Coalition says cost gap between private vocational trainers and Tafes ‘staggering’

Simon Birmingham says private trainers costing students and taxpayers three times as much as public educators

Malcolm Turnbull and Simon Birmingham
 The prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the education minister, Simon Birmingham. Federal government loans to vocational students have blown out from $325m in 2012 to $2.9bn in 2015. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Private vocational trainers are charging students – and the taxpayers who give them loans – almost three times as much as Tafes and other public educators.

In Tasmania they are charging 10 times as much, with the average student borrowing $32,981, compared with Tafe fees of just $3470.

The education minister, Simon Birmingham, says the new figures his department released on Monday highlight the “staggering” gap between what providers have been charging for courses and what a Tafe would charge.

“The 2015 data is littered with even more examples of rorting and shonky behaviour from some providers who continue to take advantage of students and taxpayers and tarnish the reputation of the vocational education and training sector,” he says.

Federal government loans to vocational students have blown out from $325m in 2012 to $2.9bn in 2015. The new figures show that, at the same time, enrolments grew from 57,400 in 2012 to 320,400 in 2015.

More than half of vocational students reported they were unemployed or not seeking a job when they signed up for their course. And nearly four in five said they were studying either to get a job or for job-related reasons such as improving their skills.

However, about 13% of students – almost one in seven – said they were studying for personal interest or self development.

The federal government plans to overhaul the system to restrict loans to courses that meet skills shortages and are most likely to end up with students getting a job.

Birmingham said the old system meant too many students were being signed up for courses simply to boost enrolment numbers or to provide “lifestyle choices” that didn’t lead to work.

“While I understand some people may want to broaden their experiences, ultimately we need to ensure precious taxpayer money is used to support students doing courses with strong employment outcomes, which also increases the prospects of people being able to pay back their government loan,” he said.


Good For The Goose: Australia’s Please Explain On Coal From China And The US:

Minister for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia, Josh Frydenberg.

While savaging state governments for strong growth in renewables, the Australian Government has drawn the attention of other countries for its failure to reduce carbon emissions. Suzanne Harter from the Australian Conservation Foundation explains.

After failing to listen to consistent calls for stronger emissions reduction targets and a credible set of climate policies, the Australian government this week found itself under growing international pressure to explain what it is doing to tackle climate change – and how we will meet even the modest targets set in Paris while we continue to approve new coal-fired power stations around Australia.

For a fortnight the federal government has been attacking state governments including South Australia, Victoria and Queensland on their renewable energy targets despite the fact that those states have targets that are much closer to what’s needed to meet our Paris commitments, and they will provide demonstrable economic and environmental benefits.

In Queensland for example, a draft report of an independent expert panel – Credible Pathways to a 50 per cent renewable energy target for Queensland delivered to the Queensland Government yesterday shows that their 50 per cent target by 2030 is not only achievable, but can be cost neutral and can provide around 6,700 full-time jobs annually between 2020 and 2030, while also reducing emissions.

new matilda, solar
(IMAGE: Oregon Department of Transportation, Flickr)

Against this backdrop, the Turnbull government has come under fire after a new UN expert review found that Australia’s carbon emissions will be 11.5 per cent higher in 2020 than they were in 1990.

The review also found that Australia’s industrial emissions – not counting those from forestry and land-clearing – were expected to rise 33.5 per cent over the three decades.

Australia also faced a barrage of questions from foreign governments on how it will achieve emissions reductions including from the USA, asking us what our longer term policies are to meet our 2030 targets, and from China on the impact that dropping carbon pricing has had and whether we are considering other mechanisms.

So just as the Prime Minister and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg are out criticising the more ambitious efforts of their state counterparts, they are facing pressure from our most important strategic allies about dropping the ball on our own targets.



This so-called ‘emissions gap’ is making Australia an international embarrassment, Shadow Climate Change Minister Mark Butler said this week.

But the answer might be closer at hand than the government realises.

Labor and the Greens have joined forces to successfully push through an inquiry looking at ways to meet Australia’s climate targets – and namely to examine how best to close old polluting coal-fired power stations. This might yet prove to be a timely gift for a federal government feeling pressure from all sides over climate.

