Shorten Short on Detail

Yesterday, Bill Shorten’s repeated failure to come clean on the cost of Labor’s economy-wrecking emissions target was finally explained.

Bill Shorten and Labor have resorted to relying on four-year old modelling done by Professor Warwick McKibbin to detail the cost of their policy, including claiming that there will be “no additional cost” to meet Labor’s 45% target relative to the Coalition’s 26% target.

This is despite Labor needing 1.33 billion tonnes of abatement – nearly four times the 328 million tonnes needed under Coalition policy. As Professor McKibbin himself said, “raising the target reduction from 28 per cent to 45 per cent would almost double the cost to the economy…by 2030, you’re well and truly worse off. It is twice as costly for twice the target.” The Australian, 11 July 2017

Bill Shorten and his energy and climate spokesperson Mark Butler are trying to pull an outrageous con job on the Australian people.

Patricia Karvelas: When will we see your full modelling for how it will effect the economy?

Mark Butler: I don’t understand why it’s inappropriate for us to rely upon [Professor McKibbin’s] modelling that the Australian Government commissioned.

ABC, 17 April 2019

Well, here are a few reasons Mr Butler, for a start:

1. Professor McKibbin himself has said his modelling, done in 2015, “did not model Labor’s policy”. Twitter, 19 March 2019

2. Professor McKibbin’s modelling did not cover the entire economy, excluding around 30% of Australia’s emissions including fugitives from manufacturing, mining and oil and gas production. These are the sectors that will be hit hardest by Labor’s new carbon tax.

3. Bill Shorten himself has previously dismissed Professor McKibbin’s modelling as “just complete rubbish” and implied the modelling results were made up. ABC Lateline, 1 December 2015

4. Professor McKibbin’s modelling assumes a carbon price of US$5 per tonne, rising to US$10 in 2030, much lower than current international prices of around US$30 per tonne and far below forecast prices for 2030. Professor McKibbin: “If the price of offsets in the world is higher than we assume, that effect is gone. We don’t know what the price of offsets will be in 2030. These numbers are not precise in any sense.” The Australian, 18 April 2019

The Labor Party’s desperate insistence on relying solely on modelling from 2015 proves the terrifying truth: if elected, Labor is committing this country to an economy-wrecking emissions target and no one in the Labor Party has done the numbers on what the consequences are.

The Coalition has stepped through – to the last megatonne and the last dollar – how we are going to meet our international obligations.

Bill Shorten isn’t telling us the truth about how much Labor’s reckless target will cost – because he actually has no idea.

If Bill Shorten can’t tell you the truth about his policies, how can Australians trust him?

Record Jobs Numbers Demonstrate Importance of a Strong Economy

Today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force figures demonstrate the benefits of a strong economy, with 1,316,000 jobs created since the Coalition Government came to office in September 2013.

There are more Australians in work than ever before. Total employment has increased by 304,700 over the year to a record high of 12,791,500. Full-time jobs growth increased 48,300 in March 2019, and in the last twelve month 95 per cent of the jobs created have been full-time jobs.

Under the Coalition female employment has reached record highs, with female employment currently at 6,000,600. Under the Coalition we have also seen the lowest gender pay gap on record and record high levels of female workforce participation.

Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer, said the Coalition’s economic plan is working.

“Our plan for a strong economy is working. There are more Australians in work than ever before, with more than 1.3 million jobs created over our time in Government,” Minister O’Dwyer said.

“But we want to see even more Australians in work, which is why our plan for a strong economy is so important.”

“A re-elected Morrison Government will pledge to create an additional 1.25 million jobs over five years, including an additional 250,000 jobs for young people.”

“Our personal income tax plan will encourage and reward hard work and help families get ahead. And our small business tax plan benefits 3.4 million businesses employing over 7 million Australians. Only a re-elected Morrison Government has a plan for a strong economy.”

“Labor and Bill Shorten’s $387 billion in higher taxes will weaken our economy, undermine small business, and put jobs at risk.”

“When Labor was last in government the unemployment rate jumped from 4.4 per cent to 5.7 per cent, and in their final year in office full-time employment fell by over 20,000.”

“The choice is clear. Only a re-elected Morrison Government has a plan for a stronger economy which will create jobs and guarantee the essential services Australians rely on,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.

