Melbourne

Dateline Melbourne

City of Melbourne bans busking

Following a string of noise complaints, the City of Melbourne will introduce a three-month ban on amplified busking on Swanston Street.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the council hoped making Swanston St from Flinders Lane to La Trobe Street a non-amplified busking zone would cut the number of noise complaints.

However Melbourne busker Des Kennedy feared the situation could become more permanent and widespread. He organised a silent protest of about 60 angry buskers outside the Melbourne Town Hall, saying the ban would kill buskers’ income.

ETU ad pulled by Herald Sun

This advertisement was booked to run in Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun, to draw attention to the plight of 55 Carlton United Brewery workers who were unfairly sacked and offered their jobs back at 65% less pay.

Being the darlings of the big end of town that it is, the Herald Sun has refused to run it. But we can all help to share it far and wide.

As the dispute enters its seventh week, you can help to increase the pressure on the company.

Longwarry Foods workers win new agreement

The National Union of Workers announced on July 15 that 50 workers who were locked out of a Victorian milk processing plant by Longwarry Foods on July 5 will be able to return to work after they voted for a new agreement.

Workers had been protesting outside Longwarry Foods, owned by Parmalat, one of the country's biggest milk producers, for 11 days, calling for better working conditions and to return to work.

Beer brewer tries to slash wages by 65%

Carlton and United Brewery (CUB) is trying to impose a 65% pay cut on its maintenance workforce.

The 54 electricians and fitters were called to a meeting in a pub on June 10 and told their jobs were terminated. They were then told they could reapply for their jobs with a company called Catalyst Recruitment which is part of the Programmed/Skilled Group.

Five apprentices have been left in limbo with no jobs and no trade qualifications.

Melbourne NAIDOC march biggest since 1970

About 1200 people marched through Melbourne on July 8 in the annual National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) march. The rally demanded "Treaty Now", "Land Rights" and "Stop Deaths in Custody".

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Turnbull plans attack on firefighters

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he will amend the Fair Work Act to make it possible for the federal government to block the proposed new enterprise agreement for firefighters employed by Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Turnbull said he will introduce legislation in the first sitting week of the new parliament to expand the list of "objectionable terms" that cannot be included in enterprise agreements.

Disability and respite services saved in Moreland

Socialist councillor Sue Bolton convinced Moreland Council on July 13 to reinstate the after-hours Aged and Disability Home Support Services for existing clients as well as new ones.

Bolton said she was enormously grateful to the parents of children with disabilities who spoke up on behalf of all the parents who were unable to come to the meeting or who didn’t think it was possible to fight the cut.

“Those parents put a human face on the implications of a very bureaucratic cut: their stories had an impact on the other councillors”, Bolton told Green Left Weekly.

Protest against Ruddock

In a moment of devastating irony, former immigration minister Philip Ruddock, the man responsible for “children overboard” and the architect behind what became the anti-terror laws, has been nominated as Australia's UN Special Envoy for Human Rights.

On July 12, Ruddock was given a platform at the Wheeler Centre — which claims he has “been a vocal advocate on several human rights issues” — to talk “human rights, the death penalty, and the changing Australian political landscape”.

Parmalat workers locked out in pay dispute

Dozens of Gippsland dairy workers have been locked out indefinitely by milk producer Parmalat. When workers arrived at the gates of the Parmalat-owned Longwarry Food Park, east of Melbourne, on July 5, they were met with news of the lockout and closure of the site.

The Longwarry workforce is among the lowest-paid in the dairy industry according to the National Union of Workers, and had been calling for improved conditions in their pay deal to bring them in line with other Parmalat sites.

Firefighters mobilise on polling day

United Firefighters Union (UFU) members handed out leaflets at polling booths in Victorian marginal seats on election day, in an attempt to counter a Liberal scare campaign against a new enterprise agreement for UFU members employed by the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The Liberals falsely claim that the agreement gives the UFU the power of veto over CFA management decisions, and that it would prevent volunteer firefighters from fighting fires unless seven professional firefighters were present. They claim that the agreement endangers public safety.

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