Browsing articles in "Grayndler Hansard"
Oct 24, 2017

Constituency Statements – Oktoberwest

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:06): I rise to speak about the positive impacts that the craft brewing sector is having on my electorate and on jobs and tourism. Last Sunday, the recently formed Inner West Brewery Association hosted the first ever Oktoberwest beer festival, and it was a great success. It’s part of the Sydney beer festival, of which I’m proud to be the patron. The festival marked the official launch of the association, celebrating the rich culture of Australia’s craft beer capital with a line-up of local breweries including Young Henry’s, Willie the Boatman, Wayward, The Grifter, Batch, Sauce, and Akasha, to name just a few. The festival, held at different locations across the electorate, included a celebration of women in craft brewing and small business, FemmeApocalypse, at the Wayward headquarters in Camperdown. Here I met Sophie Gamble, Wayward’s head female brewer, who gave me a tour of the facility. It was a great day. They had female small business, from barbecuing to artists to performers, all at Wayward, being celebrated by the local community.

Oktoberwest also aimed to raise further awareness about the unfair rate of federal excise that is disadvantaging our craft brewers. Today the rate of federal excise charged for a keg containing 50 litres of beer is less than the rate charged for a keg containing 30 litres. That disadvantages the small businesses that want to get their product into local pubs and want to support local jobs. This excise makes up approximately 40 per cent of their operating costs. The day was a triumph of live music, arts, entertainment and great food. Indeed, I want to particularly thank The Morrisons, who got me on stage at the Factory Theatre to present the argument for voting yes for marriage equality in the current voluntary postal survey. It was also a celebration about the creativity and sustainability of local businesses that create jobs. I will continue to argue the case that craft brewers deserve fair treatment—they deserve fair treatment because they have grown exponentially in recent years. There are now over 420 craft breweries right around Australia, not just in our cities but in our regional centres as well. They’re good for local small business; they’re also good as tourist attractions in their own right. That is why the government needs to respond to the current inequity which exists, to support jobs and to support local small business.

Sep 14, 2017

Constituency Statements – WestConnex

With the WestConnex project, guarantees were given by the former roads minister, Duncan Gay, and by the people in charge of the WestConnex project, that there would be no clearways on King Street. Clearways on King Street, Newtown, would destroy the fabric and vibrancy of that community for people who live in Newtown and for people who visit Newtown, whether they be from other parts of Sydney or from other parts of Australia and the world.

There has been, once again, concern expressed by the community that that commitment would be breached. I have had constructive discussions with the roads minister of New South Wales, Melinda Pavey, and have facilitated discussions to take place between Minister Pavey and the Chamber of Commerce of Newtown. The Newtown chamber represents those vibrant small businesses, and they’re absolutely determined to ensure that the no-clearways policy on King Street is maintained. It is a pity that the state member for Newtown seems incapable of making any representations about practical issues confronting the relationship between the community that she represents as a Greens MP and the state government. But the local businesses—as happens in lots of local communities—are coming to me to make those representations to the state government, and I am pleased to step into the void that has been created. But, given that the state member for Newtown said that WestConnex had been stopped with her election, it is not surprising that you don’t have that practical outcome. I look forward to Minister Pavey recommitting to former Minister Gay’s commitment that there will be no clearways on King Street.

Sep 13, 2017

Constituency Statements – Carrington Road Development

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:44): Developers need to understand that the key to successful urban redevelopment is bringing the local community with them. Their projects need to complement the suburban landscape, not dominate it. I certainly believe in higher densities close to public transport corridors, but what we’re seeing with the arrogant state government in New South Wales is an attempt to change the landscape of the city in a way that will destroy the vibrancy of communities. Along the Sydenham to Bankstown line is the industrial area of Marrickville. It currently plays an important role. Companies like Erth Visual & Physical and Empress Stilt Dance produce things like a 2.7-metre-high T. rexwalk-in puppet for creative use. There are IT companies in that industrial area of Marrickville that are creative, are creating jobs and are boosting our national economy as well as the vibrancy of the local community.

Yet the government wants to rezone this area with a proposal that shocked me when I met with Mirvac a couple of weeks ago. Mirvac developed the former Harold Park site with increased density. They’re developing the Marrickville Hospital site on Marrickville Road. Both of those projects have aspects of open space. They’re vibrant communities. They’re not significant overdevelopments. But what they propose in Carrington Road in south Marrickville, in the industrial area, where there are single-storey and two-storey houses, are 28-storey developments. In an area that doesn’t have great road access to it and has congestion right now, 28-storeys is a massive overdevelopment. It is greed gone mad, and I told Mirvac that. I will campaign with the community against such an overdevelopment proposal. Marrickville has a character to it, and the idea that you can go into an area of Marrickville that has one- and two-storey heritage houses, which families live in, and just change that to 28 storeys is, quite frankly, absurd. I say too, as I said to the Property Council last week: developers have an important role to play, but they will face the anger and fury of local communities if they put greed above the interests of those local communities.

Sep 12, 2017

Private Members’ Business – Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Trauma Counselling

For almost 50 years, RDVSA have provided specialist sexual assault and domestic violence trauma counselling. Its staff are highly qualified. RDVSA uses the Standards of Practice Manual for Services against Sexual Violence, which requires counsellors to have a tertiary qualification in counselling, social work, psychology or equivalent, and at least three years counselling experience. The organisation is well-known for this expertise, and its executive officer, Karen Willis, has received an AOM for her work in relation to violence against women.

Since its inception, 1800RESPECT, which is an important Labor legacy—and RDVSA has been the sole provider of its specialist trauma counselling, assisting women living with domestic violence nationwide. The decision to withdraw from the 1800RESPECT counselling service follows a series of decisions made by the Turnbull government and lengthy negotiations with Medibank Health Solutions. In October 2006 RDVSA’s contract with the Turnbull government expired, and the contract for 1800RESPECT was put out to tender. While the Turnbull government has announced the 1800RESPECT service will continue, RDVSA will see its funding slashed by 75 per cent, with this funding allocated to three other organisations. It would also be required to operate as part of the MHS call centre model. MHS, of course, was not subject to an open-tender process. The quality and experience of these three other organisations is not under dispute. Each plays a critical role in their respective states assisting women living with domestic violence.

The issue here is with the Turnbull government’s decision to slash RDVSA’s funding by 75 per cent, which will see a reduction in the specialist services they offer, and a loss of jobs. The previous speaker, with respect, said they could just go to work for one of the organisations that has been offered a contract. If they were to do that, it would require these women, with families, to move interstate. It is not that simple, and the government knows that full well.

The Turnbull government should be looking at ways it can facilitate the growth of organisations like RDVSA. The fact is that new support for crisis services should not involve a reduction in the availability of much needed trauma counselling services. But for RDVSA this decision to withdraw is not just about the reduction in funding. It’s also about some of the new contract conditions, which have caused serious concerns. These ethical concerns are about requirements that include an obligation to hand over client files, and to allow voice recording, and we are yet to be told how these voice recordings would be excluded from obligations under subpoenas.

If RDVSA had accepted the new panel arrangement, the organisation would have seen 50 staff redundancies. As it is, withdrawing from the contract means 70 staff redundancies. We’ve been told the staff support this decision, because of their many concerns about the proposed new arrangement. This last change to the service, to reduce access to trauma counsellors and transform the service so that it focuses on information and referral, rather than specialist trauma counselling, comes after the Turnbull government and its for-profit contractor, Medibank Health Services, last year started diverting callers away from RDVSA specialist trauma counsellors to lesser-qualified people, in a first responder triage process. The Turnbull government needs to say how it will make sure that Australian victims and survivors of domestic and family violence and sexual violence, and their supporters, have access to specialist trauma counselling.

