Wednesday, 27 May 2020

National Reconciliation Week begins in Australia today, Wednesday 27 May 2020



2020 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the reconciliation walks of 2000, when people came together to walk on bridges and roads across the nation and show their support for a more reconciled Australia.

Sadly, Australia has not moved as close to reconciliation with traditional owners/custodians of the land as people had hoped for twenty years ago. Let's do better in these next twenty years.

Is Donald Trump like a beast from mythology beginning to devour himself?


Jefferson "Jeff" Beauregard Sessions III, a hard right, openly rascist Republican Party politician from Alabama, has served in the US Senate from 1997 to 2017 when he became Attorney-General in the Trump Administration - a post he held until forced to resign by President Trump on 7 November 2018.

Sessions is recontesting his Senate seat in 2020 and that hard right, openly rascist, authoritarian, Republican Party politician Donald J.Trump is now actively campaiging against him, blaming him for his own presidential impeachment charges.

Alabama has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980.

However, in 2017 the Republican Party lost Session's former Senate seat to the Democratic Party once he vacated to become US Attorney-General.

In 2018 Alabama's public debt stood at est. US$29.65 billion and in 2019 this debt had reportedly risen to US$39.8 billion.

The state's share of the US export market had fallen by -3.1% in 2018 to 2019.

During Donald Trump's presidency Alabama has remained the 6th poorest state in the nation.

With only around six months to go until the next federal election, this state's monthly unemployment rate had jumped to 12.9% by April 2020 - its worst rate in nearly 37 years - due to the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which has seen 13,418 Alabamans infected and 541 killed to date.

One has to suspect that much of the shine may have gone off Donald Trump as far as Alabama is concerned.

Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis: a portrait of political ignorance


Extract from an email sent by NSW Nationals MP for Clarence Chris Gulaptis (former surveyor, property developer, local government councillor) on 20 May 2020:

Timber harvesting operations take place in around one per cent of State forests each year, which is around 0.1 per cent of forested land in NSW.

Well managed, sustainable timber harvesting operations provide the essential renewable building products our communities need to rebuild following the recent fire season, from power poles, to timber bridge and house frames.

By ensuring an ongoing wood supply, we will help maintain local jobs when they are most needed and meet the critical timber supply needed to rebuild our local communities.

Our forests have been harvested and regrown many times over the past 100 years. Importantly, they have also successfully recovered from bushfires before.

A small number of selective harvesting operations that commenced prior to the fires have continued under the strict regulations governing native forestry in NSW.

These rules require Forestry Corporation to set aside large areas of habitat in every operation they carry out. These rules have been developed by expert panels of scientists to ensure wildlife populations continue to thrive alongside sustainable timber harvesting.

However, the primary focus is on salvaging what timber can be recovered from those badly burnt parts of the forest. These are areas so severely affected by fires they are largely devoid of any habitat. Forestry Corporation is also preparing to embark on a massive re-planting program to recover this estate.

Well, how does one reply to a pottage of misleading statements about a timber industry rife with rule breaking and environmental vandalism?

Firstly the Forestry Corporation of NSW controls more than two million hectares of native and planted state forest in New South Wales and, annually it takes an est. 2.5 million m3 of sawlogs and around 2 million tonnes of pulpwood from these forests, which means it supplies an est 14% of Australia's timber product. This year to date the Forestry Corporation has harvested est. 1.21 million m3 of timber product.

Secondly, on a regular basis the timber industry racks up warnings and fines. As little as four weeks ago the NSW Environment Protection Authority announced that the Forestry Corporation had been fined $31,100 for failure to abide by conditions immposed concerning avoidance of environmentally sensitive areas and retention of habitat trees.

Thirdly, perhaps a few images will clearly show that even after severe bushfires, in the absence of chainsaws and logging trucks, trees will begin to recreate "habitat".

All photographs found at Google Images
And then there is this aspect.....

ABC News, 29 January 2020:

Research has also shown forests that are logged post-fire and then regenerated have an increased risk of burning in high-severity crown-scorching fires. 

This extra fire risk lasts for about 40 years after logging. That is, a burnt forest which is logged tomorrow will still carry an elevated fire risk in 2060. 

A global review published in 2009 showed that links between logging and elevated fire risk is a problem seen in wet types of forests worldwide. 

In 2016, an Australian study published by the Ecological Society of America found tree fern populations crashed by 94 per cent after post-fire logging..... 

Many burnt trees that look dead now will re-sprout in the next few weeks or months. This is already occurring in the burnt coastal forests of NSW. 

These recovering trees must not be logged. They are essential for the survival of animals like gliding possums — research shows that these animals are unlikely to return to forests that are logged immediately after burning for 180 years (if they can return at all). 

Heavy logging machinery will kill many of the plants that germinate in the nutrient-rich bed of ashes on the forest floor. 

Animals that have miraculously survived in burnt areas can also be killed in logging operations. 

Pioneering research from southern Australia has shown that fungi and nutrients in soils can take up to a century or even longer to recover from salvage logging. 

Mass movement of soils in areas logged post-burn can choke rivers and streams and trigger fish kills as well as kill many other kinds of animals....

The Guardian, 6 May 2020:

A group of senior Australian scientists have warned in an international journal that logging native forests makes fire more severe and is likely to have exacerbated the country’s catastrophic summer bushfires. 

In a comment piece published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, the scientists call for a clearer discussion about how land management and forestry practices contribute to fire risk. 

The article by the scientists David Lindenmayer, Robert Kooyman, Chris Taylor, Michelle Ward and James Watson comes amid intense debate about the resumption of logging in Victoria and New South Wales in bushfire hit regions..... 

In the comment piece, the scientists say much of the conversation in the aftermath of the spring and summer bushfires had rightly focused on climate change, but the impact of land management and forestry on fire risk was often neglected in these discussions. 

They highlight this as a concern because land management policy was “well within the control of Australians” and the fires had been used by some sectors of the industry to call for increased logging in some areas. 

The paper says industry data showed that some 161m cubic metres of native forest was logged in the period from 1996 to 2018. 

“Beyond the direct and immediate impacts on biodiversity of disturbance and proximity to disturbed forest, there is compelling evidence that Australia’s historical and contemporary logging regimes have made many Australian forests more fire prone and contributed to increased fire severity and flammability,” the scientists write. 

This occurs because logging leaves debris at ground level that increases the fuel load in logged forests. It also changes forest composition and leaves these areas of forest both hotter and drier, they say. 

The article says during the bushfire season fire had spread from logged areas adjacent to old growth eucalypts and rainforests in the Gondwana world heritage reserves..... 

The Daily Examiner, 25 May 2020: 

The public was recently invited to comment on a draft code of practice – the “rule book” – for private native forestry. 

The CoP has been in place for about 15 years, with the current draft resulting from the mandatory five-yearly review. 

With the stated aim of ensuring ecologically sustainable forest management, one would expect any review to focus on that aim but unfortunately that has not been the case. 

Ecologists and conservationists have two major concerns, the first being that, while there are provisions to protect threatened flora and fauna that are known to inhabit the proposed logging areas, there is no requirement to actually look for them. 

In fact, unless there is an ­official record of a threatened species on the property, it is assumed they don’t occur there. 

The second concern is a lack of compliance monitoring and enforcement, for which there is certainly a wealth of evidence. 

Although it’s difficult to pinpoint a reason, possibly it relates to a lack of political will to take action against the industry at large. 

Perhaps it is a case of under-resourcing, poorly drafted legislation open to interpretation or all of the above but the fact remains that flouting of the code’s regulations is widespread. 

Two years ago, the Clarence Environment Centre reported one local case where a PNF ­operator broke virtually every rule in the book – literally hundreds of breaches. 

Logging on creek banks, in swamps, on rocky outcrops and on cliff edges. 

Snigging tracks were constructed on excessive slopes and across gullies, erosion control measures were inadequate, threatened species had been trampled by machinery and rubbish such as oil drums and tyres were left littering the landscape. 

The investigators spent days on site confirming the ­reported breaches and finding additional ones, yet almost two years later no action has been taken against the culprits and with the two-year statute of limitations looming, the case will likely be dropped. 

Unless operators are held to account, how can we have any faith in the supposed aim of Ecologically Sustainable Forest Management? 

John Edwards, Clarence Valley Conservation Coalition

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

From the moment then Liberal MP for Warringah Tony Abbott became Australia's prime minister the National Broadband Network became one enormous rolling disaster


This is what est. $50 billion dollar spend of taxpayer money by the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government has delivered in rural and regional Australia.....

Clarence Valley Independent, 21 May 2020:

As far as stories about inept management go, the bungled provision of National Broadband Network (NBN) services for the residents of Woombah features a tangled web of politics, bureaucracy, obfuscation and buck passing. 


Seven years after the process began; a recent survey conducted by the Woombah Residents Association has revealed that 60 per cent of the village’s residents are still unable to connect to the NBN. 

The association has written to Page MP Kevin Hogan, Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Mc Cormack expressing their dissatisfaction. 

The COVID-19 lockdown has served to amplify the problem, with one frustrated couple, Robin and Einion Thomas, writing to Mr Hogan: “After contacting your office my email was sent to [NBN Co’s regional manager] Ian Scott. 

“He phoned me and suggested, as we had been unable to connect to the fixed wireless tower, a satellite service would be a good option, [however], a 300Mb plan I saw was for $200 per month. 

“It was also suggested we keep our ADSL line, as satellite is limited and ADSL would be needed if we wanted to do streaming, video conferencing and working with cloud-based services. 

“…Right now [the ADSL] is struggling and this is putting additional pressures on us in our home-based working environment. 

 “Neither of the suggestions made by Ian [is] workable, acceptable or affordable to us.” 

The saga began in April 2013 when Woombah residents were informed that a 40 metre high fixed wireless (NBN) tower was going to be erected at 97 West Street – within weeks a group of residents known as the Woombah Tower Action Group (WTAG), began lobbying to prevent its construction. 

The tower was erected in December 2013 and was commissioned in March 2015. 

As it turned out WTAG’s failed campaign was on the money when it was revealed that fewer than two in ten residences were covered by the tower’s broadcast footprint. 

One of the group’s members, Dane Webb, wrote to Page MP Kevin Hogan, declaring at the time: “This has to go down in history as one of the most ridiculous exercises ever, as it [the tower’s service area] covers – wait for it – TWO complete streets and a few partial streets.” (‘NBN tower fails to deliver’, Clarence Valley Review, March 23, 2015).... 

A panacea to the problem appeared to be close in March/April 2019 when NBN Co’s regional manager, Ian Scott, advised the Woombah Residents Association that two towers – one at Mororo and another at Palmers Island – would provide NBN services to Woombah residents. 

However, according to residents, things have not improved since the towers were commissioned. 

On May 12 the residents association wrote in its media release and/or correspondence: “Despite the huge expense involved in building these additional towers fewer than 40 per cent of our community members can successfully access the NBN fixed wireless internet. 

“Woombah has a population of approximately 1,000 residents and is dependent on tourism, farming and fishing. “It is the second fastest growing community in the Clarence. 

“The population is set to expand over the next year with the development of 147 new homes in a caravan park in the village. 

“…We note that a recent media release from [Communications Minister Paul Fletcher’s] office stated: ‘The importance of fast, affordable broadband delivered quickly has never been clearer than during the current COVID-19 pandemic (27/4/2020).’ 

“We agree wholeheartedly with your statement and would like to draw your attention to the problems we in Woombah face connecting to the NBN.”

According to finder on 21 May 2020, by the end of June 2020 it is expected that:

By the end of the rollout, roughly 40% of premises will be connected via Fibre to the Node or Fibre to the Basement (also known as Fibre to the Building) – the vast majority of these will be Fibre to the Node. 

Fibre to the Node connections still rely on the copper phone lines to cover the last few hundred metres, while Fibre to the Basement runs copper into the basement of multi-dwelling buildings and relies on the building's copper wiring. 

Meanwhile, around 12% will be dependent on Fibre to the Curb, reliant on much shorter copper runs, while 19% will be lucky enough to have Fibre to the Premises running all the way into their home. 

That leaves 21% using the HFC (hybrid fiber-coaxial) cable networks, 5% on fixed-wireless and 3% on SkyMuster satellite.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Broadband Performance Data, May 2020:



Evidence koalas still living in Iluka area in 2020


A koala in Iluka, December 2017

The Daily Examiner, 18 May 2020:

The words excited and elated aren’t often associated with the discovery of poo, but last week in Iluka they certainly were. 


The devastating impact of bushfires on the koalas across the North Coast has been well documented and teams continue to scour bushland to try to assess the impact on local populations. 

NSW National Parks has been at the forefront of the effort, undertaking bushfire recovery surveys with the help of local Landcare groups and volunteers. 

So when Iluka Landcare volunteer Jeff Thomas found a number of koala scats at the base of red gums in the area between Iluka Bluff Rd and Iluka, he was understandably excited. 

“I couldn’t wait to ring Kay Jeffery, president of the Iluka Landcare group, and tell her and the Landcare team the good news.” 

The find was significant as the area had been regenerated through years of hard work by the group to clear lantana and wattle which had been planted after sand mining ceased on the peninsula. 

“I was so excited when we found the scats, particularly in an area that has been ­restored,” Mr Thomas said. 

“It’s good to see all their hard work paid off.” The discovery was aided by Max, one of NSW National Parks’ canine recruits who has been specially trained to sniff out and find koala scats. 

Ms Jeffery was overjoyed to hear the news, as the Landcare veteran said it was the culmination of a vision. 

“I was absolutely elated to hear that all the hard work and careful planning 24 years ago had resulted in koalas ­inhabiting the site,” she said....

Monday, 25 May 2020

Tommy's standing guard on the front line of the Cane Toad Biosecurity Containment Zone


Echo NetDaily, 19 May 2020:


Springer Spaniel with a nose for toads, Tommy, and handler Steve Austin, hard at work in the Lower Clarence Floodplain. Photo Nigel Blake.

As the reach of the cane toad marches ever farther south, the Clarence Landcare Toad Busters have engaged an enthusiastic recruit on the front line of the Toad Biosecurity Containment Zone.

Tommy is an English Springer Spaniel trained to sniff out cane toads and his work with trainer Steve Austin is helping to trial the effectiveness of sniffer dogs in detecting new cane toad arrivals.

This project is supported by North Coast Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s Wildlife and Habitat Bushfire Recovery Program.

Fig Forest, Clarence Landcare’s Cane Toad project coordinator, says that Shark Creek, in the lower Clarence, is just beyond the biosecurity containment zone for toads.

Tommy lets us know if any toads have hopped this far yet,’ Mr Forest. ‘Thankfully no toads were detected.

No two ways about it - 'Scotty From Marketing' Morrison has political egg on his face


In mid-April 2020 Australian Prime Minister & Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne decided that the middle of a global pandemic and, with a domestic economy in freefall, was a good time to antagonise our biggest trading partner.

Their weapon of choice was China's initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the possibility that the SARS-CoV-2 virus had escaped from a research facility in or near Wuhan.

It didn't go unnoticed that this foray into conspiracy theories marched side by side with media statements and outlandish ant-China comments being tweeted by a hypocritical* US President Donald J. Trump, whom Morrision professes to admire and with whom he consults during this pandemic.

Morrison's actions in particular raise the suspicion that he wanted to be seen as a 'world leader' that month because emerging domestic economic news was not encouraging and he saw the need for a political diversion.

Why else would he eschew normal diplomatic channels? Channels which would have allowed him to privately discuss his concerns directly with the Chinese Government.

Well, he certainly got that diversion.

It came in the form of an effective loss of Australia's barley export market in China due to the imposition of 80.5 per cent anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties and limitations on beef exports impacting 35 per cent of the beef trade with China.

But hey! The World Health Assembly issued a resolution eventually signed by 136 co-sponsors out of a total 194 WHO member countries.

Unike the Morrison-Dutton-Payne rhetoric, this measured document carefully refrains from targeting China and focusses on World Health Organisation (WHO) responses to the pandemic and the effectiveness of International Health Regulations

Resolution co-sponsors included both Australia and China. However, after all Trump's yelling and finger pointing, the resolution did not include the United States as a co-sponsor.

This left Scott Morrison with egg on his face. 

Particularly as three days ahead of the 73rd World Health Assembly Conference and four days before the announcement of that high barley tariff, the Australian public learned that China had increased its imports of barley from the United States and sourced additional beef from Russia

It doesn't matter how much Trump blusters about China's initial response to COVID-19 now - it's all for show, always was. The grain deal is done and the U.S. is moving in on our major market.

It would appear that out of the three principal buffoons leading Western democracies - Donald John Trump, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson and Scott John Morrison - it is Morrison who is the most foolish when it comes to international relations and the most easily tricked by other buffoons.

Note

* On or about 11 January 2020 China announced the first confirmed death from the novel coronna virus. By 24 January Donald Trump on behalf of the American people was publicly congratulating the Chinese Government on its public health response:




Sunday, 24 May 2020

Northern Rivers homelessness and COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020


Echo NetDaily, 20 May 2020:

A quick look at the Byron Council website will tell you that the average rent in the Shire is $590 or 49 per cent of the average household income of $1,218. 
The comparisons on the page show Sydney’s Woollahra $800 rent being 44 per cent of a $1,814 income and Brighton in Melbourne with rents averaging 42 per cent of the income at $650. Even Brisbane’s Eaton Hills gets a look in with a $510 rent being 39 per cent of a $1,312 income. 

This is cold comfort if you happen to be a single parent whose only income is a Centrelink benefit. You’d definitely not be earning $12k a week, yet you’d be more than likely looking at $500 to $600 a week in rent – unless of course, you ended up homeless because you just couldn’t find something you could afford. 

Our volunteer services such as the Liberation Larder and the Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre are currently groaning under the weight of extra homelessness since the start of the pandemic. People who didn’t expect to be here and out of work, are – and the growing number of our own homeless is now making the issue and epidemic in the Byron Shire. 

We know what the volunteers are doing but what is the government doing?..... 

Tamara Smith MP says that the Greens have been working closely with the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) through the pandemic with regard to support for rough sleepers and people on the homelessness spectrum in Byron and Ballina Shire’s.... 

Federal Member for Richmond Justine Elliot says there are more homeless Australians than ever before. ‘On the North Coast we have a massive housing affordability and homelessness crisis, and people receiving Centrelink benefits are the hardest hit. ....

 ‘I have been inundated with requests for assistance and by many locals who have raised their concerns about the impact that this situation will have on our most vulnerable. The impact of Coronavirus threatens to make it even worse’. 

Ms Elliot says that as unemployment increases there’s a real risk that people don’t just lose their job, but also their home.’Housing is now on the frontline of Australian healthcare.’ 

‘Labor welcomed the National Cabinet’s decision to freeze evictions for the next six months for tenants in financial distress due to the impact of Coronavirus. We have consistently said that no one should lose their home, whether they own it or rent it, because of the virus. This will help.’  

‘As winter approaches and the Centrelink lines get longer, the charities that help the homeless and most vulnerable are suffering the perfect storm. The volunteer pool for a lot of charities is largely older Australians – most vulnerable to the Coronavirus. 

‘Most of these are smaller community-based charities that fill local needs. That loss places greater strain on other remaining services as the demand for help grows and grows. 

‘That’s why this extra support and assistance for providers of food and emergency relief and other homelessness services is so important. 

‘Both the State and Federal Governments must continue to provide support and assistance for those most vulnerable in our community.’ 

This would appear to be different just south of Byron. State Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin said she had been assured that the majority of people in their homeless community have been accommodated. ‘Many are in hotels and motels. It is wonderful for people to have a roof over their heads as being isolated in lockdown brings many challenges,’ said Ms Saffin. ‘I worry about accessing services that people need during these times such as GPs and health-related ones, that can be hard to access for people who are homeless at the best of times. 

‘The NSW Treasury has published a document titled Supporting NSW, and in the Communities and Families section, it specifies three key areas of funding under the heading, A Roof Over Heads.

‘I have written to NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward and asked him if he could provide a breakdown of this, at least for my Lismore Electorate.’.....

The 45th President of the United States of America Donald J. Trump actually tweeted this in the middle of a pandemic with no end in sight, which has seen over 96,582 Americans die in the last 3 1/2 months



Saturday, 23 May 2020

Tweet of the Week



Quotes of the Week


"Most politicians lie whenever they are uncomfortable or caught in a tight spot. Few lie with the ease and casualness of Morrison." [Journalist Dennis Atkins writing in The New Daily, 16 May 2020]

"USA started out by electing a reality tv show host to run it and now we are all on Survivor." [G. Dixon, Twitter, 19 May 2020] 

Friday, 22 May 2020

North Coast Voices received a takedown notice on 19 May 2020


On 24 April 2018 North Coast Voices published a blog post title "Hank Jorgen and Centrelink unleash the dogs…..".

On 19 May 2020 the blog received a Google takedown notice for that particular post, effective immediately.

Now apart from its title, the post only contained one sentence of comment by North Coast Voices:

"Forget establishing that an actual debt exists – this is 2018 and come hell or high water the Turnbull Government wants to use Centrelink to prop up its financial bottom line in time for the May 2018 budget papers."

The remainder of the post comprised of extracts from two online mainstream media articles - one by journalist Alice Workman published by Buzzfeed and the other by journalist Noel Towell published by the Canberra Times. These extracts were followed by inclusion of five tweets politely critical of 'robodebt' and two links to NotMyDebt.

Both media articles are still online.

So what sin had North Coast Voices committed?

Well apparently it had used a BuzzFeed extract which mentioned a business called Detective Desk - an IT company whose services were used by at least one debt collection agency (Australian Receivables Ltd) whom Services Australia had contracted until 3 February 2021 to assist with debt management/recovery under the automated data matching Online Compliance Intervention System process aka robodebt.

One can deduce this because the 2017 Buzzfeed article now has a new headline and is prefaced by a grovelling apology which runs thus:

CORRECTION

An earlier version of this article, which was entitled 'Your private information is being sent overseas by Centrelink', included some statements about Detective Desk which were corrected and are retracted by BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed regrets these errors.

One has to wonder if the unknown person or persons who decided to chase up mention of this company and remove any part of the original Buzzfeed article from view after all these years was doing so because a class action is now underway in the Federal Court of Australia which may expose the full lengths that Liberal MP for Cook Scott Morrison, first as Minister for Social Services, then Federal Treasurer and finally as Prime Minister, went to in order to unlawfully claw back money from vulnerable welfare recipients.

Australian casual employees regularly working full-time hours win paid leave, carer & compassionate leave in Federal Court ruling - Morrison Government threatens to change law to strip new rights away



"All members of the Court have also found that Mr Rossato was not a casual FTM under the 2012 EA, noting that the circumstances of his employment could not be distinguished in a material way from those of Skene. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to restitution of the casual loading which it claimed was included in the hourly rate it had paid to Mr Rossato. The members of the Court have found that there was no relevant mistake, and no failure of consideration such as would support restitutionary relief. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac is not entitled to bring into account the payments of remuneration that it had made to Mr Rossato on the basis that he was a casual employee. That is because the purposes of the payments of remuneration did not have a close correlation to the entitlements that Mr Rossato seeks. All members of the Court have found that WorkPac’s reliance on reg 2.03A of the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) was misplaced. By subregulation (d), the regulation can apply only when the person makes a claim to be paid an amount in lieu of one or more of the relevant NES entitlements. That is not this case as Mr Rossato seeks payment of the NES entitlements, not payments in lieu." [Workpac v Rossato, May 2020]


Yahoo! Finance, 21 May 2020:

Casual employees working full-time hours will be entitled to paid leave, setting back employers around $8 billion in back-pay claims, after a landmark ruling by the Federal Court on Wednesday.

The decision means regular, ongoing casuals will be able to access paid annual leave, paid personal/carer’s leave and paid compassionate leave, and employers cannot claim that 25 per cent pay loadings offset those entitlements.

The ruling in Workpac v Rossato has effectively pulled the pin on the ‘permanent casual’ work model, and means any regular work that is permanent in nature is not genuinely casual, and therefore attracts the same entitlements as permanent staff.

This is a fantastic decision that puts an end to the ‘permanent casual’ rort that has become a scourge in the coal mining industry and across the workforce,” the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union national president Tony Maher said.

It’s a decision that passes the pub test on what it means to be a casual and is consistent with community expectations that casual work is irregular and intermittent.”

Maher called on employers to “stop the nonsense”, and start treating casual employees on permanent hours as if they were permanent.

When a job is full-time, regular and on-going, it is permanent and deserves the security and entitlements that come with permanent work,” Maher said.

Our union has worked hard to clarify the law with this decision and we will now be fighting to restore rights and lost pay for casual labour hire workers across the coal mining industry who have been illegally ripped off.”…….

Industrial relations minister Christian Porter said the decision would have “immediate practical implications for the bottom line of many Australians businesses at a time when so many have taken a huge hit from the Covid-19 pandemic”.

In fact, employers estimate between 1.6 and 2.2 million casuals will be affected, with a back-pay bill of around $8 billion looming.

Porter also flagged a potential appeal….

"Given the potential for this decision to further weaken the economy at a time when so many Australians have lost their jobs, it may also be necessary to consider legislative options."