Education, income-generation for Rohingya refugees must be top priorities, say Oxfam, Save the Children & World Vision

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

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Education and income-generating opportunities must be made top priorities for the nearly 1 million Rohingya still languishing in the world’s largest refugee camp almost 18 months after fleeing violence and persecution in Myanmar, said three leading NGOs at the launch of a new UN funding plan for the crisis launched in Geneva today.

In a statement issued today, Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision called on international governments to generously fund the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis. While the agencies applaud the ambitious new JRP—an appeal for US$ 920.5 million to assist 1.25 million people, including 909,000 Rohingya refugees and 336,000 host community members—they urge donors to emphasize education and income-generating activities when allotting funding.

The three agencies are also calling on donors and the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that humanitarian action in Bangladesh supports refugees and host communities to live in greater safety and dignity while meeting basic needs for food, clean water, and shelter. This means investing in education to equip children and youth with the skills they will need to create a more prosperous future in Myanmar when they can safely return there. It also means enabling refugees to become self-reliant today so they can provide for their families in dignity.

Rachel Wolff, World Vision’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis Response Director, said: “Education is not a luxury. It is a human right. Refugee children and parents tell us that education is a top priority for them. However, there is an overwhelming gap in access for children and adolescents.”

An estimated 700,000 children and youth age 3 to 24, including 200,000 from the host community, lack access to educational services. The situation for refugee adolescents and youth is particularly dire: only four in 100 have access to any form of education or life-skills and vocational training.

Thirteen-year-old refugee, Sirjil, worries that he’ll never go back to school. He says, “I was in fifth grade in Myanmar, but here I have nothing to do. Sometimes I go to the forest to collect firewood. Sometimes I go to the river. There is no opportunity for education. Tutors cost 300 taka a month (about $3.50). How can you pay that if you have no money?”

David Skinner, Team Leader (Designate) of Save the Children’s Rohingya Response said: “The Rohingya children currently in Bangladesh have had their rights abused by being forced to flee their homes in horrific circumstances. They have experienced things that no one—let alone a child—should experience. They should not suffer a double penalty by also being denied their right to education. The least the world can do is to ensure that they are not any more disadvantaged.”

In addition to insufficient access to education, the lack of income-generating opportunities renders Rohingya refugees dependent on aid, making them highly vulnerable to exploitation, especially children.

Dipankar Datta, Oxfam Bangladesh Country Director said: “Rohingya girls, especially when they hit puberty, face major obstacles in getting an education. The lack of options for Rohingya women to find work in the refugee camps makes it very hard for single mothers to support their children. Donors and the Government of Bangladesh should increase opportunities for women and girls to earn and learn, in order to help protect them from abuse and exploitation and be able to provide a better future for their families.”

Oxfam, Save the Children and World Vision are calling on the international community to support the Government of Bangladesh in making education for children and youth a central priority and to encourage initiatives that promote self-reliance and recovery for their parents.

-ends-

NOTE TO EDITORS

Oxfam is providing vital aid, including clean water and food, to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. So far, we’ve reached at least 266,000 people. Oxfam’s report, One year on: time to put women and girls at the heart of the response, found that more than a third of women surveyed by Oxfam and partner agencies said they did not feel safe or comfortable going to collect water or using toilets and shower cubicles. Oxfam is calling for 15 percent of new funds to be allocated specifically for gender sensitivities programming, including providing income-generating activities for women.

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MIL OSI

Consultation on new mortgage bond standard extended and loan template published

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

15 February 2019

The Reserve Bank is extending the consultation period for the proposed mortgage bond standard.

The new standard is aimed at supporting confidence and liquidity in the New Zealand markets. Consultation began in November.

Following requests from stakeholders, the Reserve Bank has extended the consultation period by two weeks. Feedback is now due by 5.00pm on 8 March 2019.

Submissions and a response to submissions will be published soon after consultation closes. The timeline for implementation will be updated when final decisions are made. The Reserve Bank is proposing a five-year implementation timeline.

The Reserve Bank has also published a draft template to assist banks to provide loan level data under the proposed mortgage bond standard.

More information:

Media Contact:
Roger Marwick
External Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 471 3694
Email: roger.marwick@rbnz.govt.nz

MIL OSI

New RBNZ monetary policy committee remit reiterates focus on price stability and employment

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

14 February 2019

News release issued by the Minister of Finance

The Coalition Government’s plan to reform and modernise the Reserve Bank Act experienced an important milestone today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.

Grant Robertson and Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr today signed the first ‘remit’ setting out the Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s new dual employment and price stability objectives. They also signed the ‘charter’ that will govern the decision-making of the Bank’s new Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

“When we came into office we immediately started work under the Coalition Agreement between Labour and New Zealand First to review and reform the Reserve Bank Act to reflect the significant changes to our economy and monetary policy practices since the Act was enacted nearly 30 years ago,” Grant Robertson said.

The new remit, charter and the MPC deliver on Phase 1 of the review of the Reserve Bank Act. The remit will normally be issued by the Minister of Finance to the MPC, a new body to formulate monetary policy through decisions like the level of the Official Cash Rate. The charter will normally be agreed between the Minister of Finance and the MPC. As part of the transition to the new monetary policy framework, the first remit and charter are being agreed between the Minister and Governor.

The remit replaces the Policy Targets Agreement (PTA) between the Minister of Finance and Governor. The charter sets the transparency requirements and decision-making procedures for the MPC. Both come into force from 1 April, with the existing PTA covering the Bank’s monetary policy decision-making until then.

Under the remit signed today, the Reserve Bank’s operational objectives for monetary policy are to:

  • Keep inflation between 1 and 3 percent over the medium term, with a focus on keeping inflation near the 2 percent mid-point; and
  • Support maximum sustainable employment.

“This dual mandate is similar to those seen in countries including the US, Australia and Norway, and highlights the importance of monetary policy as a tool to support the real, productive, economy,” Grant Robertson said.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says the remit and charter form a significant part of the new monetary policy framework that takes effect from 1 April.

“The remit is similar to the existing Policy Targets Agreement and recognises the role monetary policy plays in promoting the wellbeing of New Zealanders, by making sure inflation remains low and stable, and supporting maximum sustainable employment,” Adrian Orr said.

“The MPC Charter also provides for a move to greater transparency, and embracing diverse views. It sets some ground rules for the Committee, ensuring that the decision-making process is effective and transparent, and making it easier to hold the Committee to account for their decisions,” Mr Orr said.

Under legislation passed in December, the MPC will consist of between five and seven members, with the majority being Reserve Bank internal staff and a minority of external members. The first committee will consist of seven members (four internal, three external), with the Governor as chair. The members of the MPC are to be announced in due course.

“There has been greater recognition in recent decades of the benefits of committee decision-making structures and the Act has now been modernised to reflect this. Combined with the dual price stability and employment mandates, these reforms will ensure monetary policy better supports the New Zealand economy as we head towards the middle part of the 21st Century,” Grant Robertson said.

More information

Read the remit and charter here

Contact:

Alex Tarrant
M: +64 (0)21 220 6011
E: alex.tarrant@parliament.govt.nz

MIL OSI

Biggest-ever waste treatment plant in a refugee camp is ‘step forward’ for safer human waste disposal in emergencies

Source: Oxfam New Zealand

Oxfam has opened the largest human waste treatment plant ever built in a refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. The industrial-scale plant, funded by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, can process the waste of 150,000 people – a population bigger than Tauranga. 

Being able to treat large volumes of faecal waste on site, rather than having to transport it elsewhere, is a big step forward in how to safely and sustainably dispose of such waste in emergencies. 

Last year more than 200,000 cases of acute diarrhoea were reported in the Rohingya camps, as well as respiratory infections and skin diseases like scabies – all related to poor sanitation and hygiene. 

Over seven months, Oxfam engineers and Rohingya refugees have built the massive system which has been specially designed for the steep, hilly terrain and to have the cheapest possible operation and maintenance costs. 

A suitable site was provided by the Government of Bangladesh and the project was delivered in collaboration with the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner’s Office in Cox’s Bazar.   

Oxfam water and sanitation engineer Salahuddin Ahmmed said: “Safe sanitation is vital to prevent outbreaks of disease but disposing safely of human waste in the world’s biggest refugee camp is a major challenge. This ecological plant will help to keep refugees healthy by treating 40 cubic meters of waste a day – a huge amount. The initial investment is well worth it because the plant is cheap and easy to run and could last for 20 years – benefitting local communities when this emergency is over. We expect to replicate this model in future crises.” 

In emergencies, the most common method of waste disposal is to use tankers to suck out the sewage from latrines and take it away. But around 85 per cent of the world’s refugees are in developing countries, often lacking adequate sewage systems to deal with all this extra waste. Treating it on site reduces the risk that it will which end up being dumped in a field or polluting a local stream. 

The new, ecological plant, made up of treatment ponds and wetlands, is safe for people and the environment. It has multiple treatment stages to prevent contamination of local water sources and a high-density polyethylene liner and covered anaerobic unit to stop unpleasant odours escaping. 

