Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ecofascism in South Australia

Free plastic waste is almost entirely a 3rd world problem but it gives Greenies erections to blame it on us

South Australians may soon be banned from using a range of single-use plastics as the government considers a major crackdown.

Plastic items such as straws, cutlery, shopping bags and coffee cups are on the chopping block after the state’s Environment Minister, David Speirs, released two discussion papers on the issue yesterday.

One deals with the possible single-use plastic ban and the other is a review of the state’s container deposit scheme reviewing what sort of containers should be included and whether the refund amount should be revised.

Mr Speirs said it was important to keep the impact of single-use plastics at the forefront of conversation so South Australia could continue to be the national leader in recycling.

“I am keen to keep South Australia at the forefront of these areas, and to maintain this position while also increasing economic activity,” Mr Speirs said.

“Plastic is a valuable material, integral to modern life. But when littered, it ruins our environment’s pristine image, and harms marine and terrestrial life.”

There is a growing global trend towards doing away with plastics and Mr Speirs said it was important for South Australia to keep up.

The European Union announced its intention on October to ban a range of plastic items.

“We can take more immediate local action on items that are designed and intended for disposal after only a single use, are prone to being littered, are unlikely to be recycled and for which more sustainable alternatives are available,” Mr Speirs said.

Mr Speirs’ paper, entitled “Turning the tide on single-use plastic products”, suggests a ban on these products be implemented the same way single-use plastic bags were banned at check-outs across the state in 2009.

Switching from lightweight shopping bags to reusable ones has resulted in 400 million bags being removed from circulation in South Australia, according to the paper.

The paper seeks views from the community and business on what they consider are the problems associated with plastic products, alternatives and if there is a need for government intervention.

Environmental groups, including Conservation SA, have welcomed the government’s move.

“Despite this, the recent State of the Environment Report shows that per capita waste in SA still increased by over 40 per cent over the last five years,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.  “It’s time for stronger action.”


Solar Failed in grid crisis

    The operator of Australia’s electricity grid has raised the prospect of household rooftop solar panels being retrofitted to ensure they meet compliance standards after some units failed to adequately respond to a major interconnector outage last year, which isolated two states from the power system.

    An official investigation found thousands of rooftop solar units did not comply with Australian standards after a lightning strike caused the Queensland and South Australian interconnectors to trip simultaneously on August 25, forcing electricity to be cut to big industrial users and retail customers in NSW and Victoria.

    A range of supply sources including solar, wind and coal generators either crashed or were unable to assist in boosting supply to either of the two states, renewing concerns over the challenges of integrating a surge of cheap but intermittent renewable energy supply within the national grid to complement existing baseload generation

    The Australian Energy Market Operator detailed how 15 per cent of sampled solar systems installed before October 2016 dropped out during the emergency event. Of those installed after that date, nearly a third in South Australia and 15 per cent in Queensland failed to meet the Australian standard for reducing excess frequency


Unions go to war over labour hire practices

Unions will use a seven-day strike next week to intensify pressure on the Coalition and business over the “exploitation” of labour-hire workers, declaring public unrest at employer conduct will be a “vote-shifter” at the federal ­election.

The Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union yesterday revealed workers at the Wollongong Coal-owned Wongawilli Colliery would strike for a week in a bid to pressure labour-hire firm CAS Mine Services to bring the pay of its workers into line with union members in nearby mines.

CAS, which the union ­accused of unlawfully employing its entire 100-strong workforce as casuals, said it would “go broke” if it had to fund a 10 per cent pay-rise claim that it said would wipe out its ­current operating margins.

The strike is the latest flashpoint in the battle between employers and unions in the wake of last year’s precedent-setting court ruling on casuals, with labour-hire firms hit with union claims and class actions over their allegedly unlawful use of casuals in the ­mining industry.

Jobs and Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer said last night the government believed ­industrial action should be taken only as a last resort, and encouraged the CFMEU and CAS to ­return to the bargaining table.

A Federal Court full court ruled last year that casual truck driver Paul Skene was not a casual because of the regular and continuous nature of his work on a fixed roster and he was entitled to receive accrued annual leave pay.

CFMEU national president Tony Maher said employer ­exploitation of labour hire and casual employment arrangements was a “real sleeper for the election because so many people in the ­labour market had been ­adversely affected by this particular business model where, by stealth, permanent well-paid jobs are converted into poorly paid itinerant jobs”.

“It affects a lot of people … in a lot of electorates,’’ he told The Australian.

“The downside for conser­vatives of fly-in, fly-out is that you get people cranky in electorates outside of mining regions.

“There would be a lot of people in Brisbane upset about this; there would be a lot of people in Perth upset about this, so it is, I think, a real sleeper and it’s a vote-shifter, I’m pretty sure.”

The striking workers are paid hundreds of dollars a week less than permanent workers at nearby mines.

From next month, CAS will employ them on 12-month ­contracts but they will lose their casual loadings.

