Anti-Racism campaign supported
The Annerley Branch has endorsed the re-launched Australian Human Rights Commission’s Anti Racism campaign and will actively promote it locally, including through its social media channels. “Racism. It Stops with Me” is a national campaign that provides valuable tools and resources to help people and organisations learn about racism and take action to create real change.
The campaign relaunch comes after a period of extensive consultation with many Australians who have a ‘lived experience’ of racism. The campaign acknowledges that First Nations peoples and others with lived experience of discrimination have been leading anti-racism in Australia for generations, and calls on more Australians to reflect on their personal responsibility and take action.
With the recent rise of racist and xenophobic groups across Australia, Annerley Branch members believe that the anti-racism message is important and timely.
For more information about the campaign, visit https://itstopswithme.humanrights.gov.au/
Branch members focus on housing access
Members of the Annerley Branch recently discussed the important issue of improving access to housing. The talk highlighted not only that access to appropriate and available housing stock is still very central to the problem but also stressed that the largest demographic currently facing housing shortages were older women.
The deliberations noted the $10 billion future fund that federal Labor has promised to put into action, as well as the ongoing work of the Labor state government which is currently implementing its Queensland Housing and Homelessness Action Plan 2021-2025.
Key points raised by members included:
• Re-instating a policy requiring all new housing developments to include a 10% social housing component;
• Examining capping rent increases to CPI;
• Implementing ‘Build to Rent’ schemes, such as those that exist overseas;
• Expanding and improving the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) which aims to reduce rental costs for low to medium income household as well as increase the number of more affordable rental houses;
• Providing subsidies for older people to rent out a room;
• Transitioning former business buildings in the CBD and other business nodes to residential apartments and ensure high density developments have access to existing transport nodes.
• Utilising superannuation to invest in housing developments;
• Examining forms of compensation for residents who have high density developments built next door – such as rates reductions, solar panel installation.
• Ensuring all social housing units are properly maintained;
• Investigating the negative impact of Air BnBs on the housing market.
Since the branch discussion, the State Housing Minister, Leeanne Enoch MP has announced a housing summit to be held on 20 October.
Already, the state Labor government has involved key non-government stakeholders including QShelter, QCOSS, the REIQ, Property Council of Australia, Master Builders and the Planning Institute of Australia in discussions about improving housing access.
The summit is expected to address critical issues including unlocking land and housing supply, fast tracking social housing and – crucially – the urgent need for collaboration on housing by all levels of government and the private sector.
“My government has continued to act on this urgent issue including the construction of over 7,400 new social and affordable homes as part of our historic $1.9 billion Queensland Housing Strategy Action Plan,” Ms Palaszczuk said when announcing the proposed talks.
“That’s in addition to the establishment of a $1 billion housing investment fund and investing $200 million to unlock housing supply.
Renewed focus on Medicare welcomed
Annerley Labor has welcomed the new Labor government’s commitment of $750m for a “Strengthening Medicare” taskforce and fund, which is expected to report by the end of 2022 to determine priority areas for spending – along with $135m for 50 urgent care clinics and $200m for GP grants.
Federal Health Minister Mark Butler’s commissioning of a health department review of the statistics relating to the true bulk-billing rate, and his announcement that the “Strengthening Medicare” taskforce will also investigate how to achieve more affordable healthcare.
Universal healthcare, one of the most monumental achievements of the Australian labour movement, was introduced by the Hawke Labor government as Medicare.
Although many Australians view Medicare as a key pillar of our society that sets us apart from other countries, they now also believe that basic and affordable healthcare is becoming harder to find after nine years of Coalition mismanagement and neglect.
Jobs and Skills Summit a success
Annerley Branch members have hailed the Albanese Labor government’s recent national Job & Skills Summit that aims to address the nation’s existing and future economic challenges.
In addition to greeting the initiative, branch members indicated their support for the ACTU’s Job Summit policy paper which calls on the Albanese Government to establish full employment as a priority, use active fiscal policy to stimulate the economy, regulate the labour market and introduce a fairer tax system.
Since the summit, the Albanese Government has announced that it will work with industry, unions and other stakeholders to implement ‘36 immediate initiatives’. Now recognised as a success by many participants and commentators, the summit has resulted in a continuing dialogue between all levels of government, unions, the business sector and the wider community to achieve an economic framework that seeks to benefit all Australians into the future.
For more information about the summit and its ongoing work, visit https://treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/jobs-summit
Rainbow Labor motions supported
The Annerley Branch has endorsed several motions proposed by ALP equity group – Rainbow Labor. The organisation wrote to branches across Queensland seeking grassroots support for a range of reform issues relating to state and federal jurisdictions.
Amongst those motions supported by Branch members were: addressing transphobia, homophobia, biphobia and intersexphobia; decriminalising sex work by recognising the human rights of sex workers; and encouraging the Albanese Labor government to implement the national platform in relation to a number of key LGBTIQ+ health issues. The Rainbow Labor motion aimed at the new federal government references existing ALP policy to develop a national LGBTIQ+ health plan to support LGBTIQ+ health including mental health.