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Petition Tag - assessment
The UK Disabled Community needs to send a clear and unequivocal message in one unified voice to call on the Coalition Government to see us all as equal members of society and not treat us as a tool to steal our disability benefits and services to bail out the Country in this time of Financial Crisis.
Can we set a precedence to get 1 million signatures so that the Coalition Government will have no option but to take note of us and not just ignore or deflect our arguments & comments and to stop building this climate of hate against disabled people.
Please leave a question for your Local MP to pose to the Coalition Government, which we will add to the Petition when we deliver it to No.10.
In order to get a construction certificate for properties near the rail corridor, home owners in NSW currently need to get an acoustics assessment The Department of Planning applies this condition to all properties near the rail corridor regardless of the type of rail operating. In the "Development Near Rail Corridors and Busy Roads Interim Guidelines 2007", it is stated that ‘The impact from railway depends on a range of factors including train type.’(p14).
However, The Department of planning does not make any distinction between the different types of rail in practical application. Therefore an acoustic assessment is required by anyone who wants to develop a property located near rail regardless of the type of rail it is.
This requirement is excessive in the case of light rail as the noise generated by light rail is significantly less than other types of rail.
As a result of poor foresight and very significant maladministration, the Australian Federal Government's 'Green Loans Program' is set to end before mid-2010. That is less than one year from its inception.
Initial estimates given to assessors, who are at the core of the program, gave 31 December 2012 as a date for when assessments may no longer be required.
The aim of the program is to assist householders in making their homes more sustainable with the environment. An often quoted definition of sustainability appears in the 1987 United Nations Report 'Our Common Future'. It is also known as the 'Brundtland Report'. The definition is: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
Green Loans is an excellent movement towards sustainability. It allows for a trained professional to visit homes in his/her area and engage householders on how their homes can be made more energy efficient. The householder then receives a report of recommendations from the government for implementation. If a recommendation is expensive, they may apply for a green loan of up to $10,000. This is fee free and interest free for four years.
Poor monitoring of the program has resulted in a massive influx of people being registered as assessors. It has been suggested that training organisations over-enrolled students to their classes. A huge rush to complete assessments is occuring to recover training and other costs before the funding for the program is exhausted.
In many cases, householders have had to wait for many months to receive the report of recommendations from the government. This is issued after an assessment has been lodged with the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Until such report is issued, householders are unable to apply for the green loan. Nor can they know what any of the recommendations are.
It has also been revealed in Senate Estimates Hearings that since 14 December 2009 one company, Field Force, has received preferential treatment in being able bypass the call centre in order to book assessments. With under 10% of the assessor workforce, they are booking over 6,000 assessments per week (roughly 30%). In addition, they are passing on only half of the fees receive to their employees. This is to the detriment of thousands of self-employed individuals who made a conscious, life-changing, decision to join the program. They are not able to get through to the central call centre to book assessments, or have to wait inordinate amounts of time to speak to a call centre operator when they do get through. Even then, only five bookings per call can be made.
Update: Minister Garrett has today, 19 February 2010, announced that an additional 600,000 assessments will be rolled out. Funding will come by scrapping the less popular loans component of the program (this may have been less popular due to extensive delays householders faced in receiving the recommendations report). The number of assessors able to sign a contract with DEWHA will be capped at 5,000. The number of assessments per assessor will be capped at five per week and three per day and the number of total assessments per week will be capped at 15,000. From today, only individual assessors will be able to book jobs. The Green Loans Program will end on December 31, 2010 and Green Start will commence on 1 January 2011. Details on Green Start are promised in coming months.
Reaction has yet to filter through. As author of this petition, I am contactable on this page. The petition wording remains as it was since structural issues associated with the program continue to remain. These include:
* Uniformity in assessor knowledge, training and currency of knowledge;
* A need to investigate processes within DEWHA so that program changes (both present and future) can be incorporated smoothly;
* The establishment of a monitoring system (perhaps random), for both newer and older assessors.
The quality of the program (and the extent to which it may have thus far been compromised) remains, as always, an important consideration.
The government has promised an upgrade to assessor qualifications (to Certificate IV level). This is to be at no additional financial cost to assessors, although additional time will need to be invested. This upgrade provides a significant opportunity to bring the program back on track.
Author's note (19 February 2010): online petitions carry the advantages of amendability (to a point) and accessibility from diverse physical locations. This is a spirited attempt to connect people to elected representatives. Any other communication activities which occur, in addition to this petition, so that we may sustainably manage resources of the planet is encouraged. They may be individual or group based.
Having said that I will, with the collection of a sufficient number of signatures, print off the petition and personally deliver it to the Prime Minister and perhaps all elected representatives. Feedback on who the most appropriate addressee/s is/are is welcome. Thank you.
As most of you are aware, there was an incident back in June of 2009 where Sophie bit an elderly lady walking down the street in front of my house. Sophie was 14 months old, and UTD on vaccinations when this occurred. The lady that was bitten is not pressing charges and this is the first and only time that anything like this has ever happened.
The Dog Constable came to my house the following day and put Sophie in a very small cage, attached to the back of a car and drove away with her. While he was in my yard, I asked what the next steps were, and he informed me, (only after minutes of seeing her), since your dog has bitten someone, she will more than likely be euthanized. He did a 48 hour assessment on her (beginning the assessment only after 2 hours of taking her from my care, and travelling in a cage attached to the back of a car), and put in his report to the town. His conclusion was that she had fear aggression and that she was fearful of her surroundings, and that there is no way to tell how she will react if something scares her. The only option to protect the town was for her to be euthanized. They kept her for 12 days. I was not allowed to see her, and the town would not return her to me. As soon as I got a lawyer, things changed and I had her back home the following day.
