Australian experts meet to consider is ADHD ‘over-medicated’ or ‘a fraud’?

Australian experts meet to consider is ADHD ‘over-medicated’ or ‘a fraud’?

Australia’s first forum of psychiatrists, psychologists, educators, academics, researchers, politicians and other professions concerned about the large and growing number of children diagnosed with ‘ADHD’ and treated with drugs is being convened in Brisbane (7-8 February) by the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ).

Opinions as to the validity of ‘ADHD’ as a psychiatric disorder vary among the invited participants. Some consider that ‘ADHD’ is a real but rare condition that is mis-diagnosed and over-medicated; others consider ‘ADHD’ a fraud.

However, all participants agree that unnecessarily administering powerful psychotropic drugs to children is a violation of their rights and often results in serious short and long term harm. Participants are also concerned that:

  1. The criteria used to diagnose ‘ADHD’ are all subjectively assessed behaviours and these behaviours, losing things, forgetting, fidgeting, butting in, disliking homework, and playing loudly etc are a ‘normal’ part of childhood.
  2. There is nothing ‘ADHD specific’ about the effects of drugs used to treat the ‘disorder’. Although responses vary, most people become temporarily more narrowly focussed and compliant on low dose amphetamines.
  3. Drugs do nothing in the long term to address the many and varied causes of ‘ADHD’ type behaviours’.
  4. On occasions drugs mask the symptoms of serious conditions (such as abuse or trauma).
  5. ‘ADHD’ drugs have well established significant short term risks including cardiovascular and psychiatric problems.
  6. ‘ADHD’ stimulants are amphetamines or amphetamine like drugs that are frequently diverted for illicit use.
  7. We know little about the long-term effects of ADHD drugs on growing brains. The limited data that exists indicates their long term use provides no long term benefit but may pose significant risks.

Whilst the forum will discuss the important issue of whether ‘ADHD’ is misdiagnosed and overmedicated or a fraud; the major focus will be on developing strategies to reduce the rates of prescribing and supporting appropriate responses that help not harm children.

Those presenting at the Monday Morning (10-1) session include;

Professor Sami Timimi (prominent UK psychiatrist and author)- An International perspective on the science and history of ADHD.

Professor Jon Jureidini (Head, Department of Psychological Medicine, Women’s & Children’s Hospital Adelaide)- The dangers of non drug treatments for ADHD.

Associate Professor Carolyn Quadrio (Associate Professor in Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales) – Overprescribing to children: a general look at problems with psychotropic medication.

Dr Linda Graham (academic, education researcher, author)– Thinking pedagogically about students ‘with ADHD’.

Bob Jacobs (psychologist and researcher) – ‘ADHD’ as social control: How lies benefit the powerful at the expense of the powerless (children).

Anthony Dillon (academic and researcher)– On the validity of twin studies used to legitimise the diagnosis of ADHD.

Dr Lois Achimovich (psychiatrist)- A clinician’s reflections on the evolution of psychiatric practice over the last 40 years.

Martin Whitely MLA (politician and author)- On 1- the rise and fall of ADHD child prescribing in WA and 2- long term WA data about the safety and efficacy of stimulants and 3- the Draft National Guidelines for the treatment of ADHD.

When: Monday 7 and Tuesday 8 february 2011

Venue: Health Faculty Queensland University of Technology 44 Musk Avenue Kelvin Grove Brisbane

Events open to Public and Media (all free entry):

Monday 7 Febs 10am – 1pm a series of short presentations followed by an open Q and A.

Tuesday 8 February 7pm to 9pm Public Forum; If not medication then what? (both in Lecture Room Q2.43)

Media Conference: Tuesday 8 February 12 noon (Boardroom Q2.04).

To find out more please email one of the organising committee members listed below.

for more information on ADHD refer to

Australian Govt goes backwards on Climate change in response to floods – Rapid response needed

48 hours ago, the Government announced they want to pay for the climate disasters of today by killing the renewable energy projects of tomorrow.

