Universities and TAFE to be free under Greens

Wollongong Uni and TAFE to be free under Greens new public education plan

Australian Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi is in Wollongong on Monday 17 December to announce that Wollongong University and TAFE would be made free under the Greens 5 Point Plan for Education.

Senator Faruqi said:

“It’s time to end the debt sentence. Young people are graduating from university and TAFE with crushing debts that take almost a decade to pay off. Under the Greens plan, over 1.3 million Australians will be studying fee free and debt-free in TAFE and universities by 2023.

“We have universal primary and secondary education. Free public higher education is the missing piece of the puzzle.

“No one should graduate with a decade of debt ahead of them. Australians have seen the benefits of free education, and we can have them again.

“We are ranked 30th out of 34 in the OECD for public investment in tertiary education, which shows how behind we are globally. We need to properly fund our public university system and reverse the cuts imposed by the Liberal-National Government.

“Removing TAFE fees is a crucial part of this plan. TAFE is being decimated by state and federal governments.”

Benjamin Arcioni, Greens state candidate for Wollongong, said:

“Vocational education provides a pathway into work for both young people and for older people retraining into a new profession. That pathway should not come with a burden of debt.

“Privatising vocational education hasn’t worked, and has wasted large amounts of Government funding. The Greens want to put that money to better use by funding the TAFE system, giving people a chance to develop skills and improve their lives.

“Making higher education free is going to cost money. Fossil fuel extraction companies use tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share for exporting our natural resources. We could fund free university and TAFE education by closing those tax loopholes.

“We aren’t getting as much in royalties from gas extraction as other nations, even though we are producing more gas. Making those companies pay their fair share would let us invest in our future by providing free education.

“I’ve taught students who are working while trying to study, and the thing they need most is more time. Increasing student support through Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy means students can spend more time learning instead of earning money. Proper funding of university and TAFE students will improve their ability to study.”

Rowan Huxtable, Greens federal candidate for Cunningham said:

“Reducing the diesel rebate for mining and gas production would provide additional government revenue without additional personal tax. We want to use this revenue source to better fund public education.”

“It would also provide a financial incentive to miners to replace diesel power with renewable power and energy saving.

“This would drive technological innovation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which we urgently need to do.

“Maximising community benefit from mining is not the same as maximising the volume that we dig out of the ground.”

More information:

Details of the Greens 5 Point Plan for free education can be found at :
www.mehreen-faruqi.greensmps.org.au/articles/fee-free-university-and-tafe-greens-launch-transformational-5-point-plan-higher-education

Media contact for Illawarra Greens: Mithra Cox 0425 351 844

Media Contact for Senator Mehreen Faruqi: Matt Hilton 0423 106 247

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Greens jubilant after best ever result in Ward 3

Greens jubilant after best ever result in Ward 3

MEDIA RELEASE

25 Nov 2018

 

The Greens are celebrating after their candidate Jamie Dixon posted the Greens best ever result in the Wollongong Council Ward 3 by-election.

 

The Greens vote reached up to 20% at some booths, the sort of results that we normally see in Greens heartland.

 

Some of the best results for the Greens were:

• Port Kembla Public -- 20%

• Warrawong Community Hall -- 17.5%

• Primbee -- 17%

• Cringila -- 17%

• Berkeley West Public -- 16%

• Figtree High -- 23%

• Koonawarra Hall -- 17%

 

This is only the second time the Greens have contested Ward 3, and this result builds on the good result in 2017. Across the Ward, there was a swing of 5 percentage points towards the Greens.  In 2017, the Greens polled 9% and yesterday it was 14%. This is an impressive increase of nearly 70% on the 2017 results.

 

Greens candidate Jamie Dixon said:

 

“That so many of these areas, which have a high level of disadvantage, voted so strongly Green shows that our platform of social justice, public services and a fair go for everyone has resonated in areas that have never voted Green before.

 

“People want to live in a city with decent transport, where we look after each other, where there is vibrant culture, and where we look after our lake, escarpment and beaches. 

 

“We spoke to more people, and campaigned harder than ever before, and our efforts paid off.”

 

More information: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114

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Greens call for better buses in southern Wollongong

MEDIA RELEASE

21 November 2018

 

Greens candidate for Wollongong Council, Jamie Dixon has called for better buses in southern Wollongong.

 

“Navigating between the shopping centres in the Ward 3 area using public transport is unnecessarily time consuming. The routes seem to be designed around the needs of the bus operators, rather than the needs of the user. 

 

“With Wollongong City Council, and the local chambers of commerce, already dedicating significant amounts of time and money to revitalising the centres of Port Kembla, Warrawong, and Dapto, there needs to be a focus on enhanced public transport access to these areas as well.

 

“The first step in getting improved bus routes and timetables is to show that there is an increasing demand. At the moment, a very small proportion of bus stops have a shelter, which discourages potential users, and can make it harder for bus drivers to identify waiting passengers. 

 

“I am repeatedly being told by voters that if the weather is too hot, too wet or too windy, the idea of waiting at a bus top can be very off-putting. On winter mornings, passengers have had busses go past without stopping, because there is no lighting, and they cannot easily be seen by the driver.

 

“There are a number of existing, Australian made, designs available, which are mass produced, easy to assemble and install, and provide both shelter from the elements, as well as seating and visibility. The preferred Greens option also has a small stand alone solar system, to provide both safety and visibility outside daylight hours. This lighting is contained within a vertical panel, so there is also the potential to rent part of the space for advertising to offset the initial purchase cost.

 

“Wollongong desperately needs better public transport, and our local businesses need community support to thrive. Surely it is one of Council’s most basic duties to facilitate both of these goals – by making the bus an attractive and viable all weather option, it gives every member of the community a reason to leave the car at home, and shop locally,” Mr Dixon said.

 

Jamie will be available for comment at Dapto Ribbonwood prepoll on Thursday 22nd November

 

Please contact Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114

 

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Greens call for Wollongong Council to protect agricultural land at Yallah

MEDIA RELEASE

16 November 2018

Greens candidate for Wollongong Council, Jamie Dixon, has called on Council to protect agricultural land before it is all developed for housing and industrial uses.
Mr Dixon said:
“Given that large areas of New South Wales are still in desperate drought conditions, and Wollongong City Council staff have been pushed to donate to farm relief appeals, it makes no sense that even more Illawarra farmland is being rezoned for development.
“With existing developments to reduce the amount of green space in the Lake Illawarra catchment area, and serious questions arising about the supply of housing even meeting our city’s needs, I am stunned that another agricultural holding is to be concreted over, this time as light industrial land.
“I personally know farmers out west who would give their eye teeth for 11 hectares of prime arable land. Shellharbour Council is allotting part of their open areas to make hay for starving livestock, but, here in Yallah, we’re turning our back on the problem, and creating an even bigger one, in terms of poorly managed runoff, for our Lake.”
Mr Dixon is making a plea for better judgement, and a realisation of the beneficial food production capacity of the Illawarra.
“Wollongong City Council needs to take a stand against this rampant over development, and understand that they have a responsibility to protect food production capacity.
“There is an abundance of under-utilised industrial land around Port Kembla, and a desperate need for employment there. This is fertile land, that can grow local produce, reduce food miles, and remind our children that food doesn’t just come from a supermarket.
“There are a number of locally based community farming initiatives, with sound business models to act as precedents.
“The Greens want to see this part of our local economy grow, and be supported by Council. Wollongong should not think of itself as just a labour pool for Sydney – we’re a city of our own, and we need to think about providing more for ourselves.”
Jamie Dixon is available for comment at the Dapto Ribbonwood Centre prepoll voting centre today
Contact: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114
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Greens motion to encourage food trucks to bolster Wollongong nightlife

 

MEDIA RELEASE

15 November 2018

 

Greens Councillor Mithra Cox has put a notice of motion to the next Wollongong Council meeting, to allow food trucks to liven up empty spaces at night.

 

“Wollongong should follow the lead of Sydney and allow food trucks in places where you can’t currently get a bite to eat, or in places that feel a bit dodgy and empty at night, where we want to encourage more people come,” Councillor Cox said today.