The plant also produces biogas – Oxfam is exploring how to get this to refugee families to cook with. 

Aki is an 18-year-old Rohingya refugee who works as a community volunteer for Oxfam, talking to fellow refugees about good hygiene, handwashing, and keeping toilets clean. After a tour of the new plant, she said she had a better understanding of how her work is part of Oxfam’s wider efforts to stop outbreaks of disease. 

Aki said: “I didn’t know what happened to all the waste from the latrines. I’m happy that Oxfam has built this plant as it will help prevent the spread of diseases. Last year lots of people were sick with serious diarrhea. But we are seeing improvements. We can tell our community that this plant is doing something that will help for the future, and maybe also produce cooking gas. It’s great.” 

Close to a million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh still need food, water, shelter and other essential aid to survive. Oxfam is calling for more aid and resources to improve conditions beyond the basics and keep people safe. 

Oxfam is providing vital aid including clean water and food vouchers to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and has so far reached at least 266,000 people. 

Notes to editors: 

The plant was designed by a German organisation called BORDA – specialists in sanitation systems in developing countries. 

In 2018 there were more than 200,000 cases of acute diarrhoea reported in the Cox’s Bazar camps, according to the WHO and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

The UN calculates that 85 per cent of refugees are in developing countries. 

-ends-

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

MIL OSI

MIL-OSI Australia: Managers and Professionals have highest hourly earnings (Media Release)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2

MEDIA RELEASE

22 January 2019

Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Managers and Professionals have highest hourly earnings

In May 2018, Managers and Professionals had the highest average hourly earnings (at $60.40 and $54.00 per hour), according to results from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The lowest hourly earners, on average, were Sales workers ($28.50) and Labourers ($29.50). The average for all employees was $39.10 per hour.

Across industries, average hourly earnings were lowest in the Accommodation and food services industry ($25.90), and highest in the Mining industry ($60.60).

Bruce Hockman, Chief Economist at the ABS, said “Full-time employees, who make up the majority of employees, received an average earnings of $1,699 per week, which would be around $88,000 in annual terms.” The latest figure for all employees, which also includes people working part-time, was $1,289.

Weekly earnings were higher for men working full-time ($1,811) than for women working full-time ($1,516). However, women working part-time earned slightly more, on average, than men working part-time ($669 compared to $666).

The top quarter of earners in Australia received more than $1,686 per week, while the lowest earning quarter received less than $682.

The most common method of setting pay was a collective agreement (40 per cent), followed by an individual arrangement (37 per cent). Less than a quarter of employees were paid according to an award (23 per cent).

“Men were more likely to have their pay set by an individual arrangement (44 per cent), whereas the most common method for women was a collective agreement (42 per cent),” said Mr Hockman.

Data from this survey are used in two of the three gender pay gap measures reported in Gender Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4125.0). Updated measures will be released on Wednesday, 23 January 2019, incorporating information from this release.

About this release:

  • This release is conducted every two years with a May reference period;
  • Measures include hourly and weekly earnings, as well as bonuses, leave taken, overtime hours;
  • Provides a breakdown by age, sex, state and territory, industry and sector, and business size; and
  • Records method of setting pay such as by Award, Collective agreement, Individual arrangement, or if set by the Owner manager of an incorporated enterprise.

Further information is available in Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2018 (cat. no. 6306.0), available for free download from the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au

Media notes:

  • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact ABS Media on 1300 175 070 or at media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to be notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2

MEDIA RELEASE

22 January 2019

Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Managers and Professionals have highest hourly earnings

In May 2018, Managers and Professionals had the highest average hourly earnings (at $60.40 and $54.00 per hour), according to results from the Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The lowest hourly earners, on average, were Sales workers ($28.50) and Labourers ($29.50). The average for all employees was $39.10 per hour.

Across industries, average hourly earnings were lowest in the Accommodation and food services industry ($25.90), and highest in the Mining industry ($60.60).

Bruce Hockman, Chief Economist at the ABS, said “Full-time employees, who make up the majority of employees, received an average earnings of $1,699 per week, which would be around $88,000 in annual terms.” The latest figure for all employees, which also includes people working part-time, was $1,289.

Weekly earnings were higher for men working full-time ($1,811) than for women working full-time ($1,516). However, women working part-time earned slightly more, on average, than men working part-time ($669 compared to $666).

The top quarter of earners in Australia received more than $1,686 per week, while the lowest earning quarter received less than $682.

