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Australia is blessed – and cursed – with a federal system of government. It allows greater diversity, and also causes problems when it comes to the coordination of service delivery. The biggest disparity is have always been in education and health. In the last few years energy and climate change policy have also become contentious. The Federal Government’s recently announced National Electricity Guarantee, and its retreat from Renewable Energy Target (RET), means that the state targets are now much more important. The lack of a national policy makes it harder for the renewable energy industry, and almost guarantees that Australia will not meet the Paris climate change mitigation targets that it has signed up for. The government has said there will be a special COAG on energy in November. It is hoping for something resembling a national policy, but its own lack of leadership means this will not be possible. Meanwhile the states, because of a genuine concern over climate change or political expediency, will continue to set their own RETs. It seems likely that renewable energy and climate change policy will remain a politicised battleground in Australia for the foreseeable future. So it is perhaps timely to examine the policies of each of the states. In August the Climate Council released a report ‘Renewables Ready: States Leading the Charge’. It is available here, and is worth a read. But in just a few months things have changed. Such is the volatility and lack of certainty in what passes for energy policy debate in Australia that even that report is now out of date. So, how the states currently doing, and what policies will be that they be taking into the energy COAG next month?

New South Wales

NSW has a coalition government, but one which is not quite as noncommittal about climate and energy as its federal counterpart. It talks the talk on renewable energy, but it doesn’t walk the walk. It says it has a net zero emissions target of zero by 2050, which is what most of the other states say, but that is so far out as to be meaningless. It has a ‘Renewable Energy Action Plan’ which “positions the state to increase energy from renewable sources at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits to NSW.” In other words it is mostly fluff. Its only mention of an actual number is that it supports “the former national target of 20 percent” renewables by 2020. The Climate Council gives it a low C rating,

Victoria

Victoria’s Labor government has set a renewables target of 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025. This year it introduced a ‘Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill’ which will enshrine the state’s RET in legislation. The legislation, known as the VRET, has passed the lower house, but the conservative opposition has vowed to destroy it. The upper house, the Victorian Legislative Council, has a very large and diverse crossbench, similar to the Australian Senate. The Climate Council gives Victoria a B rating.

Queensland

Queensland’s Labor government holds power on a knife edge and is facing an election, after which the reactionary One Nation party, which is strongest in that state, may hold the balance of power. The government has a target of 50 percent renewables by 2030, which again is so far away is not to mean very much. The Government supports the giant Adani Coal mine, which dominates environmental debate in that state. Expect nothing to happen before the state election, due by May next year. The Climate Council gives Queensland a B rating.

South Australia

South Australia is the poster boy among the states for its renewable energy efforts. It is famously championed wind and solar energy. It has a target of 50 percent by 2025, and is already nearly there. Its recent deal with entrepreneur Elon Musk for the world’s largest battery storage facility has given the state a global prominence in renewables. It well publicised blackouts during storms last year have polarised the debate, with opponents blaming the problems when the state’s energy policy. The government has reiterated its commitment to renewables since the announcement of the Federal Government’s National Electricity Guarantee. The Climate Council gives South Australia an A rating.

Western Australia

Western Australia is the only state that is not part of the National Electricity Market (too expensive to get power lines across the Nullarbor), and it has a comparatively new Labour government which has said it will not introduce an RET. The Climate Council gives WA a C rating.

Tasmania

Tasmania is fortunate in having abundant hydroelectricity power, providing 90 percent of the state’s electricity. It is aiming for 100 percent by 2022. It does not figure strongly in the National RET debate, and has been given an A rating by the Climate Council.

ACT

The ACT’s RET of 100 percent by 2022 earns it an A rating from the Climate Council, but its small size makes it virtually irrelevant to the debate

Northern Territory

The NT has a meaningless renewable target of 50 percent by 2030, and like Western Australia and is not part of the national electricity market. Like the ACT and Tasmania, its policies carry no weight. If it looks a bit like a dog’s breakfast, that’s because that is what it is. And the biggest dog of all, the Federal Government, has skipped the meal altogether.   [post_title] => Renewable energy targets – a state-by state comparison [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => renewable-energy-targets-state-state-comparison [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-20 14:19:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-20 03:19:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28326 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28306 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-17 19:08:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-17 08:08:30 [post_content] =>

