Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

Suspend Wollongong Coal’s licence, say activists

About 50 people took part in a lively protest outside the Resources and Energy Division of the NSW Department of Industry on July 22. The protest, organised by Land, Water, Future and Protect Sydney's Water Alliance, was against coalmining in Sydney's water catchment area.

Wollongong Coal has two coalmines in Sydney’s water catchments — Russell Vale and Wongawilli — and is now seeking approval to triple-seam mine under the catchment for Sydney's drinking water. Triple-seam mining has never been tried before in Australia.

Solidarity with seafearers in Devonport

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and supporters rallied outside the Caltex Kurnell oil depot on July 20 to support the seafarers on the tanker Alexander Spirit in Devonport Harbour who are campaigning to protect their jobs and conditions.

MUA Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer, MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin, Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon and representatives of the international transport union addressed the protest.

Public servants continue industrial action

Strike action is continuing across the federal public service as staff campaign for fair pay and conditions against the Abbott government's harsh attack on wages, jobs and rights. Most recently, public servants at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority have voted to strike, joining their colleagues at copyright agency IP Australia who voted in the first week of July to take industrial action.

Angry residents 'Rail Against Rail Cuts'

A public meeting of about 100 people in Erskineville Town Hall on July 14 voted unanimously to oppose planned cuts to Sydney rail services and the proposal for a privatised train line as an extension of the Sydney Metro Northwest rail link to the city's north-western suburbs.

The meeting, organised by the Friends of Erskineville residents' group, was called to protest plans by the NSW Coalition government to cut Bankstown Line train services that stop at Erskineville and the growing problem of dangerous overcrowding on the trains.

How you can help get Australia's best progressive weekly out there

“I'd cross the train tracks for this paper.” That was the comment made last week by a friendly man who comes into the Perth Activist Centre every week without fail to buy a copy of Green Left Weekly.

We had to explain to him that he would have to come back the next day, since a courier mistake meant the papers hadn't come in on time. “No problem,” he said. “I'd do whatever it takes, this is the best paper.”

Opposition to WestConnex grows

"Some people think [the WestConnex tollway] can't be stopped. I am not one of those," Dr Michelle Zeibots told an anti-WestConnex rally of around 200 people in Goddard Park, Concord, on July 4. Zeibots, a transport planning expert, was one of a number of speakers at the rally, with the theme: "WestConnex Independence Day: Save Our City".

"The [NSW state] government can't even present a business case for this project. More than $15 billion of public money is being spent on a private road, rather than on public transport.

Union calls for sacking of Australia Post boss over job losses

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has called for Australia Post (AP) CEO Ahmed Fahour to be sacked over his plans for 1900 job losses from the government-owned postal service. The call follows Fahour's statement on June 26 that AP would spend up to $190 million slashing employment in the agency in response to a declining volume of letter deliveries.

AP employs 36,000 staff, with about 23,000 working in the mail service. Fahour claims the cuts follow losses in the mail delivery section totalling more than $1.5 billion in the last five years.

Power industry job cuts slammed

Unions have slammed plans to axe more than 2700 jobs from the NSW power industry this year. Publicly owned electricity network companies Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy and Essential Energy have revealed plans to cut 2749 jobs from September, offering staff just one week to consult on the proposal.

The announcement follows the recent passage of legislation by the NSW government to privatise the power "poles and wires" network. The proposed job cuts are part of preparations for the sale of long-term leases for the three public power companies.

Immigration and Border Force staff strike

Staff of the Immigration and Border Force agency marked the first day of their newly merged federal department on July 1 by going on strike for the second time in a week.

Two-hour stoppages and meetings took place at seaports, workplaces and international airports, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Adelaide. Significant disruption of services was reported.

NSW budget rides on 'housing tax' windfall

"The NSW Coalition government's 2015 budget has a massive 'housing sales tax' windfall from stamp duty arising from the Sydney housing bubble," Susan Price, Socialist Alliance candidate in the recent NSW state elections, said on June 24.

The government expects to reap more than $30 billion in stamp duty in the next four years, but the budget papers note that the cyclical nature of the property market means that revenue source is "inherently volatile".

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