Sunday, January 11, 2015

"Renewable" investment down in Australia

Investments in renewable energy rose to record levels globally in 2014 but fell sharply in Australia because of uncertainty triggered by the Abbott government's review of the industry, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Worldwide investment in wind farms, solar photovoltaics and other clean energy sources jumped 16 per cent last year to $US310 billion ($383 billion), or more than five times the tally of a decade earlier. Solar investments accounted for almost half the total.

China led the way, with investment soaring almost one-third to $US89.5 billion, while US investment gained 8 per cent to $US51.8 billion, and Brazil's almost doubled to $US7.9 billion.

Australia, though, went the other way, with investment sinking 35 per cent to $US3.7 billion. BNEF said the amount was the "lowest since 2009, as wind and solar project developers delayed decisions while they awaited the government's response to its Renewable Energy Target review".

The Australian tally in fact masks a much steeper dive for large-scale renewable plants as small-scale solar PV largely held its own in 2014 even as state-based support schemes were wound back further.

"Four wind farms are currently under construction, but these signed contracts before the last RET review," said Darren Gladman, the acting policy director for the Clean Energy Council.

"No more projects in the country have imminent construction plans.

"Australia is not just at risk of falling behind the rest of the world on renewable energy, we have already slipped off the back of the wave. We have some of the best sun, wind and waves in the world, but this new research shows that we are squandering some of our huge natural advantages."

Fairfax Media sought comment from Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, who has sought to cut the country's renewable energy target from the current goal of 41 terawatt-hours annually by 2020 to as low as 27tWh.

So far, the Senate has blocked such a move but uncertainty over whether and when the goal will be reset has made it almost impossible to raise financing for new projects.

"Labor has offered to reopen negotiations around the RET in the interest of returning the policy to the bipartisanship that saw jobs in the industry triple while Labor was in government," said a spokeswoman for Mark Butler, the opposition spokesman for the environment.

"However, our negotiating principles remain the same – Labor will not support any proposal that decimates the industry, including reducing the RET by 40 per cent."


Candidate calls for return of cane at public schools

January 31 state election for Qld

PATRICIA Petersen is calling for a statewide ban on public smoking and a return to the cane.

The independent candidate for the state seat of Ipswich said she wanted to "make sure private and public schools are on par with one another in terms of discipline" and that a return of the cane would do exactly that.

She said that the behaviour of children in state schools had "significantly" deteriorated.

"We have children spitting and cursing at teachers. Many children in state schools have no respect whatsoever for authority figures, such as teachers," Ms Petersen said.

"A cane across an open hand delivered in a light, controlled and deliberate manner is immediate and effective. It is also a strong deterrent.

"Private schools can already use the cane but it was banned in public schools in 1989."

"People are avoiding going into the Ipswich and Brisbane CBDs because of cigarette smoking. It's bad for business," she said.

"Small businesses are losing money because of it. Most people these days are non-smokers."

She said that one option to accommodate smokers would be to introduce "smoking booths" similar to those found at Hong Kong airport.

"However, taxpayers shouldn't pay for it. A gold coin in a slot to allow them in would ensure that non-smokers aren't paying for the addictions of non-smokers," she said.

Ms Petersen said she was thrilled to be paying $16 on Sportsbet to win Ipswich.

"That is the best I have ever been and better than any Greens candidate," she said.  "In the past I have been 50-1 or 100-1."


Labor not haunted by Qld Health's past

They live in an eternal present

Labor insists it won't be haunted by the ghosts of its Queensland Health payroll debacle or the fake Tahitian prince as it tries to return to power in Queensland.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on Thursday the first new policy from either side during the election campaign - $110 million over four years to employ 400 new nurses across the state.

"What the nurses have been saying to me ... is they've been stretched to the bone," Ms Palaszczuk said in Townsville.  "They've been working harder than ever before."

The Labor leader was critical of the Newman government's decision to cut 4800 health positions, including 1800 nurses and midwives, since it was elected in 2012.

She also hit out at the government's prolonged and bitter contract disputes with the state's doctors.

But Ms Palaszczuk was put on the defensive when asked about Labor's role presiding over the $1.2 billion health payroll debacle in their last term in power and the "fake Tahitian prince" scandal.

Hohepa Morehu-Barlow, also known as Joel Barlow, defrauded $16 million from Queensland Health between 2007 and 2011 and explained his lavish lifestyle by saying he was Tahitian royalty.

"This is a fresh start for Queensland Health," Ms Palaszczuk said. "This is valuing our working professionals."

Ms Palaszczuk said the payroll saga had "all been dealt with".

She admitted she supported the government's move to implement local hospital and health boards, but a Labor Government would return more accountability to its health minister.

Ms Palaszczuk's announcement comes on the second full day of campaigning and before Mr Newman has announced any new LNP policies.

"Maybe they've run out of ideas?" Ms Palaszczuk said. "I have a lot more to come."

Mr Newman responded by talking up his own health policy of decentralising hospital administration, improving management, boosting funding and cutting waiting times.

He also took a swipe at Ms Palaszczuk's first policy announcement of the campaign.

"The path to better health care in Queensland is very clearly something this government has been working on and delivering on - there's more to be done," the premier said in Rockhampton.

"But it's not about the Labor Party approach, which is just to throw more money at it."


Qantas has been named the world's safest airline

Qantas has been named the world's safest airline, after a year when fatal air accidents soared above the 10-year average. In a report published by on Tuesday night, Qantas was lauded for amassing 'an extraordinary record of firsts' in safety and operations over its 94-year history.

The report comes after what was 'in no doubt' a bad year for airline safety, said, adding 2014 included some of the industry's most tragic and bizarre incidents. said the high number of deaths came despite the number of accidents for 2014 being at a record low 21 - one for every 1.3 million flights.

'Two of the crashes last year - MH370 and MH17 - were unprecedented in modern times and claimed 537 lives,' the report says.

'Flashback 50 years and there were a staggering 87 crashes killing 1,597 when airlines carried only 141 million passengers - five per cent of today's number.'

Qantas, which said was now also accepted as the world's most experienced airline, was praised as the leader in terms of real-time monitoring of its engines across its fleet using satellite communications.  'Doing so allows the airline to detect problems before they become a major safety issue,' the report says.

Making up the remainder of the top 10 in alphabetical order were Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.'s rating system takes into account a range of factors related to audits from aviations governing bodies as well as government audits and the airlines fatality record.


1 comment:

PB said...

400 nurses is a drop in the bucket. A good start would be to stop Private hospitals importing Indian Ward Nurses on 457s, claiming specialist skills (which is true if you think killing patients is a specialist skill), while our own Graduates are going jobless.