AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 21st AUGUST 2013

  • STUDENTS GET A HARD LESSON IN POVERTY
  • NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING THEMES FOR 2014 ANNOUNCED
  • SOUTH AUSTRALIA BANS LIVE SPORTING ODDS
  • DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA DROPS FEMALE CIRCUMCISION CASE
     

STUDENTS GET A HARD LESSON IN POVERTY

Two-thirds of all university students live on less than $20,000 a year, with 20% surviving on less than $10,000, placing them below the poverty line and facing rising levels of debt.  A report by peak group Universities Australia says the average debt carried by an undergraduate student has soared over the past six years, rising from $28,800 to $37,200. The most financially stressed students are the new generation of students from poor families, who the government has been targeting to increase the proportion of Australians with a bachelor’s degree by 2020; more than 76 per cent of undergraduates from low-income families say they are worried about finances. 

The report, University Student Finances 2012, reveals that 17% of students went without food or other necessities because they could not afford them, a figure that rose to 25% for those from low-income families. And while the number of hours in employment rose slightly to 16 hours a week and average income of undergraduates increased from $13,600 in 2006 to $16,900 last year, paradoxically there was also a marked increase in the reporting of financial distress. Universities Australia chief executive Belinda Robinson said “This is of particular concern in the context of meeting the government’s goal to have 20 per cent of students from low SES backgrounds enrolled by 2020.” 

“With the youth job market getting tougher in areas such as retail and hospitality, we might see a drop off in enrolments among poorer students” Ms Robinson said. “Many students regularly missed classes because of work commitments and the full-time, on-campus experience could be under threat. It could point to an increase in part-time enrolments and more studying online,” Ms Robinson said. Salvation Army spokesman Bruce Redman said there had been an increase in the number of students accessing the charity’s emergency relief services nationally. “Originally set up for international students, we are now seeing more and more domestic students,” he said.

Belinda Grant-Geary, a second-year journalism student at the University of Technology, Sydney, said her experience paralleled the report’s findings. Ms Grant-Geary, 22, whose single mother is in the bottom income group, is eligible for the full adult Youth Allowance payment of $495 a fortnight, but that just covers her rent on a two-bedroom flat in Leichhardt which she shares with her sister, also a student. Ms Grant-Geary also earns about $11,000 running the university’s social netball competitions. “I often struggle to buy groceries and have weeks where I live on cereal and toast. But I love my studies and would never let money stand in the way of my education,” she said.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING THEMES FOR 2014 ANNOUNCED

Each year different segments of society are singled out to be thanked and honoured by Churches, individuals and community groups as part of the National Day of Thanksgiving (NDOT) celebrations across Australia. To allow early planning by participants we are pleased to announce the segments of society that for 2014 have been selected to be the focus to receive honour and thanks for the work they do within and for our communities. In addition, at the more personal level, NDOT organisers are urging participants to recognise good neighbours by taking the time to thank them for the practical things they do which makes knowing them a real pleasure.

In 2014 the categories of people to be thanked are those who work in the Transport and Travel Industries. This would include people such as truck, tram, bus and taxi drivers, pilots, transport companies, couriers, travel agents and others that may come to mind within that broad framework. On the personal level the suggestion is that we thank our neighbours. Don’t forget our neighbours go beyond those who live next door to us to those who contribute in any way to make our life more pleasant through their thoughtfulness and kindness towards us. This has endless opportunity for creative outreach by Churches and individuals which is always encouraged as a means of reaching out to others with the love of Christ.

Source: Australian Prayer Network

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA BANS LIVE SPORTING ODDS

The South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill, has implemented a full ban on live odds advertising on radio and television, and on ground signage during sporting events. Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) spokesperson Dan Flynn said “This is great news for South Australians, particularly for parents who no longer have to worry about their kids being socialised into gambling through advertising. It was pleasing to see the Independent Gambling Authority acknowledge the submission of the SA Heads of Churches Gambling Taskforce which advocated for the prohibition on quoting live odds – a strategy which it said targeted young men who were at a higher risk of problem gambling,” he said.

Although acknowledging the move as a much-needed step in regulating the gambling industry, Mr Flynn said regulation may need to be legislated. “At present, it’s proposed the live odds betting ban will be achieved by changing the gaming licensees’ codes of conduct. Should the changes to the code not match the rhetoric, the Parliament should take up the option proposed by Family First MLC Dennis Hood and enshrine the ban in the Statutes Amendment (Gambling Reform) Bill currently before the Legislative Council,” Mr Flynn said.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

 

DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA DROPS FEMALE CIRCUMCISION CASE

A WA couple who allegedly took their baby daughter to Bali for a genital mutilation procedure have had charges against them dropped. The Director of Public Prosecutions told the District Court that it was dropping the charges because there was no reasonable prospect of conviction. The husband and wife were charged by WA Police child abuse squad detectives last year after they allegedly took their one-year-old to the Indonesian island for the procedure. Female circumcision is a common practise in some parts of the world but is illegal in Australia. The maximum penalty for female genital mutilation in WA is 10 years.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports