Wednesday 30 September 2020

With so many NSW Northern Rivers businesses relying on the JobKeeper wage subsidies to retain staff in the face of loss of trade due to the COVID-19 pandemic the regional economy may decline further now Morrison's JobKeeper cuts start to kick in

The first federal government JobKeeper subsidised wage payments were received by employers in the first week of May 2020 and by 21 July 2020 est. 3.5 million Australians were receiving this payment.

By 22 July 2020 the percentage of NSW Northern Rivers Businesses relying on JobKeeper Payments by Local Government Area were:
Byron 60.39%
Tweed 47.79%
Ballina 39.56%
Clarence Valley 34.52%
Lismore 35.05%
Richmond Valley 27.45%
Kyogle 21.3%

In July the JobKeeper subsidised wage was $1,500 (before tax) per fortnight

The JobKeeper payment rate is now as follows…...

The JobKeeper Payment rate

From 28 September 2020 to 3 January 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:
$1,200 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working in the business or notfor-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for eligible business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average; and
$750 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

From 4 January 2021 to 28 March 2021, the JobKeeper Payment rates will be:
$1,000 per fortnight for all eligible employees who were working in the business or notfor-profit for 20 hours or more a week on average in the four weeks of pay periods before either 1 March 2020 or 1 July 2020, and for business participants who were actively engaged in the business for 20 hours or more per week on average; and
$650 per fortnight for other eligible employees and business participants.

Businesses and not-for-profits will be required to nominate which payment rate they are claiming for each of their eligible employees (or business participants).

The Commissioner of Taxation will have discretion to set out alternative tests where an employee or business participant’s hours were not usual during the February and/or June 2020 reference period (the period with the higher number of hours worked is to be used for employees with 1 March 2020 eligibility). For example, this will include where the employee was on leave, volunteering during the bushfires, or not employed for all or part of February or June 2020.

Guidance will be provided by the ATO where the employee was paid in non-weekly or non-fortnightly pay periods and in other circumstances the general rules do not cover.

The JobKeeper Payment will continue to be made by the ATO to employers in arrears.

Employers will continue to be required to make payments to employees equal to, or greater than, the amount of the JobKeeper Payment (before tax), based on the payment rate that applies to each employee. This is called the wage condition.

Regional town water security virtually ignored for last six years by NSW Coalition Government

The NSW Auditor General’s audit report of 24 September 2020, titled Support for regional town water infrastructure, reveals that state government has failed to meet its responsibilities and fulfil its undertaking for the last six years under the leadership first of Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell, then of Liberal Premier Bruce Baird and finally of Liberal Premier Gladys Berejiklian 

In fact NSW Liberal and Nationals politicians didn't begin to get even remotely serious about regional town water security until 2018-19.

Audit Report Executive Summary, excerpt:

"The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (the department) is the lead agency for water resource policy, regulation and planning in NSW. It is also responsible for ensuring water management is consistent with the shared commitments of the Australian, State and Territory Governments under the National Water Initiative. This includes the provision of healthy, safe and reliable water supplies, and reporting on the performance of water utilities.

Ninety-two Local Water Utilities (LWUs) plan for, price and deliver town water services in regional NSW. Eighty-nine are operated by local councils under the New South Wales’ Local Government Act 1993, and other LWUs exercise their functions under the WM Act. The Minister for Water, Property and Housing is the responsible minister for water supply functions under both acts.

Audit Report Conclusion, section in full:

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment has not effectively supported or overseen town water infrastructure planning in regional NSW since at least 2014. It has also lacked a strategic, evidence-based approach to target investments in town water infrastructure.

A continued focus on coordinating town water planning, investments and sector engagement is needed for the department to more effectively support, plan for and fund town water infrastructure, and work with Local Water Utilities to help avoid future shortages of safe water in regional towns and cities.

The department has had limited impact on facilitating Local Water Utilities’ (LWU) strategic town water planning. Its lack of internal procedures, records and data mean that the department cannot demonstrate it has effectively engaged, guided or supported the LWU sector in Integrated Water Cycle Management (IWCM) planning over the past six years. Today, less than ten per cent of the 92 LWUs have an IWCM strategy approved by the department.

The department did not design or implement a strategic approach for targeting town water infrastructure investment through its $1 billion Safe and Secure Water Program (SSWP). Most projects in the program were reviewed by a technical panel but there was limited evidence available about regional and local priorities to inform strategic project assessments. About a third of funded SSWP projects were recommended via various alternative processes that were not transparent. The department also lacks systems for integrated project monitoring and program evaluation to determine the contribution of its investments to improved town water outcomes for communities. The department has recently developed a risk-based framework to inform future town water infrastructure funding priorities.

The department does not have strategic water plans in place at state and regional levels: a key objective of these is to improve town water for regional communities. The department started a program of regional water planning in 2018, following the NSW Government’s commitment to this in 2014. It also started developing a state water strategy in 2020, as part of an integrated water planning framework to align local, regional and state priorities. One of 12 regional water strategies has been completed and the remaining strategies are being developed to an accelerated timeframe: this has limited the department’s engagement with some LWUs on town water risks and priorities. [my yellow highlighting]


Tuesday 29 September 2020

In the lead-up to the 3 November 2020 U.S. presidential election Donald Trump repeats his threats from 2016

In just 37 days - on 3 November 2020 - United States citizens go to the polls to elect their 46th President.

In person absentee voting has already started in Alabama, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan. Thirty-eight other states will begin in person absentee voting during October.

Trump is replaying his threats of 2016 - presumably in an effort to discourage voter turn-out and/or lay the groundwork for justification of a legal challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court if he fails to secure enough votes to retain the presidency.

Forbes, 23 September 2020:

President Trump on Wednesday refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if former Vice President Joe Biden wins the election in November, calling for the elimination of mail-in ballots, which he said would ensure the “continuation” of his presidency…..

Trump has been a vocal opponent of states’ efforts to expand mail-in voting in response to coronavirus, often spreading unfounded or outright false claims about widespread fraud from mail-in ballots and even tweeting, “The 2020 Election will be totally rigged if Mail-In Voting is allowed to take place.”

Pressed further on committing to a peaceful transfer of power on Wednesday, Trump called to “get rid of the ballots,” adding “we’ll have a very peaceful- there won’t be a transfer, frankly, we’ll have a continuation.”

Trump also said at an earlier event on Wednesday that his push to get a ninth justice confirmed to the Supreme Court before the election is so the U.S. has a full slate of justices to rule on the “scam the Democrats are pulling” with mail-in ballots.

The comments come after Trump mused about passing an executive order to prevent Biden from becoming president because, in his words, “You can't have this guy as your president.”……

Dispatches from the Australian Koala War - Part Two

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2020:

One of the NSW Nationals' most vocal opponents of the koala planning policy relayed concerns about the divisive issue to Planning Minister Rob Stokes on behalf of political donors connected to a major property venture.

Nationals MP for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead wrote to Mr Stokes in February, passing on an email from Raymond Stack, the chairman of Stacks Finance, concerning the state’s new koala planning policy.

The letter to Mr Bromhead from Mr Stack on February 24, released to NSW Parliament on Wednesday, included correspondence from two other engineering and land development companies raising concerns with the state’s koala planning policy.

"Is there anything that can be done to delay it 'till there is proper consultation," Mr Stack wrote to Mr Bromhead……

It follows confirmation from Mr Stokes' office that the only stakeholder correspondence he received from Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro about the policy was from developer and former Newcastle mayor Jeff McCloy.

The Stack family are donors to the Liberal and Nationals parties at a state and federal level.

Mr Stack is also one of several directors of Hocana Pty Ltd, which owns land set to become part of the multimillion-dollar Taree development Figtrees on the Manning.

He made a $100,000 donation to the federal Liberal Party ahead of the 2016 election, according to electoral commission disclosure records.

"So far as I know that donation was a perfectly legitimate donation and I reported it as required," Paul Stack said.

Other members of the Stack family have made donations to the Nationals, including a $2000 donation in 2015 to the party, labelled "Stephen Bromhead election campaign".

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by the Stack family…..

