International banks are setting up global networks of “intermediaries” like the NSW-based Eastbrook Medical Centres (EMC) who have purchased the old Thuringowa council chambers site in Kirwan.
They plan to develop 132 residential units and to recruit finance “actors” in the community to team up with trusted professional partners as part of a global “finance innovation” scheme targeting non-profit organisations.
Pressure is escalating on the Townsville City Council (TCC) over these plans to develop the old Thuringowa council chambers site with seventy residents so far registering their objections against the Development of ex-Thuringowa Council chambers killing the brass.
Community in the dark
If that isn’t enough for the TCC to cope with in the fog of its bitter organisational restructure, local Councillors are being called to answer questions involving powerful international banks seeking to profit from some of Townsville’s most vulnerable people receiving support from the non-profit sector.
The resident’s inquiries are being ignored and left unanswered.
This is not the type of intermediaries people may think are used by large companies and trusts to plant funds in offshore bank accounts to avoid paying taxes in Australia. Nor is it intended to siphon money away from companies that can’t pay their debts to creditors.
However, the underlying methods of layering accountability, outsourcing services and, masking potentially unethical practices to raise funding, are deceptive communication tactics that are real, whilst aiming to secure the perception of the public in believing local representatives are honest and trustworthy.
Meanwhile, the seventy residents’ distrust in local Councillors’ representation concerning the unit development so far has raised even more questions, to say the least.
Could these communication tactics be what is keeping the Kirwan public in the dark?
EMC has 16 medical centres located across three states in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, including two on the Gold Coast at Burleigh Waters and Southport, and one at North Mackay.
Individual directors and executives of EMC have excellent academic and professional credentials and there would be no reason for concern about the management of the company.
On the EMC website, the company said it “aims to be the best distribution for healthcare allowing patients to access a range of allied health practitioners and specialists who supplement the family general practice.”
The business strategy of the Townsville-bound health service seeking “social investment” organisations is to “partner with exceptional doctors who share their vision of integrating entrepreneurship with social investment and partnership doctors”.
However, a direct impact from an environmental, safety and peaceful enjoyment perspective concerning the freedom of community groups using the adjoining sound shell, children’s playground and car parking area to access Dan Gleeson park is being fought on one front.
Council local voices
In these engagements, the Thuringowa Brass Band is ready to “sound the horn over plans for 132 units to be developed next to its practice area”, Association Secretary Mr. Cutler said to the Townsville Bulletin on 5th April this year.
This week Mr. Cutler confirmed he has not received direct contact from the TCC or local Councillors. “Council is not responding to our concerns”, Mr. Cutler said.
Also, Mr. Ian Frazer from Kirwan wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the Townsville Bulletin on April 5th saying “council owes it to Kirwan and beyond to rein in this plan.”
The TCC is considering the development application from EMC on the old Thuringowa Council site at Kirwan, directly opposite the Kirwan State High School on Thuringowa Drive.
Deputy Mayor Les Walker commented to the Townsville Bulletin and said.”The development fits well with the City plan” but has not returned multiple calls from the Brass Band Association or TREN researchers.
On a much broader and concerning front, serious questions are being asked about foreign banks, insurance companies and foundations that are unaccountable to the Australian public.
These companies are organising to extract profits and capital returns from unsuspecting non-profit organisations including charities in Townsville North Queensland.
Global disruption and backlash
It seems the TCC and all levels of governments are behind an alleged Marxist-style “social investment” agenda in Australia and that Townsville has landed fair and square in the cross hairs of this global commercial profit-making and government savings scheme.
The political champion of the UK model, ex-Prime Minister David Cameron resigned after the UK people voted at a referendum to exit from the European Union because they felt they were losing their social and cultural identity.
The British Prime Minister pledged to support closer integration with European countries, but the majority of the UK people disagreed and felt their society was being dismissed and losing relevance in a big Europe.
Creative “social investment” initiatives have been developing in the UK for the past 16 years and the people of England have had enough.
A UK-based think tank, Society Exchange, has condemned the scheme because it is “failing charities”. They provided an alarming report to the UK government claiming multiple reasons why the most vulnerable people are being neglected.
It is alleged EMC is also an “actor” in the UK-based “social investment” initiative where funding for social housing, charities, non-profit sector and non-government organisations are being funded with private capital and government grants because their advisory committee is being chaired by one of the architects and founders of the UK scheme, Sir Ronald Cohan.
EMC has made it clear they are seeking “social investment” partners in Townsville.
To get these funds working, fifty percent of the risk is being sold to individual shareholders and a significant amount is funded by government grants through Trusts legalised by government heads and managed by capital fund managers.
What is driving change?
In Australia, the Social Enterprise Development and Investment Fund (SEDIF) was established to fund employment and welfare improvement initiatives but was ended in 2016.
