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Public Services Bulletin - November 2014

01 December 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


Electricity Privatisation

“Business article admits privatisation has not helped with electricity prices but rather privatisation in Victoria  

“There should be similar revenue flow back to government and or tax equivalents on other state owned corporations or government bus enterprises etc.” most corporations owned by government boasts of their profit or return to government both a business as well as tax equivalents, this can have a reverse effect on arguments for privatisation, simply by multiplying the number of years of return against sale price, and represent an opportunity to show the difference in money flow back to the long term assets ownership will always be higher than any sale price, not to mention, jobs, additional employment and profits staying in our communities community.“ Greg McLean  

Electricity: the great big hidden tax

Electricity Industry Sale

Well done! Great to see another politician in NSW - understanding what it means - these words make sense - well done it’s about time the billions of dollars that will be lost to state Govt revenue (and having to be made up by Tax payers) were factored in by other political parties like the Shooters and Fishers - not just Labor! "Mr Borsak described Mr Baird's proposal to sell 49 per cent of electricity distribution businesses - the "poles and wires" - as "a big money grab" that would mean job cuts and the loss of billions of dollars in dividends to the state. Robert Borsak: "We think it's a full sale just being dressed up as a partial sale" Robert Borsak: "We think it's a full sale just being dressed up as a partial sale.”

NSW upper house to block the electricity industry sale

UK’s Privatised Railway

The UK’s privatised railway has the highest rail fares in Europe and in advance of Parliament

The research shows that twenty of the UK’s twenty seven private rail contracts, the equivalent of seventy four per cent, are now owned by foreign state owned/ backed railways with the vast majority being from France, Germany and the Netherlands. The UK’s privatised railway has the highest rail fares in Europe and in advance of Parliament, MPs from the RMT’s Parliamentary group have called for an urgent parliamentary inquiry into concerns foreign state owned companies are sucking profits from the UK privatised rail industry so that passengers in foreign states are benefiting from lower fares and better services at the expense of UK passengers.

Full article at news/research-shows-three-quarters-of-uk-rail

Library Qualifications

The ASU has some concerns about the possible impacts of a review of library qualifications and has met with the relevant industry skills council, Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA), to discuss them. As a result of our concerns, we are running a survey of all employees who work in libraries, arts and cultural services to confirm their views. Complete the survey here arising from the ASU's concerns, IBSA has prepared a discussion paper and a summary of the latest paper can be downloaded here for your consideration: Library Qualifications Review 2014-15 Discussion Paper. The review of library qualifications is being undertaken by IBSA, which is the skills council for ASU members working in libraries, art galleries, museums and other cultural centres. It develops the training packages and qualifications for our members working in these areas. The Union has been in discussion with IBSA and consulting with ASU.

Review of library qualifications raises issues for members - ASU wants your views - please circulate

State Government plans to long-term Lease State

long-term lease state assets - its is Privatisation - Queensland

The State Government's plan to long-term lease state assets to recover debt was under fire recently as local unions and affected groups rallied together to show their disapproval. A vocal rally formed outside the Biloela office of Member for Callide Jeff Seeney, who has previously shown his approval for the lease plan on November 14. But Seeney was nowhere to be seen. The rally was made up mostly of members from the Electrical Trades Union, The Services Union and the Construction Forestry and Mining Energy Union, but all those who attended would be affected by the proposed leases.


Water Remunicipalisation

Water remunicipalisation as a global trend

Over the last 15 years, more than 180 cities and communities in 35 countries have taken back control of their water services, new study reveals. A new report called “Here to stay: Water remunicipalisation as a global trend” was released on 13 November 2014 by the Transnational Institute (TNI), Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) and the Multinational Observatory. The report documents how despite more than three decades of relentless promotion of privatisation and public-private partnerships (PPPs) by international financial institutions and some national governments, the negative experience of water privatisation is leading many policy makers to decide that the public sector is better placed to provide quality services to citizens and to promote the human right to water. "This new research demonstrates what we have known for years: PPPs don’t work well for communities, for workers, for the environment. It also shows that local governments are vibrant, courageous.  


IBSA - Draft Screen and Media qualifications

Draft Screen and Media qualifications, and a sample of reformatted units of competency and assessment requirements, are now available on the IBSA Feedback Hub for public consultation. (The remaining units will be posted progressively). IBSA is seeking feedback on the drafts to identify specialisations, confirm the workability of packaging rules and refine wording of the elements and performance criteria. Please let your networks know. There are four qualifications; Certificates III and IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media. The packaging rules and Companion Volume will guide the ‘specialist’ outcomes which may be recognised on the testamur. For example: CUA4XX15 Certificate IV in Screen and Media specialising in Animation; CUA5XX15 Diploma of Screen and Media specialising in Broadcast Television; or CUA6XX15 Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media specialising.

Input can be via the IBSA Feedback Hub or by contacting me directly at IBSA, by 19 December 2014.

SIS Cross Sector Training Package Components

Service Skills update advice on Validation Draft of the SIS Cross-Sector Training Package Components.  

Please be advised feedback is now open for the Validation Draft of the SIS Cross-Sector Training Package Components. To review and provide feedback on the content, please visit Service Skills Australia’s Feedback Register and access the project titled SIS Cross-Sector Training Package Components. Feedback on the Validation Draft closes Wednesday 7 January 2015. You can also keep up to date with the Training Package review and with Service Skills Australia's activities by registering for our news alerts and monthly eNewsletter. Please feel free to forward this information onto your network contacts and/or members. Thank you Kathryn Kelly National Industry Skills Development Support Service Skills Australia Advice from Service Skills Australia.

Find out more about the Sport, Fitness and Recreation Training Package review by visiting our project webpage or contacting Elly Snyder on 02 8243 1200 or

Local Roads Assets Report

The 2014 National State of the Local Road Assets Report  

State of the Local Road Assets Report launched The 2014 National State of the Local Road Assets Report has found that, on average, 11 percent of local roads need urgent upgrading, while  one in five timber bridges is in a poor state of repair. These are among the key findings of a report into the condition of local roads and bridges, commissioned by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The National State of the Local Road Assets Report builds on the findings of work undertaken since 2010 by ALGA to track the condition of local road infrastructure, the network of roads and bridges that are used for the first and last mile of almost every journey. The 2014 Report includes data from 396 councils, from across Australia, or 70 percent of all councils and these councils are managing almost $105 billion in roads and bridges.  Both urban and rural councils contributed.

Intervention on behalf of Public Sector Workers in Local Government

PSI affiliate ASU makes intervention on public sector local government investment

Greg McLean a union delegate to L20 made an intervention on behalf of public sector workers in local government and how capital expenditure by central got through local government can not only stimulate local employment. But helps keep skills alive, and leaves short term and long term services as well as infrastructure that keeps local government jobs and sees more money spent in local communities.  Greg said." We can't forget the critical out comes that local government direct employment provides to local communities, the additional quality services provided to the community are also important, so this provides wins for the local economy, local jobs, quality community services and long term benefits.”

Local Road Networks need Support

Local road networks need support from all levels of government

Local road networks need support from all levels of government. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for strong financial and policy support from the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to make the necessary investments in the local roads network, as the 2014 National Local Roads and Transport Congress draws to a close in Tamworth. Local government manages more than 80 percent of Australia's road network, by length, with an estimated value of $165 billion. ALGA President Mayor Troy Pickard said the road and transport agenda for local government is a huge commitment.  On behalf of the nation an estimated $7.5 billion per annum is spent on the local road component of the national network. However, unfortunately this is not enough to meet the backlog and underspend on local road and transport infrastructure. He said despite this challenge local government is committed to the continued efficient management.

NSW Labor to Introduce Legislation

NSW Labor To Introduce Legislation

NSW Labor has introduced legislation into the NSW Parliament to make it compulsory for a referendum to be held before the NSW Government is able to proceed to privatise our state electricity or water utilities. The Bill – the State Energy and Water Utilities Protection (Referendum) Bill 2014 was introduced into the NSW Legislative Council and will ensure that public assets that are valued over $1 billion are not able to be sold without the majority approval of the people of NSW. The Baird Liberal Government has said it plans to privatise our electricity poles and wires after the next election – something that will increase electricity prices for families and rob the state of over a billion each year that funds infrastructure, hospitals and schools. When Mike Baird announced his plans to privatise our electricity this year he pledged that he would not sell the electricity network without securing a mandate.

Submission to the Productivity Commission into Natural Disaster Funding

The ASU recently lodged a submission to the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding

ASU members working for councils are amongst the first responders when the community is struck by disasters such as fire and flood. The ASU knows about the major contribution which many of our members make in serving Australian communities in times of crisis.  This includes workers employed in water and energy, social and community services as well as local government, whose skills and training are crucial in responding quickly and effectively in times of natural disaster. Local councils are often tasked with setting up relief centres, particularly when disasters strike regional and rural areas where services are thinly distributed. Community services workers from other sectors often come in to staff these centres along with council workers to meet high demands. Utilities workers arrive to deal with damage to essential services, to restore them as quickly as possible.

Read the full article at local-govt-disaster-prevention-relief ASU at the hearings full transcript.

White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon Day -ASU update  

ASU Branches are active on White Ribbon day, and many of us are either Ambassadors or Advocates for White Ribbon Day. With this in mind ASU National Office accepted an invitation to be part of an ACTU group to spread the word and encourage White Ribbon Day activities as well as share the ASU experiences and activities by ASU Branches on “ White Ribbon Day “. In addition to this we have encouraged broader acceptance and use by fellow Unions of the (ASU) domestic violence clause in EBA’s etc. and related issues/recognition.  While the ASU will work with ACTU affiliates on this issue and be part of future planning and discussion, we will of course like others continue to manage our own activities and goals, at Branch level and National Office. We have strongly encouraged ACTU affiliates to join in and support activities around White Ribbon Day.

Electricity Privatisation

Unions unite to fight electricity privatisation

The two unions represent thousands of workers in Synergy, Western Power and Horizon. Treasurer Mike Nahan has indicated that the State Government will look to sell electricity assets to reduce State debt, and has been backed by Synergy in its submission to the State Government’s Electricity Market Reviewed WA Branch Secretary Les McLaughlin said that privatisation would result in electricity price increases of up to 50 per cent. “The only way that Western Australia’s electricity assets will be attractive to private sector investors is if they can make a profit on their investment, Mr McLaughlin said. “Given the State Government currently subsidises electricity prices by about 30 per cent, once you introduce a profit margin, it is likely that electricity prices could go up by 50 per cent in a privatised model. “This would be a disaster for low income Western Australians and small businesses, particularly those in regional areas.

Review of the Safety of the Rail Industry and Standards

A Review of Safety and the Role of the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) 

In a commitment to enhance the safety of rail operations in Australia the ARA Board has resolved to perform a fundamental review of the scope and charter of RISSB. RISSB was established in 2007 and has been developing standards, codes of practice and guidelines to ensure that safety and security measures are adhered to and are paramount principles for companies operating in the Australian Rail Industry. As we mature into a national safety regime and continue the co-regulatory framework, it is timely that we ensure the rail industry is optimising its performance. In order to achieve this, the ARA Board has established a review team that will develop an expanded role and scope of operations for RISSB. It will draft a new constitution, membership structure and process for Board appointments. It will also be ensuring that in its new form RISSB secures ongoing funding support from Government.

PSI urgers G20 to Act on Public Health

Ebola: PSI urges G20 to act on public health


Abdul Rafiu Alani Adeniji, President of NANNM, will be in Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane, with Daniel Bertossa, Director of Policy at PSI, who will be urging the G20 to implement promised measures to make large multinational corporations pay their fair share of taxes.  PSI will also release the international research from the Greenwich University Faculty of Business showing that universal public sector health is more efficient and effective. The research will be launched at the forum “When profits come first – The true impacts of health privatisation” at the Queensland Nurses’ Union offices.  Ebola has taken a terrible toll on health workers of West Africa. By the middle end of October, 269 health care workers have died from the disease in countries where health care workers are already in tragically short supply, and at least a further 250 health care workers are known to be already ill with the disease.  

NSW Government announces Merger of Sydney Water

media item - NSW Govt – announces merger of Sydney Water with Sydney (Water) Catchment authority?

New Direction for NSW Water: Key reform that will improve the management of NSW’s water catchment and vital water infrastructure will be undertaken following the passage of legislation through the NSW Parliament to create a new State-owned corporation, Water NSW.NSW Minister for Natural Resources, Lands and Water Kevin Humphries said the amalgamation of Sydney Catchment Authority and State Water Corporation into the one entity, Water NSW, will deliver efficiencies in water infrastructure management and utilise the unique skills of both organisations to benefit all NSW water users. “Water NSW will be a truly modern, world-class entity that will oversee important reforms to improve management of water resources and catchments across the State,” Mr Humphries said. “By uniting water quality, dam management, flood mitigation and catchment management skills and expertise, this new organisation will ensure the highest quality and most efficient service to customers across NSW.

Abbott Government Must Guarantee 15 Hours of Preschool

Kate Ellis MP Shadow Minister For Education Shadow Minister For Early Childhood Federal Member For Adelaide - Abbott Government Must Guarantee 15 Hours Of Preschool  

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, has demanded the Abbott Government guarantees its preschool funding offer will result in 15 hours of preschool education for all children in the year before they start school.  ABC radio Adelaide reported this morning that Assistant Minister Susan Ley had made a preschool funding offer to South Australia at the same rate as provided in 2013, but with added conditions that the funding be shared amongst more services. "I did make one small change and that was to make the funding fairer that was to say it needed to go equally to preschools and to long day-care centres, because long day care in SA provides 22 per cent of the preschool sector and government preschools provide the rest generally." Sussan Ley - ABC radio Adelaide - 6 November 2014 “A pre-schooler could work out that if you have the same amount.

NSW USU State Conference

Recently I caught up with the ALP National Leader Bill Shorten - at the USU State Conference ' White Ribbon Day Dinner " - The speech that night to the dinner covered a range of issues including the valuable role Unions play in the Australian Society, and always have, plus Bill added his support to the work of White Ribbon Day - Bill also visited all tables at the dinner meeting and talking to the USU Delegates and guests. ALP National Leader Bill Shorten - at the USU State Conference

Brisbane G20

Brisbane G20 - G20 Peoples Summit Program

G20 Peoples Summit Program EACH DAY: 9-9.45 Opening Plenary WED-THUR only: Greek Club 15:45-17:00 Civil Society discussion and social movement collaborative space BRISCAN statement at Wandering Cooks, each afternoon 19:00-22:00 NIGHT events, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday All day, everyday 10:00-17:00 Lost Film Festival presented by Radical Time Historical Archive. Uniting Church Theatrette, see separate Film festival program! Wednesday 12th November See details of sessions and presenters at end of program   Morning Plenary: Welcome & Announcements, Visioning, Collaboration, Inclusion The Greek Club 9-10.15am Austerity and G20 and growth. John Quiggin& AMWU document Discussion: Andrew Dettmer&Don Sutherland (AMWU President and National Industrial Officer, respectively) The Greek Club, Panel 10.45-12:00, AMWU discussion forum 12:15-13:30 Alternative development and the trading model of Latin American integration. Eulalia Reyes-Whitney & Margaret Gleeson. Brisbane committee of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (also all members of Socialist Alliance) 199 Boundary Streets, 10:45-12:00 Wednesday “Taking control of food and agriculture”.

Australian Unions Survey

Australian Union Survey

Australia do you want for you and your family? What are the big things that matter to you? I'm only asking because what you say today has the power to build the Australia you want. TAKE THE SURVEY NOW the survey takes about 15 minutes to complete. Make sure you have your say today. Our living standards are under more and more pressure, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can build a vision for Australia that puts working people and their families at the centre. Here's how. We are asking union members and our supporters to add their voice by completing this survey. The results will build a picture of the type of Australia we want, that we will campaign together to win. This vision will be formed by of the voices of working Australians and I want your voice to be one of them.

Sydney TPP Protest 8 November 2014

Sydney TPP Protest November 8, 11 am East Circular Quay   

Sydney TPP Protest November 8, 11 am East Circular Quay The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement being negotiated between Australia, the US and 10 other Pacific Rim countries. But the agenda is being driven by the US on behalf of its major pharmaceutical, media and other corporations, which want to reduce our rights to affordable medicines, internet freedom, local culture, labour rights and the environment. TPP officials and Ministers met in Canberra and Sydney recently, and were met with protest rallies and critical media coverage. TPP Trade Ministers will meet again in November to try to finalise the main points of the deal. We are joining others around the world to say no to trading off our rights. When: Sydney 11.00am Saturday November 8 Where: Meet at the TPP banner on the seaward side of East Circular Quay, past Portobello Café.

Important Step in Bringing Greater Transparency to Government in NSW

The inaugural publication of ministerial diaries marks an important step in bringing greater transparency to government in NSW

“We made a commitment to publishing ministerial diaries in May, as part of a suite of reforms to the rules around transparency, and today we have delivered,” Mr Baird said. The diary summaries published online cover the September quarter and will be followed by quarterly publication. Apart from Queensland, no other jurisdiction in Australia makes information on ministerial meetings routinely available. As announced by Mr Baird in May and reiterated in a Memorandum issued in June, the diary summaries include the date, purpose and organisations or individuals in meetings, including details of any registered lobbyists. The diary summaries made public are of scheduled meetings held by Ministers with external persons who seek to influence government policy or decisions. They do not include: internal meetings with ministerial staff or government officials; personal, electorate or party political meetings, or meetings with other Parliamentarians; or attendance at public social functions or events.


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