Jim McIlroy

The housing crisis could be overcome through a “new system of universally accessible housing, with rents based on ability to pay”, according to Action for Public Housing. The problem, they say, is that “the housing needs of our people come second to profit and greed” for the NSW Coalition government.

Activists took to the streets against new anti-protest laws which could make it illegal to try and stop government-inspired destruction.

The Finance Sector Union has slammed a plan to "embed" financial regulatory agency officers inside the Big Four banks and the financial management giant AMP. The FSU says that officers from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), which has been criticised for being “too close to the banks”, would be unable to penetrate the unethical internal culture of the banks.

Corporate CEO salaries have hit record high levels over the past year, according to the latest CEO pay report from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). The report shows that pay for company bosses has reached its highest level for 17 years thanks to "persistent and increasing bonus payments".

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) launched its "Give 'Em the Boot" campaign, aimed at ending Australia's Force Posture Agreement with the US and sending US Marines based in Darwin back home, at a "Keep Australia out of US wars" public meeting on July 17.

Several hundred people gathered in the historic Thompson Square, in the town of Windsor, north-west of Sydney on July 22 to demand a royal commission into transport infrastructure and planning in NSW.

The rally was organised by CAWB (Community Action for Windsor Bridge) — Save Windsor from the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority). CAWB is a grassroots organisation that has been fighting for five years against NSW government plans to demolish the historic Windsor Bridge for a major arterial road, which will also destroy historic Thompson Square, the oldest square in Australia.

“We call on the federal government to scrap the [NewStart Allowance] ‘demerit points plan’ and stop demonising the unemployed,” NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told a public forum at UnionsNSW on July 4.

The forum was hosted by the national and Western Sydney branches of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU). The AUWU is conducting a nationwide campaign, called “Dump Your Demerit Points”, to educate members on how to fight back against this punitive system.

 

A "Fix NSW Transport" lantern walk will be held on August 11, beginning at Town Hall and proceeding through city streets, to highlight community opposition to tollways, especially WestConnex, and the crisis of public transport in the state.

Initial endorsements included activist groups No Westconnex: Public Transport Not Motorways; EcoTransit; Friends of Erskineville; Keep Sydney Beautiful; Rail Tram and Bus Union; Netwown Residents Against WestConnex, National Tertiary Education Union; Restore Inner West Line; and Westconnex Action Group.

The latest round of penalty rate cuts, which reduce weekend and public holiday penalty rates for staff in the retail, hospitality and pharmacy sectors by 10–15% from July 1, is estimated by the ACTU to affect 700,000 workers.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the penalty rate cuts would cost many retail and fast food workers between $2000 and $6000 a year.

"The refugee crisis is a union issue, as well as a social justice issue," Australian Services Union (ASU) NSW and ACT deputy secretary Judith Wright told about 100 people on June 27 at the "Change the Rules for Refugees" forum organised by Unions for Refugees.

"The ASU has members in support services for refugees. They see first-hand the results of the oppression and violence suffered by asylum seekers," she said.

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