Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Australia's foreign-born population on the rise as record number of people become Australian citizens

A record number of people took the pledge to become Australian citizens at Australia Day ceremonies over the weekend, as the nation's foreign-born population continues to rise.

Almost 18,000 people became Australian citizens on Sunday, which has contributed to making more than a quarter of the country's population foreign-born.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show people born in the United Kingdom continue to be the largest group of residents born overseas, accounting for 5.3 per cent of the population, followed by 2.6 per cent born in New Zealand, 1.8 per cent born in China and 1.6 per cent born in India.

Monash University's population researcher, Dr Bob Birrell, says Australia is an attractive destination for migrants because of its affluence and substantial job opportunities.

"That along with the opening up of our migration program by successive governments has led to a record high influx of both permanent and temporary migrants in recent years," he said.

As Australia's total population approaches 23.5 million, demographer Bernard Salt says the country's population is growing at close to record rates.

"At the current time, it's largely driven by overseas migration, which is tracking around 230,000 people per year," Mr Salt said.

Dr Birrell says Australia's population growth is exceeding those of many other countries around the world.

"We're growing at about 1.8 per cent a year, which is much faster than the other western countries and indeed most Asian countries," he said.

'Better opportunities'

People born in Nepal, India and Pakistan are among the fastest growing groups of migrants in Australia.

Electrical engineer and musician, Ranjan Vaidya, grew up in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu and moved to Australia 15 years ago.

"I came to Australia mainly looking for better opportunities and also I heard about Australia as a fair go country, with hard working people," he said.

Mr Vaidya says most people from Nepal come for jobs, education and to get away from years of political instability.  "You have got a lot of things right here," he said.  "The political system is right, your economic system is right, all the prosperity, everything is right."

The main settlement point for those born overseas are the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, as well as south-east Queensland.  "That's where the jobs are," Dr Birrell said.

"It's also where the major migrant communities are located and Asian migrants in particular prefer to settle where there are established communities of their own ethnic and religious backgrounds," he said.

According to the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, about 73 per cent of people aged between 15 and 64 have a paid job in Australia and the average disposable income is nearly $US29,000 a year.

Life expectancy at birth is almost 82 years and the OECD says there's a strong sense of community.

Mr Salt says people can also find their own community within Australia.  "Australia has a place, I think, for everyone," he said.

"If you want to do the outback thing you can, if you want city sophistication you can, if you want to raise a family in middle suburban you can do that as well."
Room for more

Geographically, Australia is very diverse with vast coastlines, beaches, tropical rainforests and snowfields in between major cities and country towns, while nearly 20 per cent of the land mass is classifed as desert.

As the planet's 6th largest country, Mr Salt says there's room for more people.  He believes Australia can grow to over 30 million over the next 50 years.

"I think we have a moral obligation if you like, to accept migrants from overloaded parts of the rest of the world," Mr Salt said.

"There's also an economic argument that as the baby boomers move beyond the working age into retirement we need more workers or tax payers."

But Dr Birrell says a growing population is not without its challenges.  "Worsening congestion, inability to keep up with infrastructure, education, health and other areas are where the pressure points are at the moment," he said.

In addition, he says finding a job is becoming more difficult than it was a few years ago and the cost of living is on the rise.

It's those challenges the nation's governments will have to carefully consider when planning for more people.


First shark killed in controversial WA catch-and-kill policy

THE first shark has been caught and shot dead under Colin Barnett's controversial shark-kill policy.

It happened before 8am this morning, less than 24 hours after drum lines and baited hooks were set off Old Dunsborough in the South-West as part of the WA Government's "shark mitigation program".

The fisherman contracted to set and monitor the drum lines was back on the water at 6am this morning to check the nine drum lines and their baits.

He discovered one had successfully hooked a large shark and the animal was reportedly shot four times before being towed "well out" to sea.  The species of shark has not been confirmed, but there was reportedly confusion over whether it was a tiger or bull shark.

Sharks under 3m are to be released if possible and those over 3m are destroyed.

At 2.45pm today, there were no reports of any more sharks being caught and killed.

Conservationists and green groups including the Animal Rescue Team immediately denounced the shark kill and labelled it a "slaughter".

By 4.15pm yesterday, nine drum lines had been set 1km offshore from Old Dunsborough and Castle Rock at Cape Naturaliste.

The drum lines were attached to the ocean floor by anchor and connected to buoys and baited hooks designed to snare big sharks.

