JollyPostie The Saturday Paper Housing fund hits wall, health watchdog targets sex abuse, push to recycle plastic stockpiles

Text-Only Mode Of The Email Housing fund hits wall, health watchdog targets sex abuse, push to recycle plastic stockpiles

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The Saturday Paper



14 February, 2023

Max Opray

is Schwartz Media's emails editor.


Housing fund hits wall

Labor’s $10bn housing plan is facing a potential senate roadblock, with the Coalition and Greens objecting to how the scheme will be funded.

What we know:

The Coalition party room

is tipped to reject the Housing Australia Future Fund at its meeting this morning, while the Greens will today set out their demands for supporting it (



The $10bn

will be invested to generate a dividend to pay builders a subsidy for social and affordable housing, but experts have warned that it may not earn enough to achieve the target of 30,000 social and affordable homes in 5 years;

The plan

also promises $200m to repair housing in remote Indigenous communities, $100m for crisis accommodation for women and children escaping domestic violence and $30m for housing for veterans;

The Liberals and Nationals

are objecting to the the use of Commonwealth bonds to raise the finance at a time when interest rates and loan repayments are on the rise;

The Greens

meanwhile are calling for fixed cash grants as part of $5bn a year in spending on social and affordable housing, rather than depending on the volatile proceeds from investments (



The Greens

will also call for a $1bn investment in remote Aboriginal housing and a “national plan for renters”;

“Freezing rent increases

and doubling Commonwealth Rent Assistance will ensure we provide immediate relief to the millions of households in serious financial stress as a result of soaring rents,” Greens housing spokesman Max Chandler-Mather said;

Independent senator David Pocock

is also seeking changes to the Labor housing plan on the grounds that 30,000 homes will not be enough;

University of NSW professor Hal Pawson

estimates the current unmet need for social housing equates to 437,000 dwellings (

The Conversation




Health watchdog targets sex abuse

The Australian health watchdog is seeking major changes to how health professionals are regulated as it investigates hundreds of sexual misconduct complaints.

What we know:

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

is investigating 933 sexual misconduct complaints, more than 400 of them aimed at doctors (




proposed giving patients equal representation on key decision-making boards, starting public consultation on existing criminal history standards and boosting support to complainants;

The plan

comes in the wake of last week’s Four Corners investigation into how the health regulation system permitted doctors sanctioned for sexual misconduct to continue practising (



Four Corners

found almost 500 health practitioners disciplined for sexual misconduct — all involving patients — and many of them were still able to work;

Among the

sanctioned doctors still able to practise were four convicted paedophiles and a convicted rapist, none of whom were featured in the Four Corners program;

Health Minister Mark Butler

has ordered a rapid review of whether recommendations from previous reviews have been properly implemented (

The Conversation


National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732



Push to recycle plastic stockpiles

Environmental groups are calling for plastic waste from a failed supermarket-backed recycling scheme to be safely warehoused until it can be recycled.

The Boomerang Alliance

is urging Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek to stop soft plastics waste stockpiled under the failed REDcycle scheme from being dumped (

The Guardian


Plastic collected

and dropped by supermarket customers had been secretly stored for at least four years while the company contracted to run the scheme, REDcycle, claimed it was being distributed for recycling.

The NSW Environment Protection Authority

has issued clean up orders to Coles and Woolworths for 15 warehouses and storage depots after finding plastic “from the floor to the ceiling, blocking entry ways and preventing adequate ventilation”.

The Victorian EPA

is aware of 14 warehouses in suburban Melbourne where plastic has been stockpiled and has taken action to ensure the immediate fire risk is controlled and laws complied with.

The Boomerang Alliance

says the government should intervene to ensure supermarkets are required to maintain safe storage, including installing fire warning and suppression systems and employing around-the-clock security guards.

The group

is also calling for Plibersek to strengthen product stewardship laws to ensure the use of plastic packaging falls, launch kerbside collection for soft plastic and develop new sorting centres.


Jobs for the Labor boys

Former Labor minister Greg Combet was awarded a lucrative contract advising the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet without an open tender process.

The revelations

take the value of contracts won by Labor figures since the Albanese government’s election to nearly $160,000 (




the chair of Industry Super Australia and former leader of the ACTU, was in December awarded a $46,200 contract to work with the department until June.

Ben Hubbard,

a former chief-of-staff to Julia Gillard, has also been awarded contracts under the Albanese government through limited tenders, including a $66,000 piece of work reviewing the Home Affairs department and a $46,000 contract with the PM&C.

Shadow minister for the public service Jane Hume

questioned the use of limited tenders and said Labor needed to explain why the government had not conducted open procurement processes to find suitable suppliers.



Chinese cameras removed

Australian government offices have begun removing hundreds of Chinese-made surveillance devices from sensitive sites.

Defence Minister Richard Marles

has ordered his department to investigate and remove more than 900 of the surveillance cameras and other ­recording devices from government buildings (

The Australian


At least

913 cameras, intercoms, electronic entry systems and video recorders developed and operated by Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua were operating at 250 sites, prompting security concerns.

China has

reacted to the camera removals as an “erroneous” action that abuses state power and discriminates against Chinese companies (

The Conversation


Whether these companies

do actually transfer data to Chinese intelligence agencies would be hard to either prove or disprove, but security laws passed by Beijing in 2017 can compel Chinese organisations to transfer the data they collect to the government.

What’s behind the youth crime blame game?

Youth crime has become a national issue once again – front page stories from Queensland, to the Northern Territory, to Western Australia are all raising the alarm that young people in regional towns are making the streets unsafe. Today, contributor to The Saturday Paper Jesse Noakes on the children who get caught up in the criminal justice system and what happens when they’re locked away.



Cease, from the date of this Direction onwards, making payments for property, goods or services which relate to the construction of a plunge pool at the Headmaster’s residence.

Of course elite private campuses like King’s School in Sydney need taxpayer funding — you don’t expect their poor headmaster to pay for his own plunge pool, do you? (


Postscript: My Strange Day With Bing’s New AI Chatbot

Twenty minutes after Microsoft granted me access to a limited preview of its new chatbot interface for the Bing search engine, I asked it something you generally don’t bring up with someone you just met: Was the 2020 presidential election stolen? (



Sorry not sorry

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton also paid tribute to the 2008 apology, reiterating his regret over walking out on it ... but how sorry can Dutton be if he now refuses to heed calls for a Voice, once again dismissing an important gesture of reconciliation as merely “symbolic”?

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The Saturday Paper

Liberal Voice supporters push for mailout

Pro-Voice Liberals pushed for brochures to be sent to all Australian households, outlining the arguments for and against the proposed constitutional change, causing the Albanese government to reverse its position.

Read more


How the Adani empire keeps critics silenced

Indian businessman Gautam Adani is best known here for the controversial Carmichael coalmine - but his empire also spans airlines, media networks and ports. But now, Adani’s fortune is tumbling and questions about whether he has been protected by powerful political allies in India are being raised – all because of a single report.

Listen now

The Saturday Paper

The NDIS should cover ADHD

ADHD directly affects about a million Australians. For this community, it’s far from a passing matter. Every day can be like trying to play a game of Scrabble with only chess pieces on the board.

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