Greens NSW Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has joined other Greens NSW and Independent MPs, community leaders, and members of the public, outside Parliament today to protest the O’Farrell Government’s lock-out and mandatory sentencing laws, and to propose effective alternatives.
She commented: “While the O’Farrell Government has been hastily drafting punitive, expensive, and ineffective laws to manage alcohol related issues, they have completely overlooked measures that will actually work.
“We have evidence from across the world that providing convenient late night transport is a key factor in preventing violence and injury, as well as providing people enjoying nightlife a safe passage home.
Greens NSW Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has expressed grave concerns over O’Farrell Governments lack of transparency in decision-making for building the North West Rail Link.
She said: “These documents confirm the Greens’ fears about this shuttle line: that the government were well aware of the deep inadequacies of a Chatswood changeover, and yet went ahead and announced it anyway.
“The government now says its 2012 analysis was preliminary and inadequate. It begs the question, then: why was the decision for an $8.3 billion investment in this line made on the basis of such weak evidence?
The Greens are for calling for a complete overhaul of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) funding system, after the release of the Productivity Commission report (http://bit.ly/1f3VMi4) which shows an alarming increase of federal government funding of private training at the expense of TAFE.
The report has found that government spending on VET between 2011 and 2012* has fallen in real terms in Queensland, WA, South Australia, Tasmania, ACT and NT. In NSW, VET funding is lower now than it was in 2003.
“Alarmingly, not only are we seeing a broad reduction of funds going into VET across the country, but we are also seeing a massive shift in funding away from public TAFE providers towards for-profit private training centres,” Greens higher education spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.
“Thousands of TAFE jobs across the country have already been slashed as a result of this privatisation agenda, and there have been enormous fee increases, putting TAFE out of reach for many prospective students.
Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon is currently at a massive protest at Leard State Forest in North West NSW where 15 machines have been immobilised and work on the controversial Maules Creek mine has been prevented.
150 people, including traditional owners, local farmers and environmentalists, have gathered to call on Environment Minister Greg Hunt to stop the development of the mine.
“Today's action demonstrates people power and resilience. The number of people willing to give up their time to prevent the Maules Creek Mine from going ahead is inspiring.” Senator Rhiannon said.
Greens NSW Marine Environment Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has called upon the Premier to listen to scientists and to community concerns to save marine parks and sanctuary zones. This week, the Premier will decide whether to continue to allow recreational fishing in marine park sanctuary zones.
“This week we will find out whether the Premier will put short term political deals with the Shooters and Fisher’s Party over science and the overwhelming community support for no-take sanctuary zones.
“Allowing recreational fishing in sanctuary zones not only endangers our marine ecology but threatens the sustainability of key industries such as tourism and commercial fishing.
Raising the legal age of alcohol consumption would only drive binge drinking underground and unnecessarily punish responsible users, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
('Lift drinking age, urges Royal Australasian College of Physicians chief' SMH, 27 January, p. 5, http://j.mp/1ghbMRy)
Responding to a call by the president-elect of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Professor Nicholas Talley, for the national debate to include raising the legal age to 20, Dr Kaye said: "Prohibition has never worked and least of all with young people.
The first figures released by the newly corporatized Forestry Corporation show the native forestry industry in crisis with thousands of extra hectares of forest being logged, for dwindling returns and the inevitable chronic losses being made up by NSW taxpayers. Destroying public native forests for woodchips and timber has a net negative cost to taxpayers of $480 per hectare.
See report in the SMH here: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/logging-increases-but-revenue-drops-20140125-31fex.html
The amount of native forest that was logged by Forestry NSW increased by 36% between 2011/12 and 2012/13. Despite this additional 8,300 hectares of native forest being lost, the amount of commercial timber recovered fell, showing ever diminishing returns from a stressed public forest reserve.
The more aggressive harvesting regime also impacted on threatened species with the number of threatened fauna species sighted in logging operations increasing from 3,018 in 2012/13 to 4,277 in 2012/13. The greater impact on threatened species is inevitable as more and more of our forests are targeted for logging.
The Northern Beaches Hospital project is the O'Farrell government's test case for handing its responsibility to develop and run public hospitals to the private sector, Greens NSW MP John Kaye said.
The Frenchs Forest replacement for Mona Vale and Manly Hospitals is to be built, owned and operated by one of two private health companies bidding for the contract. Public clinical services will be paid for by the state government.
The Greens and the local community argue that the incursion of the private sector into public health will drive up costs and reduce the quality of service.
Greens NSW Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has responded to new data showing low usage of night-time buses from Kings Cross. The shuttle bus service proposed by the O’Farrell Government is not an effective transport solution. The Government needs to commit to 24 weekend public transport for Sydney.
“Recent statistics reveal very low usage of the existing Kings Cross to Town Hall bus, so there is no reason to think that the proposed ten minute shuttle buses will be any different without 24 hour transport options for them to connect to.
“The Premier needs to understand that people are not going to take up a shuttle service that drops them at Town Hall Station, only to wait up to an hour for the next night ride bus.
“Commuters trying to get home to Penrith, Cronulla or Richmond have once an hour night-ride bus options. That means the current system can only ferry a maximum of sixty people an hour on these routes.
“What we need is an integrated transport plan that is convenient and includes frequent bus and train services to get people home safely.
The O'Farrell government's proposed mandatory sentencing laws for alcohol related violence will see the NSW prison system literally overwhelmed, facing a 50% increase in the prisoner numbers and costing the NSW State government billions of dollars to implement. This is all for a policy that has been a proven failure in deterring crime in every jurisdiction where it has been tried.