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Issue #1771      March 29, 2017


David Manne, Executive Director and Principal Solicitor at Refugee Legal put in an appeal in The Saturday Paper asking for donations to help refugees. The urgency of the situation is dictated by recent government changes which means that refugees are being rushed to complete complex and onerous legal paperwork (all in English) without the legal assistance they desperately need. As the appeal says: “Having been left in legal limbo for years, they’ve now been set an arbitrary and unfair deadline of a matter of days to submit their visa applications under the ‘Fast Track’ system. The government is now threatening to strip people of their bridging visas, subsistence living allowance, and their right to work – or even worse, to permanently bar them from applying for protection … At Refugee Legal we need to help the thousands of people on our waiting list. As a specialist free legal centre, we’re positioned to meet this need.” Extra funding is needed to scale up Refugee Legal resources for additional legal capacity and professional interpreting.

Christine Carlisle of the Environment Council of Central Queensland is extremely critical of the behaviour of the Queensland Premier and the mayors of Gladstone, Mackay, Townsville and Rockhampton who went to India to seek special favours from Adani Group, notorious for its violation of the environment and abuse and exploitation of workers. The Adani coal mine project in the Galilee Basin in Queensland will be an act of vandalism which will cost Australian taxpayers billions. The Turnbull government is planning to give $1 billion to Adani for infrastructure for its coal mine. As Christine Carlisle pointed out, “Neither parliamentarians nor the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility committee are able to answer questions as to which of the 26 Adani companies the loan will be made to. They cannot be confident that the loan will be repaid. Thirteen of the 26 Adani subsidiaries registered in Australia have their head office in the Cayman Islands tax haven. We will never get that money back”. The Adani coal mine project is also being sold as a job creation opportunity. An Adani adviser confirmed (in a court of law) that there will be only 1,464 jobs – that is a total number for both the mine and rail, including construction, both direct and indirect, for the life of the mine. So where is the common sense when the Australian government is subsidising a billionaire and paying the equivalent of $683,060 per job? So much for “jobs and growth” the electioneering catchphrase of the last budget. No money for training and re-training workers for tomorrow’s jobs – millions to polluters and destroyers of our environment.

Next article – Culture & Life – Air pollution crisis

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