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Public Services Bulletin - January 2015

06 February 2015 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


QLD Electorate says NO to Privatisation of Electricity

Queensland Electorate says NO to Privatisation of Electricity and Public Sector Assets

Last weekend in Queensland a State election was held, with privatisation of the State Governments Electricity and other public sector assets a corner stone plank of the conservative liberal national party government proposals for their next term in government. Over many months in the lads up to the election the then Labor opposition had championed the opposition to privatisation, if anything it was one of their key messages to the electorate “opposition to the sale of public sector assets’. The opposition campaign saw the largest political change at election time in Australia’s history. While there are always a range of factors in citizens minds at election times, in this election both sides of politics made it a key campaign and stuck their reputations on it. The conservatives wanted the grab for cash and labor the return of any dividends to the citizens, but also the electorate.

Tagged in: Energy Local Government Privatisation Unions Water

ASU Coal Seam Gas Mining Position

To ASU Public Services Branches - Local Government - Energy & Electricity - Water - Railways & Public Transport.- State & Federal Government Services - National Executive & National Elected Officers  Dear Colleagues,  Further to the report back to ASU National Conference, side discussions with Delegates, discussions with the original movers of the resolution and the below e-mail , I’m pleased to advise we have only received positive support for the ASU COAL SEAM GAS MINING position , below, so we will now move to place on the ASU Web for reuse by Branches.  ASU Branches should feel free to reuse the advice as needed, again many thanks for your support on this important issues, once again it shows a current position of regulatory failure and too much reliance on market forces and the private sector being solely in charge of an energy source and distribution for domestic consumers.

Tagged in: Climate Change Energy Local Government

Regional QLD will Lose if Privatisation Happens

Regional Qld will loose if privatisation happens - im listening to those that work in the industry

The points raised here by Neil Henderson are very correct - while the comments made by Townsville enterprise are no quite complete - First Henderson is right once placed in private sector management or control it’s about profit to the shareholders big business, with the profits to move out of Queensland to other states or countries, where the new owners shareholders live - once privatised the new owners will decide how many jobs, were they are etc. , any contract is about output and activity not about number of jobs Newman knows that, just look at how regional communities lost in the Victorian privatization - the comment from Townsville enterprise is pretty sad really, as they try to compare the very small electricity network in Victoria with Queensland, it’s very simple really, the more people per klm of electricity cables the cheaper it is to.

Tagged in: Energy Local Government Privatisation

Rail releases its Project Priorities for QLD

Rail releases its project priorities for Queensland - advice from ASU affiliate the ARA

The rail industry has announced its priority infrastructure projects in the lead up to this Saturday’s Queensland state election, calling on all political parties to bolster their policies for rail and infrastructure investment. Chief Executive Officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), Bryan Nye OAM, said although some promises had been made, he would have liked to have seen greater commitment from all sides of politics regarding passenger and freight rail funding. “Brisbane will have the highest congestion growth rate of all Australian capital cities over the next decade, with around 80 percent of Brisbane commuter trips currently made by private car,” said Mr Nye. “Queensland’s capital needs public transport investment to remain an important engine of our national economy and investment in modern, efficient, high capacity heavy and light rail is a vital element of the solution to congestion. “Regional Queensland rail lines also need increased attention with the Federal.

Tagged in: Local Government Public Transport State/Federal Government Services

$20 Million Trees Programme

$4.5 million for greening our cities and communities

More than one million trees are expected to be planted as part of the first small grants round of the Australian Government's 20 Million Trees Programme. Environment Minister Greg Hunt said grants totalling $4.5 million have been approved for 57 projects in urban and regional areas around Australia. This funding is going to Landcare and community groups, individuals and organisations to enable them to plant native trees, shrubs and other vegetation in their local communities. The projects funded in this first round will deliver up to 1.1 million native trees. Projects include: Increasing forage habitat for Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos on Western Australia's Swan Coastal Plain Creating vegetation corridors for Ballina’s Koala populations Habitat restoration for Leadbeaters Possums and Helmeted Honeyeaters in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs Creating connectivity corridors between dairy farms on New South Wales' south coast Revegetation in areas within Tasmania’s World Heritage listed forests More information on the programme.

Tagged in: Climate Change Local Government

Disaster Funding Report with Government

Justice Minister Michael Keenan announced on 19 December that the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding had been completed. The Minister said it was first comprehensive review of disaster funding arrangements in more than a decade and he thanked the Commission for the detailed report that they have delivered to the Australian Government. Minister Keenan said the Government is now carefully considering the Productivity Commission’s final findings and recommendations. The Government will respond in due course and existing funding arrangements will remain in place for all natural disasters occurring this season. The final report will be publicly tabled within the required 25 Parliamentary sitting days.

Disaster Funding report with Government (advice from ALGA)

Advice from Service Skills – Outdoor Recreation

Outdoor Recreation discussion paper- Advice from Service Skills

Services Skills, has asked for wide circulation through our networks to encourage industry discussions and submissions, around the Outdoor Recreation discussion paper, for the ASU this means Local Government 'Outdoor Recreation Areas" Service Skills has included the following blurb regarding the paper which is available at their web site. Please feel free to use it (or something similar) in your own network communication. The Outdoor Recreation discussion paper outlines what work Service Skills Australia has already undertaken and how the components listed below build on one another to develop the proposed direction. 1. The initial desktop analysis of the Outdoor Recreation content to determine some of the key issues and options for the project. 2. Responses from the Sector Reference Group (SRG) on overarching issues and needs in the industry 3. Notes and outcomes from the SRG meeting held in July 2014.

Tagged in: Industry Skills Councils Local Government

Community Groups Slam Trans-Pacific Trade Deal

Community groups slam Trans-Pacific trade deal as talks resume in New York - 27 January 2015 By AFTINET  

As secret Trans-Pacific (TPP) trade talks resume in New York, an unusually diverse mix of 47 Australian community groups including the ASU, public health, environment, union, church, development aid and other groups have written an open letter to Trade Minister Robb citing mounting evidence that the TPP is not in the national interest, and demanding that the text be released for public scrutiny before it is signed. Click here to read this on the AFTINET website "The TPP talks have missed many deadlines over the last five years because community groups in many TPP countries have pressured governments to resist US proposals which would benefit US pharmaceutical, media, IT and tobacco industries at the expense of peoples' rights," Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today. "TPP proposals to extend monopolies on medicines would delay access to cheaper generic medicines.

Tagged in: Trade Agreements

Sign on for QLD Workers

Sign on for Qld Workers

Can you sign on and support this campaign - my line is that I holiday in QLD and want the workers treated right - besides we all need to support those standing up for all Australians at all time. Please sign on and circulate  

Davos 2015

Davos 2015: The world needs a new business model

By ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) The global economic system isn't working for six billion people, warned labour leaders at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Click here to read this on the ITUC website Working people and their families need a new business model to stop the disintegration of democracies and economies. The world needs investment and jobs, said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. Mass unemployment, mistrust in institutions, rising inequality and extremism are global risks for working people, employers and leaders. The ITUC Global Poll of 14 countries found: Only one out of two people believe the next generation will find a decent job; 78 percent of people believe the economic system favours the wealthy rather than being fair to most people; 62 percent of the world's people want corporate power to be tamed.  

Tagged in: Climate Change Energy Local Government Trade Agreements Water

Workers Memorial Day

Workers Memorial Day

ITUC advice Hope you have started the year full of ideas and energy to concretise them! I’m writing you to start with the preparations of our 28 April 2015. We would like to suggest a focus on “removing exposure to hazardous substances in the workplace”. This will allow us to highlight the need for addressing chemical-related hazards, asbestos as well as the Ebola virus and other potentially hazardous biological exposures.  Slogans, tweeter hashtags suggestions and other communication tools will be developed in the coming weeks and will be posted on the ITUC/Hazards 28 April. Please ensure you send me details of your planned activities, any resources and artwork you produce for 28 April 2015. And remember, give us your email to be included in the 28th April e-list and join the 28 April Facebook group: Type Workers’ Memorial Day or click here:

Tagged in: Huma

ARS – Release New Report in Support of Public Health

ARA - releases new report in support of public transport

Public transport to save Australian commuters up to $10,000 a year A national review of annual commuter costs has found that Australians could save an average of $9,973 every year simply by travelling to work with public transport instead of owning and driving a car or purchasing a second household car.  ‘The Costs of Commuting: An Analysis of Potential Commuter Savings’ Report, prepared by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA), identifies the annual cost to commute by car and then uses two scenarios to quantify the potential savings a public transport commuter could make by not driving a private vehicle. The scenarios estimate potential savings for those who use public transport and do not own a car or have not purchased a second household car and those who own a car but opt to leave it at home.

Tagged in: Climate Change Public Transport

ILO Report Calls for Strategy to Boost pay

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) annual report on wages provides important data on the recent trade of very low wage growth. The ILO is concerned not only about the impact of these trends on workers’ living standards and income inequality but also on the global economy and the threat of deflation taking hold in some parts of the world. It also warns against policies that aim to reduce wages to make exports more competitive as they threaten a downward wage spiral and so would be self-defeating. Sandra Polaski, the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, argues for a comprehensive strategy that would "include minimum wage policies, strengthened collective bargaining, elimination of discrimination against vulnerable groups, as well as progressive taxation polices and adequate social protection systems.”

