- Tasmania’s health services union claims the State Government has spent more than $250,000 on court action to continue a long-running paramedic pay dispute.
- The number of Australians trying to beat an amphetamine addiction has more than doubled in the past five years, a new report by the Institute of Health and Welfare has found.
- Delays in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have left families and service providers in South Australia thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Health News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 27th April 2015. Read by Rebecca Foster.
Tasmania’s health services union claims the State Government has spent more than $250,000 on court action to continue a long-running paramedic pay dispute.
That takes the taxpayers’ legal bill fighting against a pay rise to a total of $1.26 million, after the previous Labor state government spent more than $1 million fighting in the Industrial Relations Commission.
The current Liberal State Government has resisted implementing the 14 per cent pay rise awarded to 300 paramedics by the commission in April last year.
Premier Will Hodgman has said the pay rise was unaffordable.
The union said documents obtained under Right to Information revealed the Liberal Government had spent $260,000 continuing to litigate the case since it came to power in March last year.
Health and Community Services Union’s secretary Tim Jacobson said the Liberals paid an interstate legal firm for about eight hours of appearances in the Supreme Court.
He said that cost taxpayers about $3,300 an hour.
Mr Jacobson said the interstate firm was also hired by the Liberal State Government to negotiate a public sector pay freeze.
Unions reacted angrily in May last year when it was revealed that the former Labor state government had spent more than $1 million fighting a pay rise.
The workers took their fight for more money to the state’s Industrial Relations Commission almost two years ago.
The number of Australians trying to beat an amphetamine addiction has more than doubled in the past five years, a new report by the Institute of Health and Welfare has found.
A survey of almost 800 drug and alcohol services around the country has shown a rise in the number of people trying to beat their addictions.
Geoff Neideck from the institute said that while the bulk of treatment was still focused on alcohol and cannabis, treatment for ice addiction was on the rise.
“And that was 17 per cent of all clients in 2013–14 and up from 7 per cent in 2009–10,” he said.
The profile of people seeking treatment has also changed with the proportion of people over 40 years of age increasing from 30 per cent to 33 per cent.
He said people seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction has risen steadily.
“In 2013–14 we saw that these services treated 122,000 clients and that was up 13 per cent from the previous year. That is quite a substantial increase,” he said.
The report found two-thirds of clients were male and 14 per cent were Indigenous.
The Ted Noffs Foundation runs drug treatment services for 13 to 18 year olds in New South Wales and the ACT.
Foundation chief executive Matt Noffs said more young people are seeking help for ice addictions than ever before.
Mr Noffs said waiting lists were also a problem with clients having to wait up to a month to get in.
“We’ve got about 26 beds across New South Wales and Canberra, which is just ridiculous,” he said.
“If we had 100 beds, we’d probably still have a waiting list.”
Earlier this month the Prime Minister announced a national taskforce …
Assistant Minister for Health, Fiona Nash, who will oversee the taskforce, said planning was underway for extensive community consultations.
The ice task force will provide an interim report to the Council of Australian Governments by the middle of the year.
Submissions close on May 20.
Delays in the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have left families and service providers in South Australia thousands of dollars out of pocket.
South Australia is the trial site for children under 13 but the State Government says the rollout is six months behind schedule and it is concerned not all children will get included in the trial period.
There is concern the number of eligible children has been significantly underestimated and thousands have not yet been assessed.
The initial estimate was more than 5,000 children would be eligible for the NDIS, but the Federal Government now admitted it could be closer to double that.
The rollout was divided into five age groups but many of the youngest children are yet to be assessed for support.
The scheme’s delays are also costly for disability service providers.
Novita Children’s Services chief executive Glenn Rappensberg said the organisation had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on staff recruitment.
SA Minister for Disabilities Tony Piccolo said the NDIS trial was six months behind and the problem was escalating.
The Federal Government said it had put an extra $72 million into the trial to help meet disability planning costs for more children.
Mr Piccolo said SA wanted its federal colleagues to put in even more money.
South Australia’s Dignity for Disability MLC Kelly Vincent said more staff were needed to help clear the scheme’s waiting list.
The NDIS trial is scheduled to run until the middle of next year.
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