The other businesses featured in the email chain Mr Bromhead forwarded to the Planning Minister were Hopkins Consulting and Land Dynamics Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 24 September 2020:

The koala planning policy, which sparked the bitter civil war in the Coalition, will be debated at the next cabinet meeting on October 6, with the Nationals demanding a raft of changes.

Port Stephens Examiner, 10 September 2020:

A grassroots campaign to save the threatened Port Stephens koala population in Brandy Hill has resulted in Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley delaying her decision on the proposed expansion of a rock quarry operated by Hanson. Ms Ley was expected to hand down a decision on Tuesday, September 8 but a concerted community push led by Brandy Hill and Seaham Action Group (BHSAG) has resulted in a stay of execution and the deadline for a decision being extended to October 13. The quarry expansion, which includes 52 hectares of core koala habitat, was granted by the Independent Planning Commission in July, but required federal approval because the project had been deemed likely to have a significant impact on a matter of national environmental significance.

The Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie NSW: 

Evans Head CW 
On examination CW was found to have a ruptured left eye and minor limb injuries – consistent with being hit by a car. His left eye was removed, and he was placed into care and was treated for his injuries. CW will be part of the hospital’s breeding program. 

Ballina Franklin 
This young male koala was admitted into care, responding well to treatment with his care progressing as expected. Ballina Franklin is not only now part of our permanent team of koalas, but he is now an integral part of our wild koala breeding program – something we are sure he will handle quite well!

Monday 28 September 2020

While the Northern NSW Nationals posture in the media about Queensland border restrictions and moves to protect the state's koalas, NSW Labor Member for Lismore is doing the hard yards

While Northern NSW Nationals Chris Gulaptis, Geoff Provest and Ben Franklin run to mainstream media outlets to huff and puff about Queensland's border restrictions and, Gulaptis in particular cries that the sky will fall if New South Wales koalas receive the protection they deserve, the NSW Labor Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin just gets on with the job of representing her electorate.

Office of the Member for Lismore, media release, 25 September 2020:

Saffin pushes for immediate and strategic support of regional economy

LISMORE MP Janelle Saffin is calling on the Berejeklian-Barilaro Government to deliver urgent financial support to businesses on the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands and to strategically establish a Special Activation Precinct to turbo charge the regional economy.

It will help our region climb out of COVID. We have projects ready, the collaboration and the will, but we need our share of New South Wales’ available resources, including the $1.75 billion owed to regional and rural NSW from Restart NSW, Ms Saffin said.

Ms Saffin has used a series of Notices of Motion to NSW Parliament to focus the Government’s attention on the Electorate of Lismore, still recovering from 2017’s major flood, drought, last year’s bushfires, this year’s COVID-19 lockdown and the Queensland-NSW border closure.

Ms Saffin said that while she had successfully lobbied for the Border Bubble to include the Lismore City, Byron Shire, Ballina Shire, Richmond Valley and Glen Innes Local Government Areas, many businesses were still hurting economically.

“NSW Business Northern Rivers estimates that businesses have been losing an average of $10,500 a week in revenue so there is still an urgent need for the Government to come good with a rescue package like the $45-million one it offered to NSW businesses near the Victorian border,” Ms Saffin said.

“I thought it was important for me to advocate for our region through a combination of Notices of Motion, Questions on Notice to Ministers and direct reps to Ministers, and at next week’s meeting with Regional Development Australia-Northern Rivers, we can flesh this out in more detail.

“Having a Special Activation Precinct here on the Northern Rivers, and all of the extra government support that comes with these precincts, would give real teeth to my earlier calls for a Regional Jobs Plan.

“Another major issue is that the NSW Government has introduced a Whole of Government Procurement Policy for collecting waste from Health, TAFE and caravan parks on Crown reserves, squeezing out our local regional companies in favour of the big multinationals, and killing off local jobs.”

Ms Saffin has moved Notices of Motion on the need to develop and fund a Regional Jobs Plan; expanding Special Activation Precincts to the region; supporting small businesses impacted by the Queensland-NSW border closure; unlocking Restart NSW funding; and fairer Procurement Policies.

On a Regional Jobs (Employment Development) Plan, Ms Saffin moved that the Lower House:

1. Notes the Regional Development Australia’s Remplan Report estimates 15,471 jobs have vanished from the Northern Rivers regional economy between February and May 2020, with accommodation/hospitality and retail sectors hardest hit.

2. Notes job losses are similar in the New England North West Region.

3. Notes the Government needs to develop and fund a Regional Jobs Plan, coordinated by the NSW Department of Regional Development and enlisting the expertise of Regional Development Australia, Business NSW, local chambers of commerce, local government councils through joint organisations, business leaders, trade unions and all local Members.

On Special Activation Precincts, Ms Saffin moved that the Lower House:

1. Notes the Government established Special Activation Precincts in Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Snowy Mountains, Moree and Williamtown to turbo charge these regional locations to become thriving business hubs through infrastructure investment, Government-led studies, Government-led development and business concierge services.

2. Recognises the need to expand the network of Special to the Northern Rivers region, home to many cutting-edge entrepreneurs in its stated range of industries, including freight and logistics, defence, advanced manufacturing, renewable energy and tourism.

On Queensland-NSW Border Closure – Small Business Support, Ms Saffin  moved that the Lower House:

1. Notes the Government moved quickly to provide a $45-million rescue package for New South Wales small businesses adversely impacted by its decision to close the NSW-Victorian border to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

2. Notes there is an urgent need for the Government to extend a similarly generous grant program to all local small businesses in Northern NSW, which, having endured drought and bushfires, are now really struggling to cope with the Queensland-NSW border closure.

On Restart NSW Funding, Ms Saffin moved that the Lower House:

1. Notes the Government has failed to deliver the legislated commitment to allocate 30 per cent of Restart NSW funds to regional and rural New South Wales in any year since its inception, delivering only 18.9 per cent of $3 billion instead of $4.75 billion from 2012 to 2019.

2. Calls upon the Premier and the Deputy Premier to deliver the promises Restart NSW funding of 30 per cent each year and to pay the debt of $1.75 billion owing to the people of regional and rural New South Wales.

On Procurement Policies, Ms Saffin moved that the Lower House:

1. Notes the Government’s Expression of Interest (EOI) for NSW Whole of Government Waste Management for Health, TAFE and caravan parks on Crown Reserves favours large operators and squeezes out small and medium size Australian-owned regional companies because the EOI effectively makes redundant the Government’s Small and Medium Enterprise and Regional Procurement Policy.

2. Recognises the need for an urgent review of these procurement policies and consultation with small and medium size regional companies to ensure that they still have a seat at the tendering table and are not disenfranchised to the point that their revenue streams can be reduced by a third, leading to job losses in Northern NSW during an economic recession.

Ms. Saffin gave notice of the aforementioned motions in the NSW Legislative Assembly on the following dates:


I note that there appears to have been no motions or speeches specifically on these matters in the same timespan by either Chris Gulaptis, Geoff Provest or Ben Franklin.

The dramatic increase in COVID-19 deaths in Australia’s aged care homes begs the ethics around our treatment of people in aged care, says a UNSW expert

MediaNet Release, 24 September 2020:

Treating our elderly people ethically and with transparency

UNSW’s Richard Hugman says it is time to stop treating elderly people as objects, as the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Safety continues.

The dramatic increase in COVID-19 deaths in Australia’s aged care homes begs the ethics around our treatment of people in aged care, says a UNSW expert. In less than four months, deaths from COVID-19 in aged care have increased from 28 to 580, at the time of writing.

UNSW Emeritus Professor Richard Hugman, a social worker who specialises in the aged care professions, says Australia’s service provision needs to treat older people as human beings rather than objects.

"To use a similar ethos in caring for human beings that you would use in producing physical things for sale, I think is an unfortunate way to think about the world,” the former professor of social work at UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, says.

"The way policies are framed around running these [places], it is as if they are running a factory. I understand good management techniques are transferable across settings, but you also need to understand the content of what you're managing.”

Causes of the COVID outbreaks in aged care

A range of factors have been blamed for the outbreak of COVID-19 in care facilities, including a lack of training in the use of Personal Protective Equipment and supplies available for care staff.

Melbourne’s aged care homes have been the worst hit, with all but five of the 115 aged care homes affected by the virus in Victoria. St Basil’s recording 44 deaths, Epping Gardens 36 deceased and Twin Parks Aged Care in Reservoir with 21.

In Sydney, Newmarch House recorded the state’s highest death toll in aged care with 19 cases, including two residents who had COVID-19 when they died from other causes. And the numbers are growing.

Newmarch and St Basil’s had alarming numbers because they decided not to transfer patients to hospital, Prof. Hugman says.

"I haven't seen the detail, but the question I would be asking is, ‘were those homes actually using established infectious disease control methods?’” he says.

The decision not to transfer patients is exacerbated by the fact that today there are very few qualified nurses in nursing homes, Prof. Hugman says.

"Some nursing homes don't even actually have a nurse on duty at all times. If they’re looking after 100 people and they’ve got one nurse on duty to supervise other people, then they might have somebody who has a certificate from TAFE administering drugs and medications.

"Whereas in a hospital, someone would actually have to be a qualified nurse to be doing that.”

Care staff working across multiple sites during the pandemic have also reportedly been a likely source of COVID-19 transmission. Prof. Hugman says staff have to work between homes just to earn enough to survive on.

"It's not just in Victoria, despite what the government says. These are all reflections of the broader ethics of the social value that is placed on [ageing] people, so that they seem to be less well cared for than they could be otherwise.”

Early findings from the Royal Commission’s interim report

The Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (RCACQS) is looking at better financing models, including regulation of aged care providers, in its latest hearings expected to run until September 22.

It comes after a survey by the University of Queensland for RCACQS estimated it would cost $621 million per year to improve the quality of all aged care homes to better standards. In its October 2019interim report, the RCACQS’ scathing review stated that aged care is a “shocking tale of neglect” in Australia that fails to meet the needs of our elderly people.

Australia’s aged care sector is “unkind and uncaring” towards older people, it does not deliver uniformly safe and quality care and often neglects them, according to the interim report.
Prof. Hugman says while the Royal Commission creates an opportunity for people to speak up, the real challenge lies in the government’s response and how it then permeates into the wider society.

A lack of transparency

Prof. Hugman says there is a lack of transparency in how government funding is spent by management in aged care facilities in comparison to community-based social services where monitoring is stringent.

He says claims by some aged care homes, particularly those from the for-profit sector, that they have to spend less on staff relative to residents in order to cover their costs just doesn’t stack up.

"And those claims about non-profitability do not explain how or why the [aged care] for-profit sector remains [in operation],” he says.

For-profit aged care homes have reported more cases of COVID-19 than facilities operating on a not-for-profit framework, heightening concerns about staff numbers, training and supplies.

Raising the social value of elderly people

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre has since been set-up to coordinate efforts to stabilise any further COVID-19 outbreaks across the private and public aged care sectors, with an infection control officer now stationed in each facility.

And the Royal Commission is set to release its final report by 26 February 2021.

Prof. Hugman recommends the government respond to the Royal Commission by not only providing sufficient funding but by also ensuring older people are treated with dignity and care.

"[The government needs to] focus on improvements to the aged care sector that are not reflective of a sense that older people needing care are a burden on society,” Prof. Hugman says.

[Instead, they need to focus on the fact] that older people are part of society and that a good society is one that values all its members.”

Prof. Hugman also says there needs to be an emphasis placed on the expression of positive values about how to treat and view elderly people as human beings.

"Frankly, there are some places I've visited in the last few years, either because I've had friends or relatives who are living in them or I've gone to visit for professional reasons,” Prof. Hugman says.

And they’re places, “I wouldn't go anywhere near”.

Sunday 27 September 2020

New South Wales 2020: the problem of water greed & outright theft

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 September 2020:

The rapid growth of blueberry and other intensive farming in northern NSW has prompted a crackdown on illegal water use and sparked concerns about pollution in rivers and in the state's first marine conservation area.

The Natural Resources Access Regulator found 28 of 31 farms it inspected around the Coffs Harbour region in the first two stages of the clampdown were allegedly non-compliant with water laws.

The regulator said in the five years prior to the start of the campaign, agencies received more than 130 reports of alleged breaches in the region. "This potentially indicated a high level of non-compliance," a spokeswoman for the regulator said.

For the first two phases, the regulator ordered 13 farms to reduce the capacity of dams among 25 directions. Other actions include 20 penalty notices, with more likely after a third stage of investigations last month.

The problems stem in part from the conversion of banana farms to blueberries, raspberries and cucumbers, among other products, in the past two decades. Farms with set water licences have been subdivided, with new owners apparently adding bores, pumps and even dams on the smaller plots.

Water quality, too, has been compromised as the more intensive crops increase the use of fertilisers, pesticides and other chemicals. That's prompted the Coffs Harbour City Council to commission multiple studies by researchers from the Southern Cross University, among others.

One report found levels of nitrogen soared after rains as fertiliser from farms washed into rivers, reaching 695 times that of drier conditions.

"These [nitrogen oxide] loads were amongst the highest reported for catchments on the east coast of Australia, and similar to loads in rivers throughout China, Europe and India with strong agricultural or urban influences," the 2018 study found.

Shane White, one of the Southern Cross University researchers, said the Coffs region is prone to short, heavy rain bursts. Soils in the hilly area are typically shallow and sit on a clay base that limits the absorption of water, leading to significant run-off….

Breaches of NSW water laws have also been found in the Northern Rivers area in 2020 to date - 1 direction notice and 2 penalty notices have been issued to Clarence Valley LGA landowners, 2 direction notices to Ballina LGA landowners, 3 penalty notices to Byron Bay LGA landowners, 3 penalty notices to Lismore LGA landowners and 1 direction notice and 3 penalty notices for Tweed LGA landowners.

Saturday 26 September 2020

Cartoons of the Week

David Rowe

Cathy Wilcox

Tweets of the Week


Friday 25 September 2020

Deaf community celebrating Auslan in 2020 with a Leaders Challenge

MediaNet, 22 September 2020:

Australian Leaders Participate in the Auslan Community Leaders Challenge

Australian Community Leaders sign a message of support for the Deaf Community for International Day of Sign Languages.

On Wednesday 23rd September, the United Nations sanctioned International Day of Sign Languages, the Auslan Community Leaders Challenge hits social media.

Leonie Jackson, Executive Manager, Advocacy and Strategic Partnerships at Deaf Services and the Deaf Society says “the second Auslan Community Leaders Challenge invites Australian Community Leaders to demonstrate their support for 30,000 Australians who use Auslan; Australian Sign Language, as their primary language.

"This year 52 Community Leaders accepted the challenge to try their hand at signing their name and their support for the Deaf community,” Mrs Jackson says.

We are pleased to see so many Community Leaders recognise the importance of access for Deaf people through the Auslan Challenge.”
In line with this year’s theme, these messages acknowledge the importance of improving access to emergency information, accredited interpreter services and information for families of Deaf children that outlines the full spectrum of opportunities available to their child.

"New in 2020, Deaf Community members have also developed their stories demonstrating the significant impact improved access to information and interpreters has had on their lives.”

Who’s involved?

The Hon. Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia,
The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, Leader of the Opposition, Leader of the Labor Party
His Excellency General the Hon. David Hurley AC DSC (Retd) and Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley
Her Excellency the Hon. Margaret Beazley AC QC Governor of New South Wales • Her Honour the Hon. Vicki O'Halloran AO, Administrator of Northern Territory
His Excellency the Hon. Paul de Jersey AC Governor of Queensland
Her Excellency Professor the Hon. Kate Warner AC Governor of Tasmania
The Hon. Linda Dessau AC Governor of Victoria
His Excellency the Hon. Hieu Van Le, AC Governor of South Australia
The Hon. Kim Beazley AC Governor of Western Australia

To celebrate International Day of Sign Languages these videos will be posted on social media using the hashtags: #AuslanCommunityLeadersChallenge2020 #Auslan #InternationalDayofSignLanguages #IWODP #IDSL2020 #IWDeaf2020.

The Auslan Community Leaders Challenge is a collaboration between Deaf Services and the Deaf Society, alongside Ms Julie Owens MP, Member for Parramatta. Deaf Services and the Deaf Society would like to thank Access Plus WA Deaf in Western Australia and Deaf Can:Do in South Australia, who worked alongside their Vice Regals and Patrons this year.

For more, visit:
To see last year’s Auslan Leaders Challenge:

Morrison Government continues to drag its feet on national greenhouse gas emissions reduction

Renew Economy, 21 September 2020:

Morrison said, of net zero emissions:

"Well, as you know, our policy is to achieve that in the second half of this century, and I certainly will achieve that, and that’s why this week’s announcements were so important because it was about the technology we need to invest in now, which will make it a reality, particularly on the other side of 2030. The target that you’ve talked about becomes absolutely achievable. I’m interested in doing the things that make that happen. I think that is very achievable"…..

Morrison was, in fact, effectively stating that Australia would reach net zero emissions by 2100. Heck, what’s a half-century between friends?

In fact, Australia’s Paris climate agreement targets are neatly aligned with reaching net zero by 2100, whereas Labor’s old 45% by 2030 targets were aligned with net zero by 2050 (the far safer option). Unfortunately, the latest projections from the government are wildly off course, not only for net zero by 2050, but also for net zero by 2100….

If the rate of yearly emissions drops between 2020 and 2030 in Australia’s government projections continue, by my own reckoning, Australia will reach net zero emissions in the year 2300….

The Guardian, 22 September 2020:

The Morrison government’s rejection of a net zero emissions target for 2050 is at odds with the Paris agreement and more than 100 countries that have backed the goal, according to some of Australia’s most experienced climate experts..... 

countries in Paris including Australia had specifically asked the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to examine what 1.5C of heating would mean, and what needed to be done to avoid it. 

The resulting report, released in 2018, found global emissions needed to effectively be cut in half by 2030 – to be 45% below 2010 levels – and to reach net zero by 2050. It found staying within 2C heating would require net zero by 2070, but the impact of that was likely to be far worse

Australia chose to stick with its existing 2030 target of a 26% to 28% cut below 2005 levels and is yet to set a date to reach net zero.....

By contrast, [Erwin] Jackson said, Australia was “confusing the market”. “On the one hand, it has signed up to an international agreement that is supposed to put it on a path to net zero emissions by no later than 2050,” he said. “On the other, it keeps talking about ‘low emissions’. We’ve moved on from a conversation about low emissions. Globally, we have recognised we need to get to zero emissions.”


Australia is almost standing still when it comes to reducing its national annual greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of 19 calendar years in 2019 federal government policy has only resulted in our annual greenhouse gas emissions falling by a trifling 18.5 metric tonnes in comparison with the annual emissions at the end of the year 2000.

Estimated National Greenhouse Gas Emissions in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or MTCO2e over last 20 years - includes Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry:

2000 - 551 Mt CO2-e
2001 - 570 Mt CO2-e
2002 - 568 Mt CO2-e
2003 - 561 Mt CO2-e
2004 - 574 Mt CO2-e
2005 - 597 Mt CO2-e 
2006 - 610 Mt CO2-e
2007 - 606 Mt CO2-e
2008 - 590 Mt CO2-e 
2009 - 584 Mt CO2-e 
2010 - 543 Mt CO2-e
2011 - 546.3 Mt CO2-e
2012 - 551.9 Mt CO2-e (total excludes Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry)
2013 - 538.4Mt CO2-e
2014 - 535.9 Mt CO2-e 
2015 - 535.7 Mt CO2-e
2016 – 543.3 Mt CO2-e
2017 – 533.7 Mt CO2-e
2018 – 532.5 Mt CO2-e 
2019 – 532.5 Mt CO2-e (this annual total marks a difference of only -18.5 Mt CO2-e compared with the year 2000 annual total)
2020 – 528.7 Mt CO2-e (total up to 30 March)

Unadjusted figures found in Australian Government National Greenhouse Gas Inventory: Quarterly updates.and at Australian Dept. of Environment and Energy.
The estimated totals from 2000 to 2009 are from Dept. of Energy and Environment.