At present, Australia’s climate and energy policy is still lagging, as the government continues to ignore the biggest elephant in the room – the need to decarbonise our energy sector by phasing out coal. Australia is still in urgent need of a national plan for replacing coal-burning power plants with clean energy that ensures just transitions for workers and communities. If handled properly – this Inquiry should help to carve out a meaningful plan.

One of the key problems is that the majority (around 72 per cent) of Australia’s coal-burning plants are already well past their original design lifespan.

new matilda, smoke stack, emissions
(IMAGE: Thom Mitchell, New Matilda).

The average age of Australia’s coal-fired power stations is over 30 years. Old power stations create more pollution that is damaging to our health and climate, and their inefficiency makes them more expensive to run. Retirements are as unavoidable as they are necessary.

Without retiring coal-burning power plants that pollute the equivalent of 30 per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions – it will be impossible for Australia to meet our commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

But, as recent experience from South Australia and elsewhere shows, the closure of power stations will impact on local communities. Without a national plan for coal retirement the process will be unplanned, disorderly and much more disruptive.

This newly announced Inquiry into how best to close down Australia’s coal-fired power stations has the potential to get to the heart of the problem and help pave the way for the clean energy transition we need, while properly supporting affected workers.

This could provide a very helpful opportunity for the Turnbull government to move ahead with the task of shutting down Australia’s polluting old dinosaur power stations while properly supporting workers.

But given its recent record of resistance to state-based renewable energy targets and lack of credible climate policies – the Coalition will need to be dragged kicking and screaming before it pays proper heed to the Inquiry’s likely outcomes.




Mike Bolan

Face it, we cannot go back to the past if we keep trying to move forwards!. Our betters have deemed that they know best and that is to go backwards. And create growth – growth in child poverty, unemployment, industrial dislocation, overseas debt, social dislocation, bureaucracy and intrusive security laws. Just relax and enjoy…
Like · Reply · 9 · Oct 16, 2016 8:03pm

Bill Schutt ·

The Australian Conservation Foundation are part of the problem, and not part of the solution. The closed-minded attitude to nuclear energy of the pseudo-environmental left has created this problem. The anti-nuclear movement is denialist in just the same manner as climate-change-denialists. It’s easy, go to Google scholar and see what the experts say. 8 of the top 10 conservation biologists in Australia have publicly called for nuclear energy.…
It is impossible to find a scientist in Australia with an h-index >25 who opposes nuclear energy, just as it is impossible to find a scientist in Australia with an h-index >25 who doesn’t believe in climate-change.

Wayne Roy ·

In many posts you say the same Bil. Nuclear is the way to go. It isn’t.
The point of retiring old coal is to reduce our CO2 and Greenhouse gases. Nuclear is not friendly to that aim.
You also completely ignore the security implications as well as the safety of plants, the relatively short life span, the exceedingly costly clean up and storage of the comtiminated waste from the decommissioned plants, as well as the fuel storage risks and costs.You ignore the prohibitave costs to build, as well as even finding the specialists able to do so, including the special material that are used andSee More

Like · Reply · 11 · Oct 17, 2016 4:02am

David Camacho

We cannot guarantee that our containment methods can go the distance any more than we can guarantee our current civilisation can endure adequately to foster nuclear waste into its benign old age.
Like · Reply · 3 · Oct 17, 2016 11:32am

Bill Schutt ·

Wayne Roy I believe that the scientific case that nuclear energy is necessary to address climate-change is overwhelming. And I believe that we would be well on the way to solving the problem if it weren’t for the completely irrational radiophobia of ACF and others.

Closed-minded ideologues like you I can’t convince, but I can expose you as ideologues for the more open-minded. The most important thing is to have an informed opinion. Having an informed opinion means reading the scientific papers and looking at both sides of the question. I have no doubt that the 75 scientists who signed this lSee More

Like · Reply · Oct 17, 2016 3:05pm

Evan Hadkins

Here’s hoping the enquiry comes up with something useful.

Gideon Maxwell Polya ·

Taking land use into account, the revised annual per capita GHG pollution in tonnes per person per year is 52.9 for Australia (116 if including its huge GHG-generating mining exports) as compared to 2.7 for Bangladesh. Annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution per se is a flawed measure of national culpability for this because it ignores rich countries outsourcing industrial pollution to China, and impoverished countries compelled to pollute to barely survive. A better measure of culpability is weighted annual per capita greenhouse gas pollution taking relative per capita income into accounSee More

Graeme Harrison ·

The existing coal-fired stations have generous land-mass and a ‘super’ connection to the grid. They are usually the focal point of a star-network of high-voltage connections. One good use of the land and also ’employment opportunity’ for the local community would be to commit to a large-scale solar installation on the site of the old power station’s grounds. In many cases, this could start prior to full decommissioning of the old, as there is a lot of land around most. That way, the new ‘solar power station’ could be utilising skilled employees in its installation, operation and maintenancSee More

Bill Schutt ·

I’m skeptical. I’m generally skeptical of claims that this will create a lot of jobs. If Plan B creates twice the jobs of Plan A, the Plan B most likely will cost twice as much. Lets think through the issue – I wish to replave a 100 MW coal PP with a solar plant. A 100 MW solar will only produce 30MW, so maybe I put in a 333MW solar plant, but then I need to upgrade the powerlines. I need 80-100% gas back, if I were able to get to the point where most of my electricity was renewable, I’m paying a lot of money to maintain gas backup which is infrequently used, the costs increase. I don’t think it’ll work, but why don’t you properly model it and submit it to a peer-reviewed journal? Is there a similar model made by scientists? What is the consensus of the experts?
Like · Reply · Oct 17, 2016 3:39pm

Graeme Harrison ·

Bill Schutt, the modelling is all available for you in the Beyond Zero Emissions plan to switch Australia’s electricity generation to renewables over a decade. Their plan sites molten salt solar mirror arrays at points along existing grid, and lots of PV on rooftops. All I was suggesting is that the locations can favour sites where prior fossil fuel generators existed, to help ease the effect of loss of employment in older polluting technologies.
See for the full plan. You overestimate the amount of gas back-up required to suit your pro-nuclear argument. In Northern Europe they are linking ever-wider areas to ensure renewable security. The BZE plan proposes a DC-DC link (same tech as Bass Strait link) to link Port Augusta to WA gold fields, so that WA grid has a non-synchronous link to Eastern states grid. That way solar in WA can literally cook dinners in Melbourne.
Like · Reply · Oct 17, 2016 11:14pm

Richard Middleton ·

Graeme Harrison Good try Graeme. I’ve mentiuoned BZE a number of times with narry a response, except the usual “nuclear is realy safe, you know…(safer than bacon..)”
Like · Reply · 1 · Oct 18, 2016 11:42pm

Roy Hives

It’s heartening to see more international criticism of our federal government, even if it is likely just their politicians comparing themselves favourably with ours.
I mean, our lot really asked for it. Malcolm calling the state reps together and telling them they’re trying too hard isn’t a good look, is it?
Nor is the profit before all other considerations approach evident in the push to open up new coal mines.
Can’t you just hear those pollies overseas chuckling?
“No worries! Whatever we do, we can say we’re doing better than those Aussies!”

Trump warns of’rigged’election as Giuliani claims racially charged

Trump blames media but also says election rigged ‘at many polling places’

Allies weigh in after ninth woman alleges sexual misconduct

Donald Trump speaks to the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey on Saturday.
 Donald Trump speaks to the Republican Hindu Coalition in Edison, New Jersey on Saturday. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Donald Trump’s campaign allies joined his baseless accusation of a “rigged election” on Sunday, with Rudy Giuliani speaking in racially charged terms amidst growing fears of a violent backlash from supporters of the Republican presidential nominee.

Trump himself furthered the charge, tweeting: “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”

A request for clarification from the Trump campaign about which polling places he meant was not immediately returned.

The move appeared to be a concerted effort to deflect attention from allegations of sexual harassment or assault by nine women, following the release of a video in which Trump boasted about groping.

The ninth woman to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct, Cathy Heller, told the Guardian on Saturday that at an event at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Florida resort in 1997, the businessman “took my hand, and grabbed me, and went for the lips”.

