NSW education and early learning minister Sarah Mitchell is spruiking the state’s new education policy, which includes $5.8 billion allocated to training educators and building more preschools.
Mitchell told the Today Show she was confident there would be enough educators despite the current teacher shortage, adding she was sure there would be enough staff to fulfill the government’s plan.
We want to expand our existing preschools, it’s a game changer, and it’s exciting, and there is big money behind it because we have to do well for our kids.
They do an amazing job, our early childhood workforce, so this is our chance to invest in them and grow and set children up for the best start in life.
Bowen is next asked about the energy market and generators and whether they have been acting in the interest of consumers. Bowen was cagey in his answers, neither criticizing nor defending the system and the generators, instead striking a conciliatory tone:
The National energy market is a complicated beast; the generators it in on the energy regulator wrote to the generators last week and reminded them of their legal obligations to bid at fair and accurate rates and that the regulator was monitoring their behavior; still, yesterday, the judgment was made that wit isn’t enough, the operator needed to step in and take control.
I’m not here to second-guess, the energy regulator has our full support and monitoring of all behavior, and I’m not here to make accusations. Still, I say the regulator and operator have our full support in any action they deem necessary, as they have done and will do.
There are things state and territory ministers will look at with me to see how this situation unfolds and needs to change, but in the short-term and days ahead, we will work with the existing rules; those rules let us do what happened yesterday, didn’t need, you know, any change to the law or meeting of state and territory ministers, the operator spoke to me, I asked him to talk to the ministers affected and he did so, and action was implemented immediately.
Next up, energy minister Chris Bowen was on ABC News Breakfast this morning and, like the PM, blamed the energy crisis on the previous government.
Bowed said a, “a decade of underinvestment in renewable energy and transmission” has brought about the situation faced by states along the east coast, where blackouts are still possible:
This results from a decade of underinvestment in renewable energy and transmission and storage … Last week, I convened state and territory energy ministers who agreed on a comprehensive national plan to fix that.
It’s a big step forward but a challenging situation. But the good news, the regulators and operators are working very closely with governments, and we are managing that situation; we have avoided lockouts and avoided load shedding so far, and yesterday was an extreme action, not taken lightly, but it was a judgment that it was what was necessary to act in the best interests of consumers to intervene and close the market and take control and that’s what happened yesterday, it was the right decision.
Asked how long this crisis could continue and whether it might last all winter, Bowen said he was in conversation every day to review the situation:
I don’t envisage that long, but reviewed on a day-to-day basis in a very clear that the regulator and operator – and I’ve been clear with that chief executive of the operator, he has my full support for any action he deems necessary – the government will back the operator and regulators 100%, In his judgment, this intervention will not be lifted one day earlier than it needs to be.
Updated at 18.08 EDT
Workers’ deserve real wage increase’, PM says
Albanese is next asked about the Fair Work Commission’s decision to raise the minimum wage and whether or not that could lead to higher inflation rates.
The PM says the commission’s president, Ian Ross, considered the economic environment when the decision was announced. When pushed, he says workers deserve the raise:
Ian Ross has said that he took into account the economic circumstances and the pressure particularly low-wage workers were feeling. Patricia, I just spoke about the support provided in the May budget on a bipartisan basis because of the stress that particular groups felt.
But you have a circumstance whereby when inflation rises, the cost of everything goes up except for people’s wages; I was asked during the election campaign if I would welcome having a real wage cut for the lowest-paid workers. And I said absolutely, and I stand by that.
We’ve made it clear that this was a particular circumstance at this time for the national wage case for minimum wage workers in the context as well of those minimum wage workers being hailed as heroes during the pandemic. Hence, they deserve more than just our thanks and applause. They deserve a real wage increase.
Updated at 18.01 EDT
‘Policy failure led to market failure,’ Albanese says
Anthony Albanese is on RN Breakfast this morning and begins his conversation by discussing the energy crisis gripping the country.
The PM says it should be a “source of incredible embarrassment” for the previous government that this situation has arisen:
This is a direct result of a failure to invest, of a failure to have an energy policy … and as a result, we have the circumstances that Aemo is dealing with. We’ve seen a policy failure that has led to a market failure.
Some weaknesses have been exposed … and all of the lessons of what is happening will be examined if there need to be any policy adjustments, they’ll be made.
Albanese is asked if the rules need to change but stops short of announcing any new policies:
We’ll continue to monitor … my instinct is not to make policy based on a radio interview … after ten years of knee-jerk reactions … my government will act in a considered and sober way.
Updated at 17.59 EDT
US Federal Reserve raises interest rates.
So I just wanted to zero in on the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates in the United States after it announced a 0.75 percentage-point increase overnight.
