The Guardian • Issue #2087


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2087

Dingo has received a letter from Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action, [covered in Guardian #2086 on 5 February 2024 in ‘Black Saturday survivors call for action’]. The letter reminds us that it’s the 15th year since the Black Saturday bushfires, the deadliest bushfire disaster in Australian history. For many people, those fires were the first time they came face to face with the impacts of our changing climate. The letter finishes with a call to action from the survivors “because no one else should have to go through what we’ve been through”.

Three employees is all it took to vote up an Enterprise Agreement with national coverage with offshore maintenance contractor Altrad APTS. It took the Australian Workers Union to get the dodgy agreement quashed by a full bench of the Fair Work Commission, with the AWU successfully arguing maintenance contractor Altrad’s agreement was “lacking authenticity”. All three employees were offered common law contracts with better terms and conditions than the EA.

This agreement is the sequel to the debacle with related entity Workforce Logistics. The sham Workforce Logistics EA was voted up by just six alleged ‘employees’ – including the Director’s brother, two business partners and their relatives – before the company was sold off a few months later. The AWU’s successful appeal triggered an investigation by the Commission into whether there had been a ‘wider-scale’ abuse of the agreement-making framework.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: is the warmongering Albanese government: billions for war, peanuts for the homeless. The Productivity Commission annual Report on Government Services has revealed an alarming surge in demand for homelessness services as providers grapple with a looming $73 million funding black hole. The Productivity Commission report finds a 23 per cent jump in people exiting homelessness support into rough sleeping, with the number jumping from 4,658 in 2021-22 to 5,712 in 2023-34. Every piece of evidence and every human story tells us the same thing. Homelessness Australia, the peak advocacy body for the homeless, says huge swathes of Australians have been absolutely crunched by the housing crisis.

People on low and modest incomes who have had to renegotiate a rental agreement are often asked to fork out hundreds of dollars more per month for the same property. This is money they simply don’t have and puts them on the slippery slope to homelessness. For services to respond to everyone needing urgent help, a significant funding boost is needed. Homelessness Australia has estimated that an additional $450 million in support is needed to respond to new people needing homelessness assistance, and people currently being turned away. No one disputes the fact we are in a housing crisis. Uncertain and inadequate homelessness funding aggravates an already serious problem and prevents people getting desperately needed help. Australia needs to do more to address the housing crisis and prevent people becoming homeless. But in the meantime, the least the government can do is invest in those facing the starkest consequences of the crisis who don’t have a roof over their head.

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