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The Monthly Discussion in November Victoria votes! What: Discuss + Debate + Drinks + Pizza When: Wednesday, November 7 Time: 6pm Cost: Free Come along to the Monthly Discussion in November for the Great Victorian Election Debate! We analyse the policies and the promises, the past record and the rhetoric, through the lens of 
Guests in The Sustainable Hour on 3 October 2018 are Vicki Perrett, president of Geelong Sustainability and coordinator of Sustainable House Day Geelong, together with Peter Clapinski from Tiny Homes Geelong & Bellarine, for a talk about why he is so passionate about this idea to build tiny houses.
We also talk with Chris Gerbing, who is co-director of the Environmental Film Festival Australia, which starts in Melbourne on 11 October, and play a clip from a presentation by Jeff Butler about Grow it, Eat it festival in Grovedale, which starts on 20 October.
Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 236 on 94.7 The Pulse:
The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has launched an ambitious policy document, Connecting Ballarat, which calls for dramatic improvements to Ballarats bus network.
Ballarats bus network currently has a lot of problems with indirect, inefficient routes through the CBD, which turn back on themselves in order to call at key destinations in a specific order, and terminate at Ballarat station. These paths waste valuable driver time, which is an inefficient use of taxpayer resources compared to more efficient paths. Theyre also slow and hard for casual users to understand, which makes them unattractive to potential passengers.
The central idea of the Connecting Ballarat proposal is to link routes on opposite sides of Ballarat together into longer cross-town routes, so that buses can flow smoothly in one side of the CBD and out the other, in a path that is faster, more efficient and more sensible than the current paths. This would mean faster trips for passengers, a more understandable network for first-time users, and more efficient use of resources resources that can be reinvested into other service improvements.
Three of these routes would become high-frequency SmartBus routes fast, direct routes that run every ten minutes, designed to act as the spine of a true turn-up-and-go network for Ballarat. The other routes would increase to run every 20 or 40 minutes, to match the increased V/Line train frequencies expected from late 2019.
Buses would also run to a longer span of hours, connecting with commuter trains in the early mornings and late evenings, and allowing people travelling within Ballarat to take the bus home after dinner at a restaurant or a night at the movies.
PTUA Ballarat Branch Convener, Ben Lever, said this was in many ways an ambitious proposal, but that it also picked a lot of low-hanging fruit.
We know the existing network has a lot of inefficiencies, both in the twisty paths it takes and the excessively-padded timetables. Not only are these inefficiencies frustrating for users, they take up a lot of resources that would be better spent on improving the service thats what were proposing here.
Beyond those efficiency gains, were calling on all political parties to invest some serious money into our bus network. Low-density outer suburbs of Melbourne have high-frequency SmartBuses running through them, connecting key destinations like shopping centres and universities with railway stations Ballarat deserves the same. Even the standard non-SmartBus routes run till at least 9pm in most suburbs of Melbourne, while Ballarats buses currently shut down around 7pm its just not good enough.
Weve seen time and time again that when governments invest in good public transport, people use it. Whether its trains, tr...
Australia is considering measures to stop some new migrants settling in bigger cities, instead directing them to less populated areas. Canberra is looking for ways to ease congestion in places like Sydney and Melbourne.
The Australian government on Tuesday said it was looking to correct an imbalance in population growth by forcing some new migrants away from major cities, and toward less populous areas.
In a speech outlining the policy, Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge told an audience that the strain on infrastructure in Australias eastern cities had cost the country 25 billion Australian dollars ($17.7 billion, 15.4 billion euros) last year.
That amount was forecast to grow to 40 billion Australian dollars annually by 2040, he said.
Tudge said the main problem was rapid population growth in Sydney, Melbourne and southeastern Queensland, while there was slow growth in other parts of the country.
We are working on measures to have more new arrivals go to the smaller states and regions and require them to be there for at least a few years, Tudge told a gathering of the Menzies Research Centre think tank in Melbourne.
In that time, the evidence suggests that many will make it their home for the long term.
Dipping population in parts
New arrivals could be given extra points on Australias points-based immigration system, Tudge told Australian broadcaster ABC, or with geographic conditions attached to work visas.
Im quite a fan of the English TV show Grand Designs, and Kevin McCloud in particular. The key word in the shows title is of course grand, and many if not most of the projects irritate me no end, but as an owner builder from way back, not only do I relate to these people, the show has taught me a trick or two my gripe remains, why oh why do they all feel the need to build such ginormous houses, often for just two people to rattle around in?
The Australian version, now showing on ABC TV some 8 or 9 years after screening on pay TV which I refuse to pay for, is not as good as the pommy version, the presenter I find lacking in Kevins unique personality.. but I digress.
My reason for this introduction is that the last episode was about an earth covered house in Victoria built by a couple whose home was destroyed in the 2010 bushfires. Never wanting to go through that again surprise surprise they decided to move to the only place that didnt burn to the ground and where the few livestock that survived had escaped to. right next to their big dam!
NOT ALL DISABILITIES ARE VISIBLE by Nguyen Hong Duc
When I started out as RISEs Ability Rights worker two years ago, my role is to find supports for refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities. What I found was a distinctive lack of services across the migration sector, only three out of 16 Migrant Resource Centres have programs for people with disabilities, of those three only one supports asylum seekers or newly arrived. The other two did Home And Community Care (HACC) for those of migrant backgrounds over 55-65 years of age; HACC is home care and support (not personal/medical care).