The Federal Government’s refusal to adopt the Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target has been roundly criticised by its political opponents. As you would expect. But what does it mean for the relationships between Australia’s different levels of government? The Government’s new policy sees the end of any subsidy for renewable energy after 2020, yet continues the effective subsidy of fossil fuels through the lack of a carbon price. It means that the unedifying and at times vicious squabbling that has marked what passes for debate on climate change and energy policy in this country will continue. The Federal Opposition has said, understandably, that it will not cooperate with the new policy and will oppose it in Parliament.Any dispassionate reading of the situation will show that it is Labor that has been prepared to compromise, and it is the Government that has retreated from bipartisanship. That fact alone will cause continued uncertainty, which most observers agree is a significant cause of the investment paralysis that is behind much of the increase in energy pricing in Australia in recent years. The Government's new policy is an energy policy first, with climate barely mentioned. It was developed unilaterally, with no reference to the states. Yet it is now demanding the very consensus it has conspicuously failed to deliver itself, and is asking for 'certainty' when it has been the main reason there is none. Its new policy is uncosted, unmodelled and -in the poisonous policy vacuum that it itself has created - unachievable. At the state level, the Labor States of Victoria, South Australia have indicated that they will pursue their own renewable targets.  Both are facing elections next year. Western Australia, which is not part of the National Electricity Market, is looking at its own policy. Queensland, effectively in election mode and with the Adani mine a major issue, is more equivocal, but sees no reason to compromise with the Feds. NSW has a Liberal government and will not want to be seen to be fighting the Feds. But it also has its own target of 20 percent renewables by 2020, and it too is facing an election, though not for 18 months. NSW will have to walk a fine line between maintaining Tory solidarity and not alienating voters. Both the Turnbull led Coalition and federal Labor believe they have the right policies on climate change and energy to appeal to voters. Coalition believes this so strongly that it is actually going out of its way to retreat from the modest climate policies of even the Abbott government (which, remember, supported a renewables target). Labor will push the necessity for action on climate, the Coalition will push energy security. Both will say their policies will achieve those objectives, and that their opponents’ will not. So Australia will have separate federal and state energy policies. On top of that, many local government authorities will have their own policies. There will be no national consensus, no certainty on investment, and no spirit of cooperation. Australia’s climate and energy policy landscape will be much like that of Donald Trump’s America. What a great example to follow. One difference will be that we will at least pay lip service to the Paris Climate agreement, but that means little, since under the Coalition’s policies we will have no chance of meeting our commitments. As in the US, we will have separate local, state and federal policies. The Special Energy COAG in November should be a lulu. Climate change, ‘the great moral issue of our time’, will in Australia continue to be a policy wasteland and political graveyard. Just last week we reported on the United Kingdom’s adoption of carbon pricing. We commented on how that country, under a Conservative government, has somehow managed to avoid the acrimony of the Australian debate. Climate change and energy policy in Australia remains broken. It represents a great failure of political will and the victory of short-termism over the common good. A few years ago I had a market research and analysis company specialising in climate change and energy efficiency. Most of our clients were the energy retailers and distributors. Then, during the years of the Gillard government, the whole debate turned poisonous. Nobody wanted to do anything. They didn’t want to plan, they didn’t want to invest, and they certainly didn’t want to buy market research. Policy uncertainty and wilful disinformation cost me my business. Let us hope it does not cost Australia much more. [post_title] => Renewables, climate and intergovernmental relations – OPINION [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => renewables-climate-intergovernmental-relations-opinion [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-20 02:47:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-19 15:47:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28306 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28273 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-13 15:41:24 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-13 04:41:24 [post_content] =>

While climate and energy policy in Australia remain mired in acrimonious squabbling, the UK’s Conservative Government has released a bold new plan for a low carbon future. And it includes a carbon price. The new UK Clean Growth Strategy is a comprehensive 163 page document. It was released on 12 October by Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark. He described it as “the government’s strategy on how the whole country can benefit from low carbon economic opportunities through the creation of new technologies and new businesses, which creates jobs and prosperity across the UK, while meeting our ambitious national targets to tackle climate change. “This government has put clean growth at the heart of its industrial strategy to increase productivity, boost people’s earning power and ensure Britain continues to lead the world in efforts to tackle climate change. “For the first time in a generation, the British government is leading the way on taking decisions on new nuclear, rolling out smart meters and investing in low carbon innovation. “The world is moving from being powered by polluting fossil fuels to clean energy. It’s as big a change as the move from the age of steam to the age of oil and Britain is showing the way.” Perhaps someone should tell the Australian Government. The report sets out in detail 50 policies and proposals in seven categories:
  • Accelerating clean growth: a number of financial incentives
  • Improving business and industry efficiency: develop a package of measures to support businesses to improve their energy productivity, by at least 20 percent by 2030.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of homes.
  • Accelerating the shift to low carbon transport
  • Delivering clean, smart, flexible power: including the phasing out of ‘unabated’ coal by 2025, and an increase in the use of nuclear energy.
  • Enhancing the benefits and value of the UK’s natural resources
  • Public sector efficiencies and “government leadership in driving clean growth.”
A key aspect of the UK strategy is the introduction of a price on carbon, a strategy adopted by the Australian Government in 2010 by the Gillard Labor Government but subsequently abandoned by Tony Abbot’s Liberals. The UK Government will “target a total carbon price in the power sector which will give businesses greater clarity on the total price they will pay for each tonne of emissions. Further details on carbon prices for the 2020s will be set out in the Autumn 2017 Budget.” The report talks a lot about wind power, and the expansion of Britain’s nuclear energy program. Solar does not get much of a mention, but then the country is not known for its sunny skies and warm temperatures. The full strategy is available here. The contrast with Australia’s lack of strategy could not be sharper. The UK has its share of climate sceptics, but they are not strongly represented in the Government as they are in Australia. The UK also does not have a federal system, and it does not have a powerful Senate. It has more than double Australia’s population (the differential was much greater not so long ago), but its wheels of government turn much more smoothly. More importantly, it has political leaders capable of making decisions. Australia’s turn. [post_title] => UK Government to adopt carbon pricing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uk-government-adopt-carbon-pricing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-16 12:59:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-16 01:59:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28273 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28233 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-10 15:05:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-10 04:05:59 [post_content] =>

Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve has won the prestigious best landscape design of the year award in the 2017 international American Architecture Prize. The 22-hectare headland park was designed by Australian landscape architects Johnson Pilton Walker in association with PWP Landscape Architecture, a firm based in Berkeley near San Francisco, and built by Lend Lease. It opened in August 2015. The prize is awarded annually. There are 41 prizes across three categories: architecture, interior design and landscaping. The Barangaroo award was one of only three ‘best in show’ awards. There were other awards for Australia in this year’s prizes. Sydney firm FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp) won the Tall Buildings award for its EY Centre in Sydney’s CBD, and Perth firm Iredale Pedersen Hook won awards for Perth Zoo’s Orangutan Exhibit and Boardwalk Experience, and for domestic architecture with its Casa31_4 house. “Barangaroo is a globally-significant waterfront renewal project that redefines Sydney Harbour and its Central Business District,” says the award citation. “Barangaroo Reserve was the first phase in the three-district precinct to open. The project re-creates Millers Point headland in its original location by transforming a concrete container port into a naturalistic park with over 75,000 plantings native to the Sydney region. “Guided by historical maps and paintings, the design of the headland includes a foreshore of 10,000 sandstone blocks excavated directly from the site. “Walking and bicycle pathways separated by the ‘1836 Wall’ symbolically mark the original precolonial shoreline. Barangaroo Reserve is carbon-neutral, water-positive, and committed to creating zero waste. “Selected as a Clinton Global Initiative, One Planet Living, and C40 Climate Positive development, the project recycled all existing materials onsite to form the headland. “Hidden beneath the artificial headland, the ‘Cutaway’ is a massive void formed through the sandstone excavation operations to host art exhibits, performances, and a future Aboriginal Cultural Centre. “Barangaroo Reserve transforms a huge expanse of empty concrete into humane, usable space, marking the transformation of an industrialised site into a modern reinvention of its more sustainable past.”   [post_title] => Barangaroo wins US landscaping award [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => barangaroo-wins-us-landscaping-award [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-13 08:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-12 21:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28233 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28215 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-09 06:13:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-08 19:13:28 [post_content] => The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project. “This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund in May 2016. “This will create jobs, enhance investment, and unlock the full potential of this vibrant region to grow the northern Australian economy.” Fine words, but there appears to be little urgency to putting them into action. The NAIF came into existence on 1 July 2016. Costs so far include over $1 million for wages, $630,000 for directors’ fees, $100,000 for travel, and $13,000 for functions. CEO Laurie Walker, a banker and lawyer who has worked at a senior level for both ANZ and CBA, receives a $410,000 salary. The agency’s website shows that she has given many presentations at conferences, but she has yet to sign off on a single investment, after more than a year on the job. So far there is nothing to show for the agency’s establishment, and the natives are getting restless. Two weeks ago the Government said the first project would be announced that week, but still nothing has happened. It is widely believed that the first investment is intended to be a low interest $1 billion loan to Indian coal company Adani for a rail line to its controversial giant Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. But that announcement seems to be on hold as disquiet grows about the government’s energy policy and about Adani itself. On 2 October the ABCs Four Corners TV program exposed the Indian company’s sometimes dodgy business practices, and community resistance to the mine culminated in major demonstrations across Australia last weekend. Some have blamed NAIF’s inaction on political uncertainty. Resources Minister Matt Canavan had responsibility for the agency, but resigned from Cabinet after doubts were raised about his citizenship. Responsibility now lives with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who is also under a cloud. Mr Joyce says this is not a problem, and that NAIF is a statutory body that can make its own investment decisions. But the fact that it has not yet made any, well over a year after it was formed, has called into question why it is needed at all. Even Rupert Murdoch’s News Limited, normally supportive of the government, is critical of the inaction. “$5 billion North Australia fund yet to approve a single project,” screamed a headline in the Courier-Mail last month. “Still waiting for NAIF,” said the Townsville Bulletin. Predictably, the Opposition is not happy. Bill Shorten told the NT News, another Murdoch outlet, in a prominently displayed article, that the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund was a “poster child for inaction. “Its dealings are opaque ... nothing has happened,” he was quoted as saying. “Some of its directors are faced with allegations of conflict of interest. It is like a high rollers club and you don’t get in without $100 million.” The same article gave examples of investors in the Kimberley region of Western Australia laying off staff because of NAIF’s inaction. NAIF has also been criticised for blocking freedom of information requests about information as basic as the dates and locations of its board meeting. It says it is keeping this information secret  because of concerns over protests and “media interest.” It is not a good look. Nor is it likely to get much better. If NAIF approves the Adani loan, it is likely to face a High Court challenge because of Adani’s past behaviour and the project’s proven environmental challenges. If it does not, its continued inability to make any investment decision at all will also cause it problems. NAIF, uncapitalised, is a word from the French which means an innocent person who doesn’t know what’s happening. It seems an appropriate acronym. [post_title] => $5 billion fund has done nothing [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 5-billion-fund-done-nothing [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-10 11:10:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-10 00:10:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28215 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nz-hits-85-renewable-electricity-profitably [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:48:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:48:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28071 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28007 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-12 10:13:13 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-12 00:13:13 [post_content] => Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and Veolia Australia and New Zealand have opened the Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility at Woodlawn Eco-precinct in the town of Tarago, located 240 kilometres from Sydney, NSW. Previously, the town of Tarago was home to the adjoining Woodlawn Mine site drilling for zinc, copper, lead, gold and silver. For SSROC and its member councils this has been an almost 10-year journey from the initial concept to the delivery of a $100 million state-of-the-art MBT facility that in this financial year alone will save the six councils more than $9.5 million collectively. President of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) Inc., Cr Sally Betts said: “For SSROC and our councils, reducing the impact of our household waste is a priority, with Sydney-siders responsible for generating around 2,000 kg of waste per person. The new MBT facility is a cost effective and sustainable way of reducing the quantity of waste that ends up in landfill.” The Woodlawn MBT facility will use cutting-edge resource recovery technology to produce compost to rehabilitate an on-site mine. Household