Sunday, November 04, 2012

Aboriginal people 'in welfare trap'

THE Territory's Indigenous Advancement Minister has given Aboriginal people a severe ticking off.  Alison Anderson [above] said she "despaired'' at their reluctance to work.

"I look at the men of Yirrkala and ask why they will not drive the 20km to Nhulunbuy to earn excellent money in the mine and the processing plant there,'' she said.

"It is the kind of question the rest of Australia has been asking for years, as it tries to connect the dots, tries to understand why a long-running mining boom can exist literally next door to a culture of entitlement and welfare dependency.''

In a major speech to the NT Legislative Assembly, Ms Anderson said welfare dependency meant indigenous Territorians expected the government to "do everything for them''...


Climate link to Sandy invalid

AUSTRALIA'S Climate Commission has misrepresented data from the leading US meteorological bureau to highlight a link between climate change and the severity of Superstorm Sandy which this week crippled New York.

In a statement on the disaster that hit North America on Monday, the federal government-sponsored Climate Commission said "all the evidence suggests that climate change exacerbated the severity of Hurricane Sandy".

Matthew England, chairman of the commission's Science Advisory Panel, said it was important to get the message out that storms today were "operating in a different environment than they were 100 years ago".

Professor England said increased humidity, higher sea levels and warmer sea surface temperatures were all contributing to the severity of storms.

The commission quoted data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that "the temperature of the surface waters from which Sandy drew energy were three to five degrees warmer than average".

However, senior NOAA climate scientist Martin Hoerling said the higher sea-surface temperatures quoted by the Climate Commission were not significant in relation to Sandy.

Dr Hoerling told US public radio in the aftermath of Sandy that ocean temperatures adjacent to the US eastern seaboard had been running several degrees higher than normal.

But he said the unusually warm waters were in areas where the background temperature was relatively cool. "So adding a few degrees Fahrenheit at that cool water temperature doesn't matter too much for the intensity of a hurricane," Dr Hoerling said.

Dr Hoerling is a research meteorologist, specialising in climate dynamics, in NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory located in Boulder, Colorado.

He is chairman of the US CLIVAR (Climate Variability) research program, has served as editor of the American Meteorological Society's Journal of Climate, and has published more than 50 scientific papers dealing with climate variability and change.

Late yesterday, Professor England conceded the sea-surface temperature highlighted in the Climate Commission document was not significant.

"The ocean temperature anomalies of 3-5C off New York that would feed energy into the extra-tropical cyclone in that part of the world matter much less than if such anomalies were located under the storm in the tropics," Professor England said.

"Basically tropical cyclones are very sensitive to underlying ocean temperatures, but cyclones outside the tropics care somewhat less about the underlying ocean temperatures.

"So the climate change signal in Sandy is largely due to sea-level rise, the increased humidity in the world's atmosphere, and the tropical ocean temperature anomalies. The temperatures up near New York, while still a factor in the storm, are less of a factor than the above three changes."

Dr Hoerling said Sandy was not unprecedented. He said a storm surge at New York in 1821 was greater than that of Sandy. However, like the Climate Commission, he said rising sea levels could exacerbate the damage from big storms.

He said the record showed a rise in the total sea level of about 30cm over the past 150 years in New York. "We have a 14-foot (4.2m) rise related to Sandy," he said. "So one foot out of 14 may not be something that is critical, but it may very well be in the sense that that last foot may be the foot that moved the water into very prone areas."


Gillard rejects Greens advice on mining tax

The Federal Government has flatly dismissed efforts by the Greens to increase budget revenue from the mining tax.

The Greens have used their 20th national conference in Sydney to spruik their economic agenda.

Greens leader Christine Milne urged the Federal Government to delay the budget surplus.

They have also commissioned costings data which reveal that a 40 per cent increase in the Minerals Resource Rent Tax would increase budget revenue by $26 billion over four years.  "If we invested it wisely we could lift Newstart, we could make sure we ploughed that money into education," Ms Milne said.

But Prime Minister Julia Gillard says she will not be heeding the Greens advice.  "We have implemented the mining tax that we believe is the right one for the nation," she said.

Senator Milne says Ms Gillard's refusal proves she has caved in to the mining industry.

"At the moment the mining tax is securing zero, it's projected to secure $9 billion, well we could take that out to $26 billion," she said.

"So this goes to the heart of the Prime Minister's claims to be the great negotiator, she negotiated a tax that has resulted in zero in the first three months."

The Greens conference also canvassed the party's core policies towards the environment, Indigenous recognition and same-sex marriage.


