Essential Report

Essential Report with EMC’s Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods

Sep 19, 2012

Lewis and Woods talk through this week’s polling numbers: voting intention, leader attributes, drug laws in Australia, and more…

Are we ready for the grey revolution?

Sep 12, 2012

Ken Morrison says our cities need to be transformed for our ageing population – and it’s not solely about nursing homes.

By 2050 Australia will have a population of 35 million – almost a quarter of whom will be over 65. And while we are ageing, our cities are growing. It’s not just aged care facilities and health care which will be under pressure but our cities as a whole — transport, outdoor spaces, housing, information access and security.

The Property Council’s Ken Morrison tells 3Q the problem is not isolated to the lack of nursing home places. With a declining tax base and a burgeoning number of elderly, the pressures on all tiers of government will be immense which is why making cities function now is more important than ever.
Read his blog about age friendly cities.

As the Government promotes its policy of the elderly staying in their homes for longer, the Property Council is part of an organisation lobbying for all new homes to be built to universal design standards by 2020.

Read about the partnership between the Property Council, government and other organisations.

By building a house to last its occupants’ lifetimes, despite illness or disability, we will all be able to live independently for longer. Universal design ideas are already being implemented in Japan, Britain, Canada and Norway.

Ships, trains and submarines — can we build them here?

Sep 11, 2012

Tim Ayres wishes Clive Palmer and other mining giants would give local manufacturers a go instead of heading overseas.

When Clive Palmer recently announced his replica of the Titanic would be built in China due to the lack of ship building facilities in Australia, the AMWU hit back with a video clip showing the 500-strong workforce at a Newcastle shipyard.

It’s all part of the AMWU’s campaign, Build Them Here, appealing to government to set local content targets on some of the massive construction and transport projects to ensure local manufacturers get contracts ahead of low cost overseas competitors — as is often the case in the mining industry.

Tim Ayres, the NSW secretary for the AMWU, tells 3Q that local manufacturers can build heavy infrastructure – they just need to be given the opportunity. In doing so, new jobs and apprenticeships will be created, valuable intellectual property is developed and the knock on effect strengthens the economy.

Do we undervalue our public sector innovations?

Sep 11, 2012

Nadine Flood questions whether governments take our science and other publicly funded breakthroughs for granted.

The CSIRO is one of Australia’s most respected institutions. The Bureau of Meteorology is crucial in times of impending climate crisis. They are also part of the public service. And though their specialty is science, other areas of the public sector are also responsible for innovation — from agricultural land use to new ways of fighting tax evasion.

See a brief history of CSIRO achievements from wi-fi to dollar notes.

It’s a concept that is often lost at Budget time when governments keen to trim down costs often take a knife to the public sector. It’s easy pickings if the millions of dollars saved or made by innovations in technology, energy and health fail to be counted as assets.

The CPSU’s Nadine Flood tells 3Q how the CSIRO’s development of wi-fi technology transformed the world and brought $500 million into Australia through patent fees. Yet if the Opposition has its way, crucial funding of the sciences and other public sector innovation would be lost.
Further cuts on the grounds of “efficiency” will have long term effects on our ability to innovate.

Does Australia have a working poor?

Jul 10, 2012

Charities are reporting a 50 per cent increase in calls for help and most are coming from underpaid workers, says Ged Kearney.

Australia’s economic success amidst global uncertainty is the envy of the international community. Yet despite Australia’s glowing report card, there is a growing class of people known as “the working poor”.

These are people who are most often employed in the service industry, working shifts and surviving on a day-to-day basis. They are paid the minimum wage which is actually less than half the average wage in Australia. ACTU President Ged Kearney tells 3Q this section of the population have slipped through the gap and are not part of the national debate.

Do industry funds have an unfair advantage?

Jul 10, 2012

Richard Watts discusses the implications of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations to change the default super arrangement.

There’s been some big shake ups in the world of super in the past six months. And one of the biggest is the Productivity Commission’s call to change the way workers are channelled into default super funds. At the moment, the default fund is most often an industry fund but the recommendations pave the way to give retail funds a bigger slice of the $7 billion a year super pie.

Instead of the current system where unions and employers choose the default fund, the PC recommends that Fair Work Australia or another independent body choose who qualifies to be a default fund.

Richard Watts, from Industry Super Network, tells 3Q that he is receptive to a merit based system if it means retail funds meet the same governance arrangements and produce returns equal to the industry funds.

What next for public broadcasters in the digital age?

Jul 10, 2012

If SBS and the ABC don’t get a substantial increase in funding, their future is shaky, warns Nadine Flood.

The old media empires are being transformed by a new audience which doesn’t pay for its news. The News Corporation scandal in the UK is turning people away from newspapers. So what are the ramifications for public broadcasting?

CPSU’s Nadine Flood tells 3Q the role of the national broadcasters will be more important than ever. Investigative journalism and public accountability are at risk. But public funding must increase if they are to fulfil their roles and continue to innovate.


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