The most common method of setting pay was a collective agreement (40 per cent), followed by an individual arrangement (37 per cent). Less than a quarter of employees were paid according to an award (23 per cent).

“Men were more likely to have their pay set by an individual arrangement (44 per cent), whereas the most common method for women was a collective agreement (42 per cent),” said Mr Hockman.

Data from this survey are used in two of the three gender pay gap measures reported in Gender Indicators, Australia (cat. no. 4125.0). Updated measures will be released on Wednesday, 23 January 2019, incorporating information from this release.

About this release:

  • This release is conducted every two years with a May reference period;
  • Measures include hourly and weekly earnings, as well as bonuses, leave taken, overtime hours;
  • Provides a breakdown by age, sex, state and territory, industry and sector, and business size; and
  • Records method of setting pay such as by Award, Collective agreement, Individual arrangement, or if set by the Owner manager of an incorporated enterprise.

Further information is available in Employee Earnings and Hours, Australia, May 2018 (cat. no. 6306.0), available for free download from the ABS website at www.abs.gov.au

Media notes:

  • Please ensure when reporting on ABS data that you attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact ABS Media on 1300 175 070 or at media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to be notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI New Zealand: Bank Financial Strength Dashboard wins international award

Source: Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Release date

22 January 2019

Central Banking Publications has named the Bank Financial Strength Dashboard as ‘Initiative of the Year’ in its annual awards.

In announcing the award, Central Banking commented that very few central banks have opened up their financial system to public scrutiny to quite the same level as the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

They said that by revealing key metrics on the banking sector in a visual format that can be taken in at a glance, the Reserve Bank has hit on a simple method of boosting discipline among banks.

Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr said the award was a great honour.

“We aspire to be a ‘Great Team, Best Central Bank’ and the award recognises a significant step towards that goal,” Mr Orr said.

“Awareness among consumers and investors is an important aspect of ensuring a sound financial system. The Dashboard is designed to make it easy to access and understand the financial position of New Zealand banks. By keeping the public informed about risks to the sector, banks themselves are held to greater market discipline.

“The Dashboard has proven very popular, with more than 10,000 visits per quarter since its launch and we believe this has significantly broadened the audience for prudential disclosures.

“It is the result of huge effort and dedication from many people in our organisation and the sector at large. I congratulate them all and encourage people to use the Dashboard when making banking decisions,” Mr Orr said.

Background

Central Banking Publications is a financial publisher owned by Incisive Media and specialising in public policy and financial markets, with emphasis on central banks, international financial institutions and financial market infrastructure and regulation.

Central Banking Publications was founded in 1990, and makes a number of annual awards to central banks and market participants over a range of categories. This is the sixth year of the awards.

The Reserve Bank previously won the ‘Initiative of the year’ award in 2016 for its enterprise risk management system. It has also won ‘Central Bank of the Year’ in 2015 and Reserve Bank senior adviser Leo Krippner won the award for ‘Economics in Central Banking’ in 2017.

Judging was by the Central Banking Awards Committee, which is made up of the Central Banking Editorial Team and Editorial Advisory Board, comprising former senior central bank governors from around the world.

The awards will be presented at a gala dinner in London on 13 March.

More information

Media Contact:
Roger Marwick
External Communications Adviser
Phone: 04 471 3694
Email: roger.marwick@rbnz.govt.nz

MIL OSI New Zealand

MIL-OSI Australia: Safety focus for national Heavy Vehicle Law review

Source: Australian Minister for Regional Development

Media Release

MM017/2019

21 January 2019

A comprehensive review is under way into the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) to consider ways to make improvements which can boost national road safety and productivity delivery.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack welcomed the review commencing, to investigate potential changes which enhance road safety and productivity outcomes.

Mr McCormack said the Transport and Infrastructure Council of Federal, State and Territory Ministers recently approved the review’s terms of reference, submitted by the National Transport Commission (NTC).

“The NTC’s terms of reference reflect the widely held view that the HVNL, in its current form, falls short of being truly national and is overly prescriptive and complicated,” Mr McCormack said.

“It is now widely accepted that while the first iteration of the HVNL in 2012 was an improvement on the previous multi-jurisdictional situation, it now needs to be comprehensively overhauled.

“Extensive consultations will be held with stakeholders as part of the review including trucking industry representatives and related industries, policy and law enforcement agencies, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, all three tiers of government and members of the Australian community.

“To support and help guide the review, an expert panel chaired by the recently retired Chairman of the Productivity Commission, Peter Harris, and including representatives from the trucking industry and Infrastructure Australia, has also been appointed.”