municipal waste will be rotated in large drums along with air and water to separate compostable material from inorganic, recovering recyclables such as metals along the way. This process will divert 55% of household waste from landfill, transforming residual waste into clean heat for the on-site barramundi farm and green energy for the grid. General manager of SSROC Namoi Dougall recognised the dedication of SSROC member councils to delivering value for money and sustainable solutions to their residents: “In NSW, our councils are paying a levy of $138 per tonne of municipal waste, so by diverting more than half of our waste from landfill we are estimating that the six participating councils will be saving ratepayers $9.5 million in the first year alone. It is a sign of the dedication and foresight of our councils, that we have worked to establish this project for nearly 10 years. This is a positive step in the way we process waste, and I look forward to the MBTs evolution over the coming years.” The SSROC region is host to a newly established Veolia waste transfer terminal at Banksmeadow, which will transport containerised waste by rail to the new Woodlawn MBT facility. The use of rail, including the existing Clyde site, to transfer the waste will result in a reduction by around 30,000 heavy truck movements on Sydney’s already congested roads. Veolia’s executive general manager - Eastern Region Danny Conlon said: “The facility will process 144,000T of waste per annum and will divert more than half of participating councils’ general waste tonnes away from landfill. Ten years of collaboration amongst a number of stakeholders, inclusive of SSROC, NSROC, state government and community members have led us to this end-result, and this partnership will enable Veolia to make a positive impact on the NSW Government’s diversion target of 70 per cent by 2021. This project will also save millions of dollars in waste levy charges for Sydney’s ratepayers and will additionally produce an organic compost to be used to rehabilitate Australian mining land, ultimately allowing us to give back to the nation’s people and communities.” The collaboration with Veolia has generated over 50 jobs have between the Banksmeadow and Woodlawn facilities. [post_title] => Sydney councils adopt new waste management technology [post_excerpt] => SSROC and Veolia ANZ have opened an advanced Mechanical and Biological Treatment (MBT) facility. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => sydney-councils-adopt-new-waste-management-technology [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-15 11:35:35 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-15 01:35:35 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28007 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28003 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content] =>   Australia should start work immediately on a new way to ensure reliable electricity supplies, according to a new Grattan Institute report. Next Generation: the long-term future of the National Electricity Market calls for preparatory work on a ‘capacity mechanism’ to encourage investment in new electricity generation and reduce the threat of shortages and blackouts. The report warns, however, that the costs of such peace of mind would ultimately fall on consumers through higher electricity prices. So a capacity mechanism should be introduced only if all other market reforms have been exhausted and supply is still under threat. Through a capacity mechanism, generators would be paid not only for the electricity they produce to meet current demand, but for committing to provide power for years into the future. The market operator or retailers could contract for sufficient electricity to meet future demand, to ensure new generation and storage is built in time. “Australians have endured a decade of toxic political debates about climate change policy, South Australians suffered a state-wide blackout last year, consumers across the country are screaming about skyrocketing electricity bills, and energy companies are shutting down big coal-fired power stations,” said Grattan Institute Energy program director Tony Wood. “It is understandable that governments feel the need to ‘do something’. But the danger is they will rush in and make things worse. What Australia needs now is perspective, not panic.” The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) last week called for a ‘longer-term approach’ to ensure electricity supplies. The Grattan report identifies a capacity obligation on retailers as the most effective and lowest-cost approach. The report calls for a three-step policy. First, the Federal Government should implement all recommendations of the June 2017 Finkel Review, including a Clean Energy Target or a similar mechanism to price greenhouse gas emissions. Second, alongside the Australian Energy Market Commission’s work on the market’s reliability framework, AEMO’s annual assessment of future supply and demand should be extended to include a more comprehensive assessment of the future adequacy of generation supply. And third, if the newly created Energy Security Board concludes that projected shortfalls are unlikely to be met under the current market design, AEMO should introduce a capacity mechanism. “This pragmatic, planned approach offers the best prospect of affordable, reliable, secure and sustainable power for Australians,” Mr Wood said. [post_title] => Grattan report calls for a capacity mechanism in electricity [post_excerpt] => How to make sure Australia has enough electricity in the future: Grattan Institute report. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => grattan-report-calls-capacity-mechanism-electricity [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-11 14:47:14 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-11 04:47:14 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28003 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27890 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-24 16:05:29 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:05:29 [post_content] =>
Last week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull summoned the major electricity retailers to Canberra, to eyeball them and to tell them that everyone needs to do better. Putting aside the awkward staring contest, the parties did manage to agree on some small but important measures. Under the deal, the information available to consumers should improve, enabling them to more easily compare electricity offers and switch to a better offer. But does this deal really go far enough for consumers?
Power prices jumped on July 1 after three major retailers announced increases of up to 20 per cent. Picture: Anthony Hevron/Flickr.
A review of energy retail markets in Victoria, released on Sunday, goes a whole lot further. Led by former deputy premier of Victoria, John Thwaites, it calls for a new ‘Basic Service Offer’ – a regulated price for electricity. Until now, Victoria has led the way in opening up the retail electricity sector to competition; re-regulation would represent a major U-turn. During the 1990s, Australian governments began to break up the government-owned businesses responsible for electricity supply in each state, and introduced competition to the retail and wholesale links in the supply chain. The idea was that competition would deliver lower prices and encourage retailers to offer better and more innovative products and services. Anyone who pays an electricity bill knows that the reality hasn’t matched the promise. Now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. A preliminary report is due by the end of September, but we may not know until the final report next June whether the ACCC recommends more transparency, re-regulation, or something in between. For retailers in Victoria, the Thwaites review is the second reproach after we at the Grattan Institute raised concerns in a report called Price Shock in March. The two independent analyses suggest that the retail component of electricity bills is way too high. However, Victoria would be wise to await the findings of the ACCC because it will be able to review retailers’ actual data. In Price Shock, we recommended market reforms to improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers, with a regulated price being a last resort if the benefits of competition failed to emerge after initial reforms were implemented. The Thwaites review jumps straight to a regulated price.

