More oil and gas will fuel the climate emergency

Greens Senators Richard Di Natale, Nick McKim and Peter Whish-Wilson will today join Tasmanian surfers in calling for a ban on oil and gas exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

Senator Di Natale said, “Today we’re standing with surfers and other oceangoers in saying no to oil and gas in the Great Australian Bight.

“It’s just not worth the risk to our marine environment and to our climate.

“The fossil fuel era is coming to an end. This means companies are chasing the last oil and gas into deeper and more dangerous waters than ever.”

Tasmanian Greens Senator Nick McKim said, “Modelling has shown that an oil spill from the Bight could travel thousands of kilometres, even as far as Tasmania.

“The emergency response times to a spill would be much longer due to the remoteness of the Bight.

“This poses an enormous threat to a pristine marine environment that should be under World Heritage Protection.”

Greens Healthy Oceans spokesperson, Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, said, “Despite the danger to our marine life and our climate, the major parties can’t get enough of it and are running a protection racket for the industry.

“Last year, they voted against the Greens attempt to hold a senate inquiry into seismic testing.

“Seismic testing involves continuous blasts from an air gun that are louder than a jet engine and can go on for weeks on end. Just how much harm it does to other marine life, including dolphins and whales, is unknown.

“The Federal Government has a responsibility to protect Australia’s oceans and marine life, and to take the strongest possible action to protect future generations and prevent dangerous climate change.”

A new report by Global Witness showed that the opening up of any new oil and gas reserves is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement.

The Greens would:

  • Ban all new offshore oil and gas exploration, including a ban on seismic testing.
  • Ban all new offshore oil and gas extraction.
  • Stop all oil and gas exploration and extraction in marine parks and in the Great Australian Bight, including by revoking existing permits.

The Greens’ Healthy Oceans policy can be found here.

LABOR TO BOOST 2019 PERTH TELETHON BY $2 MILLION

A Shorten Labor Government will double the Federal contribution to the 2019 Channel 7 Telethon by contributing an additional $2 million this year.

Telethon is an amazing organisation that encapsulates the spirit of WA – receiving donations from Esperance to Wyndham, from Kalgoorlie to Claremont – and is the world’s longest running telephone fundraiser.

Western Australian families, even children, chip in what they can to help kids in need – making Telethon one of the biggest per capita fundraising events in the world.

Since it commenced in 1968, Telethon has improved the live of tens of thousands of children in Western Australia and beyond, raising more than $300 million over more than five decades.

Telethon’s role supporting medical research, purchasing equipment for children with disability, supporting community organisations, and providing critical support all make a real difference to the lives of young people and their families in Western Australia.

Labor’s additional $2 million commitment will provide support toward the Telethon Kids Institute’s focus on giving every child the best opportunity to enjoy a happy and healthy childhood.

LABOR WILL BOOST AUSTRALIAN MINES OF THE FUTURE

A Shorten Labor Government will boost Australia’s potential as a resource powerhouse and battery production superpower by investing $75 million in developing the future mining of resources such as lithium.

We want to ensure Australian mines are powering the commodities of the future – such as lithium – as we build the renewable energy economy.

Australia has every mineral needed to make a lithium battery domestically – batteries that are used in electric cars, smart phones and to store renewable energy.

Our $75 million investment will reverse the Liberals’ decision to axe the Exploring for the Future program – a program that uses cutting edge technology to find future deposits through building underground maps that show where mineral deposits lie.

Labor’s plan will support local jobs, local industries, local manufacturing of future commodities and a cleaner energy future.

Western Australia has proved to be home to globally significant deposits of lithium and other minerals and is perfectly positioned to benefit from this funding boost.

The McGowan Labor Government and industry in Western Australia are looking at how best to turn the state’s natural resources into new jobs and industries.

The Association of Mining and Exploring Companies estimates that the global lithium value chain will grow from $160 billion in 2018 to $2 trillion in 2025 – Australia shouldn’t miss out on this.

Two-thirds of Australia’s potential mineral deposits remain undiscovered because they lie below the surface and could not be explored until the advent of new technology like ground penetrating radar, big data and machine learning – all deployed by the Exploring for the Future program.

While the world is discovering “Tier 1” deposits at a rate of three a year, Australia has not made a Tier 1 discovery since 2005.

This program had delivered important successes – like showing the South Nicholson Basin north of Mt Isa is three times larger than previously though and highlighting potential new gold and copper deposits in Tennant Creek.