United Nations Secretariat - ILO report calls for strategy to boost pay

Tagged in: United Nations


ASU supports AFTINET

January 2015 The Hon Andrew Robb AO, MP Minister for Trade and Investment Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600   Dear Mr. Robb,   as you know, the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network is a network of community organisations advocating for fair trade based on human rights, labour rights and environmental sustainability. Our organisations, which together represent millions of Australians, continue to be gravely concerned about the impacts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) being negotiated between Australia, the US, Japan and nine other countries. The continuing failure to conclude the negotiations, which have now entered their sixth year, indicates that many governments are unable to agree that the TPP is in their national interest. A recent US Department of Agriculture study has revealed zero benefits to the Australian economy from the TPP even before the significant health and environmental costs are considered.

Tagged in: Human Rights Trade Agreements

UK Privatised Railways

Items UK Privatised Railways - the cost

ASU Railway & Public Transport Industry Division Branch Representatives cc Branches Fighting Privatization Dear Colleagues, Please note the below two items passed on from the UK – you might be aware have been highlighting, a number of recent items on the cost of public transport in the privatised UK railway system, these items show some perspective and may be useful in local campaigns. A British worker on an average salary of £27,200 a year will be spending 17% of their wages on a £391 monthly season ticket from Brighton to London once the fare rises come into effect, according to the analysis. Workers making similar journeys spend 12% of their salary on train fares in France, 9% in Germany, and 6% in Spain and Italy.  

Figures released today by the Campaign for Better Transport show what this could mean for a constituency like mine in Brighton.

Tagged in: Privatisation Public Transport

Endeavour Energy Apprentices They No Longer have Jobs (NSW)

 Endeavour Energy Tells Electrical Apprentices They No Longer Have Jobs (NSW)

“Fifteen electrical apprentices with NSW Government-owned Endeavour Energy received phone calls one week before Christmas informing them that their jobs will be terminated later this month, according to the Electrical Trades Union. A further 41 apprentices who recently completed their fourth year of training have been offered jobs on six month contracts, with no guarantee of future employment and no entitlement to redundancy pay if axed. The ETU said electricity network companies traditionally trained workers in the specialist skills needed to maintain and upgrade the electricity network, and this was the first time in memory that graduating apprentices had been told they would have no job. The apprentices are based at depots throughout Endeavour Energy’s network area, which provides electricity to millions of homes and businesses in Sydney’s west, the Illawarra, Southern Highland South Coast, Blue Mountains and Central West."

Tagged in: Energy Privatisation Quality Public Services

Davos 2015

AFTINET - Trade Campaigner working with PSI Affiliates in Australia and Pacific, BULLETIN December 2014

Items in this Bulletin include - TPP misses yet another deadline: campaign continues in 2015. Government announces China Free Trade Agreement. Foreign investor rights to sue governments over domestic legislation (ISDS). Pacer–Plus negotiations slowed as Fiji re-joins and civil society calls for suspension of talks. Senate Inquiry into Trade Agreement Process: submissions due February 27 2015. Australia to join WTO voluntary Government Procurement Agreement submissions due January 30, 2015   TPP misses yet another deadline: campaign continues in 2015. The TPP negotiations between Australia, the US, Japan and nine other Pacific Rim countries missed another deadline in November and are now expected to continue into 2015. The strong campaign in the US has prevented the US Congress from granting “fast track” by giving up its rights to approve the text and only being able to vote yes.    

Tagged in: Trade Agreements

Child Care Media

Kate Ellis MP Shadow Minister For Education Shadow Minister For Early Childhood Member For Adelaide Media Release Another Broken Promise As Child Care Fees Set To Rise Beyond Expectations Reports today reveal the Government’s own Budget papers show child care fees will increase more than ever expected in the coming years, hurting families with increased cost of living pressures. Before the election, Tony Abbott promised to make child care more affordable, but official Education Department projections – obtained through Senate Estimates – show fees are expected to increase by 30 per cent or more by 2018. “Tony Abbott promised to make child care more affordable, but families are facing bigger than ever expected increases in cost,” Shadow Early Childhood Minister, Kate Ellis, said. “This Government is only good at one thing – and that is breaking every promise they have ever made.”

KATE ELLIS MP - Child Care media

Tagged in: Child Care Local Government

Federal Government Removed the Early Childhood Education and Care Sector

Federal Govt reshuffle undermines early childhood education & care  

In Tony Abbott's recent reshuffle, he has removed the early childhood education & care sector (i.e. child care) from the Education portfolio and added it to the Social Services ministry under Scott Morrison. The ASU argues this is an incredibly regressive step that undoes recognition the sector has worked hard for over many years and will adversely affect our children. Academic research has mounted for years indicating that learning experiences during the first five years of life are critical to shaping a child's future achievement. This evidence base led to child care being recognised as a part of the education owed to Australian children, linked inextricably to primary and secondary schooling. By moving the child care sector to Social Services, the Federal Government is now saying this link does not exist.

Tagged in: Child Care Local Government


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