Lisa Macdonald

The National Disability Insurance Scheme purports to support a better life for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, their families and carers. Graham Matthews, Steve Warren, Terry Townsend and Lisa Macdonald argue for a needs-driven scheme.

Between 300-350 people attended a solidarity action in Katoomba, reports Lisa Macdonald.

After a 16-month battle to survive and then recover from a major brain hemorrhage in August 2015, long-time Green Left Weekly journalist and seller Terry Townsend is at last able to move out of the nursing home to live in his own home again.

Now he needs your help to ensure he is not confined there for the rest of his life, can reconnect with comrades and friends, and participate in political activities again.

Coalmining company Coalpac Pty Ltd lodged a development proposal with the NSW government in July 2011 to expand its open-cut and high-wall coalmines in central western NSW. The sites are in a proposed extension to the Gardens of Stone National Park and surround the small town of Cullen Bullen. Coalpac’s “consolidation project” involves expanding its Invincible and Cullen Valley coalmines, and building a new quarry in the Ben Bullen State Forest near Lithgow.
Registrations are now open for the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s (AVSN) next brigade to revolutionary Venezuela. The solidarity tour, to run over December 4-13 this year, will be a special one for the AVSN, the first since the election of President Nicolas Maduro following the death of Hugo Chavez on March 5. Since 1998, when Chavez was first elected president, the Bolivarian revolution has achieved remarkable things by putting control of Venezuela’s politics and economy back into the hands of the poor majority.
About 70 activists gathered in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11 for the second annual Climate Change-Social Change conference. Hosted by Green Left Weekly, the conference drew together a broad range of activists from various environment campaigns, anti-coal seam gas groups, the Greens and the Socialist Alliance, cementing its role as an important annual gathering for western Sydney activists.
Environment activists, academics, politicians, trade unionists and resident groups will gather in Parramatta Town Hall on May 11. They will discuss and plan actions around some of the many environmental and social issues facing the population of western Sydney. Climate change and the fossil fuel industry will be a big focus of the conference, after the Climate Commission report, The Critical Decade, found that climate change is already much worse in Sydney's western suburbs than anywhere else in New South Wales.
In my work as a service provider for women experiencing domestic violence, I see every day the devastating consequences for women and children of living in a society based on gender inequality. Violence against women is everywhere, but most of it still occurs in the domestic sphere by people known or related to the abused woman. Most rapes are also committed by people known to the women, and the full extent of rape within relationships is still unknown because it is generally not reported.
The annual Western Sydney fundraising dinner was held on March 23. In a great start to the year, organisers filled Granville Town Hall and raised more than $1600 for the Green Left Weekly fighting fund.
A fortnight after the NSW Liberal government announced policy changes to coal seam gas (CSG) mining in NSW to ban drilling within two kilometres of some residential areas, about 400 local residents met at Springwood Civic Centre on March 24 for the “Coal seam gas — it still stinks” public forum. Speakers explained the continuing threat to the environment, residents’ health and the world heritage values of this area posed by the CSG industry.
Many residents of the Blue Mountains are discovering for the first time that coal seam gas (CSG) drilling is an immediate, local issue for them. Gas giant AGL has a licence to explore for CSG in a huge area covering the Blue Mountains communities from Lapstone, Glenbrook, Blaxland, Warrimoo and Winmalee through to Springwood, and everything in between. The newly formed campaign group Stop CSG Blue Mountains joined the national week of action against CSG, organising a residents’ rally in Glenbrook Park on October 13.
For the 2.5 million people living and working in Sydney’s western suburbs, the future looks very grim unless serious action on climate change begins immediately. A Climate Commission report released last month,  The Critical Decade, reveals that rising temperatures in western Sydney will impact adversely on many aspects of residents’ lives, from the water supply to mental health and crime levels.
Jackie Kriz, an Australian Nurses Federation delegate from Geelong, will be the special guest speaker at Sydney’s annual Green Left Weekly May Day dinner, where she will share her experiences of the Victorian nurses’ remarkable victorious campaign and some of the lessons we can learn from it.
Six Zimbabwean socialist activists were convicted on March 19 for “conspiracy to commit public violence”. Their “crime” was to watch a video in February last year about the anti-dictatorship uprising in Egypt. But the activists won a partial victory two days later when they were given suspended jail sentences of two years. The six were also ordered to each do 420 hours of community service and pay a fine of US$500 (A$478). The six had faced up to 10 years’ in jail, a sentence demanded by the state prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba.
The released the statement below on March 8. * * * This International Women’s Day, on March 8, falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in.
The Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples is inviting all friends of Cuba to join the sixth International Brigade of Volunteer Work and Solidarity with Cuba this May Day. The brigade runs from April 22 to May 6 this year. It aims to provide a wider understanding of Cuban reality and carry out volunteer work to support agricultural development in Cuba. The 15-day program includes visits to historical, economic, cultural and social places in Havana and the provinces of Artemisa and Pinar del Rio.

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