Under the industry award, the use of casual employees is not ­allowed except through an enterprise agreement but CAS did not employ the workers through an agreement, exposing the company to back-pay claims.

Mr Maher said the workers were the “poorest paid in the ­district”.

“The company was not very smart,’’ he said. “The award doesn’t provide for casuals. They are up for a lot of back pay, I would have thought.”

Bill Shorten has promised that labour-hire workers would be paid the same as another worker doing the same job in the same workplace if Labor won the election, expected in May.

In a bid to allay business concerns about the policy, Labor has promised to give employers an extended period, possibly 12 to 18 months, to comply with new ­labour-hire laws.

ACTU president Michele O’Neil accused the Morrison government of aiding “unscrupulous” employers to use ­labour-hire arrangements and casualisation to drive down the wages of workers.

“When a company can make 100 per cent of its workforce ­labour hire, casual or short-term contract, and use these arrangements to cut their pay well below permanent workers in the same region and industry, it’s clear that the rules are broken,’’ she said.

Ms O’Dwyer said “labour hire is a legitimate and useful way for employers to access a flexible workforce and is used across the entire economy covering skilled and unskilled work”.

“Labour-hire employers, like any other form of employer, have an obligation to comply with all their obligations under the law and provide workers with all of their legal entitlements,’’ her spokesman said.

“Labour hire as a proportion of the total workforce has remained stable at around 2 per cent over the last decade.”

CAS business manager Jesse Yvanoff said the labour-hire workers were paid $34 an hour compared with permanent workers at nearby mines who were paid $42 an hour.

The labour-hire employees also received a lower weekly ­attendance payment.

But he said the company rates were similar to comparable ­labour-hire firms.

Mr Yvanoff said for the company to meet the union claim, it would have to receive a commitment from Wollongong Coal to increase the rates.

He said Wollongong Coal, which did not respond to ­requests for comment yesterday, had declined to provide ­additional money.

“If we were to meet their ­demands, as I tell them, we would go broke’’ Mr Yvanoff told The Australian.

“That is nearly double our margins. There’s no way we could afford to do that as a ­company.”

He said converting the workers to fixed full-time employment would see them lose their casual loadings but the shift was the “only proportionate ­response”.

“The CFMEU is using whatever leverage it can to make us change our position,’’ Mr Yvanoff said. “But from the company’s point of view, that’s the only offer we can make to remain a viable business.’’

He said the strike, which was allowed under the Fair Work Act, would have a significant impact on the company’s operation.


Inside Australia's hottest town where temperatures have exceeded 40C every day for almost a month

Unmentioned below is that Marble Bar has very low humidity.   It is dry heat.  So evaporative coolers, including human skin, are very effective.  Canadians know about the temperature effect of wind chill. Australians know about humidity

A remote Australian town has endured almost a month of sweltering heat with temperatures above 40C but locals say they would not have it any other way.

Marble Bar in north-western Western Australia is known for being the hottest town in the nation, but as of Saturday, it has had 23 days of consecutive highs above 40C.

Despite temperatures so hot you could fry an egg on a rock, the townsfolk say they are still living the dream and wouldn't live anywhere else, news.com.au reported.

Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson Neil Bennett said the weather is normal for the town in the Pilbara region but the recent temperatures have been something else.

In December, Marble Bar recorded a temperature of 49.3C, which was the hottest it has ever been in the town - but even so, locals seemingly are not fazed by the heat.

local Iron Clad hotel operator, Cheryl Manurung, said the only time she notices the heat is when travelling tourists pass through the town and comment on it.

'The cold weather scares me, it just gets too cool. I'm totally happy with it here,' Ms Manurung said.

She said while the record-breaking day in December was particularly hot, the hotel doesn't yet have air-con, but rather its patrons opt for a few fans and a cold beer.

'You can't come to the hottest place in Australia and sit in airconditioning. You can have a cold beer instead,' Ms Manurung said.

Marble Bar Holiday Park operator Lang Coppin said while the spot is popular for caravaners and retirees, as temperatures soar, they avoid the area completely. 

Mr Bennett said while there's a degree of complacency about the superheated weather by townsfolk, when temperatures start hitting 45C it can be dangerous.

He said while other regions of Australia have recorded higher temperatures, it is Marble Bar's sustained heat that make it so interesting to weather watchers.

One of the reasons for the towns constantly high temperatures is partly to do with the ground and rocks, which basically heat up during the day, he said.

The town's remote location also lies north of the subtropical ridge, a belt of high pressure systems that stretches across Australia.

Winds that travel above the ridge, roughly south east to north west, deliver air to the town that has been slowly baked in the deserts of Central Australia.

From time to time, an upper level trough may return the warm air back down to south east Australia which can lead to soaring temperatures in St Kilda and Glenelg.

'Next week Adelaide is going to get very hot due to heat from Pilbara. It's our gift to the nation,' Mr Bennett said.


 Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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