The SEDIF model, however, continues and is managed by three private fund managers in Australia including Social Ventures Australia, Foresters Community Finance, and Social Enterprise Finance.
These fund managers were set up with a non-refundable $20 million from the federal government. The SEDIF model is based on advice from the American-based Rockefeller Foundation and Monitor Institute in the United States.
All states and most politicians are thirsting for funding wherever they can get it. TCC has proven its desperation for funding, and now the local Councillors avoid talking with frustrated local residents about this escalating set of concerns.
This thirst for money could be compromising the integrity of executive government, operational supply, accountability and even the sovereignty of the entire country.
International networks that fundraise for “social investment” opportunities are very sophisticated. New funding initiatives are advertised on a global database to attract capital from superannuation funds, international social banks, corporately wealthy individuals as well as small private investors.
Self-determination rights of the people and social justice is being put at risk. Whether this applies to large-scale social funding policy or gifts of humble access for community groups, seeking certain access to premises to play music, residents feel they are being stonewalled by the politicians whose job it is to represent the people.
A Deloitte’s Report tabled for the New Zealand government on “social investment” schemes has refrained from the temptation of progressing financial innovations using private capital and potentially handing irreversible control of public resources for its most vulnerable people in society, to banks and private capital interests.
Instead, the NZ government is maintaining the traditional role of government to control social investment programs, unlike the Australian government.
How did the scheme get started in Australia?
A social innovation strategist from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), together with an American consultant, inter-departmental heads, and the expert advisory committee were established to design and road test the “social investment” initiative for Australia.
Lawyers from each government department set up the legal accountability framework and consultants specialising in process improvement produced a report on the success of the SEDIF in Australia titled Lessons from the Implementation Process.
As one who is well versed in reviewing government studies, and having read the “Lessons from the Implementation of SEDIF” document, it becomes evident that the consultants and government committees’ main focus were on how they can satisfy and attract banks to offer capital into social services portfolios.
The heads of department and committee representatives seek private capital on the mutual understanding with the banks, that government grants rendered to the intermediary, are controlled by managed fund and bank executives as defined in the Big Society Capital Articles of Association.
Currently, government grants are issued directly to charities and non-profit organisations and service providers.
Instead of asking what is in the best interest of the Australian people, the community, society as a whole and our cultural values, the government heads learnt in the Lesson of the Implementation Process report, how we can get more money into government social policy initiatives. This was in spite of the ethical, societal and sovereign risks that are seemingly breaking up the fabric of British society now.
If government funding is engaged, the relevant department head or committee assesses the case for granting the “social investment” fund with taxpayer contributions.
The United States Social Impact Bonds (SIB) model has now been adopted by the Australian government for the purpose of raising private investment into the non-government, non-profit and charities sector. SIBs have already been sanctioned in NSW for criminal parolees and child protection programs.
The nuances of control and power articulated in the lessons of the SEDIF report are jaded in favour of the big bank’s interests like a customer survey seeks to understand buyer needs and behaviours, so more product can be targeted at the consumer and sales targets can be achieved.
The Rockefeller Foundation calls it “innovation finance” and the governments of Australia are down the throats of the domestic and international banks, hook line and sinker.
Trusting the banks and corporations
In light of the most recent federal budget, the government levied taxes from the “big four plus one” of Australia’s banks. Raking in billions of dollars in profits, and now to no one’s surprise, mortgage holders are being slugged higher interest rates to offset the cost of the government’s levy on the banks.
So why are banks not working with the government to share some of their massive profits for the good of society? Why are governments seemingly partnering with banks in this way to raise more taxes, yet bank profits are being protected?
The consistency of the banks’ policies and behaviour in Australia is focused on one thing, profits. This is certainly the case across the world too. Predicting with a certainty of profits in shareholder returns, the massive salaries paid to executives and fund managers is what drives the bank’s priorities and decision making.
So why would the Townsville community trust, international banks and executive fund managers, to serve the interests of vulnerable people like the Kirwan residents who are seeking simple responses to phone calls from local Councillors and getting no satisfaction?
The Secretary of the Thuringowa Brass Band Association said, “If our community funds are going off shore to banks this is a real concern.”
Work in progress
TREN is conducting extensive research into the “social investment” agenda impacting Australia and Townsville North Queensland.
The body of general information on the various players involved, including non-profit organisations and social groups, is extensive across the world. No conclusions have been established yet and individuals or corporations are not being investigated individually.
But the body of stories and events about innovative financing initiatives creating a causal catastrophic conflict of interest between banks, governments and investors is growing.
The consequence of social instability and injustice for charities by big society capital is developing in Townsville North Queensland and the broader Australian community.
For example, ordinary property investors and home owners could be impacted from the structural changes arising from more social housing funding.
Our subscribers will have exclusive access to the research paper when it is completed.
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