Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Victoria gives $10m for hydrogen hub which will study storage and clean energy vehicles

Idiots. Where are they going to get the hydrogen from? It is all about us but separating it out needs energy, electricity. And where is the electricty coming from? From fossil fuel power stations, mainly. It is just an indirect way of using fossil fuels

And what about the cost and weight of the massive pressure vessels needed to store it? Whatever it is, it is not environmentally friendly

The hub will be based at Swinburne University of Technology and study both clean energy vehicles and hydrogen storage.

The government says about 300 jobs will be created and construction is expected to take about 18 months after it commences in 2022.

Swinburne will partner with the CSIRO to establish it.

“This hub will help give Victorians the skills and experience we need to unlock the hydrogen industry – driving down emissions while creating green jobs in a growing industry,” Victoria’s energy minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, said on Saturday.

The CSIRO said that as part of the arrangement it would get $1m to help develop a refuelling station for hydrogen vehicles.

“As Australia considers energy alternatives, we know hydrogen is clean and will be cost-competitive, but a major barrier to it becoming a fuel source for cars and trucks is how to refuel, and the lack of refuelling infrastructure,” the CSIRO’s executive director, Nigel Warren, said.

“The refueller is a significant step towards removing that barrier.”

Swinburne university’s vice chancellor, Pascale Quester, thanked the government and said the hydrogen hub would demonstrate the ways in which technology can “create a better world”.

A sister site will also be built in Stuttgart, Germany.

The Victorian government is also expected to release a hydrogen industry development plan in the coming weeks.


Demand for arts and humanities still high despite Coalition university fee increases

Demand for arts and humanities university courses has risen in some states, despite the federal government’s fee increases aimed at pushing students into more “job-ready” degrees.

Students appear willing to pay increases of up to 113%, with university offers for society and culture degrees up 25% in Queensland among year 12 school leavers. Offers for the creative arts are also up 11.3%, according to early data from the Queensland tertiary admissions centre.

In contrast, offers for information technology, which had its student degree cost slashed from $9,698 to $7,700, are up only 18.8%, and engineering, with the same discount, is up 15%.

In New South Wales, preferences for society and culture rose 5.7%, and nearly 2,000 more students applied than at the same time last year.

Despite student fees more than doubling from $6,804 a year to $14,500, 40.6% of NSW prospective students chose it as their first preference, by far the largest cohort, although the figure is down slightly on 41.3% in 2020.

However, in Victoria the number of applications (at any preference) to study arts and the humanities fell 7.3%, to 15,494 – even as total undergraduate applications rose 1.5%. Arts and humanities still made up 23% of all applications.

Commerce and law, whose fees also rose, had a drop in Victoria. Commerce applications dropped 3.4% and law applications 3.6%.

Final enrolment numbers will not be known until after the census at the end of March. Until then, students can drop out or change courses without being charged.

Higher education expert Andrew Norton, from the Australian National University, said it appeared the government’s changes to student contributions were not having a “dramatic” effect on students’ choices.

“[Applications] are up overall, including in some states’ arts degree fields that have more than doubled in price,” he said.

In June last year, the architect of the Hecs scheme, Bruce Chapman, predicted the fee rises would not move students into the areas the government wanted to prioritise.

Norton said the dip in applications in Victoria was among any preferences, not just first preferences, which made its data different from NSW.

“In Victoria the number of arts applications at any preference level is down – $14,500 a year might be too much to pay for a second or lower preference course,” he said.

“But we have to wait for enrolment data to see the true effects of changed student contributions.”

Under last year’s changes, fees were reduced for agriculture and maths by 62%, teaching, nursing, English and languages by 46%, and science, health, architecture, IT and engineering by 20%. The cost of humanities rose 113%, and law and commerce 28%.

The then-education minister, Dan Tehan, said the changes would “incentivise students to make more job-relevant choices … by reducing the student contribution in areas of expected employment growth and demand”.

“It’s common sense,” he said in a speech to the press club. “If Australia needs more educators, more health professionals and more engineers then we should incentivise students to pursue those careers.”

