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The Turnbull government has pledged $500 million towards the Great Barrier Reef. Is it enough?

Social Responsibility Review – 1 May

What’s coming up 

Understanding the asylum seeker experience in the current context

This QPASTT (Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma) workshop is for volunteers and people informally supporting asylum seekers. It will build understanding of the asylum seeker experience and the impact of torture, trauma, detention and ongoing uncertainty on individuals. The impact of current government policy will be discussed. Tips and strategies to deal with disclosures, how to support these people will be provided. There will also be discussion of identifying and addressing Vicarious Trauma, Compassion Fatigue and Burnout in yourself. Thursday 24 May. Details are here.

Churches and Reconciliation – a Webinar
Don’t miss this great opportunity! You’re invited to join a conversation on Wednesday evening May 30 hosted by TEAR Australia, between Adelaide West Uniting Church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress Church. Together we will discuss how churches can begin – or continue – a journey towards reconciliation. Register here.

Week in review

Instant cash loan machines 

There are concerns that machines, which look like ATMs and hand out loans of up to $1000 are targeting people in disadvantaged NSW. 

The machines only require identification and bank details before users are approved for cash loans of between $50 and $1000 almost immediately. 

The NSW Financial Counsellors Association has expressed concern that these are loans people probably can’t afford in the long run. 

Half a billion to protect the Barrier Reef – is it enough?

The Turnbull government will deliver the largest single environmental protection package in Australian history by committing half a billion dollars to protect the Great Barrier Reef from climate change and pollution.

The investment, to be detailed in the May budget, will aim to shore up support in key Queensland seats ahead of an election in the next year, as the Coalition tries to balance environmental concerns with its pro-mining jobs focus through the Adani coal mine.

Details scant for Manus Island healthcare arrangement  

The government has been slammed for a lack of transparency amid news that the healthcare provider for refugees on Manus Island will wrap up its work on Monday.

The International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) has been providing healthcare for refugees on Manus for several years but their contract expired on April 30.

However, despite the looming end date, the government did not publicly indicate a new provider was confirmed until Friday. Although details still remain scant.

#DoSomething to stop domestic violence  

Bystanders are being urged to speak up to help put an end to domestic violence, as part of a new campaign launched by the Queensland Government.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the “Do Something” campaign will roll out online, on television, in cinemas and public space advertising from today, in a bid to encourage more people to speak out.

“We cannot let up on our major program of reform,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Affordable housing?

The Rental Affordability Snapshot is designed to highlight the lived experience of looking for housing while on a low income. It focuses on the Australian population who earn the least income – Commonwealth benefit recipients and minimum wage earners.

Each year in April, Anglicare Australia agencies across Australia search local newspapers and real estate websites for rental accommodation.

And each year the results clearly demonstrate the lack of affordable and appropriate housing for people on low incomes.

The 2018 report shows only three suitable properties available in the whole of Australia if you were single and receiving Youth Allowance or Newstart.

Call to action

NDIS – fund it and fix it!

The NDIS has already changed the lives of many people with disability – they finally have the support they need to get out and do the things they want to do. For them, the NDIS has been everything we all hoped for and fought for.

In parts of Queensland, we are waiting to see how it works out. But we know the NDIS is not working well for everyone and that has to change. Every Australian Counts is a grassroots campaign for the NDIS whose campaign called “Fund it and Fix it” is asking you to sign their petition. Tell politicians to fix the problems with the NDIS and to fully fund the scheme.

Stand against slavery and forced labour

Millions of farmers who produce the food we eat don’t earn enough to feed their own families. You can help change this. Fairtrade means better prices for farmers, decent working conditions and more…

The World Fairtrade Challenge will take place from 11-13 May. Events are being organised all over the world, including one at Auchenflower for synod staff. It is easy to organise an event – at your church, at home – just register, provide Fairtrade coffee and tea, provide information to participants, take photos (there are even photo booth materials provided!), and share them on social media #stand4fairness. 

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