Climate change means more extreme weather events1, so it makes sense to establish a permanent Climate Disaster Fund — not just to respond to one off events like the recent floods.

There’s a simple solution to fund reconstruction after extreme weather events, while also reducing pollution and supporting renewable energy. The Government must establish a permanent Climate Disaster Fund, paid for by ending the billions of dollars they’re handing out to subsidise the use of fossil fuels2, most of which ends up in the pockets of Australia’s biggest polluters.

Click here to sign the petition

The three Independents in the lower house all support a permanent natural disaster fund. The Government will have to negotiate with them to get its flood levy through, so we have a real chance to preserve the renewable energy programs the Government wants to cut and to set up a permanent disaster recovery fund paid for by ending polluter handouts. To save these renewable energy programs we need an immediate public outcry – please add your voice now.

Call on Prime Minister Gillard to pay for flood recovery by cutting fossil fuel handouts, not renewable energy

Around the world, governments are realising the irresponsibility of subsidising polluting energy while their citizens suffer from the impacts of climate change. Three days ago in his State of the Union speech US President Barack Obama announced an end to billions in taxpayer subsidies to oil, gas and other fossil fuel producers. He pledged to use the money to fund clean energy instead.

The Australian Government promised to end our own polluter subsidies at the G20 summit back in 20093, but continues to give these industries around $10 billion a year – that’s over $800 from every Australian taxpayer. Given the need to set up a permanent climate disaster fund and respond to the realities of dangerous climate change, it’s impossible for them to justify continuing to spend it on tax breaks for coal, oil and gas.

Together, let’s end this policy madness.

Thank you for speaking out,
The GetUp Team

PS – Reducing fossil fuel subsidies can do more than help pay for the Queensland flood recovery. We can use the savings to fund an ongoing climate disaster fund to address the damage from future extreme weather events. Other countries have similar schemes, including the United States, New Zealand and Japan. It means future disasters won’t require a levy or cuts to essential programs. Click here to help save renewable energy programs and support a long-term climate disaster fund.

1 Hennessy et al., ‘Australia and New Zealand’ in Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 507-540, 2007.
2 Institute for Sustainable Futures, ‘Energy and Transport Subsidies in Australia’, 55-58, 2007.
3 ‘G20 Leaders’ statement: The Pittsburgh Summit’, 24-25 September, 2009.

ABC News: Violence erupts on Egypt’s ‘day of wrath’

Violence erupts on Egypt’s ‘day of wrath’
Police and demonstrators have fought running battles on the streets of Cairo in a fourth day of protests by tens of thousands of Egyptians demanding an end to president Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Security forces fired rubber bullets, teargas and water cannons at protesters who hurled stones bac…

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WACOSS eNews 253_New Format!

FPThe new WACOSS Homepage

Welcome to the New WACOSS Website

WACOSS are proud to present our new and improved website.

There are many new features of our new website all aimed at giving members of the sector access to more information.

You will now be able to;

  • Upload your community events
  • Register for WACOSS seminars and forums
  • Book your professional development training
  • Apply for WACOSS jobs online
  • Send WACOSS comments or queries
  • Support our campaigns
    Download resources and publications
    Update your membership details

To view the new website visit

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WACOSS New Year Sector Breakfast

WACOSS was delighted to bring the community services sector together to celebrate the New Year and prepare for the challenges ahead in meeting the needs of the Western Australian community.

On the morning of the 21st of January WACOSS President Chris Hall and CEO Sue Ash shared their reflections on the significant achievements in 2010 and the strategic directions for the sector in 2011. Over two hundred members of the community service sector attended the breakfast event at Eliza House, Kings Park.

Photos from the event will be available on the new WACOSS Website shortly.

