WorkCover bullying inquiry shows regulator failing on all levels

The report released today by the Parliamentary Committee inquiry into WorkCover bullying confirms what many  workers and WorkCover employees have known for some time - it is an organisation in chaos with an entrenched culture of bullying that is failing in its task of protecting NSW workers.
Greens MP and Industrial Relations Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"When the Greens called for this inquiry it was in response to many concerning reports of bullying within WorkCover.
"With this unanimous report it is now a matter of public record that bullying within WorkCover is rife and senior management have consistently failed to address this.
"WorkCover, which is meant to be regulating work safety across the state, has shown itself unable to even address bullying in its own ranks.

Tables more than 1,300 Signatures Calling for the Return of Public Transport for the Northern Rivers

Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has today tabled more than 1,300 signatures in State Parliament calling on the Government to provide regular commuter train services using diesel railcars.

"In just a few months, the Northern Rivers Greens have collected more than 1,300 signatures from locals who are demanding a return of the rail line.

"The studies that the government has released on reinstating the line have quite deliberately inflated the cost of reinstating the rail, with the 900 million dollar estimate being more than half made up of 'contingencies'.

Budget won’t help immigrant women

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has stated that today’s budget has done nothing to alleviate the uncertainty created by last week’s announcements by Minister Upton around funding for specialist homelessness services for women in particular immigrant women.
Dr Faruqi said: “Providers specialising in women’s homelessness support services are still missing out with the majority of tenders being awarded to the bigger generalist charities who will see an increase in their funding at the expense of these smaller specialist providers.
“Unfortunately, the concerns that were held for the survival of women-only specialist homelessness service providers in Inner Sydney have also hit Western Sydney with Harris Park’s Immigrant Women’s Speakout missing out on funding in last Friday’s announcement.
“Immigrant women’s services in Western Sydney have been hit hard, with another service provider facing funding uncertainty after 30 years of providing women-only specialist homelessness services to over 72 ethnic groups.

Greens MP to Place First Abortion Decriminalisation Bill on Notice in NSW Parliament

Greens NSW MP and Spokesperson for the Status of Women, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, will today place a bill on notice in the NSW Legislative Council in a move to initiate the long overdue debate on decriminalising abortion in NSW.  Dr Faruqi is moving the motion exactly one year after her start in the Legislative Council.  The notice of motion is the next phase of a consultation process to safeguard women's reproductive rights. This is the first abortion decriminalisation bill in NSW history.
"Today, I will give notice for what I believe to be the first abortion decriminalisation bill in New South Wales history.

Bishop’s corporatised aid plan set to damage communities, cost lives

The Australian Greens say the federal government’s plan for overseas aid announced today is reminiscent of the discredited aid policies of the 1980s with Australian companies set to profit at the expense of impoverished communities in the Asia Pacific region.
“Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has corporatised Australia’s overseas aid program to such a degree it will cost lives, while opening the door to corrupt practices,” said Greens international aid and development spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon.
“Aid for trade and massive spending on large scale infrastructure projects represents a far reaching realignment of our aid program towards Australia’s interests over that of aid recipient countries and communities.
“Most of the nations that receive our aid do not have a strong private sector. It will be foreign multinationals or Australian companies that will pick up the infrastructure contracts.

Nothing for Regional NSW Public Transport in State Budget

Greens NSW MP and Transport Spokesperson, Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC, has criticised the lack of any funding for regional public transport.
Dr Faruqi said: "Billions are being poured into wasteful projects in Sydney, such as the WestConnex tollway, yet there is nothing for public transport for regional NSW.
"More than $3.5 billion dollars is going into the WestConnex tollway in Sydney over the next four years, but not a cent is earmarked to reinstate the Casino to Murwillumbah line, expand XPT services or support community transport in regional NSW.
"Entire major regional centres, such as Lismore, are cut off from public transport and this Government has no plan or funds to change this.

Budget falls short on investment to break the cycle of disadvantage

he NSW Budget has attempted to manage the crisis facing vulnerable people and families but lacks the vision to break the generational cycle, warns Greens MP and spokesperson on Family and Community Services and Housing, Jan Barham.
"If this Government trumpeted investments in support for disadvantaged people and families like it does for roads, we could secure long-term reductions in risk, harm and homelessness. Investing in prevention and early support services will deliver long-term savings and reduce the need for crisis services in the years and decades to come," Ms Barham said.
"The Budget includes some new funding to address the crisis in child protection and homelessness services, but the Government's own projections show they aren't expecting reductions in the number of people who need those services.
"The Government has again failed to display the long-term vision required to deliver what the evidence shows is required - a major investment in prevention and early supports for vulnerable families, combined with secure and affordable housing to address the massive social housing waiting list."

The privatisation budget for the big end of town

The Baird government is undermining the state's future revenue base to promise big projects for an election year and deliver tax cuts to the corporate sector, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
Dr Kaye said: "Treasurer Andrew Constance says that his government is now in control of the NSW budget.
"This is untrue.
"Real control has passed to the business sector who will reap the benefits of more than $780 million in the abolition of transfer and duty taxes.
"The construction industry will profit from the so-called recycling of assets and the business community will reap a lion's share of the benefits of new infrastructure.
"Big business has a Treasurer and a Premier who give them exactly what they want, despite the long term impacts on services and the state's revenue base.

Injured workers continue to hurt, while employers have their costs cut

Injured workers who are struggling to survive on workers compensation benefits have been struck another blow by the NSW Coalition government with its budget decision to cut employer premiums by 5% rather than using this money to restore benefits that were slashed in 2012 'reforms' .
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
"Thousands of injured workers are living at or below the poverty line under this brutal scheme, but rather than restoring their benefits the Baird Government has chosen to cut employer premiums.

2014-2015 Budget Papers Confirm Government’s Plan to Sell Off Newcastle Rail Corridor to Developers

NSW Greens MP and Transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has called the 2014/2015 budget confirmation that the truncation of the rail line in Newcastle is about a land grab, not public transport.