Within a couple of hours, PerthNow in a nearby boat watched as a very big ray investigated one baited hook.

Under his contract with the State Government, the professional fisherman who set the drum lines must now monitor the coast 12 hours a day between 6am and 6pm, rebaiting the hooks and waiting for a catch.

Yesterday's start came amid strong protests from green groups and activists who were in Dunsborough but did not interfere with the operation.

Amy-Lea Wilkins, spokeswoman for conservation group Animal Rescue Team, said she had a team of 22 volunteers in Dunsborough, including a vet and a marine biologist who would enter the water with diving gear to free hooked sharks as well as by-catch, such as dolphins, turtles and rays.

"We don't want any marine life dying and we'll do our best to save any animals that are caught, including sharks," Ms Wilkins said.

Anti-cull campaigner Simon Peterffy, who has formed a "marine response unit", yesterday pledged: "We'll be stopping the hunt, we will be neutralising these drums and we'll be doing rescues of dolphins and other by-catch."

In his only interview from the back of his boat, the fisherman - whom PerthNow has decided not to name - said he used mackerel to bait the "very large" hooks but from next week he would be using "really good bait", salmon from South Australia.


When you need more power to keep the lights on the answer is most certainly NOT blowing in the wind


THANK God - or Gaia - for King Coal.  But for our coal-fired power stations, in last week's heat, the lights and air conditioners and everything else would have gone off for Victorians and South Australians.

If we'd been relying on wind farms, we would have had multiple blackouts and hundreds, if not thousands of extra deaths.

No doubt to Green fanatics like Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, that would have been a price worth paying - just like the thousand or more who have drowned because of the disastrous Labor-Green asylum-seeker policies - to enable her consequence-lite moral (actually, totally IM-moral) preening.

As my colleague Andrew Bolt has pointed out, back in 2011, Senator Hanson-Young was asked after another 200 people had been lured to their deaths by the Labor policies they supported, whether the Greens took any responsibility.

Her reply: "Of course not. Tragedies happen, accidents happen."

Presumably she's say the same at the many, many, more deaths that would occur in a heatwave, if we were crazy enough to embrace her dark-Green agenda and close down our coal-fired power stations and replace them - correction, pretend to replace them - with wind and solar.

The evidence is clear, unambiguous and undeniable. Except of course to deniers like Hanson-Young and Tristan Edis of the - embarrassingly, also our - Climate Spectator website.

When you need more power to keep the lights on, to keep industry working, to, at its most basic, keep people alive, the answer is most certainly NOT blowing in the wind.

When we needed more power last week, wind went missing in action. This truth is captured in the graphs.

When power usage was exploding from 6000MW to over 10,000MW and peaking above 12,000MW, the - already marginal - contribution from wind was almost invariably going down.

The graphs show that on only one day of the four-days of plus-40 degree heat across southern Australia, did wind provide anything close to a sustained - but still essentially insignificant - contribution to Victorian and South Australian power supply.

On each of the other three days, wind power essentially went missing for a number of hours right at critical times. On Tuesday, wind output dropped almost to zero for a sustained period right at the peak of the heat in the afternoon.

The data comes from the excellent windfarmperformance website of Andrew Miskelley. He collects the raw data from the official AEMO - Australian Energy Market Operator - feed, and publishes wind farm output at five minute intervals for the full 24 hours of every day.

The data gives the lie to the core claim made for wind farms - that if you scatter them across enough territory, the wind will always "be blowing somewhere."

Well, for three hours on Wednesday, we got barely 140 megawatts (MW) in total out the 28 wind farms "scattered" across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

That's 140MW when demand was peaking at over 10,000MW. Thank you coal.

The wind farms are - jokingly - supposed to have a total capacity of 2660 MW. So we were getting power equal to just 5 per cent or so of that 'capacity.'

There are two other equally significant - and utterly damming - messages in the graphs.

The first is that it is precisely when you need more power, that wind falls off. When it gets hot.

Through most of the heat of Tuesday, that 2660MW of joke-capacity was producing 600MW falling to 400MW. On Wednesday, apart from the three hours of essentially nothing, for the whole of the rest of the day, we got barely 300-400MW.

Thursday was the only day where we saw a sustained, semi-reasonable contribution. But then it was still mostly only around 900MW.

Friday saw some hours of around 1200MW. Except it spiked down to 400MW, or less than 4 per cent of power demand - smack in the middle of the afternoon, when we needed the power most.

