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G20 changes sweep through city churches

Taxing facts: Representatives from various churches gather in Brisbane CBD to highlight multinational tax dodging as part of the Micah Challenge mock tax haven protest in the lead-up to the G20 Leaders Summit. Photo: Lewis Best

Taxing facts: Representatives from various churches gather in Brisbane CBD to highlight multinational tax dodging as part of the Micah Challenge mock tax haven protest in the lead-up to the G20 Leaders Summit. Photo: Lewis Best

By Paul Dobbyn

From changed services to the homeless, prayer vigils, fasting and involvement in a mock tax haven, the G20 Summit is making its presence felt in Church circles.

Josephite Sister Kay McPadden was among about 100 advocates from churches across Brisbane taking part in a mock tropical tax haven set up in Brisbane’s CBD on November 8.

She attended the event on behalf of Centacare’s Murri Ministry to join with Micah Challenge in highlighting multinational tax dodging around the world.

The campaign claims $160 billion is robbed from developing countries annually through tax loopholes.

“Corporate tax dodging, which includes this country Australia, is slowing progress against global poverty with citizens suffering severe poverty,” Sr McPadden said.

“Taxes pay for services of health, housing and education and even water.”

Rosies general manager Troy Bailey said the meal service from vans would continue to operate during the G20.

But the service will operate from a temporary location underneath the Go Between Bridge on Riverside Drive from November 8 to 19.

Mr Bailey has been working alongside volunteers during the evening to ensure smooth operation of the service during the G20 disruptions.

“Our outreach to patrons giving information about G20 changes started about six weeks out,” he said.

“We explained the importance of having photo IDs at all times when moving around the city.

“Patrons were also warned not to leave bags anywhere as council staff would collect and dispose of them under the security provisions.”

Orange Sky Laundry, Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless, is also working alongside Rosies during the G20 summit.

“This service is very important as it will cut down the need for the homeless to be seeking out laundromats,” Mr Bailey said.

“The heavy police presence throughout the South Brisbane area is quite overwhelming for many of the homeless.”

Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt said a prayer vigil focusing on people living in poverty around the world was to be held at St Andrew’s Anglican Church, South Brisbane, on the night of Friday, November 14.

Other issues highlighted have included the impact of rising sea levels on low-lying islands to Australia’s north due to climate change, people trafficking, child labour and the impact of economic restructuring on people’s livelihoods.

Mr Arndt said it was hoped “when the G20 Leader Summit circus disappears, the public commitment to change sparked by awareness of global issues continues”.

“Next year 2015, is particularly crucial,” he said.

“That is when the progress of nations over the past decade towards reaching the United Nations Millennium Development Goals will be discussed and new targets set.”

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