Australia's Welfare Report
17 December 2007 at 1:52 pm
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released ‘Australia’s Welfare 2007’ regarded as the most comprehensive and authoritative source of national information on welfare services in Australia.
Topics include children, youth and families; ageing and aged care; disability and disability services; housing for health and welfare; dynamics of homelessness; welfare services resources; and indicators of Australia’s welfare.
Penny Allbon, the Director of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare says if a society is to be judged by the way it cares for its most disadvantaged members, then the regular reporting of Australia’s welfare is fundamentally important.
Every 2 years, this report shows the substantial support and assistance provided through both government and non-government mechanisms across wide areas of our lives.
It also describes the ways in which individuals support others who require assistance.
Australia’s welfare brings together information and analysis about the service systems set up both formally and informally to redistribute resources on the basis of need. In doing so, it aims to provide a picture that will assist Australians, no matter their level of influence, to be armed with evidence to make improvements.
Albon says Australia’s welfare is not just aimed at policymakers and those who deliver programs; it is also intended to be a valuable resource for those in the community who want to understand better how these systems operate.
She says it is educated lobbying by the community that provides much of the real impetus for improvement.
It is 15 years since Australia’s parliament decided that the Institute must carry out its national welfare reporting function every 2 years.
As this 2007 volume shows, it has been a period of growth in prosperity for Australia—growth in resources, in employment, in life expectancy.
But prosperity and longevity bring their own challenges.
Albon says it is important to see how welfare resources have responded—have the needs changed because the distribution has improved or has the response changed so that assistance is now delivered differently or aimed at people in different circumstances?
She says undoubtedly the picture of improvement is a complex and mixed one.
Housing stress remains an issue for many households, and the role of poor interpersonal relationships and domestic violence in creating crises in the lives of families remains a challenge.
With the ageing of the population come increased years of life, some of which will be lived with disability. In the year which marks the 40th anniversary of Indigenous people being counted in the census, Australia still doesn’t have very reliable information on whether and where the situation of Indigenous Australians is improving.
The authors say the report provides the best evidence available to shed light on
Australia’s welfare services.
Download the full report at: