VET FEE-HELP Unfair Debt wiped under Redress Scheme after Vocational College collapses

Bianca Hackett sitting at a desk next to shuttered windows holding a mobile and writing in a book

PHOTO: Bianca Hackett says she wasn’t looked after when the Sage Institute collapsed. (ABC News)

Another example of …

appeasing the ideologs rusted onto the view that the private sector can do it better

dogma driven dedication to reducing the possibility of having or providing workplaces that may enable/have union members providing such training

-frustrating but in the name of providing ‘choice’ the commitments are needed to maintain a publicly funded training system

REMEMBER this when it comes to the next round of ELECTIONEERING AND SLOGANEERING …B.S. …

WHAT an effing mess!

VET FEE-HELP unfair debt wiped under redress scheme after vocational college collapses

7.30 By Paul Farrell

16 DECEMBER 2019

RELATED STORY: The phone call that ended a $2 million fraud lasted less than five minutes

RELATED STORY: A training college has just been hit with a record $26m fine it will never pay. Here’s why

Bianca Hackett always wanted to study child care. But just months after signing up for a diploma, her training college collapsed.

Key points:

  • Bianca Hackett was left with an $18,000 debt when her training college collapsed
  • The VET Ombudsman has more than 7,000 active complaints
  • A government redress scheme has seen almost $500 million of unfair debt written off

She quickly found herself with an $18,000 debt and no qualifications.

“There was a lot of reassurance that we would be looked after, and we weren’t,” Ms Hackett told 7.30.

“I’ve suffered depression and anxiety ever since.”

Ms Hackett is one of thousands of students who were victims of vocational training college providers operating under what was known as the VET FEE-HELP scheme.

Under the VET FEE-HELP scheme, registered training organisations received federal subsidies upfront from the Federal Government for signing up students to training courses.

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“There really was a lack of rules or protections built into this scheme, which meant that private providers or marketers even could sign students out and get paid straight away just for the enrolment,” Gerard Brody from the Consumer Action Law Centre told 7.30.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has pursued some college owners for running “ghost colleges”, which operate fraudulent enterprises with no real teaching in order to reap those subsidies.

In some extreme cases, students were even signed up for courses without their knowledge.

‘Very stressful, very upsetting’

Sage training college advertisement

PHOTO: Sage training colleges collapsed in 2017. (Supplied)

Ms Hackett signed up for a childhood diploma at the Sage Institute in Brisbane in 2016.

She paid an $18,000 fee that was added to her VET FEE-HELP loan and was excited to attend classes.

“It was really professional,” she said.

“You got your uniform, you got a backpack, all that kind of stuff.”

But in 2017 she received a message on Facebook advising her not to come in because the college had closed.

Sage eventually ceased trading due to insolvency and all its campuses across the country closed. It was not one of the colleges pursued by the Australian Federal Police for any wrongdoing.

Ms Hackett tried to find another college to accept her to complete her training but because she had already taken out one loan, she was unable to take on another.

“It was very stressful, very upsetting,” she said.

“Just not knowing where to go, not knowing what to do.”

Debt wiped

Head shot of wearing glasses and suit with no tie

PHOTO: Gerard Brody says unfair debts cancelled by the redress scheme so far may only be the tip of the iceberg. (ABC News)

The Federal Government has made significant changes to tighten up the scheme.

It abolished the debts and renamed the fee scheme VET Student Loans.

And it created a redress scheme to waive some existing debts.

In October this year, Ms Hackett learnt she could take up her concerns with the VET Ombudsman under this scheme.

She lodged a complaint in October, and just weeks ago received welcome news; her debt would soon be waived.

“I’m relieved that the debt’s gone,” she said.

*“But I’m still very disappointed and feel let down.”

Mr Brody said the redress scheme was working well to resolve unfair debts, but he believed there may be thousands of students who still have debts some potentially without their knowledge.

“I worry that it’s the tip of the iceberg, given there was over $6 billion involved in the scheme overall,” he said.

Complaints up 200 per cent

Bianca Hackett sitting on a chair holding her sleeping daughter in her lap

PHOTO: Bianca Hackett says the college collapse and debt took an emotional and financial toll on her family. (ABC News)

The latest figures from the VET Ombudsman shows that a staggering $462 million in bad debts was wiped from 36,000 students since the redress scheme came into operation.

There are strong indications that figure could rise — there are more than 7,000 active complaints still with the ombudsman, and a wait of up to 12 months to assess them.

There has also been a rapid spike in the number of complaints in the last three months, with a 200 per cent increase in the July to September 2019 period.

There are likely to be other students, like Ms Hackett, who are still unaware they can potentially have their debts wiped.

“It’s happening over the place. And it shouldn’t be,” Ms Hackett said.

“We’re the ones who suffer from it mentally, emotionally and financially.”




Five per cent price hike for Opal fares recommended by regulator

NSW Constituents are losing what was Our PUBLIC Heavy Rail Network for the privatised MTR Hong Kong Consortium Metro …

Why?  For ever more opportunities for overseas buyers to launder black money in high-rise residential …

With the Chatswood to Rouse Hill North West line it has been reported from an Engineer that the narrow tunnels present a hazard!

There have been a number of reports of delays and more!

WHAT happened to MP Sidoti’s referral to ICAC?  It was reported in the Daily Telegraph that the Berejiklian Government blocked a motion in Parliament to refer John Sidoti to a full ICAC investigation … a day after he stood down as a Minister!

Looks like there is something to see here?  Afterall Mr Sidoti has a 10 per cent interest in a $70M residential tower development in Rouse Hill near the newly completed Metro train line.

MEANWHILE commuters with the privatisation for the Metro are to lose services; have to change up to 2 or 3 times to get to the CBD; and are now facing an Opal Card price hike!

Five per cent price hike for Opal fares recommended by regulator

Tom Rabe
By Tom Rabe

December 10, 2019

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Single fares for Sydney’s public transport should be increased by 5 per cent annually over the next four years but more discounts should be offered to regular users, according to the state’s pricing regulator.

In a draft report to the NSW Government, the Independent Price and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) said passengers were currently paying about a quarter of the overall cost of public transport, with taxpayers funding the rest – the equivalent of $4900 per household.

The independent pricing regulator has recommended the government increase Opal fares by 5 per cent on average.
The independent pricing regulator has recommended the government increase Opal fares by 5 per cent on average.CREDIT:EDWINA PICKLES

A 5 per cent annual rise for single Opal fares between 2020 and 2024 would amount to a 30-cent increase for every adult journey on average, according to the regulator.

While the IPART recommended an increase in fares, the draft report also suggests the government introduce a range of cost-saving measures for regular commuters and low-income passengers.Advertisement

Those include offering people discounted fares after travelling three-to-four days a week, rather than the current eight-trip threshold, as well as discounted off-peak fares for all modes of transport except ferries.

The regulator said those measures would encourage people to travel outside of peak times, reduce load on the network and avoid the need for additional services.

It also recommended offering people with a Commonwealth Health Care Card (roughly 2 per cent of passengers) discounted rates.

Ferry fares would be exempt from any three-to-four day discount under the IPART recommendations.
Ferry fares would be exempt from any three-to-four day discount under the IPART recommendations.CREDIT:MICHELE MOSSOP

“Enabling access to transport for those who are struggling to make ends meet is vital for their continued participation in the workforce,” the report said.

The recommendations would provide a balance between passenger contribution and taxation funding to make the public transport network sustainable over the long term, the IPART said.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the government would have the final say on Opal fares.

“The NSW Government is focussed on keeping downward pressure on the cost of living, this includes ensuring public transport is affordable for everyone,” the spokeswoman said.

“IPART play an important role in making recommendations to government as well as determining the maximum fare, however the government has the final say on Opal fares.”

The opposition called on the government to reject the recommendations.

“At a time of stagnant wage growth and low inflation, with rising unemployment, the Berejiklian government should not take this opportunity to gouge the hardworking families of NSW,” shadow treasurer Walt Secord said.

The regulator in 2016 recommended a 4.2 per cent hike of Opal fares over four years, however the government chose to increase the price by CPI, which was 1.9 per cent last year.

As well as ticket pricing, the IPART has also recommended the government consider offering a wider variety of public transport passes, including $20 weekend passes for unlimited access.

“Passengers would be able to choose different travel passes and products tailored to meet their travel patterns and budgets,” the draft report said.

The final IPART report is expected to be handed down in February 2020.

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Tom Rabe

Tom Rabe is Transport Reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.

The independent pricing regulator has recommended the government increase Opal fares by 5 per cent on average.




WHO will be held responsible when VISA Privatisation fails?

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton is overseeing the privatisation of the system.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton is overseeing the privatisation of the system.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

WE figure these comments sum it up!

-We have an ‘independent’ reserve bank. It has a ‘mandate’

More importantly, we’ll now have an ‘independent’ migration policy. What will be the ‘mandate’ here?

More people. Many people. People for everyone. People, people, people.

Big business indeed.

Nobody can point the finger at the govt for the disasters stemming from high migration from now on.

Nobody will be held responsible. The voter who votes for Dutton will always vote for Dutton, and when Dutton retires he’ll be worth billions.

Who will be held responsible when visa privatisation fails?

By Guest in Australian budget

December 6, 2019 | 15 comments

Cross-posted from The Conversation:

The Department of Home Affairs has begun taking steps to outsource its visa processing to private service providers. This move has sparked an important national debate on transparency, accountability and profiteering in the immigration system.

*The proposed changes will involve private service providers processing certain “low-risk” visas, rather than department staff.

Home Affairs claims privatisation will improve efficiency and reduce costs. But it also comes with major risks, some we’ve seen already play out in the privatisation of immigration control through commercialised immigration detention, such as on Christmas Island.

These risks include corruption, consumer protection issues and damage to the overall integrity the visa system.

Why privatise in the first place?

Today, migration is big business around the world, with private corporations, contracted by governments, increasingly organising and managing migration across different stages.

The US and Germany, for instance, privatise various functions, including administering visa applications, guarding borders, and organising transport and detention.

Australia first attempted to privatise immigration detention centres in 1996 * as part of budget discussions, following an international trend towards arm’s-length management of public services. It was seen as a way to boost efficiency in detention services.

(During *John Howard’s government)

*Much of the argument for visa privatisation today is based on similar claims of cost savings and efficiency.

In theory, this model promises greater accountability based on clear economic incentives. If performance falls below agreed standards, private firms risk losing their contracts.

*But not only is accountability rarely enforced, several mitigating factors enable under performing companies to remain in business.

Preferential treatment

*Close ties between private contractors and government decision makers have kept several detention contractors in business globally. This continues even after reported under-performance and human rights breaches.

What’s more, Home Affairs has already come under scrutiny for preferential treatment in considering the company Australian Visa Processing Consortium (AVP) as a potential contractor.

It’s also not clear what measures of oversight and surveillance will be applied to the private corporations.

Home Affairs claims visa decision-making will still be centrally controlled, but so far the information released has been scarce.

For an estimated A$1 billion of investment into this visa privatisation project, it’s important the government makes this clear.

Big business risks corruption

So who will be accountable if something goes wrong?

In the case of immigration detention centres, privatisation has meant blame is too often shifted between the government and the private contractors.

And the Migration Institute of Australia has pointed to the possible misuse of a commercialised visa platform – private entities seek to generate multiple revenue streams through add-on and “premium” services, such as accommodation, transportation and deportation.

Experts reject privatisation of Australia’s visa system, except two experts

Champions of visa privatisation, Mikee Pezzullo and Peter Dutton launching ‘A History of the Department of Immigration–Managing Migration to Aust’ (Image courtesy @PeterDutton_MP)

This, too, has happened with Australia’s commercialised immigration detention centres.

And when these services are run in the interests of profit, rather than border governance – dubbed the “immigration-industrial complex” – corrupt tactics can be used to benefit the providers’ bottom line.

*One example of this is the deliberate slowing down of asylum processing, keeping immigration detention centres fuller for longer.

A privatised visa regime would similarly be more susceptible to corruption risks.

Regulating private companies isn’t easy

While close regulation and monitoring might seem like an easy way to keep these risks at bay, effective regulation is not that simple.

Private entities in immigration are not just “economic actors”, but become critical players in agenda setting, negotiation, and enforcement.

*This means networks and alliances of giant multinational corporations, such as the Australian Visa Processing Consortium, can influence regulatory frameworks through lobbying, providing technical expertise and consulting on policy.

*Such a consolidation of companies monopolises the market and eliminates competition. This in turn makes governments overly dependent on private services.

What’s more, the corporate interests of private companies is to protect and expand their business.

*For instance, companies involved in the goverment’s visa modernisation bid include Accenture and Oracle. Both have allegedly been involved in tax evasion activities globally.

Yet, they continue to secure government contracts worth millions, because of the continued reliance on their services.

Such contracts also include “commercial-in-confidence” arrangements that conceal information on how taxpayer money is spent, the actual value for money to the public, and whether there are adequate protections against conflicts of interest.

The government also hasn’t been clear about the extent to which the privatisation partnership will be scrutinised under consumer protection provisions or government agencies such as the Ombudsman.

While various stakeholders have been involved in the privatisation consultation process, little attention has been paid to more rigorous governmental inquiry. This would involve, for instance, recommendations from the Productivity Commission or the Australian National Audit Office.

For so much investment, Home Affairs must provide sufficient information to the Australian public on their visa modernisation project, and address the many questions around risk mitigation.

Article by Marina Khan and Shanthi Robertson from Western Sydney University





ScoMo takes axe to public service

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and closeup


TODAY’s move has blindsided Public Service Chiefs, who complained they had been given no warning of the Christmas purge.

IT is alleged to be in the guise of reducing ‘Red Tape’ and cost saving …

Herein outlined including the corruption of Treasury, and the consequences of dodgy …

-Budget Forecasts,

-modelling around Company Tax Cuts

-and propaganda round mass immigration

SOME COMMENTS we have read on social media include these …

-the biggest issue is that there are now 5 ministers whose departments have been abolished … still being paid as ministers … still on the ministerial gravy train … BUT WITHOUT a department.

-Morrison fiddles while Australia’s economy burns

ScoMo takes axe to public service

By Unconventional Economist in Australian budget

December 5, 2019 | 23 comments

The Morrison Government is reportedly poised to slash Australia’s public service in a bid to reduce ‘red tape’ and save on costs:

Scott Morrison is poised to put an axe through the public service today with plans to dramatically cut the number of government departments with another round of mandarins set for the chopping block.

The Australian, which flagged the changes in July, understands that several more super-departments will be created in a move to dramatically cut bureaucratic red tape.

Senior government sources said it was expected to be the biggest realignment and reform of the public service since Bob Hawke cut the number of departments from 28 to 18 in his reforms to the machinery of government in 1987…

Mr Morrison, on becoming prime minister, appointed himself as minister for the public service in a signal that he was planning sweeping changes to the “mandarin” club in Canberra…

“We don’t expect the public service to run the government. That’s what we were elected to do,” Mr Morrison said.

I’m no fan of the bloated public service, but this does have me worried.

As we know, the Coalition has already recently stacked the public service with Liberal Party “yes men”, including:

  • appointment of former chief of staff to both Treasurers Peter Costello and Scott Morrison, Philip Gaetjens, to the secretary of the Australian Treasury and then the Secretary of Prime Minister and Cabinet;
  • appointment of former chief of staff to Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and cabinet secretary in the Turnbull government, Simon Atkinson, to the head of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development; and
  • appointment of former Liberal Party staffer, Michael Brennan, to head of the Productivity Commission.

*Australia’s public service has already been stripped raw by decades of government outsourcing, waves of senior redundancies, as well as a preference for governments to seek advice from paid consultants, erroneously named ‘think tanks’, and political staffers.

*The end result is that the “frank and fearless advice” that the public service was once renowned for has vanished, replaced by spin and purchased analysis designed to support a pre-conceived political agenda.

*Nowhere is this propaganda more obvious than the Australian Treasury, which has become a blatant shill for the Federal Government, as evidenced by the department’s dodgy Budget forecastsdodgy modelling around company tax cuts, as well as dodgy propaganda around mass immigration.

Further examples of the corruption of the Treasury can be found here and here.

PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson. Photo: Rohan Thomson

 PM&C secretary Martin Parkinson. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour: almost certainly our highest-paid public servant. Photo: Luis Ascui

Australia Post chief executive Ahmed Fahour: almost certainly our highest-paid public servant. Photo: Luis Ascui

In short, this “reform” agenda reads like Scott Morrison is telling the public service to “do what they’re told” and to not question government decision-making.

And with it, we should expect the public service to morph entirely into government shill “yes men/women”.

*It is also unlikely to save taxpayers in the long-run with public servants’ wages replaced by expensive external consultants, as we witnessed after the Howard Government’s downsizing in the late-1990s.

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

scott morrison public service

TND: Gone Renee Leon, Mike Mrdak and Kerri Hartland. Photos: AAP





The Department of Home Affairs is determining the successful bidder for a project to build and manage a new online system to process and provide visas.


‘Premium services for high-value applicants’, is that what we call bribery?

-it is called the ‘Significant Investor Visa Class’ for $5M

-cost of a Sydney mansion

-those with the black cash ushered into our formerly great Nation

-as some vegetate in front of another episode of The Block

risks Australia losing complete control of migration numbers *



‘I’m sure getting a yes-man from the Department to ‘independently’ assess the tender will absolutely result in a fair process, with no influence whatsoever from the PM and Minister at all … ‘

Conflict-of-interests mire Coalition’s visa privatisation

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

December 5, 2019 | 11 comments

The planned privatisation of Australia’s visa system has been delayed until next year after a web of conflict-of-interests were discovered across the Morrison Government:

Immigration Minister David Coleman, right, and Scott Morrison both recused themselves from expenditure review committee and cabinet discussions on the issue.

