The O'Farrell government's plans for TAFE fee rises of up to $750 a year will reduce the number of young people taking up apprenticeships and traineeships, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye. ('Higher TAFE fees put pressure on trainee jobs' Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October, page 2, http://j.mp/15zukoQ)
Dr Kaye said: "The former NSW Labor government pushed TAFE fees up by 15 percent more than inflation. The O'Farrell government has already added another round of hikes.
"Next year TAFE students will face a massive round of increases with some paying $750 more if the independent pricing tribunal's recommendations are accepted. Skills training is becoming unaffordable for a growing number of NSW's school leavers.
"The decline in the number of apprentices and trainees is a symptom of a system in deep trouble.
NSW Greens Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has questioned the cost of rail infrastructure in the state after the ‘savings’ announced by the Government on the South West Rail Link. While money has been wasted on the South West Rail Link, it is not too late to save the North West Rail Link from the same fate.
“For too long, massive overestimation of rail project costs have starved NSW of much need public transport.
“Some transport experts claim that the South West Rail Link is costing three times as much as equivalent projects in Australia.
“Inflated cost estimates to cover contingency risk and over-engineering leads to uncompetitive tendering processes and an imbalance that favours road over rail projects.
“The government needs to come clean about how it justifies such enormous rail costings.
“The North West Rail Link is another unnecessarily expensive rail project, one that won’t even integrate with the current network.
“There is still time for the Transport Minister to fix the impending problems of the North West Rail Link, including cutting back on costs and committing to integrating the line with the rest of the heavy rail line
Commenting on today's report linking aircraft noise with serious health problems, Greens transport spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon renewed her party's call for Sydney Airport to be relocated to address the health, public safety and environmental problems associated with the current location. (SMH http://tinyurl.com/lckdu7h)
The British Medical Journal reports that exposure to aircraft noise can put people at risk of developing heart disease and suffering strokes.
"There is mounting evidence that Sydney Airport should be relocated. This latest report linking serious health risks with aircraft noise highlights why relocation outside the Sydney airshed basin is needed," Senator Rhiannon said today.
The Premier has released details of a rushed review of police arrest powers with a reporting date of the end of October without citing a single clear case where police arrest powers have been inadequate. There are real concerns that this timeframe will mean this is a paper review only, and will not provide any opportunity for public consultation or broader input.
Greens MP and Police Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"The O'Farrell government has been sitting on the LEPRA review for almost three years and is using their own delay as an excuse for a half-baked report that excludes the public.
"The Premier's statement fails to make reference to a single proven case where police can genuinely say that the existing reasonable checks and balances on police powers have proven unworkable.