Initiatives the government should pursue to stimulate economic activity

The following is and extract from Professor Bill Mitchell’s Blog –  See Billy Blog

My purpose in distributing this extract is to ‘stir up the possums’ in the hope that some coherent policy re-drafting will be initiated leading to  an electable Party and ultimately a Fair Go

This is what Professor Mitchell had to say-

What would I do about this situation?

I am on The Age/Sydney Morning Herald Scope Survey Panel, which comprises most of the prominent economists in Australia who on a semi-annual basis answer questions about the period ahead about likely movement in aggregates (GDP, inflation, employment, unemployment, wages, house prices etc) and other mo1. Fast track the shift to a non-carbon economy – for example, create the Hunter as a Renewable Hub Region and start investing in building that hub, which would span, research and design, innovation, manufacturing, sales, administration, technical support etcre qualitative assessments.

I completed my survey response for the next period ahead this morning and one of the questions was: -Should the federal budget contain extra measures to stimulate economic activity? What sort of measures? Should that include a bring-forward of the 2022 and 2024 tax cuts?

The current fiscal support is more than $100 billion short of what it should be. The Federal government has injected less than 9 percent of GDP and spread it out over several years.

When you think that the Japanese government’s first stimulus injection was around 21 percent of GDP and another injection of similar size is coming, the evidence is obvious.

Their unemployment rate has barely moved, our labour wastage is around 20 per cent (unemployment, underemployment, drop in labour force – hidden unemployment).

Tax cuts will not provide a spending boost – we saw that in the most recent cuts. Why? Because household debt is too high and people used the tax cuts to increase their savings and pay down their debt to make it less precarious.

You saw in the last National Accounts that the household saving ratio went from 6 percent of disposable income to 19.8 per cent as the fear of the pandemic (unemployment, income loss) saw a dramatic cut in consumption expenditure.

It would be better for the government to increase spending substantially, which will allow saving to be supported by the growth in income and will directly boost sales and jobs.

Initiatives the government should pursue:

1. Fast track the shift to a non-carbon economy – for example, create the Hunter as a Renewable Hub Region and start investing in building that hub, which would span, research and design, innovation, manufacturing, sales, administration, technical support etc. The choice of the Hunter is because it will allow local workers to see there is a pathway out of coal.

2. Fast track the design and contracts for a fast train from Brisbane to Melbourne – which should have been constructed years ago. Make it a public corporation which does not have to earn profits.

3. Reassert NBN Co as a public company and abandon its ‘cost recovery’ constraints and offer free services to retailers at fast speeds and regulate low retail charges.

4. Abandon JobKeeper and instead directly pay wages and salaries of all workers in line with their previous tax statements. Work around the edges for those without a tax record.

5. Fund TAFE properly to increase its capacity to train apprentices and fund the creation of thousands of apprenticeships across Australia.

6. Invest in manufacturing capacity to make Australia more self-reliant in a number of areas – health care, transport, renewables, etc.

7. Increase the funding to universities and regulate the salaries of the managerial class in that sector downwards as a condition for adequate funding of research and teaching. End the trend towards casualisation in the research sector.

8. Regulate the GIG economy to bring it in line with other labour market segments – that is, ensure full leave and sick entitlements are paid, no ‘independent contractor’ exceptions, superannuation contributions etc.

9. Require the Fair Work Commission to restore penalty rates to all workers who have lost them.

10. Introducing a Job Guarantee – an unconditional job offer in the public sector at a socially inclusive minimum wage, with full entitlements (holiday, sick leave, super payments etc) which allows anyone to work and choose their hours, choose training and/or formal education. This is not workfare. Abandon the unemployment benefit system. We need a wide ranging discussion about what constitutes productive work to broaden that concept and include many areas of unmet community and environmental care needs in our employment focus.

11. Introduce a state-owned bank that can provide competition to the big 4 and bring down charges, gouging etc.

12. Free child care.

13. Free public transport.

14. Enhance the career public sector in several areas – health, education, occupational planning, regional development – and end the trend to rendering the public sector a contract brokerage for outsourced private contracts for public service delivery.

15. Ensure the CSIRO, the ABC, SBS are adequately funded as public institutions.

16. Increase foreign aid substantially.

17. Abandon the Closing the Gap process, and restart it with proper targets that are properly funded – which will include many of the initiatives outlined above.

18. Stop defunding public education and revise the schooling funding model in favour of public schools.

19. Invest in 400,000 or more social houses to meet the massive excess demand and make housing affordable for low-paid workers and their families. This will be a big boost to the construction sector.

