Thursday, 22 August 2013

My Favourite Musical Moment of the Year

I just had to post this because it is a collaboration of my two favourite musical artists at this moment. Yes it's corny, but I love it

Monday, 5 August 2013

Taylor Swifting the 2013 Election Campaign

So the 2013 election is underway and while I'm interested in the scholarly aspects of life on the campaign trail, I'm nowhere near as invested as I used to be. Kevin Rudd and the ALP doesn't care about me, nor the people I care about. And Tony Abbott never did. So instead of campaigning for the ALP at this election like I used to, I'm going all Taylor Swift on the political establishment, and in particular the ALP.

I will never support any party who supports the NDIS, so that leaves out The Liberal Party and ALP. I am morally opposed to the Greens in every single way, so that leaves the Big Clive. Why? He's the only one who opposes the NDIS in its current disastrous form. Need further proof that the policy won't work? Check out the text of today's story published by News Ltd. (Paywalled, so I'll provide the text here)

August 05, 201312:00AM
DISABILITYCARE Australia is staring down the barrel at its first major multi-million dollar cost blowout, despite its pilot programs only being in operation for a few weeks.
As WA yesterday became the final state to the sign up to the scheme, the controversially uncosted program - formerly known as the National Disability Insurance Scheme - has been forced to negotiate a new payment deal with disability service providers.
Its first offer of hourly payment rates was up to 15 per cent less than what providers currently received from state government bodies.
The anticipated cost blowout for the government comes amid claims the rough estimates of running DCA - $15 billion per year - will surge in excess of $22 billion when the structure and operating model is finally bedded down.
$34 an hour won't cover expenses, provider warns
And as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd prepares for a September 7 poll, this becomes the latest financial nightmare to hit a government beset with budget overruns and struggling to convince the public of its economic credibility.
Business Council of Australia CEO Jennifer Westacott said the government had jumped the gun by putting the scheme in action without determining the cost parameters, claiming the first cost blowout was likely not the last.
Disability service groups believe the DCA has no option but to increase their pay rate - as low as $33 an hour for consultations and service provision - or risk the closure of countless providers, the erosion of jobs, and the stalling of the government's feted disability funding scheme.
Bemused service providers in both Newcastle and Geelong, where the DCA has been running a pilot program since July 1, said they would never be able to operate with the meagre payment offered, with one CEO claiming the pay rate was so low he thought it was an error.
After lobbying from peak body National Disability Services, the government is believed to have caved in to demands, paving the way for a blowout given the added expense had not been built into the DCA's funding scheme.
WA finally signs up to disability scheme
Andrew Richardson, CEO of Newcastle disability services group House with No Steps, said the DCA had given the National Disability Services a commitment to revise the pricing.
The pay rates offered by DCA differ from state to state, with NSW service providers receiving 20 per cent less per hour than their colleagues in South Australia, despite the fact the cost to operate is higher in NSW. National Disability Services CEO Ken Baker said service providers recognised the importance of DisabilityCare, but simply could not be expected to operate at the pay rates on offer.
"At present, they get about $38.80 an hour. I think the agency has assumed that $38.80 was a composite rate, that it was set at that level to absorb penalty rates, but it doesn't do that," Mr Baker said.
"At this rate, it would mean many couldn't operate, and ultimately that impacts on the people with disabilities and their families. It reduces the choice for them. The whole promise of DisabilityCare is about expanding services and expanding choices for people, and to do that (service providers) need to be financially sustainable organisations. We need an increase to the $38 currently being paid, not a reduction."
Disability help group EW Tipping CEO Graeme Kelly said up to 80 per cent of the costs in his operation were staff salaries, and any reduction in the pay rates would make it increasingly difficult to attract skilled staff, at a time when the government was hoping to expand the sector exponentially.
NDIS agency didn't like their new name
Mr Kelly - who pointed out DCA CEO David Bowen's now humorous claim that providers would be pleasantly surprised at the DCA's pay offer - said the $5 reduction in pay rates may not look that impressive on its own, but calculated across his entire business, it was "very substantial".
"It would have a major impact on the viability of a number of providers.
"We've had a number of organisations close down in recent time because they couldn't afford to operate on the current state rate, let alone a reduced rate."
But Mr Kelly said most operators remain high-spirited about the scheme, firm in the belief that such false starts were merely teething problems that could be worked out through negotiation.
"This is a generational shift and everyone remains buoyant. OK so the price hasn't come up as high as it should be, but you don't throw out the baby with the bath water."
Since the DCA opened its seven launch sites on July 1, more than 800 individuals have made appointments with case workers, while 500 service providers have registered.
A DisabilityCare Australia spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph: "DisabilityCare Australia is working with National Disability Services to analyse new information National Disability Services has recently provided on prices for certain services, to understand whether this information affects DisabilityCare's price settings for those services."s
The spokesperson said DCA's pricing structure was more sophisticated than what was previously applied under block grant funding, and was based on amounts estimated by the Productivity Commission
I hate to say I told you so.... actually no I don't.

So instead of putting up with tons of bullshit, I'm redirecting my energies, doubling down and getting actively involved with Youngcare as they and Wesley Mission Brisbane helped turn my life around. In the next week, I'm meeting the Queensland Premier Campbell Newman and his successor as Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Graham Quirk to highlight the importance of Youngcare's good work. In addition I've been involved in high profile fundraising efforts for Youngcare speaking at a Corporate Fundraiser last month that raised $17,000 in just over 2 hours. And just today I helped launch the Brisbane Oktoberfest, an event which will help raise funds for this magnificent charity.

So while you may get the odd piece commentary here, the politicking is over. I have a much more worthy cause to champion