Immigration Minister David Coleman, right, and Scott Morrison both recused themselves from expenditure review committee and cabinet discussions on the issue.CREDIT:ALEX ELLINGHAUSEN

*The tender bid, managed by the department, is now at arm’s length from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Immigration Minister David Coleman because of their long personal and professional relationships with Scott Briggs, who is leading the Australian Visa Processing consortium…

Mr Briggs, a former NSW Liberal deputy state director, was closely linked to Mr Morrison’s leadership bid against Mr Dutton in August last year and was a former colleague of Mr Coleman at Nine Entertainment Co…

Senior government sources have conceded the government will “cop some flack” should the bid led by Mr Briggs be successful, but have stressed the decision will be “truly independently made”…


Adding to the political conflicts, opposition home affairs spokeswoman Kristina Keneally’s husband, Ben, is employed by Boston Consulting Group, which is advising the department on process.

*Conflicts or not, privatising Australia’s visa processing is unambiguously bad policy. *

*Visa processing is an essential government service and a natural monopoly. Its sale will inevitably result in end-users being gouged by the new monopoly private owners, as well as a reduction in transparency.

The first assistant secretary of the Department of Home Affairs, Andrew Kefford, recently boasted that visa privatisation is the “most significant reform to the Australian immigration system in more than 30 years”, and claimed it would make the “visa business” profitable by including “premium services for high-value applicants”, while providing “commercial value-added services”.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship in Sydney. The outsourced their visa operations

In other words, the Morrison Government would effectively make Australia’s visa system ‘pay to win’ and a profit-based. This is exactly what has happened in the United Kingdom, which privatised its visa processing in 2014 with disastrous results (see here and here).

Australian travellers and expats are telling the government not to go down the same path as the UK.

Australian travellers and expats are telling the government not to go down the same path as the UK.CREDIT:HEATHROW PHOTO LIBRARY

*Adding a profit motive and turning the visa system into a quantity-based “pay to win” business will also eliminate what little integrity there is left, and risks Australia losing complete control of migration numbers.

At a minimum, visa privatisation first be submitted for independent review by the ACCC, the Australian National Audit Office, and/or the Productivity Commission before coming into force.

To do otherwise would be policy treason.

This whole plan is Game of Mates writ large. *

Conflict-of-interests mire Coalition’s visa privatisation


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Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.




Cut RED TAPE and Keep investment in The Black

THIS ARTICLE was again reprinted reissued in the Daily Telegraph earlier this week!

DID The Liargraf have this piece by Daniel Wild ‘Cut Red Tape, Get in Black’ it would seem as another justification for sweeping aside more of the ‘Rules’ aka doing the right thing … maintaining standards etc, etc

-with faulty towers cracking 85% of ‘new homes’ defective on completion …

-the importation of some 1.6 Million Visa Workers … not trained in our TAFE … working at slave rates with long hours

-their goal being to get a ‘Permanent Resident Visa’ … the consequence being high Youth Unemployment and Underemployment in Australia

ARE we being set up to get used to ‘a new norm’ where just about anything goes?

You betcha!

NOTE CAAN INSERTS FOR FACTS throughout this article!

Related Article:

Cut red tape and keep investment in the black


Scott Morrison’s vision to cut red tape will allow more Australians to reach their potential and for the Australian economy to flourish.


In an address to the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Western Australia yesterday, the Prime Minister highlighted the need to “bust regulatory congestion” to remove “obstacles to business investment”.

CAAN: DEREGULATION … Loss of Standards and protections! As with the property sector …

His announcement that Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister Ben Morton will lead a review of red tape is an excellent first step. This move, along with Josh Frydenberg’s commitment to driving productivity growth, is the beginning of an ambitious third-term agenda for the Coalition.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is focusing on productivity growth. Picture: AAP

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is focusing on productivity growth. Picture: AAPSource:AAP


ALBANESE will note that annual productivity growth averaged 2.2% when Tony Abbott was elected in 2013, and the rate of growth has now halved, declining over the past two quarters, and with “productivity missing in action, that old anchor chain of class and destiny threatens to make a comeback”.

It is right for the government to focus on regulatory reform and cutting red tape.

Red tape is the biggest barrier to economic opportunity and prosperity in Australia.

Research by the Institute of Public Affairs estimates red tape reduces economic output by $176 billion a year, the equivalent to 10 per cent of gross domestic product. This makes red tape Australia’s biggest industry.

The lesson from the US under President Donald Trump is that cutting red tape and lowering taxes lead to an economic boom, and not just in terms of profits to businesses.

Since Trump came to office in January 2017, the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.6 per cent; the lowest rate since 1967; ­unemployment for minorities reached its lowest levels ever recorded; the unemployment rate for women has fallen to 3.1 per cent, which is the lowest since 1953; 422,000 jobs have been added in the manufacturing sector; and private sector business invest­ment has increased from 17 per cent to 18.1 per cent of GDP.

This has led to the US labour market gradually tightening, which has placed upward pressure on wages and put workers in a stronger bargaining position.

The centrepiece of the reduction of red tape in the US has been a one-in-two-out approach, where two regulations are eliminated for every one introduced. Last year, 12 regulations were repealed for each new regulation introduced, resulting in a $US23bn reduction to regulatory costs.

The result is that in Trump’s first full year as president in 2017, total pages of legislation passed dropped by 36 per cent.

This is the largest reduction since records began in 1936.

In Australia, red tape affects every sector of the economy, from multi-billion-dollar projects in the resources sector to small shops on the local high street. The Roy Hill iron ore mine in the Pilbara in Western Australia, for example, required 4967 licences, permits and conditions for the pre-construction phase alone; and a contravention order was recently issued by a local council in NSW to a small food shop whose bottle of hand soap in the bathroom was less than 50 per cent full.

These examples demonstrate why business investment in Australia is just 11.8 per cent of GDP, which is lower than during the business-hostile Whitlam years. Low rates of business investment truncate the nation’s capital stock, which reduces productivity growth, and holds down real wages growth in the private sector.

CAAN: To the contrary … VIEW: ‘One Million Aussies Forgotten in Unemployment Statistics’. Therefore Unemployment is 19.7% not 5.2% in Australia!

“This says to me that one in five potential workers in Australia, or about 20 per cent, are people who want to work, want to work more, aren’t working at all, or working less than they want to,” Dr Stanford said.

As well as dragging down productivity and wages, red tape is pushing up the cost of living.

IPA research last year found that consumer prices in sectors with heavy government intervention have risen far faster than sectors with minimal intervention.

Across 20 years from 1997 to 2017, the cost of housing increased by 330 per cent, childcare by 310 per cent and electricity by 215 per cent.

CAAN: The cost of HOUSING rose through the increased competition of foreign buyers seeking ‘Permanent Residency’ and able to launder black money in our Real Estate locking out Australian First Home Buyers!

-in the late 1990s the Howard Government made changes to our Immigration Policy for the Chinese Middle Class to invest in our education and real estate to gain “flexible citizenship”

-that led the housing boom of the early 2000s and a hike in housing prices

-the 100% sell-off of ‘new homes’ to foreign buyers esp. in China (FIRB
Ruling introduced in 2009
was this at the behest of the Developer Lobby? and May 2017 Budget Reg.)

2012/13 Planning Law changes in NSW for higher density to compliment the high immigration and Visa manipulation of the Abbot Government in 2013 to date

Real Estate Gatekeepers made exempt from the Anti-Money Laundering Legislation (second tranche) in October 2018

.AML second tranche shelved for more than 12 years prior

POWER PRICES escalated with the sell-off of Our Public Assets!

At September 2018: The foreign takeover of Australian gas and electricity

There are three main electricity distributors in NSW: Essential Energy, Endeavour Energy and Ausgrid. The NSW Government wants to sell half of Ausgrid to fund infrastructure projects.

Last year, the NSW Government awarded a 99-year lease of electricity transmitter TransGrid to a consortium comprising Canadian, Middle Eastern and local investors. The deal was worth $10.258 billion.


Childcare has largely not been subsidised by government as in other countries so it is expensive for parents however Childcare Workers continue to be underpaid! Question that Childcare has increased by 310%?

But cutting red tape is not just an economic issue. It is a profound moral issue: red tape is disempowering. It prevents Australians from starting their own business, winning a pay rise and following their dreams.

CAAN: The Morrison Government currently is pushing its Union Busting Bill which will make it harder for workers to win pay rises and protect their jobs.


Every hour spent on complying with red tape is an hour less dedicated to business expansion, in the community or helping the kids with their homework.

It is inherently undignified for an entrepreneur, a farmer, a prospector or a small-business owner to seek the permission of bureaucrats to start or expand a business or take on a new project that will employ more people and create greater opportunities. The disposition of a risk-averse bureaucracy will always clash with the entrepreneurial flair of hardworking Australians who are willing to take a risk, often putting their family home on the line, for the betterment of our nation. What have ­bureaucrats and regulators ever risked for Australia?

The exciting policy agenda of the Morrison government to cut red tape, along with reforming industrial relations and cutting income taxes, will help reverse the decline of small business, boost investment and allow the Australian middle class to prosper.

Daniel Wild is director of research with the Institute of Public Affairs.

CAAN: The Middle Class in Australia is disappearing …

Tax the rich more to help the middle class, says OECD

Middle-income households have experienced dismal income growth over the past three decades, says a new OECD report


Photo: TND: Think Tanks special report: Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting is one of the donors behind the IPA.




PUBLIC ASSETS will have to be sold to fund Phase 2.0 of rebuilding Sydney … 14 November 2019

THIS piece is ramping up the rhetoric

Those that put out this stuff seem to be under the pump to get things happening for those in the corner they are supporting …

THE sell-off of OUR PUBLIC ASSETS … means we pay more … a loss of revenue for NSW …

AND with much of these assets now Chinese State-owned … we lose our security too!

NSW INC makes much of its JOBS market 110,000 a year … but where are the workers sourced from?

-Visa holders … seeking permanent residency …


Public assets will have to be sold to fund phase 2.0 of rebuilding Sydney

There’s a clever political calculation in the government’s asset recycling program, but there are also risks of lost opportunities — and attacks from Labor if things go wrong, writes Anna Caldwell.

Anna Caldwell, The Daily Telegraph

Subscriber only|November 14, 2019

DAILYTELEGRAPH.COM.AU2:08NSW govt defends claims election promises have been broken

The NSW government is defending claims election promises have been broken, arguing bus services are being franchised and not privatized.

The opposition has attacked the Premier …

When Mike Baird ­fronted the NSW ­people five years ago and told them he wanted to sell off their electricity poles and wires, cynics thought he’d never convince them.

But Baird was the master salesman.

His pitch was to hang up the For Sale sign around NSW — a plan that would eventually net the state $34 billion for the sales of electricity poles and wires and other assets.

Labor embarked on a fierce (scare) campaign about selling the electricity network to international actors, but Baird prevailed.

How is the government planning to pay for its next round of infrastructure? Picture: Terry Pontikos
How is the government planning to pay for its next round of infrastructure? Picture: Terry Pontikos

The spoils went far and wide, ­injecting NSW with enough money to ride high on economic good times as major projects like the Sydney Metro City and Southwest, Parramatta Light Rail, WestConnex and the Western Sydney Stadium were funded.

Jobs, investment and construction were plentiful.

Treasury estimates now that the current $93 billion pipeline of infrastructure projects is driving 110,000 jobs a year over the next for year.

CAAN: No proof reading! Should it be ‘four years’?

AC: But wait. What happens when the cash runs out? What happens when the music stops playing?

Because that’s exactly what we’re on the cusp of — and it’s going to happen against an already soft economy.

The fear of Sydney stalling is ­already being quietly voiced in ­engineering firms and urban planning offices.

A slew of big projects going forward remain unfunded.

The onus now is on the Berejiklian government to activate phase 2.0 of the great building Sydney dream.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet is ­unequivocally committed to continuing the state’s infrastructure story.

Speaking in his Parliament House office this week, Perrottet told me the (he?) had no intention to take his foot off the pedal when it came to building ­future infrastructure projects.

“We are rebuilding Sydney. We are taking our city from good to great. We’re building not just for now but for the future generation,” he said.

He conceded there were several big unfunded projects waiting in the wings and did not shy away from finding money for them.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says Sydney’s future is bright. Picture: Richard Dobson
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet says Sydney’s future is bright. Picture: Richard Dobson

It won’t be easy. The economy is lagging and when Perrottet hands down the mid-year budget update in coming weeks, it is likely there will be writedowns.

This means future projects will be funded through a combination of ­borrowing more money at low rates and selling off assets.

Many people will be questioning whether it makes sense, too, to sell off assets such as WestConnex in an ­attempt to avoid debt at a time when money can be borrowed at historically cheap interest rates.

Spoiler alert — they are likely to borrow as well.

Perrottet is relaxed about debt even as he faces a $38 billion debt bomb over the forward estimates. On the one hand, borrowing rates are almost criminally cheap, and then on top of that he has the security of his future fund which he created two years ago and will hold $29 billion by 2029.

It was Baird who embraced the term “asset recycling”a pivot away from the politically poisonous term “asset sales” which had seen ­Queensland Premier Anna Bligh come undone.

Baird’s concept was that assets are never just sold — the money is recycled into new assets, allowing the state to continue to grow in value.

In this sense, it’s running the state like a corporation that’s in the business of constructing infrastructure, selling it, and then using the proceeds to build more of the stuff.

Former premier Mike Baird embraced the term ‘asset recycling’. Picture: Britta Campion
Former premier Mike Baird embraced the term ‘asset recycling’. Picture: Britta Campion

This economically astute concept allows politicians to sell the benefit of the transaction, which is important because Labor will mount a strong ­attack should private operators be seen to be doing a worse job than ­government.

*Think the controversy over the land registry, or the threat of industrial action over privatised bus services in the Inner West.

Earlier this year, speaking of Baird’s poles and wires sale, Premier Gladys Berejiklian remarked “would you look out the window and own the electricity pole on the corner, or would you rather us build a new hospital up the road?”

Her political calculation is that the answer is simple.

The government is already doing a scoping study which paves the way for selling its forestry corporation ­assets.

You’d be wise to expect the ­remaining stake in Sydney Motorway Corporation will also go under the hammer, which requires no legislation and therefore no messy political fight.

After that, it gets harder.

The Nationals will have a brawl with the government if it tries to sell off the bush-based Essential Energy.

A further sale of Ausgrid requires legislation and the government will face a hostile upper house.

*Selling off water assets would be politically poisonous in the current climate of drought.

Perrottet and Berejiklian have their work cut out for them.

Sydney must keep moving. There is no doubt about that.

The government has built its ­legacy on driving growth and it knows full well that it can’t afford to stop now.

It’s never easy to convince voters you want to sell off their family ­heirlooms, but this government has done it before.

Doing nothing is not an option. Sydney must continue to grow and this is even more important as the economic headwinds blow.





There’s a lot of soul searching today over whether selling off Australia’s essential assets and services was a good idea …

IS it because …

The end result has been price gouging and, in some cases, greater inefficiency?

A biggie in 2017 was the privatisation of the

RECOMMEND you view the comments … as commentators say it as it is …

CAAN has selected these:

-Even thought it is a failure, the government still continues with it. NSW government to privatize the remaining Sydney bus routes.

-What do expect? They’ve got to go somewhere when they’re not re-elected.

-and the ferries –


Privatisation has failed

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

November 7, 2019 | 12 comments

There’s a lot of soul searching today over whether selling-off Australia’s essential assets and services was a good idea.

*The first salvo comes from Howard Government transport minister, John Sharp, who admits privatising the nation’s major airports was a mistake that is costing consumers dearly:

*Mr Sharp regretted his failure to impose more stringent regulation on the crucial infrastructure when they left public hands in 1996 and said the process had failed to protect travellers from greed.

“It was a mistake,” he told The Australian Financial Review. “They are blatantly profiteering.”

“The one thing we should have done is provided airports with a more significant set of rules to protect the public interest and kept them in place right through to today”

*“I should have given the ACCC responsibility for not just monitoring but administering that particular regulation.”

Handing a natural airport monopoly over to private operators was always going to lead to price gouging. It’s economics 101. The same could be said for privatising the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure via Telstra, which we are now paying dearly for in compensation for the NBN.

Former Liberal leader, John Hewson, similarly laments the privatisation of various essential services and institutions:

The aged care royal commission has exposed shameful negligence and abuse.

*…vocational training, prisons, toll roads, airports and hospital services such as parking, public/private partnerships skewed in favour of private operators, and about those who profit personally by exploiting privileged market positions and restrictive trade practices

Ironically, many of the now privately owned businesses that provide essential services resulted from past privatisation of public assets.

*While these were mostly justified and sold at the time as a mechanism to achieve market discipline, lower costs and greater efficiency, they were driven much more by political and budgetary consideration of maximising the selling price, usually ignoring the market circumstances into which they were being sold, and failing to specify the required services to be provided by the privatised entity.

