Monday, 26 September 2016

Baird comes begging for multimillion-dollar reward for privatising social housing

The Greens say the Productivity Commission's privatisation plan for social housing would be a recipe for increased inequality.

In the wake of the recent Productivity Commission report which outlined a plan to privatise public health and housing, the NSW government will seek multimillion dollar reward payments from the Turnbull-Joyce government to privatise social housing.

"The Turnbull-Joyce government is on a warpath to privatise and defund social housing, against the best advice of public and social housing stakeholders and fuelled by their fact-free devotion to the market," Greens housing spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

MNC Greens Resolution re Forestry Corporation’s Harvesting Operations in Bellingen Valley

Forestry Corporation was fined $15 000 for this poor logging practice in the Tuckers Nob Plantation near Bellingen

At its meeting on 19 August 2016 the Mid North Coast Greens noted the extent and concentration of plantation forests in the Bellingen Shire's two main river valleys of the Bellinger and Kalang Rivers, and adopted the following four-point resolution on forestry and plantation practices in the Shire:

1. There is an urgent need for a thorough review of the role of forestry operations in local catchments, an assessment of its cumulative impacts, and harvest plans that respond to this assessment.

2. The Mid North Coast Greens strongly support the claims made by traditional owners for protection of song lines and Aboriginal heritage sites and places in local forests and oppose any logging operations that adversely impact on Aboriginal heritage.

3. The Mid North Coast Greens calls upon the state government to require Forestry Corporation to adopt a good neighbour policy that is respectful of the impacts of its logging operations on adjoining landowners and includes adequate setbacks from forestry operations to minimize the impact of logging on neighbours.

4. The MNC Greens commits to working with traditional owners, local communities, landowners, environmental groups and Forestry Corporation to assess the corporation's plantation operations for FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certification, including close consideration of the cumulative environmental, social and heritage impacts of logging, with a moratorium on harvesting until FSC certification is achieved.

September 23, 2016

Logging of steep slope near gully in Tarkeeth Forest
No dust mitigation for neighbours and the adjacent flower farm in the Tarkeeth Forest.

Aboriginal smoking hole in Tarkeeth Forest which is classified officially as a 'plantation'.

Hazelwood coal power station to close next year.

More exciting news out of Victoria: Australia's dirtiest brown coal power station, Hazelwood, is set to close next year!

"More exciting news out of Victoria: Australia's dirtiest brown coal power station, Hazelwood, is set to close next year!

Who thinks its time for a plan to phase out all our coal power stations and replace them with renewables?"
Jeremy Buckingham…/hazelwood-shutdown-victorias-dir…


Coffs Harbour Greens: Supporting Family Services in Coffs Harbour

This is an excellent description of the work Greens councillor, Dr Sally Townley, is doing on Coffs Harbour Council.

Coffs Harbour Greens: Supporting Family Services in Coffs Harbour: By Sally Townley   Last week, Jonathon Cassell and I had an excellent meeting with Charlotte Young of the  Warrina Women's and Childr...

Education meeting failure; no road-map towards needs-based funding

The Australian Greens have criticised today’s meeting of Education Minister’s as a talk-fest, saying that it has done nothing to move towards an improved funding model for Australian schools.

“This meeting was an opportunity to talk about how we can invest in the future of our students and our schools, but that’s not what happened,” the Greens’ education spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Labor must rule out a plebiscite once and for all

The Greens have called on Labor to immediately and completely rule out supporting a harmful and divisive equal marriage plebiscite.

"Time and time again, we've heard Labor MPs declare their opposition to a plebiscite on marriage equality ," said the Australian Greens LGBTIQ spokesperson Senator Janet Rice.

"Labor has been dragging its feet on this issue but now appears open to talking with the government to allow what Mr Shorten himself has described as a "wasteful divisive plebiscite" and "$200 million taxpayer-funded opinion poll on the merit" of LGBTIQ relationships.

Greens - Planning for communities not developers

The Greens know that planning should be about people, places and the environment — not just profits for developers and their mates.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Letter-Opinion: Setting The Record Straight

I write to comment on two separate items in the 21/9/2016 issue. My first comments relate to two statements in the front-page article titled, ‘Councillors #2016‘. In that article the writer says a) “The Bellingen Shire defies a neat box to describe it – even the election results are difficult to analyse – more votes were exhausted than those for Cr. King” and b) “Really, why did the masses come out and vote for relatively unknown resident Steve Jenkins and . . . why did the voters leave them (i.e. the other councillors) in droves”. 

I am not sure what the remark “more votes were exhausted than for those of Cr. King” is actually intended to mean. Does it imply that because Dominic King has been elected as mayor by a minority of voters (27.27%), he is somehow ‘illegitimate’? Mark Troy was certainly elected by a clear majority (65%) in 2012 but then he had only one competitor, Wayne Wadsworth, whereas Cr. King had five. To have gained over 27% of the vote when competing with five other candidates is, to my mind, a considerable achievement and not be denigrated. 

Pretty speeches abroad, human rights violations at home

The Prime Minister's pitch for UN Human Rights Council Membership appears to be operating in a parallel universe, the Australian Greens said today.

"Australia's own record of human rights violations is facing international condemnation like never before, and until the bipartisan race to the bottom ceases, the Government has no hope of making a persuasive case for Membership," Acting Greens leader Senator Scott Ludlam said today.

Senator Nick McKim, Greens spokesperson for Immigration & Citizenship, has added, "The Prime Minister has shown staggering hypocrisy by pitching for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council while his government is responsible for rampant human rights abuses on Manus Island and Nauru."

