Tony Burke: Workplace fatalities on rise
(See Translation in Arabic section)
Sydney - M E Times Int'l: Safe Work Australia has today confirmed 183 Australians died as a result of workplace accidents in 2019, up 38 on 2018’s toll. Workers’ compensation claims for serious injuries are also up across many industries.
So far this year, deaths on construction sites and in food and accommodation services are up even further.
Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Tony Burke said the Federal Government had spent the last seven years trying to smash unions, the very organisations that try to keep workplaces safe.
“What the Government should have been doing instead is responding to the Boland Review, which concluded two years ago and recommended the introduction of national industrial manslaughter provisions, increased penalties and other changes designed to keep workers safe,” he said.
“Workplace safety was not on even on the agenda for the Government’s failed industrial relations ‘working group’ process, which broke down because business groups couldn’t agree among themselves.
“In the wake of that failure Scott Morrison should resist the temptation to return to the classic Liberal IR agenda of crushing unions, dismantling workers’ rights and making it easier for employers to cut wages and sack staff.
“Instead he should stop dragging his feet and do something to stop this terrible workplace death toll. Every Australian worker should be able to go to work and come home to their loved ones safely.”
Maguire fails to recall incentives for not disclosing investment in Gateway International
Sydney: Daryl Maguire has conceded to the ICAC inquiry he was personally invested in Gateway International, which sought to sell access to high levels of the Australian government.
Mr Maguire confirmed he was seeking to make a profit from the business, however, denied it was established for that sole purpose.
Council assisting Scott Robertson asked why he did not disclose his interest in the company or why he was not appointed to a formal director position.
Mr Maguire responded that he could not recall the reasons for not taking that action.
He further denied it was due to concerns about receiving public criticism if his position was disclosed.
Childcare 'is the tool' for allowing people to get back into the workforce
Canberra: Shadow Assistant Treasurer Stephen Jones says "we need to be ensuring that every able-bodied person who is wanting to get back into the workforce, can".
"And childcare is the tool to doing this," Mr Jones told media.
"We don't see this as a welfare measure, we see this an an economic measure," he said.
Mr Jones' comments come following Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese's budget reply which was delivered last Thursday.
The budget reply contained a major focus on childcare reform. Discussing the budget, Mr Jones' also said, "we've said right from the very beginning that we are going to back sensible initiatives".
"We'll offer criticism, critique, we'll offer constructive suggestions where we think they're needed".
Covid-19 restrictions eased in NSW
Sydney: Restrictions for outdoor dining and outdoor music performances will be eased, under relaxed COVID-19 safety rules.
1. From this Friday, 16 October restrictions at hospitality venues will be eased to allow one patron for every two square metres in outdoor areas (previously this was one person per four square metres).
Businesses wishing to take advantage of the relaxed restrictions must use electronic methods, like QR codes, to record and keep contact details.
2. Under changes effective immediately, 500 people will be able to attend outdoor seated music performances and rehearsals, subject to the four square metre rule and people being seated (previously 20 people were permitted).
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the community and businesses are doing a great job of working together to keep COVID-19 at bay, which meant the rules could now be relaxed.
“In NSW, we are focused on keeping the virus under control but also ensuring our economy keeps going and these changes will allow hospitality venues to increase their capacity in a COVID-Safe way,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said relaxing the rules to one patron per two square metres in outdoor areas will provide a big boost to hospitality businesses.
“Cafés, restaurants, pubs and clubs can now open up to more people as we enter summer and this will help drive recovery and keep people in jobs,” Mr Perrottet said.
Minister for Health Brad Hazzard said easing the rules would breathe more life into hospitality venues after a rocky year of closures and limited re-openings, giving the community more opportunities to dine out.
“This is another step toward as normal a life as possible in a COVID-19 world, and will draw more people to our hospitality venues to catch up with family and friends, particularly in outdoor spaces as summer approaches,” Mr Hazzard said.
Michael Sukkar and Kevin Andrews cleared of wrongdoing after allegations
Melbourne: The Department of Finance has cleared Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and former minister Kevin Andrews of misusing Commonwealth funds.
The Victorian federal MPs asked for an investigation after a Channel Nine report alleged they had misused taxpayers money to try and recruit Liberal party members.
Earlier this year, it was alleged that party powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan had directed taxpayer-funded electorate officers to recruit members in a bid to boost factional numbers.
It was alleged it was done while they were working in Mr Andrews' office and while it was not alleged that Mr Sukkar was actively involved in the branch stacking, the reports alleged he benefited from it.
The review into Mr Andrews, who is now a backbencher, focused on his "engagement and management" of his electorate officers and the activities his staff were asked to undertake.
Mr Sukkar's review also focused on staff activities but also "non-travel-related work expenses".
In separate decisions, published on Tuesday, the Finance Department cleared both of any wrongdoing.
Beijing doubles down after US sails through waters
Beijing is doubling-down on its assertion of total control over the South China Sea, swarming warships and aircraft around a US destroyer as it sailed through international waters at the weekend.
“We urge the US side to immediately stop such kind of provocative actions, strictly manage and control its maritime and air military operations so as not to cause any eventuality,” warns a Chinese military spokesman.
The guided-missile destroyer John S. McCain crossed through the South China Sea, passing near the disputed Paracel Islands on Friday. It’s the third such mission since June.
The warship’s presence is part of Washington’s ongoing “Freedom of Navigation” campaign to assert what it calls common practice. The post-World War II Law of the Sea determines the South China Sea and Taiwan Strait to be international waters. This permits the unrestricted movements of any commercial, private or national vessels.
Beijing, despite being a signatory to the International Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), is ignoring this.
Call to save Australia's oldest bridge
Sydney: It's a structure that's stood the test of time for nearly 200 years, but there are fresh calls for a bypass to help preserve Australia's oldest surviving bridge in Richmond.
Originally built in 1825 for horses and carts, the Richmond Bridge is the most direct place to cross the Coal River, apart from the Tasman Highway between Cambridge and Sorell.
In recent years, the bridge has become a gateway for cars, buses and trucks to avoid the bottleneck along the highway — and it's something local cottage owner JoAnne Thomsen is acutely aware of.
She leases the cottage, which overlooks the stone bridge, to holidaymakers, and she's noticed a difference in the traffic in the near 15 years she's owned the building.