Month: October 2016

Moneyrama: Pension Purge

Grant J Everett

In the past twelve months, an enormous 31,000 Australians have had their Disability Support Pensions (DSP) cancelled. This is by far the biggest annual purge on record, and Social Services have revealed that another 90,000 pensioners will be targeted for medical reviews over the next three years. Unlike a decade back, nowadays there’s a lot of emphasis on getting people back into study or into work the moment that they are capable of it, rather than letting them remain on the DSP for life.

Gaining (and keeping) the DSP is getting tighter all the time, and a lot of pensioners can expect to get shunted over to Newstart, which pays $173 less per week than the pension. Word about the crackdown is certainly getting around, as Social Services have found that fewer and fewer people are even bothering to apply for the DSP due to the stricter rules.
Social Services are appealing to people to be honest about their capacity for work so that they can identify those who are in genuine need.

Quick stats

Australians currently on the DSP: 788,000

People who lost their DSP last September : 5,000

Number of those who have returned to work: 70

Estimated number of DSPs that will be cancelled each year from now on: 2,300

Number who will go onto Newstart instead: 1,800

People on the DSP who have an income: 7.2%

Difference between Newstart and DSP: $9,000 a year


“Crackdown throws thousands off disability support pension”, Rick Morton, The Australian, July 13, 2016

Board visits

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Above from left: Pam, staff at our Five Dock office (including Bailey the Labrador) and our Board members

Grant J Everett

On Friday the 29th of July, our CEO Pam Rutledge and six of our dedicated Board members went on a big tour of our organisation. Between 9am and 4:30pm they managed to fit in trips to Five Dock, Marrickville, Buck House and the Women’s and Children’s Program at Blacktown. Phew!

The whole point of the tour was to give the Board members a chance to better understand the services that we provide, and was a great opportunity to speak with the people who access these services. As you can see in the photo below, it was also a good excuse to wear neon yellow high-visibility vests!


Above from left: Paula Hanlon, Pam Rutledge, Robyn Carmody, Warwick Poulton, Dr Josey Anderson, James Herbertson, Jeremy Thorpe, Rachel Slade, and Professor Elizabeth More (Chair) at Marrickville Community Business

This trip happened to fall on the same day that Buck House was celebrating Christmas in July, so the Board were treated to a wonderful Christmas lunch while they were there. They were also treated to some angelic singing by the Choir.

Thanks for the photos, Jas Buchal, and cheers to Aidan Conway and Pam Rutledge for helping me with some facts.

Going GREEN in the kitchen


Is it possible for all of us to acquire the taste for green food? Warren Heggarty reports.

Green Smoothies

In other culinary news, Panorama heard from Karina that our friends at Flourish Australia Queanbeyan have been doing Green Smoothie groups twice a month. It’s simple: everyone brings their own vegetables to the kitchenette, and they use them to make a nutritious, fibre-filled treat. Did you know that most people will find Green Smoothies just as tasty as those expensive fizzy drinks, but without the sugar or fat? Plus, as the Green Smoothie class is run as a group, there’s a social element to it, too!

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Cooking it our way

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Rosita (above) can’t wait to try out some great, new recipes from the COOKING FOR ONE COOKBOOK!

“Cooking for One” is an eight week program which started at Buckingham House, Surry Hills, back in May, and is based on Chef Amanda Perkins’ fabulous cookbook of the same name. As the title spells out, the course teaches you how to handle, prepare and cook a meal for one. It also deals with how to budget and shop for a week’s worth of meals.

The Cooking for One course originated as a follow-on group from the New Moves program (which is now up to its third class), and it was designed to give the participants a chance to further stretch the healthy eating skills they’d acquired in New Moves.

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Identity, discrimination & distress

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An official study provides an insight into the LGBTI community

By Grant J Everett

A massive report called “A Closer Look at Private Lives 2” was the biggest-ever survey of the LGBTI community ever conducted in Australia, with nearly 4,000 people taking part. The survey found that the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community in Australia face more combined stigma and discrimination than any other group. It was also reported that around half of all people in this category will experience some form of abuse as a direct result of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In particular, while people with gender dysphoria (who identify as transgender, in other words) are now more likely to be accepted by the mainstream community than ever before, this particular colour of the rainbow will still encounter more discrimination and violence than other members on the spectrum. There were a lot of other alarming statistics about the LGBTI community, such as how members experience higher levels of psychological distress and drug use than the mainstream.

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