20. Retrofit the existing housing stock to make it more carbon neutral. There is a massive amount that can be done in this area to invest in smart housing technology for all families to militate against the climate emergency.

And that is just for starters!

Portarlington School Community Garden – 23 September 2020

Still working from home

Still only a few of us Vegetables able to work together and masked at that.  The good news to date suggests that  COVID-19  is in retreat and that a return to a more normal work-place for the Garden is likely soon.

Sharing information about what each working party of 2 is doing is essential and this Post seeks to aid this communication process.

Briefly,  Bruce and Kevin: –

  • Pulled out some silver beet –taken to Port Foodbank.
  • Worms fed
  • Weeded  and prepared more beds for planting

Planted Midyum Berries Austromyrtus dulcis – ​ 6 Plants. An Indigenous edible used by Aboriginal people for its fruit and fibre. Tastes like a blueberry with  hint of nutmeg and whiff  of eucalyptus in the skin.

Hopefully, a nibble for the school and a useful learning/teaching resource,

Austromyrtus dulcis - Growing Native Plants

Portarlington School Community Garden -16 September 2020 -Will be Updated

Still working from home

Did not think that I would need this Blog Post but still only a few of us Vegetables able to work together and masked at that. Sharing information about what each working party of 2 is doing is essential and this Post seeks to aid this communication process.

Briefly,  Bruce and Kevin: –

  • Pulled out some silver beet in bed 15-taken to Port Foodbank.
  • Watered  seedlings in green house – none look ready yet to plant in beds, In Kevin’s opinion [?}
  • Bruce spread stuff on more paths
  • Bruce’s worms fed
  • Weeded some bits

Kevin went out and bought Midyum Berries Austromyrtus dulcis ​ 6 Plants  to go near new  path. Will plant when out of quarantine

 

 

 

 

Labor risks being unelectable unless it urgently revises its policies about the Economy

Regain Voter Trust

To quote Neil Tinnock, Leader of the British Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1983 until 1992

“… Kinnock says the party needs to overhaul its governing philosophy and policies if it is to regain voter trust. “It requires fundamental, rational thinking and recognising that the world imposes limitations,” he says., “It is a matter of management, intellectual and ideological rigour, and addressing the manifest needs of the people.”  See The Australian 11 Sept 20

Labor risks being left behind and unelectable unless it urgently revises its policy positions about the Economy, Budget Surpluses and Social and Environmental consequences of its Policy options.

The Media, most of which is very Neoliberal, has in recent months included articles about Modern Monetary Theory. This suggests to me that the Liberal/National mob are about to ditch their ‘ balance the budget’ fetish and wrong-foot Labor.

“Today, the Federal Treasurer is unveiling his fiscal update. Already the Opposition Labor treasury spokesperson has been on TV all morning embarrassing himself and effectively demonstrating why the Labor Party are unelectable.” He was raving on about the government ‘crashing’ through some debt ceiling (“half-a-trillion dollars”) and “racking up debt” and all the rest of his ridiculous ranting. Who is advising this guy? Neoliberal central! “

“Already, the Labor party are making political points out of the rising public debt, which just makes them unelectable really, rather than savvy.See Professor Bill Mitchell’s Blog July 23, 2020

Labor’s Fair Go seeks to deliver a decent pension, Medicare, the National Disability Insurance Scheme, high-quality aged care, schools, skills, TAFE and university access, care for the environment, address Indigenous disadvantage and much more.

It seems impossible to deliver a Fair Go (or indeed form a government) unless it works out money, taxes, debt etc and then re-educates its members and the community at large.

Labor can’t deliver a fair go unless it first re-examine its views about how a modern economy works and ditches ideas hanging over from the Gold Standard and the Bretton Woods era.

This post draws attention to how a modern economy really works. It seeks to make these points:-

  1. A Sovereign Currency Country’s government issues its own currency and can therefore purchase anything that is available for sale in that currency.
  2. Taxes should be levied to advance  public purpose and not about raising revenue.
  3. Because Australia issues its own currency, $A. It can run a deficit without borrowing.

Modern Monetary Theory gives government the power to govern in the everybody’s interest. When it spends money, it enables jobs to be created. When it adjusts taxes on incomes it controls inflation.  MMT allows full employment and inflation to be balanced, making a fairer society. See Professor Bill Mitchell’s Blog

A ‘fair go’ will require a Job Guarantee (JG): an economic policy proposal to solve inflation and unemployment. Its aim is to create full employment and price stability. The state hires the unemployed as an employer of last resort. See Blog JG and a Fair Go for our Society and its Economy

Taxes

The Australian Government requires that its taxes are paid only in $A, ensuring acceptance of its currency. Taxes can be levied to curb inflation or to advance economic issues or social issues, stimulate research and local manufacture and much more. All taxation should be regarded from the point of view of social and economic consequences.

More detail see Blog –Taxes and their Economic, Social and Political Issues in the light of the Coronavirus Epidemic  and my Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Kevin-Moran-113755396717132

Taxes should be all about public purpose and should never be about raising revenue.

State taxes are mostly inequitable and counter-productive – eg , stamp duties, rates, fees, poker machine taxes, payroll tax/ etc. Benefits from gaming taxes are far outweighed by the cost of trying to repair the damage they cause. Those who can least afford it are most affected.

The States should receive funding from the Australian Government, not by blighting the poor and gullible.

Deficits and Budget Surpluses

Australia issues its own currency, $A. It can run a pure deficit, without borrowings. Instead, it has been decided (politically) that … fund any budget deficit by issues of securities .. not borrow.  (See RBA website).The government can simply instruct the central bank to purchase its debt at whatever yield it chooses: the same effect as just crediting bank accounts on the government’s behalf.

A Budget Surplus is essentially meaningless – it is just the amount by which the proposed receipts – taxes, excise etc – will exceed proposed expenditure in a particular year or time scale. A budget deficit is the amount by which proposed expenditure will exceed proposed receipts. See Emergencies and epidemics – understand modern financial systems  and https://poiiticsand.wordpress.com/2020/04/27/we-must-understand-how-modern-financial-systems-really-work-to-deal-with-emergencies-like-coronavirus/

Debt is the amount owed at any point in time—what has been borrowed and not paid back.Assessing future obsolescence, technologies and relevance should guide government infrastructure investment – not pointless obsession with surpluses and financial ratios that are irrelevant to a government that has a Sovereign Currency.

Portarlington School Community Garden – 2 September 2020 -Will be Updated

This Post about the Portarlington School’s Community Garden. Still only a few of us Vegetables able to work together and masked at that. Sharing information about what each working party of 2 is doing is essential and this Post seeks to aid this communication process.

The Garden is looking great.

However, some problems at the green House have made it necessary  to temporarily leave some seedlings outside. OK for a short while if it rains and the temperature is fairly mild. May have to water every second day.

Bruce’s notes –

My notes Pull out the rest of the silver beet in bed 15 and take to Port Foodbank. Get bed ready for leeks after applying blood and bone.

Get capsicums, apple cucumbers, some tomatoes and zucchini seeds in punnets to put in large tubs when they are ready. Locate tubs in our portable beds.

Thin out cabbages and keep the leaves for our four worm farms.

Build a structure under the peppercorn tree to put our leaves in to rot down.

Woodchip the last of the pruned cuttings from our fruit trees and put in first compost bin”?

Kevin’s notes –

  • Left purchased seedlings  in punnets – tomatoes, apple…cucumber  and capsicum etc  – these are still in green house.
  • Planted cherry tomatoes into punnets: chilli into seed pots
  • I have always understood  It is far better to grow carrots and similar veg from direct sown seed as there is no transplanting setback; mix the seed with some dry sand so you can sow it more thinly.
  • I noticed that one or more of my  fellow Vegetables has improved the path layout for an intended edible midgin berry edible low hedge. –
  • Bruce Watered trees with Seasol  but not grapes?Why  grapes so early anyway ? 

Initial layout

New proposed path looks better – will photo next week after gravel spreading

 

 

 

Job Guarantee (JG) Job Bank – Urban Streets and Nature Strips

Introduction

This Post is about a Job Guarantee (JG) program’s Job Bank. The most immediately available works are within Urban streets and  nature strips.

A recent Post provides detailed discussion of JG’s purpose and references to other material in depth – See JG Blog 

What is a JG program’s Job Bank?

A Job Bank in this context is an Inventory or listing of works and activities that can be usefully undertaken by those who are unemployed  and unable to find a job in the private/pubic sector of  the economy – a repository of various employment opportunities. 
 
The Australian Government’s Agency responsible for JG  should maintain the Job Bank which will provide a range of useful and productive jobs that can be undertaken at  short notice.  The relevant works and tasks are  identified at local and community  level.
 
Direction and advice from professionals and specialists  – use the local knowledge-base when compiling  a Job Bank

Advice and often oversight and direction from professionals  in e.g. ecology, forest and native pasture management, roadworks, building construction etc is needed.

