Saturday, April 29, 2017

CFMEU – Turnbull's Abolition of 457 Visa Scheme Will Not End Rorting

Malcolm Turnbull's announcement of the abolition of the 457 Visa scheme will not end the rorting of temporary work visas according to the CFMEU.

CFMEU National Assistant Secretary Dave Noonan called the announcement a dodgy rebrand of a visa system that’s letting our country down.

“The announcement is a fizzer. Just like the Prime Minister himself.” He said

"When the CFMEU campaigned against temporary work visa rip offs two years ago, the Liberal Party attacked our union as racist and claimed there were no problems with the temporary visa system. Now, Malcolm Turnbull has been forced to take action as public outrage has grown over widespread abuse and as polls show his unpopularity.”

Turnbull’s rebranded 457 Visa stunt:

  • Ignores rampant abuses of other temporary visa classes, including working holiday and student categories,
  • Leaves labour market testing up to employers against the advice of the government’s own inquiry,
  • Means that many trades including carpenters, bricklayers, painters, plasterers, electricians, plumbers and fitters are still open for are still open for temporary overseas workers,
  • Does nothing to address the inadequate monitoring and enforcement of temporary migrant visas.- Does not abolish measures in the government’s building code, which ban apprentice ratios and preference clauses for Australian residents and citizens.

“The more you examine this announcement, the more it looks like Turnbull is applying a thin coat of paint to a derelict house with a rotten structure.”

WestCon – Euston Road 7 Lane Widening Disaster

Thursday, April 27, 2017

CPSU – 4500 Public Service Jobs Threatened By Budget

APR 26, 2017

Federal budget could see up to 4500 more public service jobs cut, union warns

As many as 4500 more public service jobs could be cut if the Turnbull government continues its efficiency dividend push in next month's federal budget, the peak public service union has warned.

After 15,000 job cuts since the Coalition was elected to government in 2013, the Community and Public Sector Union has used its pre-budget submission to Treasurer Scott Morrison to warn continuing $1.924 billion in planned efficiency savings announced in 2016 would see between 3000 and 4500 additional jobs go.

The figures are based on government data showing about 55 per cent of previous efficiency cuts have come from cuts reductions to the federal workforce, suggesting that planned savings by 2020 would result in $972 million more in jobs lost.

The union said the full impact on staffing levels would depend on how $500 million in savings from government transformation efforts is spent.

  • "After years of governments cutting public sector funding, the public service is struggling to provide the level of services that the Australian community deserves," the submission said.
  • "The government's decisions have led to the debacles of the 2016 Census and the Centrelink automated debt recovery scheme. There is now increasing community awareness and dissatisfaction with the impact of public sector cuts and the governments who deliver those cuts."

The government receives hundreds of submissions to the budget process - with business groups, unions, community organisations and non-profits laying out their wish lists for the year ahead. Some proposals are adopted, while others are ignored.

The Young Liberal Movement used its submission to call for another Abbott government-style audit commission and more public service job cuts.

The CPSU called for the May 9 budget package to "begin to repair substantial and unsustainable damage done to the public service" through reversing the efficiency dividend, arguing public sector wages remained just 6.1 per cent of government spending in 2016-17.

Last week the government announced National Party-led plans for further forced moves of public servants to rural and regional Australia.

Staff numbers in the Australian Public Service grew last year for the first time since 2012, up by 3518 to 155,771 positions.

The growth was probably caused by the end of the Abbott government's hiring freeze imposed on departments and agencies, preventing them from recruiting staff unless there were exceptional circumstances.

The Coalition has cut about 15,000 public service jobs since 2013. Redundancies were about triple the usual rate in that period as the government retrenched more than 9100 staff to help reach its target.

The federal bureaucracy employed fewer people in June 2015 than in the last months of the Howard government in 2007. Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows a 15.8 per cent rise in the population since June 2007, while public service job numbers have fallen by 0.2 per cent in the same period.

Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann accused the government of showing contempt for public servants.

  • "You can tell a lot about a government by how it treats its workers – the Coalition government must be judged by what it does for workers, and how it treats its own workforce."
  • "My concern is for the smaller agencies, particularly our national institutions.
  • "We're not cutting into fat - we're not cutting into bone, we're cutting into vital organs," she said.

UK Elections – Corbyn v May

Jeremy Corbyn accused the government of being “strong against the weak and weak against the strong” in a passionate pre-election Commons clash with PM Theresa May yesterday.

The Labour leader condemned ministers for worsening homelessness, underfunding the NHS, state pension swindles, reduction of education funding and stagnating wages.

During the last Prime Minister’s Questions before the general election on June 8, Mr Corbyn quoted letters that had been sent to him by the public about their personal experiences of growing inequality.

Mr Corbyn lambasted Ms May over having no housing strategy to deal with the growing crisis, quoting father-of-three Andy who wrote to the Labour leader to say his children — in their mid-twenties — couldn’t afford to leave home, despite working since leaving school.

He dismissed Ms May’s claim that the Tories had built more than double the council housing constructed by the last Labour government.

Mr Corbyn said that actually Labour had built more homes while also upgrading the condition of every council property while under the Decent Homes scheme.

The Tories have seen the lowest amount of homes built since the 1920s, rough-sleeping has more than doubled, social housing waiting lists continue to get longer and record numbers of tenants in the private sector cannot afford to pay their rent, he said.

Mr Corbyn went on to attack the Tories’ devastating cuts to education, quoting primary school teacher Laura who wrote to say the cash situation was so desperate, headteachers were forced to “beg” parents for money and raise funds themselves.

And when Mr Corbyn tackled the PM over the dire underfunding of the NHS, Ms May avoided the questions and hit out at Mr Corbyn’s character instead, repeating previous slurs.

The Labour leader also criticised her for refusing to take part in television election debates, opting instead to campaign in front of “hand-picked audiences who can’t ask questions.”

When Westminster leader of the SNP Angus Robertson asked about the government’s plans to scrap the triple-lock guarantee on state pensions — which Labour will protect — Ms May once again refused to directly answer.

Mr Robertson said: “Isn’t the message to pensioners that you cannot trust the Tories on your pensions?”

One in six pensioners live in poverty and more than six million retirees have a yearly income of less than £11,500, according to the National Pensioners Convention general secretary Jan Shortt.

She added: “The Conservatives clearly have no intention of keeping the triple lock on the state pension.

“Even with the triple lock, the increase in the state pension this month was just £3 a week — and even less for millions of older women.

“Our pensions are widely regarded as one of the lowest among the 34 countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and we still haven’t made up for the losses we suffered when the Thatcher government took away the link with earnings in 1980.

“It’s vital the triple lock stays or the gap between pensioners and the rest of society will once again widen.”

Another Failed Budget