||Issue No. 220||14 May 2004|
Interview: Machine Man
Unions: Testing Times
Bad Boss: Freespirit Haunts Internet
Unions: Badge of Honour
National Focus: Noel's World
Economics: Safe Refuge
International: Global Abuse
History: The Honeypot
Review: Death And The Barbarians
Poetry: Who Wants to be a Millionaire?
Big Bribe Misses Battlers
These are just two of the anomalies identified by analysts as building workers point to the government dedicating five times as much to "attacking" unions as to protecting lives.
The ACTU has slammed the budget for "squandering" a record surplus while still failing to save Medicare, public education, or make childcare and other basic services more affordable.
"The tax cuts are outrageously unfair - handing $42 a week to the richest 10% of Australians," says ACTU President Sharan Burrow. "There is no tax relief at all for 70% of working Australians earning less than $52,000 a year."
Burrow described the budget's family package as poorly designed, unbalanced and disappointing.
"The one-off payments to families are a cover for the badly managed family payments system that is trapping parents into debt,' says Burrow.
Aged Care Left To Spin
Melbourne-based aged care worker Bella Millar said staff would be disappointed that more was not being done to improve the care of the elderly.
"We try to provide the best care we can but we are constantly rushing and not being able to give the quality of care we would like," she said.
HSU national secretary Craig Thomson said the budget did not require a single operator to lift their staffing levels, pay higher wages or improve the quality of care.
Mr Thomson also questioned why the Federal Government had failed to adopt the recommendations of the Hogan Review for a massive increase in training and education of staff to address the shortages in the industry.
"In fact more is being spent on PR spin to sell the package than on training by the department in the next financial year," says Thomson. "Aged care providers will get substantially more money but it is not tied to improving care standards.
"A report produced for the Federal Government last month showed that less than 20 per cent of staff have enough time to properly care for residents."
Childcare - No Help For Working Families
"This government is doing nothing to help the thousands of families desperately waiting for quality long day care places," says Jo-anne Schofield, LHMU assistant secretary. "There is nothing to address the structural issues of affordability of child care places and the quality-monitoring of child care centres."
"The government cannot assure mothers that they are monitoring and delivering quality places for our children."
The LHMU has also slammed the Federal Government's "failure" to support low-wage childcare workers.
Attacking Construction Unions A "Waste"
Meanwhile the CFMEU is appalled at Treasurer Peter Costello's decision to "waste" five times as much attacking construction unions than it is prepared to spend addressing safety.
"Poor safety management costs the construction industry $190.3 million a year, but Peter Costello is not prepared to invest in effective measures to improve the health and safety record of one of Australia's most important industries," says CFMEU National Construction Secretary John Sutton
"The $21.7 million allocated for the Federal Safety Commission contrasts starkly with the $105 million the government is prepared to waste attacking building unions and workers who pursue collective bargaining agreements."
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