Thursday, 8 June 2023

The Minns Labor Government – one step forward three steps back


A brief look at the Minns Labor Government six weeks into its term in office…...


The West Australian, 24 March 2023:

If elected, Mr Minns said his first act of legislation would be to put “Sydney Water in the NSW constitution, stopping future governments enacting a backdoor fire sale” of state-owned assets…..

The Constitution Amendment (Sydney Water and Hunter Water) Bill 2023 was introduced into the NSW Parliament on 10 May and passed by both Houses on 1 June 2023


Shepparton News, 12 December 2022:

A NSW Labor government would legislate an end to the practice of rent bidding, to curb the spiralling cost of tenancy.

The promise ahead of the March election comes amid skyrocketing Sydney rents as well as those in regional areas, with NSW's median rent increasing from $386 to $420 a week between 2016 and 2021.

With one in three NSW households now renters, Opposition Leader Chris Minns says Labor has prepared legislation banning secret bidding, a practice where prospective tenants are pitted against one another to secure properties…..

Ending the practice of ‘rent bidding’ placed in the too hard basket in the first week of June 2023


The New South Wales Labor party will establish a new national park stretching from Kempsey to Coffs Harbour in a bid to save the state’s endangered koala population.

On Thursday the opposition leader, Chris Minns, will announce that the party will re-commit to establishing the “great koala national park” on the NSW north coast, which could see an area of about 300,000 hectares of key habitat for the native species protected from logging.

The park, which Labor has promised in the past two state elections, is likely to anger the timber and logging industry, which has previously claimed it would cost the state thousands of jobs. Other estimates claim the park would add about $1bn to the state’s economy over 15 years.

The Minns Government is spinning its wheels on this promise – seemingly by design - as Forests NSW lay waste to prime koala habitat within the precincts of the proposed “Great Koala National Park”. The term Extinction Crisis appears to mean little to this new crop of state ministers even if they are part of the Australian Labor Party.


Byron Echo, 15 February 2023:

According to Labor leader Chris Minns, ‘NSW has experienced an escalating number of major flood events in recent years’.

It’s increasingly clear that we cannot continue to develop and build on dangerous floodplains, and risk putting more people in harm’s way…..

NSW Labor will adopt a proactive approach to planning and mitigating against the impact of floods and charge one minister with the responsibility of stopping further development on dangerous floodplains…..

Coastal development continues apace on large coastal floodplains with no attempt by the Minns Government to curb this risky practice. This is but one example....

IMAGE: The Daily Telegraph, 3 May 2023

Unfortunately, this is not an exhaustive list of issues.

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

In June 2023 Liberal-Nationals Coalition & Liberal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton still failing to breakthrough with the national electorate?


At the Saturday, 18 May 2019 Australian federal general election 15.8 million electors turned out to vote, with the vote result giving 77 seats in the House of Representatives to the Liberal-Nationals Coalition, 68 seats to the Labor Party and 6 seats to minor parties/independents.

Three years later the federal general election saw 15.4 million electors vote, with the vote result sending the Labor Party into government in the House of Representatives with 77 seats, the Liberal-Nationals Coalition forming the Opposition with 58 seats and minor parties/independents holding 16 seats.

Twelve months into the Albanese Government’s three-year term and there is a 10 point projected gap in TPP votes in its favour in the 4 June 2023 Newspoll. While there is a 27 point gap in Albanese’s favour when it comes to which leader is seen as better prime minister material.

The Coalition in June 2023 under Dutton is 8 points lower than the Coalition under Morrison in August 2019 (the first poll after the 2019 federal election) and, at 45 points, 2 points lower under Dutton than where the Coalition was placed on election day 2022. On the Newspoll continuum over the last twelve months Peter Dutton as party leader has never guided the Opposition to a poll score higher than 46 points.

Newspoll, 4 June 2023:


Labor ALP 38 (no change)

Coalition Lib/NP 34 (no change)

Greens 12 (+1)

One Nation 6 (-1)


Labor ALP 55 (no change)

Coalition Lib/NP 45 (no change)


Anthony Albanese 55 (-1)

Peter Dutton 28 (-1)


YES 46%

NO 43%



The Australian newspaper, Newspoll, 4 June 2023
Twitter @GhostWhoVotes4 June 2023
Australian Electoral Commission (AEC), 2019, 2022.

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

"Eat The Rich" is an amusing conversational tag. But for how long?

For most Australians, income is the most important resource they have to meet their living costs. However, reserves of wealth can be drawn upon to maintain living standards in periods of reduced income or substantial unexpected expenses. Considering income and wealth together helps to better understand the economic wellbeing or vulnerability of households.”