What re-regulation would mean

If Victoria heads down this path, all retailers would have to offer customers a basic electricity service, at or below a price set by the regulator. But whether this reduces electricity bills, especially for those struggling to pay, will depend on the extent to which consumers take up the offer. There is a real risk that vulnerable but disengaged consumers will not make the switch and so will not get the benefits. Shopping around is not easy, so many consumers don’t know when or where better offers are available.
Market reforms would improve transparency, and protections for vulnerable customers. Picture: Pixabay
Alternatively, if all consumers switch to the basic offer, electricity prices would actually increase for some consumers. This is because current offers vary widely; some consumers are on very good deals while others are paying far too much. A new regulated price is unlikely to be as cheap as the best offers currently available. The best approach would be for the regulated basic price to be available on an ‘opt-out’ basis for vulnerable customers, while everyone else would have the option to ‘opt-in’. About a third of Victoria’s residential consumers are concession customers. They should all automatically be placed on the retailer’s cheapest offer – with the option to switch to a more expensive premium product if they choose. Other consumers could choose to switch to the cheapest offer, but they would have to take the initiative to make the switch. This would ensure that vulnerable consumers are protected, while helping to keep the price of the basic offer as low as possible.

Re-regulation is no panacea

Setting a regulated price isn’t easy. Too low, and retailers will topple over. Too high, and consumers will pay more. Another risk with re-regulation is that it will quash innovation. Product innovation is particularly important now because the electricity system is changing and consumer choice can help to drive that change. The basic offer need not be the only product that retailers make available to their customers. Some consumers would be willing to pay a premium for add-ons or alternative products - such as ‘green choice’ deals that support renewable energy, packages for solar households, and fixed cost ‘all you can eat’ electricity plans. Products that help consumers manage their electricity use could help to reduce system costs for everyone. For example, retailers could offer risk and reward options that consumers sign-up for, that reward consumers for reducing their electricity use during peak times and for making valuable contributions to the grid via solar panels and battery storage. Retailers will produce such innovative products if enough consumers show that they want more than a basic electricity service. Ultimately, reducing electricity prices will require a range of reforms that extend beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. In the meantime though, the onus is on retailers to prove the benefits of competition through lower prices and innovative offers.
Any reform of the electricity prices will need to beyond the retail market to electricity generation and networks. Picture: Wikimedia
Retailers will report back to the Prime Minister and the ACCC on Friday with their plans to improve affordability for their customers. The test will be: are these plans good enough to dissuade the Government from stepping in and re-regulating electricity prices? This article was first published on Pursuit. Read the original article.   [post_title] => Is re-regulation the solution to Australia’s electricity price shock? [post_excerpt] => The ACCC is reviewing the competitiveness of the retail electricity sector and prices nationally. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => re-regulation-solution-australias-electricity-price-shock [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-24 16:25:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-24 06:25:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27890 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27811 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-14 12:55:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-14 02:55:26 [post_content] => Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) president Mayor David O’Loughlin writes that the waste fiasco exposed in the ABC Four Corners report is a complex issue that will have wide-ranging implications for local governments. For those of us who care about the environment and the efficient recycling of Australia's household and industrial waste, the ABC's Four Corners program was troubling. The factors behind the mess Four Corners exposed on Monday may be complex – but we can play a powerful role in fixing them, if we choose to. Four Corners' revelations will undermine the public's confidence in Australia’s waste management systems and, in turn, confidence in their local Council and the amount of rates they are paying for recycling services. We know, however, that the vast majority of Local Governments across Australia manage their waste collection and recycling operations professionally and in an environmentally sustainable manner, after sustained improvements in policy and practice over decades. We also know that Australia's waste management system is subject to market forces, private practice and regulation that is outside the control of our sector, with cross-border differences exacerbating local issues. What also appears to be common is a failure of other levels of governments to effectively patrol the beat - to identify, penalise and stamp out individuals or companies conducting illegal dumping or other practices that undermine the industry as a whole. And, as the Four Corners program showed, the indiscriminate imposition or removal of state landfill levies create disincentives for recycling, and encourages illegal dumping. State government-imposed levies were originally well intended: to support recycling, to reduce waste going to landfills, to remediate landfill sites, and to educate consumers. Some of this has happened, but there is much more to do and the funds appear to be more and more difficult to access to achieve this. In the absence of sufficient leadership or discipline by others, how can Local Government get the results our communities increasingly expect and demand? We may not have regulatory powers, but what we do have is procurement power. Waste management is one of our largest areas of contracted services. We spend vast amounts of money in this area and we can choose how we spend it and who we spend it with. We can also choose our contract conditions, and how we will enforce those contract conditions. As a client, we can insist on the right to inspect and audit the services we contract, to confirm they are receiving and recycling as contracted, as we are paying them to do, and as we have told our communities we are doing on their behalf. The control and enforcement of our contracted services can be in our hands, if we choose it to be. In addition, if the issue is a lack of market demand for recycled products, or products containing recycled material, our procurement powers can also be used to choose and purchase these products in preference to others. In doing so we will be making a clear statement that we want to create a sustainable destination for recyclables - and that we are prepared to trial them, to use them, and to preference them. Sustainable and valuable recycling requires a circular economy. If we want the supply side to work, we should step up and be part of the demand side. As an elected member, if you care about recycling, have you checked your Council’s procurement policies? Have you asked if your road building specifications state a preference for recycled material, including glass and construction waste? Or that your posts, fences and benches should use recycled plastics? Are your paper sources all recycled? Are you prepared to ask your Council to trial new products to help create new markets? As per my recent column, ALGA will continue to do all we can on the national front to improve results, to better design product stewardship schemes and to keep Local Government at the table as part of the solution. You can do your part locally by checking your contracts, your reporting and enforcement practices, and by ensuring your procurement policies help and don't hinder the use of recyclables. In doing so, you should ask if your own Council would survive the level of scrutiny we witnessed on the television. Let's aim to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. [post_title] => The waste problem is a problem for all [post_excerpt] => The waste fiasco exposed in the Four Corners report will have wide-ranging implications for local governments. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => waste-is-all-our-problem [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-14 14:05:07 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-14 04:05:07 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27811 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27754 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-03 18:55:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-03 08:55:38 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27755" align="alignnone" width="287"]
