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Public Services Bulletin - October 2014

03 November 2014 By ASU

This edition contains a summary of blog items published by Greg McLean in the previous calendar month. Items cover the areas of local government, energy and water, rail and public transport, international news including trade agreements, privatisation and general public sector matters.


The articles all relate to the blog of Greg McLean, ASU Assistant National Secretary


Growing inequality is not inevitable, the time to act is now - Oxfam has just released a new report “Even it up: time to end extreme inequality”.

Read online:   Oxfam has just released a new report “Even it up: time to end extreme inequality”. The report aligns very closely with PSI’s analysis of inequality and we are happy to endorse it, because it sends a profound message about a social system where wealth increases massively but poverty and misery do not recede. There is nothing inevitable about this state of affairs. The choices we make and the leaders we elect will determine if it continues or not. The existence of such inexcusable disparities in wealth is not an accident. The accumulation of wealth is used to entrench power in our society, power that is used to protect wealth and cement privileges for generations. The levels of inequality we see today are not simply unjust, they undermine democracy. Oxfam’s simple message that working people must be paid a decent wage, everybody is entitled to quality public services on...Tagged in:Human Rights

 Privatisation Trade Agreements


Tonight, thanks to the support of thousands of people taking a stand against the Americanisation of our universities, ALP V ad showing just what the Liberals have planned will air right across the country.  But this is just the beginning.  To stop Mr Abbott’s $100,000 degrees, we have to do much more. Most importantly, we’ll be relying on your help to make sure all Australians know what’s going on. We’ve got a new website and we’ll be out in the community with information and ways everyone can join the campaign. The deregulation of university fees is a backwards step which is bad for our kids and bad for the economy.  We need your voice to help stop $100,000 degrees.  So please, have a look at and share it far and wide, because an informed community will not allow a future in which our kids have to retire with a HECS debt. If you haven’t already seen the ad, you can watch it here and please, share it with your friends and family so they know what Tony Abbott’s Government are planning too. A few...


Advice from Services Skills - Oct bulletin  Qld Fitness, Sport & Recreation Industry Skills Survey - Have your say on VET skills.  For the first time, employers and industry representatives can ‘have a say’ on their skill and training priorities to inform the Queensland Government’s investment in the VET sector.   The Ministerial Industry Commission (MIC) has been established to connect with business and consult on industry and regional specific needs, to ensure there is a direct link for employer feedback on the State’s investment in vocational education and training. QLD Fitness, Sport and Recreation (QFSR) Skills Alliance has partnered with the MIC to ensure its industry members have a strong voice in setting the skill priorities and the future of VET. Read full article.   Back to top » ...

Tagged in:Industry Skills Councils

 Local Government


productivity commission report to government - releases its child care report this week, 31st October

Local Government Child Care Branch Reps  productivity commission releases its child care report this week, 31st October...


Register your interest for Rail R U OK? Day On 16 April 2015, TrackSAFE will coordinate an industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day. ASU national office will link in for Branches and keep Branches updated TrackSAFE's latest newsletter edition - September 2014. View this email in your browser Register your interest for Rail R U OK? Day On 16 April 2015, TrackSAFE will coordinate an industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day. The event will focus on engaging rail staff in conversations about their emotional status by prompting them to answer one simple question: Are you ok? While we cannot eliminate depression or anxiety in one day, it is our hope that this project takes us a step forward in addressing stigma surrounding emotional and mental trauma that might manifest as a result of exposure to incidents on the rail. We believe stations are a place of interaction and engagement within communities that foster people coming together. Let us extend this sentiment into our work environment by showing support for our rail staff. By participating in Rail R U OK? Day next year we can create...

