Australian News

Over 100 people took part in an emergency demonstration in Sydney on January 21 to protest the Turkish government's military assault on Afrin in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (previously known as Rojava).

This video profiles one of the speeches at that rally by Socialist Alliance member Peter Boyle

Five activists who scaled the Sydney Opera House roof to unfurl banners reading "Australia: World Leaders in Cruelty #BringThemHere" and "Evacuate Manus" on November 9 pleaded guilty to trespass in the Downing Centre Local Court on December 20.

They were fined a total of $20,000.

WACA spokesperson Lily Matchett said: “We face court in Sydney today for protesting the inhumane treatment of refugees while the injustice on Manus Island continues to unfold.

Two protesters from Front Line Action on Coal blocked Aurizon’s coal railway near Bowen for five hours on January 9, calling on the Queensland government to rule out funding for Aurizon.

They prevented any coal trains getting to Adani’s Abbot Point coal terminal by locking their arms inside a steel barrel filled with concrete on the train tracks.

The Queensland Labor government is currently considering rail operator Aurizon’s bid for a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan to build a rail link between Adani’s Carmichael coalmine and the terminal.

Rail workers will stop work for 24 hours on January 29 to push management to negotiate a fair enterprise agreement. The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) said on January 16 that the government and management had left them no choice but to take this kind of action.

As 2017 drew to a close the climate movement had much to celebrate. Hard fought campaigns directed at potential financial backers had resulted in Adani’s Carmichael coalmine being a far less certain prospect as one by one financial options dissolved.

With major financial institutions in Australia and overseas ruling out support for the project, Adani had pinned its hopes on China as a possible funding source as well as a market for Galilee Basin coal. In spite of the Australian government oiling the wheels for a deal, all major Chinese banks backed away in the end.

Despite appeals from the Prime Minister to keep it open, AGL has announced it will close Liddell, NSW’s dirtiest coal-fired power station, and repurpose it with clean energy.

This is a blow to the government’s pro-coal agenda, and an important step forward for the transition to clean energy and a better future.

AGL will close Liddell in 2022 as planned and invest in gas, renewables and battery storage as part of the NSW Generation Plan. It is also exploring the feasibility of a pumped hydro project in the Hunter region.

The South Australian government has approved a solar thermal power plant to be built at Port Augusta this year.

SolarReserve's 150 megawatt plant will use mirrored panels to concentrate sunlight onto a central receiver at the top of a 220 metre tower.

This will heat molten salt to 565°C, which is used to generate steam, drive a turbine and produce 150 megawatts of electricity, even without sun.

On January 13 Socialist Alliance members took the opportunity to visit the striking Esso workers in Longford who have been maintaining their picket line for more than 200 days.

The picket was established on June 20 last year in protest at 200 sacked Esso workers being offered their jobs back with a 30% pay cut and unfair roster changes.

The Port Kembla Coal Terminal (PKCT), south of Wollongong, locked out its 58 permanent employees without pay for five days from January 7. The move is part of the company’s ongoing drive to force workers to accept cuts to their wages and conditions.

PKCT has been in negotiations with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) for a new agreement since 2015, when the previous enterprise agreement expired.

The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's Queensland construction branch has reached an in-principle agreement that will end weekend work and increase pay and overtime rates.

The new agreement with Multiplex, Hutchinson, Watpac, Probuild and Icon complies with the federal government's building code. This prevents builders with agreements containing banned conditions, including restrictions on casual labour, union consultation arrangements and controls over rostered days off, from competing for federally-funded work.

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