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Childcare groups demand urgent action

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Childcare is a sleeper issue in the election, with Labor yet to release its policy and the Coalition proposing a single new subsidy paid for by separate cuts to family payments. Photo: Peter Braig Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull met four-month-old Ezekiel during a street walk in Stirling in the Adelaide Hills on Friday. Photo: Andrew Meares
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Election 2016: News, video and analysis

Australia’s peak childcare bodies have joined together in an unprecedented bid to push childcare to the forefront of the election campaign, calling for an immediate boost in government support to help parents cope with rising fees.

With the Coalition’s $3 billion childcare package delayed until 2018 at the earliest, the groups are demanding an immediate increase to the Childcare Rebate cap from $7500 to $9000 a year to cover out-of-pocket costs. They also want a 25 per cent increase in the separate Childcare Benefit, which would see payments rise by $52 a week from the current $209.

Childcare is a sleeper issue in the election, with Labor yet to release its policy and the Coalition proposing a single new subsidy paid for by separate cuts to family payments.

Paul Mondo, secretary of the Australian Childcare Alliance, said the value of childcare payments had eroded significantly in recent years and was forcing some parents to delay returning to work.

“Parents cannot wait another two years for action,” Mr Mondo said.

“Families need a commitment from all parties that they will move as quickly as possible to address the significant affordability issues they face.”

Figures released this week show the cost of childcare has grown at five times the rate of inflation, with costs ballooning to up to $200 a day in city centres.

This is the first time the Australian Childcare Alliance, Family Day Care Australia and the Early Learning and Care Council – which serve a combined 900,000 families through their centres – have united to create an election manifesto.

The groups welcomed the Coalition’s investment in childcare but called for low-income families to be provided with 15 hours of subsidised care a week, up from the proposed 12 hours.

“The sector is concerned that the proposed Jobs for Families package does not give adequate recognition to child development objectives and increasing access to early learning for children who need it most,” the groups write in a letter sent to the Coalition, Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team.

The groups are also calling for all parties to commit to: Investing at least an extra $3.1 billion in child care, and de-linking that spending from cuts to family payments.An immediate 25 per cent increase in the Childcare Benefit and lifting the Childcare Rebate cap to $9000 a year.Increasing the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in early childhood education.Funding universal access to preschool programs in the year before school beyond 2017.

Education Minister Simon Birmingham said: “The Coalition is the only party with a fully funded childcare policy.

“We’ve made tough decisions to find the savings to pay for our childcare policy but at every turn, Labor and the Greens stood in the way of the savings needed to pay for a policy that would put downward pressure on prices and provide more accessible, affordable and fairer childcare for families.”

Senator Birmingham said annual fee increases had been restricted to an average 3.6 per cent per year under the Coalition compared to 7.8 per cent per year during Labor.

Labor education spokeswoman Kate Ellis said: “Labor has announced that we will support the additional investment in early childhood but we want to make sure it is spent the best way possible.

“Independent modelling shows that one in three families will be worse off under the Liberals’ changes.

“We have severe concerns about the impact of their proposed changes on children and families, including low-income and vulnerable children who will have their early education cut in half.”

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Family mourns for Jamie Bright, killed by an Islamic State bullet

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Jamie Bright’s twin brother Andrew, his mother Faye-Marie Kenny and his sister Leah. Photo: Karleen MinneyJamie Bright’s body lies frozen in a Kurdish hospital in the centre of one of the most geopolitically fraught places on Earth.
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Mr Bright, 44, a former sapper in the Australian Army, was shot through the head by an Islamic State fighter on Wednesday last week, after about 16 months fighting with the Kurds during which he disposed of more than 100 booby-trap bombs.

Now his family want to cremate his remains and spread the ashes over the sea off Western Australia where his 21-year-old son Jake lives.

It won’t be easy. Speaking for the first time, Mr Bright’s family say the cross-border conflict between the Syrian Kurds and Turkey is at an explosive pitch.

“We can’t get him back yet. The borders are closed and we can’t get his body through,” said his twin brother Andrew, a forestry worker who lives in Canberra. “It’s all going to be a political shitfight … because Turkey’s already denounced him as a terrorist.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said the department was “providing advice to Mr Bright’s family”.

