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Resource boom leaves many families behind

"WA's booming economy, driven by growth in the mining and energy industries, has not benefited most West Australian families," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

New figures released by the Greens today show low wage growth in most sectors of the WA economy, a decline in housing affordability and an escalation in rental prices, together with unemployment rates in Perth and many regional centres comparable to those experienced during the recession of the '90s.

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US Forces Given the Nod

Rachel Siewert 15 Feb 2007

The Americanisation of Australian defence policy has been further entrenched by the announcement of a major US spy base outside Geraldton.

"With no warning the Federal Government has signed up for a new Pine Gap on Perth's doorstep. This is the most significant US military encroachment into Australia since the Pine Gap treaty was signed in 1966," Senator Rachel Siwert said this morning.

"Australians are now even more deeply enmeshed in United States military endeavours, whether we agree with them or not. It is a classic John Howard capitulation to US military interests."

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More evidence shows Womens' wages gutted by AWAs

Rachel Siewert 14 Feb 2007

"I am extremely concerned to see that the move to individual workplace agreements is already resulting in significant widening of the gender pay gap," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

New evidence released this week demonstrates a widening gender pay gap for women on AWAs, with a drop of almost 20% over a two year period for non-managerial employees. The report "Australian Workplace Agreements and Gender Equity" was produced by Prof. Alison Preston and colleagues of WiSER at Curtin University.

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Water plan not thought out - Senate Estimates

Rachel Siewert 14 Feb 2007

Government unable to justify water numbers

"Senate Estimates last night saw the Government unable to provide the reasoning to justify the costs and estimated water returns for the PM's $10 Billion water plan," said Senator Siewert this morning.

"We asked repeatedly if they could provide the figures and the evidence - they couldn't."

"Officials confirmed last night that there are no new environmental targets and the Government is obviously relying on rubbery figures for estimated environmental returns," she said.

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Unemployment figures conceal as much as they reveal

Rachel Siewert 8 Feb 2007

"Today's announcement of an unemployment figure of 4.5 percent does not give an accurate measure of the true extent of under-employment in Australia," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"The way these figures are calculated is inadequate and misleading," she said.

"We still have the bizarre situation where ABS defines people who work just one hour per week as employed. This gives us no indication of who is actually looking for work or struggling to get by," said Senator Siewert.

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Premiers must fix water plan before signing

Rachel Siewert 8 Feb 2007

"State Governments should not sign up to Howard's water plan today," said Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on water resources.

The Greens are urging State and Territory leaders not to sign away their powers over water until they've made sure the plan will actually deliver.

"It is essential that the Premiers make sure the hard decisions are made before they sign on the dotted line," said Senator Siewert.

"The plan has been cobbled together without priorities, targets and timelines. Right now it has more holes in it than a sieve," she said.

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Senate recognises threats to wetlands

Rachel Siewert 7 Feb 2007

Senator Rachel Siewert expressed hope that Government support today for a Senate motion on the wetlands of the Murray-Darling basin will be followed with concrete action.

 

"All parties supported the Greens motion expressing concern at the state of the nations' wetlands. The Senate noted that a recent report by the Inland Rivers Network on wetlands in crisis found that 'changes in river flows have resulted in the loss of 90% of floodplain wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin."

 

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Senate support for UN disabilities convention

Rachel Siewert 7 Feb 2007

Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed cross party support for her motion for Australia to be one of the first countries to sign up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities.

"The Convention is open for signing on March 30 2007 and I am delighted that the Government intends for Australia to be one of the first signatories."

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Cut tuna quota before extinction does: Greens

Rachel Siewert 7 Feb 2007

Senator Rachel Siewert is moving to disallow Australia's Southern Bluefin Tuna quota for 2007.

"The Government wants to see Australia take the largest share of this critically endangered species, taking more than 5000 tonnes per year even as stocks have been hammered to the edge of extinction," Senator Siewert said.

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Solid funding needed for town camp patrols

Rachel Siewert 5 Feb 2007

"Town patrols are a cheap and effective way of helping Aboriginal people at risk," said Senator Rachel Siewert today. "It is about time the Federal Government put a matched funding deal on the table to ensure that these essential services have guaranteed long-term funding."

The Greens today backed calls by the Alice Springs Town Camps Committee to improve funding to the towns day and night patrols, pointing out that funding neglect only cost the community more in the longer term -- through increased costs for health, policing and other support services.

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