As well, it would be foolish to ignore the vast knowledge base within,  for example,  the Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management which manages foreshore Crown land reserves on the northern Bellarine Peninsular. Statutory and Community organisations, Charities, Clubs like Lions or Rotary, the CWA , LandCare, Indigenous Australian’s Organisations – so many more: these must have input. Their knowledge base is huge. 

The Australian Government’s Agency responsible for JG  should be the employer of all those working in the the Job Guarantee (JG) program and undertaking work from it’s Job Bank. This Agency should then contract with a Local or Community Council or a State Department or Agency or others to undertake useful works.

Essential works and programs should not rely on Job Guarantee workers or initiatives

On-going essential works and programs must not be shifted to the Job Guarantee workers or initiatives. These essentials must always be done timely and properly and not rely on a program that sees ups and downs in its intensity with fluctuations in the number of unemployed people using the Program.

Although on-going essential works and programs must not be ‘fudged’ or shifted to JG workers, there is good reason to use the JG program and its workers to supplement and free-up a Council’s or State Government’s  operations.

Many programs  can be usefully augmented and performed intermittently by the JG program. Planting trees, enhancing neighbourhood amenity, expanding walkways and bike-paths – these things can be done at varying levels of intensity over time, leaving  permanent staff available for on-going essential improvement and new projects.

Nature Strips: Verges: Streets and Roadsides – Great for a Job Bank

“A third of all the public green space in Melbourne is nature strip and it makes up 7 per cent of the total land use across the city. Think of what you could do with that.” download

Originally, verges were created to provide reserves for sheep and cattle to graze as they were herded to city markets.”

See More than a third of public green space is road verge

Some Job Bank examples

About nature strips:

  • Nature strips are a small piece of relatively unusable land in front of residential homes, alongside streets and roads.
  • Serve as the location for services such as telephone, gas, water and power and may be occupied (above or below ground) by overhead wiring and poles or underground cables • Telecommunications cables, pits, poles, etc. • Gas Water and Sewer mains and connections • Street trees • Australia Post, mail delivery corridor …and more.
  • Allows view lines for vehicle traffic and cyclists.  Crossing point for pedestrians, and provides space for the opening of car doors and as a collection  point for rubbish bins.
  • The majority of nature strips consist of grass with many containing a street tree maintained by council.
  • Utility companies can require access at any time
  • ….offence under the local Government Act to park a vehicle on the nature strip

Who maintains Nature Strips –  a selection of Local Government Policies 

  • Qld – Gold Coast City Council ‘...residents and property owners are required to mow the nature strip …. residents undertake this activity as a contribution to the amenity of the city…..’
  • NSW Lane Cove LGA. ‘… a long-standing practice of relying on residents and businesses to maintain those grassed nature strips adjoining their property. This policy restates this practice identifying the importance of community involvement and cooperation.”
  • NSW Armidale Regional Council …Residents must seek approval before carrying out any work on a nature strip or road reserve as a requirement of the Local Government Act and or Roads Act. Works that do not require approval …lawn mowing..minor driveway maintenance
  •  Mt Isa Qld ‘… Maintenance of long grass, the surface of the path area and trees on the footpath are the responsibility of the owner/occupier of the property.’
  • Vic City of Port Phillip‘… common and accepted practice in Australia that the property owner / occupier of abutting properties maintain the nature strip …’
  • Vic City of Greater Geelong – ‘…Nature Strips form part of the road reserve and are under our management. … we will mow a nature strip once a year as a fire prevention method or to improve vehicle visibility on our roads.’

Managing Nature Strips and Streets

Established  gardens  in  well-maintained nature strips are relatively rare. More usually, most landowners mow – often reluctantly. A relative few leave these areas  neglected and occasionally abused with junk and parked vehicles – sometimes commercial ones at that in place.

 

Urban Street beautification

This too can be enhanced using JG.

Much better

An attractive urban environment  has substantial social and economic benefit.

Excellent results from a JG Program.

Indigenous plants –  grasses, flowers and shrubs suit to the local environment. They can thrive, even on the toughest nature strip or roadside

These things can be dealt with by using Job Guarantee Program workers who would be working on on-going works in both urban and rural roads and streets. At present, these blights are ignored or left in place  for far too long by the responsible Authority.   Service Clubs and admirable individuals often pick up or clean up.

Job Guarantee(JG) – The Jobs – Federally Funded – Locally Delivered

Aside

A JG’s purpose is to find a mechanism for anyone unemployed  to work and benefit from the JG job, while doing something useful for the community as a whole.

