Essential Report

Are we driving truckies to death?

Mar 27, 2012



The national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, Tony Sheldon, blames the big retailers for creating unrealistic deadlines for truck drivers which in turn leads to sleep deprivation and drug use that can have fatal results. Over 300 people die and 5000 people are injured each year in truck crashes.

After years of lobbying by the TWU for “safe rates”, the Government last week passed legislation to establish a tribunal that will make the users of trucking services answerable for their practices.

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The TWU is campaigning for Safe Rates for safe roads.

The new law sets up a Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal with the power to set minimum pay rates and conditions as well as resolve disputes and inquire into industry practices.

Sheldon told 3Q the major retailers remain opposed to the scheme but says they need to take responsibility for the economic and personal costs of tragedy which amounts to almost $3 billion a year.

Should we ban coal?

Mar 27, 2012


Greenpeace campaigner John Hepburn says a move away from coal to renewables is essential and urgent. That’s why his organisation is shifting up a gear to make it happen.

With a tripling of coal exports over the next 10 years, Hepburn says it is more important than ever that Australian communities are prepared to examine mining proposals in their local area.

Responding to the recent controversy over plans for a $6 million fund to challenge the expansion of the coal industry, Hepburn tells 3Q that communities need to have legal assistance to do due diligence on the thousands of documents which accompany new mining proposals.
At the same time, Australia needs to invest in renewable energy technologies, especially as the prices of wind and solar come down while coal and oil prices go up.

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A recent international study ranked Australia 16th out of 19 countries in being ready to deal with a low-carbon world — ahead of just India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.

The International Energy Agency – a conservative organisation not known for being ‘green’ – released a report earlier this year concluding that, if we are to have any chance of staying below the 2 degrees Celsius limit governments have set, the last coal fired power station in the world will have been built by 2017 and global coal use will plunge between then and 2035.

Greens senator Christine Milne says Greenpeace’s legal challenge is legitimate despite the condemnation it received from politicians and the coal industry.

Greenpeace has released this blueprint for changing from a dependence on coal to renewables with breakdowns for each year

What makes a great city?

Mar 27, 2012


The Property Council’s annual cities survey is out. And once again Adelaide comes out on top followed by Canberra. Then there is Melbourne and Perth at an equal third with the country’s most populous city Sydney rating a poor second last after Darwin.

But CEO Peter Verwer told 3Q that the survey highlights one finding common to all respondents: that people are dissatisfied with state and federal government performance when it comes to their cities.

“This is the people’s verdict on their own city, the ultimate report card on how liveable our cities are,” says Verwer.

“Australians know what makes a great city and they rate our cities poorly in housing affordability, environmental sustainability, congestion and public transport.“

“These results should shock governments into action to lift the performance of our cities.”

The Property Council surveyed over 5000 people who rated their city on its liveability, using 17 indicators, from the look and design of a city down to the cultural vibrancy.

Read the full results here

 

TRENDS: Celebrity Pollies – Where Egos Collide

Mar 26, 2012


In flagging a tilt for the Senate, Australia’s most famous global subversive Julian Assange joins the ranks of one of our most exotic political specimens – the celebrity candidate.

In an era when the professional political hack is roundly derided as part of the problem, the famous individual acts as both an antidote of the perils and a reinforcement of the virtues of politics as usual.

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