Greens Slam Labor and Liberal Collusion to Scrap Education Investment

Greens Senator for NSW and Education Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has slammed Labor and the Liberals for striking a deal to sell out TAFEs and universities. The two parties voted today to abolish the $4 billion Education Infrastructure Fund, which was focused on building research and education infrastructure.

Senator Faruqi said:

“Labor and the Government have teamed up to stab education in the back by abolishing billions in education funding.

“I don’t expect any better of the regressive Liberals who have cut education funding at every turn, but Labor used to be the party of education. Now they are just selling out communities and young people to remain politically relevant.

“Labor are so eager to please the Liberals they voted to abolish the infrastructure fund they themselves established. The reality is unis, TAFEs and research have all suffered under this Liberal-National Government. Education in Australia is being dangerously underfunded.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes the impact of the fund in Port Macquarie where I lived and worked and where the fund contributed to the Joint Health Education Facility which is training doctors to meet demand for care in rural and regional areas.

“We must fund disaster relief and support communities facing the brunt of the climate crisis, but the Greens will not be party to the Government’s long-running campaign to cut our universities and TAFEs to the bone while their climate inaction endangers all of us,” she concluded.

Murray-Darling Basin Plan in tatters

Legislation tabled in the NSW Parliament last night effectively tears up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan leaving the environment and downstream communities high and dry, the Greens say.

“NSW has been waiting for an excuse to get out of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and they’ve found one,” Greens Spokesperson for Water and the Environment, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“The Nationals are exploiting the drought crisis to blow the Plan up.

“The whole purpose of the MDBP was to manage the River in times of drought. The water sharing arrangements are designed to stop communities being pitted against each other and to avoid water wars in times of crisis.

“When speaking to the Water Supply (Critical Needs) Bill last night, the NSW Water Minister was clear that water would be reallocated at the expense of end-of-system flow requirements.

“The Coalition is putting their corporate mates in charge and they’re not actually doing anything that will put water back into the River system so towns have water to drink and family farms have water for stock and crops.

“Australia’s biggest river system is being destroyed by climate change, coal and corporate greed while the Libs and Nats fight amongst each other about who gets to announce policies that don’t deal with any of these issues.

“Towns need drinking water but it should come from corporate irrigators, not the environment or downstream users. There’s no way South Australians will let NSW and the Coalition get away with this.”

Horse Traceability Scheme Vital Following ABC 730 Horse Racing Cruelty Exposé

Greens Senator for NSW and Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi, has reacted to a shocking ABC 730 exposé into the abuse and cruel slaughter of race horses at knackeries and abattoirs.

Senator Faruqi said the Federal Government needs to urgently establish a national horse traceability scheme so horses leaving the race industry can be tracked for their whole lives.

Senator Faruqi established an inquiry into horse traceability that is due to hand down its report in the coming months.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The horse racing industry has blood on its hands. I am absolutely sickened and angered by what this footage shows. It is much worse than what many of us had imagined.

“I’m sure people across Australia would be shocked and shattered at the extent and level on animal abuse we saw in the expose.

“The horrific abuse and suffering of horses once they have stopped making a profit shows the callousness of the industry that purports to look after them. They should hang their heads in shame.

“I have long said that when animals and gambling mix, animals always suffer.

“The horse racing industry’s euphemism for horses they can no longer profit from, ‘wastage’, betrays how sickeningly little regard they have for the horses they breed. If the industry wants to breed horses, they must take responsibility for their whole life.

“Part of the solution is transparency. The Federal Government must urgently establish a national horse traceability register which will allow tracking of horses throughout their lives so the industry has no more excuses for not ensuring every horse has a dignified retirement.

“I want to thank the brave activists who risked their safety to expose this barbaric cruelty,” she concluded.

Medevac Repeal report

Evidence heard during the medevac inquiry made an overwhelming case for keeping the legislation in place, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

“The evidence heard during this inquiry made it clear – medevac has saved lives,” Senator McKim said.

“The government’s refusal to transfer sick people from offshore detention to Australia under previous arrangements caused death, mental anguish and untold suffering among refugees and people seeking asylum.”

“The medevac repeal Bill shows that the government puts political imperatives ahead of people’s medical needs.”

“They have made the crass calculation that some lives are worth sacrificing for broader political outcomes, despite their legal and moral obligations.”

“Decisions about medical care should be made by medical experts, not politicians or bureaucrats.”