For the last 7 months I have done everything in my power to assure the town that something like this will never happen again. I have put in a fence surrounding my yard, we complete weekly training sessions with renounced Animal Behaviorist, Andrew Turner, Sophie is being socialized on a regular basis, and is undergoing desensitizing for the things that she is fearful of. Sophie has made huge improvements and continuously strives to be a balanced dog. Just last week when I took Sophie for a walk, and there were 3 people and 3 dogs that we encountered on the walk, and she walked right by them. She is making improvements every day, and for someone to say, after doing a 48 hours assessment, that she is not trainable, “wired incorrectly” and the only option is euthanasia should not be in the position that he is in. How many other dogs have been put down because of his “authority”?
Because of this bogus report, by an unqualified individual there is a court date set for Feb. 16, 2010 at 1:00PM to decide the fate of Sophie. I am asking from the bottom of my heart that all of my friends please attend the hearing as support for Sophie.
We the undersigned citizens of Nova Scotia, desire to change the unfair, unreasonable, and undemocratic Assessment Act.
For several years now property Assessments have been subjected to unhealthy and ridiculous increases. Waterfront properties especially have been hit hardest.
Since 1997 some property assessments have gone up more then 230%!
Property owners, who have lived on their land for generations have had to sell their family heritage whether they want to or not because of unaffordable tax burdens (according to newspaper). Also, tenants of apartments have had to move because they can not afford the increased rents that landlords have to charge because of the increased tax burden.
This situation is unjust and tantamount to cruelty.
We all have to pay taxes, but taxes must be equally distributed among all taxpayers. All of us use the same infrastructure, at the set cost for all of us.
Some of the municipal and town councils proudly announce that they have kept the tax rate (per $100 assessment) at the same level for many years. What they do not say is that the assessment value on some properties has skyrocketed. This practice is deceitful.
The government’s explanation that the assessment value is “a market value” is unfair and unreasonable. Market values fluctuate up and down. Assessments do not reflect this. Market value is at best, an estimated guess at what a property might sell for if sold. If you don’t want to sell, you do not care what the market value is.
You should not be punished with excessive tax hikes because you don’t want to sell.
If you want to sell, and find a buyer who pays you a big amount of money, your neighbours shouldn’t be punished with higher tax burden after your personal sale. Again this practice is unfair and unreasonable.
The government’s stated arguments that for 5000 years the “wealthier people” have had to pay more taxes are not valid arguments. A property that is owned by a family for generations does not mean that the family is still “wealthy”, or that they use a larger part of the infrastructure.
It is unfair that a property owner on one side of the road with some waterfront access pays five or more times the amount of taxes as the property owner on the other side of the same road with the same view, the same amount of land and same old or new building.
Both of them use the same infrastructure. We believe that the measures set out in the petition will more evenly distribute the tax burden among us all.
Also, it will make the taxes more predictable every year for municipalities, homeowners and companies.
The concerned parents, in conjunction with PTA, request that the Diocese of Camden evaluate the state of the school; the tuition rates, the three-tier tuition base and the fundraising assessment assigned to PTA.
For several decades the former Australian Atomic Energy Commission, now the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation has been making application to successive Commonwealth Governments for a replacement to the multipurpose reactor HIFAR at Lucas Heights.
In 1992 a public inquiry was conducted by the Commonwealth Government called the Research Reactor Review, or McKinnon Review. The Review recommended a 5-year pause on consideration of the case for a new reactor for further assessment of issues including questions on Australia's need for a new reactor.
In 1997 the current Commonwealth Government announced that a new nuclear reactor would be established at Lucas Heights pending assessment under the Environment Protection Impact of Proposals Act, 1974. An Environmental Impact Statement process was undertaken, resulting in a favourable report from the Commonwealth Minister for Health. Assessment included review of the proposal by three international peer review agencies. The Commonwealth Government confirmed its intention to proceed with the proposal in 1998. Tendering for the proposal was completed by June 2000 and the tender granted to Argentinian company INVAP. The licensing process for design and construction of the new reactor is currently under way, with approval to be granted by ARPANSA in February 2002. The new reactor, to be commissioned around 2006 will be twice the power rating of the existing reactor, which will be decommissioned at a date to be confirmed.
It is understood that a replacement reactor locational study employing international consultants was undertaken around 1996. The public and the councils were not included in this undertaking, which appears to have been performed by the Commonwealth Department of Industry Science and Tourism with advice from ANSTO. The locational study report remains a Cabinet-in-Confidence document.
A cost for the proposed reactor of $286 million has been estimated by ANSTO as part of the current development assessment process although secret government documents obtained via Freedom of Information requests made by Sutherland Shire Council have revealed that the government’s own cost estimate is around $500 million. No design for the reactor has yet been revealed, despite the international peer review stating that the safety arguments used to justify the proposal now impose specific design constraints on the reactor in order to achieve these promised safety levels.
In spite of polls, submissions, lobbying and the actions of several state governments to prohibit the development of the dumpsites which will be unavoidable with a new reactor, the Liberal Government is continuing it's blind charge towards a future contaminated with the nuclear waste produced by the proposed new reactor.
Please take this opportunity to voice your opposition to this project and to raise the call for a nuclear free future.
The Diamondback Terrapin may be under increasing harvesting pressure. This species is a prized food item in many urban markets in the US and in Canada. In response to citizens request the Governor of Maryland has appropriated $250,000 for a five year stock assessment of the Diamondback Terrapin, the State Reptile. ALthough the funds have been requested, the overall budget must be approved. This is a very important study and necessary to conserve this species.