Tagged in:Public Transport


Thank You, Gough Whitlam - a Labor hero --- Here's the full thank you card:

Gough Whitlam changed Australia. He was a Labor legend and visionary whose forward-thinking plans brought Australia into a modern era.  We say thank you, Gough, for everything you achieved for our nation: National Health Insurance Commonwealth Funding for University The Land Rights Act Racial Discrimination Act Protected the Great Barrier Reef The National Gallery of Australia Diplomatic Relations with China Fought for Equal Pay for Women Advance Australia Fair Reproductive Rights Family Court of Australia And more... Gough - you made Australia a better place. Sign our thank you card and show your support for the amazing achievements of Gough Whitlam. Sign here:  ...Tagged in:Child Care Human Rights


Update from Service Skills bulletin october International interest in Australia’s ISC model   Both Japan and Sri Lanka have taken inspiration from Australia’s Industry Skills Council (ISC) model as a way of ensuring industry has a say in the development of national training standards. Our CEO, Yasmin King, recently hosted a delegation of Japanese VET and Higher Education representatives interested in the Australian VET system and cookery training in particular. The group was led by Mr. Tetsu Nakamura, Principal of Nakamura Culinary and Patisserie School and President of the Association of Vocational Schools in Fukuoka Prefecture. Yasmin and the delegation discussed issues of training duration, quality and focus as well as Australian industry expectations for training in both ‘general’ employment skills and specific technical skills. The group expressed how impressed they were with what they had seen and heard. The Distinguished Professor from Kyushu University and representative from the Centre for Tertiary Education, agreed with Mr...

Tagged in: Industry Skills Councils


Workers Comp in NSW must change - many families hurt !!!!  Here's the full petition: Heathcote for The Liberals’ cruel changes to the state’s workers compensation scheme, has ripped support away for rehabilitation and medical treatment for injured workers.  Clearly the Liberals are out of touch with the residents of Heathcote. Sign our petition and tell the Baird Government to scrap these unfair changes. The 2012 reforms to the scheme significantly altered access to medical treatment for injured workers by restricting the timeframe in which assistance is available. Further, workers suffering industrial hearing loss had their entitlements to lifetime assistance for hearing aids, batteries and repairs reduced to an entitlement to one set of hearing aids and 12 months of batteries and repairs. The report  on the first review of the WorkCover Authority by the Law and Justice Committee is now available here: Sign here: ...

Tagged in:Human Rights


Gough was a Labor hero. As Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam changed this nation forever. A national health insurance scheme, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights, Commonwealth funding of universities, diplomatic relations with China, introducing the Racial Discrimination Act and an official policy on multiculturalism, and so much more -- these are all the achievements of Whitlam in government. To Gough, we say thank you, for making Australia a fairer, more forward-looking and decent country. Our nation wouldn't be the place it is today without his proud legacy. Join me in thanking Gough for his incredible achievements. John Robertson NSW Labor Leader P.S. If you've already signed to say thanks to Gough, share our card with your friends and family....

Tagged in: Human Rights

Vale Gough Whitlam from Bill Shorten

Gough Whitlam offered us a vision of what Australia might be -- a modern, multicultural nation, where opportunity belongs to everyone. Free university education and universal healthcare. The Racial Discrimination, Aboriginal Land Rights and the Family Law Act. Protection of the Great Barrier Reef from oil drilling. Gough ended conscription, the death penalty and he made Advance Australia Fair our national anthem. He put our suburbs at the centre of national debate. Gough Whitlam spent his entire political life reaching for higher ground – he redefined our country and changed the life of a generation, and generations beyond. He inspired us all in some way and he will continue to inspire us. There will be more tears shed for Gough Whitlam today than perhaps any other leader in Australian history. Our thoughts are with his family – a family that has given so much to our nation. Especially Margaret, a great Australian in...

Tagged in:Unions


Register your interest for Rail R U OK? Day On 16 April 2015, TrackSAFE will coordinate an industry-wide Rail R U OK? Day. The event will focus on engaging rail staff in conversations about their emotional status by prompting them to answer one simple question: Are you ok? While we cannot eliminate depression or anxiety in one day, it is our hope that this project takes us a step forward in addressing stigma surrounding emotional and mental trauma that might manifest as a result of exposure to incidents on the rail. We believe stations are a place of interaction and engagement within communities that foster people coming together. Let us extend this sentiment into our work environment by showing support for our rail staff. By participating in Rail R U OK? Day next year we can create an environment of support and encouragement so that asking if one is “OK” becomes standard industry practice. Your involvement can directly impact the quality of life for thousands of Australians. Tagged in: Public Transport