It’s understood Australia’s Ambassador in Ankara, James Larsen, is involved in the case. But negotiations with Turkey are likely to be tricky given the deterioration in relations with the Kurds, with whom they are locked in a civil war that has killed thousands of people in the past year and destroyed Turkish towns near the north-east Syrian town of al-Malikiyah where Mr Bright’s body is being kept.

Fairfax Media understands Kurdish authorities believe they may have to take the remains through the Kurdish-controlled region of Iraq – a long and difficult transit.

Mr Bright’s family don’t know exactly what prompted him to go and fight. He had no previous contact with Kurdish issues. He spent a few years in the army in the 1990s before being medically discharged with a back injury. His mother Faye-Marie Kenny, 67, said her son remained a frustrated soldier.

“He wanted to be a soldier from the minute he was born. He used to march round with a stick and at his first opportunity he did join,” she said. “He was out well and truly before his time. He hadn’t achieved what he wanted to achieve and he saw a cause [in fighting with the Kurds] and something he could do to help.”

Ms Kenny had a two-hour visit from ASIO last year. The family continued to talk, text and email with Mr Bright regularly. Mr Bright sent his mother some money as recently as May 20 – just five days before he was killed.

Andrew said his last conversation with his brother on April 6 gave him the sense his brother wanted to come home, that “he was getting a bit ground down by the whole situation … the kids, the women and children and whatnot … wiring the kids up [as bombs]”.

The family is being treated with reverence by the Kurdish community, representatives of which visited them at Andrew’s house on Thursday and presented them with a framed picture and a flower arrangement.

“It was a lovely thing that they did,” Ms Kenny said. “Very comforting.”

Data analysis is the new frontier for retail landlords

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

By using data analytics, tenants and landlords can tailor their centre to their customers. Photo: Christopher PearceRetail landlords are discovering that the secret to making a shopping centre more profitable and relevant is using consumer and business data captured by banks through cashless payment systems.
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While the use of tools to track spending habits is not new, using it to offer tenants real-time statistics to help improve their business is – and it’s being embraced.

Knowing where customers spend their money is invaluable for the landlord and tenant to curate a centre that offers exactly what customers demand.

Such data will improve small-business operations and enhance banks’ value proposition for services. According to George Wragge, associate director for project leasing and retail at Colliers International, this level of data analytics could be applied on a larger scale – not only to smaller retailers, but larger department stores and shopping centre landlords.

Mr Wragge said at a time when the shopping centre offering is evolving – with more food, and space – getting the right leasing plan is crucial. Data analytics help this.

He said shopping centres were trying to adopt more consumer tracking with Bluetooth, but actual payment data was far more comprehensive. Bluetooth beacons usually rely on shoppers choosing to participate, whereas transactional data is produced regardless.

He said three key groups benefited.

“The landlords will be able to create better leasing plans and provide an enhanced value proposition to tenants; the tenants will have better consumer insights and be able to streamline their operations through promotions, inventory and staffing; and consumers will have a better experience through faster transactions, better product placement and a more enjoyable, seamless and logical shopping experience,” Mr Wragge said.

“Australian banks are increasingly relying on technology to boost profitability and competitiveness. To enhance their value proposition to the business sector, banks are supplying extensive levels of consumer data so that business owners can streamline their business models. But how can this technology be implemented on a larger scale?

“The Australian consumer economy is steering further away from cash-based transactions and more towards contactless and card payments. As a result, banks have become the stewards of immense consumer data sets giving intelligence on consumer profiles and their spending patterns.”

Jesmond Park cycleway would be cut by the Rankin Park to Jesmond bypass.

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Disappointed: Simon Potter of Fletcher is unhappy the well-used Jesmond Park cycleway will be cut to make way for the new section of the Newcastle Inner City Bypass. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers.CYCLISTS are dismayed that a popularshared pathway in Jesmond will be cutinthe latestNewcastle Inner City Bypass design.
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While pedestrians and cyclists have applauded many aspects of the refined design of the $280 millionRankin Park-to-Jesmond bypass, Newcastle Cycleways Movement president Peter Lee said“the devil is in the detail.”

Mr Lee was pleasedthata traffic lightcrossing on Newcastle Road would bereplaced with a pedestrian bridge,and that the new plan offered cyclists a connection to the back of John Hunter Hospital.But he wasdisappointeda well-used shared pathway in Jesmond Park would be cut.

“That is the real negative ofthis design, that a continuing, existing path has been cut, and we will now have four sets of crossings within a couple of hundred metres,” Mr Lee said.

“Itwill seriously slow down pedestrian users.”

He explained that people would prefer to drive if the ride was not smooth and continuous.

“Stopping and starting at traffic lights is a far greater interruption to a bicycle than it is to a vehicle, and therefore, paths that are really successful and have a lot of use tend to have along,continuous,uninterrupted flow,” he said.

Accounting office manager Simon Potter, of Fletcher,rides to work in Newcastle via the shared path inJesmond Park most days.

He was bemused by Newcastle City Council’s recent announcement that it wouldtrial a combined pedestrian and cycle crossing at Victoria Parade in Wallsend. The dual crossing washeralded as a way tohelpcyclists ridefrom Elermore Vale to the Jesmond Park cycleway, but he said thatpathwould soonbe cut by the new state governmentbypass.

He anticipates his commute would take an extra 5-to-10 minutes if the current plan for the bypass goes ahead.

“I don’t know how many cycles of lights I’ll have to use to get across about five lanes of traffic,”he said.

“I think people will get sick and tired of using the lights and just go across the road, which is pretty dangerous.”

Ben Ewald, who represents Newcastle Cycleways Movementon thecouncil’scycling strategy committee, agreed.

“I think what they’ve proposed is quite dangerous, because it involves pedestrians and cyclists crossing what looklike freeway ramps,” he said.

“Motorists who come onto afreeway ramp do kind of accelerate in and don’t expect tohave to stop for pedestrians.”

He thinks a tunnel beneath the bypass would be a safer, more effectiveoption.

Roads and Maritime Services will considerfeedback on the bypassuntil June9.

East coast low predicted to cause wet weekend

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

WARNING AREA: The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Friday for massive rainfall and damaging winds along the east coast on Saturday and Sunday. Map: Bureau of Meteorology.
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UPDATE, 1.40pm:

THE Bureau of Meteorology has formally issued a severe weather warning for the east coast, including the Hunter, as an east coast low is forecast to develop on Saturday.

Damaging north-easterly winds, averaging 60 to 65 kmh with peak gusts in excess of 90 kmh, are possible from Saturday afternoon through to Sunday along much of the coast.

Heavy rain,which may lead to flash flooding,is possible in the north on Saturday afternoon and over the remainder of the coast late Saturday or Sunday.

Weekend rainfall totals of 80 to 150 mm are likely for much of the east coast with localised falls between 200 to 300 mm.

Abnormally high tides,which may cause sea water flooding of low lying areas,are possible.

Water levels will exceed the highest tide of the year during Saturday and Sunday evenings’ and Sunday morning’s high tides.

Very heavy surf,which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion, is likely.

The BOM said locationwhich could be affected include Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Wollongong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Armidale, Goulburn and Tamworth.

The next warning is due to be issued by 7:20 pm on Friday.


A PREDICTED 95 per cent chance of rain this weekend hasforced organisers of two Hunter events to reschedule.

The State Emergency Service has also issued warnings to residents in the northern inland portion of the state, where the heavy rain is due to strike on Friday night and Saturday.

Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey

The coast is expected to hit the coast on Saturday night and begin moving south on Sunday, the State Emergency Service said on Friday.

Sunday has been forecast as the crescendo of three wet days in the Hunter beginning on Friday. It is likely to worsen as an east coast low develops on the state’s coastline. Meteorologists havewarned the region to brace for “significant” rain, particularly on Sunday.

Marine Rescue NSW has warned boaters to exercise caution in conditions expected to create damaging surf between five and seven metres in some places.

Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey said safe boating was impossible this weekend.

“Marine Rescue NSW volunteers will be on high alert this weekend for any emergencies thatshould arise in the wild weather and sea conditions,” he said.

“The simple advice is to stay on shore. It’s just not safe out there – for you or the rescue crewswho would have to come to your aid in the event of an emergency.”

Rock fishing is also expected to be highly dangerous until conditions ease early next week, with coastal erosion a possibility in pounding surf.

Bureau meteorologist Helen Reid said an inland trough was likely to combine with a coastal one, creating an east coast low in the north that would douse most of the NSW coast by Monday.

Some areas could receive between 200mm and 300mm of rain, she said, with widespread falls between 80mm and 150mm.

Windand punishing surf would add to woes on Sunday.“It’s such a dynamic and developing system, it’s almost a case of watch this space,” Ms Reid said.

Both the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale and a planned dolphin census have been shifted due to the forecast.The dolphin census will move to June 19 while the World’s Biggest Car Boot Sale will be held on June 26.

EDITORIAL: Baird government needs to answer serious questions on Newcastle light rail

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

IT was Premier Mike Baird who dubbedthe light rail-led transformation of the Newcastle central business district as “the people’s project”. In doing so, Mr Baird wasimplying that the government would go out of its way to listen to public opinion onthe biggest Novocastrian spending program since the Honeysuckle development that began in the early 1990s.
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But the deeper we get into the process, the more this potentially transformative development appears tobeatransport planners’ plaything– or a bitofbureaucrats’ business–and not a “people’s project”.

From early on, crucialplanning documents –including the basic business case for light rail –have beenkept under lock and key. Freedom of information requests have failed on the grounds that the materialisclassified (conveniently, some would say)as“Cabinet in confidence”.More recently, the release of the main planning documents –the Review of Environmental Factors (REF) on display during April and May –has generated a new round of controversy, as the practical implications of a hitherto theoretical proposal begin to sink in.

The government says it has received more than 500 submissions to the REF, but while it promises that all of the issues raised will be considered in a subsequent “submissions report”, it is electing not to publish the submissions themselves.It justifies its actions by saying the Newcastle processes –including a decision to use a less-detailedREFrather than a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)- are“consistent with similar transport projects”.

This may well be the case, but as an argument, it’s beside the point. The government could have published the submissions hadit wanted to. Publication is certainly standard practice with an EIS. But there’s an over-riding demandfor open decision-making in this case, because Transport for NSW is both the proponent of the Newcastle light rail, and its approving agency. In simple terms, it is ticking off on its own idea.

In this case the guiding principle must surely be the government not only doing the right thing, but being seen to do it.If the governmentwants the Hunter’s support, itmust listen to the community. The more effort the government puts into keeping a lid on light rail scrutiny, the greater the belief that there must besomething to hide.

The government should accede to the freedom of information requests, as well as publishingall submissions to the REF.

ISSUE: 48,250

Hunter federal seats among Australia’s slowest for economic growth

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

ECONOMIC activity is shrinking in two of the Hunter’s electorates and virtually stagnant in the other two, a nationwide analysis shows.
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The first electorate-by-electorate breakdown of economic growth prepared for Fairfax Media by SGS Economics & Planning shows economic activity is shrinking in 30 of Australia’s 150 parliamentary seats.

The federal Labor-held seats of Newcastle and Shortland are both in the economic bottom 30 with growth estimates in the last financial year of minus 0.1 per cent.

The Liberal seat of Paterson andHunter, held by Labor, fare marginally betterwith growthof about zero per cent.

In parts of Queensland and Western Australia, the economy is shrinking by as much as 2 per cent per year. At the other end of the scale, in parts of Sydney and remote Western Australia, the economy is growing by 5 per cent or more per year.

Nine of the 10 fastest-growing electorates are held by the Coalition.

Before joining SGS Economics & Planning, Terry Rawnsley helped prepare the national and state economic growth figures at the Bureau of Statistics. He has taken the most recently published state economic growth figures for 2014-15 and broken them down to electorate level, using census information about the distribution of economic activity and employment data.

The results, for each of Australia’s 150 electorates, show economic activity growing at more than 5 per cent per annum in the inner suburbs of Sydney and Melbourne but going backwards in western and south-western Sydney seats such as Parramatta, Fowler, McMahon, Chifley and Werriwa. All are held by Labor. In outer Melbourne, Corio and Corangamite are going backwards. Corio is held by Labor and Corangamite is held by the Coalition’s Sarah Henderson even though a redistribution makes it marginally Labor.

“The inner seats, which are home to knowledge-intensive industries, are doing well, but economic growth has turned negative in the outer suburban seats typically held by Labor,” Mr Rawnsley said.

Asked whether weak economic growth would affect the results in those electorates, Mr Rawnsley said that because much of it was concentrated in strongly held Labor seats it might not, but where the seat was marginal it could become an issue. Economic growth was negative in many of the seats around Brisbane and on the NSW south coast.

SELLING THE MESSAGE: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison explain the latest GDP figures in Brisbane on Wednesday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Economics Professor Martin Watts, of the University of Newcastle, cautioned against reading too much into the Hunter’s dismal assessment.

“I would be careful of drawing inferences from [the data], because some of the data is from the last Census which was in 2011 and the state based GDP data is from 2014-2015,” Professor Watts said.

In the year to January 2016 the Hunter had increased employment of 20,000, an annual rate of about six per cent and similar to overall employment growth in NSW.

But the increase was mainly in the service sector, which Professor Watts said reflected a driftfrom mining and manufacturing.

“The Hunter has got a lot of issues to address,” he said.

“The unemployment rate here is greater than across NSW. Youth unemployment is about 15 per cent,investment intentions for the next 12 months are weak.”

In March quarterfigures released on Wednesday,the national economy grew 1.1 per cent, the highest growth rate in more than three years. All but 0.1 percentage points of the growth was brought about by a surge in mining production, benefiting mostly remote Australia and the head offices in cities that serve the industry.

Consumer and business spending, measured by domestic final demand, grew a mere 0.2 per cent. The best measure of living standards, real net national disposable income per capita, shrank for the eighth consecutive quarter, slipping 0.1 per cent to be 4 per cent down from its peak.

Over the year to March, the economy grew by 3.1 per cent. Real net national disposable income per capita slid 2.6 per cent.

Measured economic growth was also helped by a low imports-to-sales ratio, which fell from 39.3 per cent to 37.6 per cent, its lowest level since December 2012.

Central Coast’s ‘road sign’ priest Rod Bower weighs into Buchanan mosque debatepoll

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

MORALITY MESSAGE: Father Rod Bower, in front of his famous roadside sign.
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FATHER Rod Bower, theCentral CoastAnglican Archdeacon renowned for his roadside morality messages, has weighedinto the debate over the proposed Buchanan mosque, urging councillors to do the “socially responsible” thing and approve the development application.

The submission by Father Bower, who uses the sign outside his Gosford Anglican church toprovidesatirical runningcommentary on social issues, was one of 656 received by Cessnock City Council on the mosque development.

The feedback periodclosed on April 27 but due to the high volume,submissions are still being reviewed, with no date set for the application to come before council.

Father Bower wrote to all councillorsand mayor Bob Pynsent saying approval of the mosque, subject to compliance with planning guidelines,would send an important message of inclusion to the Muslim community.

“If the council does not approve the mosque because of pressure from a loud minority, already excluded young men will be forced into ‘backyard mosques’ where they are unsupervised by reputable scholars and are more vulnerable to radicalisation,” he wrote.

Father Bower, who stood beside theGrand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, as he addressed the media after the Parramatta police station shooting, said he had entered into the Buchanan debate because it wasan important sociological issue.

“Along with climate change, this is one of the defining issues of the 21stcentury,” he said.

The Buchananissue had not yetfeatured onhis signboard, “but might in future”.

Supporters of the Stop the Buchanan Mosque and Keep Buchanan Ruralgroupsindicated on social media they had made submissions against the mosque butattempts to contact representatives were unsuccessful.

A GoFundMe page started by Stop the Buchanan Mosqueto raise up to$10,000for legal representation to oppose the development had, asof Thursday, raised $1480.

Geraldine Moran established Centre For Hope to help disadvantaged youth

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Geraldine Moran Hope springs: Geraldine Moran, who established Centre For Hope to help disadvantaged youth, with her 2016 Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year Award.
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GERALDINE Moran was recovering from cancer when she witnessed a little girl getting kicked along the street.

“My husband wouldn’t stop the car to let me get out to help, but I never forgot it,” she said.Seeing that incident proved a life-changer for the 2016 Lake Macquarie Citizen of the Year.

Once she was well, Ms Moran studied psychology and did a coaching course.She wanted to find a way to help youngpeople, like that girl, to know their real worth.

Centre For Hope was born as a means of giving disadvantaged young people some strategies to help them deal with adversities.

It began with mentoring 12- to16-year-olds, mainly in the Lake Macquarie area, but they soon found introducing the programs earlier helped to pre-empt some difficult situations.The programs have since grown to include primary school children throughout the region, as well as Marrickville and Gilgandra.

“As we kept working we were asked by a local school who’d had young students as young as six being taught to chrome, which is inhaling aerosols,” Ms Moran said.

“We adapted our program to meet that requirement, and started working in primary schools for children aged six and up to start conversations about how to say no, what’s good for me, what things are going to hurt me. And from there, it grew.”

Centre For Hope set up a bike shed project called Wheels For Hope and opened a drop-in centre at Lake Macquarie Fair in Mount Hutton.

“We take old bikes in a reasonable condition, and the kids work together with mentors to re-condition that bike and make it their own,” Ms Moran said.

“It’s a wonderful way for a young person to work side-by-side with an adult in a way they can still chat about what’s going on, but it’s not like they’re being questioned.”

Thanks to a donation from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation, there is now a Wheels For Hope shed at Kurri Kurri, and another is opening at Raymond Terrace on Wednesday.

Ms Moran said theyalso encouraged students in theirprograms to work on a fundraising project for international charities.“We’re hoping the flow-on for them is that it allows themselves, and others, to see them in a different light,” she said.

The success of Centre For Hope was a double-edged sword, Ms Moran said.

“For one thing, we’d like to think that there weren’t so many people that need this service. But it is lovely to think we are reaching them at a different level to other organisations can.”

Funds raised from a screening of Finding Dory at Event Cinemas Kotara on June 16 at 6.30pm will go to Centre For Hope.

Gender test in job pilot

04/12/2018 | 杭州桑拿 | Permalink

Ainslie van Onselen
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A Victorian pilot program to test whether de-identified curriculum vitaes can help boost gender and cultural diversity will be rolled out by some of the biggest corporations in Australia this year.

Supported by the state government, the pilot ensures names, schools, emails, cultural references, age and interests are redacted from job applications.

Westpac, which is the only participant bank, says it will use the de-identified CVs to fill a “live role” in a business unit that has been written to ensure maximum potential for female applicants.

About 12 months ago, the bank revised how live roles were described, to make flexibility offerings more prominent, and to move towards outcome oriented, rather than skills focused job descriptions.

“Anonymous CVs is one lever we have not yet pulled in addressing diversity. We’re looking forward to finding out if what gets masked does matter,” Westpac director of women’s markets, inclusion and diversity, Ainslie van Onselen said.

Westpac data about its male/female applicant ratio to shortlisting, and subsequently for hiring, shows the percentage of women hired from a shortlist is much higher than the percentage of women shortlisted in the first instance.

“That’s where we’ve identified an issue for us, and that’s what makes this pilot so attractive.

“The idea is that less women will self select out of a role,” Ms van Onselen said, noting that self-selection and concerns about available flexibility can preclude women and other potential applicants with care responsibilities from putting their hand up.

Care Australia chief executive Ara Creswell said implementing flexibility as well as communicating to employees that it is available, is “absolutely crucial” for employers, and impacts just as many men as it does women, given men make up 44 per cent of carers.

“Two generations of retirees are alive at any one time now,” Ms Creswell said. “We are getting to that tipping point where there are more people needing care than there are informal carers to provide it.”

One in eight employees currently have a carer role outside the workplace. That will increase exponentially as the population ages and Deloitte Access Economics estimates the replacement cost of Australia’s unpaid care would be $60.3 billion annually.

“Carer-friendly workplaces reduces the cost of staff turnover, increases staff morale, increases productivity and [lowers] stress and absenteeism,” she said.

“If we all require the amount of care an aged person requires, we’re in trouble if we expect everyone to leave the workforce to provide that informal care.”

Ms van Onselen said when Westpac rolled out its All-in-Flex program, a conscious effort was made to ensure men felt comfortable working flexibly.

“Fifty per cent of our case studies were men, and not just men as parents. But it’s not solely about men working flexibly; it’s about transition to an agile workforce focused on outcomes not presenteeism, across all levels. ”

Ms Creswell said employers increasingly understood how important it was to keep more carers in the workforce, because it meant they were in better shape financially, retained referees and had a higher level of wellbeing than those compelled to leave work to fulfil their informal care obligations.

“Two-thirds of all working age carers are employed. We would like to keep it that way,” she said.