This points to the second damming message. Precisely because the wind can stop blowing - and as we can see, it can stop blowing right across Southern Australia at the same time - you have to keep real power stations ticking over all the time, to be able to pick up the slack.

Even warmist propagandist Edis tacitly - and completely unknowingly - admits this, in his ludicrous attempt to claim reliability for wind.

On his website he wrote that AEMO had an "ace up its sleeve" - being able to accurately forecast the amount of wind power that would be generated 24-hours in advance.

He charted the forecasts against the actual output and showed a remarkable - indeed impressive - co-relation.

Leading him to triumphantly conclude that gave both AEMO and the generators advance notice as to when "wind generation was likely to be low such that they can be prepared to fill the gap."

In doing so he beautifully - and so totally unknowingly - captured the point: that coal-fired power stations have to be kept ready to take over when …. the wind don't blow.

It also didn't help his case that his article carried a correction that the accurate forecasting wasn't 24 hours ahead but just a single hour.

What a way to run a grid - checking whether the wind is blowing and then 'forecasting' it will continue to for the next hour. And, oh by the way, having a nice coal-fired station to call up when it doesn't.

Further and fundamentally, we can handle this when wind is barely 5 per cent or so - 10 per cent on a rare good day or hour - of the grid. That's to say, while wind is still essentially a vanity highly expensive Green-warmist feel-good form of power generation.

It would be impossible - even with what Edis thinks is the luxury of a single hour's notice - in a grid where wind was a much bigger component. That would be especially so, if the coal-fired stations were actually decommissioned.

In the classic dishonest warmist way, Edis tries to suggest that wind is actually more reliable because in the middle of last week, one of Loy Yang A's generators went down, going from generating 450MW to zero in minutes.

"This outage was certainly not forecast in advance," he snarkily added.

No it obviously wasn't. But there's one huge difference in a rare accident to a single generator in a coal-fired plant and the times - the many times - that the entire wind industry goes to zero or near enough to zero.

Perhaps Edid can tell us how many times have all the generators in all the coal-fired stations gone to zero at the same time?

That's the absolutely damning point about the uselessness of wind. You can't just take a 'time-out' when they go to zero. You either have blackouts or you substitute.

You have to keep extra coal-fired - or gas - stations ticking over, literally 24/7, to be able to supply power when …. what's that phrase again? Oh yes …. when the wind don't (so often) blow.


School's $500 lightbulb bill

Doomadgee is an Aboriginal community

Doomadgee State School, on the Gulf of Carpentaria, was billed $200 for labour alone after the teacher was told workplace health and safety regulations prevented any staff member from buying and replacing the bulb themselves, The Australian understands.

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek yesterday ordered an internal investigation into the bill, saying over-the-top red tape was adding to the spiralling financial costs of delivering services in remote areas of Queensland. The probe was launched after the internal document was leaked, according to sources, in a bid to expose waste and duplication of state and commonwealth services in some of the state's remote communities.
Mr Langbroek said Queensland's teachers and principals were beset with "crazy rules" that included a requirement that a school hire an outside contractor to retrieve a ball in the playground if it became lodged (for instance, in a tree branch) at a level of 1.8m or higher. "This is the sort of red tape that needs to end," he said. "It's crazy."There is no excuse for a $480 bill to put in a fridge lightbulb. The teacher is not going to get electrocuted putting it in."

I have already asked for a review on the type of regulation where a school has to pay someone to get a ball from a branch or a gutter that might be only 1.8m high. There has to be a balance.

The Newman government has already moved to find cost savings in the Education Department, opening up tenders for school maintenance contracts to the private sector. Mr Langbroek said it was difficult to find private contractors who could supply services in some of Queensland's more remote communities. Doomadgee State School, which has 303 students, is among the most expensive in the state, with commonwealth figures showing it cost taxpayers $15,879 for each student per year, compared with the state average of $9000.

The school - which offers prep to Year 10 in the indigenous community of 1500 people - is among the state's poorest performers with the lowest attendance rate in Queensland of just 54 per cent.

Mr Langbroek, along with Indigenous Affairs Minister Glen Elmes and Local Government Minister David Crisafulli, went to Doomadgee last week in a bid to lift the attendance rates, after a visit late last year by Premier Campbell Newman."We are trying to lift the attendance rates, trying to get community support to get these kids to school," Mr Langbroek said."We talked to the community, the council - it is very challenging."


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