Australia is World’s 2nd Best Birthplace

Source: ibtimes.co.uk

A pregnant mother living in Australia is in one of the best places in the world, according to a recent survey done by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit.

In a survey by The Economist’s Intelligence Unit, the resource-rich nation, out of a possible 10 satisfaction points, scored 8.12, just 0.1 behind Switzerland, the world’s best country for a baby to be born into next year. The US, which topped the 1998 list, came in 16th.

Next in the top five were Norway, Sweden and Denmark, all Scandinavian states. New Zealand landed on the seventh place with a score of 7.95, while the last at the 80th spot was Nigeria with 4.74 points.

The list, the first after 24 years, was compiled based on a combination of surveys. Respondents were basically asked how happy they are, with objective determinants about the quality of life. On the 1998 index, Australia ranked 18th.

“Being rich helps more than anything else, but it is not all that counts; things like crime, trust in public institutions and the health of family life matter too,” Laza Kekic, the unit’s director of country forecasting services, said in a statement.

The Economist’s Intelligence Unit used indicators such as geography, demography, social and cultural characteristics, government policies and the state of the world economy.

Australia in 2011 placed second to Norway in the annual United Nations Human Development Index.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces National Disability Insurance Scheme legislation

Source: ABC

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has introduced into Parliament legislation establishing the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The bill sets out the structure and eligibility criteria for the scheme and will be voted on early next year.

Ms Gillard says she believes the scheme will be the greatest change to Australian social policy in a generation.

“The scheme to be established by this bill will transform the lives of people with disability, their families and carers,” she said.

“For the first time they will have their needs met in a way that truly supports them to live with choice and dignity.”

Labor has announced $1 billion to establish the scheme, but long-term funding still remains unclear.

Proposed by the productivity commission, the NDIS aims to shift funding for disability away from a welfare to one based on social insurance, to which all taxpayers contribute.

Instead funding of being allocated to service providers, individuals will instead be given direct access to funding, which they can then administer either directly or through brokers.

The focus of the scheme will be on early intervention, building on the concept that significant initial financial outlay can offset greater costs incurred if problems are left untreated.

The scheme aims to cover 360,000 people with a profound or severe disability, with a separate National Injury Insurance scheme to cover people who suffer a catastrophic injury.