TISA - trade agreement The ASU has been working with a range of organisations in the Trade Debate , for some time . This has included the latest Trade discussion of both the TPP and the TISA agreement. In this we work closely with arrange of players including our affiliate the PSI . The latest advice from the PSI covers a range of issues and resources around the TISA agreement , and builds on the recent release in the media of the ‘ really good friends transnational corporations that some Branches have contacted me on , the below item is well work sharing with those following the trade debate in the public services areas . I have also relinked this article at the blog I prepare as part of my voluntary work with the PSI at please feel free to reuse and circulate this/these links Many thanks Greg Mclean  ... Tagged in:Trade Agreements


COTSIS AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT COUNCILLORS LAUNCH COMMUNITY PETITION OPPOSED TO TONY ABBOTT’S $288 MILLION RIP OFF FROM LOCAL COUNCILS ACROSS NSW Shadow Minister for Local Government Sophie Cots is has today launched a community petition opposing Tony Abbott’s plan to slash $288 million worth of funding from already cash-strapped local councils across NSW by freezing indexation of Local Government Financial Assistance Grants. Local Government Financial Assistance Grants have provided $44 billion to local communities since they were introduced under the Whitlam Government. Ms Cotsis was joined by Local Government Councillors to launch the petition outside the Local Government NSW Conference in Coffs Harbour today. “The Abbott Government’s decision to cut $288 million from this important program will mean that all councils across NSW will be forced to make cutbacks to vital road upgrades, infrastructure work and community services such as child care,” Ms Cotsis said. “Tony Abbott is driving a wrecking ball through local communities with his decision to cut $288 million from local councils in NSW. “Depriving local communities of these grants... Tagged in: Local Government State/Federal Government Services


NSW- Business Chamber’s undemocratic push for council amalgamations about money, not community interest Business Chamber’s undemocratic push for council amalgamations about money, not community interest Democracy is being trampled and the views of ratepayers ignored by Sydney’s business community as they selfishly promote council amalgamations in the hope that more lucrative contracts can be won from mega-councils, the United Services Union has said. The union, which represents more than 40,000 local government workers across NSW, said that the views of local communities were being disregarded by amalgamation champions with dollars in their eyes. USU general secretary Graeme Kelly also accused Sydney Business Chamber boss Patricia Forsythe of ignoring the fact that community consultation was a central part of democracy. “Sydney’s business community are leading the charge for amalgamations, not because they care what is in the best interest of ratepayers and others in the community, but because they see the possibility of big business entering local government,” Mr Kelly said. “Demands by the Sydney Business Chamber that councillors get on board the amalgamation bandwagon, without any community consultation...Tagged in: Local Government


INDEPENDENT REPORT CONFIRMS: QUALITY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION MATTERS An independent report released yesterday has confirmed that early childhood quality reforms are working and need to stay. The summary of findings of the 2014 review of the National Quality Framework consultation process has provided positive feedback from the sector, parents and families on quality reforms. The report concluded:   The systematic feedback from the consultation process was supportive of the National Quality Framework. While it was felt there were still improvements that needed to be made to the National Quality Framework, particularly in terms of its implementation, it was clear that the Framework had provided significant benefits in the short time it had been implemented.   “These findings show a clear and consistent message from parents and services – quality matters and quality works,” Shadow Minister for Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, said.   “Parents know the value of a professional workforce to educate children in these crucial early years and...Tagged in: Child Care Local Government


Additional update ITF action week Breaking news 9 – 16.15, 14 October 2014   This is the last issue of the Breaking News informing about the wide range of activities that the ITF affiliates organised worldwide during the International Action Week in 2014. The Secretariat would like to thank all of you for your active participation, motivation, solidarity and the experiences you have shared. A special thanks goes to those of you who managed to send us your reports. The Action Week 2014 comes to an end but the work to improve the working conditions and lives of transport workers continues! The union reports that are still coming will be included in the Summary Report prepared by the Secretariat.   West Africa sub-regional event On 11 October a sub-regional activity was held to commemorate the ITF Action Week at Bittou on the Burkina Faso-Togo border. Senior government and public officials of Bittou attended the event, as...Tagged in:Public Transport Unions


Update on the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network and the Australian Apprenticeships Management System IT Advice from Services Skills  Further to the announcement by the Prime Minister, the Hon Tony Abbot MP and Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP on 8 September 2014, updates on the National Australian Apprenticeship Support Network arrangements the Australian Apprenticeships Management System are now available. For further information on these updates see the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network – overview (PDF) and the Australian Apprenticeships Management System – IT overview (PDF) ...Tagged in: Industry Skills Councils


