Lyndal Mews – Conference Host
Lyndal works as a lawyer in Melbourne and is passionate about politics and the issue of social inequality.
She is also active on Twitter as @ForliTarantula.
Tanya Corrie – Financial Security – Good Shepherd
Tanya works in the areas of financial exclusion, income security, cost of living and essential services for people on low income.
Notable contributions to knowledge in the area of women and money and financial inclusion are research projects Microfinance and the Household Economy, Money Conversations: The impact of Microfinance Money Conversations on Financial Capability, Economic Abuse: Searching for Solutions, Restoring Financial Safety: Legal Responses to Economic Abuse and more recently Economic Security for Survivors of Domestic and Family Violence.
She also contributes regularly to policy processes and enquires into this area. Before moving into the not-for-profit sector, Tanya worked in banking, primarily in branch management, statutory compliance and project management. She has a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in politics and policy studies), a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in economics) and a Graduate Certificate in Policy and Applied Social Research.
Sophie Johnston – President – National Union of Students (NUS)
The National Union of Students is the peak representative body fighting for the rights of students across Australia.
Students are faced with a grab bag of issues that are threatening to squeeze them into economic oblivion: cuts to higher education, more onerous HECS loan repayments, Centrelink’s automated debt recovery system, fewer employment opportunities, Fair Work Commission’s decision to cut penalty rates for retail and hospitality workers and unaffordable housing.
Sophie spoke of the impact this current environment was having on students.
Owen Bennett – President, Australian Unemployed Workers Union
Unemployed volunteer members of the AUWU run the National Advocacy Hotline which provides free advice to the 880,606 unemployed workers attending job agencies. It is the first and only service of its kind ever offered in Australia.
Owen spoke to the suffering experienced by many callers to the hotline as documented in the AUWU’s 2015-16 National Advocacy Hotline Report which has exposed a job agency system in crisis.
AUWU REPORT FINDINGS
In its findings, thereport concluded that the Coalition’s multi-billion dollar employment services industry is “deeply dysfunctional and punitive” and in need of a “complete overhaul”.
“Job agencies routinely
fail to uphold the requirements of the jobactive and DES deeds and unemployed workers are given no meaningful recourse to dispute unfair treatment,” the report found.
The data gathered by the hotline offers a rare insight into the experiences of unemployed workers as they interact with their job agencies. Below is a breakdown of the issues raised by callers:
Alarmingly, the report found that there were little to no consequences for job agencies that failed to uphold the government’s rules. The current mechanisms designed to reign in badly behaving job agencies have failed.