Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Pictures of parents camped out to enrol their children in Brisbane’s tops schools have triggered questions as to why some schools are in such high demand

This article Ignores the Elephant In The Room. It is schools in upper class localities that parents want for their children. Such schools are more orderly so provide a better learning environment

Pictures of parents camped out to enrol their children in Brisbane’s top schools have sparked debate about the desperation for out-of-catchment-enrolments and quality classrooms.

But data from the Department of Educations shows Sherwood and Graceville state schools, where families pitched camping chairs last Tuesday, are among hundreds of Queensland schools on the brink of capacity and forced to restrict out-of-catchment enrolments.

News of parents queuing for 24 hours attracted criticism from some readers, with one commenting that hype was often based on hearsay from other parents who had little idea when it came to academic benchmarks.

Others speculated that the hysteria came about from the discrepancy between the facilities and education provided at different public schools.

But the chief executive of P&Cs Queensland Scott Wiseman believes the demand for out-of-catchment enrolments is largely driven by specialist programs offered by certain schools rather than the general quality of the education.

“There is a growing focus on some schools offering specialist programs in sports, academics, arts and other areas,” Mr Wiseman said.

“Out of catchment enrolments can allow students with particular passion in these areas to flourish.”

Parents on Tuesday told The Courier-Mail they were happy to pitch camp chairs to join a schools waitlist based on recommendations from friends, academic achievements and friend groups.

Mr Wiseman said it was important that parents considered the full offerings of a school rather than focusing on specific programs at the school.

“Additional considerations are their students needs and well being, existing friend networks, travel, overall school performance and feedback from existing parents of the school via social media or contacting the schools P&C,” he said.

Mr Wiseman said an active school community was also a positive indicator for a school’s success given the support that P&Cs provided.

The Department of Education lists almost 600 schools with an School Enrolment Management Plan which have exceeded 80 per cent of their enrolment capacity or those which are new and likely to attract a large cohort from outside the catchment.

Principals of these schools are required to restrict the enrolment of students from outside the area in order to ensure sufficient facilities are available for students who live nearby.

Out-of-catchment students applying for enrolment at a state school are placed on a waiting list and assessed in order of receipt.

Data released by the Department of Education in 2021 revealed Corinda State High School had the highest number of out-catchment-enrolments in Queensland at 1624 students, or 78 per cent.

Brisbane State High School and Kelvin Grove State College were close behind.

Tent Hill Lower State School near Gatton and Woongarra State School near Bundaberg also had a high percentage of out-of-catchment enrolments, with Mr Wiseman saying there weren’t obvious localities with an increased demand.

A spokesman from the Department of Education said the latest data for out-of-catchment enrolments in 2022 was expected to be released within the next few weeks.


Dozens of countries including Britain and France are now turning to Australia to lock in a long-term clean energy source that can help the world dramatically cut its carbon emissions

After nearly a decade in the deep freeze, nuclear power has been getting a fresh look as a way for the world to rapidly end its dependence on heavily-polluting coal and oil.

An energy crisis brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turbocharged this, prompting much of western Europe to look for ways to slash their reliance on Moscow.

Shunned by politicians here as being too hot to handle, uranium has been a workhorse for decades, fuelling nuclear reactors in more than 30 countries.

Although off-limits locally, uranium generates baseload electricity essential to underpin an energy grid but with barely any carbon emissions.

Just this month British Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised up to eight new nuclear plants within this decade. This followed France’s Emmanuel Macron, who is fighting a presidential election, outlining plans to build as many as 14 new reactors to bolster his country’s energy needs.

This uranium renaissance is creating a shift in Australian investment markets, which saw one player – mining hopeful Boss Energy – quietly cross the key $1bn mark over the past week.

While Boss hasn’t yet shipped an ounce of uranium, the valuation makes the Perth-based company hard to ignore.

Production could still be 18 months away as it does the numbers on the mothballed Honeymoon mine it is sitting on, 80km northwest of Broken Hill and just inside the South Australian ­border.

But chief executive Duncan Craib is confident that as the world revisits uranium’s role in the energy mix, his mine can become a low-cost, long-term supplier.

Craib says nuclear energy can “absolutely” play a role, alongside solar, wind and hydro, to deliver clean baseload power in Australia.

“When we talk to politicians on both sides of politics, there’s definitely a growing awareness,” Craib says.

“For nuclear power in Australia to be considered and for it to be successful, you really do need bipartisan support from both the major political parties – and we’re not there yet,” he says.

