Just like that – 2015 is coming to a close. This will be the final Working For Queenslanders update for the year.
It’s a time of year to celebrate, congratulations on every action you have taken this year for change. You’ve helped make Queensland a better place to live, work and grow by standing up against privatisation of public services and helping to defeat Campbell Newman’s LNP.
Last weekend, 196 countries came together and pledged to keep temperature rises to well below 2.0 degrees, and to pursue efforts to limit increases to 1.5 degrees. This is a significant victory for every person around the world who stood up for a safe climate, who marched, who contacted their MPs and called on their leaders to play a constructive role in these negotiations. This deal is not perfect, but it represents the end of the beginning and is a significant milestone after years of inaction from leaders, but people showed that they weren’t prepared to wait and took action. Here in Australia it means people from across the community can get to work on ambitious clean energy solutions, support for our neighbours in the Pacific, no new coal mines and a just transition for workers as the world moves away from fossil fuels that drive climate change. You can see the full story on how this all came about here from Avaaz. If you want to read more detail on what this means for climate policy in Australia. The Climate Institute has put together this briefing.
In Queensland, after a year of campaigning with our friends across the legal, community and human rights sectors the government has announced its timeframes for consultation on a Human Rights Act for Queensland. It’s been the efforts of supporters who have signed petitions and spoken up that has made this happen and over the next few months there will be more opportunities for you to share why Queensland needs these human rights protections to ‘Newman proof’ our state. You can hear Aimee McVeigh speak about this here.
In the Federal Government’s mid-year economic update, the government have taken the axe to health funding once again with $2 billion worth of cuts, cuts to bulk billing services for tests and cuts to training in the health workforce. The Turnbull government, like the Abbott government beforehand continues to push for more cuts to the services that people rely on and attack the Australia that working people have stood together to build. These attacks will mean people who need pathology tests could be out of pocket when they can least afford it.
In the United States, some politicians who attempted to legislate to withdraw scholarships from students in college sporting teams who organise to form a union and take action for a better deal have walked away from these moves after a backlash. This heavyhanded move comes at a time when more and more students are taking action, building coalitions and pushing for fairness on campus and in their community. You can see more here.
More than 500 companies who operate in Australia did not pay tax in the 2013/2014 financial year. Many of these companies take in billions but do not contribute to the country we’re all trying to build. Right now, instead of trying to clamp down on big business tax rorts, the government is attacking those least able to pay with cuts to bulk billing services and moves towards slugging Australian families with an increased GST.
It’s been an enormous 2015 for Working For Queenslanders, starting with the incredible state election campaign that many of you were part of, throughout this year you have stood up for the things that matter and won.
Here’s to standing together for the things that matter in 2016.
Wishing you a safe and happy Christmas.