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Social Innovation Grants Launch

The Premiers representative, The Hon Minister Helen Morton launched the Social Innovation Grants Programat the WACOSS New Year Sector breakfast on the 21st of January

The Social Innovation Grants Program is an initiative of the Premier of Western Australia, Hon Colin Barnett MLA, to promote innovation in the delivery of social and community services.

The SIGs Program will offer a clear incentive for the community sector to try new ways of doing business that produce better outcomes for people in need. The program is expected to make a significant contribution over time towards the establishment of a culture of innovation in the delivery of human services in Western Australia.
Applications are invited at any time. In order for your application to be considered at the next meeting of the assessment panel, please submit your application by: 5.00pm Thursday 31 March 2011

For further information on the SIGs Program click here or visit the

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Independent Reports Reveal Extent of Energy Hardship

WACOSS cautions against further price hikes and calls for careful consideration of essential service affordability following the release of the performance reports on electricity and gas retailers by the independent regulator on January 14.

"There has been a welcome decrease in the number of households that have had their electricity cut off in the past year, but there are other worrying signs in the data on complaints and affordability revealed by the reports," says WACOSS CEO, Ms Sue Ash.

Alinta disconnection rates and instalment payment plan statistics reveal the most worrying data of the reports. Alinta’s disconnection rate increased for the second consecutive year, with the retailer disconnecting 17,223 households in 2009-10 (compared to 12,942 in 2007-08). Similarly, the number of customers requiring instalment payment plans also increased for the second year in a row, jumping from 7,205 customers in 2008/09, to 10,031 customers in 2009/10.

The Electricity Report shows a continued and welcome reduction in the number of electricity customer disconnections over the past year, decreasing from 4,803 to 3,348. However, both Synergy and Horizon Power experienced significant spikes in the number of customers granted additional time to pay bills, with the overall figure increasing from 71,296 customers granted additional time in 2008/09, to 86,812 customers granted additional time in 2009/10.

The reports also revealed a substantial increase in the number of customer complaints received by WA energy retailers. 7,014 additional complaints were received in 2009/10 in comparison to 2008/09, bringing the total complaints received over the 12 month reporting period to 8,606. A large proportion of these customer complaints were received by Synergy, who reported an increase of 6,529 complaints in 2009/10.

To read the WACOSS media release relating to this article click here.

To read the Economic Regulation Authority (ERA) Performance Reports click on the relevant links below:
2009/10 Annual Performance Report: Gas Trading Licences
2009/10 Annual Performance Report: Electricity Retailers

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Free Energy Audits – Only 30 Places Left!

The WACOSS’s Climate Change Readiness for Community Services project, which offers free energy audits to community services in the Perth metro area, is nearing completion and there are only 30 free energy audits left.

This Australian government funded project employs and trains job seekers from the South Coastal suburbs of Perth to perform free greenhouse and energy audits on community service organisations, supporting them to make effective changes, reducing their utility bills and greenhouse emissions.

So far, the project has completed over 560 audits’, which are complemented with an in-depth report analysing the organisations energy and water use and providing a list of energy saving recommendations.

"This project has become an essential service for the community service sector, supporting organisations to reduce their energy use, therefore becoming more resilient to increases in energy tariffs and be better placed to continue their critical work with the most vulnerable groups in Western Australia", Sue Ash, WA COSS CEO said.

If you would like to be one of the last 30 organisations to receive a free energy audit, please contact Luke van Zeller at luke or 9430 8200.

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Modern Award Workshops for Community Sector Employers

Perth 5th April, Bunbury 6th April, 2011

Presented by ACOSS and Jobs Australia, funded by Fair Work Ombudsman, supported by state and territory Councils of Social Service,

Two workshops have been scheduled in WA to provide information about the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry Award (modern award). Workshops will run for half a day and will be supported by the development of written materials specifically for community sector employers. Places are limited so please ensure you book early.

Workshops are designed for managers, or payroll and finance officers, who are responsible for the employer’s obligations under the Award. Workshops are free of charge and limited to one place per organisation. Register online at

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WACOSS Supports "Switch the Future" Campaign

The Energy Minister Peter Collier launched ‘Switch the Future’ campaign last month, highlighting the State Government’s approach to improving energy efficiency across all sectors of the community.