Cr Jennifer Alden, Craig Lloyd and Cr Andrea Metcalf (L-R).[/caption] Recent audits of local waste and recycling bins have shown that Greater Bendigo residents are still sending significant amounts of recyclables straight to landfill by placing many items that could be recycled into their waste bins. In an effort to improve recycling rates, the City of Greater Bendigo has launched a new community education Sort it out before you throw it out! advertising campaign. The campaign will provide useful information about the items that residents are currently not recycling to make them aware that they can. It will utilise television, radio, print, social media and signage to encourage residents to think about and improve the way they sort their waste, organics and recycling. City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets director Craig Lloyd said the City’s recent waste bin audits showed that 40% of the contents of local waste bins should have been placed in the recycling bin while 22 per cent could have gone in the organics bin. “The audit is backed up by State Government figures that place Greater Bendigo in the bottom 50 per cent of Victoria’s 79 local government areas for waste resource recovery,” said Mr Lloyd. “Unfortunately, many Greater Bendigo residents are still placing recyclables such as paper and cardboard, glass bottles and jars, cans, plastics and organic garden and food waste in their red lid waste bin. “Objects that can be recycled are a valuable resource and the cost of sending waste to landfill will continue to rise so the more we recycle and the less we send to landfill the better. “Greater Bendigo wants to become one of, if not the best, local government area for resource recovery in the future. “Many people may be surprised to learn that Greater Bendigo residents are not very good at recycling and we want to see this change for the better in the near future.” Results from the audit:-
  • The average residential red lid waste bin contains 40% recyclable items, 22% organics and 38% actual waste.
  • The recyclable materials found in the red lid waste bin were mostly paper and cardboard, glass, plastic and metals.
  • The organic materials found in the red lid waste bin were mostly grass clippings and leaves, general food waste and food in packaging.
  • The average residential recycling bin contains 9% contamination. This is comprised of 5.3% general waste and 3.7% of materials such as clothing, crockery and scrap metal that cannot be processed through the kerbside recycling collection.
  • The average organics bin contains 2% contamination. This is comprised of 1% general waste and 1% recyclables such as glass, plastics and metals.
  [post_title] => Recycling audit hopes to educate [post_excerpt] => City of Greater Bendigo has launched a community recycling education campaign. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => recycling-audit-hopes-educate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-03 18:55:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-03 08:55:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27754 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [11] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27721 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content] => While the headlines are (rightly) awash with the shady dealings surrounding the Murray-Darling Basin, new research released by The Australia Institute examines the economic and employment effects of the Ord River irrigation schemes – and it’s not pretty. Expansion of Ord irrigation is part of the Federal Government’s vision for developing northern Australia, but faces opposition from indigenous groups, the Northern Territory government and is dogged by decades of economic failure. The new report finds that over $2 billion has been spent on the Ord irrigation scheme, yet it supports only around 260 jobs. The last expansion of irrigation cost taxpayers $334 million, a budget overrun of $114 million, but resulted in just 61 jobs in 2016. “The last expansion of the Ord scheme cost taxpayers $5.5 million for every job created. Clearly this isn’t an economically viable way to bring development to northern Australia,” said lead author Rod Campbell. “Cost benefit analysis shows that for every dollar taxpayers have invested in the Ord scheme since inception, they’ve been returned around 17 cents. “The lesson here is that large-scale irrigated agriculture is not the way to increase prosperity and populations in the north of Australia. Even if the economic losses were much smaller, irrigated agriculture is capital intensive – it uses lots of machines and pumps lots of water but employs very few people. “The Ord region has around 260 agricultural jobs, but at least 60 were in non-irrigated agriculture. This shows that northern regions do have viable agricultural enterprises and agriculture can be a part of northern development, but that large scale irrigation isn’t the way to do it. “There is scope for further development of agriculture in northern Australia, but efforts should be directed towards enterprises that are commercially viable, sustainable and generate employment and other benefits for northern Australian communities. “Irrigation enterprises working with existing infrastructure can be viable and worth supporting now that the infrastructure is already built – in economics jargon the costs are ‘sunk’. The key message to come out of decades of losses on Ord infrastructure is that new irrigation infrastructure in northern Australia is unlikely to be viable or provide significant community benefits. The money can be far better spent. “Investment in services and infrastructure that directly benefit communities will be vital if these communities are to retain existing populations and attract new people and businesses. Transport, communications, health and education are all likely to bring greater benefits. “Another industry that is labour intensive and has strong potential in northern Western Australia is the tourism industry. According to Tourism Western Australia, in the year ending September 2016 there were 1.4 million visitors to the north west of WA, who spent $1.2 billion. Tourism and transport infrastructure will also play a major role in developing the north. “Investing in the indigenous community should also be a focus for northern development. Programs such as the Indigenous Protected Area and Indigenous Rangers schemes provide training and employment for indigenous people in environmental management. Cost benefit analyses of indigenous social programs consistently show that they provide large net economic benefits. “In short, there is no shortage of industries, infrastructure and community projects that can help develop northern Australia in an way that is economically viable, community-oriented and sustainable. Long experience with the Ord River Irrigation Area shows that government spending on irrigated agriculture is financially dubious and not likely to lead to development that benefits the wider community of northern Australia.”   [post_title] => Money down the river [post_excerpt] => Dam the expense: new research on Ord River irrigation shows how not to develop northern Australia. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => money-down-the-river [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-28 09:58:49 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-27 23:58:49 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27721 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27685 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 20:05:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 10:05:44 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27686" align="alignnone" width="300"] This box is filled with 200,000 cigarette butts displayed to highlight the impact that littering has on streets and waterways.[/caption] The City of Melbourne has become one of only two councils in Australia to run a citywide initiative to recycle millions of cigarette butts into industrial products. “We collect more than 200,000 cigarette butts each week from 367 cigarette butt bins across the city: litter that may otherwise end up being washed down drains and into the Yarra River,” Lord Mayor Robert Doyle AC said. “Cigarette butts are not biodegradable and break down slowly. As part of this project, we will recycle binned cigarette butts into practical items such as shipping pallets and plastic furniture. “We have collected 1.2 million butts from around Melbourne’s universities and hospitals and busy CBD locations that can be recycled.” The City of Melbourne has partnered with Enviropoles, which collects the cigarette waste, and TerraCycle, which converts the butts into plastic products. The project is funded through the Victorian Government’s Litter Hotspots program. Studies have shown that of the four disposal routes (recycling, litter, landfill, and incineration), recycling the cigarette butts has the lowest global warming impact. The City of Melbourne has placed a perspex box filled with 200,000 cigarette butts on the banks of the Yarra River to highlight the impact that littering has on the city’s streets and waterways. Chairwoman of the City of Melbourne’s Environment portfolio Councillor Cathy Oke said the project has been completed in Vancouver and New Orleans before, but Melbourne is leading the charge in Victoria to tackle recycling cigarette waste. “Cities around the world are looking for new ways to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill, and Melbourne is leading the way,” Cr Oke said “Cigarette butts are the most littered item in Australia. Butts are commonly mistaken for food by marine life and have been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, sea turtles and other marine creatures.” The Perspex box full of cigarette butts was placed in Queensbridge Square, where three solar compaction litter bins are located. Cr Oke said the City of Melbourne is installing more than 360 smart bins in the CBD following a successful trial of 17 bins last year. “We collect around nine million butts in our litter bins every year. We hope this project will motivate smokers to place their cigarette butts in one of the butt bins located around the CBD.” Previous surveys have found that around 10,500 cigarette butts from the central city are being deposited on the ground every day. The City of Melbourne spends approximately $13 million on waste services each year (collection and disposal).   [post_title] => Butts into better things [post_excerpt] => Melbourne is recycling cigarette butts into plastic industrial products. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => we-want-your-butt [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:21:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:21:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27685 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27691 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-24 17:10:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-24 07:10:38 [post_content] => Australia will trump even Donald Trump and become the first nation to cut protections of its ocean estate if it implements plans, released by the Federal Government, to expose vulnerable areas of the marine environment to industrial fishing exploitation. An election promise to be science-based has been ignored in changes proposed to the national network of marine sanctuaries, the Save Our Marine Life alliance of 25 national and state environment groups said. Federal Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released maps detailing planned cutbacks to protection of coral reefs and key feeding and breeding areas around Australia, but particularly in the Coral Sea. Tourism jobs will also be placed at risk, particularly in the valuable dive and whale watching sectors, if Australia’s reputation as a destination for unspoilt nature experiences is damaged, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. “Australia will trump even Donald Trump if it implements these cut backs,” AMCS director Darren Kindleysides said. “No other nation has chosen to go backwards in the protection of its ocean estate. In the US, the Trump administration has launched a review, but Australia is now at the end of its review, ordered by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 2013. “All Australians will be justifiably distressed to know that science evidence supporting an increase in protections for marine life has been thrown out the window,” Mr Kindleysides said. More than 3.5 years after the Abbott Review of national marine sanctuaries was launched, commercial fishing has emerged as the biggest beneficiary. Large areas of Queensland’s Coral Sea, as well as sanctuary protections off the coast from Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW could be scrapped to make way for an expansion of long-line fishing and seafloor trawling. [caption id="attachment_27693" align="alignnone" width="300"] Long-line fishing. Image courtesy of fish.gov.au / Fishing Research and Development Corporation.[/caption] “The threat to jobs, local businesses and to the survival of unique marine life could be avoided if the government instead chose to create an evidence-based balance for Australia’s oceans,” Michelle Grady, oceans director from the Pew Charitable Trusts said. “The government-appointed review panel reinforced the importance of marine sanctuaries and Australia’s leading marine scientists have informed the Environment Minister of the threat to the productivity of our oceans if sanctuaries are removed,” she said. “Fishing is an important part of Australian life and economic activity, but so is our tourism sector and the opportunity for all Australians to experience nature unspoilt by industry. The success of our ‘blue economy’ depends on securing a healthy marine environment, not in undermining it.” Senate fight on the horizon The Labor Party is proud of the protection plans it established and is promising a fight. In 2012, Labor released what it says was the world’s largest network of marine national parks and protected areas. The network was said to be based on the latest science and extensive community consultation. Midwater trawling is to be reintroduced and it will be now be possible for long-lining to start at the southern tip of the Coral Sea reserve and continue all the way to the northern boundary. “Labor will not stand by and see our precious oceans be attacked. Labor will fight to prevent any backward steps on ocean protection.” The Greens will join The Turnbull Government's attempts to gut ocean protections will face a fight in the Senate and at the next election, the party declared. Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, Greens spokesperson for Healthy Oceans, said: "Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg has released draft maps showing protections for coral reefs and critical ecosystems will be gutted around Australia. “If the Turnbull Government wants to pick a fight with Australians who love our oceans then they will get one as any attempt to gut ocean protections will face a disallowance in the Senate. “This is the worse possible time to be scaling back environmental protections, it will make us into another international embarrassment just as we have witnessed with LNP climate vandalism." The Reef will suffer The Queensland Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles slammed the Federal Government’s proposal to decrease the Coral Sea marine park protected area by 76 per cent. “This latest Federal Government Marine Reserves review proposes to cut protections for our marine life and their habitat. “This is another example of the Turnbull Government walking away from the Great Barrier Reef. “Marine Protection is not only good for the environment it is good for the Queensland tourism industry and the 64,000 jobs in supports. Will the ocean fight back? Shifting storms will bring extreme waves, seaside damage to once placid areas, a recent study found, concluding that sea level rise is no longer the only impact climate change will bring to the world's coastlines. What is claimed to be the world’s most extensive study of a major stormfront striking the coast has revealed a previously unrecognised danger from climate change: as storm patterns fluctuate, waterfront areas once thought safe are likely to be hammered and damaged as never before. [caption id="attachment_27692" align="alignnone" width="300"] The June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure, including these homes in Sydney's Collaroy Beach.[/caption] The study, led by engineers at University of New South Wales in Sydney, was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports. “If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley, lead author and a senior research associate at UNSW’s Water Research Laboratory (WRL). “What this study confirms, is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating. And that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.” Ian Turner, director of WRL and a co-author, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas. “Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences, because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal patterns.” The study relied on data collected during the June 2016 ‘superstorm’ that battered eastern Australia, one of the fiercest in decades: it inundated towns, smashed buildings, swept away cars and infrastructure and triggered hundreds of evacuations across a 3,000 km swathe from Queensland in the north all the way to Tasmania in the south. Three people died and there were more than 80 rescues from stranded cars.   [post_title] => Senate fight looms over the deep blue sea [post_excerpt] => Cutbacks to marine protection in the Coral Sea will meet fierce opposition in the Senate, and even the ocean is predicted to fight back. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => senate-fight-looms-deep-blue-sea [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-25 12:19:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-25 02:19:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27691 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28326 [post_author] => 673 [post_date] => 2017-10-20 14:17:49 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-20 03:17:49 [post_content] =>

