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“Qantas is more than just a company. It is also a national icon, one that many Australian’s feel a strong sense of affinity with and even ownership over” Ms Vamvakinou said.

“Given the airlines iconic status as Australia’s national airline carrier, it should come as no surprise that the proposed sale of Qantas to Airline Partners Australia has met with widespread concern.”

A community survey conducted prior to Christmas 2006 has found that residents of Calwell see Health, Water and High Petrol Costs as the three issues that matter to them most.

The survey was included in a newsletter distributed by Maria Vamvakinou in December 2006.

“I have been monitoring the problem of ICE since I met with Dr Towie last year, and was not surprised to see that the Australian National Council on Drugs report released last week confirmed many of the trends that he and I had spoken about” Ms Vamvakinou said.

In his report released today called Dropping off the Edge, Professor Tony Vinson has ranked both Broadmeadows and Campbellfield among Victoria’s top 40 most disadvantaged suburbs.

Dropping off the Edge was commissioned by the Jesuit Social Services and Catholic Social Services Australia.

“Today’s emerging two-speed economy in Australia can largely be explained by the unprecedented growth of Australia’s mining and resources sector over the last few years” Ms Vamvakinou said.

“This resources boom has created regional inequalities when it comes to the economic growth rates of different States.”

"The passing of Australian rock musician Billy Thorpe yesterday comes as a great shock" Ms vamvakinou said.

"He was still relatively young, and the news of his death is very sad."

A study undertaken by the Griffith Business School has found that the Howard government’s WorkChoices laws have led to lower wages, the stripping of overtime penalty rates and the removal of award protections for working Australians.

“The findings of the study simply confirm that the Howard government’s WorkChoices laws undermine wages and conditions for working Australians across all industries” Ms Vamvakinou said.

News today that the $11 billion sale of Qantas has been approved by the Howard government will be deeply disappointing for Qantas staff.

Workers at Qantas are opposed to the airline being sold to the private equity consortium Airline Partners Australia (APA).