 

“Food trucks are increasingly popular in cites around the world, and have been used successfully to promote nightlife, and give people a reason to use our public spaces at night. 

 

“They promote community safety and harmony, as they generally do not sell alcohol, and appeal to all ages, including children and older people. Having this mix of ages mingling of an evening is a powerful contributor to a sense of vibrancy and safety in public spaces.

 

“Council currently has a Mobile Food Vending Vehicles Policy.  This policy outlines prohibitions on where food trucks can trade, and identifies just three locations where mobile kiosks can operate, all of which are day time trading.

 

“Food trucks are specifically prohibited near council licensed venues in key locations such as Belmore Basin, without regard for trading hours. Some of these locations could and should support evening food trucks without competing with local businesses.

 

“While Wollongong nightlife has been steadily improving, we still have a long way to go to have a truly vibrant night time economy. Many places along the foreshore are popular in the day but deserted in the evening due to lack of food options.

 

“This strategy should be aimed at encouraging food trucks, not prohibiting them.  It should identify areas in need of night time activation, where they will not compete with bricks and mortar businesses. It should make it easy for food truck vendors to see when and where they can trade, and have a simple process for booking a space and paying fees,” Cr Cox said.

 

The motion (below) will be debated on Monday night.

 

I formally move that Council develop a strategy to encourage food trucks in our city to contribute to a vibrant night life in Wollongong. 

 

The strategy to promote food trucks in Wollongong would encompass:

  • Identifying public land that is appropriate for food trucks of mobile food vendors
  • Identifying spaces in need of night time activation and food options
  • Developing a simple process for food trucks to book a space and pay their fee
  • Reviewing our existing policy on Mobile Food Vending Vehicles
  • Applying learnings from food truck trials in other local government areas such as the City of Sydney

 

More information: Mithra Cox 0419 720 322

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Greens call on Government to drop the ban on affordable housing for Wollongong council

Media Release: Greens call on Government to drop the ban on affordable housing for Wollongong council

 

The state government ban on Councils mandating affordable housing through local planning controls is hurting residents and lining the pockets of developers, according to Greens Councillor candidate Jamie Dixon.

 

There is a state-wide planning policy (called SEPP 70 or State Environmental Planning Policy 70) that sets out how councils can require developers to provide affordable housing, but it expressly excluded 95% of councils in NSW and this includes Wollongong. 

 

Wollongong has not been permitted to use SEPP 70 despite writing a lengthy submission and being one of the most unaffordable cities in Australia when you compare wages with house prices.

 

Greens Councillor Jamie Dixon said: 

 

"There is a housing crisis in Wollongong.  People are sleeping in the sand dunes and the picnic shelters at the beach.

 

"Many others are couch surfing or living day to day with friends, family or in other impermanent accommodation. 

 

"There are virtually no homes for rent in the entire city that are affordable for anyone on Newstart.  Even if you are on an average Wollongong wage, you can't afford to buy. 

 

"Yet the state government is actively preventing Council from setting affordable housing goals for major new developments.  This is worsening the housing affordability crisis, and only helps big developers maximise their profits," Jamie Dixon said today.

 

NSW Greens MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said: 

 

“Across NSW housing costs are spiralling out of control, and Local Councils are at the forefront of addressing this. 

 

“All councils should be allowed to set affordable housing targets for major new developments. 

 

“Housing prices in the Illawarra have skyrocketed in the past ten years, along with the rest of NSW.

 

"The Greens believe local councils are best place to understand their community's housing needs and set sensible and attainable affordable housing targets so that everyone gets a home," Mr Shoebridge said. 

 

Media Contact: Jamie Dixon 0403 402 114, David Shoebridge 0408 113 952.

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Illawarra Greens launch election candidates

Our pledge: politics for the people, not private interests

 

The Illawarra Greens have today announced their candidates for the state and federal elections, with an industrial engineer, 2 university professionals, an economics student and a shearer set to represent the party.

 

“We have an incredible team of candidates here and I know each one of them will be standing up for the Illawarra. For too long corporate interests and corporate money have too much influence over how decisions are made, while the community misses out,” Greens Senator Mehreen Faruqi said today.