In NSW, overall applications rose 7.5%, meaning the percentage of humanities applications out of the total dropped slightly from 41.3% to 40.6%.

Applications for health degrees rose 13.5% and architecture rose by 10%. Information technology rose 5.7%, and natural and physical sciences rose 4.3% – both slightly less than society and culture.

Applications for creative arts and management and commerce, which both had degree costs raised, were the only areas to drop – by 1.2% and 2.1% respectively.

In Queensland, offers for education rose 35.2%, natural and physical sciences rose 30%, architecture rose 18.8% and agriculture rose 8.8%.


They may be bigots, but here’s why we can’t gag Israel Folau or Margaret Court

Pru Goward

He’s baaack! Just as we had gotten used to the idea that a so-called religious bigot had been awarded Australia’s highest honour for being Australia’s greatest ever tennis player of any gender, another religious figure, with a similar antipathy for homosexuals as Margaret Court AC, is in the news.

Yes, Izzy Folau, having been banished by Rugby Australia, is looking for the honour of playing NRL. How dare he seek the adoring roar of the crowds and the big bucks again with views like his, you may well ask.

Margaret Court may have been the female equivalent (and more) to Don Bradman for at least a generation of Australian women, who, like me, knew of only two other famous women: the Queen and Dame Pattie (Menzies). Mysteriously, Court had never received the same recognition as the wondrous but silent Ken Rosewall or Rod Laver.

Not for we girls of the 1950s were there female government ministers, world-leading scientists, a dazzling array of sporting stars or even women reading the news on radio, let alone television, to admire and emulate. But there was always Margaret Smith, as she was then.

I haven’t heard the outcry from political leaders who want Israel Folau removed from public life again, or threats from famous fans to tear up their NRL membership tickets if he’s allowed back with St George Illawarra – albeit with a gag order in his proposed contract – in the same way others have rejected their honours over Margaret Court, but no doubt they’re warming up in the wings.

For all I know, Izzy has been in isolation at a re-education camp for the past 12 months, contemplating his reduced income and the attractions of discretion; we have heard little of his views since he was dragged from the scene, taking with him the head of then Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle.

Eddie McGuire was in danger of being condemned in the same way over his, in my view, much more ill-judged remarks about racism at Collingwood Football Club but, since he had attached no theological belief to it, recanting was painless and swift.

Now we are flagellating ourselves yet again, wondering aloud how Australia could allow two people as undeserving as Court and Folau to prosper on our watch.

The country that finally threw off the shackles of religious convention in the ’60s, when the pulpits ruled and unspoken sins were roundly condemned (they never were spelt out by the preacher, or more of us teenagers might have tuned in for the naughty words), has gradually replaced it with another sort of equally religious puritanism, with exactly the same effects: silenced debate, silenced freedom of speech, reduced tolerance, reduced trust.

Maybe it’s a post-COVID trauma and will pass. The emergent parochialism of the states (except our own) has been breathtaking and premiers have clearly fed off opinion polls that told them their electorates enjoyed seeing other states as the enemy far too much. In 2020 we found out what cancel culture really meant, and it wasn’t great. But we’re at it again, seeking to cancel people we don’t agree with.

Calls to disgrace people who offend us were the warm-up acts of dictators and the early warning signs of totalitarianism in places as disparate as the old South Africa and the Soviet Union.

It is not as if people have an unfettered licence to insult and defame individuals or groups; unlike the United States, Australian human rights law is very clear on vilification and the inciting of others to commit crimes or acts of terror. Our defamation laws are extremely tough by the standards of other democracies.

While I share Julia Gillard’s “murderous rage, really” – her description of how she felt about those men who attacked her with snide references to gender – and while I have a large group of male dolls in my head I regularly stick pins into, to cancel them is a dangerous descent into censorship which must be fought until there is no breath left in the frail body of democracy.

That goes for Wednesday’s refreshingly basic biffo over vaccine “crazy conspiracy theories” between Labor’s Tanya Plibersek and the Liberals’ Craig Kelly


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reveals response to youth crime crisis

Queensland will launch a major crackdown on young offenders as it’s revealed a 400-strong group of teenagers is responsible for half the state’s juvenile crime.

Justice authorities have consistently said youth crime figures are falling but they fear a small cohort has held the state’s police force under siege, with just 10 per cent of young offenders responsible for nearly 50 per cent of juvenile crimes.

The alarming statistic combined with deafening community outrage has led to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk enlisting the state’s anti-terror boss to clamp down on the crisis gripping the Sunshine State.

Under new laws announced on Tuesday, repeat youth offenders will be slapped with GPS tracking devices and bail conditions will be toughened.

The death of a pregnant couple in Brisbane on Australia Day allegedly at the hands of a teenager in a stolen car thrust youth crime concerns back into the spotlight.

And the fury in the community has continued to escalate, culminating in the death of Jennifer Board, 22, on Friday night in Townsville during an alleged wild vigilante chase of teens in a suspected stolen vehicle.

“The community expects us to do more and that is exactly what we will do,” the premier told reporters, announcing she will appoint Assistant Commissioner Cheryl Scanlon to take charge of a Youth Crime Taskforce.

“Families have been shattered and lives have been lost. And that is why today we are taking very strong action. “They have no concept of the consequences of their actions and no fear of the law.”

Ms Scanlon, a 33-year police veteran, will set upon the 10 per cent of repeat youth offenders who police fear have zero regard for consequences as the Palaszczuk government adopts a plea from the Queensland Police Union who wanted this group of about 400 offenders slapped with GPS tracking anklets.

This measure will be implemented in a new trial and used in Morton, North Brisbane, Townsville, Logan and the Gold Coast for 16 to 17-year-olds as part of bail conditions.

The presumption of bail will also be removed for serious indictable offences such as breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery.

“The courts will be empowered to require repeated offenders to give reasons why they should have bail instead of requiring prosecutors to prove why they should not,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Where courts can seek assurances from them that the offender will adhere to the bail conditions or bail will not be granted.”

The breakdown of the new rules to be introduced later this month include:

Require fitting of electronic monitoring devices (GPS Trackers): As a condition of bail for recidivist high risk offenders aged 16 and 17

Create a presumption against bail: For youth offenders arrested for committing further serious indictable offences (such as breaking and entering, serious sexual assault and armed robbery) while on bail

Seek assurances from parents and guardians that bail conditions will be complied with before an offender is released

Strengthen existing bail laws: The Youth Justice Act will be amended to include a reference to the community being protected from recidivist youth offenders in the Charter of Youth Justice Principles

The announcement comes a day after the opposition called for the immediate reinstatement of breach of bail offences for juvenile criminals.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli admitted the supposed youth crime crisis requires a nuanced and holistic approach, including early intervention support schemes and improving cultural connections with Indigenous youths.

But he demanded Ms Palaszczuk remove bail exemption provisions in the Youth Justice Act on the first day of the parliamentary sitting year in two weeks. “I don’t want to rush, I don’t want to make mistakes. I want to fix what we see as the core tenet of the problem,” he told reporters on Monday.

The chorus of demands follows a desperate plea from Ms Board’s close friend and police officer, Luke Matthews, who said something had to change after the death of his “loveliest” and “most innocent” friend.

“Myself and my fellow officers deal with these same offenders all the time, and the current youth justice process does not work,” he said in a detailed Facebook post.

“Stop letting these criminals out on bail. We need to start acknowledging that despite the fact they’re juveniles, their actions have very serious consequences, and if they they’re committing these very serious offences of the exact same nature, over and over again, why are they even being released?

“This should have been prevented.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

http://dissectleft.blogspot.com (DISSECTING LEFTISM)

http://snorphty.blogspot.com (TONGUE TIED)

http://antigreen.blogspot.com (GREENIE WATCH)

http://pcwatch.blogspot.com (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH)

http://edwatch.blogspot.com (EDUCATION WATCH)

https://heofen.blogspot.com/ (MY OTHER BLOGS)


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