Thursday, January 7, 2016

Intergenerational Equity – A Day Representing the People of Wills

7.30 am. I visit a local railway station on the Upfield Line. The trains are chockablock. The Upfield Line is predicted to have 80 per cent more commuters in a decade. I try to explain to frustrated commuters that if we get a Federal Labor Government, or a Liberal Government stumps up the cash, we could build Melbourne Metro and put more services on these lines and improve things in a few years time.

9am. 61 year old engineer who has never been on the dole tells me he has only had work for three months in the last eighteen months, due to mining engineers bringing in '457' temporary workers on lower pay.

10am. Pascoe Vale residents come in to see me with concerns about the pending City to Tullamarine Freeway Widening project. While motorists understandably want it, in view of the freeway congestion, for these residents it just means more noise and fewer trees.

11am. Coburg residents come in with concerns about high rise buildings of up to 10 storeys being proposed on the doorstep of their single storey detached houses!

12.30. Lunch. I am buttonholed in the street by a man who is concerned about funding cuts planned for Fawkner Primary School. Later he sends me some paperwork showing English is neither the first or the second most common language spoken at home by the students, and that many students come to Fawkner Primary School not having been in Australia in their early education years.

Afternoon. No appointments. I work on follow up of my two forums – the Ice Epidemic and Unemployment. The Ice problem is very bad. Governments, police, and welfare agencies all have their hearts in the right place but are under resourced and overwhelmed by both the size of the problem and the number of other problems they have to tackle.

Unemployment in Wills is noticeably higher than for some years now. Long term unemployment and youth unemployment is breeding an underclass of disadvantage, people who are disengaged from community life.

5.45. Go home and watch the news on TV. If it’s not Joe Hockey telling us our best days are ahead of us, it's Malcolm Turnbull telling us how exciting the future is. Or I can hear from some economist, lobbyist or commentator saying Australia needs more population growth. What are these people smoking? Where do they live? It must be a long, long, way from here.

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