“The Greens will oppose the medevac repeal legislation.”

The Greens’ dissenting report can be found here:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/RepairMedicaltransfers/Report/section?id=committees%2freportsen%2f024304%2f72235

Government Pretends Biggest Expenditure Item Is Drought

This Government is loose with the truth.

24 hours after it emerged their dam announcement was based on false figures, they have made up more total fantasy.

Today in Question Time the Treasurer said the drought was the “number one call on the budget.”

This is cold comfort to the thousands of farmers desperately struggling to survive on the land, who are not receiving one cent of direct funding from the Future Drought Fund.

Farmers have been left high and dry by the Morrison Government and now the Government is misleading by suggesting they are spending more money on farmers than anyone else.

Government Runs From Economic Debate

For a second consecutive day Scott Morrison has refused to defend his economic record by debating the state of the Australian economy in the Parliament.

After more than six years in office the Government has produced:

  • The slowest economic growth in a decade;
  • The worst wages growth on record;
  • Almost two million Australians being unemployed or underemployed;
  • A decline in GDP per capita last year, with flat growth in the last quarter;
  • Record levels of household debt;
  • Consumer confidence at a four-year low;
  • Business confidence well below average; and
  • Sluggish productivity growth.

In Parliament today we repeatedly invited Mr Morrison to defend his economic record and allow time for a serious debate on the economy.

He ran from the issue.

He is ashamed of his economic record. He should be.

Mr Morrison has no plan to stimulate our nation’s sluggish economy and is so out of touch and arrogant that he believes he is above the scrutiny of the Parliament of Australia.

City unveils new playground

Rankin Park families have a new $150,000 playground on McCaffrey Drive as City of Newcastle continues its rollout of new and upgraded facilities across the local government area.

The Coldstream Reserve facility follows delivery of three other new playgrounds by the City this year in Adamstown, Wallsend, and the incredibly popular Stockton Active Hub on the Stockton foreshore.

Wide-shot-of-Coldstream-playground-inside-release.jpg
“Up to five of Newcastle’s 119 playgrounds are included annually in the City’s asset renewal works program,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said.

“Two more upgrades are set to be delivered in Wallsend at Carrington Street Reserve and Brickworks Park over the next 12 months.”

The Lord Mayor and locals will gather in Coldstream Reserve Saturday to officially open the facility, which was built by City of Newcastle as a replacement for another nearby playground which had to be closed because of mine subsidence.

“I’m delighted to deliver this new playground for the Rankin Park community,” Councillor Nelmes said.

George-and-Ari.jpg“This is the fourth playground we’ve opened this year and I know how much pleasure they bring for both kids and their families.

“After the forced closure of the Rosedale Crescent playground, the community was consulted to choose a new location, and the consensus was Coldstream Reserve just a few hundred metres away. The feedback so far is that the kids absolutely love it.”

The playground includes a range of options to challenge young bodies and minds, including a rope-based play system, platforms and slide, swing set and balance logs.

Funded by Subsidence Advisory NSW in partnership with City of Newcastle, the playground blends with the slope of the reserve, changing levels via steps in a sandstone retaining wall.

Equipment colours match surrounding eucalypts and the play area, which is fenced off from McCaffrey Drive, is accessible via a path that also leads to picnic tables under a timber shade structure.

Playgrounds earmarked for an overhaul are selected and prioritised from a biennial independent audit that assesses their existing condition against current safety standards and guidelines.

The community is invited to celebrate the opening of the new playground tomorrow, Saturday 19 October 2019 from 10.30am.

Image caption: Two-year-old George Outram with Ari Boorer, 2.

Newcastle leads the way with smart city infrastructure

An advanced network of sensors spread across the city has put Newcastle on the front foot to combat a range of local environmental issues.

The City’s ‘Envirosensing’ network and Internet of Things (IoT) project, which will be officially launched today, is the culmination of three years of work to build one of the most advanced smart city infrastructure systems in Australia.
Capture5-(1).JPGThe system is designed to measure a range of environmental conditions including temperature, humidity, wind direction, air quality, water usage, soil moisture and solar irradiance.

The infrastructure also allows for the pilot deployment of smart bin sensors, smart parking sensors and other smart city applications.

Data collected by the sensors can help the City better understand and respond to issues such as urban heat island effect, air pollution, flood management and water sustainability, as well as monitor the performance of urban systems and assets.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Newcastle is leading the way when it comes to investment in and uptake of technology.

“The launch is a significant milestone, marking the completion of the base infrastructure required to start deploying applications that not only solve the city’s challenges but also harness exciting opportunities,” Cr Nelmes said.

“An example of how these sensors can be used is in combatting the phenomenon of higher temperatures in areas with a lot of buildings and pavement, known as the Urban Heat Island effect.

“Studies show that Urban Heat Islands are associated with higher pollution and negative health conditions, especially for the elderly and young children. This technology will be integral to exploring possible actions to mitigate urban warming.”

Today’s launch will also showcase custom-designed adaptable sensor housings developed with local industrial design outfit Design Anthology, which are integrated into the city’s growing smart pole network and can be accessed by the City’s research and industry partners to develop new technologies and help solve city challenges.

Cr Nelmes said this network will establish Newcastle as an experimental testbed for progressing research, prototyping and entrepreneurial activity.

“The scope of this system’s potential is as far-reaching as the imagination of the researchers and entrepreneurs we hope to attract to solve an open-ended range of challenges using sensing and data,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This infrastructure will allow us to focus on optimisation, efficiency and evidence-based decisions in our journey towards becoming a smart, sustainable and liveable global city.”

The NSW Government supported the deployment of smart city infrastructure through a $5 million grant via the Restart NSW-funded Hunter Innovation Project. A partnership with the State Government will see the City of Newcastle invest an additional $2 million over three years.

NEW PARKING APP A WIN FOR DRIVERS

Drivers in parts of Sydney can now pay for parking and top up using their phones, with the launch of the NSW Government’s Park’nPay app.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello was joined by Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance today at The Rocks to announce the new technology, which goes live today in The Rocks, Liverpool Council and parts of Darling Harbour and Pyrmont.

“This app is a game changer for drivers, eliminating the need to search for loose coins and walking to the nearest meter to pay for parking,” Mr Dominello said.

“The technology is hassle free and makes life easier for drivers by putting more power in their hands.”

Mr Constance said the app will help drivers avoid parking fines because they will be notified when their meter is running low or their park is about to turn into a no stopping zone.

“Park’nPay will reduce the stress and pressures of getting a ticket from parking inspectors as you can check your meter in real-time,” Mr Constance said.

“When a meter is about to expire, users simply top up their account through the app so they don’t have to stop what they are doing to rush back to their car.”

The app is free and available on iPhone and Android phones. Drivers simply download the Park’nPay app, create an account with their licence plate and payment details. Users have the option of paying with Visa, Mastercard, Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Parking inspectors will check to see if a meter has been paid by searching licence plate details using an app on their phone. Parking meters will continue to accept coins and credit cards.

Drivers have a 10 minute grace period for not getting fined after paying for at least one hour of parking.

The Government will work with local Councils over the coming months to come on board. For more information visit www.parknpay.nsw.gov.au

ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO HELP NSW STUDENTS THRIVE

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is providing more annual funding to schools, with $1.25 billion going to more than 2000 public schools across the State next year – a $60 million increase on 2019.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced the funding today, which is provided on top of a school’s base allocation, and can be used for more teachers, literacy and numeracy programs, and teacher training.

“We are unashamedly for lifting standards in our schools and this additional funding is making a real difference in the outcomes of students at the local level,” Ms Berejiklian said

“Schools will consult with the local community to develop a plan for the funding to cater for the specific academic and wellbeing needs of their individual students.”

The funding method, known as the Resource Allocation Model (RAM), recognises the needs of schools across NSW differ and takes into account the socio-economic profile of students, Aboriginal student numbers, disability and English language proficiency.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the funding reports are being delivered earlier than in previous years to allow schools to better plan how the funds will be used, improving outcomes for the over 800,000 NSW public school students.

“We have listened to feedback from Principals – and are releasing the School Budget Allocation Reports ahead of schedule. This will allow schools more time to plan their funding allocations for 2020 – helping them make smarter decisions focused on student outcomes,” Ms Mitchell said.

“We know that Government has an obligation to current and future generations to fund access to a quality education for every child according to a transparent and consistent assessment of their educational needs. That is what the RAM is all about.”

“As part of the 2020 RAM allocations, schools will see the benefit of $433 million to support students through the equity loading for socio-economic background and $201 million through the per capita loading.”

The NSW Government is working towards creating Australia’s best education system and providing students with world-class education no matter where they live.