Automotive expert says Holden poised for collapse

A motoring expert has claimed that Holden is poised to shut down for good because it can no longer compete in the global market.

The Australian car manufacturer announced yesterday that 170 jobs would be cut from its Elizabeth plant in Adelaide.  The announcement came just seven months after a $275 million rescue package was promised by the Federal and South Australian Governments.

The editor of car buyers' Dog and Lemon Guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, says propping up the industry with taxpayer-funded bailouts is useless.  "Let's not be fooled by this they are going to close anyway," he said.  "It is 40 per cent cheaper to build cars in Thailand than it is to build cars in Australia.

"If you look at the long-trend track record of car companies in Australia, they take billions and billions of taxpayers' dollars and they close down anyway."

One of Holden's major parts suppliers, Autodom, also stood down 400 workers in South Australia and Victoria this week.

Wayne Hanson from the Australian Workers Union says the Australian car manufacturing industry is relying on techniques of the last century and needs to be brought up to speed.

"What needs to be done is to re-tool so that we can better equip ourselves to make sure that we are the leader," he said.

"[We need to] follow the model that has been set by Germany ... they've established themselves into niche markets and are doing very well."


Millions of Britons would move to Australia if they could

A majority of middle-class families want to leave Britain because it no longer offers them an adequate quality of life, a new survey has concluded

Researchers found almost two in three families wanted to emigrate overseas because of the poor weather, rude locals and a celebrity-obsessed culture.

Families say they also want to escape the economic downturn, expensive housing and the “loss of community spirit and neighbourliness” in British society.

The survey, conducted by the University of Huddersfield, also found most wanted a new, more relaxed life in a community with a more optimistic “can do” attitude.

Despite celebrating a year when British national pride is arguably at its highest, families admitted they wanted their “children to grow up in a country with a stronger sense of community than they believe exists in the UK”.

Australia was the first country of choice, with almost one in three wanting to move Down Under, followed by the United States, New Zealand, Canada and a host of European countries such as Spain, France and Italy.

Among the factors highlighted for wanting to leave Britain was the poor weather, with almost six in 10 blaming miserable conditions as their number one reason to leave.

Almost half blamed the economic downturn, more than four in 10 wanted to live in cheaper housing while more than a third highlighted "bad manners" and a loss of community spirit and neighbourliness for their motives.

Nine in 10 British parents said they wanted their children to live in a country without a "celebrity-obsessed culture" but which had a more "optimistic, can do attitude".

The poll of 1000 British families was commissioned alongside a report for the Government of South Australia’s Office of Agent General, based at the Australian Embassy in London, to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“The comparative prosperity of our nation and children is fundamental to our sense of 'Britishness'," said Prof Paul Ward, co-director of university's Academy of British and Irish Studies and the report’s author.

“But losing this position in the world's economy is prompting many Brits to reconsider where they live.

"Many are choosing places founded by British settlers which retain core British values, or values similar to them, but are more affluent and in a better position to invest in economic drivers for the future such as health, education and transport."

He added: "Many of the families we speak to, tell us they want to live in a community that embodies old-fashioned British values while enjoying a warmer climate and better work-life balance."

The report, titled When the British built Adelaide they wanted to build a better Britain, suggested that "old-fashioned British values, thriving community spirit and a more relaxed way of life" were evident in the South Australian capital.

The SA government is currently embarking on a major drive for skilled, middle class migrants and officials say a recent series of organised “road shows” were heavily oversubscribed.

Today, Matt Johnson, the SA deputy Agent General, told The Daily Telegraph that more than 800 people attended the roadshows last month alone, with almost the same number turned away.

“Our study provides an interesting insight into the aspirations of British people," he said.

"Interest is very strong and bear in mind also that we now pre-screen all attendees to ensure we're speaking with the right demographic – age, skills, language and experience-wise.

"The reality is, you can't buy the sun. Brits continue to be really interested in Australia."

Officials are also currently undertaking a wide-ranging review of the state's "brand" as part of a new marketing strategy to lure tourists, new business and migrants to the state, which is said to be "pro-monarchy".

It is understood the report's findings have been discussed with senior government officials in Adelaide after the local state Premier Jay Weatherill, visited London in May this year on a "trade mission".

Mr Weatherill met the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a highly publicised black tie gala dinner of the Thirty Club at Claridge’s hotel – organised by the Agent General Bill Muirhead – and conducted high level meetings with several British-based businesses.

Next week, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall will visit South Australia as part of their tour of the Asia-Pacific for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations.


No comments: