The NSW Carr Government's pro-environment stance is being exposed more and more as a greenwash. For the second year in a row it has cut funding for the environment. Rangers in national parks, education programs on the environment and head office staff have been targeted for the chop by the NSW Department of the Environment because of a $30 million budget cut. Staff members in the department's Sustainable Programs Division have been sent letters seeking their "expression of interest" in taking a redundancy. As well as park rangers, staff in other regional services will also go. Last year's cut was $47 million.
* * *In Victoria, the Bracks Government has hired a private investigation company to spy on the state's 11,000 public servants. Under the three-year, $1 million-plus contract, the Department of Human Services is setting up a panel of private investigators to provide "discipline management services" such as looking into alleged "breaches of discipline" and whistleblower complaints. (You may recall that Departments of Human Services were previously known as personnel departments, but governments and corporations have changed the name to put a positive spin on what more appropriately should be called the Bullying and Intimidation Section.) The Government wants to gag people making complaints and exposing all manner of government incompetence and corruption. Most recently the managers of two hospital emergency departments came under intense pressure from the Health Department for speaking out about shortcomings in the health system because of lack of funding. Two years ago Bracks had Department of Natural Resources and Environment staff interrogated by a private investigator about alleged leaks to the Liberal Party. * * *"Universities need a mechanism beyond 'we have a commercial office'. They need to recruit talented people who have real and proven commercialisation skills." That's privatisation consultant Kris Gale. These money grubbing cowboys are now quite open about the agenda to privatise higher education. And here's Andy Sierakowski, of Knowledge Commercialisation Australia, standing up for those pushing privatisation within the universities themselves: "The amount of work required to shape the intellectual property into a form that the commercial world can understand is underestimated". Not surprisingly he thinks that "venture capitalists see this as an opportunity to get control of technology, to get control of the profit". * * *CAPITALIST HOG(S) OF THE WEEK: are BHP and PM Howard. Flakjacket Johnnie and BHP Billiton chairman Don Argus are off to the USA where they will meet with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to stitch up a deal for BHP to have a liquefied natural gas terminal off the US west coast. Thus we have the no- talent boofhead who has "killed" tens of thousands of people on the big screen, coming together with the head of a corporation responsible for the deaths of thousands of workers and for putting hundreds of thousands out of work, and the man jointly responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of real people in Iraq — all in order to stuff more profits into the coffers of BHP Billiton.