[Australian Bureau Of Statistics, Household Income and Wealth, Australia, Reference period: 2019-20]

Given the grumbling coming from the opera boxes and dress circle seats in the Australian economy if it is suggested that those on low to middle incomes shouldn’t be solely responsible for fighting inflation by way of wage suppression, ever rising cost of living & below poverty line unemployment benefits, perhaps it’s time to remember some of the cream within the Top 1% and how richly they live in an Australian population of est. 26,510,186 men, women and children spread out across this country. [ABS, Population Clock, 4 June 2023 at 8:15am]

Forbes, Australia’s 50 Richest 2023, 15 February 2023:

NAME          NET WORTH          INDUSTRY

1. Gina Rinehart   $30.6 B         Metals & Mining

2. Andrew Forrest   $21.7 B      Metals & Mining

3. Harry Triguboff     $15.5 B    Real Estate

4. Bianca Rinehart & siblings   $12.5 B   Metals & Mining

5. Anthony Pratt   $11.6 B        Manufacturing

6. Mike Cannon-Brookes  $10.8 B Technology

7. Scott Farquhar   $10.6 B      Technology

8. Cliff Obrecht & Melanie Perkins   $7.2 B Technology

9. Frank Lowy   $6 B                 Finance & Investments

10. Richard White   $5.4 B        Technology

11. John, Alan & Bruce Wilson   $5.1 B Fashion & Retail

12. Kerry Stokes   $4.2 B          Diversified

13. John Gandel   $3.5 B          Real Estate

14. Lindsay Fox   $3.4 B           Logistics

15. Jack Cowin   $3.35 B          Food & Beverage

16. Michael Hintze   $3.2 B       Finance & Investments

17. James Packer   $2.8 B        Finance & Investments

18. Lang Walker   $2.7 B           Real Estate

19. Fiona Geminder   $2.6 B     Manufacturing

20. Brett Blundy   $2.45 B         Fashion & Retail

21. Solomon Lew   $2.3 B         Fashion & Retail

22. Bob Ell   $2.25 B                  Real Estate

23. Len Ainsworth & family   $2.2 B Gambling & Casinos

24. Heloise Pratt   $2.15 B        Manufacturing

25. Clive Palmer   $2.1 B           Metals & Mining

26. Gerry Harvey   $2.05 B        Fashion & Retail

27. Kie Chie Wong   $2 B          Metals & Mining

28. Hains family   $1.95 B         Finance & Investments

29. Cameron Adams   $1.8 B    Technology

30. Chris Wallin   $1.75 B         Energy

31. Terry Snow   $1.61 B           Real Estate

32. Bruce Mathieson   $1.6 B   Real Estate

33. Chris Ellison   $1.59 B        Metals & Mining

34. Angela Bennett   $1.55 B    Metals & Mining

35. Gretel Packer   $1.54 B       Finance & Investments

36. David Teoh   $1.53 B           Telecom

37. Nigel Austin   $1.5 B           Fashion & Retail

38. Tony & Ron Perich   $1.42 B   Real Estate

39. John Van Lieshout   $1.41 B   Real Estate

40. Anthony Hall   $1.4 B          Technology

41. Jack Gance & family   $1.35 B   Fashion & Retail

42. Mario Verrocchi & family   $1.34 B   Fashion & Retail

43. Sam Hupert $  1.3 B           Technology

44. Sam Tarascio   $1.25 B       Real Estate

45. Sam Kennard & siblings   $1.2 B  Real Estate

46. Michael Heine   $1.19 B      Finance & Investments

47. Manny Stul   $1.18 B           Manufacturing

48. Mark Creasy    $1.02 B        Metals & Mining

49. Alan Rydge    $1 B              Media & Entertainment

50. Kerr Neilson    $960 M        Finance & Investments

Globally only Monaco and Switzerland have higher individual net wealth than Australia. In this country in 2022 the Top 1% had individual wealth beginning at $5.5 million to >$30 billion, yet before it was driven from office the Morrison Coalition Government locked in an overly generous permanent tax cut for the wealthy in our society. Along with a negative gearing regime for property investment which is concentrating residential property ownership in the hands of richer individuals and families.

While the bottom wealth percentiles - including the homeless, unemployed, working age poor & elderly without assets or savings - recognising the taxation rate/negative gearing sleight-of-hand involved are left wondering how long they can manage to put a roof over their heads and food on the table now and into the foreseeable future.

IMAGE: Twitter via @MaggieDaWitch
4 June 2023

Monday, 5 June 2023

NSW GOVERNMENT 'NORTHERN RIVERS RESILIENT LAND STRATEGY' STATE OF PLAY 2023: in its current form not worth the paper it is printed on


Northern Rivers Resilient Lands Strategy –Summary Report: Helping provide a safer, more sustainable and more resilient Northern Rivers, 1 June 2023:

The Northern Rivers Resilient Lands Strategy is part of the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC)’s $100 million Resilient Lands Program.

The Resilient Lands Program is part of a suite of measures the NRRC is coordinating to deliver a sustainable supply of land and housing for flood

impacted residents in high risk areas in the Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed Local Government Areas.

The Resilient Lands Program has been designed to complement, not replace, business-as-usual land release and housing development in the region. The Resilient Land Strategy identifies land that will be accelerated for delivery with funding support provided under the Program.

The Resilient Lands Program is being delivered in conjunction with the NRRC’s $700 million Resilient Homes Program that focuses on raising, retrofitting and voluntary purchase of homes impacted by the 2022 floods.

After the Acknowledgement Of Country the aforementioned four short paragraphs are the NSW Government, Dept. of Regional NSW & Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC)’s introduction to its long awaited draft resilient lands strategy.

It goes on in the Foreword to state:

The Strategy identifies 22 sites that could support

climate resilient residential development across each

of the Northern Rivers Local Government Areas. Fifteen

sites have been earmarked for immediate on-ground

investigations, to enable flood impacted residents to

move out of areas severely impacted by the 2022 floods.

The Strategy also identifies a further seven sites of

strategic significance for long-term resilience. These

sites that are identified as potentially suitable for

development in the longer term may help reduce the

need to undertake a similar region-wide land suitability

assessment should future natural disasters occur in

the Northern Rivers.

The authors of this draft document end the eight paragraph Foreword with a nausea inducing bout of self-congratulation:

The Resilient Lands Expert Panel, who has assisted in

the preparation of the document, is thankful that our

skills and professional expertise have been able to

contribute to the recovery initiative but humbled by the

experience of people who lived through the flood event,

many of whom remain impacted. We hope that this

document will assist in ensuring that safe and secure

accommodation can be made available for all affected

going forward.

That last paragraph on Page 5 completed setting the tone for what is essentially a twenty-four page collection of pious wishes, vaguely-worded ‘plans’ and the carefully worded announcement of a funding feeding frenzy by land speculators and both private & corporate property developers.

Given the political influence of the development & construction industry lobbies, it is easy to suspect that ‘affordable housing’ will be taking a back seat in the NSW Minns Labor Government’s specific plans for north-east New South Wales – albeit these plans were inherited from the Berejiklian-Perrottet Coalition Government which preceded it.

At Pages 7 & 8 the draft document states:

Land identified in the Strategy was also reviewed by the Resilient Lands Expert Panel (the Panel), an independent panel of experts with backgrounds in urban planning, environmental management, community development, Indigenous knowledge and climate resilience.

The Panel’s recommendations identified 22 short, medium and long-term development sites across the seven Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Ballina, Byron, Clarence Valley, Kyogle, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Tweed with potential capacity for up to 10,300 dwellings.

Work has now commenced on the planning and delivery of the 15 short-term sites identified within the Strategy. This will ensure residents impacted by the 2022 floods can relocate to new housing as soon as possible.

The Strategy also identifies a further seven medium and long-term sites for broader regional planning efforts to support longer term community resilience.

What does the Resilient Lands Strategy mean for

residents impacted by the floods?

The Strategy identifies a total of 22 potential development sites across the Northern Rivers on both private and public land. Fifteen sites are for immediate investigation for flood impacted residents with capacity for approximately 7,800 dwellings. Seven further sites with capacity for approximately 2,500 dwellings have been identified as sites of strategic significance for longer term resilience…..

Why doesn’t the NRRC just acquire and develop land?

In some instances, acquisition and development of land by government will have a role to play under the Program. However, using a range of approaches that aim to remove barriers and encourage the delivery of land and housing by the development sector and government will maximise housing supply outcomes across the region.

For example, using the entire $100 million available under the Resilient Lands Program to acquire land and develop housing could be expected to deliver approximately 200–300 dwellings to the market over the next three to four years.

On the other hand, a modest, up-front investment by government to deliver important water and sewer infrastructure upgrades that are preventing the release of land can unlock significant housing supply and better support the feasibility and delivery of residential development areas.

Taking an approach that is tailored to the characteristics of each individual site will ensure the Program delivers the most housing in the right locations as possible.

Where any financial support is provided to the development sector through the Resilient Lands Program, it will be conditional on prioritising access to any new housing for flood affected residents.

I think that the Labor MLA for Lismore Janelle Saffin put it best when she told ABC News on Friday, 2 May 2023:

Ms Saffin said the corporation's communication skills left many questions unanswered.

"We are desperate for detail, our community that has been physically and psychologically battered, and this doesn't give us any more detail about when, time frames, how, who," Ms Saffin said.

"I've been a very vocal critic of the NRRC's inability to communicate and this release just highlights it even more."….

"We've all watched the series Utopia [and] the idea of comms management is not to do anything," Ms Saffin said.

While Greens MLA For Ballina Tamara Smith was quoted in The Guardian on the same day:

The MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith, called on the government to release better maps that provide more detail.

How can we as a community make informed submissions about what will be huge new residential developments when we don’t actually know where they are?” she said.

Our community deserves utter transparency and I am disappointed that we are not getting more information in order to make meaningful submissions to the draft.”

In another section of that article these succinct quotes also mirrored the feelings of more than a few locals:

A mayor who spoke to Guardian Australia on condition of anonymity said they believed the government was being “very optimistic” with its goals, calling the lack of detail so far provided to councils and the community “really crap”.

This is an example of mapping used in the draft document at Pages 15 to 22:

It would appear that the state government and its agencies are determined to play those land strategy cards close to their chest and at the same time minimise whatever negative media reports may emerge.

It is doing this by treating the entire Northern Rivers regional population of est. 312,747 men, women and children (.idcommunity, 2022) as so many mushrooms which need to be kept in the dark. At the same time holding a media briefing in which the Draft Resilient Lands Strategy was explained in some detail (accompanied by visual aids) and all journalists questions answered—under a total ban on dissemination of said information by said journalists.

This Northern Rivers resident’s assessment of the state of play in June 2023?

The NSW Government, Dept. of Regional NSW and Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation have provided local government and communities with:

  1. no genuine time frame;

  2. broad statements but no real details;

  3. an incorrect assessment of some land being shovel ready for development in 2024;

  4. maps so ill-defined that they are all but useless in identifying which land is to be developed;

  5. no outline of the type/number/provisional costings of tenders that might be required for land preparation and supporting infrastructure or tenders which have already been approved; and

  6. an unrealistic expectation that this particular Resilient Lands Strategy can deliver what has been promised to the people of the Northern Rivers region.

Sunday, 4 June 2023

What Australian Unions declared to be "the largest increase to minimum and Award wages in Australia’s history" occurred on Thursday 1 June 2023 - effective 1 July


This was Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus writing on the Australian Unions website, 2 June 2023:

Today the Fair Work Commission announced that workers on the national minimum wage will receive a pay rise of 8.6 per cent. Workers on Award wages will have their pay increased by 5.75 per cent. Both of those increases will come into effect in the first pay period after 1 July 2023.

The union movement fought hard for this pay increase. Up against us were the big business lobby – who argued for a real-wage cut.

All union members should be proud of this pay rise. It’s the largest increase to minimum and Award wages in Australia’s history.

It’s what unions do – we use our strength in numbers to ensure that working peoples’ pay gets moving again.

Increasing pay is the most important step to reducing the impact of the cost-of-living crisis….

Come July 2023 the approx. 20.5 per cent of Australian employees (est. 2.75 million individuals) who are paid in accordance with minimum wage rates in modern awards and the 0.7 per cent of Australian employees (est. 180,000 individuals) paid the National Minimum Wage – workers who are also much more likely to be low paid, mostly work part-time hours, are predominantly female, almost half being casual employees and probably having no entitled to paid leave – will see more dollars in their pay packets.

According to The Guardian on 2 June 2023, the Fair Work Commission’s statement indicates the minimum wages will increase to $882.80 per week or $23.23 per hour.

This appears to translate to a new hourly rate of $23.21 for those on the National Minimum Wage.

Based on ABS labour force numbers for April 2023, it is expected that up to 21 per cent of the current 13.87 million strong national workforce may benefit from these minimum wage rate rises.

Given that an est. 54,927 employees in Northern Rivers region worked part-time by 2021 and an est. 35,028 were female, there may be quite a few local residents with a little more in their pay packets next month.

However, as most of the modern award-reliant workforce is employed under a relatively small number of modern awards covering specific industries or occupations, the effect of the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2022-23 Decision differs markedly between industry sectors and, along with the increase in the National Minimum Wage will have a limited effect on the national wages bill.

Which is not to say that employer lobby groups will not be frequenting newspaper, radio and television platforms voicing ‘the sky is falling’ predictions over the next week.