Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

Insurer abandons Queensland towns

Suncorp Insurance has left residents of Emerald and Roma in the lurch after it announced it would refuse all new insurance policies to householders in the region. No other insurers offer policies in the area.

The small Queensland towns were hit hard by floods in recent years. Suncorp said on May 7 no new policies for home and contents insurance would be offered until flood mitigation works, including flood levees, are built around the two towns. Premiums for existing policy holders are due to rise dramatically.

Brisbane unionists protest Rio Tinto over Olympic Games

About 40 unionists protested outside the annual meeting of mining giant Rio Tinto's board meeting on May 10 against the company's involvement in the London Olympic Games. Rio Tinto is manufacturing medals for the games.

At the same time, the mining corporation has staged a lock-out of 800 mine workers at the Alma smelter in Canada. Unions say the lock-out began after the Canadian workers refused contracts that would cut wages of new workers by half.

Newman says leave endangered Koalas out on a limb

The battle to protect at-risk koalas is stepping up in Queensland after the federal government announced on April 30 that koalas would be listed as a vulnerable species in some states.

Murri-led protest says: ‘Stop more stolen generations’

“Stop more Stolen Generations, take back control of our lives” was the main theme of a rally and march held in Brisbane on May 2. About 50 Murris and supporters gathered at Roma Street Forum (Emma Miller Place) for a rally, then marched to the office of the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in George Street.

River cruise helps fund Green Left

The annual Green Left Weekly Twilight River Cruise set sail successfully on the Brisbane River on April 29. More than 60 people came aboard for an evening of sumptuous food, drinks, live entertainment and guest speakers, all while enjoying spectacular views along the river.

Flautist Hannah Reardon-Smith, singer-guitarist Carrie (from Carrie and the Cut Snakes), and bass player Dom Hale provided music on the night. Speakers included Socialist Alliance co-convenors Ewan Saunders and Jim McIlroy, and SA candidate for Sandgate in the recent Queensland elections Mike Crook.

Builders rally for job safety

More than 1000 building unionists rallied in Emma Miller Place on April 27 to mark International Workers' Memorial Day. Protests and commemorations also took place on the same day in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth, and on April 28 in Sydney and Adelaide.

Organised by the building unions and the Queensland Council of Unions, the Brisbane action was billed as a time to “remember those who have been injured or killed at or through their work and to renew our commitment to fight for the living”.

Coal activists share their Great Barrier Grief

”No new coal! Save the Great Barrier Reef!" was the main theme of the rally held outside Queensland parliament on World Heritage Day, April 18. Six Degrees and Greenpeace Brisbane called the rally, which attracted about 50 people.

The rally came after the April 12 announcement by deputy premier Jeff Seeney that Gladstone harbour, which is facing environmental destruction due to coal industry development, might be removed from World Heritage listing.

Rally calls for deep military spending cuts

About 50 people attended an April 17 rally in King George Square to mark a global day of action against military spending. The rally, organised by Just Peace Brisbane, called for Australian military funding to be radically cut back in the upcoming federal budget.

“If the world cut military spending by just one-half of 1%, we could save the lives of 6 million children," Peter Arndt, from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, told the audience.

Mining union says BHP should give up mine lease

The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has demanded that BHP Billiton surrender its lease on the Norwich Park coalmine, near Dysart in Central Queensland. The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) combine announced early this month that it would shut down the mine because it was allegedly losing money.

BMA has laid partial blame on the long-running industrial dispute with mineworkers in Queensland for losses at Norwich Park and other mines in the state.

Qld miners stand firm against BHP’s attacks

Coalmine workers employed by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in central Queensland's Bowen Basin are standing firm in the face of escalating attacks by their employer. In the latest round, BHP has announced the closure of its Norwich Park coalmine, south-east of Dysart. The move is clearly aimed at putting pressure on the mineworkers to settle their longstanding industrial dispute.

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