In its last year, the program spent $40 million across 150 small to medium enterprises – most in Western Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory – to deploy cutting edge technology to help make an underground mining map of Australia.

Despite these successes, the Liberals still axed the Exploring for the Future program.

Mining contributes more export income for Australia than all other industries combined, but 80 per cent of its $221 billion in earnings during 2017-18 came from mines discovered more than 40 years ago, and our global share of exploration spending has halved in the last two decades.

Studies show for every dollar of initial geological survey by government, mining companies spend between $5 and $15 on subsequent exploration.

We need to be supporting that investment to discover future mines and deposits – which is exactly what Labor will do.

This commitment is part of Labor’s Future Mines and Jobs Plan, which includes:

  • Establishing the Australian Future Mines Centre to co-ordinate exploration work and lead the scientific research and development necessary to explore under deep cover as part of a $23 million Australian Research Council Special Research initiative.
  • Providing $2 million to support 100 new scholarships for mining engineers, with 50 of them for women.
  • Delivering an industry data and skills road map.
  • Developing a Resources White Paper, to deliver the long-term vision across government for the resource sector as recommended by the bipartisan Resources 2030 Taskforce Report.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan to create Australian jobs and build the renewable energy economy, or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals.

After six years of Liberal cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready to deliver a fair go for all Australians.

BETTER PAY FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS

A Shorten Labor Government will ensure Australia’s early childhood educators are better paid, supporting a quality early education and care system that delivers the best outcomes for children.

Early childhood educators are doing the important and demanding job of educating and caring for our next generation – 90 per cent of a child’s brain development occurs in the first five years of a child’s life.

Yet they are some of the lowest-paid workers.

That’s why Labor will work with the early education sector in the first 100 days of government to increase the wages of early childhood educators in the private and not-for-profit sectors.

Labor will fund pay increases of 20 per cent to early childhood educators over 8 years –supporting workers and delivering professional pay.

As a result – the average total wages of early childhood educators will increase by anestimated $11,300.

This is in addition to any wage increases made by the Fair Work Commission as part of their annual wage review, or any additional increases in wages employers agree with their workers.

Far too many early childhood educators leave the profession – 37 per cent a year – not because they don’t love the job, but because they can’t afford to stay. If Australia wants the world’s best early education system, then we need to do more to keep our best educators in the system.

No one knows the importance of keeping quality educators in their jobs better than the millions of Australian parents who trust early educators with their children every day.

This will make it easier to attract and retain dedicated and passionate people in the profession, and it will make it easier to keep great early educators on the frontline.

Importantly, this pay rise will not affect child care fees because it will be fully funded by the Commonwealth. Fees have gone up 28 per cent under the Liberals, and families are paying enough. The pay rise will be delivered in a way that ensures the costs are not passed on to parents. There will also be audits to ensure child care centre operators pass on the pay rises in full.

Labor’s investment in quality early education will be good for jobs and good for our economy.

This is an investment in pay equity for a female-dominated industry and is another step in our plan to help with the cost of living.

Our plan will ensure every dollar goes into the pockets of the educators, not onto the bottom line of the child care companies.

We are raising the wages of early educators through direct investment – because we don’t want families paying one cent more than they must for child care.

When Labor was last in Government, we provided significant pay increases to the undervalued social and community services workforce – also mostly women.

Labor will lead a national push to help close the gender pay gap, make sure women get a fair go at work and make sure those people we trust to educate the next generation are fairly paid.

Labor has provisioned $537 million over the forward estimates.

LABOR’S PENSIONER DENTAL PLAN

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $2.4 billion in a Pensioner Dental Plan – giving up to three million older Australians access to free dental care.

If you receive an Age Pension or hold a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card, Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan will give you $1,000 worth of free essential dental care, covered by Medicare, every two years.

This is a health boost and a cost of living boost for up to three million older Australians. And it’s the next step towards Labor’s vision of universal access to dental care in Australia.

Over 185,000 older Australians a year skip getting the dental care they need because of cost.
Despite this, the Liberals have cut $283 million a year from public dental funding – the equivalent of over 465,000 fewer dental visits every year.

This has caused waiting times for public dental to blow out across the country – with average waiting times of up to 820 days across the country for basic dental care, and 1 in 10 patients waiting up to four years.

Under Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan, age pensioners and Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will be eligible for $1,000 worth of dental services every two years.

