Government keeps spinning tall tales on Cashless Debit Card despite failure to prove it works

The Greens say the Government should abandon the Cashless Debit Card not continue to throw money at the failed punitive program.

“The $30 million “Job Ready Package” intended for the Cashless Debit Card Trial sites must be invested in supportive measures, for all people in regional, rural and remote areas that need support and training.

“According to a budget leak some portion of the “Job Ready Package” money will be allocated to assisting with helping people get tax file numbers, driver’s licences or other documentation, this should be happening right now in all areas.

“It’s frankly ridiculous that Employment Providers who are being paid billions in Government money are not already providing this essential and very basic support.

“Helping people address key barriers like poverty or assistance with administration or access to the internet has been recommended extensively by people in the Jobactive program and by experts for years.

“Now we finally have some tacit acknowledgement that we need to help people address what is stopping them finding work rather than just punishing them or telling them to “get a job”.

“It’s appalling that Government Senators keep spinning out their tired lines on how good the Cashless Debit Card is. It’s absolute rubbish and it needs to be called out.

“This Government has been unable to provide ANY compelling evidence that the card has had a positive outcome or achieved any of its supposed aims.

“The Government has spent billions pushing this punitive scheme, and millions on flawed evaluations trying to prove that this approach works and to justify their punitive approach.

“Government Senators claim they know what communities want when First Nations organisations have been extremely clear that this card is contrary to the Closing the Gap objectives of self-determination and free, prior informed consent.

“The card doesn’t work. It’s racist, discriminatory and punitive. If there was a genuine will to assist people with the barriers they face we would see investments in wrap around services that are delivered by the community and abandonment of the card.

“This card causes loss of dignity, shame and stigmatisation, this is what people have said when asked in the Government’s evaluations.”

MORRISON’S HYDROGEN SPIN IS JUST MORE CASH FOR COAL & GAS

As the Prime Minister pins all his hopes on technology to save his government’s complete lack of any climate policy, his financial commitment doesn’t match up to his marketing.

In the wake of President Biden’s announcement of a $2 trillion climate infrastructure package, Scott Morrison has proposed a $539 million hydrogen and CCS hub spend to spruik his low emissions technology strategy, 3700x less in total and 290x less per capita than the Biden administration.

Most of this funding will go to coal, oil and gas, the leading causes of climate change. Further, Morrison’s proposed spending still sees Australia fall well behind the rest of the world.

The Greens are also concerned that Morrison still doesn’t understand the key difference between dirty ‘blue’ and ‘brown’ hydrogen which has very limited demand from export destinations with net-zero targets and zero-emissions green hydrogen with enormous potential.

Green Hydrogen will deliver a massive jobs and export boom to Australia if we invest now, but on current spending commitments, Australia is set to lose out on what is tipped to be a $15 trillion dollar ($12tUSD) industry as rivals investments in green hydrogen development dwarf paltry efforts by the Morrison government.

International comparison of government-led investments in Hydrogen:

Rank Country Commitment AUD conversion ($m)
1 South Korea $114 trillion won $141,000
2 Germany 9 billion Euro $14,310
3 Spain 8.9 billion Euro $14,150
4 France 7 billion Euro $11,130
5 Japan $830 billion yen $10,400
6 Saudi Arabia $5 billion (USD) $6,500
7 Australia $346 million* $346

*$346m includes $70.2m from 2020-21 Budget and today’s pre-announced $275.5m for hydrogen (including fossil-fuel based hydrogen) for the 2021-22 Budget

“Under Scott Morrison, Australia is set to lose the green hydrogen race and miss out on jobs and billions of dollars in exports,” said Mr Bandt.

”Scott Morrison is using public money to turn coal and gas into hydrogen. That’s not supporting green hydrogen, it’s a fossil fuel handout.

“As Joe Biden demands countries including Australia lift their 2030 targets and phase out coal, this kind of spin won’t cut it and Australia will face international pressure.

“This government’s obsession with coal and gas is about to cost Australia as other countries invest heavily in green hydrogen, giving them the edge as future markets open up.

“With all our wind and sunshine, this is Australia’s competitive advantage to seize, but it is being lost.”

“As our competitors and customers invest billions into the future, Australia is putting all its chips on yesterday’s technology while simultaneously saying technology will save us.’

The Greens have also called on the government to support green metal production in Australia.

“South Korea and Japan are in the top 3 of Australia’s export gas customers. Their green hydrogen development, together with their net-zero targets pose a direct challenge to ongoing gas sales. We’re backing the wrong horse.”

“Our big export destinations will want green steel and aluminium, and Scott Morrison is locking us into coal and gas manufacturing. It’s economic vandalism that will kill thousands of jobs,” Bandt said.

MRNA Vaccines Should Be Made in Australia

An Albanese Labor Government will make it the first priority of Labor’s National Reconstruction Fund to deliver mRNA vaccine and RNA medicine manufacturing capacity right here in Australia, creating jobs and a new high-tech manufacturing industry.

The Morrison Government has had over a year to invest in this capability and they haven’t, once again leaving Australia missing out on new jobs and manufacturing opportunities.

We currently do not have capacity to manufacture state of the art mRNA vaccines and RNA medicines like the Pfizer vaccine in Australia and this not only undermines our ability to tackle the COVID-19 crisis over the longer term, but it means we miss out on a new global industry estimated to be worth $5.5 billion in just three years’ time.

That is why the first task of Labor’s $15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will be to explore partnerships with key industry players, states and investors to deliver the latest mRNA vaccine and medicine manufacturing technology to our shores to grow jobs, boost our recovery and safeguard our health and security.

Labor’s plan is about more than just a COVID-19 vaccination, it is about creating the advanced manufacturing industries that will power good new jobs and a stronger economy and provide an ongoing sovereign capability for decades to come.

mRNA vaccines and RNA medicine is state of the art technology, and with Labor’s priority to manufacture this science here, we will have more promising, effective medications like flu vaccines, high blood pressure medications, statins and cancer treatments and vaccines.

We don’t want to be caught off guard like this again. The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us we need to be a country which makes things, and the state of the art sovereign vaccine capability should be top of the list.

Under Labor, Australia won’t be left behind. Under Scott Morrison, we already have been.

Labor has a plan for reconstruction that will rebuild Australia’s manufacturing base, create good jobs and safeguard our health and prosperity.

Botany Cranes Case

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) has been successful in another prosecution of unlawful conduct in the building and construction industry.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and several of its NSW officials have been penalised more than $1 million for coercing and unlawfully picketing a Sydney-based crane company, Botany Cranes, in January 2019.

The officials admitted to the conduct that was aimed at coercing Botany Cranes to sign-up to a CFMMEU enterprise agreement and reinstate a CFMMEU delegate.

The Morrison Government re-established the independent ABCC on 2 December 2016, to ensure building and construction sites are fair, efficient and productive. This is the second highest penalty since the agency was re-established.

As noted in the Court ruling: “The [CFMMEU] is a serial recidivist in such contravening behaviours…its history of contraventions of industrial law is appalling. That history reflects an embedded culture throughout the organisation of conscious and often, as here, flagrant breaches of the law.”

“…Its conduct, through its three senior officials in this proceeding, displayed utter contempt for the rule of law… Its conduct here demonstrates that the culture of the Union, and its senior officials, is simply “might is right” or “Union – power”. That conduct has no place in our society…

To date, more than $25.7 million in penalties have been awarded in cases brought by the ABCC and its predecessor agencies, with more than $13.7 million in penalties awarded since the ABCC was re-established in December 2016. The CFMMEU and its officials account for the majority of these penalties, at nearly $12.4 million.

Despite profligate law-breaking by unions and tens of millions of dollars in fines, Anthony Albanese and the Labor party want to abolish the organisation holding unions to account.

By proposing to dismantle the independent organisation charged with ensuring promoting and enforcing compliance with workplace laws, Labor is sending a clear message that unions like the CFMMEU need fewer checks and balances, not more.

It is clear Labor is on the side of union officials and not the workers, who will ultimately have to foot the bill for these significant fines.

The building and construction industry that employs 1.1 million people should be able to get on with the job without disruptions and delays caused by coercion and unlawful pickets.

Cancer funding boost and development of Australian Cancer Plan

The Australian Government is investing an additional $6.7 million to support and improve outcomes for all Australians affected by cancer.

In 2020, an estimated 150,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Australia, with around 50,000 Australians tragically passing away.

As part of this investment;

  • $4.7 million to support strengthening supportive and primary cancer care and genomic cancer clinical trials in Australia; national leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer control, and the development of an Optimal Care Pathway for Neuroendocrine Tumours (NETs).
  • $2 million to investigate children’s brain cancer, breast cancer, melanoma and lymphoma, and other important areas of cancer research through Cancer Australia’s Priority-driven Collaborative Cancer Research Scheme (PdCCRS)

The funding will be delivered in partnership with Cancer Australia, who today is convening a Ministerial Roundtable at Parliament House as part of the first step in the development of a visionary ten-year Australian Cancer Plan.

