Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gillard's chickens come home to roost

Working parents are waiting up to two years for childcare places as centres scrap care for babies.  Cutbacks in care availability are precisely what was predicted when Julia basked in the "higher standards" she mandated for childcare.  Socialism is always destructive

CHILDCARE centres are scrapping places for babies as working parents wait up to two years for day care.

Three in every four long day-care centres in Australia's capital cities do not have vacancies for babies, a new survey reveals. And two-thirds do not have places left for toddlers.

Brisbane parents are having to wait up to two years for a place, forcing them to quit their jobs, rely on grandparents or hire expensive nannies or unqualified babysitters.

The Greens survey of 231 private and community day-care centres nationally in the past week shows that vacancies for babies have fallen 10 per cent since 2010.  In Brisbane, nearly one in three centres has a waiting list for enrolments stretching one to two years.

Of the 36 centres surveyed, more than a quarter of these have waiting lists of six to 12 months.  Brisbane parents are paying an average of $76 a day for day care.

More than three quarters of the Brisbane centres do not have vacancies for babies and 61 per cent have no room for toddlers.

Australian Childcare Alliance president Gwynn Bridge yesterday said some Brisbane parents were putting their unborn babies' names down on up to 14 waiting lists at once.

But some centres were closing their nurseries because they cost too much to run.  Centres must employ one carer for every four babies and toddlers up to the age of two.

But for the over-threes, centres only need to employ one carer for every 11 children.

Ms Bridge said the Federal Government should pay parents a higher subsidy for babies to cover the higher fees.

"It is unviable for services to provide baby care with the same rate of (government) subsidy as older children," she told The Sunday Mail.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said the survey showed the availability of day care for babies had fallen by 10 per cent over the past three years.  "Obviously there is a looming crisis in the sector," she said.

"The government needs to be doing far more to improve both the quality and availability of childcare while also helping mums and dads cover the costs."

The Federal Government will spend a record $4.4 billion on childcare subsidies and rebates to parents this financial year, Treasury budget papers show.

Federal Childcare Minister Kate Ellis has blamed the states and territories for the shortage of places, and demanded they fast-track planning approval for new centres.

Melbourne mum Belinda Galloway applied for a place while still pregnant - yet still had to wait 14 months for Louis to enrol at a Port Phillip council centre.

"I put his name on the list when I was pregnant and when I got back to work there was no spot for him," she said yesterday.  "It forced us into a situation of nanny-sharing with another mum from our mother's group for six months.  "It ended up costing us $400 a week each, so for six months I was pretty much earning half a wage."

Now Ms Galloway pays $50 a day in out-of-pocket costs for daycare.

The new mum hopes she can find a place for her two-month old baby, Archer, by the time she heads back to work part-time, managing a jewellery gallery, in September.

"I do have to go back to work because being a small business, they just can't afford to have me away too long because the position is quite specialised," she said.


Australian biochemist-turned-winemaker claims to have created a wine that is beneficial to drinkers' health

It should be remembered that the best documented effect of anti-oxidants is to shorten your lifespan.  If that turns you on, go for it!

A QUEENSLAND biochemist-turned-winemaker claims to have created what drinkers had only dreamed of - wine that is beneficial to your health.

Greg Jardine, founder of Mt Nebo-based company Dr Red Nutraceuticals, filed a patent for Modified Polyphenol Technology in Wines late last year and said the creation would "finally give wine a real medicinal edge".

The process involved ageing red wine for a certain period of time, which enhanced the number of antioxidants within it, made them fat-soluble, rather than water-soluble, and easier to absorb into the bloodstream.

Some studies have shown antioxidants are effective at fighting a multitude of different diseases.

Mr Jardine said he had been working on the process for 10 years but had only recently discovered a way to retain the taste while enhancing antioxidants.

"Wine has got massive amounts of antioxidants but they are quite tannic so if you put more in people would not drink it because of the taste," he told The Sunday Mail.  "What we discovered was if we allowed them to age and stop it at the right point of time the tannic taste goes and we make it taste good."

Biomedical Sciences Professor Lindsay Brown, from the University of Southern Queensland, found the non-alcoholic dried crystal used to make the wine successfully treated rats with arthritis.

"The results were astonishing. Right from the outset of the 14-day trial, this wine was effective ... and by day four, it achieved a near-perfect recovery," he said.

Mr Jardine said the wine could help treat a "range of ageing conditions" from chronic fatigue and gout to stiff joints after a visit to the gym.

Ren Gray-Smith, 51, of Red Hill, in Brisbane's inner west, was suffering from fatigue and irregular sleep patterns when she switched her regular glass of red to Mr Jardine's creation.

"I was feeling very tired, had bad sleep patterns and (the wine) just helped to get me back on the right track," she said.

Stressing the wine is "not medicine", Mr Jardine said it should be consumed in moderation as it has the same alcoholic content as regular wine.