Join the National NAIDOC Committee    Call for public nominations to join the National NAIDOC Committee Applications are invited for nominations for membership of the National NAIDOC Committee. The National NAIDOC Committee selects the National NAIDOC theme, poster competition winner and recipients of each year’s National NAIDOC Awards. This position requires substantial commitment, including willingness to travel to attend committee meetings on weekends up to four times per year. Membership of the National NAIDOC Committee is voluntary and no remuneration is provided for the position. Travel and accommodation is provided at Australian Public Service rates. Applicants must be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent. Nominations close on Thursday 30 October 2014. Successful applicants will commence duties in December 2014. Download the selection criteria or email for more information.    ...Tagged in: Human Rights


ITF Action Week 2014 – 6-12 October - UPDATE Breaking news 3 – 17:30, 8 October 2014   Europe Over 120 railway union representatives from Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and France, as well as representatives from the ETF and ITF took part in a protest action in Luxembourg on 8 October to demand the rejection of the European Commission’s proposals on the ‘market’ pillar of the 4th Railway Package. The union representatives picketed at Kirchberg in front of the building where European Transport Ministers were meeting to discuss the 4th Railway Package, and in particular the Commission’s proposals for privatising national rail passenger services. A senior official from the Ministry of Transport of Luxembourg supported the picket action. A petition to the European Transport Ministers, with trade union demands, was delivered. The protest action was followed by a press conference at the headquarters of Luxembourg transport union FNCTTFEL, with good media coverage. (Email report by Janina Malinovska) See photos here  ...Tagged in: Public Transport Unions


ITF Action Week 2014 – 6-12 October Breaking news 2 – 17:00, 7 October 2014  Mexico ATM marked the first day of activities for the ITF Action Week on 6 October by visiting several locations in Mexico City to distribute information on different issues for transport workers. At the Mexico City supply centre (Central de Abastos de la Ciudad de México) – considered to be the biggest in Latin America - union activists approached freight drivers to raise awareness on ITF campaigns such as HIV/AIDS, climate change, violence against women, as well as the importance of freedom of association and international solidarity. The union also emphasized the ITF ‘Fatigue Kills!’ campaign in relation to the hours of work that these operators perform in order to transport goods. Afterwards, the union activists visited the Northern Bus Station (Central Camionera del Norte de pasajeros) and shared information on ITF campaigns with international operators, freight transport operators, and public transport workers... Tagged in: Public Transport Quality Public Services


Transport Workers Fighting Back! Organising Globally! (Breaking news 1 - 17:00, 6 October 2014)   Netherlands FNV Bondgenoten started their activities for the ITF Action Week on 4 October to address the reality of the working and living conditions for professional drivers in road transport. Together with colleagues from the Romanian trade union Sindicatul Lucratorilor din Transport (SLT), union activists talked to Romanian drivers in the Netherlands who are working in Western Europe but are paid far less than their West European counterparts. On 5 October, continuing the actions, activists from the two unions met drivers from Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Moldova in the port of Rotterdam. Often drivers from these countries are forced to live in the parking areas, sleeping in their trucks without facilities. One of the Bulgarian drivers who has been driving only in the Netherlands told the union activists that he had been living in his truck for one year. Over the two days, 51 drivers from Romania joined the SLT...Tagged in:Public Transport Quality Public Services


ALGA comment on the Reform of the Federation Issues Paper ALGA has lodged its comment on the first Issues Paper released as part of the Reform of the Federation White Paper process. The issues paper has been developed in consultation with the States and Territories and the Australian Local Government Association and sets out key matters the White Paper on the Reform of the Federation will consider. This includes the allocation of roles and responsibilities within the Federation, federal financial relations, governance arrangements and performance reporting. ALGA's initial comments provide a broad perspective on the questions raised in the Issues Paper including the need for the roles and responsibilities of all levels of government to be able to vary according to the need for government involvement, the capacity of each level of government and the changing perceptions of national interest and existing responsibilities. ALGA also argues that the Commonwealth should fund activities that are of a national interest, such as... Tagged in: Local Government State/Federal Government Services


