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Andrew Constance slams Red Cross, Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul for bushfire relief delays

PAIGE COCKBURN AND KEVIN NGUYEN
VIDEO

The Member for Bega slams Red Cross for 'drip-feed' of bushfire donations.

ABC NEWS

At an emotional press conference in Batemans Bay, Member for Bega Andrew Constance came out swinging against the Red Cross, Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul for taking too long to distribute money.

"The money is needed now, not sitting in a Red Cross bank account earning interest so they can map out their next three years and do their marketing," Mr Constance said.

"We need a very real change, very quickly so that the money can get to those who need it most … people are on their knees and we can't have a drip-feed."

The Australian Red Cross has received $95 million to date and on Wednesday announced they have allocated $30 million to victims.

A spokesperson said the organisation has paid out 559 grants but has 1,492 open applications.

St Vincent De Paul has raised $12.5 million and spent close to $1.1 million through financial packages for eligible households.

Since the Salvation Army's bushfire appeal began in November, $43 million has been pledged and $11 million has been received.

From September to now, $7.6 million worth of goods and cash relief has been distributed.

Over the last two months, people all over the world have donated generously to charity appeals, the Rural Fire Service (RFS), Celeste Barber's Facebook fundraiser and animal rescue organisations like the RSPCA.

Mr Constance, the NSW Minister for Transport and Roads, said it was "gutting" to learn only a third of the money donated to the Red Cross has been distributed when there are people who cannot afford the basics.

He said he had met people who are so traumatised they cannot even leave their properties to register for relief.

The Minister, who has admitted he will need trauma counselling, issued a challenge to the managing directors of the three charities to come and see how people are living.

"Meet me in Batemans Bay at 8.00am on Saturday and I'll drive you the 300 kilometres of devastation on the far south coast.

"I'll show you the people, you can look them in their eyes and you can see their despair and the destruction that this firebomb brought to our region.

"They better turn up, they better have the guts to show up and be with me … I'll show them communities which haven't been on the map, like Kiah, like Nerrigundah, like the back of Bemboka, like Cooma."

The CEOs of St Vincent De Paul NSW and Canberra, Jack De Groot and Barnie van Wyk, have accepted Mr Constance's invitation.

The charity said over the past three days Mr van Wyk has overseen the distribution of $200,000 in financial relief to bushfire-affected locals on the south coast.

Over the new year period, areas of the south coast were completely wiped out by bushfires, with devastating losses in Batemans Bay, Conjola Park, Conjola, Cobargo and Mogo.

'Keen to get the money out': Red Cross

Red Cross director of Australian services Noel Clement said there was an absolute commitment to getting money in victim's pockets.

"We are keen to get the money out but we also need to make sure it's getting where it's needed," he said.

Mr Clements admitted some people were waiting weeks for relief money as there were challenges in proving where they lived after losing everything.

"We must manage the money so we aren't scammed … we want to make sure we are protecting donor's funds," he said.

He emphasised that recovery is a "long-term process" and it will take six months for some people to make claims or decide whether to rebuild.

In a statement, the Red Cross said chief executive Judy Slatyer had been on the South Coast last week meeting with residents and had made "several attempts" to contact Mr Constance.

A spokesperson for the Salvation Army said their emergency relief was being distributed at evacuation and relief centres in bushfire zones.

"We understand relief can never happen fast enough for people in these traumatic circumstances. We are working as fast as we can," they said.

Former emergency service commissioner Peter Dunn is a Conjola local helping to lead the community's recovery efforts and said donations have been "overwhelming" but long-term management was vital.

"I saw this in the Canberra [bushfires] in 2003 … there is enormous generosity when people are seeing images and hearing the stories on the media," he said.

"But after three-to-six months, other events take over and they catch the public's imagination and naturally, the donation flow starts to diminish."

He said this would be around this time when victims began to rebuild.

During the first few months, homes need to be inspected, insurance claims finalised and asbestos cleared from the land, he said.

"But of course by then the focus of the public has gone elsewhere," Mr Dunn said.

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Catholic Church spent $10.6 million to lobby against legislation that would benefit victims of child sex abuse

A new report released Tuesday reveals that, over the past eight years, the Catholic Church has spent $10.6 million in the northeastern United States to fight legislation that would help victims of clergy sexual abuse seek justice.

"At the most basic level, we were inspired by frustration," says attorney Gerald Williams, a partner at Williams Cedar, one of four law firms that jointly commissioned the report. "We represent hundreds of people, who have truly been victimized by clergymen in the Catholic Church. We've heard a lot about the church's desire to be accountable and turn over a new leaf. But when we turn to the form where we can most help people and where we can get the most justice — the courts of justice — the church has been there blocking their efforts."

In New York, for example, the Catholic Church spent $2,912,772 lobbying against the Child Victims Act, which Governor Andrew Cuomo ultimately signed into law on February 14, 2019. The act gives survivors more time to seek justice against their abusers, increasing the age at which victims are able to sue from 23 to 55.

Government recovers over $41 million worth of false claims after 'rorting' of Job Services Australia scheme

The Federal Government has clawed back more than $41 million worth of false claims by private employment agencies in just the past three years.

The agencies are contracted by the Government under a privatised welfare-to-work program called Job Services Australia (JSA), a sprawling $1.3 billion-a-year scheme designed to get the unemployed into work.

