Jobs in the Illawarra lost in hard times

Almost 300 jobs in the Illawarra have been axed with Pacific Brands’ closing down the Bonds factory in Unanderra and King Gee in Bellabmbi. The Bellambi factory is set to close in July while Bonds will stay open until Feruary 2010. Nationwide 1850 people will be made unemployed when the work is moved overseas.
Pacific brands also manufactures Holeproff. Dunlop, Stussy, Mossimo, Berlei and Hard Yakka. This decision is another hit to the region with the loss of 100 jobs from the closure of Keelong detention centre on Friday.

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$42 billion dollar stimulus packages the senate… Thanks to Mr Xenophon

The Federal Government’s $42 billion dollar stimulus package passed the senate ealier today, but at a cost. The Prime Minister agreed to give South Australian Independent Senator Nick Xenphon $900 million dollars to push forward future projects for the Murray Darling Basin in return for his vote. The $12 billion one off payments will be paid to low and middle income families and workers from mid March. However the payment amount has changed from the original package. Single income families’ payments has been cut from $950 to $900, people with a taxable income of less than $80,000 will also recieve the reduced amount of $900. While those earning between $80,000 and $90,000 will receive $600 instead of the original $650 and those with a taxable income between $90,000 and $100,000 will also receive $50 less with a payment of $250. The deal couldn’t have been struck without the Greens decision yesterday to accept the stimulus package with a $435 million dollar deal which lead to the payments being cut by $50 for each group. More than $28 billion dollars will go towards school repairs, building news homes while $50 million will go towards help for the unemployed and churches, charities and grass-root job creation schemes will also benefit from the stimulus package’s $300 million allocated to these institutions. The finer details of the stimulus package will be announced this week.

Zimbabwe Cholera Crisis

The continuing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe has reached a new point with the outbreak of Cholera, a water-borne disease which has killed at least 565 people and infected more than 12,000 in the past two weeks. Those who have contracted the disease have nowhere to seek treatment with hospitals across Zimbabwe having closed. This new crisis, together with an unemployment rate of over 80%, and an inflation rate of 231 million per cent, has led former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan to state that Zimbabwe is about to collapse. International Aid Agency, Oxfam has said that the government of Zimbabwe should declare the current cholera epidemic a national health emergency, so that urgent national and international aid can be mobilised to address the outbreak.

INTERVIEW WITH PAUL DAVENPORT OXFAM AUSTRALIA’S ZIMBABWE CO-ORDINATOR ON 28/11/08

Since speaking to Paul Davenport water supplies to the capital, Harare have been cut in an effort to curb the cholera epidemic. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has stated that the country has reached a catastrophic level. “Everything (food, health delivery, education) seems to be collapsing around us”.

Furthermore, in a further blow to the country’s economic state Mr Mugabe has reappointed Gideon Gono, the central bank governor presiding over the world’s highest inflation rate, for another five years.