natural bounds.
* Last, cutting carbon dioxide emissions, be it in Australia or worldwide, will likely result in no measurable change in future climate, because extra increments of atmospheric CO2 cause diminishing warming for each unit of increase; at most, a few tenths of a degree of extra warming would result from a completion of doubling of CO2 since pre-industrial times.
These facts notwithstanding, the Rudd Government is poised to introduce a CO2 taxation bill on doubly spurious grounds. It presumes, first, that dangerous warming caused by human emissions is occurring, or will shortly occur. And, second, that cuts to emissions will prevent significant amounts of future warming. There is, therefore, now a dramatic disjunction between scientific reality and the stranglehold that global warming alarmism has on planned Australian climate policy. Today's public views about climate change are based upon 20 years of promulgation of dangerous global warming by what has become a hugely powerful coalition of self-interested groups and agencies.
Beneficiaries of warming alarmism include individual scientists, managers of research centres, morally pretentious environmental non-government organisations, prestigious science academies and societies, bureaucrats from government greenhouse and climate agencies, big businesses poised for carbon trading (think Enron and Lehman Brothers), alternative energy providers, those in the media who remorselessly promulgate environmental alarm stories, and, last but not least, those uninformed politicians who seek political advantage from cynical exploitation of the public's fear of global warming.
The Australian Government does not possess a national climate policy; instead, it has an imaginary global warming policy, based on sub-prime science, sub-prime economics and sub-prime politics. In dealing with the certainties and uncertainties of real climate change, the key issues are prudent risk assessment and adaptive response. As is the case for other unpredictable and unpreventable natural planetary hazards, policy to deal with climate change should be based on adaptation to change as it happens, including the appropriate mitigation of undesirable socioeconomic and environmental effects. We therefore need, first, to monitor climate change accurately in an ongoing way; and, second, to respond and adapt to any changes -- including long-term warmings, the likely more damaging coolings, and severe weather or climatic events such as cyclones -- in the same way that government and voluntary disaster services now deal with hazardous natural events such as bushfires, droughts and floods.
The main certainty is that natural climate change and variation are going to continue, and that some manifestations -- droughts, storms and sea-level change, for example -- will be expensive to adapt to. Adaptation will not be aided by imprudent restructuring of Australia's energy economy in pursuit of the chimera of "stopping" an alleged dangerous human-caused global warming that can neither be demonstrated nor measured. In reality, too, our lack of understanding of all the climatic feedback loops is such that cutting CO2 emissions is as likely to "harm" as to "help" future climate.
New Zealand already has a national monitoring and response system in place for earthquake, volcanic and flood disasters (GeoNet). This is linked, appropriately, to a parallel compensation and insurance system that recompenses victims of natural disaster (the Earthquake Commission). Even if generous funding were to be provided in Australia towards a similar preparation for climatic disasters (of which drought and flood relief are part), the net cost would still be orders of magnitude less than will be engendered by a fundamentally misconceived emissions trading scheme. To boot, contingent damage to the economy, the standard of living and the world food supply would be avoided.
Attempting to "stop global warming" by limiting CO2 emissions is simply an arcadian fantasy, since making deep cuts to Australia's emissions would at best help to avert or delay warming by about a miniscule one-thousandth of a degree. Australia needs a national climate policy that is rooted in sound science, sensible precaution, prudent risk assessment, and efficient and effective disaster relief. Lacking all such elements, the Australian Government's global warming policy fails the basic test of duty to care for the citizenry.