Jim McIlroy

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has scored a victory against the privatisation agenda of the state Coalition government after it abandoned plans to privatise the NSW Public Works Heritage Services, UnionsNSW announced on September 2.

About 40 stonemasons, scaffolders and roofers have been maintaining some of Sydney’s oldest buildings for more than 20 years, but in June last year Finance Minister Dominic Perrottet announced their jobs would be outsourced.

"We are facing severe economic and political destabilisation in Venezuela. The leaders of the right-wing opposition have been trying to create fear in the country for many weeks now," Eulalia Reyes, a Venezuelan activist in Australia, told a Sydney forum on September 3.

She was in Venezuela during the violent opposition protests in 2014, and more recently from October 2015 to June 2016. She presented an eyewitness account of what is really going on in Venezuela today.

The NSW Greens have slammed reported plans by the state government to build a new privatised western Metro train line from the city centre to Parramatta.

Commenting on a September 1 Sydney Morning Herald report that planning is under way for a new rail line between the CBD, the Bays Precinct around Rozelle and Parramatta, with possible future extensions to Maroubra in the south-east and Badgerys Creek airport in the west, Greens NSW transport spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi asked, “Will this government ever understand what good integrated transport planning looks like?”


6000-strong march against Baird in Sydney on May 29..

“Beyond the amiable, good-bloke persona, [NSW Premier] Mike Baird is an aggressively neoliberal politician, who has quietly privatised dozens of state entities.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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