We need a Mining Super Profits Tax, not record dividends

Greens Treasury spokesperson, Senator Nick McKim, has responded to the announcement by BHP that it will pay a record dividend by calling for a Mining Super Profits Tax (MSPT).

“Australia needs a Mining Super Profits Tax.”

“BHP shareholders are rolling in cash but the Australian public who own the resources are being shortchanged.”

“Mining giants are posting obscene profits on the back of commodity booms, but the benefits are going to corporate executives and shareholders rather than to Australians who are struggling with the spiralling cost of living.”

“This is depriving the government of revenue and helping fuel inequality.”

“PBO analysis for the Greens shows that if the Rudd Government’s original Resource Super Profits Tax had been in place over the last decade, the Federal Budget would have been better off to the tune of $50 billion.”

“PBO analysis also shows that a new Mining Super Profits Tax (MSPT) would bring in $108 billion over the next decade.”

“The new government should announce a MSPT alongside reform of the PRRT and a market-wide super profits tax on big companies in the October Budget.”

“But this is unlikely to happen because mining corporations have used political donations to buy outcomes from both major parties.

“Taxes on the excessive profits of big corporations would fund genuine cost-of-living relief such as dental into Medicare, full mental health care, and free childcare.”

Jobs summit must tackle higher education crisis

Ahead of joining the NTEU picket line at the University of Sydney staff strike this morning, Deputy Greens leader and Education spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that the upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit must address the job insecurity crisis in higher education.

Senator Faruqi said:

“There is a scourge of insecure, casualised work in higher education. University workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

“If we want our universities to deliver the highest quality teaching, learning and research, we have to invest in staff, treat them fairly and stop their exploitation.

“The upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit is an opportunity for the government to hammer out its response to this crisis – and not a moment too soon. We need action on casual conversion, secure jobs, fair pay, wage theft and increased public funding for our universities.

“As a proud NTEU member and former university lecturer, I know first hand how working conditions on our campuses have deteriorated rapidly over the last few decades. This is shameful and unacceptable.

“Industrial action at Sydney has been ongoing for months. It’s utterly cooked that university workers have to sacrifice their time and wages to stand up for their basic rights at work — fair pay, decent conditions and a secure job. Solidarity!”Back to All News

Recycling plans set to progress with strong community support

City of Newcastle’s plans to build a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the community.

Ninety-eight per cent of residents surveyed indicated their support for the project during the first stage of community consultation.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said City of Newcastle (CN) is committed to increasing its capabilities in recycling and reuse of materials.

“The Summerhill Waste Management Centre will play a key role in the region’s ability to address future NSW and Federal government targets on waste diversion and recycling,” Cr Nelmes said.

“Our Sustainable Waste Strategy, which is expected to be placed on public exhibition in coming months, focusses on increased diversion, circular economy and the co-location of waste assets in the Summerhill precinct, which will allow the contents of Newcastle’s red, yellow and green bins to be processed at the one location.

“The community has told us very clearly that they support measures to sustainably divert waste from landfill.

“Construction of the MRF at Summerhill, in addition to the planned garden and food organics facility, meets the expectations of our community and will help achieve our vision for a circular economy where recyclables can be processed and remanufactured into new products locally.

“As we move forward, the views of the community will continue to inform our approach for these important projects and our broader Sustainable Waste Strategy.”

CN is now preparing to call for tenders to design, construct and operate the MRF, which will allow plastics, paper, cardboard, glass and metals collected from kerbside recycling bins to be sorted at the Summerhill site. A separate tender will also be called for the collection of the city’s kerbside recyclable materials.

The MRF project received $5 million from the Federal and NSW Governments in August last year and is included in the adopted 2022/23 Budget as one of four city-shaping projects that will deliver key outcomes for the community.

Concept designs prepared by CN ensure the MRF is scalable to process up to 85,000 tonnes of recyclables per annum, creating a regional solution for recyclable materials from across the Hunter.

Recyclables collected from Newcastle households have been transported to the Central Coast since 2020 when the only MRF in the Hunter closed, affecting City of Newcastle and several other Hunter councils.