The rate increase is the biggest since 1994 and reflects the gravity of the country’s economic situation, which is facing the highest rate of inflation seen in 40 years.
The Fed chair, Jerome Powell, said the central bank had decided on a larger-than-expected rate hike to deal with the inflation and indicated that a similarly outsized rate rise should be expected at its next meeting in July unless price rises softened:
We at the Fed understand the hardship inflation is causing. Inflation can’t go down until it flattens out. That’s what we’re looking to see.
You can read more on the rate hike at the link below:
Wall Street rallied on news of the walk and the Fed’s later assurance that such mega-hikes would not be common.
The S&P 500 climbed 54.51, or 1.5%, to 3,789.99 after whipping through roller-coaster trading immediately following the Fed’s latest move to fight inflation.
In equally topsy-turvy trading, Treasury yields eased in the bond market after Powell seemed to soothe the market’s fears about an overly aggressive Fed by implying more modest rate increases may be coming later this year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average swung between a gain of 647 points and a loss of nearly 180 before finishing with an increase of 303.70. It closed at 30,668.53, up 1%. The Nasdaq composite jumped 270.81, or 2.5%, to 11,099.15.
The market’s enthusiasm was a sharp turnaround from the worldwide rout that has dominated much of this year, which forced the S&P 500 into a bear market earlier this week.
Updated at 17.50 EDT
ISPs asked to block access to an illegal gambling website
The communications regulator has asked internet service providers to block access to thepokies.net, a popular unlawful gambling website that it says is causing significant harm to Australians.
Thepokies.net gets 30,000 visits a month, has taken tens of millions of dollars from Australians and is the most complained-about illegal gambling website this year, the Australian Communications and Media Authority said.
Acma said the site was operating online casino-style games, which are prohibited under Australian law. Its chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, said:
We have received more complaints about thepokies.net this year than any other illegal gambling website, and it is harming the Australian community. Complaints have ranged from people who have lost significant amounts of money to the site refusing to honor deposits and winnings.
Acma has asked for blocks on more than 500 sites since it got the power to request them in 2017.
Along with thepokies.net, Acma has also asked ISPs to block casino websites Azure Hand, Abo Casino (yes, it’s called that), Betroom, 777Bay, Space Lilly, Jet Casino, Katsu Bet, and Winz:
By blocking access to sites like this, we are sending a strong message that the ACMA can and will take action to stop illegal operators from targeting Australians.
Acma has had difficulty stopping illegal casino sites from offering their wares to Australians – something Guardian Australia examined last year.
Updated at 17.30 EDT
Albanese to submit new climate target to UN
The Albanese government is preparing to formalize one of its key election promises: a 43% carbon cut by 2030.
The new government’s more ambitious mid-term target will be outlined in an updated nationally determined contribution to be submitted to the UN framework convention on climate change secretariat.
The government will sign the document at a Parliament House in Canberra event at about 9.15 am today. The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, will be joined by the climate change and energy minister, Chris Bowen, and the assistant minister, Jenny McAllister, for the event. Key industry stakeholders are also expected to attend.
The previous Morrison government last year overcame internal divisions to agree to a target of net zero by 2050. But the former government refused to upgrade Australia’s formal 2030 target, which remained stuck at the Tony Abbott-era level of a 26% to 28% reduction compared with 2005 levels.
Albanese went to the election with a policy of upgrading this target to 43% – but now faces pressure from the expanded crossbench in federal parliament to commit to an even more ambitious target to remain consistent with the Paris agreement goal of pursuing efforts to limit heating to 1.5C.
The government has said it will stick with the target it took to the election, saying it had formulated its proposed policy measures and then modeled their impact to come up with the 43% pledge. But Bowen told Guardian Australia it would be good if the policy achieved an even greater reduction:
We’ll seek to implement our policies and hoping will be very effective. If they are more effective than we have modeled; fantastic.
Last year the Morrison government communicated an updated NDC to the UN that included the Coalition’s “technology not taxes” slogan. It argued that Australia was on track to overachieve its unchanged formal 2030 target.
Good morning, Mostafa Rachwani. With you on this cold Thursday, with much already going on.
We begin in Canberra, where prime minister Anthony Albanese will be signing off on one of Labor’s key election promises, a 43% cut in emissions by 2030. An event featuring key ministers and industry figures is expected later this morning to mark the new target.
The energy crisis continues today after the Australian Energy Market Operator took the extraordinary step of suspending the market across the east coast electricity power network last night. Aemo said the chaos in the preceding days had made it “impossible to operate”.
In the US, the Federal Reserve has announced its biggest interest rate hike since 1994. Amid soaring inflation and a potential recession, the Federal Reserve announced a 0.75 percentage-point increase, with ripple effects expected worldwide.