We need an on-going Job Guarantee Program urgently. The current Coronavirus epidemic and its social end economic ill-effects are destructive beyond any thing seen in modern times. Standing by and witnessing the incredible wastage of potential labour that unemployment epitomises is surely never going to be a better strategy than putting that labour to work on public programs.  

A JG is not run for profit. It produces public goods and services but its reason for existence is about  serving the needs of the community,  the environment and people and to enhance the public good.

How do we pay for a JG? The only constraint that a currency-issuing government, such as the Australian government faces, is how many real goods and services are available for sale in $A.   See the most effective way to achieve a Fair Go

A Job Guarantee job is real work

A JG job has job requirements generally similar to those in the private sector or government sectors. If someone doesn’t come to work or ignores workplace health and safety requirements or otherwise doesn’t work properly, they can be sacked. However, they must be offered help and counselling first.

If drug or alcohol abuse or medical conditions in workplaces inclusive of people with disabilities, the long-term unemployed and other vulnerable groups affects someone’s capacity to work, rehabilitation programs can be provided within the JG framework.

Ideally, existing unemployment benefits schemes should be discontinued to free the existing administrative infrastructure for JG operations. An unemployed worker’s income would be provided only by  taking and holding a JG job.

 See Billy Blog also for a further view –  “Please be clear – persons unable to work would be provided with a ‘living income’. This includes the aged, the sick, the disabled, the young. They would have generous material support.”

It may well be that someone who won’t take or retain a JG job is suffering from some disability The Australian Government Department charged with the JG Program should seek to develop an evidence-based assessment process. On the other hand, there will be (hopefully) a very few who will be content to bludge, defraud  or resort to criminal activity. Criminal Law may be the answer, unfortunately.

Unemployment benefits at  a rate significantly lower than that paid for a JG job for those that choose not to work  and a disability pension for those unable to work even in a JG should not prevent the JG from working effectively.

The Australian  Government should  fund, manage and control the JG program with on-going engagement and participation by Australia’s  State and Local Governments and Community Councils

Australia’s Job Guarantee Program should be funded, managed at local area or even neighbourhood levels and administered by an Australian Government Department, the culture and emphasis of which would focus on its reason for existence – to serve the needs of the environment, community, and people and to enhance the public good.

A Job Guarantee’s management and some of its day to day work allocation and supervision would require additional staffing at Local levels with staff engaged by the State, Local or Community Council or perhaps also by a Statutory Authority on an on-going basis. This funding should also be funded by the Australian Federal Government.

Each area’s Program must be managed and supervised  by appropriately qualified people – a well paid, sought-after job.

The JG should be integrated into a coherent training framework
TAFE and perhaps less often University training along with private enterprise business offering specialist courses in, e.g. truck and plant driving and operation need to be provided with the JG framework.

 

Aged Care and Disability (NDIS) must be provided by a responsible Government  as well as on-going Fire Management, Aboriginal “Care for Country”, Transmission Line maintenance,  National Parks, Education etc – JG provides ‘extras’  but not the primary delivery of day to day essentials.

A Job Bank  should be established and maintained during  JG program

A JG provides a buffer stock of labour which goes up and down as private sector decreases or increases. A Job Bank has to recognise this and it would not be sensible to use only JG employees in functions considered essential. More public sector jobs, would be needed to manage and administer these e essential activities.

Many programs  can be usefully augmented and performed intermittently by the JG program.  Much of this work will be on Public Land – roads and streets; nature strips, foreshores estuaries parks, environmental and other Reserves.

Planting trees, enhancing neighbourhood amenity, expanding walkways and bike-paths – these things can be done at varying levels of intensity over time, leaving the capital or essential bits to be done by established systems and work forces that may otherwise be distracted by fixing, for example, potholes that are a nuisance rather than a hazard.  Pot Holes for days and weeks – Hazard Warning signs. JG people  can fix or ameliorate and advise if beyond their level of skill or equipment.

A Job Bank will not always already include jobs arising from emergencies and epidemics

Local unemployment will happen as result of fires, floods and droughts. An epidemic like COVID-19 will cause varying degrees of unemployment and needs. A Job Bank should include some likely and ‘generic’ scenarios but cannot say when, how much and where. A JG wage should be available to anyone registers at a designated JG office even if the office had not organised work for that person yet.

A JG is should include those who can only work part-time

This will present a challenge to those managing local JG programs. Most JG jobs will necessarily involve people and equipment that must be available and committed for the duration of a planned ‘job’.

A solution must be sought, involving those trained and experienced in Project Management and other relevant disciplines 

Direction and advice from professionals and specialists  – use the local knowledge-base

Advice and often oversight and direction from professionals  in e.g. ecology, forest and native pasture management, roadworks, building construction etc need the in-put and direction of those whose work involves day-to-day dealing with safety, access, traffic, pipes and poles in roads and public places etc.

Importantly, advice and often direction must be included from professionals working in bushfire management, forestry and native pasture management and much more.

As well, it would be foolish to ignore the vast knowledge base within,  for example,  the Bellarine Bayside Foreshore Committee of Management, formed by the Victorian Government in 1994 to manage foreshore Crown land reserves on the northern Bellarine Peninsular.

Statutory and Community organisations, Charities, Clubs like Lions or Rotary, the CWA , LandCare, Indigenous Australian’s Organisations – so many more: these must have input. Their knowledge base is huge. 

Portarlington School Community Garden – 31st July 2020

This Post about rthe Portarlington School’s Community Garden is later than Intended as a result of the COVID- 19 flare up in Victoria.

Working from Home

It now looks like we are back to only a few of us Vegetables able to work together and masked at that.

Pig Face Carpobrotus rossii comes to mind as I write

 

 

 

 

The Garden is looking great.

Warrigal Greens – Tetragonia tetragonioides

Warrigal Greens – Portarlington School Community Garden

One of my fellow Vegetables (or was it a Herb?) suggested that I must have a pecuniary interest rather than culinary and health focus in Warrigal Greens. Not true.

(Bags of  $100 notes may be left at my home by any keen Warrigal.)

This week’s recipe for Warrigal Greens – Portarlington Rolls Sushi Style

The easiest way to make this, in my opinion, is to grab a packet of Sun Rice Sushi Rice – an Australian grown rice.

Follow the direction on the packet, which covers  rice cookers, absorption and gentle boil methods at your choice.

I used a Sushi Express press: I reckon that this is the easiest and best way. See the Internet to get one or a similar press.

The more traditional way to make a Sushi Roll is to use a mat – see Internet for method. The Sushi Rice packet also has instructions for making and rolling .

My way

  1. Mix up some Wasabi Paste with some mayonnaise to your taste. Wasabi is hot. The paste is available in the Asian Section of supermarkets, as is Japanese Kewpie Mayonnaise.
  2. Prepare some avocado strips, some sliced cucumber or zucchini, chopped Warrigal Greens (young leaves) and smoked salmon and a few Nasturtium leaves
  3. Put a Nori sheet down with the longest edge closest to you and the shiny side down. Brush the inside of the Sushi Express frame lightly  with water so rice does not stick. Place the Sushi Express frame in the centre of Nori sheet, and half fill the frame with sushi rice.
  4. Make a channel all the way  along the centre of the rice with your fingers or spatula around 1 cm deep, ensuring the rice still covers the bottom and sides.
  5. Add a little wasabi/mayonnaise strip along the channel.
  6.   Place strips of avocado, green stuff and smoked salmon along the  top of the channel.
  7. Cover the filling with more sushi rice to the top of the frame forming a slight mound. It is important that the sushi fillings are completely encased in rice, except for the ends of the roll.
  8. Moisten the flat side of the Sushi Express lid with water so the rice does not stick. Place the flat side down in the frame. With fingers held in place inside grooves at each end of the frame, gently press the lid down with thumbs while pulling up on the frame, pushing the sushi rice “cake” out of the frame. Remove the lid.
  9. Lightly moisten top edge of  the Nori sheet with water. Fold the bottom edge over the sushi rice cake, followed by the top edge so that the Nori wraps around it.
  10. Roll the sushi rice cake over with the flap side down and gently press the Nori to the rice so it sticks.
  11. Place the finished sushi roll on a plate or baking paperr and wait 15 minutes before slicing. This allows the moisture from the rice to soften the Nori, making it easier to cut.
  12. Moisten a sharp knife with water before cutting the sushi. Cut the sushi roll in half, then cut each half into four equal pieces, wiping the blade with wet cloth after each cut.
  13. Sushi should be eaten immediately or refrigerated for no longer than 24 hours.
  14. Serve with  some pickled ginger and soy sauce to dip.
  15. Enjoy. (My fellow Vegetables and I had this for smoko last week – we all seemed to be happy with it).

