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Australia news live: budget and minimum wage hike not to blame for rising interest rates, Chalmers says | Australian politics

Minimum wage increase not to blame for rate hike, Chalmers says

Taking questions, Chalmers says he is pleased the RBA governor Philip Lowe this morning acknowledged it wasn’t the minimum wage rise which influenced yesterday’s rate rise decision:

Ordinary working people in this country are already bearing the brunt of these rate rises. They shouldn’t also bear the blame for them.

And I was pleased to see, frankly, the Reserve Bank governor acknowledged today that the important increase to the minimum wage is not what is pushing up interest rates in his estimation, nor is it in my estimation.

We don’t have an inflation problem in our economy because people on the minimum wage are getting paid too much.

Key events

New minister to oversee troubled youth detention centre

The troubled Banksia Hill detention centre will be overseen by a new minister as incoming West Australian premier Roger Cook pledges renewed focus from the Labor government, AAP reports.

Police Minister Paul Papalia will add the corrective services portfolio to his responsibilities, replacing Bill Johnston after a tumultuous period of riots and claims of human rights violations in youth detention.

Papalia spent eight years as opposition spokesman for corrective services before Labor came to power in 2017 and is set to be tasked with balancing community safety with a renewed focus on rehabilitation for youths in detention.

Johnston is to remain minister for energy, adding the hydrogen industry portfolio.

In an otherwise minor reshuffle, Cook confirmed his deputy Rita Saffioti will become treasurer in addition to retaining the high-spending transport portfolio.

She will shed planning and ports, the latter to be overseen by sole newcomer David Michael who also takes on local government and road safety.

The new-look cabinet will be sworn in tomorrow, following Mark McGowan’s shock retirement, with the next election in 2025.

19 NSW projects receive more than $70m in funding from Disaster Ready Fund

NSW will benefit from more than $70m in combined investment into disaster prevention, after 19 projects received funding from the first round of the Albanese government’s new Disaster Ready Fund.

According to a joint statement from the federal and state ministers for emergency management, Murray Watt and Jihad Dib, successful projects in NSW include:

  • Delivery of risk reduction equipment, a critical evacuation centre and early warning systems at Cabonne in western NSW.

  • The design and construction of four high-priority coastal protection projects including upgrades to road protection structures, rock walls and levees as part of Eurobodalla Council’s Batemans Bay Coastal Protection Works on the south coast.

  • Construction works to future-proof Moulamein against damage caused by large flood events in the south-west region.

  • Works to reduce flood and erosion risks in the Lismore River catchment on the north coast.

  • A suite of research and development projects to enhance disaster planning, preparations and response capabilities in the northern rivers.

  • Construction of new stormwater drains in Orange in the central western region.

  • The establishment of strategic partnerships with Aboriginal communities and organisations to reduce the risk and impact of disasters through Forestry Corporation’s Fire, Country and People.

  • Youth-informed mental health resources in preparation and response to disaster-associated trauma through Bushfire Kids’ Connect School Community Disaster Risk Ready.

Jordyn Beazley

Protest group occupy Wentworth public housing estate in Glebe

A group of people have occupied and are refusing to leave the Wentworth public housing estate in Sydney’s Glebe in protest against the NSW government relocating tenants to make way for the estate’s redevelopment.

Rachel Evans, a spokesperson for Action for Public Housing and a member of the group who are occupying the building, say they are refusing to leave until the state government agrees to refurbish rather than redevelop the estate.

We are occupying these homes because all tiers of government are putting profit before people and exacerbating the housing crisis.

The redevelopment was first slated under the previous government in its plan to build a new site on the land with an increased proportion of social housing stock and a mix of private residences.

Wiradjuri person and 60-year-old Caroline lenna is the third-last tenant to be relocated from the estate and will move to another public housing unit in Glebe next week for the duration of the redevelopment.

It wouldn’t take much for the government to fix up our homes. Many apartments have new floors and paint, and there were fire safety upgrades two years ago. Structurally the building is sound.

Carolyn lenna, a Wiradjuri person, is being relocated from Wentworth Park Road public housing estate after it was slated for redevelopment
Carolyn lenna is being relocated from Wentworth Park Road public housing estate after it was slated for redevelopment. Photograph: Jordyn Beazley/The Guardian

Elias Visontay

Elias Visontay

Newcastle, Wollongong should share Sydney’s density burden

The chief of greater Sydney’s strategic planning body says regional areas should share in the city’s housing development burden, declaring density should be increased in suburbs with train stations on the fringes of Newcastle and Wollongong.

Anticipating that some key infrastructure projects will be axed by the state and federal governments, Chris Hanger, the CEO of the Greater Cities Commission, said planners had to capitalise on opportunities for density surrounding all existing train stations, not just Sydney’s new metro lines.

Hanger said during an industry Q and A event hosted by the Committee For Sydney today:

Anywhere you can get on whatever form of transport, we should be looking at what are the opportunities for densification.

Hanger said opportunities for densification should not be limited to inner Sydney, but across all six of the regions – the Hunter, Illawarra, Central Coast as well as western, central and eastern Sydney – that constitute the mega-region the GCCC (formerly the Greater Sydney Commission) is tasked with developing strategic planning for.