Craib is very close to bringing Honeymoon back to life. The mine had previously been owned by a Russian-backed entity Uranium One but closed the operation in 2013 amid weak prices.

Boss later took control and took a fresh look at the economics of the mine. A trial in 2016 used different processes to extract uranium, creating a much better prospect for a financial return even at the then subdued prices.

“Ultimately, what we wanted to do was increase the production throughput, so you’re producing more and lower your costs and get the right tenor of uranium out of the ground, which we’ve achieved over years of testing and trialling,” Craib says. The type of mining proposed – in situ recovery, which involves a form of leaching rather than digging ore – sharply reduces the energy intensity needed to extract uranium.

The price of uranium collapsed after Japan’s Fukushima disaster just over a decade ago, where the nuclear power plant was hit with an earthquake and tsunami, and radiation was released into the atmosphere. Despite the extreme nature of the event, later investigations concluded that better safety oversight and planning could have prevented the accident. However, investors turned off uranium, sending it to around $US20 per pound for years.

Recent unrest in Kazakhstan, which supplies nearly 40 per cent of the world’s uranium market, pushed prices above $US42 per pound late last year. Russia’s invasion has sent uranium to more than $US63 per pound and Craib expects it to move higher.

“There’s been a significant shortfall in supply versus demand. This past year, there’s a deficit of 48 million pounds. With that deficit, fuel buyers have been relying on their own inventory. But there’s been no question in the industry that new supplies are needed, the mines need to be built, new resources need to be discovered.”

He points to the hard realities of the numbers that are underpinning a restart of Honeymoon.

“Currently there’s about 440 reactors operating in 31 countries. You’ve got 56 units under construction and 96 are in the planning stage. There’s another 325 proposed and the leading driver of that really is China,” he says.

‘Pole Position’

Honeymoon already has mining infrastructure in place, and critically, it has one of four uranium export licences, which can accelerate the ramp-up of the operation.

Other existing uranium mines in South Australia include BHP-owned Olympic Dam and Four Mile, which is backed by US-owned Heathgate Resources. Mining at Rio Tinto’s majority-owned Ranger Mine in the Northern Territory finished early last year and the site is in the process of being rehabilitated


Election 2022: Experts pull plug on vow to cut energy bills

Three leading energy experts have cast doubt on Labor’s pledge to cut energy bills by $275 a year and create 604,000 jobs by promoting renewable generation, with one of them describing a key assumption that underpins the pledge as “just plain wrong’’.

Labor’s centrepiece Powering Australia Plan is backed by ­modelling that shows an 18 per cent fall in wholesale electricity prices and an 18 per cent fall in prices for households and businesses by 2025.

Wholesale prices account for only 25-35 per cent of retail energy prices, with charges to fund poles and wires comprising up to 50 per cent, retail margins 15-20 per cent and green subsidies about 10 per cent.

“It is hard to say how they get the same percentage reduction except by assumption” said economist Warwick McKibbin.

“There is nothing I can see on the modelling that shows the links between prices across users so I cannot judge if this is correct.

“I would have expected other inputs to change so some difference in percentage would be likely,” he said.

When other input costs to the residential price such as poles and wires, retail and green costs are taken into account, up to $150 of the predicted $275 in annual savings could be swallowed up.

Half of Labor’s 604,000 new jobs are also dependent on assumptions of lower power prices from the entry of renewable generation sources to the system.

“It is either an arithmetic error or alternatively they are assuming all the other costs are plummeting, including network costs, and that is impossible. It is just a mistake. It’s just plain wrong,’’ said Frontier Economics managing director Danny Price.

“If it is an arithmetic error, they have just taken the wholesale cost reduction as the retail price reduction. They just fundamentally misunderstood that wholesale only represents the minority of the consumers’ bill.’’

On Tuesday, Energy Minister Angus Taylor claimed that energy consumers would pay an increased $560 a year by 2032-33 as a result of a surge in network charges under Labor’s plan.

Labor on Tuesday doubled down on its defence of its modelling by consultancy RepuTex.

“RepuTex are the country’s leading energy economists, with the Coalition themselves commissioning them for their own 2030 target” said Labor’s climate change and energy spokesman Chris Bowen.

“This is another desperate scare campaign by the same ­rabble that haven’t been able to land a national energy policy in a decade.”

RepuTex did not respond to questions from the Australian.

The RepuTex report released in December predicted that under Labor’s policy, wholesale prices paid to electricity generators would fall by 18 per cent or $11/MWh. It predicted residential electricity prices would also fall by 18 per cent, delivering a drop of $50/MWh and saving a family $275 over a year.