 

Portarlington School Community Garden – Indigenous Plants July Update

Introduction

Portarlington School’s Community Garden includes a Herb section and a recently added Indigenous Edible Plant patch, the purpose of which is  to acknowledge and learn from Australia’s Aboriginal Culture and the use of Bush Tucker over millennia. We have a lot to learn.

The Indigenous Edibles were planted in late June 2020 – looking good late July

Pig Face Carpobrotus rossii

It is common on coastal dunes.A prostrate plant which spreads to 2 metres or more with thick, succulent leaves up to 100 mm long. The fruits are globular, about 20 mm diameter and dull red in colour. The fruits and leaves are edible.

The red-purple fruit has a flavour  like a salty strawberry or kiwi fruit. Its thick, fleshy leaves can also be eaten, raw or cooked.

Coast salt bush – Atriplex cinerea  

Coastal Saltbush plant

Bush Tucker Plant. Indigenous plant of Geelong region.

Provides a pleasant salty flavour. Foliage can be used in stir fry dishes or as a stuffing for a roast chook.

Bulbine Lily – Bulbine bulbosa

A flowering plant, endemic to Australia. It grows from a corm, which is edible, choose the largest fat ones and roast for the best taste.

The above ground parts are toxic in large quantities.Plants produce a tuft of narrow Gray-green leaves around 400 mm long . Flowers are fragrant, bright yellow and carried in loose clusters.  Although each flower only blooms for a single day the plants remain in flower over a long time. A great native plant that looks as good or better than daffodils. Fragrant they flower from spring to early autumn.

Midyim berry – Austromyrtus dulcis

The delicate berries are sweet and tangy and the plant makes an attractive low hedge that will grow under a little shade.

Fruit to around 100mm in diameter.  Soft-skinned mauve to white fruit speckled with dark spots when ripe. The small seeds are edible. The  soft fruit does not keep well. It can be planted as a low hedge.

Warrigal Greens – Tetragonia tetragonioides

Warrigal Greens – Portarlinton School Community Garden

These bush tucker greens have been used since early European settlement in Australia. You can use Warrigal Greens the way you’d use spinach, chard, silverbeet and bok choy. Remove leaves as needed throughout the warm growing season. Harvest it regularly to encourage growth.

The leaves are rich in oxalates. If using Warrigal Greens or similar vegetables like spinach or bok choy in  very large quantities, they should be blanched drained and  cooked before eating. Check with a Health professional if any history of kidney stones or other health issues. See National Kidney Foundation

Amongst other possible causes of kidney stones-

“….drinking too little water, exercise (too much or too little), obesity, …or eating food with too much salt or sugar. Infections and family history might be important in some people. Eating too much fructose correlates with increasing risk of developing a kidney stone. Fructose can be found in table sugar and high fructose corn syrup.”

Uses and recipes for Warrigal Greens

Stir fry this vegetable with a little garlic. It may also be enjoyed in soups, stews, and as a steamed vegetable. Great used as for Cos lettuce or rocket leaves – peanut butter on toast with some leaves on top, Great!

Breakfast with Warrigal Greens and Borlotti Beans

  • Pick, wash and tear up a good handful of Warrigal Greens
  • Drain a tin of Borlotti Beans, wash and drain and set aside about half a cup full
  • Set aside a bottle of Oyster Sauce (from Asian Grocer or Supermarket’s Asian Section).
  • Cook the eggs

Do  the eggs in a frying pan!

  1. Crack four eggs into a bowl, add 30ml  of milk and  and good dollop of Oyster Sauce: beat the mixture lightly with a whisk or fork.
  2. Melt 1 Tbsp or so of butter in a medium size fry pan on a low heat and when it starts foaming, pour in the eggs and leave to set for 60-90 seconds.
  3. Gently pull the eggs from the edges of the pan into the centre with a spatula. Turn and tilt the pan so the runny eggs take up the available space and again gently pull it towards the centre. 
  4. Remove the pan from the heat before the egg is completely set and leave it for a minute or two so the egg can gently finish cooking in its own heat.

Or cook  the eggs in a Microwave Oven

  1. Crack four eggs into a 4 cup Pyrex Jug and add 20ml of milk. Beat the mixture lightly with a whisk or fork. Add about 25 grams of butter 
  2. Microwave on medium-high for 1 min 30 seconds, remove, and stir with a fork to break up the curd.
  3. Throw in the Warrigal Greens, Borlotti Beans and  a dollop of oyster sauce   and Microwave on medium-high for a another 1 min 30 seconds until set to your liking.
  4. Run the fork around the edge of the bowl and remove to serve.

A bit of bacon or a sausage added if you wish to feed 3 or 4 . Hint – use only a quality sausage or bacon – see, for example Barwon Valley Smallgoods for bacon. A low quality meat will spoil a low-cost and great tasting breakfast – better go vegan than go for poor quality, high salt and sugars to “save money”.

Portarlington School Community Garden – Indigenous Plants

Introduction

Working with others at Portarlington School’s Community Garden, I want to help with offering a food garden and its produce to provide better tucker and an understanding of the health and educational benefits of gardening, cooking and eating good food.

I have a share in the running of the Herb section and its recently added Indigenous Edible Plant patch, the purpose of which is  to acknowledge and learn from Australia’s Aboriginal Culture and the use of Bush Tucker over millennia. We have a lot to learn.

Planted in late June 2020

Coast salt bush – Atriplex cinerea  

Hero image

Bush Tucker Plant. Coastal conditions. Responds to pruning. Grow approx 1.5m x 3m. Indigenous plant of Geelong region.

Provides a pleasant salty flavour. Foliage can be used in stir fry dishes or as a stuffing for a roast chook.

Bulbine Lily – Bulbine bulbosa

A flowering plant, endemic to Australia. Although ‘lily’ is included in the common name, it is not  member of the Liliaceae  mob. Neither is it a  ‘wild’ onion or ‘yellow onion weed’ – definitely not a weed, it is good tucker. It grows from a corm, which is edible, choose the largest fat ones and roast for the best taste.

The above ground parts are toxic in large quantities.

Plants produce a tuft of narrow Gray-green leaves around 400 mm long . Flowers are fragrant, bright yellow and carried in loose clusters.  Although each flower only blooms for a single day the plants remain in flower over a long time.

  • Yellow – perennial – OK in Portarlington’s climate –  OK too Sub-tropical, Warm temperate, Cool temperate, Mediterranean, Cool
  • OK in full sun – can handle light shade too
  • Flowering – Spring, Summer, Autumn
  • Sandy loam, Clay loam, Potting mix, Poor soil
  • Needs fairly good drainage It likes to be kept moist, as it will die off in dry periods, but the corms will re-sprout with irrigation.
  • Good in a Courtyard. Containers. Cottage garden. Flower garden
  • Attracts bees, butterflies and other insects
  • Propagation- : Seed, division just before the rainy season, cuttings in spring

A great native plant that looks as good or better than daffodils. Fragrant they flower from spring to early autumn.

Midyim berry – Austromyrtus dulcis

The delicate berries are sweet and tangy and the plant makes an attractive low hedge that will grow under a little shade.

The new leaves are burgundy coloured,whilst the spring flowers appear as small, white stars.

Growth form: Low perennial shrub to around 80cm in width and around 60cm in height with pointed leaves around one to three centimetres in length. New leaf growth can be reddish-pink in colour.

Fruit to around 100mm in diameter. Tolerant of open shade and a range of soil types. Small white flowers in Spring. Fruit ripens January to March. Soft-skinned mauve to white fruit speckled with dark spots when ripe. The small seeds are edible. The  soft fruit does not keep well. It can be planted as a low hedge.

Warrigal Greens – Tetragonia tetragonioides 

These bush tucker greens have been used as a spinach substitute since early European settlement in Australia.

You can use Warrigal Greens the way you’d use spinach, chard, silverbeet and bok choy.

The leaves are rich in oxalates. If using warrigal greens or similar vegetables like spinach or bok choy in large quantities, they should be blanched or cooked before eating.

Small yellowish flowers will appear in Spring and Summer; these may be eaten too.

Stir fry this vegetable with a little garlic. It may also be enjoyed in soups, stews, and as a steamed vegetable.

Simply remove leaves as needed throughout the warm growing season. Harvest it regularly to encourage growth.

Warrigal Greens is a leafy green herb that grows in sunny to shady spots. They’ll tolerate somewhat poor soil, but do better when kept moist in a rich, free-draining loam. This plant may die back during Winter but will recover in Spring.

This species sprawls over the ground out to about 200cm, reaching up to 20cm in height.

Pig Face Carpobrotus rossii

It is common on coastal dunes.A prostrate plant which spreads to 2 metres or more with thick, succulent leaves up to 100 mm long. The flowers are superficially daisy-like and about 45 mm in diameter. They usually have mauve to purple petals and a white centre. The fruits are globular, about 20 mm diameter and dull red in colour. The fruits and leaves are edible.

The red-purple fruit has a flavour  like a salty strawberry or kiwi fruit. Its thick, fleshy leaves can also be eaten, raw or cooked.