Peter Adamis 23 May 2014
What is the Federal and State Governments to do under these circumstances is the question on everybody’s lips. In an environment where jobs and industries are moving offshore because they cannot compete with international labor markets and countries whose labor force salaries are many times less that the Australian worker does not leave Australians with many choices.
No matter what the rhetoric amongst political circles may say, slogans such as ‘Earn or Learn’ will not put butter on bread, nor feed a family that is struggling to make ends meet. Governments should learn from past failures and endeavours to prepare the Australian people by implementing policies that enhance investment and create industries that will attract people seeking employment.
The overseas visas need to be reviewed and overhauled, industry incentives increased, productivity outcomes and objectives be skewed towards employing Australians first rather seeking cheap overseas labor manpower resources. We are in a state of emergency on an economic level and yet no concrete efforts are being made on a grand scale to reduce unemployment in this country.
The $10,000 incentive to industries hiring mature age members of our society is a good start but it’s just not enough to tell an employer that its worthwhile. The incentives have to be somewhat more extensive, meaningful, sustainable and create an environment where workplace relationships support productivity and increase project outcomes.
Recruitment agencies are howling in dismay at the Governments lack of understanding on a Federal and State level that axing jobs, re-education, re-skilling and retraining will necessarily lead to workers being employed. Governments should be targeting industries and monitor the their progress and provide assistance in any shape or form to keep those industries alive. If it means reintroducing tariffs for a protected industry, so be it.
Australia should take a leaf out of the airlines safety brief when the aircraft is in the air. The hostess briefs all passengers that in the event f an emergency put on your oxygen mask first and then to the child. This same scenario can also be applied to Australia and its people who are reeling from a Federal Budget which has all good intentions, but is not been sold to the Australian people appropriately. More work needs to be done by government departments and Ministers alike to ensure that the Australian public is not led astray.
The Labor left and their endless manpower resources are chipping away at the Federal ministers by continually protesting and reducing those same ministers ability to sell the budget. However on reflection, if one does look at the budget, the public will soon realise that it will not take effect for some time and in many cases will not have a negative effect as Labor left wing supporters lead us to believe.
Although many will lead us to believe that this budget still requires fine tuning we are not advised that the essence of its objectives are based on changing the Australian mindset and community culture. A mindset that has seduced and bewildered an Australian public under consecutive labor Governments for far too long. It is now time for an economic cultural mindset change in order that it will alleviates long term pain later. Let us wait and see.
The Voice from the Pavement – Peter Adamis is a Journalist/Commentator and writer. He is a retired Australian military serviceman and an Industry organisational & Occupational (OHS) & Training Consultant whose interests are within the parameters of domestic and international political spectrum. He is an avid blogger and contributes to domestic and international community news media outlets as well as to local and Ethnic News. He holds a Bachelor of Adult Learning & Development (Monash), Grad Dip Occupational Health & Safety, (Monash), Dip. Training & Assessment, Dip Public Administration, and Dip Frontline Management. Contact via Email: [email protected] or via Mobile: 0409965538
Hockey wields the axe 16,000 government jobs to be slashed
DANIEL MILLS 12 May 2014
Royal Australian Mint sold in Tuesday’s Federal Budget announcement. Major Australian assets will be sold, including the Royal Australian Mint and Defence Housing Australia.
Forecasted job cuts of 12,000 have been revised to 16,000. Treasurer Joe Hockey assures Australians cost-savings measure will get budget back to surplus. Unions have gone on the attack condemning the cuts to various sectors.
Australians face a daunting 36-hours ahead of Tuesday’s Federal Budget with 16,000 jobs set to be slashed and the Royal Australian Mint sold. About 76 government run agencies will be either sold, consolidated or scrapped. The Australian Newspaper today reported about 31 smaller agencies will go, 11 will be merged and nine bigger departments will fold completely.
‘A more prosperous Australia’ Treasurer Joe Hockey has declared Tuesday’s budget will benefit all Australians in the long run, despite short-term pain. Five departments, including the Royal Australian Mint, will be sold-off. The initial forecasted job cuts of 12,000 has since been revised and it looks as if that number will be closer to 16,000. Treasurer Joe Hockey has assured Australians it is all part of a cost-savings measure to help get the budget back into the black by 2024.
Mr Hockey said: ‘It is a budget that asks the Australian people to contribute to a stronger Australian economy, a more prosperous Australia with more jobs and a greater sense of security’. Savings of more than $470 million will be made by the winding back, sale and scrapping of jobs and government agencies.
The Royal Australian Mint (pictured) will be sold, as will a number of key government agencies in a bid to get Australia’s budget back in to surplus by 2024. If it goes through, the sale of the Defence Housing Australia would raise $1 billion and other assets, including the mint, would provide millions more. Economists are tipping this to be the toughest budget ever released – certainly the toughest since the first under former Prime Minister John Howard in 1996. Separate studies and audits have recommended sweeping changes, including the Commission Of Audit, which recommended across-the-board reforms.
