End competitive VET model to ensure TAFE survival

Responding to figures that government funding to non-TAFE education providers has more than doubled in four years the Australian Greens have called for the competitive VET model to be abolished to ensure the public TAFE system survives.

The Australian Education Union has calculated that payments to non-TAFE providers, as a proportion of Government recurrent funding, was 11 per cent in 2008 and 23.2 per cent in 2012 nationally.

A legitimate reason to whine: cellar door risk based license fees

Greens MP John Kaye said, "The risk-based licensing system was supposed to be proportionate to a venue's level of risk. It is ridiculous to think that a small independent cellar door in regional NSW should pay the same base risk price as that of a club or full hotel in George St Sydney.

"Cellar door operators have nowhere near the same risk factors as other premises. Their typical clientele, business model and operating hours are as distinct from the conditions that contribute to risk in a venue as it can get.

"The broad license category of Producer/Wholesaler has captured the small viticulturists who actually work to improve our relationship with alcohol.

"Rather than a commodity to be consumed quickly and in large quantities, cellar doors and local wine businesses encourage valuing and appreciating the drinks in a more considered way.

Stokes flexes muscles on clean energy

Greens NSW MP John Kaye welcomed NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes' commitment to rooftop solar and energy efficiency projects for the government's own buildings and the promise of more rational noise regulation for wind farms.

('Renewable energy: NSW to be 'Australia's answer to California'', Sydney Morning Herald, 22 July 2014, http://j.mp/ren140722)

Dr Kaye said: "Clean energy investments will save the NSW government money in the long run and help sharpen the focus on the state's heavy dependence on coal and gas.

"However, the Liberals and Nationals are still sending mixed messages to businesses and households.

"On the one hand, the NSW Environment Minister is pushing government agencies to model responsible clean energy investment behaviour.

"At the same time, the Abbott government has dismantled the carbon price and is undermining the Renewable Energy Target.

"The signal is confused and ineffective.

Crushing police force was planned to end peaceful CSG blockade

Documents released to the NSW Greens under freedom of information laws have revealed that the NSW Police force was intending to deploy up to 800 police to crush the peaceful community blockade at a coal seam gas drilling site at Bentley in the State’s north.

Greens MP and Police Spokesperson David Shoebridge said,

“It is quite extraordinary that the NSW Government had advanced plans to deploy up to 800 police to crush the peaceful blockade at Bentley.

“The coal seam gas industry is so deeply unpopular that it requires overwhelming police force to be able to operate. Any accountable democratic government would take that as a sign the industry has no future.

“When a government plans to deliver this level of force against a law abiding regional community then it is only one step away from losing its legitimacy.