Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Another "Green" hit on the pocket of the Australian taxpayer

If the project below were commercially viable, it would not need government funding.

And the route makes no sense. Why send power underwater to Weipa? A route via Thursday Island and Cape York would require only a small fraction of the underwater cabling needed to send it to Weipa. And Weipa is a very small town unlikely to use much of the power itself. Weipa does of course have bauxite so the proposal might make some sense if an alumina smelter were envisaged there -- but you would hear Greenie shrieks from all sides if that were proposed

I guess an overland route via Cape York would involve more Aboriginal "land rights" issues but it would also allow the many towns -- including the city of Cairns -- between Cooktown and Townsville to be supplied. So this whole thing just reeks of crazy Leftist politics

Greenies hate dams anyway so that will probably knock the whole idea on the head

A massive hydro-electric plant in Papua New Guinea will supply power to Townsville via an underwater cable under a multi-billion dollar plan announced this morning. The plant would provide about three times the baseload power of a coal-fired power station.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh told parliament Origin Energy and PNG Energy Developments would sign a memorandum of understanding to work toward the green-energy project, which could connect to the north Queensland city by 2020.

The project would use a “running” dam of the Purari River in Papua New Guinea's highlands to generate electricity before transferring it through a pipeline and into the Australian national electricity grid.

Ms Bligh likened the project to the 1940s Snowy River Scheme. “This project would mean our vision for stronger, greener Queensland could take a giant leap forward,” she said. “This proposal could generate 1800MW of renewable baseload electricity travelling via undersea cable to Weipa and could potentially plug directly into Townsville as early as 2020.”

The Queensland government has yet to contribute funding for the project, which has been studied by Origin for two years. A feasibility study, including environmental, sociological and engineering, is expected to be finalised in 2012.

PNG would be able to use the additional baseload power to compete for industrial projects in their resource-rich country. “This project would provide PNG with a reliable source of power for villages and rural communities and transform the economic development prospects of western Papua New Guinea,” Ms Bligh said. “It is clear that this is an idea of national and international significance.

“Like any large project there are many hurdles and requirements to be met and many questions to be answered before it becomes a reality but this is a first step toward making Queensland the renewable energy star of Australia.”

The Queensland government will assist to identify the pipeline corridor and land tenure issues.


Grandad falsely accused of rape and incest

Another gross "child safety" bungle. And they refused to admit their error until the light of publicity was shone upon it -- again as per usual

THE Queensland Department of Child Safety has refused for 18 months to correct a file that falsely accused a man from Toowoomba of being a rapist who was jailed for fathering his own grandchild. The 64-year-old man was told by the department to prove he was not a rapist.

When he presented a certificate from the police service saying he did not have a criminal record and a DNA blood test showing he was not the father of his granddaughter, the department still refused to believe him. The man was banned from having contact with his nine-year-old granddaughter, and she was not allowed to stay with him and his wife for holidays, which she had done for the preceding eight years.

The grandfather repeatedly wrote to Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves, his local state MP and former attorney-general Kerry Shine, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman - all to no avail. When The Australian contacted Mr Reeves's office on Monday, it took just three hours to confirm the error and for a departmental officer to be ordered to contact the accused grandfather and apologise for the "inaccuracy recorded in the file". The file contained details of a criminal with an identical surname and first initial, according to department officials.

The accusation of being an incest rapist was discovered by the grandfather last year when he sought access to his file under Right to Information legislation. One document, from August last year, alleged the girl "was a product of rape and the father/grandfather is now currently in prison".

The grandfather yesterday told The Australian he was "shattered" when he read the document and immediately questioned it with department officers but was told the file would not be altered.

He pointed out the obvious: he could not be the person in the document because he was sitting opposite them, not in prison.

"Finally the DCS complaints officer told me that I had to prove I was not a rapist and had not fathered my grandchild," he said yesterday, breaking down in tears. "So I asked the police to detail my criminal history - there was no history of crime - and my wife and I sold our caravan to get the $800 to pay for a DNA test which showed I was not the father of my granddaughter."

"Yet despite having this evidence before them, until your newspaper contacted minister Reeves, nobody would do anything, and we were warned about going to the media."

The nightmare began when the grandfather sought kinship carer status for his daughter's two children. She had difficulty looking after them because she was the victim of domestic violence from a drug-addicted husband who is in prison for stealing. The application by the grandparents was refused, with no reason given. Instead the two children were put in foster care for several months until their mother was again able to cope.

The mother of the children yesterday told The Australian it was "abhorrent" to accuse her hard-working father of rape. "What this department has done to my parents is indescribable," the mother said.

Yesterday Toowoomba police held the grandfather in the watchhouse for 30 minutes after saying they had received a complaint from his DCS case officer, Nicole Steele, alleging that he had threatened her in a telephone conversation with other staff. "I made no threats and I refused to give a statement, so they let me go," the grandfather said.

"The apology given to me by the department meant nothing. Why didn't it come a year ago - and what about all the money it has cost me in telephone calls and running around. The least they could do is refund the $800 it cost for the DNA test."

A statement released yesterday, said Department of Communities acting director-general Bette Kill "has apologised to the person in this case for an inaccuracy recorded in his file". "The department will undertake a review of the file and confidential information handling procedures to ensure an issue such as this does not happen again," the statement said.


Greenie insanity over fruit-bat invasion of school

There are millions of these creatures so there is no way that they are "endangered" -- and what is wrong with chasing them away?

Fed-up teachers at a northern NSW school claim they are being told to stop ringing the school bell, not hold sport days and plan different class times so they do not upset an influx of 20,000 flying foxes.

Staff at Maclean High School say their school has been taken over by the noisy animals and are so upset that they plan to hold a stop-work meeting on Friday. They say bat droppings, which students then spread throughout classrooms, have made the school a health and safety risk.

Maclean High teacher and NSW Teachers Federation representative John Ambrose said the foul smell and screeching by the bats forced teachers to close windows - making classrooms "unbearable" and learning difficult.

"The kids are put off ... and the smell is just repulsive," he said. "The smell is, particularly in wet weather, just foul and the car park and carpets are just splattered with droppings and, let me tell you, they are not steam cleaned every day; they are cleaned once a year."

But attempts to move the bats have so far been unsuccessful. The NSW Department of Education, which removed bats 10 years ago, needs a licence and federal government approval to remove them.

Mr Ambrose said the federal government had since spent about $30,000 to form a committee [How useless can you get?] to advise the school on how to approach the problem.

He said the initial recommendations, which are yet to be formally accepted, tell the school "to work around the bats". "They want us to timetable our classes differently, they don't want us to do sporting events, they don't want us to ring our bell, they want us to minimise our voices so we don't disturb the bats," he said.

"And I understand all DET [Department of Education and Training] can do, and they have been great, is put a sprinkler in a tree. "But this is the health and wellbeing of students at risk here." He said students previously walked out of classrooms in a stop-work organised by the school's parent committee.

An Education Department spokesman said it was "working hard to resolve the flying foxes issue". "We have installed air-conditioners in classrooms and built covered walkways to help protect students and staff," he said.

"We have made application to the state and Commonwealth agencies for the further removal of some trees and tree limbs which could harbour flying foxes near the school. We are awaiting the outcome of this application. "The department has been advised of the potential for a stop-work meeting. However, this is yet to be confirmed by staff at the school. We have not been formally advised of a stop-work meeting."


Judge blocks 14-year-old girl's arranged marriage

A 14-YEAR-old girl has been banned from leaving Australia and has had to surrender her passport to save her from an arranged marriage. Just days before the girl's father planned to whisk her overseas to marry a man she has never met, the Family Court ordered she must stay.

The Melbourne teenager is one of a number of Australian girls forced into arranged marriages overseas each year. Her plight came to light when child protection officers received a report in June that the then-13-year-old had been taken out of school ahead of her intended marriage. In a landmark decision published on Monday, the Family Court barred the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, from travelling abroad until she turns 18.

Federal Police were ordered to place the girl's name alongside the names of accused serious criminals and tax cheats on the official Watch List at departure points around the nation.

Her family, who are believed to be Muslims from the former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia, has had to surrender the girl's passport and cannot apply for a new one.

According to court documents, the girl had been interviewed by two child protection workers at her home while her parents were at work. One of the officers said the girl told them she had been engaged for a month to a 17-year-old boy from another country but did not know what she felt about marrying him because she had never met him and had only ever seen a photograph of him.

The officer said he formed the opinion the girl had not considered the prospect of having sex with her new husband or the possibility of being abused. He said the girl indicated she had not discussed her feelings with her parents and did not know her mother's opinion of the marriage.

"It is my belief that it would not be in [the child's] best interests to travel . . . to be married as she is a child and she does not appear to understand the consequences of marriage," the officer's affidavit concluded. "Furthermore she would be deprived of a school education and she may be at risk of sexual exploitation and emotional harm."

Islamic Council of Victoria vice-president Sherene Hassan said arranged child marriages were a perverse practice not mandated by Islam. "According to Islamic law a woman must give her consent to marriage without any form of collusion," she said yesterday. "Sadly there are some Muslims that fail to discern [the difference] between culture and religion."


Union claims public hospitals often on 'ambulance bypass'

The union representing ambulance officers says all Brisbane hospitals have been on "bypass" for the last two Mondays. The Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) says some patients are waiting up to six hours for treatment, in the back of an ambulance or in a hospital corridor.

LHMU spokesman John Webb says the union has been raising the "ramping issue" with the State Government for 18 months but the situation seems to be getting worse. "The issue used to come to light more so over the weekend period with regards to ramping and hospitals going on bypass or re-direction," he said.

"However the last two Mondays reports coming in from our membership are clearly showing the first thing Monday morning there's just no hospitals to take patients to in the Brisbane area."

Opposition Health Spokesman Mark McArdle has told Parliament nine public hospitals servicing the south were on bypass or at extreme capacity yesterday afternoon. "How many patients were languishing in the back of ambulance vehicles and for how long as a result of Queensland hospitals again reaching breaking point?" he said.

Health Minister Paul Lucas says it is not just a resourcing issue.

"There are far too many presentations to hospital emergency departments," he said. He says people with less serious complaints should go to GPs.

Mr Lucas says treatment times for category one emergency patients arriving at hospital are within the national benchmark of one minute. He has told State Parliament that Queensland ambulance response times are still among the best in Australia.

"So Mr Speaker where would you like to be?" he said. "You would like to be in the care of one of the fastest arriving ambulances with a top value paramedic going to a hospital that provides great service. "And all that happens in Queensland Mr Speaker."


1 comment:

Paul said...

What's the big deal? Cairns has ramped ambulances every day of the week, usually by mid-morning until late at night, and no prospect of the luxury of bypass. As for Lucas and his comments about unnecessary presentations, they go there because they are sent by GPs, or can't get in to see GPs in the first place. That's just for starters. Lucas is such an ignorant fool, oh, and the pay debacle remains unresolved.