Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

A People's Bank could break the power of the Big Four

With calls for a royal commission into the banking sector growing, the argument for a new "people's bank" to challenge the domination of the big banks is gaining strength.

A number of recent events have propelled community anger at the "Big Four" — Commonwealth Bank (CBA), NAB, Westpac and ANZ — to the point that a royal commission seems increasingly likely.

Cuts to CSIRO hurting

CSIRO staff remain sceptical about the future of the group's climate research program, with media reports suggesting that science minister Greg Hunt's recent announcement of additional jobs in the area does not include any new funding from the federal government.

The allocation of $37 million -- tied to the nascent Climate Science Centre in Hobart -- will apparently be sourced from CSIRO's own funds over 10 years and involves the creation of 15 new positions, based at locations still to be determined.

WestConnex facing new hurdles

While the New South Wales government's disastrous WestConnex tollroad project is facing new challenges, the public campaign against the $17 billion privatised road network continues to grow.

The latest headache for the government came about when chief commissioner for the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) Lucy Turnbull triggered a public outcry after stating she was unaware of any large-scale destruction of houses in the heritage suburb of Haberfield, precisely as homes were being demolished in the inner-western Sydney suburbs.

CSIRO staff slam govt 'repair job' on climate science

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) Staff Association says the Turnbull government's backflip on climate science research does not go far enough to repair the damage done by the deep and ongoing cuts to Australia's leading public research body.

CSIRO management is continuing with plans to slash 296 jobs across the organisation, including more than 60 experienced climate and marine scientists. About 40% of the jobs are expected to be cut through forced redundancies.

'New Bulga' stands against coalmine expansion

More than 200 people gathered in Sydney's Domain on August 7 to mark the symbolic founding of "New Bulga" behind the NSW State Parliament building. The pop-up village of New Bulga was set up to continue the fight by the residents of the village of Bulga in the Upper Hunter Valley against ongoing moves by Rio Tinto to expand its Warkworth coalmine closer to the town.

'Hiroshima Never Again' rally in Sydney

Despite the rain, about 100 people rallied in Hyde Park on August 6 to declare, "Hiroshima Never Again," on the 71st anniversary of the US atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945. The themes of the rally were: "Ban nuclear weapons," and "No nuclear waste dumps in Australia".

A dramatic round of traditional drumming by a local Japanese cultural group and a set by the band Urban Guerrillas kicked off the rally.

Sale of Ausgrid should be stopped once and for all

In the recent controversy over the proposed sale of key NSW state-owned electricity company Ausgrid to Chinese bidders, the primary issue seems to have been lost: a vital public asset such as Ausgrid should not be privatised in the first place, whoever the potential buyers might be.

A storm broke out over the planned sale of Ausgrid by the state government to either of two Chinese corporations: the government-owned State Grid Corporation of China; or the privately-owned Hong Kong-listed Cheung Kong Infrastructure Group (CKI), controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.

New doco series Stingray Sisters looks at NT Traditional Owners fight against oil giants

Stingray Sisters
Three-part film series
Directed By Katrina Channells
Released on August 9
Watch at www.stingraysisters.com

Stingray Sisters is a deeply moving three-part documentary highlighting the story of three Aboriginal sisters, Noni, Alice and Grace Eather, and their return to Maningrida in the Northern Territory, from schooling in Brisbane.

Proposed Sirius building demolition condemned

Architects, artists and community activists have condemned the NSW state government's plan to demolish the iconic Sirius apartment building in the historic Rocks area of inner Sydney, with one artist, Del Kathryn Barton, calling the move a "cultural tragedy".

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.

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