A Four Corners investigation has found rorting of the scheme is rampant. Forgery, manipulation of records and the lodgement of inflated claims for fees are widespread.

Before you donate to the Red Cross, please know this ...

Red Cross $173m spent /allocated funds at time of senate inquiry into the management of the (almost) half a billion dollars received in the wake of the Haitian earthquake in 2010  

$43 million in management fees of the $173m

PLUS 9 percent of overall takings is about $50 million

Then all the money that went to other red crosses- say 1/2 - then loses another nine percent to the other Red Cross charity. Approximately another fifteen million.

So that’s a total of about $108 million dollars out of the money received AND spent to date.

Going on these figures, a further estimated $83 million will go in management fees, and thirty million will go to other Red Crosses.

Totalling a whopping $191 million dollars in “fees” stolen by Red Cross alone - not including fees by the other organisations.

Out of half a billion dollars donated to the 2010 Red Cross Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

Imagine what they’re going to do with all the money they just took for the Australian bushfires.

Figures estimated after a very brief audit of the report the Red Cross filed with the US government when asked what happened to the five hundred million, after it emerged they only built SIX houses in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake in 2010.

RC Report : https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/2015-07-22%20Red%20Cross%20to%20CEG%20(Haiti%20Disaster%20Response).pdf

Premier Youthworks loses child protection contract

HUNTER-BASED welfare provider Premier Youthworks has lost a major contract to care for troubled children but the change is apparently part of a broader shakeup of out-of-home care by the NSW government.

Salvo boy 'not' peadophile [murder] victim

An inquiry has heard the Salvation Army was naive about the handling of sex abuse claims. Source: AAPA supplied photo of the Salvation Army home at Indooroopilly

A BOY who ran away from a Salvation Army home in Queensland and was feared murdered turned up years later in court in NSW.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has been told records show that the former resident of the Indooroopilly boys home made several court appearances in NSW between 1977 and 1983.

That was years after he was thought a victim of a pedophile ring alleged to be operating between Queensland and Sydney in 1975.

Detective Superintendent Cameron Harsley, operations manager for the child safety and sexual crime squad in Queensland, said there were no historical records to show the boy was ever reported missing.

Catholic Church in Tasmania won't follow new confession laws

Archbishop Julian Porteous in crypt at St Mary's Cathedral, Hobart.

PHOTO: Archbishop Julian Porteous says the laws would deny priests the opportunity to encourage offenders to report themselves to police.
ABC NEWS: ANEETA BHOLE

The Catholic Church says it will not follow new Tasmanian laws that require priests to break the seal of confession to report suspicion of child sex abuse.

Bodies of 'hundreds' of children buried in mass grave

The bodies of hundreds of children are believed to be buried in a mass grave in Lanarkshire, southern Scotland, according to an investigation by BBC News.

The children were all residents of a care home run by Catholic nuns.

At least 400 children are thought to be buried in a section of St Mary's Cemetery in Lanark.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, which ran the home, refused to comment on the findings.

Investigation exposes fraud within taxpayer funded Jobs Services Australia

AN INVESTIGATION has uncovered a massive taxpayer rip-off perpetrated not by “dole bludgers” sponging off the unemployment system — but instead by the agencies tasked with finding people jobs.

Unemployment in Australia is at 6.4 per cent, its highest rate in 12 years. But an investigation by Four Corners has found that a billion-dollar taxpayer funded scheme created to help job seekers find a work is instead being used to keep the money flowing to employment agencies.

There’s evidence that both private and charity job agencies are “gaming” the Federal Government’s work scheme Job Services Australia, which it spends about $1.3 billion on every year. Some organisations have already had to pay back more than $41 million worth of false claims in the past three years.

Catholic Church Abuse Claims to be Paid from Interest of $6.3 Billion State Aid

AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR THE DEFENCE OF GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS

PRESS RELEASE 548#

CATHOLIC CHURCH ABUSE CLAIMS TO BE PAID FROM  INTEREST ON $6.3 BILLION  STATE AID

 The Guardian ( Australia) and the Australian Newspaper  have revealed some insight into an ongoing national scandal: the enormous wealth of the Australian Catholic Church and the complete lack of accountability for the billions of dollars of taxpayer funds with which this institution is endowed.

On Wednesday 26 March the Guardian Newspaper  reported that the Business manager of the Sydney Archdiocese told the Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse that the Sydney Catholic archdiocese, a ‘voluntary not-for profit organisation’,  controls funds worth more than $1.24bn and has regularly made multimillion-dollar tax-free profits.

[Un]Safe Pathways: Children's Commissioner's concerns for kids in care of for-profit provider revealed

Tasmania's Children's Commissioner raised concerns about the wellbeing of children in the care of a provider accused of neglect more than a week before the children were removed, the ABC can reveal.

Mark Morrissey wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Minister Jacquie Petrusma about Safe Pathways in a letter, one of a number of documents released after a six-month legal battle in the wake of ABC TV's Four Corners program exposing the allegations of child neglect.

Nothing to see here? The abuse and neglect of children in care is a century-old story

Last night's Four Corners program presented evidence of widespread abuse and neglect suffered by children in the out-of-home care system. Sadly, it was an all too familiar story. The Australian care system has been subject to criticism for over a century.

Children described bullying, harassment and sexual abuse inflicted by other children who share their homes.

Children also described adult men preying on and sexually exploiting girls in "resi" or residential, care.

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