The Australian Cancer Plan will set out the key national priorities and action areas over the next 10 years to improve outcomes for Australian’s affected by cancer. It will also cover prevention, early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, while providing for the unique needs of specific cancer types and populations.

Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt said, investing in cancer research and support and the establishment of an Australian Cancer Plan demonstrated the Government’s commitment improving cancer outcomes.

“While Australia is a world leader in cancer control and we have made great strides in improving cancer mortality and survival rates, cancer still has significant impacts on individuals, families, communities and the health system,” said Minister Hunt.

“We must continue to take action to address the multifaceted challenge of tackling cancer and in particular the disparities in outcomes among cancer types and many population groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

CEO of Cancer Australia, Professor Dorothy Keefe thanked the Minister for the opportunity to develop an innovative Australian Cancer Plan in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, and to establish a framework for shared responsibility for implementation.

“The heart of modern medicine should be patient centred care that focuses on equity of outcome”, said Professor Keefe.

“The Plan will build on current achievements, investments, capabilities and current evidence, but with a focus on the future of patient centred and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander focussed cancer care. It will harness emerging evidence, technologies and innovations to improve outcomes and benefit all Australians affected by cancer.”

Cancer Australia will develop the Australian Cancer Plan in consultation with key stakeholders within two years.

Dedicated Veterans Employment Program launched by City of Newcastle

A dedicated program aimed at supporting veterans to pursue a career in local government has been launched by the City of Newcastle.

The City of Newcastle Veterans Employment Program, developed in collaboration with the NSW Office for Veterans Affairs and United Services Union, provides dedicated advice and guidance to both veterans and employing managers about matching skill sets, supporting veterans throughout the entire recruitment process, as well as providing tailored feedback to ex-service personnel.

Veterans-Employment-Program.jpgLillian Tiddy Executive Manager, Member Services at LGNSW, Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Craig Delaney from the Office for Veterans Affairs and Stephen Hughes, Northern Region Manager, United Services Union.

Resources include a detailed ‘Local Government Rank to Grade Guide’, aimed at helping veterans and hiring managers understand how Australian Defence Force skills and experience align with local government roles, a dedicated guide to preparing job applications and resources to assist throughout each stage of the recruitment process.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle was proud to partner with the Office for Veterans Affairs and United Services Union to support veterans to consider pursuing a career in the local government sector.

“City of Newcastle has an enormously diverse workforce, catering to a wide range of skills and backgrounds making local government a great career opportunity for ex-service personnel, no matter their rank or experience”, said the Lord Mayor.

Office for Veterans Affairs Manager Craig ‘Dallas’ Delaney, a veteran Lieutenant Colonel with 30 years service in the Australian Defence Force, who leads the Veterans Employment Program for the NSW Government, welcomed City of Newcastle’s support for veterans through the implementation of a dedicated resource to assist ex-service men and women find employment in local government.

“The Veterans Employment Program aims to support our ex-service personnel into public sector jobs across New South Wales, and City of Newcastle’s commitment to this program will be warmly welcomed by the men and women of our veteran community,” Mr Delaney said.

“The Office for Veterans Affairs, working closely with City of Newcastle, can provide strong support and assistance throughout the entire recruitment process. From helping to match existing skill sets with the right jobs in the public sector, to providing tailored feedback on their application if a veteran has the courage to request it, we’re working together with the City of Newcastle to ensure our ex-service personnel are adequately supported when taking the next steps in their career.”

United Services Union Northern Region Manager Stephen Hughes, a Veteran who served as an infantry soldier in the 3rd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, and assisted with the development of the Veterans Employment Program, said the union was proud to work with City of Newcastle to support veterans employment initiatives.

“The United Services Union welcomes City of Newcastle’s commitment to supporting our veterans into meaningful employment in the local government sector,” Mr Hughes said.

“We look forward to continuing to collaborate with Council on initiatives to ensure a diverse workforce, that is representative of the communities they support, including our ex-service men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation.”

City of Newcastle Infrastructure Director Ken Liddell, a veteran with 20 years of service in the Royal Australian Air Force, said the diverse skills he learned during his career in the Air Force enabled for a successful transfer into the public sector, including senior leadership roles in State and Local Government.

