Main Menu

WP_Query Object
(
    [query] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => sustainability/water-sustainability
        )

    [query_vars] => Array
        (
            [category_name] => water-sustainability
            [error] => 
            [m] => 
            [p] => 0
            [post_parent] => 
            [subpost] => 
            [subpost_id] => 
            [attachment] => 
            [attachment_id] => 0
            [name] => 
            [static] => 
            [pagename] => 
            [page_id] => 0
            [second] => 
            [minute] => 
            [hour] => 
            [day] => 0
            [monthnum] => 0
            [year] => 0
            [w] => 0
            [tag] => 
            [cat] => 8234
            [tag_id] => 
            [author] => 
            [author_name] => 
            [feed] => 
            [tb] => 
            [paged] => 0
            [meta_key] => 
            [meta_value] => 
            [preview] => 
            [s] => 
            [sentence] => 
            [title] => 
            [fields] => 
            [menu_order] => 
            [embed] => 
            [category__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [category__not_in] => Array
                (
                    [0] => 22371
                )

            [category__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_name__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [tag_slug__and] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [post_parent__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__in] => Array
                (
                )

            [author__not_in] => Array
                (
                )

            [ignore_sticky_posts] => 
            [suppress_filters] => 
            [cache_results] => 
            [update_post_term_cache] => 1
            [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1
            [update_post_meta_cache] => 1
            [post_type] => 
            [posts_per_page] => 14
            [nopaging] => 
            [comments_per_page] => 50
            [no_found_rows] => 
            [order] => DESC
        )

    [tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                    [0] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => water-sustainability
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                            [operator] => IN
                            [include_children] => 1
                        )

                    [1] => Array
                        (
                            [taxonomy] => category
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => 22371
                                )

                            [field] => term_id
                            [operator] => NOT IN
                            [include_children] => 
                        )

                )

            [relation] => AND
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                    [0] => wp_term_relationships
                )

            [queried_terms] => Array
                (
                    [category] => Array
                        (
                            [terms] => Array
                                (
                                    [0] => water-sustainability
                                )

                            [field] => slug
                        )

                )

            [primary_table] => wp_posts
            [primary_id_column] => ID
        )

    [meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object
        (
            [queries] => Array
                (
                )

            [relation] => 
            [meta_table] => 
            [meta_id_column] => 
            [primary_table] => 
            [primary_id_column] => 
            [table_aliases:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [clauses:protected] => Array
                (
                )

            [has_or_relation:protected] => 
        )

    [date_query] => 
    [queried_object] => WP_Term Object
        (
            [term_id] => 8234
            [name] => Water
            [slug] => water-sustainability
            [term_group] => 0
            [term_taxonomy_id] => 8234
            [taxonomy] => category
            [description] => 
            [parent] => 26
            [count] => 59
            [filter] => raw
            [cat_ID] => 8234
            [category_count] => 59
            [category_description] => 
            [cat_name] => Water
            [category_nicename] => water-sustainability
            [category_parent] => 26
        )

    [queried_object_id] => 8234
    [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS  wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts  LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1  AND ( 
  wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (8234) 
  AND 
  wp_posts.ID NOT IN (
				SELECT object_id
				FROM wp_term_relationships
				WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (22364)
			)
) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND (wp_posts.post_status = 'publish') GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 14
    [posts] => Array
        (
            [0] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 27492
                    [post_author] => 670
                    [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46
                    [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption]

 

Comment - Charles Pauka

Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion.

“This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale.

“It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.”

Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef.

[caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption]

 

Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that.

 “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes.

“This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.”

The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016.

64,000 vs. 1,400

So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range.

“The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia.

“The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef.

“As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.”

I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist.

“The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven. 

“Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef.

“The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community.

“In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said.

[caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption]
                    [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided
                    [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it?
                    [post_status] => publish
                    [comment_status] => open
                    [ping_status] => open
                    [post_password] => 
                    [post_name] => coal-coral-queensland-government-undecided
                    [to_ping] => 
                    [pinged] => 
                    [post_modified] => 2017-06-28 17:24:02
                    [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:24:02
                    [post_content_filtered] => 
                    [post_parent] => 0
                    [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27492
                    [menu_order] => 0
                    [post_type] => post
                    [post_mime_type] => 
                    [comment_count] => 0
                    [filter] => raw
                )

            [1] => WP_Post Object
                (
                    [ID] => 25995
                    [post_author] => 659
                    [post_date] => 2017-01-16 12:42:50
                    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-16 01:42:50
                    [post_content] => Researcher is analyzing Legionella in test tube with blood.

 

NSW local councils have been asked to comment on proposed changes to the regulation of water cooling towers in an attempt to prevent future outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease.

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in March 2016 was tracked back to an infected water cooling tower in Sydney’s CBD and this spawned the NSW Health discussion paper asking councils for feedback on the new regulations.

Building owners – some of whom are councils - are responsible for checking water cooling towers every month, cleaning them every six months and getting them certified every year.

As well, local councils must keep a register of water-cooling systems in their area, including details about inspections.

Legionnaire bacteria can cause a nasty bacterial lung infection, which can be fatal in about 10 per cent of cases, and can be transmitted when a person breathes in contaminated water vapour, dust or soil.

Legoinnaire pneumophilia bacteria can contaminate airconditioning towers, spas and shower heads and they live in warm, stagnant water, making water cooling towers some of the riskiest sites.

Towers usually sit on top of large buildings forming part of the water-cooling system.

A pool of water is sprayed over pipes to cool the air inside the building and then recirculated, making the warm water susceptible to infiltration by bacteria. The infected water droplets can then drift out into the street.

The NSW Health recommendations include:
  • Minimum standards for testing and inspecting water-cooling towers
  • Independently audited risk management plans for operating and testing cooling towers
  • Testing laboratories to notify local councils of cooling tower test results where bacteria levels are elevated
  • Local government can ask for additional testing and results, if needed
Submissions are due by February 9. Local Government NSW is putting in a submission and asking councils for their views. [post_title] => Legionnaires’ outbreak spawns tighter water-cooling tower rules [post_excerpt] => Local councils asked for feedback. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bit-tighten-rules-water-cooling-towers-battle-legionnaires-disease [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-17 11:40:10 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-17 00:40:10 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25995 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 2 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25916 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-21 09:42:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 22:42:21 [post_content] => emu-plains-correctional-centre-supplied Emu Plains Correctional Centre.    The Baird government has backed down on building a pop-up prison for maximum security inmates in Western Sydney, after strong local opposition to the plans. NSW Corrections Minister David Elliott announced today (Wednesday) that the new quick-build prison for 400 inmates, which was to be built next to the 200-bed women’s prison at Emu Plains Correctional Centre, would not be going ahead. The NSW prison population is at record levels and the government is scrambling to deal with the crisis. A spokesperson for Mr Elliott said the NSW government had received a hydrologist’s report which indicated that the site, which is on a flood plain, was at risk of flooding. Mr Elliott said: “I have heard community concerns about the proposed expansion and updated flood modelling provided to Justice Infrastructure shows that the flooding risk with the proposed increase in capacity could not be fully addressed at the site. “We are continuing to look at additional sites to increase capacity in the NSW correctional system.” He said Emu Plains was chosen for expansion because it was a large open site within the Sydney metropolitan region and would have brought more than 400 new jobs to the local economy. Mr Elliott said the NSW Government would invest $3.8 billion over four years to provide about 7,000 additional beds across the state to cope with NSW’s increasing prisoner population. Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari said the government had been forced into an “embarrassing backflip” because it had failed to consult properly with residents or with its own planning department. Mr Zangari said the prison would have been built close to an area surrounded by houses, schools and a train station. “The community is outraged that they were never consulted about this pop-up prison. Now Minister Elliott has been forced into back-flipping on a flimsy plan that lacked detail about keeping nearby residents safe,” Mr Zangari said. “It took a community backlash to make the minister see sense and ditch this idea. It just goes to show how out of touch he is.” Mr Zangari blamed the Baird Government for creating “the worst prison bed crisis” in the state's history. He said 1700 inmates were expected to come into prison corrections next year but only 900 new beds.   [post_title] => NSW government shelves pop-up prison after community backlash [post_excerpt] => Emu Plains site a no-go. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-shelves-pop-prison-community-backlash [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:11:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:11:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25916 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25721 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-12-02 10:13:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-01 23:13:41 [post_content] => emu-plains-correctional-centre-supplied Aerial view of Emu Plains Correctional Centre. Photo: Supplied.         NSW Premier Mike Baird’s plans to build a pop-up prison at Emu Plains housing 400 maximum security inmates in demountables will be built on some of the most dangerous flood plains in NSW, the Opposition has said. NSW Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari argued that the state government was aware that developing the Western Sydney site, which already houses a 200-bed women’s prison Emu Correctional Centre, would present “a risk to human life”. Mr Zangari said that a leaked letter from the Department of Planning to Penrith City Council showed that the government had stepped in to halt an earlier council proposal to develop land adjacent to the pop-up prison site. “The Baird government’s own planning department recognises that any further development in Emu Plains is dangerous, yet tough talking Minister for Corrections David Elliott is pushing ahead anyway,” Mr Zangari said. He said Penrith Council wanted to rezone land near the prison for 60 houses but the Department of Planning rejected the planning proposal. “Given the current evacuation capacity constraints and consequent risk to life, further development of flood prone land in Emu Plains is not supported,” said the Department’s letter to the council. “Consideration was given to the complex nature of flood evacuation around Emu Plains and that any development of this nature would adversely add to the regional evacuation capacity constraints.” But a Corrective Services NSW spokeswoman denied lives would be at risk. “Corrective Services NSW is aware of concerns about the proposed expansion, which includes a 240-bed facility for women and a facility for men,” she said. “If any risk could not be fully addressed then the project would not go ahead.” Hydrologists will ensure the proposal would have no impact on flooding and evacuation routes will be considered during site investigations. She said the prison’s expansion would follow state environmental planning legislation, which included exploring potential environmental impacts and taking into account geotechnical information, stormwater and waste management. The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley area is well documented as being vulnerable to flooding. The 2014 Hawkesbury-Nepean Flood Management Review Stage One said that during heavy rain water entered the floodplain much faster than it could escape. Flood waters can rise rapidly and create a ‘bathtub effect caused by natural choke points’. “A combination of large upstream catchments and narrow downstream sandstone gorges results in floodwaters backing up behind these natural ‘choke points’,” said the review. “Floodwaters rise rapidly causing significant flooding both in terms of area and depth.” But while the vulnerability of the area to flooding is established the likelihood of a catastrophic flood is up for debate. The last major one was in 1897 when flood waters hit 19.5 metres. Local flood plain and environmental expert Steven Molino told news.com in 2012 that there was a one in 200 chance of the 1867 flood occurring. "These things do happen. They don't always happen where there's people or houses, but when they do we have a major catastrophe,” Mr Molino said. The NSW government has also been criticised for a dearth of community consultation about the new prison. Mr Zangari said: “The government didn’t even have the decency to tell the community about its pop-up prison plans when they first emerged, now they’re learning that their lives are at risk too.” A NSW Corrections spokeswoman said Justice NSW would commence a targeted community consultation once the development of the concept plan was complete, which would be in the coming weeks. [post_title] => Pop-up prison could flood: Labor [post_excerpt] => Flood plain risk. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => emu-plains-pop-prison-flood-labor [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-02 10:29:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-01 23:29:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25721 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25518 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-11-08 15:18:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-08 04:18:42 [post_content] => light-years-ahead2_opt Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council's Light Years Ahead program     NSW local government environment stars have been busy over the past year, with projects encompassing a broad range of areas, including sustainable procurement; climate change action; asbestos management; communication, education and empowerment; roadside management and water conservation. The best of the best will be honoured in the annual Local Government Excellence in the Environment Awards later this month. The top two awards are for overall council performance and another celebrating the achievements of an individual council officer or councillor who has been a beacon to sustainability. Please see below for a full list of finalists. Winners will be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 29 November 2016 at Doltone House, Darling Island Wharf, Sydney.   2016 Finalists Asbestos Management Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils - Western Sydney Asbestos Answers Facebook campaign Climate Change Action Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Holroyd, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith Councils - Light years ahead Blacktown City Council - Cool streets Hunter & Central Coast Regional Environmental Management Strategy- Regional heatwave resilience project Penrith City Council - Cooling the city   Communication, Education and Empowerment   Leichhardt Municipal Council (Inner West Council) - On tour: sustainable food, fashion and fun! MIDWASTE - Frugal forest Rockdale City Council (Bayside Council) - Engaging the community: landing lights wetland restoration Waverley Council - Second Nature 'I'm in' community engagement campaign   frugal-forest_opt MIDWASTE'S Frugal Forest  Community Sharps Management City of Ryde Council – Sharps Disposal Invasive Species Management    Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Feral rabbit management in urban Bankstown Camden Council - Management of Australian white ibis at Lake Annan, Mount Annan Clarence Valley Council - Use community based social marketing for effective tropical soda apple management Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Weed identification and mapping from high resolution aerial photography   [caption id="attachment_25522" align="alignnone" width="500"]"Young Mountain Cottontail rabbit Sylvilagus nuttallii resting in grass. Boulder, Colorado, 2009." Former Bankstown Council has won praise for its management of feral rabbits.[/caption]   Natural Environment Policies, Planning and Decision Making     Palerang Council (Queanbeyan–Palerang Regional Council) - Remote pilot aircraft aerial imaging trial Sydney Peri Urban Network of Councils - Sydney food futures project   Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Works Bankstown City Council (City of Canterbury-Bankstown) - Habitat box program Bathurst Regional Council - Restoring regent honeyeater habitat in the Bathurst region Blue Mountains City Council - Leura Falls catchment improvement project Orange City Council - Gosling Creek Reserve precinct floating island and hollows habitat Parkes Shire Council - PAC Park urban wetland construction Wagga Wagga City Council - Marrambidya Wetland Roadside Environmental Management    Ballina Shire Council - Chickiba Roadside Wetlands restoration project Lachlan Shire Council - Roadside corridor assessment and management guidelines Moree Plains Shire Council - Roadside environmental management plan Sustainable Procurement   Marrickville Council (Inner West Council) - Embedding sustainability into 'value for money'   marrickville-council-procurement_opt Former Marrickville Council's sustainable procurement campaign won plaudits   Resource Recovery    Broken Hill City Council - Increasing resource recovery for Broken Hill Campbelltown City Council - Annual free recyclables drop-off day     Waste Avoidance and Reuse    Lismore City Council - Lismore revolve shop and recycled market Parramatta City Council – The R3 program: resource, rescue and reuse Waste Education and Communication    Lachlan Shire Council - Lachlan Shire waste services rationalisation Warringah Council (Northern Beaches Council) - The Sort it Out campaign     Water Conservation Ballina Shire Council - Pressure and leakage management plan [caption id="attachment_25524" align="alignnone" width="460"]High pressure pipe leaking Finalist: Ballina Shire Council's Pressure and Leak Management Plan[/caption]     Local Sustainability Ballina Shire Council – Sustainability: serving the community of today whilst preparing for the challenges of tomorrow Camden Council - Sustainable Camden Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability Winner to be announced at the Awards on Tuesday 29 November     [post_title] => Full list of finalists: NSW local government environment stars [post_excerpt] => Sharing good ideas. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => full-list-finalists-nsw-local-government-environment-stars [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-11 10:15:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-10 23:15:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=25518 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24226 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2016-06-22 16:47:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-22 06:47:02 [post_content] => Sydney Park water reuse 1_opt A local council project using millions of litres of treated stormwater runoff to keep its parks green and wetlands thriving has scooped a 2016 Good Design Award. City of Sydney Council’s water re-use project harvests and treats up to 850 million litres of stormwater from Newtown’s Munni Street catchment and uses it to irrigate Sydney Park, a 44-hectare area from The stormwater is captured, stored and then treated to deliver a new sustainable water supply to the wetlands and Sydney Park. There is also potential for other water users across the local area to access the clean water, including industry. The council has even managed to turn the project into a waterscape feature. Visitors are wowed by the elevated terracotta pipes that funnel the cleansed water into Sydney Park’s main pond. The project won the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences category in the Good Design Awards – a prize given to products that have the potential to make a significant improvement to the quality of health, wellbeing or the environment. Sydney Mayor Clover Moore said it was the City’s biggest environmental project to date and that it “brought together design, science and sustainability to create a significant new piece of green infrastructure.” “It not only improves overall water quality and habitat, it also educates residents and visitors on the importance of water management by allowing park visitors to connect to the concept of water capture and cleansing in a beautiful setting,” Ms Moore said. Director of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Dolla Merrillees, called the Sydney Park water re-use development a ground breaking project. “We have selected a project which highlights important contemporary issues such as sustainability and social innovation, and addresses the increasingly critical issue of our natural resources,” Ms Merrillees said. “This community-focused project illustrates how Australian designers are successfully responding to ‘real world’ problems, by planning our future cities and urban environment with a sense of social responsibility and purpose.” The project was a collaboration between Sydney firms Turf Design Studio, Environmental Partnership, Alluvium, Dragonfly and Turpin+Crawford Studio, who completed the two year project in October 2015. The project plans will be displayed in the Success and Innovation gallery at the Museum of Applied Arts and Science at Ultimo. [post_title] => Water recycling project wins Good Design Award [post_excerpt] => Stormwater reused for parks and wetlands. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => water-recycling-project-wins-good-design-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-28 10:28:32 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-28 00:28:32 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24226 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22348 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-12-03 19:25:02 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-12-03 08:25:02 [post_content] => DCF 1.0 Cash strapped local government across Australia will have access to a $250 million pot of cheap, fixed rate finance to reduce power and fuel bills and carbon emissions thanks to a move by the federal Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to accelerate the rollout of clean and efficient energy technologies. Known as the ‘CEFC Local Government Finance Program’ the offer to councils is designed to provide flexible and competitive fixed-rate, long-term finance to get projects off the ground. It’s a big deal for sector facing heavily constrained state and federal funding and an increasingly limited ability to independently raise revenue that could otherwise be ploughed into projects that require a significant initial capital outlay but pay themselves off by reducing operating costs over time. Increases in the called ‘lights-on’ operational running costs for councils – like fuel and electricity – are a major financial headwind because they burn through funds with next to no return on investment or visible improvement to the community. The CEFC’s Executive Director of Corporate and Project Finance, Paul McCartney, insists there’s a financially compelling case compelling councils to get better control over their energy use and the costs associated with it. “Australia-wide, councils are under continued pressure to effectively and efficiently manage their operations,” Mr McCartney said. “Local governments across Australia administer a vast network of street lights, community centres, libraries, sport and recreation facilities and other public access buildings.” The downward shift in energy consumption and maintenance costs associated with outdoor lighting has been profound since the so-called mainstreaming of LED units that can be retro-fitted to existing poles. Low energy LED units use a fraction of power older street lamps while lasting for far longer. The sharply reduced time to failure for an LED unit means that savings on maintenance costs can sometimes outpace that of electricity savings. Some electricity providers and lessors of street lamps initially opposed the introduction of LEDs on the basis that were supposedly not as safe as existing systems. However that resistance has now largely been overcome by councils and transport authorities who are moving away from tactic of using infrastructure standards as a means to lock in electricity revenue In simple terms, the savings on offer from new lean and clean technologies, including solar battery storage, are now so economically compelling it can be hard to justify not deploying them. For example sports grounds that were once so costly to illuminate at night that they were a marginal to loss making asset have in some cases become revenue positive. Waste management (of the physical variety) and cooling for buildings is also a strong focus for the CEFCA because councils usually have a large physical footprint they can exploit to sustainably generate electricity. “This program will support major investment activities across a range of eligible projects. For example, there are clear benefits to councils from converting street lighting to more efficient LED lighting, as well as installing rooftop solar PV on council-owned buildings,” Mr McCartney said. “The CEFC has identified energy from waste projects as an area where councils can generate energy by reusing landfill waste. We’ll also be speaking with councils about improving air conditioning, installing smart controls and voltage optimisers to improve the energy efficiency and performance of their buildings.” There’s also keen interest from councils which run their own waste water treatment to generate electricity from sewage as is increasingly happening in the US. Getting those sorts of projects up and running can often take more capital and risk appetite than necessarily conservative councils are traditionally prepared to take on, one of the reasons the CEFC is trying to spur them on with cheap money that won’t overload them with regular bank debt. According to the CEFC, the key elements of its Local Government Finance Program look like this: •    Finance for eligible projects across renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emissions technologies; •    Loans of at least $10 million for a single project or package of works; •    Finance can be drawn over three years; •    Ability for multiple councils to enter into joint financing agreements for eligible projects; •    Access to competitive fixed-rate longer-dated senior debt (up to 10 years); •    A straightforward approval process with simple loan documentation. Helping to propel the case for investment are heavily subdued interest rates, a point not lost on Mr McCartney. “In a period of historically low interest rates, now is the time for councils to act to reduce energy costs and lock in the long term benefits of energy efficiency,.” He said. “The CEFC’s financing solutions can help councils proactively manage these costs, whether through reducing energy consumption in high use areas such as leisure and aquatic centres or accessing fleet financing to enable the council’s conversion to electric vehicles.” [post_title] => CEFC flicks $250m to councils for clean & lean energy switch [post_excerpt] => Fresh funding to power savings boost. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => cefc-flicks-250m-to-councils-for-clean-lean-energy-switch [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-12-03 19:37:05 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-12-03 08:37:05 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22348 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22238 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2015-11-23 18:04:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-23 07:04:42 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_22241" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The first Australian Economic Framework for Green Infrastructure will make it easier to build a business case for features such as living walls.[/caption] Australia’s local councils will find it easier in the future to demonstrate the value of green infrastructure, such as pathways and rivers, with the development of the country’s first Economic Framework for Green Infrastructure. The framework, which was produced by a group of Victorian councils, Victoria University and the Victorian State government, finally gives local government a way of assigning a dollar value to wetlands, parks, open spaces, living walls, urban forests, cemeteries, sports fields and roof gardens - commonly termed ‘green infrastructure’ or ‘urban greening.’ While it has long been commonplace to assign an economic value to traditional “grey” infrastructure such as roads, buildings and bridges, it has not been possible before to do the same thing with urban attempts to address issues such as climate change, liveability of cities, air pollution and water scarcity, which often delivers multiple environmental, economic and social benefits. City of Melbourne council’s Environmental Portfolio chair Arron Wood said the new methods would help local councils make critical investment decisions in the future. “This framework will support better decision making and smarter investment for local government. We know that green is fundamentally good for our cities, but we have to make the business case stack up,” Mr Wood said. Theframework says the role and value of green infrastructure has not been well understood in Australia, partly because it is a new area of practice with incomplete evaluation tools and methods. “It is seen in many councils as peripheral to other forms of more established forms of infrastructure,” says the report. “Some of the associated benefits are intangible (non-monetary) which are often overlooked as they are difficult to quantify, particularly in relation to future savings. “As a result, business cases for this area do not include all the relevant information and can result in decision makers being unable to make fully informed decisions. This has meant that opportunities to improve these assets or maximise their benefits have not been taken up.” Chancellor of Victoria University, George Pappas, said green infrastructure helps preserve and enhance Melbourne’s liveability. “Melbourne keeps winning awards for being the world’s most liveable city, and why? Our green infrastructure plays a big part,” Mr Pappas said. “We have well established ways of putting together business cases for roads and drains, but not for green infrastructure such as urban forests and water recycling. “If we want to improve our liveability in a hotter, more changeable climate, we need to invest in green infrastructure projects, both big and small. The framework will help councils build better business cases for doing so.” For example, the framework evaluates an urban water management project at the Brooklyn Industrial Precinct, which houses more than 60 industries 10km from Melbourne’s CBD. The site's unsealed lots yield about three times the natural run-off, which funnels over 110 tonnes of pollutants into local creeks and the air quality is the worst in Melbourne. Brimbank City Council developed a business case and a vision for an integrated water management system for the site, which could include sediment and erosion management plans, perimeter greening, rain gardens, green roofs, rainwater tanks and stormwater detention and reuse. The council used the Economic Framework for Green Infrastructure to assess the current community costs of not doing anything, for example, the market value of water use and waste water and the cost of monitoring, compliance and managing air pollution, as well as the direct and indirect health and welfare costs of air pollution on affected residents. It also looked at the economic benefits of taking action, for example, the substitution of potable water by recycled water and rainwater and better human health from reducing air pollution. The Framework shows how to value green infrastructure, outlines a full lifecycle management process to help daily decision making and explains the economic methods used. The Victorian State Government provided $250,000 for the development of the economic framework. [post_title] => Helping local councils put a dollar value on green infrastructure [post_excerpt] => New economic measure shows benefits of urban greening. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => helping-local-councils-put-a-dollar-value-on-green-infrastructure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-12-01 10:56:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-30 23:56:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22238 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 22012 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2015-11-03 11:04:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-11-03 00:04:14 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_22038" align="alignnone" width="300"]London, UK NSW councils want to be financially unleashed[/caption]   The Baird Government in New South Wales has again hit out at resistant councils opposing a strong push to cull their numbers across the state by around a third to 100 entities after Local Government Minister Paul Toole emphatically rejected a Legislative Council inquiry report that strongly criticised the merger push and called for an end to rate capping. As councils across the state rush to thrash out voluntary options for amalgamations over the next fortnight, Mr Toole has attacked the Upper House report’s findings and said that the Committee “had chosen to ignore much of the evidence that supported council structural reform” in the state government's formal response. The Upper House report is highly unlikely to dissuade the Baird from pursuing its ‘merge or be merged’ reforms based on the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s ‘Fit for the Future’ assessment. But the report’s recommendations are certain to be seized upon by angry minor parties and independents preparing to block legislation. So far the Shooters and Fishers, Greens, Christian Democrats, independent Alex Greenwich and the Labor opposition have all come out swinging against forcing mergers, making the government’s next moves unclear. The most controversial recommendation in the Upper House report is a call for the state government to “evaluate the option of the removal of rate pegging and allow councils to determine their own rates conditional on the delivery of a local works plan outlining the expenditure associate with any proposed rate increases and demonstrated community support.” Councils in NSW have for decades blamed rate capping as the source of many of their financial woes because the politically popular mechanism inhibits their ability to raise revenue directly to pay for infrastructure and major projects. The bid to free-up new money, rather than cut costs, drew a swift and blunt rejection from Mr Toole, who labelled it a recipe for “higher rates, a growing infrastructure backlog and ultimately the collapse of some local councils.” “Rates in NSW have been capped to protect the community from high rate rises. This report calls for that safeguard to be scrapped,” Mr Toole said. Until the victory of Labor in the Victorian state election this year, New South Wales had been the only state to enforce rate capping on councils, which has been in place since 1978. In late October 2015 the Daniel Andrews Labor government introduced legislation to peg council rate increases to the Consumer Price Index after running hard with the pledge during the election campaign. Angry councils claim a big part of their financial woes is cost shifting by those further up the political food chain. A notable recommendation of the NSW Upper House report into Local Government is that the state government there “eschews future cost shifting and commits to providing adequate funding to local government for any new services, assets or regulatory functions that it devolves to local councils.” However the NSW Legislative Council report is not entirely dismissive on revenue and spending controls. One ambitious recommendation suggests that limits on donations to local government candidates and their campaign be capped during local government elections. Another yet unresolved issue in the merger process is how much it will cost councils that are amalgamating to transition across and integrate stand-alone systems like financials, HR and payroll, asset and contract management and other administrative machinery and processes. While the prospect of running fewer systems and products is outwardly appealing, by far one of the biggest risks for cost blowouts is the migration and integration of business software systems. An added headache to that is as councils necessarily downsize their back office and administrative teams, decades of corporate memory essential for smooth transitions often walks out the door with a redundancy package. The Legislative Council report strongly urges the Baird Government to think carefully how it treats senior management in councils amid any merger process. It specifically recommends that “the NSW Government implement a program to assist and support senior staff affected by amalgamations, particularly those staff in regional areas who may need to relocate if their position is lost through an amalgamation.” [post_title] => Call to end NSW rate capping [post_excerpt] => Unfit councils to be culled instead. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => call-to-end-nsw-rate-capping [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-11-03 11:04:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-11-03 00:04:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=22012 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21693 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2015-10-09 10:24:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-10-08 23:24:20 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_21701" align="alignnone" width="1024"]horses racing They're racing! Under discussion at this weekend's Local Government NSW conference are rates, infrastructure and water.[/caption] Frontrunners for discussion at this weekend's Local Government NSW conference at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens racecourse are rate pegging, infrastructure, section 94 contributions and ownership of water utilities. Although there is only one reference to it in the conference business papers, discussion on council amalgamations will be another sure bet once the barriers go up. Councillors will be wondering whether NSW Local Government Minister Paul Toole has got his blinkers on and failed to compute the level of rebellion among many of them should he decide to force council mergers after the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal hands him its recommendations on October 16. Rates Rates have been a perennial favourite on the agenda at (surely) every local government conference since the dawn of time, or at least since rate pegging was introduced in 1978. Many councils view the Mexican stand-off over rate pegging, and indeed cost-shifting, as more critical to the survival of NSW councils than the row over council mergers. Wellington Council says in its submission: “While the focus has been on amalgamations, the real issue of funding still has not been comprehensively addressed.” LGNSW wants the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to remove rate pegging completely. or make it simpler and cheaper to apply for special rate variations. Some councils have called on the government to abolish “unjustified and poorly targeted” rate exemptions and concessions for commercial tenants of Commonwealth and state land. This can include universities, air bases, emergency service facilities and airports. There is also a motion calling for properties in single ownership but in multiple residential dwellings, for example retirement villages, to contribute more to council rates. Great Lakes Council believes the rating legislation within the Local Government Act 1993 has not kept pace with the development of large scale residential developments. “These properties and others are categorised as residential and subject to the same rate as surrounding residential properties. They are levied a single ad valorem rate and a single base amount, despite containing 50 to 150 or more individual residential dwellings. Each of these dwellings contain 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms," says the council's submission. “On some properties this can equate to general rates of as little as $52.70 per year per dwelling where other similar types of dwellings on separate lots in the same locality are levied around $900 to $1100.” Parramatta City Council suggests that the Valuer General should value properties using the Capital Improved Value to assess rates, rather than on the unimproved land value. Section 94 contributions Wollondilly Shire Council wants the cap on Section 94 contributions paid by developers be indexed from when they were introduced in September 2010, in recognition of increasing construction and land costs that councils face when building new infrastructure. Section 94 contributions are paid by developers to councils and based on projected population growth, and the likely new facilities and services councils will need to provide. The cap is currently $30,000 per lot for councils in greenfield areas and $20,000 per lot for remaining council areas. The council says in its submission: “By not being able to index the Section 94 charges to adjust for CPI, a funding gap is created between the cost of carrying out the works identified and costed in the plan, and the income that council generates from its Section 94 contributions. “This will affect Council’s ability to fully implement its Section 94 Plan, which may mean that it will not be able to provide the full range of services and infrastructure required to support its growing population.” Blacktown City Council wants to lobby the government to include community services buildings – not just the land on which they sit – under Section 94 contributions and also to class community facilities buildings under essential infrastructure. Infrastructure Many NSW councils have infrastructure at the top of their worry list. Some want government help preparing business cases for projects.  Western councils want the requirement for councils to match fund infrastructure projects to be lowered or dropped to address regional disadvantage. LGNSW is suggesting the formation of a new National Infrastructure Network to address planning, co-ordination and funding and one council wants application criteria and deadlines and under state and federal infrastructure funding programs to be better aligned. Bega Valley Shire Council would like the federal and state government to consider the demands on coastal councils’ services and infrastructure at peak holiday times during the planning and funding process when allocated funding and making policy. Water and sewerage A motion is being moved at the conference that local government should maintain responsibility for the operation and management of water supply and sewerage services and ownership of water supply and sewerage infrastructure. The Fit for the Future process has made some councils fear that their responsibilities for water utilities will be removed  - IPART has said it will “consider the impact of water utility performance in assessing the scale and capacity criterion as well as the impact on the other three criteria." Around 20 per cent of regional NSW councils manage water utilities. They argue that they perform this function well and it provides critical revenue, retains skills and provides local jobs. Central Tablelands Water County Council says: “Councils are most effective in achieving whole-of-community outcomes and integrated water cycle management, utilising efficiency of economies of scope, and allowing for sustainable, locally appropriate long term strategic planning and service provision.” The LGNSW Conference is on Sunday October 11 to Tuesday October 13 at Rosehill Gardens racecourse in Sydney. [post_title] => Rates, roads and water: Local Government NSW conference [post_excerpt] => NSW councils' Rosehill meeting [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => rates-roads-and-water-local-government-nsw-conference [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-10-09 11:16:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-10-09 00:16:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21693 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 21409 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2015-09-15 12:35:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-09-15 02:35:37 [post_content] => drowning robot Males over 55 in NSW are the group most likely to die from drowning, says the Royal Life Saving Society National Drowning Report 2015, which was released today. The report says that men over 55 represent one-third of all drownings. Males of all ages are much more likely to get into trouble in the water than females: 80 per cent of all drowning deaths were male. Perhaps surprisingly, the demographic least likely to die from drowning was children aged between five and 14 (3 per cent) while 10 per cent of deaths were in the under four age group. The report charts 271 deaths from drowning between July 2014 and June 2015, an increase of five deaths from the year before. Despite this increase, the figure represents a reduction of 17 deaths from the average of 288 drownings per year over the past decade, and is the second lowest on average since 2002/2003. The most dangerous locations for drowning deaths were inland waterways, such as rivers, creeks and streams, with 37 per cent of all drowning deaths occurring there. Beaches accounted for a further 20 per cent of deaths and harbours or ocean locations, 13 per cent. In around one-quarter of cases (23 per cent) people were swimming or larking about before they drowned but 20 per cent were on a boat or other watercraft and 16 per cent drowned after falling into the water. The state where the most drowning deaths occurred was in NSW, which had 37 per cent of cases, followed by Queensland with 23 per cent of drowning deaths and Victoria and Western Australia both at 14 per cent. However, this is a little misleading because these are obviously the most populous states. Tasmania recorded the highest rate of drowning deaths per head of the population, with 1.75 per 100,000 people and the Northern Territory the second highest rate at 1.64 per 100,000 people. The ACT had the lowest rate of drowning in Australia at 0.26 per 100,000 people. The National Fatal Drowning Database has been kept for the past 13 years and has recorded almost 4,000 cases. The database is used, among other things, to provide advice to coroners and to all three tiers of government and institutions and to inform the draft Australian Water Safety Strategy 2016 to 2020. The report issued a number of tips to prevent death by drowning including: • Wear a life jacket • Know your limitations and keep track of your fitness levels • Closely supervise children • Learn life-saving skills, CPR and first aid • Alcohol and water don’t mix • Be aware of any existing medical conditions [post_title] => Men over 55 in NSW most likely to drown [post_excerpt] => Inland waterways most dangerous: National Drowning Report. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => men-over-55-in-nsw-most-likely-to-drown [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-09-18 09:46:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-09-17 23:46:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=21409 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20568 [post_author] => 664 [post_date] => 2015-07-13 15:21:01 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-13 05:21:01 [post_content] => glass of water The Bureau of Meteorology has launched a ‘Climate Resilient Water Sources’ web portal. It describes the new website as an “interactive site providing comprehensive mapping and information on desalinated and recycled water sources for more than 350 sites across Australia, both publicly and privately owned and operated.” The site describes climate resilient water sources are those on which climate variability, such as variation in rainfall and temperature, has little or no influence. The dataset provides information on two of the most significant climate resilient water sources, desalination and water recycling. Desalinated water is water sourced from desalination processes and is not confined to marine desalination. Recycled water is treated sewage effluent, including water from sewer mining. It may be potable or non-potable, and excludes urban stormwater. The dataset is provided by site owners and operators as well as publicly available information. CSIRO did the initial stocktake of plants with production capacities greater than 50 ML (megalitres) per year. BoM said in a statement that the information will “inform the Australian community, government and the water industry of the contribution that these sources make to secure water supplies for current and future residential, industrial, mining, commercial and agricultural needs.” The portal can be accessed at www.bom.gov.au/water/crews. It enables users to search for information on capacity, production, location and use of these alternative water sources throughout Australia. Local government and water utility owners and operators can add and update their data directly to the portal's database, which is then linked to the website. The new portal is part of the Bureau’s ‘Improving Water Information’ program, which aims to build a detailed picture of Australia's water resources to support policy and planning.   [post_title] => BoM portal provides new 'climate resilient' water maps [post_excerpt] => Now anyone can find where it's wet [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => bom-portal-provides-new-climate-resilient-water-maps [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-13 15:21:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-13 05:21:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20568 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20565 [post_author] => 664 [post_date] => 2015-07-13 14:52:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-13 04:52:07 [post_content] => wind_farm The Federal Government’s increasingly strident campaign to recast the renewable energy sector in its own image is placing at risk the funding that many local councils have been depending upon to finance low energy schemes, many of which have saved significant amounts of money for ratepayers. After failing in its bid to abolish the profitable and popular Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) because of entrenched resistance in the Senate, the Abbott Government is now seeking to restrict its activities. The latest directive issued late last week represents an effective prohibition against financing wind energy and small scale solar PV, on the basis that the CEFC should only finance new technologies. The Labor Opposition and the Greens have immediately attacked and ridiculed the latest attempts to hobble the CEFC. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam called it “an extremely vindictive form of industrial sabotage.” ALP environment spokesman Mark Butler said: “The government is effectively blood-letting the CEFC since its attempts to abolish it have been fruitless, putting thousands of Australian jobs and billions of dollars in investment at even further risk.” Many in the clean energy industry have bemoaned the strong negative signal the Government’s ongoing crackdown on the renewables industry is sending to potential investors. But also at clear risk are the loans the CEFC has been making to Australia’s 565 local councils for schemes which have saved significant amounts of energy, carbon emissions and money. The CEFC devotes a whole section of its website to its achievements in financing various local government energy efficiency projects. They include:
  • Baw Baw Shire Council, Warrnambool City Council (both in Victoria) and Richmond Valley Council (NSW): Low energy street lights. The CEFC says that Australia-wide, street lighting is estimated to cost more than $400 million annually in energy and maintenance. Baw Baw's upgrade is expected to save $160,000 and Warrnambool’s $100,000.
  • Tumut Shire Council (NSW): lighting upgrade, air conditioning system upgrade and the installation of solar panels to reduce its administration building's grid electricity consumption by over 60 per cent.
  • Central Goldfields Shire Council (Victoria): installed solar PV, energy efficient lighting and upgrades to air conditioning systems to lower the energy costs and carbon emissions by about 14 per cent across its leisure centre, resource centre and council offices.
  • Wagga Wagga City Council (NSW): will halve its Oasis Aquatic Centre's energy costs to save approximately $276,000 by installing a cogeneration unit. The new system will provide up to 85 per cent of the centre's electricity demand and will supply hot water for space heating and for the swimming pools and cut carbon emissions by up to 55 per cent in the first year of operation.
Under the new CEFC guidelines, none of these would have been financed, as they involve existing technologies. The CEFC has been working with major financial institutions to develop finance programs that are available to councils to cover all, or part of, the upfront cost of energy saving projects. They are designed to “enable local governments to realise the benefits from these projects through reduced energy and operational costs without the extra burden of sourcing upfront finance,” says the CEFC’s CEO Oliver Yates. “Councils and their ratepayers pay the energy and maintenance costs of street lighting even though they do not own the assets. We’re helping councils reduce those costs by providing finance to enable them to create outcomes that benefit their communities.” The CEFC has a $100 million co-financing arrangement with Commonwealth Bank to provide loans designed for local councils and not-for-profit organisations such as schools, hospitals and sporting organisations. It says its Energy Efficient Loan program suits projects of up to $5 million and can be used to cover the full value or part of a project. The program is available nationwide for projects that meet CEFC eligibility criteria. The trouble is, those eligibility criteria are changing. The new guidelines contained in a letter sent to the CEFC by Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann last week say investment should not be made in "mature and established clean energy technologies, including extant wind technology and household and small-scale solar.” About a third of all CEFC investments have involved small-scale solar, including many to local governments. The Coalition Government also shut down the former ALP Government’s Local Government Energy Efficiency Program (LGEEP) after being elected. Under the scheme, $6.8 million was granted to 214 LGAs to install solar and heat pump hot water systems in a range of buildings and facilities. Most state governments have some sort of clean energy programs, most of which are making grants to local government, such as NSW’s Regional Clean Energy Program (RCEP). The Victorian Government has a number of schemes through Sustainability Victoria, and now wishes to establish a renewable energy target for the state, which is not possible under current Federal legislation.     [post_title] => Fed's clean energy crackdown to hit local council schemes [post_excerpt] => New CEFC guidelines will make it harder for local government [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => feds-clean-energy-crackdown-to-hit-local-council-schemes [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-14 11:15:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-14 01:15:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20565 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 20523 [post_author] => 664 [post_date] => 2015-07-09 14:21:42 [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-09 04:21:42 [post_content] => coal mine The announcement by the Federal Government that the giant Chinese-owned Shenhua Watermark coal mine in northern NSW will go ahead has exacerbated tensions with the Coalition and between tiers of government. The lush Liverpool Plains south west of Tamworth comprise some of the best farming land in Australia. They also sit atop massive amounts of coal. Tensions between miners and farmers have been building for some time, and have now reached fever pitch with the mine’s approval by Environment Minister Greg Hunt. Deputy leader of the National Party and member for the New England electorate, where the mine will be located, is Barnaby Joyce. He has come out against the mine, in a clear breach of cabinet solidarity. He tweeted that it is a sign of a “world gone mad,” a comment indicative of increasing opposition to mining from his rural constituency. “I’ve never supported the Shenhua mine,” said Mr Joyce. “I think it is ridiculous that you would have a major mine in the midst of Australia’s best agricultural land. I’ve done everything in my power to try and stop the mine. We brought about further investigations, and we had an independent expert scientific review.” The National Party is especially sensitive to mining issues – at the recent NSW state election it lost the North Coast seat of Ballina, and almost the adjacent seat of Lismore, to the Greens after controversy over coal seam gas mining in the area. The controversy has stirred Tony Windsor, the former independent member for New England and strident critic of the National Party, to publicly speculate that he may attempt to re-enter politics over the issue. Windsor controversially kept the Gillard government in power by siding, along with fellow independent Rob Oakeshott, with the ALP in the last parliament. Mr Windsor told ABC radio that he had been reconsidering standing again for some time and “the decision on the Liverpool Plains was definitely a tick in the box on reconsidering re-entering the fray in terms of politics.” He said Mr Joyce was confecting concern at the decision. “He’s been right in the middle of this. There are a lot of factors in this Chinese government-owned mine, the free trade arrangements that have been going on. Quite obviously he has to be seen to be outraged about all of this. He hasn’t done his best and the people know. They know that he hasn’t gone out and really worked on this issue.” The NSW state government has made no statement since the mine was announced, but it has supported other coal mines in the area, as did the former ALP government. Opposing the mine are strange bedfellows the Greens and local farmers and councils. Gunnedah Shire Council mayor Owen Hasler has not come out against the mine but has been vocal about the necessity of an air monitoring system in the region to ensure mines do not cause pollution. But many farming and community groups in the area are strongly opposed to any mining on or near farmland. Industry body NSW Farmers has strongly criticised the mine. “It is outrageous that on the same day the government launched the Agricultural White Paper and talked up the importance of the industry to the national economy, the Environment Minister was approving a mine that will disturb an area of over 4000 football fields in size, in the middle of some of Australia’s best farming country,” Fiona Simson said: “The Prime Minister said at the white paper launch that government would never allow an extractive industry project to go ahead where it would threaten the long term viability of our agricultural sector. “This notion is completely at odds with an open-cut coal mine being built in some of our best food producing land that sits over the top of some of our most important agricultural water resources. “Our members and the local community are more than disappointed - they are devastated over the lack of political will to protect this area. The Liverpool Plains produces about 40 per cent more than the national average of food per hectare and is the highest contributor to agriculture value in NSW. [post_title] => New NSW mine exposes political fault lines [post_excerpt] => Tensions are mounting over mining on farmland [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-nsw-mine-exposes-political-fault-lines [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-07-09 23:43:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-07-09 13:43:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=20523 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27492 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-28 17:04:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:04:46 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27493" align="alignnone" width="215"] Image courtesy of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.[/caption]   Comment - Charles Pauka Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles was chuffed to welcome a Deloitte Access Economics report identifying the social, economic and iconic asset value of the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion. “This highly anticipated report confirms the outstanding value of the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Miles said. “But it could be even higher as the research did not seek to place a financial value on the tremendous biodiversity and the natural wonder value on a global scale. “It also confirms the Palaszczuk Government’s record investment in improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is justified, with two-thirds of people surveyed willing to pay for its continued existence and protection.” Which is where the problem lies: the Palaszczuk Government is also dead-keen on the Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine going ahead, which is widely predicted to further wreck the reef. [caption id="attachment_27494" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is this the handshake that will kill the reef?[/caption]   Steven Miles continued: “The Great Barrier Reef is incredibly precious to all Australians, and the international community - and this report confirms that.  “We have committed $175 million over five years, plus a boost of an additional $100 million for improved reef water quality outcomes. “This means we are investing more than $63 million in 2017-2018, which is almost double the annual funding provided by previous governments.” The Minister said the research showed the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in terms of the value added to the economy and over 64,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015-2016. 64,000 vs. 1,400 So how many jobs would Adani’s supposedly $16.5bn mine contribute? The most optimistic estimates so far have topped out at 10,000 jobs, but more likely in the 1,400-range. “The government promised to focus on job creation and this report demonstrates the Great Barrier Reef is critical to supporting jobs in Australia. “The report also rightly identifies an opportunity and need for action on a universal level to protect the reef. “As the report clearly recognises, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is not only an Australian or international priority – it is a human one.” I just wonder if Mr Miles has spoken to his Premier about that? Because the two – a healthy coral reef and a mega-coalmine – may not be able to co-exist. “The Great Barrier Reef and other World Heritage reefs are in grave danger from climate change, mainly driven by the burning of coal. Incredibly, almost half of all shallow water corals in the Great Barrier Reef died in the last two years due to a massive underwater heatwave,” said Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) spokesperson Imogen Zethoven.  “Yet the Australian [and Queensland] governments appear hell-bent on making the problem worse by pushing ahead with Adani’s monstrous coal mine, talking up a coal-fired power station next to the Great Barrier Reef. “The [two governments are] not only placing our Great Barrier Reef and the 70,000 jobs that depend on it at grave risk: [they are] endangering the future of World Heritage coral reefs around the world. These places are the crown jewels of our global ocean. They belong to the world community. “In the face of so much loss of coral over the last three years, it defies belief that [they are] ignoring this global tragedy," Ms Zethoven said. [caption id="attachment_27495" align="alignnone" width="300"] Sediment-laden water flowed from Adani's Abbot Point facility into the Caley Valley wetland recently.[/caption] [post_title] => Coal or coral? The Queensland Government seems undecided [post_excerpt] => The Great Barrier Reef is worth $56bn, according to Deloitte Access Economics. How does Adani's Carmichael coalmine fit into it? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => coal-coral-queensland-government-undecided [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-28 17:24:02 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-28 07:24:02 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27492 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 59 [max_num_pages] => 5 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => 1 [is_tag] => [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 9dce32b89e374215330aa5d5fb738f0c [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

Water