Trump, who said in the second presidential debate he had never done the things he boasted about, has denied all the claims and blamed a media conspiracy.

At campaign events over the weekend, as controversy over the groping claims continued, Trump described US democracy as “an illusion” and repeated his calls for people to watch polling stations, which have raised concerns of illegal voter intimidation on election day and possible violent unrest after the result is known.

Allies including running mate Mike Pence and top adviser Giuliani, a former mayor of New York, backed up his claim.

Pence dodged Trump’s outright accusation, telling NBC’s Meet the Press: “So many Americans feel like this election is being rigged.” For months, the Indiana governor has tried to bridge the nominee’s extreme positions with the more conventional wing of the Republican party. His support for the “rigged election” claim puts him well outside the mainstream.

Pence did say he and Trump would “absolutely accept the results of the election”.

On Saturday, House speaker Paul Ryan said he did not have any doubts about the American electoral system. “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity,” his spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

On Sunday, as Trump attacked Ryan via Twitter, representatives for the Republican National Committee and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But on Sunday Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and a periodic adviser to Trump, embraced Trump’s more conspiratorial tone, blaming the press for the nominee’s plummeting poll numbers. “Fourteen million people picked Donald Trump,” he told Fox News. “Twenty TV executives decided to destroy him.”

He claimed: “Without the unending, one-sided assault of the news media, Trump would be beating Hillary Clinton by 15 points.”

Since last week, when a 2005 video leaked to the Washington Post showed Trump bragging about groping women without consent, the candidate’s poll numbers have collapsed.

On Sunday, a NBC/WSJ poll showed Clinton ahead nationally with 48%, Trump with 37% and the Libertarian and Green party candidates with 7% and 2% respectively. In a new Washington Post/ABC poll, Clinton had only a four-point lead, but nearly 70% of voters said Trump had probably sexually harassed women.

A CBS poll showed Clinton up 46%-40% in 13 key states, with a 15-point advantage among women.

Trump, who spent the week launching tirades at Clinton, journalists and his own party, continued on Sunday to portray himself as the victim. He tweeted: “Polls close, but can you believe I lost large numbers of women voters based on made up events THAT NEVER HAPPENED. Media rigging election!”

In another post, he said: “Election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign, by putting stories that never happened into news!”

He goes head-to-head with Clinton in the final presidential debate in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening.

Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani
 Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani speaks in Bangor, Maine. Photograph: Sarah Rice/Getty Images

Giuliani at first argued that the candidate was merely speaking about bias in journalism, telling CNN’s State of the Union: “When he talks about a rigged election, he’s not talking about the fact that it’s going to be rigged at the polls. What he’s talking about is that 80% to 85% of the media is against him.”

But then he jumped from media criticism into racially charged territory, saying “there have been places where a lot of cheating going on”, citing two cities with large black populations, Philadelphia and Chicago.

Giuliani claimed, without evidence, that Pennsylvania Democrats bussed voters in from Camden, New Jersey, and that “dead people generally vote for Democrats”. To back up his claims of voter fraud, he said the Republican president of the New York Yankees had stopped bussing voters around the deeply Democratic city’s boroughs.

The claims about Philadelphia appear to be drawn from a conspiracy theory born in 2012 after Mitt Romney failed to win a single vote in 59 almost wholly black precincts of its 1,687 total. Obama won 85% of the city, 52% of Pennsylvania, and 93% of black voters nationwide.

Conversely, he could not win a single vote in whole counties in deeply conservative Utah that year. John McCain failed to win votes in Chicago and Atlanta precincts in 2008.

Philadelphia’s Republican party and an investigation by the city’s Inquirer newspaper found claims of fraud or wrongdoing were baseless, and larger studies have found cases of in-person voter fraud have been exceedingly rare over the last six years.

Giuliani and Trump, however, have continued to argue that it does exist, and blamed “inner cities”, which Giuliani said Republicans “don’t control”.

That phrase has offended many African Americans, who hear in it a outdated and hyperbolic vision of their lives that does not match with rising quality of life for many minorities.

