Alex's Update Issue 274
Monday 23 July 2018
Cycling Reform, Oppose Defamation, Breathable Sydney, Stopping Slavery, Criminal Vilification, Plastic Action, Safety Grants, Sports Grants & Tech Savvy Seniors
I’m pleased to see that the government has responded to community calls and my questions in Parliament, and will allow young people under 16 to be able to ride bikes on the footpath rather than the current 12 years of age cut off, as I reported last week.
No one should have to experience vilifying, humiliating or denigrating treatment and I support Senator Sarah Hanson-Young taking legal action over the verbal abuse she has experienced. You can support her crowdfunding campaign to cover legal costs for a defamation claim: HERE. If the case wins, funds will go to Plan International and the Working Women’s Centre SA.
NSW will have an Anti-Slavery Commissioner to look at risks and prevention methods for ‘modern slavery’ under a Christian Democrat bill that Parliament passed. The law covers sexual servitude, child abuse material, forced labour, forced marriage, child marriage, trafficking and debt bondage. During debate on the bill, I asked that the commissioner investigate vulnerabilities for refugees following cuts to their income and support, and raised concerns that the new commission should not be used as a way to criminalise voluntary sex work. My speech: HERE.
We need to do more to prevent slavery supported by products sold here, such as electronic parts from the Congo or prawns from Thailand, which exposés have shown involve slavery conditions. I hope the commissioner can address this in conjunction with federal modern slavery laws introduced requiring large companies to publish how they prevent modern slavery in their supply chain.
In response to my questions in Parliament, the Minister for Finance, Services and Property says that the NSW Government’s Supplier Code of Practice includes obligations to prevent modern slavery: HERE.
Everyone has the right to live their life with dignity and peace, free from harassment and vilification. NSW has had anti-vilification laws since 1989 and in 1993 Clover Moore’s private member’s bill made homosexuality a ground for the offence and introduced serious vilification as a new offence. In Parliament I supported new laws that move serious vilification offences to the Crimes Act to increase the likelihood of a prosecution. This gives NSW Police powers to investigate and transfers cases from the Anti-Discrimination Board to courts.
More needs to be done to prevent abuse, harassment and discrimination of particular groups of people and I again called for a full review of anti-discrimination laws to achieve greater inclusivity. My speech: HERE.
NSW has no clear leadership to address plastic pollution. Responses to my questions in Parliament always defer to voluntary market decisions ahead of a nationally coordinated plan that is yet to be developed, or community grants to deal with litter. We need preventive strategies like product stewardship schemes, government commitment to use recycled materials and support for alternative packaging. Join the community campaigns for HERE.
Download and sign my petition calling for a ban on lightweight plastic bags – or call my office and we’ll post it to you: HERE.
There are grants for innovative community safety initiatives aiming to reduce crime and prevent anti-social behaviour. Applications close 10 August: HERE.
Local sporting groups can apply for grants to develop their club, hold events, improve access or upgrade facilities, with $50,000 total for the Sydney electorate. Previously funded groups include Mavericks Dragon Boat, The Sloths Dragon Boat, Blackwattle Bay Dragon Boat, Bluefins Dragon Boat, Maccabi NSW, Achilles Running and Sydney CBD Football Club. Applications close 24 August: HERE.
TECH SAVVY SENIORS
Free computer and digital skills courses: HERE.