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Social Justice Blog

Extreme Weather and Social Justice
5 July 2019

World Environment Day, on June 5, led me to reflect on a conversation I had in 2013 with Will Steffen, principal author the Australian Climate Report ‘The Critical Decade’ (2011) and a member of the Australian Climate Commission. We were in a car travelling from the airport to the 'Under the Weather – Community Services and the Impacts of Extreme Weather Events' conference on the Gold Coast where I was to be a panel member in a debate titled ‘Advocacy, Action and Engagement’. It was one of those conversations that you know will change your life. The defining moment was when he explained that, as a scientist, he no longer used the term ‘climate change’ because of the implication that we know what the change will look like once it occurs. Instead he uses the term ‘climate destabilisation’ because, from a scientific perspective, the compounding impacts of a global climate change are so difficult to predict, and our understanding of the interconnectivity of weather to other ecosystems is so juvenile that we really don’t know where the end might be. Read more>>

AASW TAS at 2018 National Homelessness Week Forum in Hobart
8 August 2018

As part of Hobart's recent National Homelessness Week activities, Branch Management Committee member Megan Smith (Meg with Danny Sutton (CEO Colony 47) represented the AASW at the Homelessness and Housing Forum in the beautiful Hobart Town Hall. This event, organised by the Hobart City Council, was a conversation hosted by the Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISOSC) and focused on current research data and experiences from the organisations at the coal face of the issue. A panel consisting of Pattie Chugg (EO, Shelter Tasmania), Lisa Denny (Researcher, ISOSC), Peter White (Deputy Director, Housing and Disability and Community Services) and Danny Sutton (CEO, Colony 47) gave insights into their experience of the issue and discussed a range of ways to address the issue in the immediate and longer term.

After some honest insights from other attendees focusing on homelessness, Megan Smith representing AASW TAS, was fortunate to ask the panel a question focusing on the issue of housing affordability and its relationship to income inequality. Directed primarily at the panel chair, Dr Richard Eccleston, Director ISOSC, the question focused on policy levers driving housing unaffordability, particularly negative gearing and its impact on the Tasmanian housing market. In his reply, Dr Eccleston outlined a range of influences in the decision making of investors, as part of a supply solution, including the impact of state government land tax.

Meg Smith

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