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IndyWatch Victorian News Feed was generated at Melbourne VIC IndyWatch.

Thursday, 18 October

14:31

City of Melbourne supports Australia joining UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

The City  of Melbourne, birthplace of ICAN, just voted unanimously in support of a motion calling on the Australian government to join the UN treaty!  

13:30

The Future of Australian Employment "IndyWatch Feed Economics.au"

Aussies arent afraid of some hard yakka.

After all, thats what our economy is built on, right?

Most of us connect the phrase with the stockman and the sheep shearers labouring away under the hot Australian sun.

The phrase hard yakka was first recorded in 1847, however its roots come from the aboriginal word yaga, meaning hard work.

The saying has evolved from the outback to being used most amongst our tradies.

Theyre the very backbone of the modern Aussie economy. The workers doing the hard yards, putting together the buildings we live in and the roads we drive on.

Theirs are the sort of jobs that make up more than 10% of our total employment.

A place to call your own

I often write about how Australia is a consumerist society.

We are a nation that buys things. More than 55% of our gross domestic product comes from the sales of goods and services.

Thats a fair chunk of income from one sector.

But construction in Australia contributes to almost 10% of GDP. Well above the 8% that mining does.

So, not only are we nation that buys things, but we are also a nation that builds things.

The problem is, we dont build things to export. We arent a manufacturing country. We sent that job offshore to the lowest bidder a couple of decades ago.

No. What we build is just for us. And most importantly, its funded by ever-growing lines of credit.

As the demand for housing, apartments and commercial buildings grew over the past 15 years, so did the workforce.

In fact, the construction workforce has nearly doubled in size in that time.

Demand for work was one reason but the higher than average pay was another.

The average pole turner I think traffic controller is the official job title has a starting salary of $30 per hour. Add in hazard pay, site allowance and some overtime, and an unskilled position can earn someone $80,000 a year.

I have personally watched young women give up their low paid, $20 an hour child care role. They willingly walk onto a construction site, don the pink, steel-capped boots and a hi-vis vest. By flipping a pole around in the rain and wind, these young women have doubled their take-home pay.

Skilled labour rates are also high.

For example, a fully licensed electrician in Victoria has an hourly rate of $53. Again, throw in the union-deal sweeteners and the average sparky can bring more than one hundred grand a year.

The rates are pretty similar for fully qual...

07:45

Public transport: frequency must improve across the network #MoreServicesPlease Public Transport Users Association (Victoria, Australia)

If you look at a map of Melbournes public transport network, youd be right in thinking its a substantial service covering most of the city.

But it will only attract people out of their cars if service quality is better.

Frequency has to improve. With most suburban buses running only every 30-60 minutes, and even waits for trains and trams being as much as 20 to 40 minutes outside peak times, people can spend more time waiting for a service than travelling on it.

Running all trains, trams and main road buses at least every ten minutes to everywhere all day, every day, would ensure that all of Melbourne has a turn up and go network that people can use without having to check a timetable first, and that connections are easy.

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Wednesday, 17 October

12:51

The third curve. concept vs reality Damn the Matrix

Money vs Oil Real Combined - SmallerThanks to good old facebook, I have discovered another webside I want to share with my now nearly 800 followers. Mansoor Khan is writing a book called The Third Curve, and is publishing it chapter by chapter on his website. I am currently distracted by a wedding and a funeral in Queensland, and havent yet delved too far into this book, but I was originally attracted to it by that telling graph at left, because it clearly describes the disconnect between concept and reality.

Khan studied engineering at IIT, Cornell University and...

11:13

LGBTI groups, leaders and allies call on Government to protect trans and gender diverse students and teachers "IndyWatch Feed National"

Today 50 organisations called on the Morrison Government to amend outdated anti-discrimination laws to ensure all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people are treated with fairness and equality.

Read the joint LGBTI community statement with the full 50 signatories here.

Last week, following leaks of the 20 recommendations from the Religious Freedom Review, many Australians were outraged to learn that under current anti-discrimination laws, schools and other services run by religious bodies are legally able to discriminate against LGBTI children, clients and workers. 

The Government has committed to repealing discrimination law exemptions that allow religious schools to turn away and expel gay students, however there has been no commitment to protect trans and gender diverse children, or workers in schools. 

Jo Hirst, author, advocate and mother of a trans child, said:

We know that trans and gender diverse students achieve their best academic and mental health outcomes when they are supported by both their families and their school environment. Every student should have the right to be safe and accepted in their school community.

Our trans and gender diverse students just want to be able to attend school with their friends like every other student without fear and discrimination.

