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Friday February 15, 2019

PIAC Welcomes passage of MedEvac Bill

PIAC welcomes the passage of the Home Affairs (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018 by Commonwealth Parliament this week.
Otherwise known as the ‘MedEvac Bill’, this legislation is an important step forward in Australia’s treatment of people seeking asylum, including the requirement that people currently in detention on Manus Island, PNG or on Nauru be transferred to Australia for medical treatment if two doctors recommend doing so.
The passage of these reforms, through co-operation between Labor, the Greens and members of the cross-bench, shows that a more humane approach to the issue of people seeking asylum is possible.
PIAC urges the Government to ensure that all people seeking asylum, including those transferred from Manus Island and Nauru under this new legislation as well as those already in onshore detention facilities, receive the same standard of health care as members of the community. More…
Virginia Trioli to speak at 2019 Social Justice Dinner
Virginia TrioliWe are thrilled to announce that two-time Walkley award winning journalist Virginia Trioli will be the special guest speaker at the Social Justice Dinner, along-side MC Craig Reucassel.
Join us for a wonderful evening of celebration with our partners and supporters. It is also a night where we will raise vital funds to support our work to create systemic change by tackling barriers to justice for people who are vulnerable and facing disadvantage.
You can book online (below) or by calling 02 8898 6500. Bookings close Friday 22 February – don’t miss out!
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NSW Government plan will improve access to solar
PIAC’s Energy + Water Consumer Advocacy Program (EWCAP) has welcomed the New South Wales Government’s commitment to provide no-interest loans for households to access solar and batteries, announced on Sunday.
‘This program will provide welcome relief for people struggling with the cost of living. Making finance available for up to 300,000 households with income below $180,000 a year gives homeowners who haven’t been able to afford solar or batteries a chance to be part of the energy revolution,’ said Craig Memery.
‘Although no interest loans are already available, the private providers that offer them make a substantial profit from these arrangements, often by significantly inflating purchase prices, so that the people who can afford it least end up paying more.’
‘A genuine no interest loan scheme backed up by government means anyone can access the best price, and benefit fully from the potential savings,’ said Craig Memery. More…
Federal Government must fix gaping hole in the Disability Discrimination Act
People with disability have been dealt a blow, with the Federal Government refusing to fix a significant problem with the law that stops discrimination in employment, education, transport and more.
Many people with disability need what is known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure their equal participation. For example, at work, these can be specialised software, adapted office equipment or flexible work arrangements.
A recent legal case has undermined the way the DDA works to require employers and service providers to make reasonable adjustments. This has far-reaching and previously unexpected implications for four million Australians with disability and requires an urgent response from the Government.
PIAC and People With Disability Australia, with the endorsement of many other organisations and individuals representing people with disability, wrote to the Federal Attorney-General, the Hon Christian Porter MP, late last year seeking an urgent response from government to fix this problem. Unfortunately, the Attorney-General has responded saying that the issue ‘does not represent a priority’ and the Government won’t act before the election.
We urgently call on the Government, and the Opposition, to work together to make sure people with disability are not discriminated against because of their disability. More…
Using technology to support transitional justice in Sri Lanka
Our Sri Lankan Conflict Mapping and Archive Project (CMAP) collects, analyses and preserves publicly available information in relation to the Sri Lankan civil war and uses it to develop tools that will be useful for the Sri Lankan transitional justice process.
PIAC staff members Daniela Gavshon and Erol Gorur, recently published an article in the International Journal of Transitional Justice drawing on their experience working on CMAP. You can  read “Information Overload: How Technology Can Help Convert Raw Data into Rich Information for Transitional Justice Processes” here.
NSW election: addressing homelessness should be a priority
PIAC’s consumer committee on homelessness, StreetCare, has welcomed Homelessness NSW State Election Platform 2018-2019
StreetCare Project Officer, Maddy Humphreys, said that the platform presented a clear set of priorities to prevent and address homelessness across the state.
‘At the time of the 2016 census, nearly 38 000 people indicated that they were homeless – an increase of 37% from 2011 – significantly higher than the national increase of 14%.
‘With this in mind, preventing and addressing homelessness should be a key priority for all parties at this election.’
‘Some of the significant challenges we face include the lack of available social housing, the need for better co-ordination across government, and the under-resourcing of specialist homelessness services. The Homelessness NSW 2018-2019 Election Platform begins to address these issues,’ said Maddy Humphreys. More…
Police Powers Project: Thank you Allens
Building on PIAC’s longstanding relationship with Allens through our Indigenous Justice Project, since 2014 we have also been working together to hold NSW Police accountable.
Our Police Powers Project involves lawyers from Allens working as virtual secondees to PIAC to help Aboriginal clients to challenge inappropriate, unlawful or unjust treatment by NSW Police. This casework also assists PIAC to build an evidence base with which to undertake policy and advocacy work in relation to NSW Police and the criminal justice system in NSW.  
Earlier this week, lawyers from PIAC and Allens came together for a morning tea, to reflect on the success of the project to date and thank the Allens team for their support.
Group photo from morning tea
Public Interest Advocacy Centre Ltd
www.piac.asn.au - ABN 77 002 773 524

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Sydney NSW 2000