Trump has repeatedly said that black and Hispanic Americans are “living in hell”. When a black voter asked him in the second debate whether he would serve “all” Americans as president, he began speaking of “inner cities”, unprompted by anything in the man’s question.

Gingrich also said, without evidence, that fraud had taken place in cities such as Philadelphia, Chicago and St Louis, telling ABC’s This Week that Ryan knows only “honest elections” in his midwest state of Wisconsin.

Gingrich said he thought Ryan should “go and look at the history of Philadelphia, including four years ago, the intimidation”.

Some of Trump’s own supporters have said they intend to go to polls to intimidate voters. Steve Webb, a 61-year-old Ohio voter, told the Boston Globethis week: “Trump said to watch your precincts. I’m going to go, for sure. I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous

 Trump says Clinton may have taken drugs before debate          downplay such remarks about a “coup” and “bloodshed”. “You can find just as many wacko nuts on her side,” he said.

Asked if he believed that every one of the women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct was lying, Giuliani told CNN: “No, I believe my friend Donald Trumpwhen he tells me he didn’t do it. I know Donald. I have been with him for 28 years. I have never seen him do anything like that.”

Some analysts have warned that, by stoking anger and fuelling conspiracy theories, Trump poses an unprecedented threat to America’s democratic stability. His supporters have become increasingly hostile and abusive towards the media.

On Saturday, Milwaukee county sheriff David Clarke, a backer of Trump, tweeted: “It’s incredible that our institutions of gov, WH, Congress, DOJ, and big media are corrupt & all we do is bitch. is itPitchforks and torches time.”?

A narrow Clinton victory would put pressure on Republican leaders such as Ryan to quickly declare the result free and fair. The supreme court, forced to rule on the disputed 2000 election between George W Bush and Al Gore, is currently depleted by the death of Antonin Scalia, raising the prospect of a 4-4 split.

Clinton’s running mate, Tim Kaine, a senator for Virginia, accused Trump of looking for a scapegoat as he faces defeat.

“Donald Trump has kind of started to go wilder and wilder,” he said on ABC. “I think after – by all accounts – losing the first two debates, he started to make wild claims, kind of scorched earth claims about the election being rigged. He shouldn’t be engaging in those scare tactics.”

He added: “We have to keep putting out a message, and we need to call on everybody to speak out about the fact that we run elections and we run them well here. And we ask the GOP leaders also to stand up for the integrity of the American electoral process.”

Inquiry into battle between first and second law officers

Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson appears before a Senate inquiry at Parliament House on Friday. Lukas Coch/AAP

Solicitor-General Justin Gleeson has revealed he told Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus during the pre-election caretaker period that he disagreed with the binding direction Attorney-General George Brandis had issued saying all requests for Gleeson’s advice must go through him.

Appearing at an often rowdy and acrimonious Senate committee hearing, Gleeson said Dreyfus rang him in early to mid June.

“Mr Dreyfus asked me two questions … The first was: ‘had I been consulted over this direction?’ and I said no. The second question was, ‘did I support the direction?’ and I said no’.” The conversation was “very short”.

The Senate legal and constitutional affairs references committee is investigating the conflict between Brandis and Gleeson over the direction, especially whether Brandis, as legally required, consulted Gleeson before issuing it in the dying days of the last parliament.

Gleeson has insisted he was not consulted; Brandis maintains he was. They continued to disagree over this in their Friday evidence.

Challenged on whether it had been appropriate to speak to Dreyfus, Gleeson said an inaccurate statement had been made to parliament (saying he had been consulted), parliament was dissolved, and he considered it “my duty” to tell the truth to any MP who asked him.

In his evidence, Brandis said this was the first time he had heard of Gleeson’s conversation with Dreyfus. “Mr Gleeson did not tell me about the fact that he had had a critical conversation with a senior member of the opposition during the election campaign … He ought to have done so, and I am shocked that he did not.”

Gleeson said one reason it was appropriate not to hang up on Dreyfus was that if there had been a post-election hung parliament and he was asked to provide advice, the appropriate constitutional position would have been for him, with the governor-general’s consent, to notify both Brandis and Dreyfus, because at that point it would not be clear who would ultimately form government.

“If I had simply said, ‘Mr Dreyfus I cannot say a word to you’, I think I would have compromised the independence of my office and I would have compromised the ability to advise the governor-general.”

Gleeson said he had been “shocked” by the direction, and the change was “making the functioning of my office exceptionally difficult”.

“I cannot run my office in the way I have run it for four years,” he said

He instanced a request he received this week from the Australian Government Solicitor on a High Court proceeding, which raised questions relating to the composition of this Senate. The brief did not have the signed consent from the attorney-general although the questions he was being asked to look at were from Brandis.

He decided to go ahead with an opinion, because he regarded as invalid the direction that everything must go through Brandis. “Do I lie awake at night and think, ‘Reading this direction literally, the attorney-general could seek an injunction against me to restrain me from performing my office?’ I do.”

Brandis criticised Gleeson for raising this case, saying he had not sought permission. “He ought to have done so but he did not.”

Brandis also said that since he had sought the opinion, “the suggestion, in relation to a matter referred to him by me, that he was somehow constrained or delayed by the operation of this legal services directive is unmaintainable”.

Government senators on the committee frequently took issue with Gleeson, sometimes aggressively, and at times he gave as good as he got.

He and Queensland Liberal senator Ian Macdonald had particularly sharp exchanges, with Gleeson reacting to Macdonald’s interruptions. “Senator, I will say this very quietly. You have now interrupted my answers three times”, Gleeson said at one point, to which Macdonald responded , “Oh, spare me!”.

“Four times”, Gleeson shot back. “Mr Gleeson, you are not in a court now. You are in a parliamentary committee hearing,” Macdonald said. Gleeson vigorously objected when Macdonald noted his daughter was a friend of academic Gabrielle Appleby, author of a recent book on the role of the solicitor-general.

Gleeson said he had written to Brandis in May criticising the direction and asking for it to be withdrawn, but had not received a reply.

Brandis said the government was in caretaker mode at that time. He said on August 16 he had written to Gleeson, inviting him to put his views, but had heard nothing from him, which was “curious”.

“And I find it curious that, in view of my letter to him of 16 August, the solicitor-general would say to this committee, ‘the attorney-general has refused to engage with me on this topic’, when the very purpose of my letter of 16 August was to do that very thing,” Brandis said.

“Had the solicitor-general sought to engage with me in response to my invitation, or even made a phone call to me, which he did not, this issue could have been sorted out in a matter of minutes.”

Brandis said the legal services direction, far from being a grab for power by him, as the opposition has claimed, “merely gives effect to the existing law”. He had seen it as a matter of “formality and administrative housekeeping”. The committee might usefully consider whether the law should be rewritten, he suggested.

He said the issue underlying the inquiry boiled down to a difference of opinion about the meaning of the word “consultation”. He handed to the committee the definition of the word as set out in the Oxford English Dictionary.


Public schools in the Coffs Harbour electorate will benefit from a share of the record $219 million in additional needs-based funding in 2017, made possible by NSW signing the Gonski agreement.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said in 2017 local public schools will receive $2,817,328 in additional needs-based funding.

“The NSW Government is delivering on its commitment to deliver additional school funding based on student need,” Mr Fraser said.

“These extra resources go directly to our schools allowing principals to better meet the unique needs of their students and the school community.

“I have seen schools in the Coffs Harbour electorate employ additional teachers with expertise to assist students who need extra support in key learning areas like literacy and numeracy.”

In NSW public schools, needs-based funding is distributed under the Resource Allocation Model (RAM), which uses information about student need to deliver resources where they are needed most, consistent with the Gonski recommendations.

Examples of local needs-based funding allocations in the Coffs Harbour electorate include:

  • Coffs Harbour High School will receive $1.170m an increase of $376.292 in 2016
  • Coffs Harbour Public School will receive $1.091m an increase of $199,910 in 2016
  • Orara High School will receive $1.365m an increase of $200,126 in 2016
  • Toormina High School will receive $1.144m an increase of $93,014 in 2016
  • Woolgoolga High School will receive $1.037m an increase of $248.737 in 2016

Since 2014 public schools across NSW have received $504 million in extra funding helped by the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government signing up to the Gonski agreement.

A ‘game changer’ Gun changes Turnbull – Abbott Game

Calling all Graffiti Busters

That’s the message from Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, who wants vandals’ tags wiped out on Graffiti Removal Day on Sunday, October 30.

“There’s no better way of condemning graffiti and showing your pride in your community than joining this inspiring day of community action,” Mr Fraser said.

“Graffiti is ugly, often offensive and can make people feel unsafe.  We need to get rid of it quickly to deny vandals any satisfaction and we can achieve this on Graffiti Removal Day.”

To volunteer, complete the online registration form at

All volunteer graffiti-busters will be provided with training, graffiti removal equipment and protective gear on the day.

Last year, an army of more than 2,000 volunteers removed 21,000m² of graffiti from over 450 sites across NSW saving government and private property owners an estimated $1.4 million.

“Volunteers ranged from Girl Guides to octogenarians which demonstrates graffiti is a problem that impacts all of us in the community,” Mr Fraser concluded.

Areas with the highest participation rates in 2015 included Penrith, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Wagga Wagga, Coffs Harbour and Muswellbrook.

Coffsoutlook and Comments

Over the last few weeks we have been having quite a number of comments held back by kismet a system which checks all incoming mail for spam and obnoxious comments. Unfortunately there was quite a large build up which was embarrassing. That has now been fixed and I would like to welcome all comments. Some of the immediate ones may well be out of date , however they are still interesting.  If your comment does not appear please get in touch with me and I will try and settle the matter quickly.   Regards Hugh.    phone 0411864711 or




Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has welcomed the roll out of 21 mobile tablet devices for frontline officers, which will simplify the process of issuing infringements and allowing officers mobile access to police systems.

Already 900 devices from the Mobile Policing Program have been delivered to Local Area Commands across NSW as part of the NSW Government’s ‘Policing for Tomorrow’ fund and now another 1300 will be rolled out statewide.  In 2016-17, $36 million was allocated towards programs like this one as part of a $100 million commitment over four years.

Local Area Commands in metropolitan Sydney will receive 500 devices, while 800 tablets will be delivered to regional areas in northern, southern and western NSW.

Mr Fraser said this will make a huge difference for regional policing.

“These devices simplify the process of issuing infringements so officers don’t have to return to the station meaning they spend more time out on the beat,” Mr Fraser said.

“It will be of particular benefit to officers in country areas who travel long distances to return to their station to complete administrative tasks. The rollout of these devices will mean increased flexibility and less paperwork for frontline police.”

Officers will be able to issue infringements electronically via email or mobile text message rather than having to return to their station.  In addition the NSW Police database is being overhauled with funding allocated to modernise the computerised operational policing system (COPS).

COPS is vital to the day to day operations of the force including logging criminal incidents, gathering intelligence and issuing infringements.

The system is more than 20 years old and until 2011 was a text-only data entry and retrieval system. It is now moving to a web-based interface ‘WebCOPS’ which will improve usability.

“The new mobile devices being rolled out will be able to access webCOPS which will allow for more efficiency and synchronicity.  Officers in the field will have access to more operationally relevant information and it will eliminate the duplication of data entry,” Mr Fraser said.

The devices will be rolled out over the next few months.


The Jetty Theatre What’s on from Oct 23 to Jan 2017

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Arts & Culture in October

Looking towards the end of 2016, live theatre, musicals, dance, performance art, and cinema provide a diverse line-up primed at the heart of Coffs’ arts and culture scene, the Jetty Memorial Theatre.

All ticket bookings can be made by calling the Box Office on (02) 6652 8088 or at

Twelfth Night or What You Will

Thursday 13 – Sunday 23 October

A Comedy by William Shakespeare. Directed by Shirley Barnett. Presented by CHATS.

A shipwreck, twins, cross dressing,  a duel, a clown, music and fun- our recipe for a Christmas pudding to celebrate the 400th  anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. A rich treat indeed and still making people laugh today….

Shirley has assembled a diverse cast for Twelfth Night drawing actors from Dorrigo,  Bellingen and Coffs Harbour. All ages and levels  of experience  are covered from 10 years old to too old to care! We are especially proud that three members of “Mix It Up” (a CHATS- sponored group of disabled  young people) will be making their debut.


Cinematinee: Gardening With Soul

Thursday 20 October

Love, faith…and compost.
Sister Loyola is one of the liveliest nonagenarians you could ever meet. ‘Gardening with Soul’ is a feature length documentary following a year in the garden with 90-year-old Sister Loyola Galvin. Sister Loyola’s optimism is infectious and it’s fed every day by her love of gardening. Themes of faith, aging and compassion sit alongside the practicalities of community life, issues within the Catholic Church and the importance of good compost in this intimate, funny and moving portrait of a woman approaching the end of her life.
The lively, beautifully shot documentary is filmed almost entirely in a small community on the southern coast of Wellington, New Zealand. With music by local musician David Long, and full of the sea- and garden-scapes that have informed Loyola’s life, Gardening with Soul uncovers a local legend and her community for the wider world. Any belief we might harbour that becoming a nun is avoiding the real world is turned firmly on its head as we witness this extraordinary soul steer a sharp course through all weathers, trying to shine love on everything she sees.
A superbly understated film that packs an emotional punch…a beautiful commentary on the power of humanity- Film Ink



Garlambirla Youth Centre presents Miimiga

Wednesday 26 – Saturday 29 October

Miimiga is a new musical by Coffs Harbour High School’s Garlambirla Youth Theatre, continuing their project of interpreting the cross-cultural history of Coffs Harbour. Miimiga has three storylines which all relate to the concept of mother, whether as Mother Earth, Mother Ocean or giving birth. The show features choreography by Tara Gower, Sani Townson and GYT dancers, and songs by Stephen Pigram and Emma Donovan as well as many original numbers.

Miimiga has a gentle, mystical feeling which we hope will surprise and move our audiences. We would like to thank the Gumbaynggirr Elders for their support and guidance on this project.


Cinematinee: Hello, My Name Is Doris

Thursday 3 November

D. Michael Showalter | 95mins | M | USA

After a lifetime of being overlooked and ignored, a woman of a certain age finds her world turned upside down by a handsome new co-worker and a self-help seminar that inspires her to take a chance on love in Hello, My Name is Doris, a witty and compassionate late-life coming-of-age-story.

When Doris Miller (Sally Field) meets John Fremont (Max Greenfield), her company’s hip new art director, sparks fly-at least for Doris. In the cluttered house she shared with her late mother, Doris mines the Internet for information on her one-and-only, guided by the 13-year-old granddaughter of her best pal Roz. When Doris begins showing up at John’s regular haunts, she wins over his Williamsburg friends. Her new life brings Doris a thrilling perspective, but also creates a rift between her and her longtime friends and family, who believe she’s making a fool of herself over a guy half her age. Eager for all the experiences she has missed out on, Doris throws caution to the wind and follows her heart for the very first time.

“Sally Field is so lovable, funny and real”, Jen Oritz, Marie Claire.

“Sally Field’s presence…is like a beacon of beckoning human warmth just waiting to be cherished – Roger



Mary Poppins the Musical

Friday 4 – Sunday 27 November

Presented by Coffs Harbour Musical Comedy Company.

This magical family musical is based on the series of children’s books by P.L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The Banks family live at Number 17, Cherry Tree Lane with their children, Jane & Michael, whose mischievous behaviour has just caused yet another nanny to leave in a hurry. Enter Mary Poppins, the “practically perfect”, rather unconventional nanny, who bonds with the children as no other nanny has.

When Mary Poppins suddenly leaves the position, Mrs Banks hires Mr Banks’ childhood nanny to take on the job, sending George and the children fleeing from the house, Mary Poppins becomes more valuable than ever. With patience, kindness, and a little bit of magic, Mary and her friend Bert help the family set things right – maybe more right than they’d ever been before.


Future Shows Now on Sale

Julie Ross Dance Studio

December 11


December 16

SWIFF 2017


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Jetty Memorial Theatre is an initiative of Coffs Harbour City Council