Sky News host Jenna Clark says “alarm bells” should be going off at “opposition HQ” as energy experts warn… Labor's $78bn transformation of the electricity grid will force up prices. Government modelling estimates Labor's electrical grid plan will add as much as $560 to the average annual power More
Based on figures in the RepuTex table published in the report, the wholesale price contributes only 22 per cent of the retail price.

However, in a one-page statement also published in December, RepuTex estimated the wholesale component of an average electricity bill to be 35.5 per cent and that it was the largest component of a retail bill.

RepuTex also stated that the wholesale component was forecast to contribute 83 per cent of the total bill savings in 2025.

These figures are inconsistent with the RepuTex forecast of an 18 per cent fall in both wholesale and residential retail prices leading to a $275 saving by 2025.

Tony Wood from the Grattan Institute said: “I cannot make sense of the two things: 83 per cent of $275 is $228. At $11/MWh, that would mean consumption of more than 20MWh per annum – clearly not right. There must be something missing.”

Since the RepuTex report was made public in December, the futures price for wholesale electricity in 2025 has risen from ­$53/MWh to $105/MWh, according to ASX Energy Data services.

Energy Users Association chief executive Andrew Richards said wholesale prices had already risen dramatically, and he expected substantial volatility in energy prices going forward. “There are many scenarios we can see where the total bill will go up. That is where the narrative around this transition being easy and cheap is just false” he said.

Labor has promised to spend $20bn under its plan to connect 25,600MW of new renewable energy, including wind and solar farms, to the existing grid. It expects the policy will unlock $58bn of private co-­financing.

“You are spending another $50-$60bn of private money. How can prices be plummeting that much? It just makes no sense at all,’’ Mr Price said.


‘We won’t shut down debate’: Perrottet stares down crossbench threat

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has stared down threats by a key independent MP to withdraw support for his government amid an intensifying debate over transgender people in sport.

Independent member for Sydney Alex Greenwich warned he would no longer guarantee supply and confidence for the Coalition government after Perrottet was drawn into the debate over excluding transgender people from women’s sports.

Perrottet on Friday evening called for a more tolerant and respectful conversation around the issue, but insisted he would not allow government supply and confidence to be threatened by Greenwich.

“My government will not be threatened on the issue of allowing people to voice their opinions,” he said. “If you are a politician and you don’t have a view, then you are in the wrong profession.”

Despite the threats from Greenwich, Opposition Leader Chris Minns has ruled out supporting a motion of no confidence in or denying supply to the NSW government.

Transgender comments threaten Perrottet’s minority government
“The choice of government should be left to the voters in March 2023,” Minns said.

The debate over transgender people in sport has dominated the federal election campaign in the Sydney seat of Warringah after inflammatory comments from Liberal candidate Katherine Deves were widely circulated.

Olympic champions Emma McKeon and Dawn Fraser voiced their opinion on the matter this week as the issue also filtered into state politics after NSW Treasurer Matt Kean called for Deves to be disendorsed by the party.

Perrottet said twice this week he believed “young girls should compete against young girls,” and rejected calls for Deves’ disendorsement.

Greenwich on Friday said he had organised a meeting with Perrottet, sporting representatives and transgender advocates for next week, as he wanted the premier to be provided with more information about the community.

Perrottet’s office said they had already agreed to the meeting with the advocates on Thursday, before Greenwich threatened to withdraw support for the government.

However, Greenwich said he advised the premier at 2.30pm on Thursday that he could not support a government “developing an anti-trans narrative,” before his office agreed to the meeting at 6pm.

“It’s my hope and intention that we can get to a position where he understands the importance of trans people being able to participate equally and fairly in sport,” Greenwich told the Herald on Friday.

Greenwich said he was concerned an “anti-trans narrative” was forming within the federal Liberal Party, and he did not want it to leach into NSW state politics.

“I want to make sure that that narrative does not follow through to the NSW government, because then my position of supporting them would be impossible,” he said.

“I have built a relationship of respect with the premier and his government where we are very open. He and I have had differing views, but I expect to know where those come from, and I expect that they are based on evidence and consultation, not just ideological opinion.”

Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said sporting bodies were best-placed to determine the issue of transgender athletes, not politicians.

“Sports administrators are responsible for creating safe, inclusive participation environments and that varies from sports,” he said.

“We should let sports regulate themselves in this regard, and they will determine the right outcome for their sports to ensure that sports are open to all, and it’s done in a safe and inclusive environment.”


Also see my other blogs. Main ones below:

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

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

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

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

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


No comments: