Monday, 11 December 2017

Adani Group still cannot find financial backers for Galilee Basin mega coal mine


Indian multinational, the family-owned Adani Group, appears to have financed its Queensland mining venture with debt.

The book value of Adani Enterprises' Carmichael mine project was just under US$2.3bn by mid-2017. While latest report shows its debt has risen by almost US$400m to US$3.83bn.

This debt is further complicated by fraud allegations and investigations by the Indian Government.

The Guardian, 7 December 2017:

Adani’s operations in Australia appear to be hanging on by a thread, as activists prove effective at undermining the company’s chances of getting the finance it needs.

China seems to have ruled out funding for the mine, which means it’s not just Adani’s proposed Carmichael coalmine that is under threat, but also its existing Abbot Point coal terminal, which sits near Bowen, behind the Great Barrier Reef.

The campaign against the mine has been long. Environmentalists first tried to use Australia’s environmental laws to block it from going ahead, and then failing that, focused on pressuring financial institutions, first here, and then around the world.

The news that Beijing has left Adani out to dry comes as on-the-ground protests against construction of the mine pick up. Two Greens MPs, Jeremy Buckingham and Dawn Walker, have been arrested in Queensland for disrupting the company’s activities.

Is China’s move the end of the road for Adani’s mega coalmine in Australia, and will the Adani Group be left with billions of dollars in stranded assets?.........

While threats to reputational damage were not effective against Adani Group, since it is family-owned, the same was not true of Australian banks, which were targeted heavily by activists.
And one by one, each of the big four Australian banks ruled out financing the mine.

The first of the big four banks declared it would not lend to the project two years ago. NAB distanced itself from the mine in September 2015 and ANZ followed suit in December.
Then in April this year Westpac became the third of the big banks to rule out funding the project, drawing criticism from resources minister, Matthew Canavan, who said the bank had a conflict of interest because of its interest in other coal-producing regions, and called for a boycott of the bank.

Undeterred, and in the face of a large campaign by environmental groups, the Commonwealth bank followed suit in August this year.

By then Adani had seen the writing on the wall, and had shifted to seek finance from overseas institutions. It entered negotiations with the state-owned China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), which was thought to raise the potential of subsidised Chinese government loans.

The Australian government, which was seeking to give Adani its own subsidised loan, had supported the company’s efforts in China, according to a freedom of information request by the Australia Institute that reveals “several hundred pages” relating to formal representations to foreign financiers by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade…….

Turnbull Government's gift to welfare recipients this Christmas? More pain....


Nothing like receiving bad news in the lead up to the festive season......

News.com.au, 6 December 2017:

CONTROVERSIAL plans to drug test unemployed welfare recipients will be suspended indefinitely after the Senate refused to endorse the idea.

The Turnbull government had hoped to drug test 5000 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients across three trial sites in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia from January.
But Social Services Minister Christian Porter indicated this morning provisions for the pilot will be stripped from an omnibus welfare bill and dealt with separately, so other measures can be signed off by Christmas.

“There are some difficulties that are going to be presented in getting that part of the bill through the Senate, but that does not mean that we are abandoning drug testing,” Mr Porter told Sky News.

“No one can be perfectly certain with these things but my best assessment is the rest of it, everything other than drug testing, will likely succeed through the Senate.”

Minister Porter stood by the trial last month but indicated it might be split from other reforms that were crucial to overhaul the “near to dysfunctional” welfare system.

“The bulk of that bill, which reforms the compliance system, is so critical to what we are trying to achieve that I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the bulk of that in terms of timeliness while we are still negotiating around drug testing,” Mr Porter said at a National Press Club speech in November.

One reform the government wants to pass as a priority is the new “three strike” demerit point system for welfare recipients that would mean those who continually skipped appointments or job interviews would eventually lose their payments.

Another will fold seven welfare payments into one to become the main payment for people of working age.

That is slated to begin in March 2020.

According to the Australian Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) this bill:

* Sets a dangerous precedent that allows governments to determine who is covered by social security rights and protections and who is not, without legislation;

* Would make it more difficult for people to access payments;

* Will make applicants wait much longer for first payments and, in certain cases this could be as long as 26 weeks;

* Cuts payments to people seeking work by removing back-pay provisions;

* Cuts $478m from social security payments over the forward estimates, with most losses incurred by people who are unemployed and single parents;

* Rolls Wife and Widow B pensions & allowances (including the Bereavement Allowance) into the Jobseeker Payment which will leave pension recipients worse off unless they are transferred to another pension;

* Ensures that the Jobseeker Payment keeps recipients living well below the poverty line so that they will be unable to meet essential costs; and

* The new mutual obligation requirements and breach schedule indicates that annually an est. 80,000 people will lose at least one week’s payment and an unknown number up to four week’s payment.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

A Tweet To Remind Us All


"Lucifer" Dutton takes up role as Australian Minister for Home Affairs on Sunday 17 December 2017


The Saturday Paper, 6 December 2017:

Attorney-General George Brandis has confirmed immigration minister Peter Dutton will take up the new home affairs “super ministry” on December 17. The home affairs portfolio, announced in July, will give Dutton sweeping powers over Australia’s intelligence, security and border control apparatuses, and has been criticised for centralising too much authority under one figure and stripping the attorney-general position of its ability to hold security agencies accountable. Brandis denied rumours he will retire from politics before the December reshuffle, saying he intended to stay put. Last week a Canberra Times investigation found a web user with an IP address connected to the Australian Taxation Office edited Dutton’s Wikipedia page, briefly changing his middle name to “Lucifer”.

The Home Affairs super portfolio will merge Australia’s immigration, border protection, law enforcement and domestic security agencies in a single portfolio, including spy agency ASIO, the Federal Police, Border Force and the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission - under the control of millionaire former Queensland police officer and Liberal National Party MP for Dickson Peter Dutton, with allegedly increased oversight by Australian Attorney-General and Liberal Senator for Queensland George Brandis.

A political pairing from Queensland which may yet turn out to be the stuff of nightmares, given these two gentlmen's attitudes to human rights and civil liberties.

Mr. Huang Xiangmo becomes terse


After allegedly giving a number of large political donations to the Liberal, National and Labor parties, wealthy Chinese national and former chairman of the Australian Council for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China, Mr. Xiangmo of Yuhu Group Australia, grows tired of the media attention ………..

Herald Sun via @johhnybridge2

Mr. Xiangmo pictured with some of his many political acquaintances

Photographs sourced from Google Images

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Political Cartoon of the Week


Jack Ziegler, Cartoonist

Quotes of the Week


"We truly hadn't ever considered that people could just be really evil." [Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince in Gizmodo on 1 December 2017, on why this service provider company protects virulent neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer]

"Some families, some communities, some cultures breed strife. Governments cannot always fix it. Compulsory contraception for those on benefits would help crack intergenerational reproduction of strife." [NewsCorp journalist and newly appointed  head of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission, Gary Johns, in BuzzFeed, 19 May 2015]

Tweet of the Week - HEATBREAK WARNING




* The size of this dead elephant indicates that it is likely it was a very young adult when it was shot.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Is the NSW Berejiklian Coalition Government moving against Clarence River communities?



According to the state-owned corporation Port Authority of New South Wales, during the 2017-18 cruise season which commenced in October, international cruise ships will be visiting Sydney, Newcastle, Port Kembla and Eden.

On its website the Authority proudly announced an expectation of a bumper season – as other parts of the world buckle under the weight of the cruise ship industry’s agenda and start to say ‘no more’.

When cautionary tales like this are appearing…..

Traveller.com.au, 20 November 2017:

Venice is planning to divert massive cruise liners. Barcelona has cracked down on apartment rentals.

Both are at the forefront of efforts to get a grip on "overtourism", a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travellers and local residents alike……

The backlash has even given rise to slogans such as "Tourists go home" and "Tourists are terrorists".

"This is a wake-up call," Taleb Rifai, secretary general of the United Nations' World Tourism Organisation, told tourism ministers and industry executives last week at the World Travel Market in London.

Meanwhile Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (USA) and Carnival Corporation (USA) – the biggest cruise lines operating in Australian waters – are moving some of their passenger ships off the NSW list of scheduled stops and berthing then in Melbourne, Brisbane, Singapore and China.

The cruise ship industry goes where its rapacious business model can be utilised most effectively and Australia has been the flavour of the month for a few seasons now, even if Sydney is losing its sheen.

Before this latest Martin Place brain snap Port of Yamba was the only open port in New South Wales that had not been targeted by cruise lines as a destination port. Perhaps in part because they realise that a barrier estuary – where the barrier is the remains of a once living indigenous woman turned to stone - and multiple deck cruise ships are as compatible as oil and water.

Now the NSW Berejiklian Government and, particularly the NSW National Party, want to include this small regional estuarine port in grand plans for increasing cruise ship traffic in the state. Even though, according to Cruise Lines International Association Australasia, by 2016 New South Wales had captured around 58 per cent of the total Australian cruise market annual dollar spend - that's not enough for those greedy politicians down south.

The government tells us these passenger ships will only be “smaller cruise vessels” but it is also considering building an international cruise terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

Now if one goes online and looks at the cruise ships currently operating on the Australian east coast what is immediately obvious is the dearth of "smaller" ocean-going passenger vessels which might enter the Clarence River safely.

There aren’t enough of them to bring the economic benefit NSW Minister for Maritime, Roads and Freight and MP for Oxley Melinda Pavey implies would flow into the Lower Clarence River along with these ships.

Currently the NSW Dept. of Transport is sending a React Future Transport 2058 van all over the state selling the Draft Future Transport Strategy 2058 and asking people to tell those manning this van what they would like to see happen with regard to local transport needs.

The van came to Grafton in the hinterland of the Clarence Valley on 27 November 2017 wanting to hear opinions on trains, buses, roads, cycleways and air travel, but carefully avoided mention of sea transport, cruise ships or a cruise terminal unless a local specifically asked.

This van is never coming to the Clarence Coast - residents will never see it in Maclean, Iluka or Yamba. Their opinions are being deliberately limited in this faux consultation.

So what is going on here?

Perhaps the answer can be found in the idea being canvassed by the Berejiklian Government that all three NSW designated regional ports should ideally be multi-purpose ports which include cargo shipping, cruise ships and naval facilities.

The state government's push to establish the cruise ship industry in the Clarence River estuary looks suspiciously like the first move to bring this about, as inevitably demands will come from the international cruise lines for significant dredging to occur from the river entrance and along main the navigation channel to ship berths.

If such dredging occurs then it is possible the Australian Navy will be encouraged to revisit its strategy for use of smaller coastal ports and, a Sydney-centric NSW Government will begin to insist more freight passes through the port despite the known strong opposition of the wider Clarence Valley community to an industrialised Clarence River estuary.

Now might be the time for Ms. Pavey to consider the possibility that, Oxley being a regional electorate bordering the Clarence electorate, may induce many increasingly concerned people in the Lower Clarence to pack a hamper, get in their car and drive down to Oxley for the day and campaign for whomever of her political rivals takes their fancy during the next state election.

At the very least many are likely to write to local papers in her electorate during the 2019 state election campaign informing them of her actions in Clarence.

These letters could start off by mentioning those troublesome smokestacks at WestConnex, her support of the foreign multinational miner Adani’s plans for a mega coal mine which will inevitably pollute the Great Barrier Reef if it goes ahead,  her failure to support road workers who built a section of the new Pacific Highway for her on zero pay for months (pay they are never likely to see), removing historic Windsor Bridge, the reaction of others to her bizarre transport strategy - before moving on to the mess she is about to make of the Clarence River estuary.

After all the Clarence Valley has a habit of standing up for the aesthetic, environmental, cultural, social and economic values that underpin community in this valley and the wider Northern Rivers region.

Just ask Metgasco, Australian Infrastructure Development or Malcolm Turnbull.

NOTE

The name of the culturally significant reef just outside the mouth of the Clarence River is variously spelt Dirragun and Dirrangun in various books and documents, so both spellings are used interchangeably in North Coast Voices posts.

It should come as no surprise that the Adani Group is offering traditional owners compensation which is well below industry standard


We, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the Traditional Owners of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Corporate conglomerate, Adani, wants to use our ancestral lands for their Carmichael coal mine.
We do hereby firmly REJECT a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands.
We DO NOT consent to the Carmichael mine on our ancestral lands.
We DO NOT accept Adani’s “offers” to sign away our land and our rights and interests in it. We will not take their “shut up” money.
We will PROTECT and DEFEND our Country and our connection to it." [http://wanganjagalingou.com.au/our-fight/]

ABC News, 1 December 2017:

A hotly contested deal between Adani and traditional owners of its proposed Carmichael mine site in Queensland's Galilee Basin would deliver compensation "well below" what most big miners pay, according to a new analysis.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) people would only get 0.2 per cent of Adani's earnings from the mine, less than half the industry average, respected mining industry outfit Economics Consulting Services has found.

Its report, obtained by the ABC, was commissioned by six W&J representatives whose looming court challenge to the deal stands as the final legal hurdle to Adani's contentious mega-mine.

It found the W&J people would earn up to $145 million over 30 years, out of the project's estimated $77.4 billion in gross revenue, a share which was "well below industry benchmark standards".

The benchmarks for such deals usually ranged from 0.75 per cent to 0.35 per cent.

Only 11 per cent of the deal would come to the W&J people in cash, up to $17.4 million over 30 years, or about $2,300 a year per adult member of the clan.

Report author Murray Meaton, who was awarded an Order of Australia in 2014 for services to the mining industry, found the benefits to the W&J people would be "dramatically lower" if job promises for locals fell short as they did "in most jurisdictions and agreements".

To gain finance for the $21 billion project, Adani needs an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the W&J people, or it must call on the Queensland Government to forcibly extinguish any native title claim over the mine site in the Galilee Basin…….

The Adani supporters in the W&J have argued the mine is inevitable and they need to seize the miner's offer to economically benefit their people, including some who live in Queensland's more disadvantaged communities.

However, the anti-Adani group object to the destruction of their ancestral lands and culture, and contest the legitimacy of the meeting that approved the Adani deal.

The dispute will go to trial in the federal court in Brisbane in March.

The case has pushed back Adani's deadline on clinching finance for the project, which remains in doubt.

Wangan and Jagalingou have been defending their country in court since at least 2008.

The Guardian, 3 December 2017:

Traditional owners opposed to the Adani Carmichael coalmine have filed an application for an injunction with the federal court to prevent the native title tribunal from signing off on an Indigenous land use agreement before the outcome of a court challenge.

The application was filed following a meeting of the W&J traditional owners council in Brisbane on Saturday, where the 120 attendees voted against the Ilua for the fourth time since it was proposed in 2012.

Echo NetDaily, 6 December 2017:

North Coast Greens MLC Dawn Walker and NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham were arrested yesterday by Queensland police after taking part in a blockade of the Adani Carmichael coal mine rail construction site at Belyando, 270km west of Bowen.

The MPs were arrested at 6:35am along with a dozen other climate activists and charged with trespass unlawfully on a place of business.

Ms Walker said, ‘It was a very important day for me, stopping work on the Adani mine and being arrested with climate activists who understand the importance of preventing this destructive project from going ahead,’ said Greens MP Dawn Walker.

‘I was proud to stand with traditional owners who have said ‘no means no’ to Adani, and made it clear they will not be surrendering their land and water to this coal corporation.

‘Although this mine is miles from anywhere, the eyes of all Australia are on it. We have travelled days to get here but believe many more will follow.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Marriage Equality finally arrives in Australia



NSW North Coast Nats blame Turnbull for their re-election fears but refuse to look at the state government blunders they support


Image courtesy of Clarrie Rivers

This was The Daily Telegraph on 5 December 2017:

NATIONALS backbenchers have thrown their support behind NSW leader John Barilaro’s comments that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull should resign by Christmas, with one MP saying he was reflecting the views of “the whole country”.

Tensions between the Liberal and National parties reached boiling point yesterday on both a state and federal level as George Brandis labelled Mr Barilaro’s words “the dribblings of some obscure politician who nobody outside of NSW has ever heard of”.

The comments — which were made to Sydney’s 2GB radio last week — have also angered state Liberals, with one senior figure telling The Daily Telegraph Mr Barilaro was “losing the support” of his colleagues….