Mr McCormack said the NTC would consider industry feedback and focus its investigation on key priority areas, including safe and efficient access, enhanced fatigue management, accreditation for safer operations and telematics, technology and data.

He said to ensure the views of heavy vehicle operators across the country are taken into account when drafting the replacement legislation, the NTC will undertake consultation with rural and regional stakeholders, as well as those in urban areas.

“The review will complement other Government priorities such as the development of the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy and the recently announced National Road Safety Governance review.

“Members of the Transport and Infrastructure Council of Ministers are looking forward to receiving the NTC’s first set of recommendations near the end of this year,” he said.

“This review complements the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $75 billion infrastructure investment plan which aims to help all Australians get home sooner and safer, with road safety improvements a key priority.

“This $75 billion plan delivers major investments in congestion-busting infrastructure for our cities and in ensuring the safety and efficiency of key links to and within regional Australia are improved for all road users, to a standard that supports the demands of our growing national economy.

“Thanks to strong budget and financial management, the Federal Government is able to deliver this $75 billion investment plan through projects big and small, throughout the nation.”

Terms of reference and further details about the review are available at: www.ntc.gov.au/heavy-vehicles/safety/review-of-the-heavy-vehicle-national-law/

MIL OSI Australia

MIL-OSI Australia: Lending Finance, Australia (Final Issue)

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics 2

NOVEMBER KEY FIGURES

Oct 2018

Nov 2018

Oct 2018 to Nov 2018

$m

$m

% change


TREND ESTIMATES
Housing finance for owner occupation(a)

19 919

19 726

-1.0

Personal finance

5 721

5 695

-0.5

Commercial finance

43 980

44 213

0.5

Lease finance

608

597

-1.9

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
Housing finance for owner occupation(a)

20 084

19 795

-1.4

Personal finance

5 711

5 613

-1.7

Commercial finance

43 653

43 588

-0.2

Lease finance

607

595

-2.0


(a) Excludes alterations and additions
Personal Finance
Commercial Finance

NOVEMBER KEY POINTS

NOVEMBER 2018 COMPARED WITH OCTOBER 2018:

HOUSING FINANCE FOR OWNER OCCUPATION

  • The total value of owner occupied housing commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 1.0% in trend terms, and the seasonally adjusted series fell 1.4%.

PERSONAL FINANCE

  • The trend series for the value of total personal finance commitments fell 0.5%. Fixed lending commitments fell 0.7%, while revolving credit commitments was flat.
  • The seasonally adjusted series for the value of total personal finance commitments fell 1.7%. Fixed lending commitments fell 2.5% and revolving credit commitments fell 0.1%.

COMMERCIAL FINANCE

  • The trend series for the value of total commercial finance commitments rose 0.5%. Revolving credit commitments rose 1.0% and fixed lending commitments rose 0.4%.
  • The seasonally adjusted series for the value of total commercial finance commitments fell 0.2%. Fixed lending commitments fell 7.3%, while revolving credit commitments rose 27.0%.

LEASE FINANCE

  • The trend series for the value of total lease finance commitments fell 1.9% in November 2018 and the seasonally adjusted series fell 2.0%, after a rise of 2.0% in October 2018.

NOTES

FORTHCOMING ISSUES

ISSUE Release Date
No forthcoming issue

CESSATION OF HOUSING FINANCE, AUSTRALIA (5609.0) AND LENDING FINANCE, AUSTRALIA (5671.0)

November 2018 is the final issue of the Housing Finance, Australia (5609.0) and Lending Finance, Australia (5671.0) publications. Both publications will be combined into a single, simpler publication called Lending to Households and Businesses, Australia (5601.0). An information paper Information Paper: Forthcoming Changes to Monthly Finance Statistics (2018) (5601.0.55.001) was released on 11 January 2019, which outlines both the forthcoming changes in more detail and the format of the new publication, as well as providing historical data in the new table structures. In the new publication, some of the data currently published in the two publications will no longer be published, however, some existing outputs will be further disaggregated. New analytical series will also be added with the inclusion of seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for more data items. This new consolidated publication will be released on 12 February 2019.

REVISIONS

In this issue, revisions have been made to the original series as a result of improved reporting of survey and administrative data. These revisions have affected the following series:

  • Commercial Finance for the periods August 2018 to October 2018.
  • Personal Finance for the periods September 2018 to October 2018.

PRIVACY

The ABS Privacy Policy outlines how the ABS will handle any personal information that you provide to the ABS.

INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

MIL OSI Australia