Australia’s Asylum Seeker Policies Immoral

Off-shore detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island were set up in cooperation with the Nauru and Papua New Guinea governments. These detention centres are remote and lack public scrutiny.

The Australian government is taking advantage of some of the hostile public reactions towards asylum seekers to control the refugees’ entry into the country.

The Australian government has not taken any action to educate the general public about the asylum seeker issue that helps them accept the refugees into the society.

Politicians determined that the general public was hostile to asylum seekers but did not seek to change their attitudes, and implemented asylum seeker policies that prevented refugee entry, said Monash University politics lecturer, Waleed Aly. “There has been a… deliberate avoidance of educating the Australian public on the issue.”

The government is looking into reinstating off-shore processing policies that were part of the abandoned Pacific Solution.

Shadow Finance Minister, Andrew Robb, said that off-shore detention centres like Nauru Island will deter people smugglers from sending asylum seekers to Australia.

Refugee advocates do not support off-shore processing policies.

The public does not have access into off-shore detention centres, and this lack of public scrutiny led to the abuse of human rights on Nauru Island a few years ago, said Asylum Seeker Resource Centre Campaign Coordinator, Pamela Curr.

Refugee advocates also think that mandatory detention for asylum seekers should be stopped.

“This is an absolute disgrace in this nation. There are no other Western nations that have a system where by law, a person entering Australia and seeking asylum who doesn’t have a visa must be locked up indefinitely,” said Curr.

Experts Want Melbourne Water Prices Raised

Wonthaggi desalination plant is expected to produce more water than is required and may discourage efficient water usage, while the North-South pipeline is depleting water supply in Northern Victoria.

Water use experts say that Melbourne’s water prices should be raised to encourage efficient water use as a sustainable water supply strategy.

The Victorian government’s projected water price increase is not sufficient to promote efficient water use.

“There’s not a lot of evidence that shows that pricing of water controls demand of water and efficient use,” Environment Victoria CEO, Kelly O’Shanassy said. “I support proper pricing of water, and what it should include, is the impact on the environment.”

The experts prefer water pricing control as a water sustainability policy over the Victorian desalination project and North-South pipeline.

The upcoming Wonthaggi desalination plant is an expensive investment, and is expected to result in significant negative environmental impacts.

O’Shanassy said that the desalination plant’s large scale produces more water than required and may discourage efficient water use.

Sustainable water use expert, Dr Grace Mitchell, said, “It’s a reasonably energy hungry source of water… when we already know that we’re having an impact on the environment as far as greenhouse gases, we go and choose something that is going the wrong direction.”

Water from the North-South pipeline should be reserved for communities and rivers in the dryer North, instead of being brought to Melbourne, said O’Shanassy. “It’s… a silly investment, and it won’t produce a whole lot of water into the future.”

Melbourne Public Transport Network Problematic

Aside

Peak hour crowd at Flinders Street Station.

Public transport experts gave Melbourne’s public transport system a rating of less than five on a scale of ten.

The rating considered trains, trams and buses.

The Victorian government’s lack of policy implementation towards public transport improvement was the main factor contributing to Melbourne’s transport problems.

Experts found the government’s solution to easing overloaded trains during peak hours insufficient.

“We’re about to spend 2 billion dollars on 38 new trains… that will make a very little difference to overloading,” Professor Graham Currie, Monash University’s Chair of Public Transport said. “It’ll keep pace with the growth we have.”

Professor Graham Currie also said that traffic congestions in the central business district compromises on tram efficiency.

Inadequate public transport service was a major area of concern encouraging car dependency in Melbourne.

President of Public Transport User’s Association, Daniel Bowen, said, “We got a lot of areas with infrequent routes, particularly bus routes in the middle and outer suburbs where services might only be every 30 to 60 minutes… no one who has a choice is going to use those routes.”

The Myki implementation received criticisms for not living up to expectations.

Professor Graham Currie said, “The worldwide approach to success is to under promise and to over deliver, right, they have gone about this by over promising and under delivering.”

Rising Flood Levels Threaten to Isolate Greater Shepparton Homes

The expected peak in Goulburn River flood levels is likely to flood 100 Greater Shepparton homes and isolate 600 others.

Goulburn River flood levels are expected to peak at 11.1 metres later tonight or early Tuesday morning, flooding 100 Greater Shepparton homes and isolating 600 others.

The SES issued evacuation warnings in the Kialla Lakes and Taylors Estate area this morning.

The Broken River and Seven Creek flood levels have peaked overnight, cutting off many Greater Shepparton residents in low-lying rural areas in the Kialla Lakes area.

Motorists are advised to check local road conditions before travelling.

Regional SES manager, Les Smith said, “It’s a frightening time for many residents, but if they decide to leave their homes they will have community support until the water subsides.”

The Council’s Flood Call Centre is operating 24/7 on 1800 727 774, and maps showing the likely flood impact on individual properties are on display at Council offices in Welsford Street, Shepparton and on the Council’s Website

A recovery centre is open at the Shepparton Senior Citizen’s Centre to service affected residents who may require long term assistance. Sandbags are available from Council’s Doyles Road depot and the Shepparton Saleyards, and Animal Shelter has the capacity to take stock or pets.