Monday, February 24, 2020

Dam operator to defend its role in 2011 Brisbane flood catastrophe

This whole affair was a disgrace to the Queensland Labor government of Anna Bligh and her bureaucrats. Anna was basically an emptyhead and the bureaucrats thought they could do no wrong.

A Conservative government had built a big flood-control dam at Wivenhoe that should have ended Brisbane floods for good.  But it was not proof against opportunistic politicians and inert bureaucrats.

To avoid building a new dam, the "Green" Labor government proceeded to use the flood compartment of the dam to store water.  Then the bureaucrats managing the dam just stuck to their regulations and saw no need to do anything when the floodwater came surging into the dam.  They ignored all approaches to open the floodgates until it was too late and flood it did.

People died in the resultant flood, to say nothing of property damage and loss

In the circumstances, it is no  wonder that the insurers are denying liability.  They did not ensure aginst irresponsible politicians or brainless bureaucrats.  They will no doubt claim that the dam operators followed the book so are not liable.

The plaintiffs need to show that following the book was irresponsible when the whole of the flood compartment was not available

THOUSANDS of victims of the 2011 Queensland floods face losing compensation payouts after state-owned dam operator Seqwater confirmed it will appeal a landmark class action result. The confirmation comes a week ahead of a deadline for parties to seek leave to appeal to the NSW Supreme Court.

The Queensland Government has ruled out an appeal but as The Courier-Mail revealed in December, both Seqwater and Sunwater were planning to appeal. Sunwater has not yet confirmed whether it will go ahead with its appeal. Seqwater chief executive Neil Brennan said the decision to appeal had been taken after advice from its insurers.

"The decision to appeal has not been taken lightly," Mr Brennan said in a written statement. "It has followed an extensive review of the judgment and consultation with its insurers."

Natural Resources Minister Anthony Lynham hit out at Seqwater's decision. "I am disappointed that Seqwater's insurers did not heed our call not to appeal," Dr Lynham said. "As the Treasurer and I said at the time, if a Ministerial Direction could be given to Seqwater to not appeal, it would not bind their insurers. Further, it may compromise Seqwater's insurance policies."

But Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said the Government could have prevented the appeal. "(Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk had the power to direct these government-owned  corporations to not undertake this cruel action, but she failed to act," she said. "Seqwater will now slug taxpayers to defend itself in Court"

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal lawyer Rebecca Gilsenan, who is representing the victims, also called for the state to step in. "These appeals and disputes mean real justice is a long way off for our clients, who have won their case and deserve to be paid for what they lost when the dam operators flooded them," she said.

"The only way to bring this to an end is for the state to step in with a whole-of-government approach."

Former Ipswich councillor Paul Tully, whose Goodna home was flooded in 2011, said the move would add to the distress of flood victims. "Flood victims have endured nine long and tortuous years," he said. "This could drag out another two years in the court of appeal and the High Court of Australia. "These insurance companies are toying with people's lives and futures."

From the Brisbane "Courier Mail" of 22/2/20

The strange saga of Fireman Paul

Volunteer firefighters, like volunteer life savers, hold an almost sacred status in the Australian community and the hearts and minds of its citizens.

Nobody forces or even asks them to do what they do, nor do they gain any material reward. Instead they sacrifice their time and sometimes even their lives to save others. And they do it purely because they choose to.

Little wonder that they are so universally venerated and little wonder that they almost always awkwardly eschew it.

Even though they are the ones who are most literally on the ground and are almost always characterised as “down to earth” they are also seen to float above politics and personal pride. They are the closest we have to real-life superheroes.

It is for this reason that Rural Fire Service member Paul Parker’s expletive-laden spray against the Prime Minister was so shocking – despite also being pretty forgivable.

Parker was obviously a man under an enormous amount of stress – even as his own home was damaged by the bushfires that ravaged NSW he was out saving others, fighting the flames to the point of exhaustion. He is also obviously something of a character – a vital prerequisite for an unlimited bar tab.

But it is equally understandable that many of his comrades were angry and felt he had brought the unimpeachable status of volunteer firefighters into momentary disrepute.

It is, after all, a fiercely protected convention in Australia that uniformed personnel such as police and military officers are never seen to be remotely political or partisan. And so having a member of the RFS – which is arguably held in even higher regard – tell the Prime Minister to “get f***ed” is clearly pretty jarring.

But obviously not to everybody.

Through no fault of his own, Fireman Paul was instantly elevated to Messianic status by green-left social media warriors who seemed to see him as some kind of revolutionary hero. And then when he claimed this week to have been sacked by the RFS it was instantly seized as further proof he was a glorious martyr to the cause.

The only catch was that within 24 hours it emerged that the cause Paul Parker was fighting for wasn’t the Greens but One Nation.

As Nine’s political editor Chris Uhlmann so archly observed while posting a more fulsome interview with the man, the only politician Parker didn’t think should “get f***ed” was Pauline Hanson.

This, needless to say, caused a bit of cognitive dissonance with the hard left social media warriors who had ridden the #IStandWithFiremanPaul hashtag like drunken bar room cowboys on a broken mechanical bull.

Of course it had never occurred to any of them that Parker was attacking the PM from the opposite end of the political spectrum. It’s easy to forget that a conservative has enemies on both sides when you define a fascist as anyone who sits to the right of Fidel Castro.

As a result the groundswell of woke activist support for poor Fireman Paul has now disintegrated – so much for solidarity forever.

And yet the hard left unquestioningly flocked in their thousands to support him purely because he publicly swore at the PM only to just as quickly desert him when it emerged his politics didn’t match theirs. This tells you everything you need to know about both their intellect and their loyalty.

Again, for all their talk of solidarity, loyalty has never been the hard left’s strong point – just ask Comrade Trotsky.

For even the most passingly critical mind it was obvious from the outset that this story was crude, inconsistent and illogical and yet it was swallowed wholesale. No wonder it is so easy for the Hansons of this world to cry “fake news”. And no wonder the #IStandWithFiremanPaul movement sank beneath the waves quicker than a Swedish surfer.

All of this is just more evidence, were any needed, of the aching stupidity of so much of the social media commentariat and the tidal lunar idiocy of hashtag activism. All it took was a supporter of the far right to tell the PM to “get f***ed” and the far left just assumed he must be one of them. It’s hardly a Mensa-level entry threshold.


Pumped hydro project in  South Australia dies

Pumped hydro is a great Greenie dream but is very costly.  To be viable you have to find two big holes in the ground that are near to one another but at different levels.  Such sites are rare -- with big mines being the only likely source.

AGL had planned a 250MW pumped hydro storage for a SA copper mine site

The mining company had been due to hand part of its Kanmantoo mine over to energy company AGL, but changed its mind after discovering more copper ore nearby.

The ore could only be accessed via tunnels from the bottom of the mine's giant pit, which would become impossible when AGL filled the pit with water for its hydro-electric project.

AGL planned to store water in a dam at the mine site, allow it to flow down into the pit to generate electricity when power prices are high, then pump it back up when prices are low.

The facility would perform the same function as a battery: providing extra power to stabilise the energy network at short notice.

In April 2019, Hillgrove announced it had entered into binding agreements with AGL Energy Limited (AGL), to sell the right to develop, own and operate the Pumped Hydro Energy Storage (PHES) project at the Kanmantoo mine site.

The sale was subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions which needed to be satisfied within specified timeframes. Several of those conditions remain unsatisfied.

After a period of extensive negotiations, Hillgrove and AGL have mutually agreed to terminate the PHES Project Agreement and associated project documents and effect a clean break without any further obligations on either party.

Since signing the Project Agreement, Hillgrove has conducted work on an underground mining project below the Giant Pit. As announced 30 October 2019, Hillgrove undertook a limited drilling programme, which resulted in the preparation of a new Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) for the Central and East Kavanagh underground area in accordance with the JORC Code 2012 Edition.

The resource estimate is constrained by the extent of the drilling and not by the geology, in both the along strike and down dip directions.

As announced 31 January 2020, Hillgrove received the regulatory approval to commence underground mining. The approval includes expanded capacity of the tailings storage facility, providing optionality for future mining within haulage distance to the Kanmantoo processing and tailings complex.

However, Hillgrove and AGL could not reach agreement on a way forward that enabled Hillgrove to commence underground mining and AGL to progress development of the PHES simultaneously.


Public School bans parents from entering grounds

Parents have simultaneously been outraged and baffled after a school on the NSW Central Coast banned them from entering the grounds to drop off or pick up their children.

Wamberal Public School has instead set up designated family meeting areas for parents, citing security reasons for the decision.

It comes amid concerns about violent outbursts by parents at schools across the country.

The change was announced in the school’s first newsletter of the year which said meeting areas for parents would be established at both entrances.  “Parents are encouraged to use these areas to minimise disruption to teaching and learning, increase safety for students & reduce pedestrian track in congested areas,” the newsletter read.

Each morning, teachers are stationed at both gates “to supervise and care for students”.

Parents accompanying children have been “asked to not proceed into other areas of the school” and “are encouraged to say goodbye at the gate where their child can enter”.

The school said the areas were introduced following parent feedback and consultation with “the Wamberal P&C, the Department’s Health and Safety, School Safety and Security experts, and our Project Reference Group”.

Angry parents fronted a Parents and Citizens meeting on Monday to get the ban reversed, the Daily Telegraph reported.

They argued they were never consulted about the change and students have grown anxious or stressed about navigating the grounds alone.

In a more recent newsletter, school principal Paul Miller addressed the issue.  “We value and appreciate feedback from our community,” he said.

“This year we are trialling new ways to make sure the school day starts and ends smoothly. The changes take into account our school’s growth, safety, community feedback and the school’s unique physical layout.”

Parents have been encouraged to complete a survey to share their thoughts regarding the family meeting area.


 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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would you mind sharing your opinion about the primary school shutting parents off the school grounds? The school has relaxed the ban since the story was aired. I am a parent who likes to be involved in and aware of my children’s education. I also like to be able to look a teacher in the eye and have the freedom to greet them spontaneously in passing. I have contemplated removing my child from the school due to the lack of transparency.