Anna Brown, director of legal advocacy with the Human Rights Law Centre and co-chair of the Equality Campaign, said:

Australians voted for fairness and equality this time last year, not discrimination against LGBT people. Kids in schools should be worrying about classes and their homework, not living in fear of mistreatment because of who they are.

All children should be accepted for who they are at school. Every person should be able to do their job without having to hide who they are. Every school should be inclusive of all types of families. We should all be able to access publicly available services free from discrimination.

The very genesis of this inquiry was the deeply flawed idea that equality for LGBTIQ people somehow poses a threat to religious freedom. We reject this utterly, and remain concerned that conservative religious forces within the Coalition will be extracting their price for marriage equality. There should be no price paid for equ...

06:04

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is just plain no good "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Contributed by Joe Montero

Among those who know something about it, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is very unpopular. The suggestion that it is about corporate greed trying to impose a multinational agenda that is not in the interests of the countries concerned is often made.

This is not exactly right. There is more to it than this. Over emphasis on greed diverts form the deeper reason why it has come about.

The TPP is an agreement that has nothing to do with the promotion of real free trade. It is a scheme to impose a tougher regional control of the dominant economy in the Pacific region. This is the United States. Never mind that it is now out of the TPP mark 2. It can be changed down the track, just by stroke of the pen.

Underlying everything, is that the dominant corporations are American based. This is an economy moving to consolidate its hold on global resources and markets. Donald Trump doesnt have to sign up for this to proceed, or for the TPP to facilitate it.  This is taken care of by already existing arrangements and the dominance of these corporations in many of the countries concerned.

What is different about the TPP, is that the purpose is to increase the mobility of labour and capital to a new level.

Arrangements being signed to will in the long-run lead to the circulation of more cheap labour. Some workers in the lowest wage countries might get some benefit. But this will have a detrimental effect in the higher wage countries, and ultimately, drive a race to the bottom for all.

Even more important, is the movement towards the complete freeing of investment flows and leaving no place untouched. This will encourage the further growth of the speculative economy, while at the same time, outlaw governments from taking measures that restrict it.

The move towards consensus politics over this in Australia is wrong, no matter which way you cut it. Talk about changing it afterwards is nonsense. The agreement cedes this. It is the reason why there is now a new groundswell of opposition. The campaign to change Labors most recent position is being led by the unions. The executive of the Victorian Trades  Hall Council, which represents the unions in the state,  unanimously voted last week to oppose and campaign against the TPP. A groundswell of opposition is also growing within the Labor Party.

The TPP will not lead to jobs and economic prosperity for most people. What it will do, is lead to a transfer regional income to the richest and most powerful, and it will tighten the grip of the dominant corporations over the political process. This is a recipe for the escalation of corruption. We already have far too much of it and dont need any more.

This last effect, by courtesy of the hemming in of gover...

Tuesday, 16 October

14:37

Victorias largest solar farm goes ahead after solving connection dilemma "IndyWatch Feed Enviro.au"

Victorias largest solar farm goes ahead after solving connection ...
...

11:07

Libs say they will protect Mornington Peninsula from overdevelopment "IndyWatch Feed National"

"Only the Liberal Party will protect the amenity and character of our neighbourhoods and rural hinterland," says Russell Joseph, Liberal Candidate for Nepean. We don't often publish statements from the major parties, but this is the first one we know of that looks at protecting the Mornington Peninsula. The Peninsula is an incredibly biodiverse part of South-Eastern Australia, hardly explored to date in terms of paleontology, rapidly losing its native fauna and flora. The undeniable fact that governments since Jeff Kennett have promoted destructive population growth here makes any policy to protect it extremely important. We will publish statements from any other political party that has a plan to protect the Mornington Peninsula from overpopulation.

"In 2014 the Liberal government introduced the Mornington Peninsula Localised Planning Statement to help protect our unique coastal, rural and conservation areas of the Mornington Peninsula townships and hinterland. However under Labor our General Residential Zone has been ruined and will now become a location for 3-storey apartment-style developments regardless of the established character of our neighbourhoods," he states.

Joseph describes the Andrews Labor government as having, without any consultation with local residents, communities or council, "replaced existing 9 metre height limits with an 11 metre limit and as of right approval for three storey development."

He adds his opinion that,

"Labors changes affect over 24,000 house lots across the Mornington Peninsula and this comes with further increases in traffic congestion and unsustainable pressure on an already stressed public transport system."

Joseph claims that a Liberal government will fix these planning changes and fund improved bus connections to the Mornington Peninsula, including service route changes and frequency improvements to both the 788 (Portsea) and 783 (Flinders) services. He says that a Liberal government will protect the Mornington Peninsula and reject the Labor-Greens solution to Melbournes chronic urban congestion by pushing the population down to us.

He concludes,

...

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