Needs based funding required, not government excuses for funding cuts

Needs based support for schools must be guaranteed beyond the funding cliff set up by the Abbott/Turnbull government, the Australian Greens have said.

“The last thing we need right now is more excuses from the government justifying their education cuts,” the Greens’ Education spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“We need to be investing in a full needs-based funding model, not walking back from the steps we’ve taken in that direction to this point.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Productivity Commission report backs a loser in promoting social housing privatisation

Greens spokesperson for housing Senator Lee Rhiannon has rejected the Productivity Commission's privatisation plan for social housing as it would be a recipe for hardship and increased inequality.

The PC plan is set out in their report 'Introduction Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services'.
"Introducing more competition and contestability did not work for vocational education and training and it will not work for social housing," Senator Rhiannon said.

Selling NSW’s land title service fails basic test of logic

The Greens NSW Treasury and Finance spokesman, Justin Field,  today said the push to sell off the State’s Titling and Registry Services could drive up the costs of title searches for home buyers, undermine the security of the State’s land title system and would remove the very profit-making centre of the land title services.

“This data base is currently owned by the State of NSW,” said Justin Field. “The land title register is the profit making heart of the Land and Property Information (LPI). It generates approximately $70 million a year and is the envy of the world for its security and stability. It is robust and efficient. It makes lots of money and is not broken.”

Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Guardian: Australia does not have a welfare problem. We have a poverty problem

"You don’t build communities up by putting people down. Structural changes to the economy have resulted in entire communities being left without work and often without adequate social and economic infrastructure.

We see manufacturing jobs disappearing, the loss of jobs in some sectors due to privatisation, and the global quest for ever greater profits by using ever cheaper labour. We have seen a worrying trend towards casualisation and insecure employment and, on the latest ABS labour force figures, a decline in the total number of monthly hours worked in all jobs. Trends change rapidly and, as the prime minister is fond of reminding us, it is useful to be agile and innovative in a period of everlasting uncertainty and flux."

Dr John Falzon is the chief executive officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society of Australia.

See Guardian article

Stuff ups and failures continue to dog Baird's forced amalgamation agenda

In an embarrassing outcome for the Baird-Grant Government, the Land and Environment Court has identified multiple legal defects in the amalgamation process for 6 Sydney Councils of Strathfield, Burwood and Canada Bay, and North Sydney, Mosman and Willoughby councils. The Court's finding means the Baird-Grant government cannot rely on the delegates reports to force mergers of these councils.

While 6 councils are protected from immediate amalgamation by this court finding the cases regarding the forced amalgamation of three councils, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove and Ryde, were not successful. It is highly likely that the majority of these matters will now proceed to the Court of Appeal where the legal challenge by Woollahra Council remains outstanding.

Let’s keep our schools Safe Schools

Tamara Smith, Member for Ballina and NSW Greens spokesperson for education today spoke in support of the NSW Safe Schools Coalition Program.

“It is astonishing that we have people petitioning NSW parliament, saying that they do not want schools to be safe for all students that attend them. Surely everyone would agree that our schools should be safe, supportive and inclusive for all young people,” said Ms Smith.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Intelligence review should encompass entire counter-terrorism framework

Senator McKim
A review of intelligence services should be broadened to consider the entirety of Australia’s counter-terrorism framework, Greens Justice spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“Any review of the role of our intelligence services is welcome, but Australia is long overdue for a broad inquiry into our approach to combatting violent extremism,” Senator McKim said.

“The development of ‘counter-terrorism’ laws has been politicised, ad hoc and almost completely devoid of evidence.”

Government hubris can’t hide shameful reality of offshore detention

The government’s international bragging about its policies towards refugees and people seeking asylum cannot hide the shameful reality of offshore detention from the rest of the world, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“As Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Dutton try to convince the international community that everything is going just fine, people on Manus Island and Nauru are at breaking point,” Senator McKim said.

“Not only are Australia’s policies not succeeding, they represent a failure of epic proportions with massive human and financial costs.”

If the Government wants their ‘revolutionary’ investment approach to work, they need to change their social policy settings: Greens

The Australian Greens have said today that Governments proposed ‘investment approach’ to income support will fail if broader social policy settings do not change and if the overhaul is pursued with intentions to plug up the budget.

“Like much of the community service sector, I am cynical when it comes to the Government’s so called ‘revolutionary’ approach for income support. Time and time again vulnerable Australians have been attacked for savings, so stakeholders and the community are justifiably worried that this is a further excuse to erode our social safety net.

PM begging for TPP trade agreement against Aus interest

Malcolm Turnbull should stop begging the United States to pass the disastrous Trans-Pacific Partnership and instead act in the national intrust by opposing the deal, the Australian Greens have said.

"This deal will drive the cost of cancer drugs through the roof and make Australian taxpayers vulnerable to being sued by foreign companies," the Greens' Finance and Trade spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"Malcolm Turnbull should stop begging like a dog at the dinner table of the United States and instead stand up for regular Australians by opposing the TPP.

Cancer scandal grows: Skinner can’t dodge Special Commission of Inquiry any longer

The Greens NSW health spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to support a Special Commission of Inquiry into the management of cancer treatment in NSW after a damning report revealed that the scandal has grown once again and serious clinical governance issues have been identified in the Western Local Health District.
“Every step of the way, Minister Skinner has sought to downplay this scandal, avoid responsibility and dodge a Special Commission of Inquiry which would ensure this widening scandal is thoroughly investigated,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.