The Turnbull government also must say what it will do to avoid the loss of 70 experienced frontline domestic and family violence and sexual violence staff. These are committed people—I have met with them. They’re very upset that they won’t be able to continue to do the work. The Turnbull government also must say how the severance entitlement of these frontline workers will be covered. 

(Time expired)

Sep 7, 2017

Constituency Statements – WestConnex

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:06): I rise, yet again, to speak out against the destructive failure of planning of the WestConnex project in my electorate of Grayndler. Last month, the EIS for stage 3 of WestConnex was released. It confirmed that seven new smokestacks are going to be built in the Inner West in order to fumigate the tunnels being built underground. I recently received correspondence about the stacks from one of my constituents in Rozelle. He wrote:

Dear Mr Albanese,

My wife and I have lived in Rozelle for almost 20 years and we are absolutely not against development.

We understand that a 21st Century city needs a smart combination of private and public transport options …

It is beyond us to understand how any responsible government, any responsible human being in fact, in a first world country, considers it even conceivable that it is remotely acceptable to first concentrate and then spew unfiltered exhaust fumes onto its citizens.

We realise filters will cost up front and surely cost to maintain, but our point of view is this must be built into the cost of the project and delivered as part of the project. To do anything other is outright irresponsible.

Four of the stacks are being built in the suburb of Rozelle within a stone’s throw of local schools. All seven of them are situated in the middle of densely populated residential areas with more schools nearby.

The current NSW Minister for Education, Rob Stokes, recently remarked, at the suggestion that a smokestack be built near a school on Sydney’s North Shore, ‘There is no way in hell that I’d support any development that would put the lives of pupils, teachers and parents at risk.’ The NSW coalition government are saying that there won’t be any stacks near any schools in electorates which they hold, but it’s fair game near schools in seats held by Labor.

We’re better than this as a nation in the 21st century. We deserve the same care for our kids and schools, regardless of who the local MP is. And we want the same protections in Rozelle, St Peters and Haberfield that Minister Stokes thinks that schools on the North Shore deserve. I call upon the Minister for WestConnex, Stuart Ayres, and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to do the right thing and protect the residents of the state they claim to represent by filtering any stacks from this project.

Sep 4, 2017

Statements by Members – Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia

RDVSA made its decision to withdraw last week following considerable negotiations with Medibank Health Solutions. It was a decision not made lightly, especially given that up to 110 specialist sexual assault and domestic violence workers and other specialists employed at RDVSA will lose their jobs in October. Worse still, RDVSA may need to close its doors. Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia has been providing specialist sexual assault and domestic violence trauma counselling for almost 50 years. It’s regarded internationally, including by the UN. It plays a critical role in its community, supporting many women through very challenging times. The government must ensure that both the staff at RDVSA and RDVSA itself are not hung out to dry.

(Time expired)

Aug 15, 2017

Constituency Statements – Domestic and Family Violence

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:00): The statistics on violence against women in Australia are shocking. On average at least one woman a week is killed by a partner or former partner. One in four Australian women has experienced physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner. Women are five times more likely than men to require medical attention or hospitalisation as a result of intimate partner violence and five times more likely to report fearing for their lives. Half of its victims have children in their care. There is evidence that women with disabilities experience high levels of violence and that Indigenous women experience higher rates of more severe forms of violence than the rest of the population. Domestic violence is the leading cause of death, disability and illness among women aged 15 to 44 years. It is higher than motor vehicle accidents, blood pressure or smoking. It destroys individuals, families and communities. It costs the Australian economy around one per cent of GDP in lost productivity.

The ABS estimates that around two-thirds of women who experience domestic violence are in the workforce. That means that more than 800,000 women, or around one in six women workers, are experiencing some form of violence in their home. Apart from the personal impact of violence, there are costs to employers. These include increased absenteeism and staff turnover, decreased performance and productivity, conflict among workers and safety issues for everyone if the perpetrator of violence goes to the workplace, which we know occurs at alarming rates.