However, NSW Nationals backbenchers backed Mr Barilaro, with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis claiming his state leader was echoing the “views of NSW and probably whole country”.
“We’ve seen it month after month in the polls,” he said.

Mr Gulaptis said that while he conceded the comments were “unhelpful”, Mr Barilaro was “entitled to make statements like that” and had his full support.

Coffs Harbour Nats MP Andrew Fraser said they “had a history of going with what the electorate was feeling” and that voters were “frustrated” with Mr Turnbull.

“Malcolm Turnbull doesn’t seem to be engaging with the electorate,” he said.

Oh, all the gods on all the holy mountain peaks give me strength!

Yes, the Turnbull Government is a train wreck careering towards the precipice. Yes, the failures of Truffles & Co and their arrogant sense of entitlement will probably colour views in a number of electorates ahead of the next NSW election on 23 March 2019.

However, the NSW Nationals and especially the North Coast Nationals have also not been adverse to supporting punitive policy measures created by the Abbott and Turnbull governments which would impact on local people.

While they have almost invariably initially thrown their weight behind every hair-brained state government idea floated in far-off Sydney which would make life difficult for local communities, local government or damage the Northern Rivers environment.

From withdrawing state agencies or severely reducing their staff and slashing their budgets, through to the push to unsuccessfully impose super-sized regional councils the size of small European principalities, the failed attempt to rob coastal rivers of their water, the unsuccessful push to impose an industrialised landscape filled with gas fields on rural landowners or the current ploy to destroy a biodiverse, environmentally sensitive waterway and surrounding estuary land through a proposal like the Port of Yamba debacle – all of which were initially supported by some or all North Coast National Party MPs.

Communities on the NSW North Coast have always had to talk long, hard and very publicly before their erstwhile elected National Party representatives give them a decent hearing.

So these Nationals need to understand that calls to oust Malcolm Bligh Turnbull will not erase the memory of what their own votes in the NSW Parliament are doing to their electorates and the wider North Coast.

Don't laugh, this Nationals MP was serious


David Arthur Gillespie of Wauchope entered the Australian Parliament in 2013 as a National Party Member of the House of Representatives representing the Lyne electorate, with an annual salary many of his constituents can only dream about.

He is quite literally a man of property – aside from his house and farm he owns four commercial and residential investment properties, which appear to be snugly sitting in one or more family trusts along with a portfolio of shares.

His total parliamentary entitlements expenditure paid by the Department of Finance was $65,512.97 in 2013,  $399,946.31 in 2014, $339,797.06 in 2015 and $381,651 in 2016.

Yet two years ago he caught the greed bug and wanted more, more, more………..

ABC News, 2 December 2017:

The Prime Minister's Department has lost a two-year fight to conceal a minister's bid for thousands of dollars in extra pollie-perks, including charter flights and boat rides.

Former speaker Bronwyn Bishop's taxpayer-funded helicopter ride sparked an inquiry into politicians' entitlements.

Most MPs and senators' submissions were publicly released, but bureaucrats decided to hide Nationals MP David Gillespie's proposal.

After a lengthy freedom of information (FOI) battle, the ABC can reveal Dr Gillespie argued politicians in seats like his should annually be given:

* Nearly $15,000 extra "charter allowance" for charter flights, hire cars, boat rides or taxis
* 14 days more travel allowance for overnight stays within the electorate
* An additional office
* One more full-time employee

Dr Gillespie is the member for Lyne on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

He argued the boost would help meet "the significant logistical challenges that confront all rural MPs in meeting the needs and expectations of their constituents".

"If the additional costs are $10 million, it is a small price to pay to ensure fairness within our democracy is delivered," he wrote in the October 2015 submission.

Dr Gillespie wanted extra expenses for all electorates 10,000 square kilometres or larger.

The Assistant Health Minister's seat is about 16,000 square kilometres in size, and includes towns of Taree and Wauchope.

If implemented today, 24 Coalition MPs would benefit, along with six Labor members and two independents.

Electorates 100,000 square kilometres or larger would have received an even bigger windfall under the blueprint.

But the Government has only partly adopted one of his ideas by funding an extra office in Australia's seven biggest electorates — a group of seats that does not include Lyne.

I’m sure David Gillespie is as pleased with mainstream media outing this attempted cash grab as he was when they reported this……

The Sydney Morning Herald, 1 October 2017:

A Turnbull government minister is facing up to $500,000 in personal legal bills to defend his job against a Labor High Court challenge.

While the government is covering the costs of the seven federal politicians referred to the court over their citizenship status, the eighth MP facing constitutional eligibility questions is not getting the same assistance.

Labor is challenging Assistant Health Minister David Gillespie's right to stay on in Federal Parliament, putting the government's slender majority at risk, because it believes he may have an indirect financial interest in the Commonwealth – grounds for disqualification under section 44(v) of the constitution.

As revealed by Fairfax Media in February, the Nationals MP owns a small suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie and one of the shops is an outlet of Australia Post – a government-owned corporation.

The Lighthouse Beach Australia Post outlet in Port Macquarie owned by Nationals MP David Gillespie. 
Photo: Peter Daniels

Alley v Gillespie [2017] HCA is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday,12 December 2017 by High Court of Australia.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Will all working women in Australia ever achieve equal pay?


Most Australians appear to understand that gender-based discrimination against women is a fact of life females of all ages have to cope with at some point in their lives - often at multiple points in their lives.

This poll gives a clear indication of the level of community awareness of this issue.

Essential Report, Sexism and Discrimination Against Women, 5 December 2017:


A majority of respondents think there is a lot or some sexism in the media (64%), politics (60%), advertising (60%), workplaces (57%) and sport (56%).

Women were more likely than men to think there is a lot or some sexism in all areas – but especially in workplaces (women 67%, men 46%) and politics (70%/49%).

There has been some small changes in these figures since this question was asked in January last year – sexism in workplaces has dropped 4%, in the media up 6%, in sport down 4% and in schools up 8%. However, there has been more significant change in the differences between men and women on some issues. On sexism in the workplace the gap between perceptions of men and women has increased from 12% to 21%.

Despite society knowing that gender-based discrimination against women exists, institutions put in place by government to allegedly mitigate inequality and ensure fairness still manage to entrench such discrimination.

The shorter version of the observations and conclusions set out below is that if you are a female worker on minimum wage working in an industry sector which employs significantly more women than men, then you still cannot reliably look to either the private sector or the Liberal-Nationals version of the Fair Work Commission for the equal pay first promised by the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1972.


Excerpt from Barbara Broadway & Richard Wilkinson, Melbourne University (October 2017), Probing the effects of the Australian system of minimum wages on the gender wage gap, pp.3-4:

In Australia, minimum wages are binding for a large part of the labour market: in 2014, 24% of all employees were paid the applicable minimum wage. Based on the above studies, one would therefore expect minimum wages in Australia to reduce the gender wage gap substantially. However, somewhat unusually, the Australian labour market contains many different minimum wages arising from industry and occupation-based ‘awards’ made by an industrial court. These awards specify legally binding minimum rates of pay, which vary considerably across occupations and industries, applying not only to the low-pay sector of the labour market, but to occupations of all levels, including high-skilled, high-paid jobs such as airline pilots, university professors and medical practitioners.1 The effects of these many minimums will therefore depend, in quite complex ways, on how men and women are distributed across occupations and industries and how minimums are distributed across occupations and industries.

The industrial court does not set different wages for men and women. However, it could, in principle, produce a gender wage gap by setting lower minimum wages in occupations and industries in which women are relatively more concentrated. A gender wage gap caused by legally set minimum wages could therefore be greater than or less than the gender wage gap created by market wages.

Indeed, the raw median gender wage gap among full-time employees in Australia is, at 18%, in the middle range of all OECD countries (Figure 1)2, providing a hint that the minimum wage system does not reduce the gender wage gap as much as might be expected given the high proportion of employees that are paid the applicable minimum wage. This is reinforced by the finding that the raw mean gender wage gap among full-time employees is approximately 20% (and indeed the gap has persisted at this level since the early 1990s (ABS 2016), despite relative growth in female educational attainment and work experience)…….

We therefore doubt that the observed job-femaleness penalty is actually derived from compensating differentials determined by the Fair Work Commission. Rather, what seems more likely is that the award-wage decisions have been influenced by observed “typical” wages in industries and occupations, and male-dominated fields have benefited from a long history of strong unionisation that led to higher average wages.

In any case, irrespective of whether non-skill-related differences in award wages are justified by other job characteristics, what is clear is that the gender wage gap among minimum-wage employees is greater than it would be were award wages neutral with respect to the gender composition of jobs.

Indeed, the gender wage gap within the award system would probably be negative if minimum wages depended only on the skill requirements of jobs, since the observed human capital of female minimum-wage employees is on average greater than the observed human capital of male minimum-wage employees…..

Comparing mean wages of award-reliant men and women shows there is indeed a gender pay gap among award-reliant employees, although it is considerably smaller than among non-award-reliant employees. The mean wage is $20.74 for men and $18.63 for women, corresponding to a mean gender pay gap of approximately 10%, compared to 19% among non-award employees.

1 These minimum wages are, however, less likely to be binding in high-paid occupations, where greater proportions of employees receive a salary that is above the applicable award rate.
2 Note that the OECD estimates are not entirely comparable across all countries because of differences in the way the median gender gap is calculated. For example, the wages variable may be measured over an hourly, weekly, monthly or annual time-frame. Figure 1 nonetheless provides reasonable indicative information on where Australia fits relative to other OECD countries.

VOICES THE BEREJIKLIAN GOVERNMENT DOESN'T WANT TO HEAR: comment on NSW Ministers Pavey & Constance's not so brilliant idea to invite cruise ships into the Clarence River Estuary


Northern Rivers voices telling it like it is.......

FacebookNo Mega Port Yamba, 15 November 2017:

Victoria Paine Dear Councillors,

I wish to express my deep concern and OBJECTION to the proposal that the Port of Yamba be designated a cruise ship destination and/ the creation of a cruise ship terminal.

My primary concerns are environmental. The self evident environmental damage cannot be justified by monetary gain.

In addition, I am concerned re the reduction on local amenity and negative impact on the quality of life of the community and on local ground based tourism which relies heavily on the integrity of the natural environment.

I urge you to strongly oppose this damaging proposal.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Victoria Paine

MBBS. MPH. BA. FRACGP.

Angourie.

The Daily Examiner, 29 November 2017, p.10:

Yamba port not in ship-shape condition

I would like to thank Valley Watch for keeping the people of the Clarence informed. After visiting their stall at the Yamba River Market this week, I am greatly concerned regarding the lack of public knowledge of the 4200 tonne cruise ship which will be docking in Yamba in October 2018.

Did you know about this cruise ship? I didn’t.

However on September 24, 2017 the NSW Government announced a plan to investigate constructing international cruise terminals in Yamba and Coffs Harbour.

This is part of the government’s launch of the Future Transport 2056 Strategy. Ms Pavey’s office announced: “In October 2018, the Cruise Ship Caledonian Sky plans to stop off at Yamba as part of the Australian Coastal Odyssey.”

There have been a few indications over the years of there being a Port in Yamba; it was even mentioned in the Yamba Survey a couple of years ago. If Yamba’s economy is going to increase by this ship docking in Yamba, think again. There is hardly time for a swim. Please have a look at the itinerary for the holiday makers’ short stay in the Clarence (www.noble-caledonia.co.uk)

The most important question I ask myself is what happens in rough weather? If we think back to the Island Trader, how many times was it forced to stay off shore due to inclement weather?

This cruise liner is eight times heavier than the Island Trader. What guarantee is there that this vessel will not harm the protected Dirrangun Reef? Have the Yaegl people been consulted? Once the reef is damaged, the damage is forever. I wonder if this has been considered or conveniently forgotten.

Yamba Community including the Yaegl people, Clarence Valley Council and the Chamber of Commerce all need to be in consultation before permission is given to allow such a vessel to come into Yamba waters.

The consequences of allowing this vessel into Yamba waters could be catastrophic.

Ilma Hynson, Yamba

The Daily Examiner, 23 November 2017, p.11:

No fortune from hop off, hop on cruise

Sorry to tell you, Ray (Hunt), that the proposed cruise ship visit in October 2018 will not introduce much money or employment to Yamba (Ship Size 21/11).

According to its own itinerary, Caledonian Star will land passengers after breakfast on board before a trip to Iluka Rainforest or YambaMuseum and then back on board for lunch before heading south.

Not many fortunes to be made there!

Gary Whale, Yamba

Facebook:

PE Barclay Tourists come to Yamba because its beaches are natural and so is the river.
Tourism is what keeps Yamba alive.
When we go messing with nature to allow cruise ships in to Yamba we have to calculate to what benefit is it to Yamba if the passengers eat and sleep on the boats and don't spend much locally.
Yamba is unique because of its natural environment and if we take that away what do we have left?
Coffs Harbour is already commercialised and cruise ships would be better to go there.

Greg Clancy The Clarence Estuary will never be a cruise ship port without major damage being done to the estuary as it just isn't suitable as it now stands. Yes I am scared of what damage might be done if the proposal gets legs. I don't have a problem with the current level of boat/ship activity although even with the limited commercial operations of the past we ended up with Fire Ants at the Goodwood Island wharf. There are real bio-security issues as well as ecological issues. The sands and mudflats of the Estuary provide habitat for many species of migratory shorebirds that migrate here from the northern hemisphere. Australia has signed a number of international treaties to protect them and their habitat. Water from the bilge can carry exotic organisms that could ruin local fisheries, both professional and amateur. Do I need to go on?

The Daily Examiner, 28 November 2017, p.9:

Crusing around facts

It is simply not true that “You can already cruise into Yamba” (D.Ex 24.11.2017).

The Google search attributed to Councillor Ellem is clearly dated “9th October 2018”.

I think Yambaites would have noticed a 90 metre long, 15 metre wide cruise ship 
coming into port!

We can argue about the merits of such a visit, but facts are stubborn things.

Gary Whale, Yamba

The Daily Examiner, 5 December 2017, p.9:

Community input

The Berejiklian Government in Sydney tells us that its “Future Transport 2056 Strategy and Plans have been created with input from the community since the program began in 2016. So far, we’ve engaged with over 40,000 people across the State in face-to-face and digital consultations”.

Allegedly towards that end the NSW Dept. of Transport had a “React Future Transport 2056” van in Grafton for the day on November 27.

I hopped on a bus and went to Grafton to visit the van because the “Draft Future Transport 2056 Strategy” documents had only two dot points mentioning maritime infrastructure development/ cruise terminal in Coffs Harbour/Yamba and I wanted to find out more, as this draft strategy is scheduled to become a final document in 2018.

I told one of the staff manning this van that I had read in the local newspapers about the van and asked if they could tell me what it was all about.

In response the staff member informed me that the government was going all around the state asking people what they felt they needed when it came to transport – not just for years far into the future but for smaller time frames like 10 years. That they weren’t just looking at what trains and buses were available, but they were also looking at roads, cycle ways and even air travel.

I was then asked if I wanted to give my opinion on what I felt the area needed.

What was strikingly absent from the conversation thus far was any mention of what else was in that draft document which might be thought very relevant to the Clarence Valley – the plan to make the Port of Yamba an official cruise ship destination and possibly build a cruise ship terminal in the Clarence River estuary.

So I introduced that particular topic into the discussion and this is what I found out:

1. There was no information available on the government’s proposal for a cruise ship terminal other than those two brief dot points;
2. The “React Future Transport 2056” van would continue to travel around the state but it was never coming to Yamba;
3. There was no timeline for when investigation of a cruise terminal in the estuary would begin; and
4. The communities of Yamba and Iluka would only be consulted when a site for the cruise terminal was being considered and that this community consultation would probably occur as a part of the Environmental Impact Statement process.

The Berejiklian Government obviously has no intention of opening a face-to-face dialogue with communities living within the Clarence River estuary or at the mouth of the river before plans for the Port of Yamba become set government policy and, will probably avoid any meeting with Yaegl traditional owners for just as long if Ministers Pavey and Constance think they can get away with such a blatant snub.

After all the government has already had discussions with the people it thinks matter – it spoke with representatives of the international cruise ship industry in the first half of last year.

Judith M. Melville, Yamba

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