Fee-free training to supercharge NSW’s early learning workforce

The early childhood workforce is set to boom with the NSW Government committing 25,000 fee-free training places to bolster the pipeline of skilled and job-ready workers for the early learning and care sector.

Minister for Skills and Training Alister Henskens said the fee-free courses will help people upskill and boost budgets by removing barriers to accessing quality vocational education and training.

“This investment in fee-free courses enables you to get a job in an incredibly rewarding industry, study for free and earn while you learn,” Mr Henskens said.

“People who are already working in the industry can also upskill if they enrol in courses this year, and bolster their qualifications so they can take on new roles as early learning educators.”

A wide range of full and part qualifications are available, including Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care and Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care.

These courses provide pathways to employment including early childhood educator and educator in before and after school care programs.

Last year more than 11,000 people undertook early childhood education training, supporting the sustainable pipeline of educators and teachers for tomorrow.

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said the NSW Government’s revolutionary Early Years Commitment will create jobs growth and opportunities for people to explore a career in early childhood education.

“Our investment in early learning will transform the education system, create jobs and secure a brighter future for NSW families,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Parents know the value of a high quality and reliable early childhood service for their child’s future, and this government is leading the country in delivering that for all NSW families.”

More information about courses and eligibility is available online.

Aviation Attraction Fund lands extra Tokyo flights

The New South Wales Government’s $60 million Aviation Attraction Fund has secured another airline partner with Japan Airlines committing to two new flights per week from Tokyo International Airport to Sydney from October 2022.

Minister for Tourism Ben Franklin said that Japan is a significant trade partner for NSW with huge potential for future growth.

“NSW is ready to welcome more Japanese visitors to our shores and more airline seats will play a vital role in achieving this outcome. Through this new daily Japan Airlines offering from Sydney to Haneda Airport, we can confidently rebuild and exceed pre-pandemic levels of visitation from Japan,” Mr Franklin said.

“Having just established a trade hub in the heart of Tokyo we have committed to an even stronger relationship, and it’s exciting to see more opportunities for a greater number of visitors to NSW in the months ahead.”

Ross Leggett, Deputy Senior Vice President – Route Marketing, International Relations and Alliances at Japan Airlines said he was delighted to partner with the NSW Government and Sydney Airport in the shared goal of increasing the number of visitors to NSW, not only from Japan, but from across the airline’s global network. 

“This year marks the 53rd year of Japan Airlines’ uninterrupted services between Tokyo and Sydney and, with this partnership, we intend to continue in our mission to deliver unparalleled levels of service, comfort and security to all our guests,” Mr Leggett said.

Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert said that Japan has long been one of our most important and popular routes. 

“We’re delighted to support the recovery of this route through our co-investment with the NSW Government’s aviation attraction fund,” Mr Culbert said.

The NSW Government’s Visitor Economy Strategy 2030 identifies Japan as a top 10 core market and prior to COVID-19, Japan ranked 5th in NSW for visitors, and 7thfor nights and expenditure.

In the year ending December 2019, NSW welcomed 202,000 Japanese visitors, who stayed 3.4 million nights and spent an estimated $385 million.

“The NSW Government opened applications for the Aviation Attraction Fund program in February with the aim of building aviation capacity across the state,” Mr Franklin said.

“Sydney is the gateway to NSW, so supporting the return of airline routes through the Aviation Attraction Fund will be key to our recovery roadmap and achieving our goal of making NSW the premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.

“Japanese visitors will make a strong contribution to the NSW Government’s goal of $65 billion in visitor expenditure by 2030 and its vision to make NSW the premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”

The Aviation Attraction Fund, managed by Destination NSW on behalf of the NSW Government, is open until 30 June 2023. For more information or to submit an application visit www.destinationnsw.com.au/aviation-attraction 

Digital survey plans to complete transition to paperless land registry

A new digital system for survey plans will deliver $300 million in productivity savings for NSW with property owners, buyers and sellers to benefit from a completely digital land titles system.

Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government said the new digital system followed the successful move to digitise the conveyancing process in October 2021 which reduced costs, saved time and eliminated most risks associated with human error.

“Survey plans have defined land boundaries in NSW for more than 200 years and despite surveyors using the latest measurement technology, the creationand registration of survey plans tends to go back to a paper-based process,” Mr Dominello said.

