Friday, February 26, 2021

Brisbane flood victims awarded $440m settlement over Wivenhoe Dam disaster

Conservatives built a dam that should have ended Brisbane floods. But a Leftist government misused it catastrophically. To avoid building a new dam, the Bligh government used the flood compartment to store water. So when the floods came threre was nothing to contain them

On top of that the bureaucrats in charge of the dam failed to heed danger warnings -- because it was not in their manual. They killed a lot of people. An early discharge could have kept the flood within bounds. Morons all round

Almost 7000 people in a class action will be paid $440 million in a landmark settlement with the Queensland Government and SunWater, the dam’s operator.

The figure – the largest-ever in a class action in Australia – was announced to the ASX today by litigator funder Omni Bridgeway.

“This has been a hard-fought and extremely difficult case on behalf of approximately 6700 claimants, against determined defendants over many years,” Omni Bridgeway said.

Releases from the Wivenhoe Dam in January 2011 saw water levels rise up to 10 metres. Hydrologists determined the releases were the main cause of flooding in the riverine area of Brisbane.

The class action lawsuit represented some 6700 victims of the disaster.

SunWater and the Queensland Government have settled to split a 50 per cent share of the liability for the class action.

Another state owned enterprise, Seqwater, has not settled with the claimants, the statement from Omni Bridgeway said. Seqwater has been allocated the remaining 50 per cent liability for the disaster.

“Seqwater has been allocated 50% of the aggregate liability” by the NSW Supreme Court in the first instance, the statement said. The enterprise plans to appeal the finding in May 2021.

However, based on the current allocation of Seqwater’s 50 per cent liability, Omni Bridgeway estimate the claimants currently look to settle with the parties with a total value of $880 million.

The class action suit was previously estimated to reach a settlement between $130 to $170 million.

In light of the settlement, Omni Bridgeway said they now consider the previous upper level estimate to be “conservative”.

The settlement comes a decade after the 2011 Brisbane floods, which affected more than 200,000 people and caused $2.38 billion worth of damage.


College principal defends teen thugs who attacked tradies

Comment from a social work reader:

"And the school principal calls his thugs “vulnerable” and “broken babies”.

I expect he is a soppy leftie, and maybe worse, a cunning and manipulative one.

"I worked with leftist forensic psychs who would justify crim’s crimes, coach them into believing they were victims of society’s artificial expectations, so they would continue to be crims after release, by telling them things like there is no truth, just perception and feelings, no right or wrong, just social expectations, and if you feel it, it’s true for you, and in another society you would not be in jail, you would be considered a good citizen, even a hero….

I would not be surprised if the principal and a number of his teachers are of the same sort of character as those psychs, committing crime by proxy through manipulating dumb thugs and crims, all the while acting themselves as if they are caring and wise"

A school principal has thrown his support behind the gang of thugs filmed savagely beating tradies during a wild rampage earlier this week.

The saga began on Tuesday, when two tradesmen arrived at SMYL Community College in Rockingham, southwest Perth, to fix a broken fire hydrant.

But soon after their arrival at the school for at-risk teens, a group of up to 10 students began surrounding the men and verbally abusing them, with footage of the incident livestreamed to Instagram.

The incident soon escalated, with around six teens seen throwing punches at the men while they are trapped in a corner, amid shouts of “bomb him, bomb that motherf …” and “keep going”.

Teachers soon arrived in an attempt to break up the attack, but as the incident was unfolding, another teenager was seen smashing the front windscreen of the tradesmen’s work vehicle after jumping on the bonnet and yelling “let’s smash his car”.

The attack made headlines across Australia and shocked the country – but despite the “appalling” violence, college director Sam Gowegati has defended the perpetrators, describing them as “broken babies” who needed help.

“The reason these kids are sent here is because they’re disengaged from mainstream education,” he told The West Australian.

“These kids are already vulnerable … and they do dumb stuff, that’s why they’re here, closed off in this area so we can manage that process.”

Earlier this week, Mr Gowegati told The West Australian some students had been suspended following the brutal attack.

“It is an atypical event. We’re just trying to figure out what happened and what triggered it,” he told the publication.

“A number of students have been currently sent home to decide what their futures are going to be.”

Mr Gowegati’s comments come after the publication reported that some staff were so concerned by student behaviour that they were “petrified” of going to work, with one teacher telling The West Australian some staff were “scared for their lives”.

According to the school’s website, SMYL Community College aims to “ provide an inclusive and supportive learning community that offers an alternative approach to education and training for young people aged 14 to 17 years of age who are at risk of missing out on opportunities due to their home life, health and other issues.”


Nuclear Power Would Stabilize the Australian Power Grid

While the situation in Texas shows us the necessity of a resilient grid with a high peak capacity and a healthy mixture of energy resources, Australia has been ruminating on a decision that would allow the country to utilize one of its most abundant natural resources. As one of the world’s foremost uranium producing countries, it is strange that Australia does not use uranium for nuclear power production.

Australia does not have any nuclear power stations, and has never had one. Australia has 29 percent of the world’s easily recoverable uranium resources (procured for less than $130 per Kilogram). That is 1.174 million tons of uranium. In 2019, Australia was the world’s third largest producer of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada.

Despite these resources, Australia has only ever had one nuclear reactor, and it was not built to generate power. It was a research reactor at Lucas Heights which was initially built as a test reactor to determine the suitability of materials for use in future power reactors. The reactor’s purpose has shifted since its 1958 construction, and it is now used for the production of medical isotopes and for other research purposes.

What’s Preventing Nuclear Power in Australia?

The Australian government’s ban on nuclear power is enshrined in two laws: the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (ARPANS Act) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act).

The ARPANS Act applies to commonwealth-owned entities and bans certain nuclear installations, namely nuclear fuel fabrication plants, nuclear power plants, enrichment plants, and processing facilities. In order for any commonwealth-owned entity to construct and use any of these facilities, the act would need to be amended.

The EPBC Act creates similar prohibitions for commonwealth corporations, commonwealth entities, the Commonwealth itself, or other people, which prevent them from taking “a nuclear action that has, will have or is likely to have a significant impact on the environment.” This and other parts of the act would need to be amended to create a framework for licensing projects.

The ARPANS and EPBC acts are products of a sense of national outrage arising after the United Kingdom used Australia and its surrounding waters as nuclear testing sites during the early years of the Cold War. The tests remain a sore spot between the former colony and mother Britain, but they also stained the conversation around nuclear projects with the taste of weapons development and colonial exploitation in Australia.

Understanding that these regulations are anchored in old conflicts now largely moot is the key to challenging them effectively for the good of Australians and the Australian environment today and in the future.

Efforts to Allow Nuclear Energy

In recent years, the impetus to change the law and create a pathway toward nuclear power in the country has grown. In 2019, the House Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy performed an “Inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy in Australia.” The ensuing report made three recommendations.

“Firstly, the Australian Government should further consider the prospect of nuclear technology as part of its future energy mix; secondly, [it should] undertake a body of work to progress the understanding of nuclear technology in the Australian context; and thirdly, [it should] it consider lifting the current moratorium on nuclear energy partially—that is, for new and emerging nuclear technologies only—and conditionally—that is, with aprovals for nuclear facilities to require the prior informed consent of impacted local communities.”

These recommendations show that the tide may be turning for nuclear, and for energy freedom more generally, in Australia.

Australia has some of the highest energy consumption per capita in the world, and its efforts to decarbonize are stymied by its categorical refusal of nuclear power. It is illogical for a country with such a bounty of a valuable natural resource to preclude its use toward this end. Were a pathway created for licensing of nuclear reactors in Australia, energy developers would have a wider range of options for new power to replace some of the country’s aging coal plants.

The ideal way to determine the most efficient energy mix is to remove as many barriers to market operation as possible, and then allow the wheat to separate itself from the chaff. This requires that there be minimal subsidies and restrictions. Australia has done just the opposite, and that is why its attempt at an “energy transition” has been unsuccessful thus far. Attempting to force decarbonization through wind and solar, while outright banning nuclear power, is counterintuitive. Nuclear is less carbon-intensive than solar, and about as carbon-intensive as wind while using dramatically less land.

Even without allowing the construction of older technologies, if Australia followed the committee’s recommendations, and allowed new nuclear technologies, the added flexibility of technologies like small modular and advanced non-light water reactors will give the country the ability to confront the impending need to add new capacity to its aging grid.


Redcliffe State High School’s trial of pronoun badges has divided the community

A state high school’s trial of gender pronoun badges has divided the community with some welcoming the new initiative and others saying the “world has gone mad”.

Redcliffe State High School’s LGBTIQ+ group launched the trial of the pronoun badges last week. It provides students an option to wear a badge with he/him, she/her or they/them on it.

A Facebook post shared by the school said: “(The) purpose is to display to everyone what those who are wearing them define themselves as. They’re also so that people know what to refer to the wearer as.”

A poll conducted by the Redcliffe Herald found 91 per cent, of the almost 2000 voters, did not think gender badges should become common practice at all Queensland schools.

Many readers said the school should focus less on this and more on the basics of education. William said: “No wonder our world ranking in math and science are going to the dogs”.

“How about teachers teaching maths, science and English and leaving all this rubbish alone. Teachers and the education system have no right or authority to start reading around with gender issues. That should only be the responsibility of the parents,” Peter said.

Philip, a teacher, supported the idea. “Regardless of what many people might think about the use of differing pronouns by people, this is an incredibly good idea,” he wrote. “As a teacher, having to recall the preferred pronouns for all my students has always been difficult. The uniform does not help you, nor does the hair style, etc.




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