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Australia Announces Aus$500 Million ($340 Million) Climate Change Package for Pacific Island Countries

The climate-sceptic leader made the announcement before traveling to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu

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Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Traditionally-dressed representatives from South Pacific nations push their canoes into the water as they prepare to participate in a protest aimed at ships leaving the Newcastle coal port, located north of Sydney, Australia, Oct. 17, 2014. VOA

Australia on Tuesday announced a Aus$500 million ($340 million) climate change package for Pacific island countries, which have been increasingly vocal in demanding their powerful neighbor curb its carbon emissions.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding, drawn from Australia’s existing international aid budget, would help Pacific island nations invest in renewable energy and climate change resilience.

The climate-sceptic leader made the announcement before traveling to the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) in Tuvalu, where island nations threatened by rising seas have vowed to put global warming at the top of the agenda.

Smaller members of the 18-nation grouping have been sharply critical of Australia’s climate policies ahead of this year’s summit amid a diplomatic push from Canberra to counter China’s growing power in the region.

Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Australia on Tuesday announced a Aus$500 million ($340 million) climate change package for Pacific island countries, which have been increasingly vocal in demanding. Pixabay

High-level representatives from the likes of Tuvalu, Palau and Vanuatu have criticized Australia for not doing enough, with Fiji’s Frank Bainimarama saying Canberra’s reliance on coal poses an “existential threat” to low-lying islands.

There has also been disquiet in the Pacific that Australia recently approved the giant Adani coal mine in Queensland state.

Morrison has staunchly defended Australia’s climate record, insisting the country will meet its 2030 emissions reduction target set under the Paris Agreement.

“The $500 million we’re investing for the Pacific’s renewable energy and its climate change and disaster resilience builds on the $300 million for 2016-2020,” he said in a statement.

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“This highlights our commitment to not just meeting our emissions reduction obligations at home but supporting our neighbors and friends.”

Greenpeace said the package was nothing more than a diversion of funds from Australia’s Pacific aid program and “a slap in the face to regional leaders”.

“This $Aus500 million accounting trick will do nothing to address the cause of the climate crisis that threatens the viability of the entire Pacific,” Greenpeace’s Pacific head Joseph Moeono-Kolio said in a statement.

Australia, Pacific Island, Countries
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding, drawn from Australia’s existing international aid budget, would help Pacific island nations invest in renewable energy. Pixabay

The tussle over climate action comes as Australia attempts to reassert its influence in the Pacific through its “step-up” strategy, which some regional leaders have warned is likely to fail without meaningful climate action.

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The PIF summit officially opens late Tuesday and continues until Thursday. (VOA)

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Four in Five Working People in Australia Exposed to Unsafe Work Practices

The survey revealed that nearly 80 per cent of working people have been injured, become ill, or both because of their work

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Working People, Australia, Unsafe
The survey, 'Work Shouldn't Hurt', released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on Monday included 26,000 workers, reported Xinhua. Pixabay

Four in five working people in Australia are exposed to unsafe work practices as they have been injured, become ill, or both due to traumatic situations at work, reveals a survey.

The survey, ‘Work Shouldn’t Hurt’, released by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) on Monday included 26,000 workers, reported Xinhua.

The survey revealed that nearly 80 per cent of working people have been injured, become ill, or both because of their work whereas 16 per cent knew someone who was killed at work or by a work-related disease.

It also found that 47 per cent of respondents were exposed to either traumatic or distressing situations at work in the last 12 months and 31 per cent said they have been abused, threatened or assaulted by co-workers, clients or customers.

Working People, Australia, Unsafe
Four in five working people in Australia are exposed to unsafe work practices as they have been injured, become ill, or both due to traumatic situations at work, reveals a survey. Pixabay

Three out of five workers said they experienced poor mental health in the last 12 months as a result of their employer failing to address unsafe working conditions.

Liam O’Brien, the ACTU assistant secretary, told Fairfax Media on Monday that the incidence of injuries and poor mental health were “entirely avoidable.”

“Work shouldn’t hurt anyone – mentally, or physically,” he said.

“The Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey reveals that too many working people are experiencing violence, traumatic events and poor working conditions at work and most of it is preventable,” he added.

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While 61 per cent of workers experienced poor mental health because of work only nine per cent made a workers’ compensation claim for it and of those that did only a third were approved.

More than half the 26,000 respondents said they were aware of conditions in their workplace that could cause injury or illness. (IANS)