“We are now taking steps to move survey plans online and mandate 100 per cent online lodging with the new digital system NSW Land Registry Services Connect by the second half of 2023.

“This is the final piece in the puzzle to make it an end-to-end paperless process, improving the quality of survey plans and enabling approvals to be faster.

“Over the next three decades the new system will save around $10 million per year for the NSW economy by reducing associated holding costs for the delivery of new land parcels and strata lots and reducing the time and costs spent on rectifying errors on survey plans.”

Mr Dominello said NSW LRS Connect was already available to Registered Land Surveyors and would be open to other industry stakeholders such as legal practitioners and conveyancers later this year, to assist in the preparation and lodging of survey plans.

“By transitioning from paper to digital survey plans we are ensuring the process of creating survey plans to registration is more secure, transparent and efficient,” Mr Dominello said

“We welcome the Industry Consultative Committee’s ongoing advice and guidance on this reform, including the Association of Consulting Surveyors NSW, Institution of Surveyors NSW, Australian Institute of Conveyancers NSW, Law Society of NSW, NSW Land Registry Services and relevant local and state government entities”.

For more information visit: https://www.registrargeneral.nsw.gov.au/land-boundaries/digital-survey-plans

Aviation training facility takes flight

The assessment of a proposed flight training centre for Qantas and global aviation training leader CAE will be expedited after being declared State Significant.
 
Minister for Planning and Minister for Homes said the proposed facility, if approved, would provide training for up to 4,500 Qantas and Jetstar pilots and cabin crew each year.
 
“The NSW Government is a proud supporter of Australia’s aviation industry, and efforts like this will help strengthen capability and ensures NSW and Sydney remain the country’s global travel hub,” Mr Roberts said.
 
“Our $60 million Aviation Attraction Fund is securing routes, creating jobs and promoting visitor expenditure to accelerate our COVID-19 Road to Recovery, and cement NSW as the premier visitor economy of the Asia Pacific.”
 
The NSW Government has declared the proposal as State Significant, in recognition of its potential widespread economic benefits and importance to the aviation industry.
 
“If approved, this flight training facility will help train future generations and get more pilots in the air, so we’ve declared it State Significant to speed up its assessment,” Mr Roberts said.
 
Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said a new training facility will help retain jobs and attract more skilled employees to NSW, as major new non-stop global services are launched from Sydney.
 
“A new state-of-the-art simulator and training centre will bring a big business boost to the state, not only as the facility is built but as the pilots of tomorrow are given the skills and training they need for these exciting new routes,” Mr Henskens said.
 
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce welcomed the Government’s declaration.
 
“Qantas has trained its pilots and crew in Sydney for more than half a century and we look forward to bringing this critical function back to New South Wales with this custom-built facility.”
 
“Sydney will be the launch city for our non-stop flights to London and New York, and will now be the home of pilot training for the A350s, which will operate these flights from 2025.
 
“We’d like to thank the NSW Government for its support for this world-class facility, which will generate broader economic benefits for the state.”
 
With the project declared State Significant, the applicant will be required to lodge its application with the Department of Planning and Environment for rigorous assessment, which will include community consultation.

A giant helping hand gives youth a step up

Young people in out-of-home care (OOHC) will benefit from extended funding for the successful Ladder Step Up Sydney Program, which sees education, employment and mentoring given to young people.
 
Minister for Families and Communities and Minister for Disability Services Natasha Maclaren-Jones said the program run by community organisation Ladder and supported by AFL players from the GWS Giants had seen huge success since it began in 2017.
 
“Since its launch the Ladder Step Up Sydney program has been doing excellent work, which can clearly be seen in the recently published impact report and independent evaluation,” Mrs Maclaren-Jones said.
 
“The program is making a real and tangible difference to the lives of young people in out-of-home care and meeting a genuine gap in the sector.”
 
Minister for Western Sydney David Elliott said he is looking forward to seeing the work of Ladder continue to grow in Western Sydney.
 
“Sport has an important role to play in addressing social change in this community and
making a difference in the lives of young people,” Mr Elliott said.
 
Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said the program, through its community partnership with the AFL, is providing young people with opportunities and access to positive role models.
 
