Monday, January 03, 2011

Australia's 2011 Challenges

Belated Happy New Year. I've been holidaying with family, so haven't posted. Nor did I looked at work emails, or use a computer between Christmas and New Year. I didn't miss them, even though, like many people, I consider them "tools of trade/life".

For 2011, Australia and its people have much to work on. While politicians will set the direction we take, each of us has both a personal and social responsibility to work towards a fairer society, and to help our communities - local, state and national.

Our politicians must address the following:
Tax reform - the Henry Review
Superannuation reform - the Cooper Review
Climate Change - Emissions trading Scheme or simple, but effective, Carbon Tax. Business lobbied for an ETS, believing they (or some of them) could make money from it. Also important are plans to protect coastlines, infrastructure and possibly restructuring some food-production industries.
Health and Education - Health funding and responsibilities for the myriad health services are still a dog's breakfast covering mostly State & Federal Governments. For hospitals there are proposals giving control to local boards. For Education, Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard has already flown the kite for direct funding of public schools, with Principals responsible for budget, hiring and firing, and "performance bonuses" to teachers selected by the Principal. Principals would be accountable to a local board, as with hospitals. Such approaches will only enhance the perception of "bean-counter" reluctance public health & education. Such a penurious approach will limit health and education services, based almost solely on local budget considerations. I do not believe these are good policies.
Economics - recent floods in NSW and Queensland, in particular, will require significant relief funds from governments, will lead to higher food prices for at least 6 months, and will adversely affect regional, state and the national economy. The effects of global economic conditions will also have an impact, especially from the US, European and Asian economies.

Individually, each of us must start, or continue, some form of service to our communities. Sometimes that is through aspects of our work, or donations to charity, help with local community organisations, such as Lions, Apex, Rotary, SES, Theatre, sporting clubs, local Church ...

For 2011, I'd like you to consider donating blood or plasma. Not everyone can, but I'm a regular donor - it's one of my community contributions. I've made about 100 donations, but there are people who have donated more than 250 times! In Australia, blood donations are freely given, and are provided free to people who need them. Many employers, and awards, allow some time off for employees to give blood. IN AUSTRALIA, see, , or call 131495 (Australia only)

While you're at it, consider becoming an organ donor - IN AUSTRALIA, see, or call 1800777203, or see your Medicare Office.