Airport access fee cap won’t address underlying issues

Greens NSW Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has welcomed reports that the station access fee for Sydney airport train stations will be capped at $21 per week for Opal card users, but says that real problem is the access fee itself.

Dr Faruqi said:

“A weekly cap is welcome news for airport workers and regular travellers, but the reality is that there shouldn’t be an access fee in the first place.

Minister Hodgkinson admits to being industry mouthpiece on coal seam gas

The Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham was astounded to hear the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson read an AGL press release to answer a question about the ability of coal seam gas to coexist with the dairy industry.

Mr Buckingham asked Minister Hodgkinson whether she had read the report of the parliamentary inquiry into coal seam gas, and particularly the evidence given by North Coast dairy co-operative NORCO that they could not coexist with coal seam gas.  NORCO recently reported on their rapid expansion of its dairy exports to China.  Minister Hodgkinson answered by reading verbatim from this AGL press release.  

"It's appalling that the Minister for Primary Industries resorts to literally being an industry mouthpiece by reading our an AGL press release to answer a serious question," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

NSW Upper House Calls on Minister Upton to Restore Funding to Muslim Women’s Support Centre

Greens MP and Status of Women Spokesperson, has called on the Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, to heed the call from the NSW Upper House to restore funding to the Muslim Women’s Support Centre. Yesterday,  Dr Faruqi’s motion passed unanimously and can be found here (http://www.mehreenfaruqi.org.au/motion-muslim-womens-support-centre/).

Dr Faruqi said:

“The NSW Upper House has unanimously passed my motion calling on Minister Upton to maintain the current level of funding the Muslim Women’s Association receives from New South Wales Government to successfully run their support centre in Bass Hill as an independent, high quality and culturally appropriate service for women and children fleeing domestic and family violence.

“The centre is in a state of limbo, having lost funding during the Government’s botched Going Home Staying Home program, which saw specialist providers of women’s only services forced out by the Government.

What’s the point, Robbo? TAFE left without future under Labor’s fees bill

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson’s private member's bill to freeze TAFE fees might make a good headline for Labor but it will fail to secure affordable, high quality public skills training, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Labor’s Technical and Further Education Commission Amendment (Fees) Bill 2014 introduced in the NSW lower house this morning, would freeze the maximum fees chargeable by TAFE NSW for its courses at their 2014 level plus inflation.

It also preserves existing fee waivers, exemptions and concessions for Aboriginal students and concession holders. Students with a disability will also be fee-exempt but only for one course each calendar year.

Dr Kaye said: "Mr Robertson made a nice speech but his bill comprehensively fails to live up to the hype.

"Locking in three years of Coalition price hikes is not going to make TAFE accessible.

"Mr Robertson must be hoping that nobody reads the details in his bill.

"It looks like Labor is returning to type by refusing to find the real money needed to make TAFE affordable and to cut off the damaging and growing flow of public money to private providers.

"While they were in office in NSW, the State's annual recurrent contribution for TAFE fell by 48 per cent.