Markets are only as good as the institutional and regulatory frameworks within which the market forces are to be “free” to operate. Regulatory frameworks set to achieve a maximum selling price are usually unlikely to provide an appropriate competitive structure, nor guarantee socially acceptable service outcomes, in the longer-term…

Clearly, it is time for government and society more broadly to address what has become a most unfortunate trade-off between profit and the quality and availability of essential services.

There are three general criteria for ensuring privatisation is in the public interest:

  1. it should increase competition within the relevant market, not lessen it;
  2. the upfront funds received from the asset sale should outweigh the expected net present value of future profits; and
  3. with respect to new infrastructure, the social benefits should exceed its social costs.

Unfortunately, most of Australia’s privatisations have not met these criteria, instead placing short-term financial windfalls above longer-term competitive and budgetary concerns.

The end result has been price gouging and, in some cases, greater inefficiency.

NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance is privatising Sydney's last remaining bus routes in state-owned hands.

Photo: SMH




TRASHED VISA SYSTEM Fuels Human Trafficking, Exploitation and Slavery

Trashed visa system fuels human trafficking, exploitation and slavery

Photo: Macro Business


-Home Affairs has confirmed almost 100,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by plane over the past five years

90 per cent of the individuals are not legitimate refugees

4,037 aeroplane arrivals have made a claim for protection between 1 July 2019 and 19 August 2019

Australian black economy is indeed being supported by organised crime; businesses involved are using these methods to exploit workers,

those involved are not paying taxes and are often remitting their salaries out of the country

the number of Bridging visas on issue has roughly doubled since the Coalition was elected in 2013; numbering 205,000 as at June 2019

Trashed visa system fuels human trafficking, exploitation and slavery

By Unconventional Economist in Australian Economy

October 9, 2019 | 11 comments

Department of Home Affairs officials have confirmed that around 95,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Australia by plane over the past five years, which Labor claims is fuelling “exploitation and slavery”:

*The figures were disclosed in answers to Questions on Notice from Labor’s spokesperson for Home Affairs and Immigration Kristina Keneally.

“There’s nothing wrong with claiming asylum. It’s an important right,” Senator Keneally said.

“However, in 90 per cent of these particular cases, the individuals are not legitimate refugees and are often being trafficked to Australia for the explicit purpose of being exploited”…

Labor is warning Australia is on track to post a new annual record for asylum seeker arrivals by air.

*It said 4,037 aeroplane arrivals have made a claim for protection between 1 July 2019 and 19 August 2019

Senator Keneally has called the figures a crisis, citing concerns for those arriving by plane being exposed to “exploitation, slavery and even sexual servitude across the country”…

*“The truth is we have no idea how many aeroplane people may have been critically injured or even died … because of exploitation and slavery that is taking place under his nose”…

Its chair Liberal MP Jason Wood issued a warning over criminal syndicates exploiting vulnerable arrivals.

“Organised crime and illegitimate labour-hire companies are using this loophole to bring out illegal workers who are often vulnerable and open to exploitation,” he said.

“This enables these criminal elements to exploit foreign workers in Australia until their claims are finalised.”

John Coyne, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s head of border security, recently raised similar concerns:

Labor’s home affairs shadow minister Kristina Keneally, who is convening the immigration roundtable, says people smugglers moving their business model from boats to planes under the current visa system.

*“Organised crime are indeed facilitating unlawful migration on a fee-for-service basis, using methodologies from fake identity documents, to gaming Australia’s visa system”

“Australia’s border security arrangements are being exploited, and individuals who have not been appropriately identified are at times entering the country”.

*“The Australian black economy is indeed being supported by organised crime, who along with businesses involved, are using these methods to exploit workers, and those involved are not paying taxes and are often remitting their salaries out of the country”…

*The best graphical illustration of the rise in ‘plane people’ entering Australia is the explosion in Bridging Visas, which are typically handed to migrants awaiting decisions on permanent residency through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT):

*As shown above, the number of Bridging visas on issue has roughly doubled since the Coalition was elected in 2013, numbering 205,000 as at June 2019.

*Back in July, former High Court Justice, Ian Callinan claimed that the AAT has been inundated with spurious asylum seeker claims, fuelled in part by organised criminals:

[Ian Callinan] said “almost everyone” with migration law experience had told him there were applic­ants and representatives who “game the system, well knowing there is an automatic entitlement to a bridging visa”.

The Australian Skills Quality Authority told Mr Callinan that delays had repercussions beyond the AAT. It told him it was aware that organised crimin­als were sometimes, “perhaps even regularly”, benefiting from fake vocational training prog­rams or “ghost’’ colleges

The AAT now handles about 59,000 lodgements a year: more than half (52 per cent) are migra­tion and refugee cases

The AAT’s caseload of migra­tion and refugee matters doubled in the two years to June 30 last year

*Thus, while the Coalition pretends that it is strong on border control because it has “stopped the boats”, bogus asylum seekers are pouring into Australia via plane.

*However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that Australia’s borders have become increasingly porous, with visa scamming occurring through a variety of channels, including:

  • Migrants arriving by plane lodging bogus asylum applications;
  • International students undertaking spurious courses for working rights and subsequent permanent residency;
  • Illegal labour hire firms, people smugglers and criminal syndicates facilitating undocumented migrants to work for below market rates; and
  • Businesses using pretend ‘skills shortages’ to hire temporary migrant workers at below market rates.

The visa rorting is systemic and has permeated across the entire Australian economy.

And now we’re going to privatise it?

About 80 people a day since July have claimed asylum at Australian airports, new figures show.

Photo: Adelaide Advertiser

Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch




SMH: BRAD LEAVES HOME AT 6.30 A.M. to avoid the Crush. Is it early enough?

DESPITE unprecedented investment in recent years, the rail and roads network faces massive challenges.

Largely due to the pace of population growth piling more people into cars, trains, buses and ferries

Brad leaves home at 6.30am to avoid the crush. Is it early enough?

An extra 1.3 million people in Sydney by 2030 is an enormous load on our roads and transport system.

