Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

WestConnex tollway project expands, residents hit

The WestConnex tollway project continues to expand, despite widespread community objections to the consequences it will bring. These include increased traffic in the inner west of Sydney; environmental and pollution problems; forced acquisitions and destruction of heritage homes; associated increases in tolls for motorists; and the overall cost to the public — $16.8 billion and counting.

Waterloo Tent Embassy wins maintenance gains

"The Waterloo Tent Embassy has made a big impact, is winning growing support every day, and has already gained government action on fixing longstanding maintenance problems at the Waterloo public housing towers," Richard Weeks, spokesperson for the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG), told Green Left Weekly on July 20.

Aboriginal elders arrested over Bulga anti-mine protest

Two Aboriginal elders were arrested at a protest against multinational mining company Rio Tinto blasting at the Mount Thorley-Warkworth coalmine in the Hunter Valley on July 18.

Wonnarua elders Kevin Taggart and his sister Pat Hannson were arrested after telling police they would not move from the side of Putty Road.

Residents of the village of Bulga are protesting against the expansion of the Mount Thorley-Warkworth mine, the closure of Wallaby Scrub Road and the destruction of Aboriginal and European cultural heritage.

Sydney cleaners win entitlements

Cleaners won greater protection against unfair dismissal and loss of entitlements in a Fair Work Commission (FWC) decision on July 12. FWC awarded the cleaners entitlements they had lost when they were transferred to a new company, after their former employer lost a cleaning contract with two Sydney hotels.

Mel Gatfield, NSW secretary of the cleaners' union, United Voice, said the case was "hugely significant”, not just for the 19 cleaners who have received $70,000 in redundancy payments, but for the legal precedent it sets.

Wharfies stage global actions for better conditions

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) joined waterside workers from around the world on July 8 in actions to highlight the issues faced by wharfies internationally.

Every port in Australia had an action of some description, with most ports taking to the streets to raise grievances about job security, safety and workers' rights.

WestConnex demolition homes 'looted' for heritage items

Heritage items from homes in the inner west suburbs of Ashfield and Haberfield are being sold off by private contractors prior to the demolition of houses to make way for the controversial WestConnex tollway.

Contractors employed to demolish the homes are being allowed to sell valuable items including tiles, bricks, light fittings and leadlight doors and windows, according to the July 12 Inner West Courier.

Students rally to save the Sydney College of the Arts'

Several hundred students and staff of the University of Sydney marched on July 4 to oppose moves to close the Sydney University College of the Arts (SCA), and amalgamate it with the University of NSW. The students then surrounded a meeting of the University Senate, demanding the university administration end its threat to the arts college.

The university officially informed students and staff of the move to dismantle SCA, in the historic Kirkbride campus at Callan Park, Rozelle, and merge it with the UNSW Art Design and the National Art School in Darlinghurst, on June 21.

Residents protest at second Inner West Council meeting

Up to 150 residents of inner western Sydney crammed into the chambers of the now-sacked Ashfield Council to oppose the state government's dismissal of three suburban councils and their merger into an "Inner West Council" and to protest the controversial WestConnex tollway project.

They demanded that undemocratically installed one-person administrator Richard Pearson take action on his stated intention to oppose WestConnex, in line with the unanimous positions of the three sacked councils, Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.

Waterloo Housing Tent Embassy: 'Re-block, not knock down'

"We call on the Baird state government to re-block the Waterloo towers, not knock them down," Richard Weeks, spokesperson for the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG), told Green Left Weekly on July 6. He was referring to the NSW Coalition government's plans to demolish the public housing towers in the inner suburb of Waterloo, and replace them with high-rise, private apartments.

ABCC, double dissolution and the Heydon royal commission

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declared that, if re-elected, his government still plans to present the bill reinstating the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) to a joint sitting of parliament, even as Resources and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg admitted on the ABC's Q&A program that the bill's prospects are effectively "dead".

Turnbull said on July 5 that the reason he had called a double dissolution of parliament was that it was the "only way" to revive the building industry watchdog and crack down on the militant unions.

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