The campaign will be co-ordinated by the Future Energy Alliance, a partnership between Synergy and Western Power. The ‘Switch the Future’ campaign is centred on creating awareness in people’s energy usage behaviour and is jointly funded by Synergy and Western Power. The campaign was launched on Sunday the 9th of January with a launch advertisement on energy conservation featuring a chuditch, presenting the joint message from Synergy and Western Power around energy conservation. The next phase of the campaign will be concerning summer demand management and the third phase of the campaign will provide practical measures of saving money through energy efficiency.

WACOSS supports this campaign as a significant step in energy efficiency and conservation and notes that this awareness campaign along with other measures to relieve financial hardship will contribute to sustainable energy efficiency in WA.
More information about the campaign is available at

Click here for tips on how to cut your energy bill.

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Structural Review For Regional Development Commissions

A report has recently been released recommending a change in structure and governance of the Regional Development Commissions.

The new structure calls for amendments to the Regional Development Commissions Act. Regional development commissions would come under one entity – the WA Regional Development Council. RDCs would no longer be individual statutory authorities, but would form part of the WA statutory authority. This authority would report directly to the Minister for Regional Development and provide general managerial and administration oversight to the regional offices.
The authority would endorse appointment and deployment of staff; be responsible for strategic financial resource management; endorse strategic, business and operational plans; and conduct peer assessment and evaluation. This change is anticipated to lead to reduced autonomy for regional development commissions.

The report and opportunity for further comment can be found at (until Feb 1).

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Not for Profit Regulator – Consultation Paper Out

The Assistant Treasurer has released a public consultation paper as part of the scoping study for a national not-for-profit (NFP) regulator.

The consultation paper forms part of the Government’s 2010 election commitment to strengthen the (NFP) sector. The paper seeks comment from stakeholders on the goals of national regulation, the scope of national regulation and the functions and form of a national regulator.

Click here for further information

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WACOSS Workshop: How to Write Effective Case Notes 10th February

Whether you want to record client needs and progress for: government reports, handover, or for passing on essential care information to those providing quality care & support to others, then this session is for you. This workshop provides participants with easy to remember information and simple models that will assist with producing short, objectively written and easy to read case notes, in line with a set of national standards.

Click here for further information and to book your place

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WACOSS Workshop: Managing Aggressive Clients 15th February

A workshop packed with information and strategies to review your skills and increase your competence and confidence. This training is designed for non clinically trained staff on dealing with clients in crisis and distress. This interactive skills training will leave participants informed, energized and full of practical ways to implement effective personal and organisational risk management strategies.

Click here for further information and to book your place

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WACOSS Workshop: Train your Mind to be Focused, Calm and Clear 23rd February

Contemporary living and the working environment is becoming increasingly stressful and research indicates that people are enjoying their work less. Research indicates that long term stress without intervention predisposes people to depression.
This one day course provides participants with both a theoretical framework and practical skills and strategies to increase self-awareness of both their mind and emotions, so that they are more likely to be productive, happier and engaged in their working and personal life.

Click here for further information and to book your place

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Social Policy Seminar: Community Sector Procurement Reform 17th February

The community sector is working with the State Government to develop a sustainable funding solution to ensure the ongoing viability of the sector. Contract reform is a critical step to deliver this outcome.

Come to the Procurement Reform Forum to find more about the proposed funding policy which aims to achieve better outcomes for Western Australians, by facilitating a genuine partnership between Government and not for profit organisations.

Click here for further information and to book your place

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Social Policy Partnership Forum Briefing 23rd February

The Partnership Forum invites you to the second community sector briefing.

The briefing will be attended by Peter Conran, Director General, Department of Premier and Cabinet. He will be joined by Sue Ash, WACOSS CEO, community sector representatives and agency Director Generals who sit on the Forum.

Click here for further information and to book your place

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City Farm Quiz Night 11th February

City Farm are holding a quiz night on the 11th of February to raise money for a volunteer coordinator. For futher details on this event click here

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Save the Date to Make Every Australian Count

NDIS will be kicking off the EVERY AUSTRALIAN COUNTS campaign (formerly NDIS) with a rally on Sunday morning 13th Feb 2011 (9.30am to 11.30am)

Aside from meeting all of you and letting you know what the campaign has planned, one of the aims of the day is to attract media coverage to show the rest of Australia how important a National Support Scheme is for People with Disabilities and their Families/Carers. To make this happen we HAVE TO HAVE really large numbers of people who will attend and help us spell out the message that WE COUNT in giant human letters. So please save the date, RSVP that you’re coming at the online address below, and bring with you family, friends, colleagues and supporters all wearing red.

After the formalities you can be part of the family fun including meeting your favourite sports stars over a free sausage sizzle with face painting and other entertainment for the young and young at heart.

So we can keep track of numbers please RSVP HERE

If you would be willing to help out on Rally day (e.g. sausage sizzle marquee, parking etc.) please email myself, mary.butterworth or Geraldine Mellet, geraldine.mellet

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Mental Health Carers Day 15th February

Do you care for a loved one with a mental health illness? Would you like a day to take sometime out to de-stress and recharge?
ARAFMI are holding a free event for Carers on the 15th of February. Click here for more information

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COTA (WA) Policy Briefing

COTA (WA) will be holding the first of their Policy Briefings for 2011 on the 22nd of February.

For further information click here

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Lifeline WA is Looking for a Home

Lifeline WA is currently located at Murray St Perth in a heritage listed building. The National Trust have given notice that they wish to refurbish the building and hence we are now seeking a location and infrastructure to meet current operational needs and allows for future growth. Our core services are in suicide prevention and intervention including the 13 11 14 Crisis Support Service. Our preference is to co-locate with like-minded service providers and we would like to hear from organisations who may have space available and/or services that are in a similar position and would like to collaborate on a search for premises.

Our broad requirements are:
• The minimum space required is 530 sqm. In addition access to a training facility with break out areas for approx 40 people and a small group workshop room for approx 20 people is required for use during and after normal business hours. If on site this would be an additional 70 sqm.
• 24 hour Telephone Crisis Support operation requires secure building and parking
• Lifeline Australia Infrastructure Communication Technology requires security of tenure and appropriate cabling throughout the building – require call centre for minimum of 6 Telephone Counselling stations
• Proximity to public transport especially trains for volunteers and Dads@Lifeline clients
• Preference for centralised location to maximise drawing pool of volunteers
• Office/desk space for approximately 20 people

Please contact Marion Bom, Manager Operations on 9261 4454 or email marionbom

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2011 WA Youth Awards

The WA Youth Awards were established in 1999 to recognise outstanding young Western Australians aged 12 to 25 years. They honour the hard work and dedication of young people, youth workers and youth-led groups throughout WA.

Click here to download a nomination kit for the 2011 WA Youth Awards.

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Western Australians Introduced to New National Consumer Law

It’s been almost four years in the making, but the new Australian Consumer Law (ACL) has now become a reality, heralding a new era in consumer protection in Australia.

The ACL reinforces and enhances consumer rights. The strengthening of ‘consumer guarantees’, new provisions relating to unfair contract terms and new rules regarding unsolicited sales are just some of the areas where the ACL will make the marketplace fairer. Consumers will be better informed and be able to demand better quality goods and services.
The changes also impact on traders who will need to become familiar with the new regulations to ensure they comply. Traders may need to review their standard consumer contracts, sales practices, sales documentation and advertising.