Australia is blessed – and cursed – with a federal system of government. It allows greater diversity, and also causes problems when it comes to the coordination of service delivery. The biggest disparity is have always been in education and health. In the last few years energy and climate change policy have also become contentious. The Federal Government’s recently announced National Electricity Guarantee, and its retreat from Renewable Energy Target (RET), means that the state targets are now much more important. The lack of a national policy makes it harder for the renewable energy industry, and almost guarantees that Australia will not meet the Paris climate change mitigation targets that it has signed up for. The government has said there will be a special COAG on energy in November. It is hoping for something resembling a national policy, but its own lack of leadership means this will not be possible. Meanwhile the states, because of a genuine concern over climate change or political expediency, will continue to set their own RETs. It seems likely that renewable energy and climate change policy will remain a politicised battleground in Australia for the foreseeable future. So it is perhaps timely to examine the policies of each of the states. In August the Climate Council released a report ‘Renewables Ready: States Leading the Charge’. It is available here, and is worth a read. But in just a few months things have changed. Such is the volatility and lack of certainty in what passes for energy policy debate in Australia that even that report is now out of date. So, how the states currently doing, and what policies will be that they be taking into the energy COAG next month?

New South Wales

NSW has a coalition government, but one which is not quite as noncommittal about climate and energy as its federal counterpart. It talks the talk on renewable energy, but it doesn’t walk the walk. It says it has a net zero emissions target of zero by 2050, which is what most of the other states say, but that is so far out as to be meaningless. It has a ‘Renewable Energy Action Plan’ which “positions the state to increase energy from renewable sources at least cost to the energy customer and with maximum benefits to NSW.” In other words it is mostly fluff. Its only mention of an actual number is that it supports “the former national target of 20 percent” renewables by 2020. The Climate Council gives it a low C rating,

Victoria

Victoria’s Labor government has set a renewables target of 20 percent by 2020 and 40 percent by 2025. This year it introduced a ‘Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Bill’ which will enshrine the state’s RET in legislation. The legislation, known as the VRET, has passed the lower house, but the conservative opposition has vowed to destroy it. The upper house, the Victorian Legislative Council, has a very large and diverse crossbench, similar to the Australian Senate. The Climate Council gives Victoria a B rating.

Queensland

Queensland’s Labor government holds power on a knife edge and is facing an election, after which the reactionary One Nation party, which is strongest in that state, may hold the balance of power. The government has a target of 50 percent renewables by 2030, which again is so far away is not to mean very much. The Government supports the giant Adani Coal mine, which dominates environmental debate in that state. Expect nothing to happen before the state election, due by May next year. The Climate Council gives Queensland a B rating.

South Australia

South Australia is the poster boy among the states for its renewable energy efforts. It is famously championed wind and solar energy. It has a target of 50 percent by 2025, and is already nearly there. Its recent deal with entrepreneur Elon Musk for the world’s largest battery storage facility has given the state a global prominence in renewables. It well publicised blackouts during storms last year have polarised the debate, with opponents blaming the problems when the state’s energy policy. The government has reiterated its commitment to renewables since the announcement of the Federal Government’s National Electricity Guarantee. The Climate Council gives South Australia an A rating.

Western Australia

Western Australia is the only state that is not part of the National Electricity Market (too expensive to get power lines across the Nullarbor), and it has a comparatively new Labour government which has said it will not introduce an RET. The Climate Council gives WA a C rating.

Tasmania

Tasmania is fortunate in having abundant hydroelectricity power, providing 90 percent of the state’s electricity. It is aiming for 100 percent by 2022. It does not figure strongly in the National RET debate, and has been given an A rating by the Climate Council.

ACT

The ACT’s RET of 100 percent by 2022 earns it an A rating from the Climate Council, but its small size makes it virtually irrelevant to the debate

Northern Territory

The NT has a meaningless renewable target of 50 percent by 2030, and like Western Australia and is not part of the national electricity market. Like the ACT and Tasmania, its policies carry no weight. If it looks a bit like a dog’s breakfast, that’s because that is what it is. And the biggest dog of all, the Federal Government, has skipped the meal altogether.   [post_title] => Renewable energy targets – a state-by state comparison [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => renewable-energy-targets-state-state-comparison [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-20 14:19:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-20 03:19:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=28326 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 561 [max_num_pages] => 41 [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] => f0de234d4a317b413da8daf453673720 [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 ) )

Environment

wind farm

Renewable energy targets – a state-by state comparison

Australia is blessed – and cursed – with a federal system of government. It allows greater diversity, and also causes problems when it comes to the coordination of service delivery. The biggest disparity is have always been in education and health. In the last few years energy and climate change policy have also become contentious. […]

State Solar

Renewables, climate and intergovernmental relations – OPINION

The Federal Government’s refusal to adopt the Chief Scientist’s recommendation for a Clean Energy Target has been roundly criticised by its political opponents. As you would expect. But what does it mean for the relationships between Australia’s different levels of government? The Government’s new policy sees the end of any subsidy for renewable energy after […]

UK green

UK Government to adopt carbon pricing

While climate and energy policy in Australia remain mired in acrimonious squabbling, the UK’s Conservative Government has released a bold new plan for a low carbon future. And it includes a carbon price. The new UK Clean Growth Strategy is a comprehensive 163 page document. It was released on 12 October by Business and Energy […]

Barangaroo

Barangaroo wins US landscaping award

Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve has won the prestigious best landscape design of the year award in the 2017 international American Architecture Prize. The 22-hectare headland park was designed by Australian landscape architects Johnson Pilton Walker in association with PWP Landscape Architecture, a firm based in Berkeley near San Francisco, and built by Lend Lease. It opened […]

NAIF

$5 billion fund has done nothing

The Federal Government’s Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF), announced with great fanfare 18 months ago, has yet to invest in single project. “This facility will provide financing to build the transport, energy, water and communications infrastructure needed in our north,” said Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for Industry Innovation and Science, when he announced the fund […]