I was down in the Illawarra and the stations as you head into Wollongong, there is absolutely opportunity there as well. And definitely up in the Hunter, when I was in Newcastle, three weeks ago I would say now, the opportunity around a location like Broadmeadow.

(Densification) is more than just the metro stations.

Residential housing estate in Newcastle.
Residential housing estate in Newcastle. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Flash floods follow front across Victoria

Flash floods have hit parts of western Victoria and authorities are warning other regions to stay informed as a low-pressure trough makes its way across the state, AAP reports.

Emergency Victoria issued a watch and act warning at Halls Gap in western Victoria, following localised flash floods this morning.

Emergency Victoria said residents should stay indoors and not enter flood waters.

Victoria’s State Emergency Service received nine calls for help.

Christopher Knaus

Christopher Knaus

McBride said the prosecution had cost $1.8m as of February this year.

It hasn’t even gone to trial. I’d really like to see that money spent on mental health programs to support veterans.

McBride is likely to face trial before any alleged perpetrator of war crimes. He said the case was taking a significant toll on him and his family:

I look at photos of myself 10 years ago and I look like a different person, my marriage disintegrated … we have a huge legal bill.

I live with stress. It’s quite possible every time I spend with my kids, going to the beach or going to see a movie, will be the last time I do so for the rest of my life.

Christopher Knaus

Christopher Knaus

Prosecution of David McBride ‘not in the public interest’, says ACT minister

ACT justice health and veterans minister Emma Davidson has called for the commonwealth to intervene and end the prosecution of David McBride, saying it was “not in the public interest”.

McBride, a military lawyer who served in Afghanistan, is facing trial in the ACT supreme court in November over his alleged leaking of a cache of confidential documents to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Those documents were later used for a series on Australian war crimes, dubbed the “Afghan Files”, which included allegations of troops killing unarmed men and children.

David McBride.
David McBride. Photograph: Mick Tsikas/AAP

Standing beside McBride and lawyer Bernard Collaery on Wednesday, Davidson, a local Greens MLA, said the prosecution must end.

She said it was not in Australia’s interests or the interests of veterans.

This prosecution is not in the public interest and it’s time for this prosecution to be dropped.

I know from having worked with a lot of veterans myself that honour and justice are really important to them, so are the rules of engagement.

Treasury ‘sleeping at the wheel’ on PwC tax scandal

Treasury officials have been accused of being asleep at the wheel on breaches of confidential government information.

AAP reports officials were grilled on their knowledge of potential breaches of confidential Treasury data by former PwC partner Peter Collins, who has been referred to federal police to investigate the allegations.

Greens senator Barbara Pocock hit out at Treasury’s decision to sign new confidentiality agreements with Mr Collins after they became aware of a possible breach.

While Treasury officials told the committee they had “very little information” at the time, and they passed on knowledge to the ATO for their investigation, Pocock said it wasn’t enough.

A possible breach of something with a criminal consequence comes to you, and you don’t have alarm bells go off? I am shocked.

That is inappropriate. That is sleeping at the wheel in my view, this is a very important matter with millions and millions of dollars.

Greens senator Barbara Pocock.
Greens senator Barbara Pocock. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Anika Wells addresses issue or sportswashing

Wells says she will continue to have “difficult meetings” on the issue of sportswashing where it is called for.

However she said the merger of PGA Tour and the Saudi-backed rival LIV golf was a matter for them to resolve.

On the issue of sportswashing more broadly, she said will take a similar approach to the one exercised during the World Cup held in Qatar.

I went to Qatar and I had difficult meetings with Qatari ministers about where we wanted to see further improvement. And I will continue to do that as my practice as sports minister where it’s called for.

Read more on the PGA Tour and LIV Golf merger, which has been condemned as a “gigantic victory for sportswashing”, here:

Wells responds to a question about athletes who are transgender competing in sport

Wells says it’s not helpful for her to draw conclusions on whether sport codes should ban athletes who are transgender, adding it “comes down to the nuances of each individual sport”.

I would point to in terms of my ethos and how I approach this as the Australian sports minister is that our new high-performance strategy we launched at the end of last year is called Winning Well and there have been incidents and scandals in Australian sport over recent years where the win-at-all costs mentality has trumped a sense of fair play or equality or inclusion or fairness.

Anika Wells addresses the National Press Club in Canberra.
Anika Wells addresses the National Press Club in Canberra. Photograph: Lukas Coch/AAP

Aged care minister responds to question about Cooma aged care tragedy

Our reporter Josh Butler asked Wells more about the tragedy in Cooma and whether – in a general sense – police should be one of the first responders when there are cases like that of Nowland.

At a recent Senate estimates hearing, the commissioner raised concerns about whether police should be the fallback option.

Wells said:

I’m looking at everything that I can control.

… We’ve got the opportunity for the national dementia action plan that we are developing this year to fold in whatever sort of learnings and agreements can be done out of an awful, an awful thing that happened.

I think it also falls for Mark Butler and I who worked together on dementia to work with our state counterparts about what can be done.

Wells said the aged care commissioner (in attendance at the press club) has been keeping her up to date with the investigation into the Cooma incident.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2023/jun/07/australia-news-live-philip-lowe-interest-rate-rise-rba-anika-wells-aged-care-labor-liberals Australia news live: budget and minimum wage hike not to blame for rising interest rates, Chalmers says | Australian politics

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