In a report for the Australia Institute Dr Jim Stanford confirmed what domestic violence counsellors have been saying for decades. Economic insecurity is one of the most significant obstacles confronting women in their decision to leave a violent relationship. Introducing paid domestic violence leave into the National Employment Standards offers an important opportunity to reach people living with violence and to provide them with support. The current federal government does not support paid domestic violence leave and this government is actively removing access to this vital lifesaving workplace right from the agreements covering its own employees.

Ill-informed claims and actions by the government are dangerous and negligent. It’s time that they had a rethink on this issue, which should be above politics. Stanford’s report calculates that the cost of providing every worker access to 10 days paid domestic violence leave to be less than 100th of a per cent of last year’s increase in average weekly wages. The idea that this would even be noticed internationally, let alone undermine our competitiveness, is extraordinary. Some of Australia’s leading companies—Qantas, IKEA, NAB, Westpac, Woolworths and Telstra—have all done this. Make no mistake: not paying domestic violence leave is not free. The reality is that the cost of inaction is too high. Paid domestic violence leave will make it easier for women to leave violence. It will make it easier to keep children safe. It will make our workforce healthier and safer. It will save lives. In 2017 there are no more excuses. 

(Time expired)

Aug 9, 2017

Constituency Statements – WestConnex

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:03): Recently we have seen on display for my electorate and for all residents of New South Wales, and indeed Australia, some of the mentality the coalition has with regard to respect for people and, in particular, respect for young people. The impact of the WestConnex project has been substantial on students at schools like St Peters Public School, which is in close proximity to the major St Peters interchange project. It’s also had a big impact on Haberfield Public School, which is close to the end of the current work that is taking place—extending the M4 and then the continuation of that on to Rozelle. We have seen Rozelle Public School being, quite rightly, very concerned about the proximity of an exhaust stack on Victoria Road to the students and school community at the school.

All of those concerns have been dismissed by the state government. Yet when, for the Northern Beaches tunnel, it was suggested that there might be a stack anywhere near a school on the North Shore of Sydney, the minister, Rob Stokes, intervened to say that would be unacceptable; the state government intervened to say that would be unacceptable. My message to the state government and to those responsible for the WestConnex project is simply this: students’ capacities should not be limited by pollution near their schools, and students should be given the same consideration whether they live in a Labor electorate, an electorate held by the Greens Party, or an electorate held by the Liberal Party. It is on display for all to see.

The contemptuous nature of the state government under Gladys Berejiklian and the way they handled community consultation and processes for the WestConnex project will be studied in future years as an example of how not to do infrastructure planning for a major project. This is a project where they are literally making it up as they go along. I stand with the school communities in my electorate, including Rozelle Public School, in saying that proper solutions need to be found which protect the interests of students and the community.

Aug 8, 2017

Statements by Members – Reclink Community Cup

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:48): On Sunday, it was my great honour to open the sixth Sydney Reclink Community Cup held at Henson Park in my electorate, along with John Bayliss who does a fantastic job with the Reclink organisation. This is an event that is now held nationally to raise funds for Reclink, an organisation that assists at-risk and marginalised young people and helps to connect them with the mainstream of society through engagement with sportspeople and artists.

It is a great event every year, and some 3,000 people gathered on Sunday at Henson Park to watch the Sydney Sailors play the Western Walers. The Sydney Sailors had been successful in the previous five matches, but this time around the Walers were successful with 72-39 in an upset result. The Sailors represent media organisations Triple J, 2SER, 2FBI and others involved in the media. They are ably coached by Stuart Coupe. The Walers are a bunch of musos and people from the local entertainment industry—and I’m sure they celebrated at the Vic on the Park late into that night. I want to also thank the government for supporting the granting of base funding for Reclink. Greg Hunt, as minister, deserves congratulations— (Time expired)

Jun 19, 2017

Private Members’ Business – Craft Brewing Industry

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (18:26): I move:

That this House:

(1) notes the growth of the craft brewing sector in recent years as a generator of employment, tourism and exports in capital cities and regional communities;

(2) further notes:

(a) there is an inequity between how Commonwealth excise is calculated for small and large scale brewers which disadvantages the craft brewing sector;

(b) that excise currently accounts for a disproportionate amount of the costs of production for small brewers and the calculation of excise imposes a significant burden on them; and

(c) this small business sector provides local employment and is an emerging tourism attraction; and

(3) urges:

(a) the Australian Government to ensure policy settings which encourage the realisation of the potential of the craft brewing sector; and

(b) state and local governments to update their planning controls and development approval to facilitate the growth of the craft brewing sector.

I do so in support of those Australians who are currently employed by the more than 400 craft brewers around Australia. The craft brewing industry is a job creation powerhouse, but if we get the policy settings right it could generate even more jobs not just in our capital cities but also in our regional communities. Craft brewers employ locals and buy local produce for their operation, while craft brewing related tourism is booming.

Craft beer is a quality product; however, the industry has been restricted by outdated planning controls and development approval processes at the state and local levels, and this resolution calls for local and state governments to provide support to the craft brewing sector. But the fact is it is also disadvantaged at the federal level by poor legislation related to the excise rates faced by small brewers. Today the rate of the federal excise charged for a keg containing 50 litres of beer is less than the rate charged for a keg containing 30 litres. In addition to this, a maximum tax rebate a brewery can receive per calendar year is $30,000, which compares unfavourably to the wine industry’s producer rebate of some $500,000.

These anomalies put Australia’s craft beer brewers at a competitive disadvantage against mass produced beers. With excise making up approximately 40 per cent of operating costs for most craft breweries in Australia, this has to change. On Friday, five brewers from the inner west of Sydney in my electorate came together to form an industry association that aims to turn the precinct into the craft beer capital of Australia. This association was formed following a forum of microbrewers I hosted in March with the shadow minister for agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon. Peter Philip is the founder of Wayward Brewing Company, located in Camperdown, and one of the five founding members of the association. Peter has noted the operating costs are not the only problems that have come out of unfair excise on smaller operators. He said: ‘If there was no tax discrimination for smaller kegs, then most pubs and breweries would prefer to use 30-litre kegs, which make for fresher beer, more variety and fewer injuries. Not only would changing the excise on craft brewers give the industry the economic shot in the arm it needs, it would also lead to safer working conditions and better beer.’

As our brewers do better, so do the industries that they rely on for their operation. Microbreweries are large consumers of agricultural produce, going through tonnes of grain and hops a week—mostly Australian grown. Hopsgrowers have gone from selling low-value, bittering hops to the big breweries to selling high-value innovative hops to craft breweries. The unique beers produced by these unique ingredients are fuelling the premium beer sector in China, estimated to be worth some $35 billion by 2020. There are also great opportunities for craft beer tourism, whereby operators set up walking tours for enthusiasts to visit several breweries to sample different types of beer.

If the government is serious about supporting small business in Australia then it needs to get serious about changing the legislation to help our brewers. Despite the obstacles faced by the industry it continues to expand, and the type of kick-on employment that the sector supports, such as boutique hops growers, is vital to a healthy and diverse national economy.

With proper support from the federal government, the potential for growth is enormous. Already, major regional centres, like Ballarat, Wagga Wagga, the Hunter, the Illawarra and in Tasmania—including Scottsdale, where I visited the brewery there—have seen growth in local jobs, with people being employed and local communities being able to gather. I certainly have respect for the resilience and success of the craft beer-brewing industry. I have respect for the sector’s contribution to the national economy. And I have respect for the fact that local breweries employ local people.

I will end with a quote from Russell Crowe, as his character John Nash in the film A Beautiful Mind:

I have respect for beer.

I commend the motion to the House.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: A.Albanese.MP@aph.gov.au

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