 

“The big end of town has infected politics and skewed decision making away from the best interests of our community.  Why else are we still waiting for a serious climate policy when everyone knows this is the most serious challenge of our generation,” Kaye Osborn, candidate for Keira said.

 

“As an engineer, I know that we have the technical capacity to reduce climate change impacts o our land and water.  What we don’t have is the political will.  Renewable energy is rapidly replacing fossil fuel power, but the transition is being slowed by out of touch politicians who are far too cosy with the coal industry,” said Rowan Huxtable, candidate for Wollongong.

 

“Everyone in our community deserves the opportunity to live a good life. To have a home, a job, an education.  Health care in times of need. Instead of providing for everyone, the major parties have let the gap between rich and poor get wider.  That’s not economic management, that’s economic injustice,” said Mitchell Shakespeare, candidate for Heathcote.

 

“Well resourced public education is the key to raising people out of poverty and allowing them to reach their potential.  Education should be free, and equally accessible to everyone; regardless of where you are geographically, economically, or socially. Successful educational outcomes start with quality early childhood education and care,” said Jamie Dixon, candidate for the state seat of Shellharbour and the Federal seat of Whitlam.

 

“We live in a city of a quarter of a million people.  And yet we have a train that runs just once an hour or every 2 hours on weekends.  It’s simply not good enough in the 21st century.  Wollongong deserves a decent public transport network, including fast and frequent trains.  It’s not enough to replace a few carriages, we will be campaigning for a proper 21st century public transport network,” said Ben Arcioni, candidate for Wollongong.

 

High-res Images of Candidates

 

More information:

Mithra Cox (Illawarra Greens) 0425 351 844

Matt Hilton (Senator Faruqi) 0423 106 247

 

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Greens call for Wollongong to follow Shellharbour and Kiama with food waste composting service

The Greens candidate for Wollongong Council has launched a petition calling for Council to allow residents to follow the lead of Shellharbour and Kiama Councils and allow residents to put food waste in the green bin so it can be composted. 
“Food waste is currently the largest component of the rubbish in our red topped bins, and produces the largest amount of greenhouse gases, and odours, as this rots in landfill,” said Jamie Dixon, Greens candidate in the upcoming Wollongong City by-election.
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Steelers Club $100K fine for Pokies Porkies

MEDIA RELEASE - Record penalty for Illawarra Pokies Club raises questions about NSW Coalition's Deal with Clubs NSW 

Friday 5 October 2018 - Greens MLC Justin Field is the Greens spokesperson on gambling.

Steelers Footy Club have been fined $100k for serious breaches of pokies rules. Patrons were give free drinks and large cash advances were disguised as purchases to induce gamblers to spend more money on the clubs poker machines.

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Sniffer dogs not a deterrent against drug use

Sniffer Dogs not a deterrent for drug use
"The increase in drug detections at this years Yours and Owls festival makes it obvious that sniffer dogs are not a deterrent against drug use. In 2016 there were 11 festival goers that were caught with drugs, this year it jumped to 43. The "tough on drugs" approach just isn't working." said Wollongong Greens Councillor, Cath Blakey
 
"If we're concerned about public safety, then pill testing is far more effective to reduce harm from illicit drugs.  The pill testing service at Groove in the Moo Festival in April in the ACT demonstrated that when festival goers had their drugs tested, and then received anonymous, timely and specific drug information from health workers about the short and long term effects, it reduced harm and lead to a number of people binning their drugs." 
"Following the Yours and Owls weekend festival, what the police have failed to publicise is how many people were stopped and strip searched. BOSCAR (Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research) data shows that sniffer dogs get it wrong 70% of the time.  On Sunday I spoke with a number of festival goers that had stopped by drug dogs on Saturday, given a strip search, and tested negative for drugs. They described it as a humiliating experience and raised concerns about handler bias and police profiling. It’s incredible that the shonky, unreliable indication from a dog gives the police power to conduct a strip search without a warrant."

Media enquiries - Cath Blakey - phone: 0458 490 122  
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