“We all know that sport is a positive vehicle for social change, especially for young people and this program is enabling AFL players to provide mentorship and guidance, with the aim of instilling a strong self-belief in our next generation,” Mr Henskens said.   
 
Ladder CEO Stephanie De Campo said she was proud of what the program participants had achieved and welcomed the funding extension to June 2023.
 
“The program is delivered across Western Sydney and complements the work of service providers in supporting young people in out-of-home care,” Ms De Campo said.   
 
GWS Giants player Phil Davis is one of many from his AFL team who have contributed time to the program.
 
“It is great being a mentor to help change the lives of young people,” Mr Davis said.
 
“There’s always more work to be done and we’re committed to continuing our support of the program into the future.”
 
Tim* is a graduate of Step Up and is now one of the mentors, passing life skills he learned from the program on to others.
 
“I want to tell other young people to take this as a great opportunity to learn a lot of new things and new skills,” Tim said.
 
“It helped me budget with my money, make smarter spending decisions, learn how to cook delicious home cooked meals, improved my fitness by participating in sports, boxing classes and gym sessions, and it also given me the chance to make new friends which I have done.”
 
*Not his real name

NSW surfers call on Prime Minister to uphold PEP11 gas drilling ban 

Surfers for Climate and the local community are calling on Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to honour his pre-election commitment and rule out Pep-11 licence once and for all, giving the local community certainty.

Serious concerns have been raised about the potential impacts of offshore gas exploration and drilling on marine environments, marine life including whales, seafood and the local community. Renewable energy should also be the preferred source of new energy given the need for urgent climate action to reduce emissions and global warming.

Belinda Baggs, Newcastle surfer and co-founder of Surfers For Climate said, “I grew up surfing in these pristine waters off Newcastle, the saltwater binds my family together. I have cousins and friends who rely on a healthy ocean for their livelihoods. 

“The community has made its opposition to Pep 11 clear over the past few years, we simply don’t want to risk marine life, our own well-being and livelihoods for gas drilling. 

“Newcastle has already experiencing climate impacts from fires to floods and now many of the beaches I grew up surfing on including Bar Beach are suffering from extreme erosion. 

“We must keep all new fossil fuels in the ground, including gas, and instead invest in a renewable future. 

“It’s right to investigate Morrison’s methods when in government but that doesn’t change the fact that drilling for gas between Newcastle and Sydney, Australia’s most populated coastline, is a terrible idea. 

“We are calling on Prime Minister Albanese to honour his commitments opposing PEP 11. He stood on the beach at Avoca and stated “A Labor government that I lead will rule out PEP 11 full stop”.

“Now the community needs certainty that the Prime Minister will rule out Pep-11 once and for all,” she said.

Surfers for Climate is a sea-roots movement dedicated to positive climate action.

Australia-India Council grant recipients

A space start up exchange, research identifying drought-resilient chickpeas and a disability‐inclusive virtual healthcare pilot are among the recipients of this year’s Australia-India Council (AIC) grants.

The announcement comes as we celebrate 75 years of India’s independence, as well as thirty years of the AIC.

Over that time, the AIC has helped advance Australia’s foreign policy and trade interests – strengthening the people to people and institutional bonds between Australia and India.

The grants program is key to fostering understanding and encouraging collaboration between our two countries.

There are nine successful projects that will receive a share of $935,000 of funding, including:

  • The University of South Australia’s space start-up exchange and trade visit, which will connect deep technology space companies and their respective research, industry and investment networks and fast-track market entry and investment.
  • The University of Western Australia’s mapping of fish biomass on the continental shelves of India and Australia, which will generate data on blue carbon storage capacity.
  • The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University’s investigation into mango cultivars and their pollinators which will inform industry recommendations to both India and Australia to respond to the impacts of climate change.
  • Flinders University’s collaboration with Murdoch University and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics which will identify high-performing chickpea variants with low water and nitrogen requirements for increased drought tolerance and reduced fertiliser use.
  • The Nossal Institute’s “Virtu-Care” which will produce a tele-health care model that specifically meets the health and rehabilitation needs of people with disability.

The full list of successful grant recipients is available on the AIC website.