- Abolish the annual minimum wage cases – though not the minimum wage itself – and set a new benchmark of 44 per cent of average weekly earnings
- Requires unemployed people between 22 and 30 to move to areas of higher employment after one year or surrender the dole
- Increase the Medicare levy surcharge to 3-3.5 per cent for high income earners without private health cover
- Sell off federal assets including Defence Housing, Australia Post, Medibank, the Australian Royal Mint and the National Broadband Network over time
- Abolish 35 government agencies, merge six and consolidate 57 others
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said all workers will need to brace themselves for the changes ahead. ‘This is not a matter of targeting one area of government more than another.’ ‘We are very systematic and very methodical in going right across government.’ His department undertook a separate study last year which identified about 937 bodies and ‘governance relationships’, such as committees, that were under government control. This is despite the majority of workers being employed in only about 100 of government agencies. Treasurer Hockey has therefore made a commitment to winding back the public service and putting the government’s efforts into improving its most important sectors. ‘You can have lots of small programs that involve a massive amount of red tape with very little outcome,’ Mr Hockey said.
‘What we’ve got to do is refocus the energy of the public sector in Canberra.’ Australian unions have gone on the front foot in support of public sector workers. The Community and Public Service Union conducted a poll of more than 5820 staff from fifty different Commonwealth agencies recently, regarding government worker cuts. It revealed 70 per cent of respondents reported job cuts in their workplace over the past year while 87 per cent reported understaffing and unfilled positions. CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood said the survey shows the damage being done to public services and highlights the risks if the government continues to pursue cuts.
‘The very clear message we are getting from workers at the coalface is that ongoing cuts are putting the public service under unsustainable pressure,’ she said. ‘The Government can pretend it can make cuts without hurting services, but this survey shows that is simply not true.’ ACTU President Ged Kearney said: ‘It’s not in Australia’s interest to implement savage cuts to health, education, pensions, welfare and public sector jobs, while at the same time dropping the baton on training, investment and vital job creation.’
Mr Kearney said everything he has heard ahead of tomorrow’s announcement spells disaster for hard working Australians. ‘They’re (Australians) worried their kids won’t be able to go to university and about vanishing job and training opportunities for young people.’ ‘Everything coming from the Abbott Government so far indicates that budget 2014 will make it harder for Australian families and workers to make ends meet.’
Poor are not carrying the budget
John Roskam Financial Review 22 May 2014 – John Roskam is executive director of the Institute of Public Affairs.
‘Poorest families pay most in the budget’ was the headline in Thursday’s Sydney Morning Herald. That headline exactly demonstrates why it will be so hard for Tony Abbott (or anyone else) to repair the federal budget.
Treasurer Joe Hockey was right to talk about the need to end the age of entitlement. The problem is, though, that two decades of prosperity have made the public accustomed to their entitlements and have made politicians accustomed to handing out those entitlements. It could be years before the expectations of the public catch up and correspond to fiscal reality. Based on the reaction to the budget so far, that transition could be quite traumatic.
Mr Hockey’s first budget made only about a quarter of the changes necessary to secure the country’s fiscal sustainability. Last week’s budget was the start of a process that will continue for years. The Herald’s headline was to an article explaining how analysis from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra showed “the poorest 20 per cent of Australian families will pay $1.1 billion more into government coffers than the richest households as a result of the budget, highlighting the huge inequity in the government’s four-year blueprint for fiscal repair”.
Included in the article were calculations of the budget impact on the benefits received and taxes paid by different income groups. A working couples earning in total $60,000 a year with two children would by 2018 potentially see a reduction of 11 per cent in their disposable income. Meanwhile a similar couple earning $200,000 would be unaffected. NATSEM’s figures might be right, but it’s quite wrong to, therefore, claim they prove the budget is inequitable.
LESS IS NOT ALWAYS LESS. There’s a world of difference between the government giving you less of something that isn’t yours to begin with, and the government taking something from you that is yours in the first place. What NATSEM also showed is that the earnings of $60,000 a year will get an additional $4736 in welfare benefits, taking their total disposable income to $64,736. A couple earning $200,000 will pay $67,547 in tax, making their total disposable income $132,453.
The alleged inequity of the budget lies in the fact that the couple receiving more from the welfare system than it pays in taxes will have its benefits cut, while the couple paying the taxes that pay for those benefits won’t be required to pay even higher taxes. This is a complete perversion of any notion of equity. Somehow equity is now deemed only to apply to people receiving welfare paid for by the taxes imposed on others. No one talks about whether it’s equitable for the government to take close to half of what some people earn.