“The skills I learned in the Australian Defence Force have been invaluable for my post-service career in the public sector. Strong and decisive decision making, collaboration and team work as well as leadership and mentoring are all skills encouraged in the services, that readily transfer into local council jobs”, said Mr Liddell.

“The ability to continue to serve your community is just one reason why I would strongly encourage any veteran to consider a career in Local Government as a great post-service career choice.”

HUNTER DEFENCE INDUSTRY IS GROWING STRONGER

The NSW Government has reiterated its support for the Hunter region’s thriving defence industry, as the Hunter Defence Conference kicks off, bringing together prime contractors, businesses, defence researchers and training institutions to drive collaboration for the future of the industry.

The Hunter Defence Conference 2021 shines a spotlight on defence industry skilling and workforce readiness, defence capability development, supply chain and contract opportunities for small and medium enterprises and driving collaboration across the breadth of the defence industry.

Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said NSW had more skilled people than any other state to meet the requirements of the defence industry over the next decade.

“This is no more apparent than in the Hunter region, where collaboration between defence Prime contractors such as Lockheed Martin Australia, BAE Systems Australia and Boeing Defence Australia, along with local companies and education providers is driving a pipeline of the defence industry workforce of the future”.

“The defence sector contributes $944 million to the Hunter region and the NSW economy and the NSW Government is committed to seeing significant growth to support more local jobs.

“Investment NSW is now open for business to attract investment and propel job creation by growing industries like defence. With a concierge for businesses and investors to navigate options to partner with the NSW government, we are excited to be able to drive more jobs for NSW, commercialise ideas, and connect our businesses to global markets.”

The Hunter-based Nupress Group has been supplying precision manufactured components in the Aerospace and Defence sectors for over ten years, including the Joint Strike Fighter global supply chain where Nupress Group supplies parts for the engine.

Nupress Group CEO Craig McWilliam said Nupress has been part of the Hunter manufacturing sector since 1971.

“We undertook our transition into the defence sector and were motivated to elevate the supply chain as part of our journey. The Hunter is full of very smart and efficient businesses and we are excited to be part of this region’s defence industry opportunities,” Mr McWilliam said.

“We understand that no one can do it alone in the defence industry. We’ve always tried to elevate and support our supply chain in the same way that the large defence companies have supported us.”

The NSW Government, through Investment NSW, is focussed on growing the entirety of defence industry across NSW and that will enhance our contribution to National security interests.

“I can’t wait to see the future expansion that comes – we are all striving for jobs and innovation which is exactly what our defence industry is all about,” Mr Ayres said.

Further details about Defence NSW are available at www.defence.nsw.gov.au.

WORLD-CLASS EQUINE TRAINING ACADEMY IN SCONE

The NSW Government today announced the Upper Hunter will cement itself as the equine capital of the nation with the former TAFE site at 2 Flemington Drive to become a world-class equine training centre delivered by Racing NSW.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said Racing NSW will develop a state-of-the-art equine industry training academy that will significantly expand its current use as an educational facility.

“The development of this equine training centre will see the Upper Hunter community have access to the very best of what the thoroughbred racing industry has to offer,” Mr Barilaro said.

“The thoroughbred racing industry generates a $3.6 billion economic benefit to NSW and sustains 27,600 full time equivalent jobs across the state so this is a major boost for local employment now, and for generations to come.

“The Upper Hunter will have the best of both worlds, with a world-class equine training centre in Scone and state-of-the-art learning facilities including the Connected Learning Centre in Scone and the Muswellbrook TAFE.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said Racing NSW’s investment in the Flemington Drive site will elevate equine training to a world-class standard.

“The community and local industry will benefit from specialised equine courses delivered by Racing NSW for local jobs such as stablehands, trainers, trackwork riders and jockeys,” Mr Lee said.

“It is the NSW Government’s priority to deliver the training industry demands and who better to lead the charge than the nation’s leading thoroughbred racing body.”

Racing NSW Chief Executive Peter V’landys said Racing NSW will offer extensive courses for the thoroughbred racing industry and other trades.

“We’re committed to working with TAFE NSW and the local community to ensure the training needs of the local community are being met for all trades,” Mr V’landys said.

TAFE NSW will lease back parts of the site for up to three years at nil cost and has committed to the continued delivery of equine training in the Scone community beyond 2024, as required.

SYDNEY CBD SUMMIT TURBOCHARGES RECOVERY

The NSW Government is investing an additional $20 million into the CBD Revitalisation strategy to help stimulate Sydney’s CBD economy and boost jobs.