All consumers and traders are urged to become familiar with the new laws and be aware of their rights and obligations.
Along with the introduction of the ACL, 2011 will see a streamlining of processes with the abolition of five Boards in Western Australia. These are: the Hairdressers Registration Board, Land Valuers Licensing Board, Motor Vehicle Industry Board, Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board and Settlement Agents Supervisory Board.

The responsibility for consumer concerns about hairdressing has been transferred to me as Commissioner for Consumer Protection. The transfer of powers from the other boards is expected on 1 July 2011. To find out more see the

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Relationships Australia (WA) Professional Calendar Now Available

Click here to download a copy of the Semester 1 Professional Development Calendar for Relationships Australia (WA)

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Upcoming Workshops at Richmond Fellowship WA

Richmond Fellowship will be holding he following workshops in February. Click on each title for more information

Hearing Voices Awareness Training- Part 1. 3rd Feb

Working Through Hearing Voices With Peter Bullimore. 17th Feb

Working Through Paranoia Workshop With Peter Bullimore. 18th Feb

Recovery Training & Education Program. Various Dates

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Hindi Classes

Click here for further information on Hindi Classes being run by Hindi Samaj of WA Inc.

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Swan Emergency Accommodation seeks Coordinator – Family Accommodation Support Service

For information on this position click here

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HepatitisWA seeks Prison Education Officer (Casual)

HepatitisWA is seeking an outreach Prison Education Officer whose primary role will be to deliver a weekly sexual health and blood borne virus education workshop to young people in detention (male and female).

For further information of the position click here

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Positions Vacant at Breast Cancer WA

Breast Cancer Care WA are currently recruiting for the following positions. Please click on each job title for further information

Support Services Coordinator / Counsellor

Volunteer Coordinator

Event and Sponsorship Coordinator

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Director- South West Counselling Inc

South West Counselling are currently recruiting for a Director. For further information click here

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UnitingCare West seeks Manager – Social Support Services

A key management position for a person who is seeking a responsible role within a dynamic, innovative, and growth oriented not-for-profit community sector organisation.
Click here for further information

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Coordinator – Well Ways MI Recovery Program

Located at Midland, the Well Ways MI Recovery Program offers a peer based approach, focusing on individual strengths, in relation to personal goals and well-being.

For more details on this position click here

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Media Release: Big cuts to affordable housing program will worsen crisis – WA Senator

Big cuts to affordable housing program will worsen crisis – WA Senator

Media Release – Thursday January 27th, 2011

The Australian Greens have condemned Federal Government plans to slash funding to the National Rental Affordability Scheme.

The NRAS was a $1 billion incentives program designed to stimulate the construction of up to 50,000 homes and apartments providing affordable private rental properties. The Scheme will now be capped by the Government at 35,000 incentive packages by 2013-14.

Greens housing spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said cutting funding to a housing relief program to finance flood relief was “worse than robbing Peter to pay Paul”.

“In order to save $264 million, the Government plans to cut 15,000 potential homes from the program,” said Senator Ludlam.

“Last year the National Housing Supply Council identified a gap of 493,000 affordable and available rental properties across Australia. The NRAS had aimed at reducing that gap by only 50,000, but now the bar has been lowered to a mere 35,000 – seven per cent of the gap. It’s the tip of the iceberg.”

Senator Ludlam said the notion that a housing relief program should be among those slashed to fund flood aid and reconstruction defied belief.

“Surely we can find a way to redirect funding other than gutting a program aimed at making sure people have a roof over their heads,” he said. “Deferring the top end corporate tax cuts planned for July 1 2013, while keeping the tax cuts for small business, would net the government about $1.7 billion in the forward estimates – that is more than six times the amount to be cut from NRAS.”

Media contact – Giovanni Torre

ABC News: McGorry makes final plea for mental health

McGorry makes final plea for mental health

In his last speech as Australian of the Year for 2010, Professor Patrick McGorry has urged the Federal Government to support a substantial investment in the mental health sector.

The mental health activist says he is pleased the issue has received more exposure during the year, but he wants the Go…

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