Within this cap, Medicare will cover a wide range of dental services such as examinations, x-rays, cleaning, fluoride treatment, fissure sealants, fillings, root canals, extractions, periodontal treatment and dentures.

A specific schedule of benefits will be developed in consultation with dentists and experts, to ensure standard costs when accessing the scheme.

Labor will work with dentists to roll out the scheme, with accredited private dental practices able to join on the condition that they bulk bill, and meet minimum quality, safety and efficiency standards.

Labor will also work with the states and territories to enable public dentists to access the scheme, providing a substantial boost to federal funding for public dental services. In exchange, Labor will ask the states and territories to:

  • Bulk bill all eligible patients – removing existing co-payments in some jurisdictions.
  • Maintain their existing dental spending – boosting public services for other patient cohorts.
  • Work with the Commonwealth on preventive oral health measures, and share consistent data with the Commonwealth.

Aboriginal Medical Services, which provide vital dental care for First Nations peoples, will also be able to access the scheme.

Labor’s Pensioner Dental Plan will boost the health care of older Australians
Seeing a dentist is an essential part of health care – linked to wellbeing, nutrition and quality of life. Labor’s investment will ensure that older Australians aren’t slipping through the cracks in getting the dental care they need.

This is also a cost-of-living investment. Older Australians are grappling with soaring private health insurance premiums under the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government and a growing number are dropping cover altogether – meaning people have to dip more into the household budget to cover health bills.

Labor has a proud record of investing in access to dental care. In 2013, Labor established the Child Dental Benefits Scheme – giving eligible children aged up to 18 access to free essential dental care. The Liberals spent years trying to undermine the Scheme – with Scott Morrison trying to axe it altogether in his very first Budget as Treasurer.

Labor builds Medicare, the Liberals cut it.

This election is a choice between Labor’s plan for more health investment or bigger tax loopholes for the top end of town under the Liberals – paid for by cuts to the services older Australians rely on.

After six years of the Liberals’ cuts and chaos, our united Labor team is ready to deliver a fair go for all Australians, not just the top end of town.

Men charged after break & enter – Lake Macquarie

Two men will appear in court next month after being charged with a break and enter offence near Lake Macquarie.

During Sunday 28 April 2019 a home in Robina Drive at Hillsborough was broken into and a quantity of Australian currency was stolen.

That afternoon the owner reported the matter to police at Lake Macquarie Police District and officers commenced an investigation.

On Monday 29 April 2019 officers from Lake Macquarie Target Action Group arrested a 20-year-old man at a Roe Street, Mayfield home.

Officers subsequently searched a property at Hamilton South and recovered a quantity of cash.

Investigators then executed a search warrant at a home in Avery Lane at Buchanan and seized a quantity of cash and items of clothing for forensic analysis.

Following the search warrant a 22-year-old man was arrested at Cessnock Police Station.

Both men were charged with break, enter and steal and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime.

The 20-year-old man was granted conditional bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on Wednesday 22 May 2019.

The 22-year-old man was granted conditional bail to appear at Cessnock Local Court on Wednesday 29 May 2019.

Police continue with their inquiries into the incident.

Charges laid over attempted kidnapping – West Wallsend

A man will face court tomorrow after an alleged kidnapping in the Lake Macquarie area.

About 8.15am on Monday 29 April 2019, a 28-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, known to each other, were travelling in a Holden Commodore station wagon to Newcastle.

While at the intersection of the Pacific Highway and Northcott Drive, Adamstown Heights, the 28-year-old man allegedly assaulted the woman, then continued driving.

The woman escaped from the car while it was stopped on King Street, Newcastle, and ran to a nearby Court House where police were contacted.

Officers from Newcastle City Police District attended and spoke to the victim, commencing an investigation.

About 8pm, the 26-year-old woman was walking to an address in West Wallsend, when a 28-year-old man in a Holden Commodore, who is known to her, allegedly forced her into the car, travelling to Cessnock.

The man stopped the vehicle believed to be somewhere in Pokolbin preventing the woman from leaving.

They continued to travel to an address in Cessnock, where they remained most of the day. The woman was dropped off at a hotel in Cessnock and contacted police.

Following inquiries, detectives arrested a 28-year-old man at a hotel in Cessnock, about 2.15pm today (Tuesday 30 April 2019).

The man was taken to Cessnock Police Station and charged with common assault (x2), contravene apprehended violence order (x2), and take/detain person with intent to obtain advantage.

He was refused bail to appear at Maitland Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 1 May 2019).