ONLY LABOR WILL DELIVER THE NDIS THAT AUSTRALIANS DESPERATELY NEED

A Shorten Labor Government will invest in the NDIS workforce and get the scheme back on track by investing $40 million in local NDIS workforce trials and urgently developing a national NDIS workforce strategy.

Scott Morrison and the Liberals have short-changed the NDIS and the people who rely on it, delaying the rollout and capping staff in a bid to deliver a surplus.

The $1.6 billion underspend the Liberals booked in their budget is a direct result of their failure to deliver the NDIS as promised.

77,000 people with a disability and their families are going without vital services because of the delayed rollout.

And on average people are only using just 50 per cent of their first NDIS plan, largely because of a lack of access to services.

That’s not good enough and only Labor will get the NDIS back on track by properly investing in the workforce so quality services are delivered to people with disability.

As many as 90,000 extra NDIS workers will be needed over the next five years to meet the needs of the 460,000 Australians who will get access to the NDIS.

A Shorten Labor Government will establish two-year local NDIS workforce trials in 2020 and 2021 to establish the best way to sustainably grow and maintain a skilled NDIS workforce.

The trials will be flexible and place-based and will be a partnership between people with disability, providers, TAFE, government and workers.

The NDIS workforce trial will have three components:

  1. Ensuring NDIS workers have the foundation skills they need, with up to 3000 training support payments of $2,000 for induction training;
  2. Supporting NDIS workers to get Certificate III qualifications, with up to 2000 training support payments of $4,000; and
  3. Providing a portable professional development entitlement for NDIS workers, with up to 5000 training support payments of $750 per year, so people can take time off work to specialise and upgrade their skills.

Labor will also scrap up-front TAFE fees for 20,000 students studying to get skills for the NDIS and aged care.

The trials will establish the best flexible local solutions to skills shortages, gaps in the training curriculum and course availability, and barriers to getting the right people working in the NDIS.

The initial trial sites will be:

  • Canberra – where the NDIS is creating between 1000 and 1200 new jobs.
  • Townsville – where the NDIS is creating between 800 and 950 new jobs.
  • Joondalup – where the NDIS roll-out is just beginning and hundreds of new workers will be needed.

A Shorten Labor Government will work with state and territory governments to expand the workforce trial to other locations.

Labor will also develop a comprehensive national NDIS workforce strategy, in partnership with people with disability, families and advocates; service providers; state and territory governments; TAFE; and workers.

Only Labor can be trusted to properly fund, deliver and support the NDIS so that people with disability, their families and loved ones get the support they desperately need and deserve.

Greens Put NSW Environment at Centre of Election Campaign

Australian Greens Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi,  has announced the Greens Environment Plan for New South Wales. The centrepiece of the Greens environment policy this election is a new Nature Fund, which would invest $2bn a year across the country to protect Australian flora and fauna and fund the development of recovery plans for at-risk species. The fund will also pay for qualified “environment managers”, and boost the number of Indigenous rangers. The plan is funded through a carbon price and making big polluters pay.

In New South Wales, the plan consists of:

  • $8.9m for conservation of koalas including habitat restoration, support for community based programs and research.
  • $17m a year to go to local councils through the Local Greening Program
  • $6.8m a year from additional Landcare funding
  • $2m a year to NSW Nature Conservation Council
  • More Indigenous rangers – boosting the number of NSW rangers to 240
  • Funding for the Environmental Defenders Office

Senator Faruqi said:

“Nature has intrinsic value, it is not just a commodity to be used and abused. As an environmental engineer, I know we need bold and evidence based plans to start reversing the decline of our precious ecosystems.

“The NSW and Federal Liberal-National Governments have declared war on our environment and we are reaching a point of no return.

“Our plan represents the biggest investment in environmental conservation in Australia’s history. It will begin to turn the tide of ecocide which sadly has become the norm in New South Wales.

“With overdevelopment, climate change and increasing land clearing in New South Wales, our environment is under threat like never before. Corporations are free to rip up, pollute and bulldoze our precious environment. We need bold action to protect our environment.

“We are rapidly hurtling towards a future in New South Wales where our next generations will not see a koala in the bush or in a national park and perhaps not even in a zoo. Koalas are on track to be extinct in New South Wales by 2050 if we continue our current path. This is an absolute tragedy.

“The Greens are drawing a line in the sand to stop our precious threatened species from slipping away,” she concluded.

Greens Launch Plan to Ensure Access to English Language Support

Australian Greens Education Spokesperson and Senator for NSW, Dr Mehreen Faruqi has today launched a National Plan to ensure access to English Language Support, including through launching an urgent review to reverse the outsourcing of services provided by the Adult Migrant English Program.

The Greens’ plan will:

1.      Stop the undermining of the the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and begin an urgent review to reverse the outsourcing of services.

2.      Ensure the development and implementation of a nationally agreed English language proficiency framework for assessing and reporting on the needs and progress of students learning English as an Additional (EAL) language in schools.

3.      Support the development of effective post-school education and training pathways for migrant and refugee youth who have difficulty accessing the education and training system due to a lack of English and prior education.

4.      Establish a dedicated unit in the Department of Education and Training to oversee and coordinate language in education and training.

The Greens will set aside $50 million over the forward estimates to implement the plan:

Senator Faruqi said:

“Confidence in reading and writing is fundamental for social interaction, education and employment, but some are being left behind by a lack of resources because successive Governments have ignored this important issue.

“The Adult Migrant English Service is an essential service that for decades assisted migrants to settle successfully in Australia. But the Liberal/National Government’s outsourcing experiment has undermined its effectiveness.

“The Greens will initiate an urgent review of the program to determine how to save the Adult Migrant English Program, reverse the outsourcing of services and ensure the focus remains on supporting migrants to successfully settle in Australia

“We cannot allow people to be left behind by Governments who are not prioritising English language support. The Greens stand with migrant communities and are building a future for all of us.

The Greens Plan

1. Stop the undermining of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and start an urgent review to begin the process of reversing the outsourcing of services.

The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is an essential service for assisting new migrants to settle more successfully and quickly in Australia. But since the Liberal/National Government’s contracting out of the service and a new business model that moves the focus from the successful settlement of migrants, the quality of the program has suffered. Stakeholders say it is no longer fit for purpose and doesn’t meet its primary goal of supporting migrants to learn the English they need for successful settlement in Australia. The Greens will initiate an urgent review of the program to determine how to save the program and reverse the outsourcing of services.

2. Ensure the development and implementation of a nationally agreed English language proficiency framework for assessing and reporting on the needs and progress of students learning English as an Additional Language (EAL) in schools.

Although English language support programs have been in schools for nearly fifty years, Australia still has no nationally agreed framework for identifying, assessing or reporting on English language learners’ English proficiency needs.  This situation prevents national identification, reporting and needs based funding for this group. The Greens will ensure that the framework is developed and implemented across state and territory jurisdictions.

3. Support the development of effective post-school education and training pathways for migrant and refugee youth who have difficulty accessing the education and training system due to lack of English and prior education.

Secondary aged humanitarian entrants who arrive in Australia who lack English and haven’t fully completed prior schooling are at risk of dropping out of school and missing out on access to further education and training pathways. These young people need basic education programs that develop English language, literacy and numeracy and work-related and personal development skills, integrated with settlement, wellbeing and vocational counselling support. Previous Youth Transition Support pilot programs showed models of effective early intervention across school, work and community settings supporting young people into education and employment pathways.

The Greens will support the up-scaling, development and effective implementation of these Youth Transition support programs and ensure that good practice models are sustained and used to improve education and training pathways for at-risk migrant and refugee young people.

4. Establish a dedicated unit in the Department of Education and Training to oversee and coordinate language in education and training.

There is no national leadership or expertise to oversee and coordinate language in education and training. The Greens will establish a dedicated unit in the Department of Education and Training to serve as a national agency focal point for supporting and monitoring language in education and training initiatives across government. This unit will work with states and territories to ensure English language support is integrated in related areas of Government, such as schools, TAFEs, early childhood and other areas.

Police appeal after armed robbery – Waratah

Newcastle City Police are appealing for public assistance, after an armed robbery at Newcastle this morning.

Around 9.30am (Thursday 18 April 2019), officers were called to a licensed premises on Station Street, Waratah.

Police have been told an unknown male entered the premises threatening patrons with a firearm.

He then fled the scene with a sum of cash.

Thankfully, no one was injured during the incident.

Police are appealing for witnesses who may have seen a male acting suspiciously in the area between 9 and 10am this morning.

He is described as being approximately 180cm tall, with a solid build and dressed in dark clothing. His face was covered by a dark balaclava.

If you can assist with inquiries please contact Newcastle Detectives on 4929 0999 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Woman charged after alleged armed robbery – Mayfield

A 35-year-old woman has been charged following an alleged armed robbery earlier this week.

About 3pm on Tuesday (16 April 2019), a woman entered a chemist on Maitland Road, Mayfield.

Police will allege the 35-year-old approached a store attendant and threatened her with what’s believed to be a knife.

The woman then demanded a quantity of prescription drugs, before fleeing the scene.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended the scene and searched the area but were unable to locate the woman.

Following inquiries, around 3pm yesterday (Wednesday 17 April 2019) police executed a search warrant at a home on Douglas Street, Stockton, where they seized several items.

A 35-year-old woman was arrested and taken to Waratah Police Station and charged with robbery armed with offensive weapon.

She was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Newcastle Local Court on Thursday 16 May 2019.

Stockton recreational drawcard ‘opens’

City of Newcastle will open a major $2 million playground and skate plaza attraction on the Stockton foreshore on Friday, just in time for the Easter long weekend.

The South Stockton Active Hub next to the ferry terminal will activate Griffith Park by offering families and recreational skaters a place to relax and enjoy the harbour surrounds.

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The facility runs in two parallel lengths of around 40m, with the skate plaza on one side and the playground on the other flanking BBQ facilities and a shelter in the middle. Local skaters have already given the thumbs up by breaking through construction fences before their scheduled removal tomorrow

“This is a great development for Stockton that will give youngsters and families the perfect option to enjoy on the northern side of the harbour. Set against a backdrop of the city skyline on a site perfect for Instagram, the facility will also help boost Stockton’s profile as a place to visit,” Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said after cutting a ribbon today.

“I look forward to coming back in a couple of weeks after the school holidays to celebrate the Active Hub with some of the kids from St Peter’s Primary School who first wrote to us in 2016 to invite us to see their plans and models for the park.”

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From Friday morning, some of those kids will be enjoying the new playground’s flying foxes, slides, climbing nets and swings, while skaters relish handrails, angled ledges, an A-frame kicker, zig zag ledge and a half pipe.

Merewether skateboarder George Richards said he was impressed with the new facility.

“It’s great to have a street-style skate plaza,” he said. “I don’t think there is another one in the area, and there are some really unique aspects of the park which makes it interesting.”

The Active Hub was one continuous length of around 100m in the original design but was split to be sit closer the harbour after residents of Hunter Street Stockton expressed their concerns.

The facility has been part funded by a $450,000 Newcastle Port Community Contribution Fund and Section 94 contributions by both City of Newcastle and Port Stephens.

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New Council Administration Centre Delivers $13 million Saving to Ratepayers

The City of Newcastle’s (CN) relocation to the west end will benefit ratepayers by $13.1 million over 25 years, according to a business case by Australia’s largest commercial real estate services firm.

CN can today announce the finding of the CBRE business case following the awarding by Council of the tender for the fit-out of the new premises at 12 Stewart Avenue.

“With the fit-out cost now locked in, we can inform the public that the business case by CBRE has confirmed cost savings to ratepayers of $13.1 million over the next 25 years by relocating to the new building versus upgrading the existing buildings.

“This $13.1 million saving doesn’t include the huge gain for the city from the conversion of the Roundhouse into a five-star hotel by the Crystalbrook Collection. Nor does it include $22.2 million in estimated interest that Council will earn from the proceeds of the sale of the Roundhouse”, Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Bath said.

Procurement for the fit-out of City of Newcastle’s new administration centre is set to begin in May following the awarding of a contract to NSW based firm Graphite Projects. On site construction will commence in mid-June.

The $8.2 million contract will fit-out all six floors in the new building for 425 Council staff, and also includes construction of a new Council Chamber.

A reimbursement from the owner of the 12 Stewart Avenue building of $372,000 reduces the actual cost to Council of the fit-out to approximately $7.86 million.

The reimbursement is due to Council’s decision to have carpet installed as part of the fit-out contract with Graphite Projects rather than by the building owner as is typically the case.

CEO of City of Newcastle Jeremy Bath said the move to 12 Stewart Avenue continues to be on budget.

“In October 2017 we estimated the cost of the fit-out at approximately $7 million. Then ten months later the elected Council resolved to move the Chamber to the new building, which we told them would bring the total cost to $7.8 million.

“Council will use the $372,000 reimbursement from the building owner towards the fit-out contract, meaning the actual cost to Council is exactly what we said it would be in July last year,” he said.

United Services Union (USU) Organiser Luke Hutchinson recently met with City of Newcastle CEO Jeremy Bath to discuss several issues raised by union members associated with the move to 12 Stewart Avenue.

“While many of our members are excited about the move, the USU has long said that a collaborative approach with the City is crucial to ensure the wellbeing of all members.

“The USU appreciates there is a level of anxiety associated with any move of this scale, and after meeting with the CEO, we’re confident that we can have any concerns that our members have addressed and resolved in an open and timely manner.

“We also welcome a number of initiatives associated with the move, such as bringing all administrative staff under the one roof and members to enjoy vastly improved workplace facilities”.

“These improvements to workplace facilities and culture can increase collaboration, productivity, encourage staff comradery and raise the overall wellbeing which is really positive for our members working at City of Newcastle,” he said.

Jeremy Bath said that if Council had remained in its current buildings, staff would have continued to be spread across three separate buildings and 13 floors.

“The move allows the consolidation of staff from 3 buildings into one, and across just six floors with a layout that will drive a productive and collaborative way of working.

“Rather than staff being told where they must sit, our employees will decide which team to sit with based on the projects they will be working on that day.

“It’s a new way of working that has proved extremely successful for companies including the Commonwealth Bank, Airbnb, Macquarie Bank, KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Bankwest and Blacktown Hospital.

“The practise of a staff member having the same desk for twenty years which sits unused when they are out in the field, in meetings, on holidays or away on sick leave, is outdated and an inefficient use of space and resources.

“The advice of some of Australia’s most successful companies is that allowing flexible team-based seating improves staff communication, collaboration and interaction, which in turn ensures better decision making,” Mr Bath said.

LABOR’S SURGERY WAITING LIST BLITZ

Australians stuck on hospital waiting lists will get the essential surgery they need faster with a Shorten Labor Government.

As part of Labor’s $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, we will dedicate $250 million to blitz elective surgery waiting lists in public hospitals.

The $250 million waiting list blitz is in addition to the $500 million commitment to slash public hospital waiting lists for cancer patients as part of our Medicare Cancer Plan.

But procedures such as knee and hip replacements or cataract surgeries aren’t elective – they are essential.

Labor’s $250 million investment could pay for more than 62,000 cataract procedures or 9,800 knee replacements or 9,400 hip replacements.

While patients are stuck waiting for essential surgery, Scott Morrison is cutting $2.8 billion from public hospitals so he can pay for handouts to multinationals and the top end of town.

Only Labor will deliver a fair go for all Australians, reverse the cuts to public hospitals and blitz Scott Morrison’s public hospital surgery backlog.

As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut $715 million from Australia’s hospitals – cutting hospital beds, cutting healthcare workers, and blowing out hospital waiting lists.

The average wait time for elective surgery has increased by more than 10 per cent since the Liberals were elected in 2013.
Now as Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is planning to cut another $2.8 billion from public hospitals if he wins the next election.  This will make surgery waiting times even longer.

A Shorten Labor Government will restore every dollar that Morrison wants to cut from public hospitals.

As well as stopping Morrison’s $2.8 billion cut to public hospitals, Labor will invest $2.3 billion in our Medicare Cancer Plan – delivering cheaper cancer scans, consultations and medicines in the biggest cancer package in Australian history.

While Scott Morrison and the Liberals spend billions of dollars on tax loopholes for the top end of town, they are cutting billions of dollars from public hospitals and leaving all Australians worse off.

Labor believes access to healthcare should depend on your Medicare card, not your credit card.

Bill Shorten and Labor will deliver a fair go for all Australians, not just the top end of town.

STATE-BY-STATE BREAKDOWN OF THE $250 MILLION

NB – Tasmania’s commitment already announced


State-by-state breakdown of the Liberals’ $2.8 billion cuts to public hospitals: