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Senior Lib admits green wedge fears

Written on September 20, 2019 at 01:55, by

A SENIOR member of the Victorian Liberal Party has taken a swipe at the Baillieu government’s stewardship of Melbourne’s green wedge areas.
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In a speech to be made to the Mount Eliza Business School tonight, the federal member for Flinders, Greg Hunt, says ”my father instilled in me the notion that as policymakers, if we fail to think in generational terms then we are in effect stealing the future from our grandchildren. In that context I understand community fears about proposed changes to the state’s planning policy and the green wedge, which has enjoyed bipartisan support for 40 years”.

The Baillieu government has extended Melbourne’s urban boundary into green wedge areas and is proposing to relax development rules there as part of wider planning changes.

In his speech, Mr Hunt says the Mount Eliza area ”carries with it an historic lesson in terms of leadership and vision”.

He said his father, former state politician Alan Hunt, battled to protect the area in the face of leadership of the party strongly supporting ”clearing away the rural buffer between Mount Eliza and Mornington to allow housing across the area”.

”On the other hand, the local community, much of the planning community and those with a general love of the region felt that this would destroy the peninsula’s unique place as a sanctuary and green oasis for all of Melbourne.

”In the end, dad chose the people over the party. Ultimately he won support of then Planning Minister Dick Hamer. The battle was won but his career was deferred. The two then worked to create the green wedges policy, which was formally adopted in 1968 and legislated in 1971,” he said.

Alan Hunt was later Planning Minister in the Hamer government and helped develop green wedge policies.

The Baillieu government’s proposed changes to Victoria’s planning zones, including green wedge areas is believed to have generated thousands of submissions. It is unclear if the submissions will be made public.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy said the appointment of a hand-picked advisory committee to review the submissions was part of ensuring the big planning overhaul ”delivers productivity growth and drives investment and liveability outcomes for Victorians”.

The advisory committee will report back to Mr Guy by November 30.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Power pollution plunges

Written on September 20, 2019 at 01:55, by

Hazelwood power station outside Morwell in Victoria.THE carbon tax has helped to drive a sharp fall in the emissions intensity of Australia’s power generation as coal-fired stations are closed, moth-balled or sell less electricity.Power bills could drop with reformsDemand drop shocks power industry
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As Victoria’s Yallourn brown-coal-fired power station became the latest to announce a production cut, experts said falling demand for electricity, more renewables such as wind farms and solar, and the carbon price were all pushing Australia’s coal-fired stations out of the market, making generation cleaner.

Electricity sold into the east coast market in the three months since the tax was introduced created on average 7.6 per cent less carbon dioxide for each megawatt hour of power, an analysis of figures compiled by the Australian Energy Market Operator shows.

Compared with the same three months last year, the decline in emissions was about 6.3 per cent, after seasonal differences are ironed out.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet talked up the role of the $23-a-tonne carbon price in the shift.

”It is significant that the emissions intensity of the electricity generation system has fallen in the first quarter of the carbon price,” he said.

”It is also significant that … about 3000 megawatts of high-polluting electricity generation has closed or phased down.

”The carbon price is a key driver of these changes, although it is not the only factor at work.”

Coalition resources spokesman Ian MacFarlane said the cost of the shift in power generation was being paid by workers.

”The carbon tax might be causing people to cut back on usage, and it is certainly slowing manufacturing, combined with the renewables energy target [RET] that means coal is being taken offline,” he said.

But energy analyst Hugh Saddler said that, at its current level, the carbon price was ”more important as a statement of intent”.

The major reasons that black and brown coal generation was being ”pushed out of the market” were falling demand and the RET, he said.

The chief executive of the Energy Supply Association, Matthew Warren, also said the decrease had more to do with lower demand.

”As demand has softened, renewables have kept their market share because that is mandated through the RET, so brown and black coal generation has acted as the shock absorber,” he said.

The decline in emissions intensity was sharpest in South Australia (16.1 per cent) and Victoria (8.7 per cent). In NSW it was 4.3 per cent. The dip began in June, shortly before the introduction of carbon pricing, as the market began to factor in the change.

The rapid decline in coal-fired generation has led to industry calls for changes to the RET to slow the deployment of renewables, but the Greens said that ”when even coal companies are complaining that solar and wind power are outcompeting them, you know that things have changed forever in our country”.

There has been a spate of recent closures and mothballings of coal-fired plants.

In Queensland, Tarong and Swanbank B have closed capacity; in NSW, the closure of Munmorah has been confirmed; and in Victoria, Energybrix is no longer producing power for the grid and Yallourn yesterday announced the closure of one unit. In South Australia, the Playford B station has shut.

Explaining its decision to cut one of Yallourn’s four units,

EnergyAustralia, formerly known as TRUenergy, blamed the carbon price for significantly increasing the cost of operations and the RET for ”acting to suppress wholesale electricity prices”.

While wholesale power prices have been declining, inefficiencies in the retail market, including over-investment in electricity networks, have meant household bills have continued to soar.

The Productivity Commission yesterday recommended changes, including eliminating regulations that allow ”excessive” returns to network businesses.

In June, the Australian Energy Market Operator said demand in the national electricity market was 5.7 per cent lower than forecast because of increased energy efficiency, solar photovoltaics and a decline in energy-hungry manufacturing.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Nuclear agency boss emotional as whistleblower taunts

Written on September 20, 2019 at 01:55, by

The ANSTO Lucas Heights facility.THE head of Australia’s nuclear agency briefly broke down at a dramatic Senate estimates hearing yesterday, after an angry whistleblower accused him of covering up a serious incident in which workers were splashed with radioactive material.
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Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation chief executive Adrian Paterson was comforted by Senators and staff, and refused to leave the room until the man had left the building.

Listening to Mr Paterson give evidence was former ANSTO worker and whistleblower David Reid, who worked at the facility for almost 30 years, including years as his colleagues’ occupational health and safety representative.”You’re a liar,” Mr Reid growled when Mr Paterson finished telling the inquiry he did not believe the incident had occurred.

”You’ve fabricated the findings, covered up safety incidents … you guys covered it over. You’re a lying piece of shit.”

Mr Reid later told The Age he had been sacked after bringing claims of the incident to management. ”It’s trashed my life; I’ve just been obsessed with it. My marriage fell apart, and I lost my house and I’m living in a caravan. But I can’t let it go.”

The fracas centred on an incident that allegedly took place at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights facility in 2007, which has been the subject of multiple inquiries, and remains disputed by all parties involved.

KPMG conducted the most recent investigation into the incident, reporting in June that many current and former ANSTO employees had ”imprecise at best” recollections of the incident. But it found the regulator – the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency – failed to properly investigate the matter and neither its interim, nor final inspection reports, ”sufficiently examined allegations that a contamination incident … occurred”.

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam called for ANSTO to apologise to Mr Reid.

”I think what has to happen from here, Mr Reid is clearly owed an apology, but the regulator is going to have to step up.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Upgrades all in the family

Written on September 20, 2019 at 01:55, by

IT WAS not that I didn’t want to buy an iPhone 5 – I did – but even before the first-adopter queues at the Apple Stores had dispersed, I was under family pressure to get a move on with my upgrade.
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We have an iPhone food chain in our family. My wife wanted my iPhone 4S so she could pass her iPhone 4 on to our daughter, whose iPhone 3GS was to go to her daughter, who is three and enjoys the kiddy apps it carries.

That hand-me-down pattern is pretty general throughout Australia, which is either the first- or second-best market in the world – per capita – for what is in my view the most desirable mobile phone there is. I hold this view not only for the iPhone 5 itself, but because it is part of what is, again in my view, the best and safest consumer digital environment on the planet.

That environment is Apple’s huge advantage. TheiPad’s popularity encourages purchases of iPhones and boosts sales of MacBooks and iMacs. To quote the late Steve Jobs, ”it all just works”, and despite hiccups such as the undercooked Apple Maps, it does.

But the map problem is easily solved. Just install the Google Maps app while a seriously galvanised Apple gets up to speed with its maps.

To get Google Maps on to your iPad or iPhone, launch Safari and then go to maps.google南京夜网.au. As the website loads, a small panel will appear that asks you to ”install this web app on your phone” by tapping an arrow to get what looks like an app icon on your screen. Tapping this will launch Google Maps and, provided you have Location Services turned on, it will show you immediately where you are.

The real genius of Apple mobile devices is the software, the operating system, iOS 6, the apps, and the closed, curated, environment – the App Store, iTunes, and the integration of all your stuff through iCloud.

I love iCloud; everything just works. Emails arrive simultaneously on my iPhone5, iPad, MacBook Pro and iMac. My data, pictures and so on are held safely up there in 25GB of free storage, a service that has been extended by another 12 months for me南京夜网 subscribers. Items can be retrieved on any device, regardless of where it was created, and it will talk to a PC.

MobileMe, the previous cloud-style system, could be flaky, but iCloud is solid gold, doing things like instantly synchronising changes in documents across all my devices and, via Photo Stream, also instantly distributing the pictures you take to all your iCloud-linked devices.

In the photographic department, take a look at Panorama. It is a feature of iOS 6 and works on the iPhone 5 and 4S. Select panorama mode on the camera and, guided by an arrow moving on the screen, swing the phone across the scene you wish to photograph. I did it inside a cafe in North Melbourne and flabbergasted the owner, to whom I emailed the result straight from the phone.

You need an iPhone 5 or 4S to run some of the newest features, but they may be installed on models 4 and 3GS.

■And where would we be without a ”confirmed” Apple rumour? AllThingsD, one of the most reliable technology web watchdogs, says the iPad mini will be out this month or early November. It is likely to be a basic device, about $250, with a 17.7-centimetre screen (diagonally), access to iPad apps, with wi-fi and maybe a SIM card, to take on the Samsung and Google Nexus, Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the Nook and the Kobo.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Review: Panasonic Lumis GF5

Written on September 20, 2019 at 01:55, by

Price: $700 with 14-42mm lens Smart alternative to a compact
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The low-down: This camera, with a 12-megapixel sensor, is Panasonic’s latest entry model in its micro four thirds interchangeable lens range. It is intended to appeal to customers wanting better image quality from a fully automatic camera. There are very few instantly accessible user controls, and what can be controlled is done mostly through the touchscreen. The LCD is a high-resolution device with excellent brightness and fidelity. Like its predecessor and siblings, it provides for touch and fire – touch the important spot on the screen and the camera focuses and fires. The test camera came with the more-expensive powered zoom, which is ideal for video.

Like: Image quality is consistently good. Autofocus is fast and even in auto-everything mode, the camera works well. The rugged construction makes it feel heavy in comparison with a compact, but it indicates durability and quality.

Dislike: The absence of an accessible knob to move from automatic into P, A, S or M mode (it is done through the menu) is annoying for anyone who wants to exercise user control. This is definitely a point-and-shoot camera.

Verdict: We gave it a good workout at a zoo and were delighted with the results. The LCD was better than average in bright sunlight, although it would be nice to have the option of an optical viewfinder. Considering this camera’s combination of small size, interchangeable lenses, fully automatic operation, nice touchscreen, excellent LCD, RAW capture and great image quality, all at a price in the compact range, you have to ask yourself why would anyone choose a compact over the GF5.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.