The fallout from the Global Financial Crisis and its impact on the welfare sector is the focus of the country’s pre-eminent conference on social policy, held at UNSW this month (28-30 September).
The biennial Australian Social Policy Conference, which is hosted by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), has the theme Rights and Entitlements in Times of Austerity. It brings together researchers, practitioners and policy makers from across disciplines with a view to influencing debate and practice.
While Australia has managed to retain and even expand social provision, particularly with the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, conference organisers suggest this could be threatened, as it is in other countries.
“Austerity could potentially spur creativity, forcing the development of new ways to harness social resources to address poverty, marginalisation and exclusion,” says SPRC Director Lyn Craig. “So it’s important to learn from each other’s experience in addressing how to maintain rights and entitlements in the face of global austerity.”
Conference streams will include: poverty, welfare and social inequality; communities, families and children; environment and social policy; disability, rights and care; human services; ageing, rights and entitlements and Indigenous peoples. There is also a special workshop on Chinese social policy.
The keynote speakers are Robert Manne, Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow and Convenor of The Ideas & Society Program at La Trobe University; Guy Standing, Professor of Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, and a founder and co-President of the Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN), an NGO promoting basic income as a right; and Jane Waldfogel, the Compton Foundation Centennial Professor of social work and public affairs at Columbia University School of Social Work and a visiting professor at the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion at the London School of Economics.
What: Australian Social Policy Conference – Rights and Entitlements in Times of Austerity
When: Monday 28 to Wednesday 30 September
Where: John Niland Scientia Building, UNSW Kensington
See the website for the full program