 Stronger Regions Fund applications open Round one of the Australian Government's National Stronger Regions Fund is open for applications. The Fund will invest $1 billion over five years and support investment in the priority economic and infrastructure areas-from freight and transport projects to convention centres and major multi-purpose sports and community facilities. The Fund will provide between $20,000 and $10 million for up to 50 per cent of the cost of projects. The Fund will invest in important infrastructure projects nominated by local communities. Projects seeking funding will be considered in consultation with the Australian Government's National Infrastructure Committee. The Guidelines for the National Stronger Regions Fund detail the type of project proposals sought, how to lodge an application, how assessments will be conducted, and critical program dates. Applications for round one close on 28 November, 2014. To access the guidelines, and to lodge a round one application, visit here.   Advice from ALGA news ... Tagged in: Local Government


Productivity Commission to oversee water reform monitoring   The Productivity Commission will take on the role of monitoring and auditing Australia's progress in achieving water reform. Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Senator Simon Birmingham said the changes follow the decision to wind up the National Water Commission which will deliver its final Triennial Assessment of national water reform later this year, and key monitoring and reporting roles will be transferred to existing Commonwealth agencies. Under legislation introduced last week the triennial assessments of National Water initiative implementation by state and territory government, as well as five yearly audits on the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan will be undertaken by the Productivity Commission. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences will be responsible for annual reporting on water markets. The Department of Environment will be responsible for assessing milestone payments to Murray-Darling Basin states against the performance milestones specified in the National Partnership Agreement...Tagged in:Water


R2R funding - Roads Councils across Australia this week received advice of their allocation under the Australian Government's Roads to Recovery program. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss wrote to all councils to advise each local government authority of its share of the Australian Government's $2.1 billion injection into Roads to Recovery over the 2014-15 to 2018-19 period. $350 million has been allocated to councils under Roads to Recovery this year, next year the amount is doubled to $700 million. Mr Truss said councils will be able to lodge their Roads to Recovery annual report for 2013-14 and their new projects for 2014-15 during October. "Lodgement in October will allow associated payments under the new Roads to Recovery program to be made this November," he said. This aligns with the usual quarterly reporting and payment regime and means that only one-quarter has been delayed  as a result of the...

Tagged in:Local Government


Superannuation - AMP chief Craig Meller: ''Saving just 9.5 per cent of your earnings is not enough.''  Current problems 'child's play' compared to looming super squeeze, says AMP chief  ...Tagged in: Superannuation & Pensions


VICTORIA - Do you have students wanting to become an electrical apprentice? Do you have students wanting to become an electrical apprentice?   Is this email not displaying correctly? View it in your browser.   Do you have students wanting to become an electrical apprentice? NECA Victoria has again partnered with E-Oz Energy Skills Australia  to deliver the national Readiness Assessment in place of the NECA Pre-Selection Assessment. The Readiness Assessment is designed to test a person’s potential to successfully complete Trade School or off the job component of an electrical apprenticeship.   With your consent, the results of the Assessment are circulated to prospective employers by NECA. These prospective employers will make contact directly with those candidates they wish to interview.  There are no guarantees that you will be invited to an interview. Each individual participant will also have their results mailed to them by NECA. Click here for more information.  follow on Twitter | friend on Facebook | forward to...Tagged in: Energy Industry Skills Councils


Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) posted in Rally: FAIR DEAL or NO DEAL in the TPP The Leaders of the 12 TPP countries will meet on November 10-11 at the APEC Leaders’ meeting. They want to announce the outlines of an agreement to be finalised early in 2015. The danger is that foreign investors will gain the right to influence our laws and sue our governments, reducing our rights to affordable medicines, internet freedom, local culture, labour rights and the environment. Protests are being organised in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra, and in TPP countries around the globe. Sydney When:  11 am Saturday November 8 Where:  Meet at the TPP banner on the seaward side of Sydney Cove, South of the Opera House, opposite the Dendy Cinema.  This spot enables pics both of the Opera House and of the bridge in the background. What: bring anti-TPP signs, your organisation’s flag or banner for pictures. If you are from another city, let us know if you want to organise there. We will circulate details...Tagged in: Trade Agreements

Contact Details
Name: Greg McLean, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 0419 796 801