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announced the funding following a second Sydney CBD Summit of business, community, government and industry leaders held today at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

“We need to continue to drive growth in Australia’s global city as we emerge from the pandemic, and today a diverse mix of people came together in Australia’s global city to help make this happen,” Mr Perrottet said.

“The Government will allocate an additional $20 million which will be used to help our city grow. We want more people back in the city, whether that’s working or shopping or coming in for entertainment and dining.”

The new funding brings the total CBD revitalisation investment to more than $40 million, including $5 million from the City of Sydney.

Minister for Small Business Damien Tudehope said the first Sydney CBD Summit supported initiatives such as increased public transport, flexible outdoor dining arrangements, and programs to attract people into the CBD.

“Since the first Summit, we’ve gone on to launch Dine & Discover, as well as new Sydney CBD accommodation vouchers which will be available later this year and we’ll consider other opportunities as they arise,” Mr  Tudehope said.

“However, commercial occupancy rates in Sydney remain around 50 per cent due to continuing flexible working, well down from the pre-pandemic rate of about 90 per cent.

“When people return to the office, they support small businesses and local jobs by buying lunch, shopping in store rather than online, and going out to visit cultural institutions as they stay open after dark.”

Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the September summit saw changes to how spaces were used in the city, such as enabling businesses to operate with more outdoor seating and dining areas, and flexibility remained key to the city’s revival.

“We need to accept that the CBD post-pandemic will look and operate differently than it did before COVID-19 hit us and that’s why it’s important we have events like today’s summit to hear a range of perspectives on emerging issues,” Mr Stokes said.

“Sydney is our global city and we’ve got to do what we can to propel its growth and ensure we’re maximising business and cultural opportunities into the future.”

Minister for Tourism and Jobs Stuart Ayres said the CBD remained impacted by the halt on international travel, which supported businesses and jobs.

“International travellers to Sydney contributed more than $1 billion to the economy over the summer of 2020 and the city is still grappling with that loss, despite improvements on the domestic tourism front,” Mr Ayres said.

“The CBD needs to mature from being a place we go to work into a 24-hour destination with a diverse range of experiences.”

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she welcomed the CBD Summit to help unlock further potential and build upon learnings from revitalisation programs like Sunset Piazza, Culture Up Late and Al Fresco dining.

“Last September’s summit led to initiatives that put us on the path of recovery, by making outdoor dining easier, supporting live entertainment and creating our fabulous Summer Piazza at Cathedral Square,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We have helped breathe life back into the city centre and it is vital we continue our support of businesses and jobs through creative programs.”

FREE HOSPITALITY TRAINING AT NSW CLUBS

The NSW Government has today announced jobseekers across the state will have access to free hospitality training to address growing skills shortages in the regional hospitality industry.

A partnership between the NSW Government and Clubs NSW will be piloted in clubs across the Upper Hunter, giving unemployed locals an opportunity to reskill for a job in a club.

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said COVID-19 had intensified an already-acute skills shortage for jobs, with local unemployment and a lack of overseas workers such as chefs, bar attendants and kitchenhands.

“The NSW Government is committed to working with the hospitality industry to get local people back in work and plug these skills gaps by providing hands-on experience in clubs across the state,” Mr Barilaro said.

“Right here in the Upper Hunter, Singleton Diggers, Muswellbrook RSL, Singleton Bowlo and Scone RSL will be among the first in the state to take advantage of the free training and equip locals with specialised skills delivered by TAFE NSW.

“Following the pilot in the Upper Hunter, the program will be rolled out to regional areas across the state, making it easier for jobseekers to find jobs in the future, keeping money in the local economy.”

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the partnership with Clubs NSW will not only help train locals but match them to hospitality jobs.

“This customised training employment program will deliver much-needed skills relief for clubs and regional economies, ensuring local jobs are filled by local workers,” Mr Lee said.

“Clubs play an important role in regional communities so it’s fitting they will also become a training ground for registered training organisations to deliver industry-relevant, hands-on skills and mentoring right here in their local club or at their local TAFE NSW.”

Clubs NSW Chief Executive Josh Landis said Clubs NSW welcomed the partnership with the NSW Government to create jobs in regional areas.

“Registered clubs employ more than 43,000 people across the state and are often the largest employer in regional communities, providing an opportunity for country residents to live and work in the towns they grew up in,” Mr Landis said.

The fee-free training will be funded by the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled program with a pilot expected to begin from July.

For more information, visit www.training.nsw.gov.au/programs_services/funded_other/clubsnsw/index.html