"We gave people one glass, not 50 glasses but it had 50 times more antioxidants in the glass," he said.

"For years the word has been a glass a day is good for you but we are finally proving it.  "We believe this is a game-changer for the food industry in Australia."

But before another toast, more research was needed to prove any beneficial effects, said clinical pharmacologist Creina Stockley. "If they can show it has a demonstrative effect in humans it's worth pursuing," she said.Dr Red was rapped over the knuckles by Queensland Health in 2008 after detailing their trial results on the company's website, claiming their fruit punches killed prostate cancer cells.

No convictions were recorded.


Most teaching graduates fail to secure jobs

Some of these unfortunates may find themselves readily employed in the USA and UK  -- trying to teach mainly African classes.  They will need a lot of luck

SEVEN out of eight teaching graduates have failed to secure a permanent job with Queensland's Education Department.

As teachers get ready to go back to school, their union warns this year will be one of the worst to attain a job in state schools.

Almost 16,000 teaching applicants are seeking employment with the Department of Education, Training and Employment - the state's largest teaching employer - including more than 1000 new university graduates.

DETE assistant director-general Duncan McKellar said as of January 16, 1608 graduates had applied for a job to teach in state schools in 2013. Only 197 of those had secured permanent jobs. Another 348 have been given temporary employment, leaving 1063 - about two-thirds - looking for jobs elsewhere.

The Queensland Teachers' Union says this will be one of the toughest years for graduate teachers to secure a job after DETE acknowledged there would be about half a classroom teacher less at each state primary school - assuming enrolments remain the same as last year - as a result of a staffing formula change. But QTU vice-president Julie Brown said there were likely to be even fewer teachers hired throughout 2013 because of the staffing change. "The sad news is that some of those graduates will go interstate or overseas," she said.

John Phelan, communication manager of Queensland's largest Catholic school employer, Brisbane Catholic Education, said they had put on extra teaching graduates this year through their centralised primary process - up from 65 last year to 89.

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said teaching graduates had the right to expect a job and he was working with universities and the Federal Government to address the over-supply issue.

He said there was still a demand for teacher applicants in rural and remote areas, for specialist secondary subjects, including mathematics, science, industrial design and technology and for teaching students with disabilities.


Koch comments spark breastfeeding protest

Koch is entitled to his condescending views and others are entitled to protest his views

UP to 800 angry breastfeeding advocates will converge outside the Sydney studio of the Seven Network's Sunrise program to protest against comments made by host David Koch.

Discussing a story about a Queensland woman who was told she couldn't feed her baby at a public pool, Koch said on Friday he supported breastfeeding, but that women should be "classy" about it.

The comments prompted an immediate backlash with enraged nursing mothers and other breastfeeding supporters setting up a Facebook page to encourage people to participate in the Sunrise Nurse-In on Monday.

"A nurse-in is without doubt needed at the Sunrise studio in Sydney," the page says.  "Join us on Monday morning to take a stand against this unfair view."  Participants are asked to arrive at 7am (AEDT).

By Sunday 565, people had indicated they would attend the nurse-in, with 228 "maybes".  The event has gained publicity with media personality and mamamia publisher Mia Freedman condemning Koch's comments on her widely read blog.


Dying baby robbed of precious time because of bureaucratic ineptitude

Nobody gives a stuff in a bureaucracy

A BABY has died after her parents went to a WA hospital desperately seeking treatment for their child but wasted precious minutes unable to find a new emergency department because it had no sign.

The sources said Health Minister Kim Hames launched Kalgoorlie's new emergency department in November, but did not even notice the sign had been left off.

And they said Dr Hames' desire to be seen to be getting patients quickly treated under initiatives such as "fast- tracking" and the four-hour rule endangered people.

"The parents of the baby, who was a few months old and we believe was unconscious, turned up at the old emergency department in the early hours, and they were knocking on the door because there was no signage for the new ED, and most people in Kalgoorlie know where the old ED is," one source said.

"Paramedics came to them, and finally managed to get the baby to the ED, but only after some time had elapsed."

Australian Nursing Federation state secretary Mark Olson said: "Why weren't the signs up? I think it's typical of a Minister who has no interest in his portfolio ... and that's why these things happen."

Dr Hames at first tried to deflect the sign matter, saying the new ED entrance was "well signposted" because there was a "large white tarpaulin sign on the fence" outside. He also said there were big signs on the old ED.

But when The Sunday Times informed him it had photographs showing there was no sign on the new department the day before the baby's death, he admitted "permanent signs" were only erected on Monday - two days after the death.

Dr Hames said: "After the paramedics took the baby to the new emergency department she was seen by an emergency physician and a paediatrician.

"The sudden death of a baby or a small child is always particularly distressing and very sad for the parents and medical staff. I would like to express my sympathy to the parents of the baby at their tragic loss."

Dr Hames said an internal review of the case of the woman was finished and "at this stage" it appeared appropriate treatment was given, but there would be an external review.


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