LABOR TO DELIVER $2.3 MILLION FOR THROSBY CREEK

Shadow Minister for the Environment Tony Burke and Labor Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon are pleased to announce a Shorten Labor Government will commit $2.3 million to rejuvenate Throsby Creek and prevent damaging plastics and rubbish from ending up in the ocean.

This election will be a choice between a Shorten Labor Government with a plan for the environment, or more cuts and chaos from the Liberals.

Federal Member for Newcastle Sharon Claydon said the project includes the installation of traps to collect rubbish before it flows to the harbour.

“The funding will allow for the installation of four gross pollutant traps to catch rubbish at the source so it doesn’t end up in our precious ocean,” Ms Claydon said.

Ms Claydon said the fund would also allow for landscaping of the northern bank of the creek between Lewis Street Bridge and Hannell Street.

“The plan is for a non-sealed walkway with appropriate landscaping. Work will include cultivation of existing soil, soil improvement, plating and mulching,” Ms Claydon said.

“This will greatly improve the amenity of the area, mitigate erosion and decrease the potential for contaminant runoff from the former industrial land.”

“Through the Urban Rivers and Corridors Program, a Shorten Labor Government has committed $200 million to restore urban waterways and habitat corridors across the country to their natural beauty,” said Mr Burke.

“Labor’s investment will unlock grant funding for projects to clean up our rivers including revegetation, tree planting, waste capture and naturalisation projects.”

“For too long, our rivers, creeks and wetlands have been treated like storm water drains, end up polluted, dirty and littered with shopping trolleys rather than being safe spaces for families, kids and school groups to visit.

“Labor will engage state and local governments, local councils, community groups and local environmental organisations to bring urban waterways and habitat corridors back to health.”

Labor’s $200 million investment will fund projects to clean up our rivers, including:

  • Building wetlands to capture and clean and filter stormwater.
  • Revegetation and tree planting along corridors.
  • Citizen science and education programs along creeks and corridors, including bush kinder.
  • Bird boxes and waste capture.
  • Employment of indigenous rangers.
  • Turning urban waterways back into creeks and rivers again through changing hard surfaces back to natural surfaces (cement turned to river banks).

State Member for Newcastle and Chair of the Throsby Creek Government Agencies Committee Tim Crakanthorp welcomed the funding.

“The Committee has worked tirelessly over the past few years to produce a plan to restore Throsby Creek to its natural state. This funding will address some key priority areas as outlined in the plan.

“Throsby Creek is one of Newcastle’s most important natural assets. This funding will improve the community amenity and the health of the river for future generations of Novocastrians to enjoy.”

The Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has consistently failed to provide federal environment programs that adequately address the urgent need for urban river rehabilitation.

Only Labor is serious about protecting the environment and making sure it’s there for future generations to enjoy. We’ll take action on climate change, invest in the environment, and maintain Australia’s status as the “great outdoors”.

These policies and projects will form part of a comprehensive platform for a healthier environment in our cities and across Australia.

Red Lily Public Health Team Set to Bloom in the NT

Making sure health services in remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are culturally appropriate, responsive, and safe is a priority of the Morrison Government.

The transfer of remote Northern Territory (NT) Government clinics to the control of First Australians is a key part of the Morrison Government’s significant primary healthcare agenda.

The Red Lily Health Board Aboriginal Corporation, with the support of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT), will transition the Jabiru Remote Public Health team from Top End Health Service to community control from 1 April 2019.

This transition is the result of decisive action by Elders and the wider community to ensure culturally appropriate health services are provided close to where people live.

Country Liberal candidate for Lingiari, Jacinta Price said Red Lily’s delivery of primary prevention health programs will help address the poor health status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the West Arnhem region.

“This is an important step in realising community aspirations for self-determination. Good health is a key enabler in supporting First Australians and in building strong and resilient communities.”

Transition to community control in the NT is a partnership between AMSANT, the NT Aboriginal Health Forum, NT and Commonwealth Departments of Health, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the NT Primary Health Network.

The Morrison Government is providing up to $4.3 million from 2017-18 to 2020-21 to Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in the regions of Maningrida, East Arnhem and West Arnhem to assist with primary health transition activities.

A key to closing the gap in health outcomes is providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with equal access to effective, high quality, comprehensive and culturally appropriate health and welfare programs no matter where they live in Australia.

Boost For WA Economy and Jobs With New Naval Commitment

A re-elected Morrison Government will invest up to $1 billion to increase our defence capabilities by building three naval vessels in Henderson, Western Australia – two mine warfare support vessels and a hydrographic vessel.