The misconception about the meaning of equity is reflected in the comment in the Herald that “the poorest 20 per cent of Australian families will pay $1.1 billion more into government coffers than the richest household. . .” Nothing could be further from the truth. The poor don’t pay anything into government coffers.
BENEFIT CUT NOT A PAYMENT TO GOVERNMENT. If the government previously gave you $200 in welfare benefits and then because of budget cuts the government only gives you $150, you don’t pay $50 difference to the government. All that’s happened is that you’ve lost a benefit you once had.
As NATSEM’s figures demonstrate, even after the inequity of this budget, in four years time a couple with two children that has zero earnings from employment will have a disposable income of $43,547 – all of which will be government welfare. A couple with earnings of $40,000 will have a disposable income of $58,120, again the difference between their earnings and their income being the $18,120 they receive in welfare.
It’s quite legitimate for the welfare lobby to argue about, for example, whether welfare payments are adequate and what should be required of recipients of welfare. But the welfare lobby should be held to account for its claims that a reduction in welfare benefits is somehow a payment to the government. The welfare lobby should also not be allowed to get away with demanding that the only way a reduction in welfare benefits can ever be equitable is if taxes go up at the same time.
Student protests: Police clash with demonstrators at Liberal Party event at Sydney University
23 May 2014
Police have clashed with demonstrators who tried to storm a Liberal Party function at Sydney University being attended by former prime minister John Howard. Education Minister Christopher Pyne is at the university’s St John’s College to adjudicate a student debate at the Liberal Club. About an 45 minutes before Mr Pyne arrived up to 30 protesters tried to enter the building, but could not get in.
Police arrived at the scene shortly afterwards at which point there was a confrontation, described by ABC reporter Ben Worsley as “quite forceful” as a number of students were pushed to the ground. Footage from the scene appears to show a police officer striking a student. “Within two or three minutes a heavy police presence arrived, probably a couple of dozen police approached the protesters,” Worsley said.
“A number of the protesters were pushed to the ground quite forcefully but the group has refused to leave.” The debate is due to last a couple of hours, but police and protesters show no signs of going anywhere. The protest appears to have been attended by members of the Socialist Alternative and the National Union of Students, who coordinated nationwide protests yesterday against the Coalition’s plans to deregulate tertiary education.
The demonstrations yesterday forced Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Mr Pyne to cancel a visit to Deakin University in Geelong after security advice from the Australian Federal Police.
Hundreds of science jobs to go sparking brain-drain warning
May 23, 2014 Bridie Smith Science Editor, The Age
Dr Megan Clark has told CSIRO staff 500 jobs will go following the four-year $114.8 million budget trim. Almost 1000 science and research jobs are at risk following funding cuts announced in the federal budget, according to Labor. While the CSIRO will bear the brunt of the sector’s job losses, with chief executive Megan Clark telling staff 500 jobs would go following the four-year $114.8 million budget trim, other agencies are slated to shed staff as a result of funding cuts announced last week.
Among them is the Sydney-based Australian National Nuclear Research and Development Organisation, where 64 jobs are likely to go, and the Canberra-based Geoscience Australia, which faces losing 96 jobs. Also affected are the Bureau of Meteorology, with around 58 staff job losses nationally, the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, where as many as 150 jobs are at risk, and the National Health and Medical Research Council, where nine jobs are likely to go.
Some of the country’s prime scientific infrastructure, such as the CSIRO’s soon to be commissioned RV Investigator marine vessel, also failed to receive the funding required to operate at full capacity. The RV Investigator, which last year Senate estimates heard would cost $26 million to run for 300 days a year, has been allocated just $17.4 million for its first year of operation, rising to $18.1 million and $20.6 million in following years. This will mean the research ship operates for just 180 days a year.
Funding for the Melbourne-based Australian Synchrotron and the WA-based Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, which is still under construction, does not exist beyond two years. Shadow research and innovation minister Kim Carr criticised the Abbott government’s first budget as being ideologically driven and motivated by destroying Labor’s legacy. However, he warned there was more at stake, if the nation’s science capability got caught in the crossfire.
”There is an expectation that the private sector will fund these things and that’s just not borne out in any reality at all,” Senator Carr said. ”Australia’s scientific capacity and our ability to compete internationally risks being undermined.” Senator Carr said Australia’s ability to collaborate with international researchers and participate in global research projects could also be compromised – at a time when nations such as China were doubling their spending on science and research every four to five years.
Australian Academy of Science secretary for science policy Professor Les Field said the cuts could not only trigger a brain drain but stall momentum that takes years to generate. ”Taken together this represents a substantial reduction in the research which can be done in Australia … this is not a good outcome for science and it’s not a good outcome for the country,” he said.
An inquiry into Australia’s innovation system by the Senate economics references committee is due to begin in July, with submissions accepted until July 31. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said the government was investing strategically in projects with long-term, ongoing benefits.