By Josh Dye

SEPTEMBER 16, 2019

Medical student Brad Stanton at Parramatta Station.
Medical student Brad Stanton at Parramatta Station. CREDIT:CHRISTOPHER PEARCE

Overcrowded trains and busier roads. An extra 1.3 million people in Sydney by 2030 means a longer and more uncomfortable commute, particularly for residents in the city’s fast-growing western suburbs.

Brad Stanton is a final year medical student who lives at Liverpool and commutes to Westmead Hospital by train. He leaves at 6.30am to avoid the peak-hour crush in carriages.

“If I hop on the train any later, it’s packed,” he says. “You’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder breathing other people’s air. It’s not pleasant.”

The idea of a population beyond 5.8 million in a decade leaves Stanton feeling pessimistic about the city’s future, and he’s already planning his exit.

“I appreciate the job and study opportunities I’ve had in Sydney, but it’s not somewhere I want to live long-term and raise a family,” he says.

Despite the projected growth in rail and road infrastructure, population growth raises the risk of gridlocked roads and overcrowded trains in Sydney.

And congestion is likely to extend beyond peak periods to other parts of the day.

For many people there will be no escaping the crush as Sydney’s road and rail network comes under further strain.

Or at least that’s the worst-case scenario.

Sydney: the train city

The man responsible for moving us around does not subscribe to the doomsday model. NSW Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance paints a far rosier picture in his vision for 2030.

“Sydney is going to become a train city because of metro,” he says. “We’re going to see mass transfer out of cars onto trains as we continue to develop Sydney as a global city.”

He points to the integration between the transport and planning departments as evidence the government is armed to fight the city’s growing pains and avoid the mistakes of the past.

He spruiks the concept of the “30-minute city” and claims 70 per cent of Sydneysiders will live within half an hour of work, education and recreation by 2036.

*But that dream is a long way from becoming a reality, with two major impediments being housing affordability and a lack of jobs in the west.

Sydney’s ageing transport network is a problem, too.

*Despite unprecedented investment in recent years, the rail and roads network faces massive challenges. It is partly due to a lack of investment previously, but also because the pace of population growth will keep piling more people into cars, trains, buses and ferries.

The crush: Redfern is Sydney's sixth busiest station.
The crush: Redfern is Sydney’s sixth busiest station.CREDIT:BEN RUSHTON

*Sydney’s train lines are often overcrowded during morning and evening peak, with many services failing to run on time. The opening of the new metro line under the harbour in 2024 will alleviate some congestion, but the Western line will get busier as the population booms.

*Meanwhile on the roads, major arterial routes including the M4, M5, the Harbour Tunnel and the Harbour Bridge will remain choked as traffic grinds to a standstill during peak.

Add in some rain and Sydney seems to shut down.

*While a large wave of projects is in the pipeline, University of Sydney senior lecturer in transport and logistics management Geoffrey Clifton says it will not be enough to keep pace with rising demand by 2030.

“We’re likely to see some crunch in the public transport network in the next couple of years before the next projects kick in. Until the city metro [rail line] opens, there’s going to be a bit of a capacity gap,” he says.

“In the road network, there’ll be more choke points than there are today with more people on the roads. Local bus services will slow down unless we can put priority into them.”

While confident NSW is “on the right track”, Dr Clifton says it is critical that the government maintains momentum and “gets on with the job” of building the second wave of projects.

The Transport Minister affirms his government’s commitment to building the infrastructure required for a booming population. “We will continue to build the mega projects to fix the missing links in the transport network,” Mr Constance says.

The money problem

*Yet as politicians consider how to keep the city moving as the population swells, a critical issue emerges: how to fund a long list of promised transport projects that cost into the tens of billions of dollars.

*While the sale of state electricity assets in the Coalition government’s second term resulted in a huge cash windfall, the fact remains that public transport is a loss-making service heavily subsidised by taxpayers.


Sydney Trains.

Sydney’s trains regularly fail to run on time during evening peak

“That’s a big challenge,” Dr Clifton says. “Infrastructure projects in Australia are more expensive than in other parts of the world. That’s where the user-pays model may be needed.”

An option to alleviate the burden on the roads, and funnel more people onto public transport, is to introduce a congestion tax. Road users would be charged higher rates to enter busy areas such as the central business district or drive at peak times.

*Despite having the backing of economists, planners and transport experts, Mr Constance rules out a congestion tax as being too difficult politically.

“It’s not going to happen,” he says. “You provide better public transport, you don’t need to introduce a congestion tax.”

*Instead, the Transport Minister favours “mobility as a service”, the latest buzz phrase in the industry.

*He believes in the not-too-distant future commuters will be able to pay for their transport needs across all modes via a subscription.

Sounds interesting, but how would it work?

*Dr Clifton compares the concept to private health insurance, which offers different tiers of membership and covers hospital visits plus extras like dental and physio. In the same way, commuters could purchase a package of transport services combining public transport with car sharing and bike hire, for example.

‘The status quo is not an option’

*Ultimately, the overriding question is: will crippling congestion render Sydney unliveable by 2030?

Mathew Hounsell, senior research consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS, says Sydney must be fundamentally realigned to avoid the perils of crippling congestion.

“The underlying problem in Sydney is the preference for motoring. If the rail system is faster, people will switch to it,” he says.

“If you prioritise car traffic, car traffic is always terrible. If you prioritise public transport, car traffic is still terrible but more people can be moved.”

Dr Clifton warns drifting along with the status quo is not an option.

“If we go with business as usual, then it will be much more congested. A lot of Sydneysiders will feel like they’re worse off in the future than today,” he says.

“But if we build cities with jobs located near where people live, and transport that provides people with connectivity, we’ll be creating communities where people will want to live.

“It’s not like we have to choose between a big Sydney and a good Sydney. We can have both – it just takes the will and investment.”

The Sydney Morning Herald is hosting a population summit on September 23. For more details and to view the list of speakers click here.

Josh Dye

Josh Dye is a news reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.