Launch of RISEs advocacy booklet; refugees and asylum seekers with disabilities. A document that brings together the voices of RISE members and an analysis non-intersectionality of the literature in the refugee and disability sectors. Link here
As for the disability sector, where is scarcity of knowledge on refugees where I am yet to find a mainstream disability service provider that has a refugee intake program. Publically there is no clear indication be it either on their website or when I call them if refugees or asylum seekers on various visas can access the disability service. Most if the information is in English and little if any information on accessibility. This is a one-size fit all approach to informing the public of services available. I need to make it clear I am referring to disability services not mental health services.
The mental health sector is hard for refugees to access, that is psychologists and therapists, refugees are more often referred to the specific torture and trauma clinics. How they differentiate between invisible mental health disabilities and PTSD related mental I cannot say. What I can say is that more needs to be done to support invisible disabilities like depression and anxiety, eating disorders and emotional behaviours that are often not treated go undiagnosed, and seen as just adjusting to a new life.
I myself is a former child refugee from Vietnam, I have two disabilities, a hearing impairment and cerebral palsy. Here I am going to advocate that for too long refugee settlement has been separate to disabilities and mental health needs. This erroneous and amounts to structural neglect from the medical profession and the migration settlement services sector. This is why the silo approach to refugees and asylum seekers is detrimental to their health and wellbeing and the community. This is a critique of the standard operating philosophy of using Maslows hierarchy of needs. This drives settlement support. It dictates the literature on refugees. It defines government policy.
Ive witnessed the long-term detrimental...
Blink and you might have missed it, but Saturday, October 6 was International Freedom of Speech Day, with International having the operative meaning of Wiley Park in Sydney and Docklands in Melbourne and Freedom of Speech whining about Facebook and Continue reading
From Aeon: For centuries, writers have recognised the relationship between mental health and belonging to a community. Serving society was another way to serve the individual because, as the poet Alexander Pope put it in his poem An Essay on Man (1734): True self-love and social are the same. Its not surprising, then, to find that loneliness serves a physiological and social function, as the late neuroscientist John Cacioppo argued: like hunger, it signals a threat to our wellbeing, born of exclusion from our group or tribe.
Until the 1830s in the UK, elderly people were cared for by neighbours, friends and family, as well as by the parish. But then Parliament passed the New Poor Law, a reform that abolished financial aid for people except the aged and infirm, restricting that help to those in workhouses, and considered poverty relief to be loans that were administered via a bureaucratic, impersonal process. The rise of city living and the breakdown of local communities, as well as the grouping of the needy together in purpose-built buildings, produced more isolated, elderly people. It is likely, given their histories, that individualistic countries (including the UK, South Africa, the US, Germany and Australia) might experience loneliness differently to collectivist countries (such as Japan, China, Korea, Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil). Loneliness, then, is experienced differently across place as well as time.
None of this is meant to sentimentalise communal living or suggest that there was no social isolation prior to the Victorian period. Rather, my claim is that human emotions are inseparable from their social, economic and ideological contexts. The righteous anger of the morally affronted, for instance, would be impossible without a belief in right and wrong, and personal accountability. Likewise, loneliness can exist only in a world where the individual is conceived as separate from, rather than part of, the social fabric. Its clear that the rise of individualism corroded social and communal ties, and led to a language of loneliness that didnt exist prior to around 1800.
Where once philosophers asked what it took to live a meaningful life, the cultural focus has shifted to questions about individual choice, desire and accomplishment. It is no coincidence that the term individualism was first used (and was a pejorative term) in the 1830s, at the same time that loneliness was in the ascendant. If loneliness is a modern epidemic, then its causes are also modern and an awareness of its history just might be what saves us.
Last week saw the observance of the United Nations Day for the Older Person, which has been set on 1 October since 1990. This years theme was celebrating older human rights champions. Australia saw a week of activities.
Behind the events, was the understanding that the contributions made by older citizens deserves to be recognised and valued; that the older person should not be thrown on he scrap heap, and their knowledge, experience and skills, should be appreciated as a valuable asset, which co0ntributes to building the future.
Unfortunately, the has been a gradual devaluation of societys elders. This is not only shown by a tendency to lock them out of participation in society, but also, by the extent of the meanness of the support provided by government and agencies.
For instance, retires deserve and are entitled to be rewarded for the contribution they have made through a lifetime. They should not be subjected to an inadequate housing, poor housing, pressure to return to work, unreasonable health, energy and transport costs. The scandal and human rights abuse, of what too often passes off as nursing homes, is a disgrace. This should not exist in a society that considers itself humane.
In Melbourne, community alliance Fair Go For Pensioners was one of those that took part. Its contributions were a special celebration on Thursday and taking part in Sundays celebrations at Federation Square by running a stall and distributing information.
An important new publication, called Up In The Air: A civil and caring society was launched at the Thursday event. It deals with the link between the striving for a democratic system of government and justice in the delivery of social services, not only for older people, but for all citizens in need. The erosion of the capacity of people to lead a decent life and have the means to participate in society is a major threat to real democratic rights.
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