This will ensure we maintain the 1,000 new jobs created to support continuous naval shipbuilding in West Australia and boost the state’s economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Australian Defence Force would continue to receive record funding to keep Australians safe.

“I want to keep Australians safe and secure, while ensuring our economy is strong,” Mr Morrison said.

“Our Government is investing more than $200 billion in Australia’s defence capability over the next 10 years – the nation’s biggest investment in Defence in decades.

“This commitment in West Australia adds to the 31 minor war vessels already being built in the state – built in Australia, by Australian workers, with Australian steel – in stark contrast to Labor, who committed to build no naval vessels in Australia.”

“We’re backing the West with our commitment to make WA a home of continuous naval shipbuilding in Australia and the Henderson precinct is crucial to Australia’s defence capability.”

Our plan to construct two further mine warfare support vessels at the Henderson shipyard precinct in West Australia is part of our new mine warfare strategy.

We will bring forward the replacement of the Huon-class mine hunters from the 2030s to the mid-2020s, as part of our new Maritime Mine Countermeasures Program (to be known as SEA 1905).

Over $1 billion has been allocated for the Defence Integrated Investment Program to deliver the full scope of SEA 1905, including the building of the two mine warfare support vessels and investment in new mine countermeasure systems.

We are also committed to constructing a hydrographic vessel at the Henderson shipyard precinct.

This vessel is part of our Hydrographic Data Collection Capability project (SEA 2400). As part of this project, we will build and acquire a Strategic Military Survey Capability to undertake strategic collection of maritime environmental data as part of the military survey function.

First pass approval of this hydrographic military survey vessel is expected in fourth quarter 2019, with the build commencing in the early 2020s, at Henderson.

We believe West Australia is strategically important to our nation’s defence, facing the Indian Ocean and as a gateway to our west and north.

Under the Coalition’s massive $200 billion defence capability investment over the next decade, West Australia’s defence industry is booming, supporting investment and creating jobs.

WA is home to over 6,400 Defence personnel and has a number of key bases, including Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, Campbell Barracks, RAAF Base Pearce, RAAF Base Learmonth, RAAF Base Curtin and the Harold E Holt Communications Station.

WA is home to ongoing upgrade and sustainment work for our existing maritime fleet, including:

  • Upgrades to and maintenance of the ANZAC class frigates at Henderson, valued at over $300 million in 2019-20.
  • The Collins class submarine sustainment program at Henderson, valued at around $331 million in 2019-20
  • Collins class submarine upgrade works at Henderson, valued at around $87 million in 2019-20.

The Coalition is also investing around $1.5 billion on infrastructure associated with our expanded maritime fleet and shipbuilding in WA, including:

  • $367 million for the redevelopment of HMAS Stirling to modernise essential infrastructure.
  • Under the Coalition’s Local Industry Capability Plan pilot, 100 per cent of sub-contractors on this project are from the Perth and Rockingham region, representing around 2,000 workers, with over 5 per cent indigenous participation.
  • Around $300 million for the development of the capability centre to support training for the new Arafura class offshore patrol vessels and Hunter class frigates.
  • Around $200 million for infrastructure to support Navy’s new replenishment vessels.
  • Around $670 million for the development of infrastructure in support of the Hunter class frigates at HMAS Stirling.

Next year, the Morrison Government will have restored this nation’s investment in Defence to two per cent of our GDP.

This record investment creates tens of thousands of highly-skilled, high-paid jobs around the country and creating a sovereign industrial capability that can support our Defence forces for decades.

When Labor was last in government, it made similar commitments – until it’s economic mismanagement caused it to slash over $18 billion from Defence, causing Defence investment to fall to just 1.56 per cent of GDP – the lowest level since before the Second World War.

Labor delayed 119 Defence projects, reduced another 43 projects, and cancelled eight projects altogether. This placed our security at risk and the loss of thousands of defence industry jobs across the country. Labor’s mismanagement created their naval shipbuilding ‘valley of death’.

By contrast, the Coalition Government has made over 173 project-related decisions since the release of our 2016 Defence White Paper: we’re getting on with the job of delivering the equipment and facilities our Defence Forces need, and supporting tens of thousands of new high-skill, high-paying Australian jobs.

To keep Australians safe and secure, we need to keep our economy strong. Only the Morrison Government can be trusted to keep Australia safe and secure.