NSW Mining has sponsored a radio competition on one of Sydney’s top-rated breakfast shows, in which a listener has the chance to win $1 million if they register to be a “miner”. The promotional poster for the competition, which features hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones wearing miners’ hard hats, carries the slogan: “NSW Mining. Good for jobs. Good for Sydney’s economy.” When registering, participants have the option to receive more information from NSW Mining.
About 100 Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered at Hyde Park fountain in Sydney on November 1 to protest against the continued desecration of Aboriginal sites across NSW by coal and coal seam gas mining companies Boggabri Coal, Whitehaven Coal and Santos. The rally was organised by Gomeroi people from Gunnedah in north-west New South Wales. People of all ages were present, from young children to elders. Steve Talbott spoke to the crowd informing them of the cooperation between the state government and mining companies.
There are approximately 60,000 public and community housing tenants in NSW and about 85% of them are receiving welfare benefits. Several non-government organisations (NGOs) such as Mission Australia are now providing clothing, food, job training and housing to welfare recipients. As more and more public housing gets transferred into the hands of NGOs as part of a push for privatisation, many of the organisations who were traditionally advocating for the poor have now become their landlords. These organisations receive a large part of their clients’ income through their rent assistance.
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) held a rally in Sydney on May 9 to demand that the federal budget raise the Newstart allowance by $50 a week. They also demanded all commonwealth benefits be properly indexed so they are in line with living expenses. About 100 people attended the rally with representatives from the Community and Public Sector Union, Australian Services Union, the Salvation Army and tenant advocates.
New South Wales’ peak advocate for housing justice, Shelter, held a conference in Sydney on April 18 to look at the challenges in housing assistance facing policymakers and decide what key steps need to be taken to improve housing outcomes for disadvantaged people. NSW Minister for Community Services Pru Goward opened the conference. She said the housing situation in NSW is grim due to housing being more expensive, less plentiful and inadequately funded. People who require housing also have more needs, she said.
A small but vocal group of people gathered outside the Land and Environment Court in Sydney on August 20 to protest against Rio Tinto’s plans to extend its Mount Thorley Warkworth coalmine near Bulga, in Singleton Shire in the NSW Hunter Valley. The protesters held banners saying “Don’t bugger Bulga”, “Stop coal and gas destroying NSW” and “Save the Warkworth Sands Woodlands”, while they chanted slogans such as “Rack off Rio Tinto.”
About 100 people assembled at Graham Green in Dulwich Hill on July 15 for a press conference and rally organised by the Public Service Association (PSA) and Families Against Disability Discrimination (FADD) to protest against the NSW government’s cuts to Student Learning Support Officer (LSO) positions. LSOs help students with disabilities in state schools.
The problem of homelessness, high rentals and unlicensed boarding houses in Sydney’s inner west — often though of as one of the wealthier areas of Sydney — is growing, said Paul Adabie, acting director of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC). Adabie told Green Left Weekly these acute housing problems faced by the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
A protest of 250 people took place outside NSW parliament on March 15. It was organised by anti-coal seam gas (CSG) groups Stop CSG Sydney and Stop CSG Illawarra. The action coincided with the parliamentary debate of a petition, signed by 20,000 people, calling for a statewide moratorium on CSG mining, a royal commission into its effects and an immediate ban on fracking.
A snap rally was held outside NSW parliament house on February 22 to protest a bill proposed by Premier Barry O’Farrell to lift the 26-year moratorium on uranium exploration in NSW. The Nature Conservation Council and Beyond Nuclear Initiative organised the rally. The moratorium on nuclear exploration in NSW began as a bipartisan agreement between Liberal and Labor parties after an investigation found that the effects of mining would be too dangerous.
State planning minister Brad Hazzard released draft guidelines to regulate NSW wind farms in December. The guidelines allow anyone with a residence within two kilometres to veto a wind power project. If the guidelines become law, this would put the brakes on the wind industry, as the coal seam gas industry bolts ahead.