Monday, 10 February 2020

Renewable energy power generation continues to be predicted as cheaper than Morrison Government's favoured fossil fuel alternatives

Renew Economy, 6 February 2010:

An updated study on current and future generation costs by the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms that wind, solar and storage technologies are by far the cheapest form of low carbon options for Australia, and are likely to dominate the global energy mix in coming decades.

The first report, GenCost 2018, identified that wind and solar were by far the cheapest forms of new generation technologies, clearly cheaper than coal, and even when combined with storage, remained easily the cheapest form low carbon electricity options.

A draft of the updated study, GenCost 2019-20, has been quietly posted on the AEMO website and confirms that wind and solar and storage remain the cheapest technologies, now and into the future, and much cheaper than the technologies promoted by the Australian government – gas, carbon capture, and nuclear.

The study is jointly funded by the CSIRO and AEMO, although CSIRO took carriage of the report, along with advisors Aurecon, who succeeded GHD which did the first version.

Its capital cost estimates – which assume continue cost reductions for solar, wind and dramatic falls for batteries, remain little changed from the 2018 version, although wind cost reductions are lower than expected last year…..

Read the full draft report:

GenCost 2019-20: preliminary results for stakeholder review Draft for review, Paul Graham, Jenny Hayward, James Foster and Lisa Havas December 2019.

That neither expert opinion nor the Australian Government's international obligations matter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his hard right cronies is demonstrated by the fact that they are prepared to spend up to $4 million on a feasibility study for a 1GW coal-fired power plant at Collinsville in Queensland, with coal presumably sourced from a nearby open-cut coal mine owned by Glencore.

Glencore stategically places most of its political donations with state governments of the day. 

Australian Newspaper Cross-Platform Audience Numbers for the 12 months to December 2019 are not good news for News Corp

This Roy Morgan survey of Cross-Platform Audiences covers the number of Australians who have read or accessed individual newspaper content via print, web or app from December 2018 to December 2019.

Print is calculated as net readership in an average 7 days and digital as net website visitation and app usage in an average 7 days. 

Of the 14 prominent mastheads in this cross-platform survey all had experienced readership decline in the 12 months to December 2019, with the exception of the Financial Review (up 14.1%), The Sydney Morning Herald (up 4.1%) and The Age (up 1.2%).

The worst decline in audience numbers occured in the News Corp mastheads.

Percentage Change In Cross-Platform Audience

Adelaide Advertiser  -4.4%

Canberra Times  -14.1% 
Courier-Mail  -1.4% 
Daily Telegraph  -15.5% 
Financial Review  14.1% 
Herald Sun  -7.7% 
Mercury  -3.5% 
Newcastle Herald  -5.3% 
Sunday Times  -4.0% 
Sydney Morning Herald  4.1% 
The Age  1.2% 
The Australian  -4.3%
The Saturday Paper  -7.6% 
West Australian  -6.6%

In the period December 2018 to December 2019 the print versions of all 14 mastheads experienced a degree of readership decline.

News Corp has reported a decline in global revenue and profits in the last quarter ending 31 December 2019, with revenue falling by 5.6% to $2.8 billion. 

According to Mumbrella, advertising revenue was down 5% across the business, with News Corp putting the blame largely on a “weakness in the print advertising market, primarily in Australia”.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Moderate flooding beginning to occur in the Clarence Valley

The Daily Examiner, 9 February 2020

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales

Minor to Moderate Flood Warning for the Orara River

at Glenreagh and Coutts Crossing

Issued at 3:18 am EDT on Sunday 9 February 2020
Flood Warning Number: 18
Minor flooding is expected at Glenreagh Sunday morning.
Moderate flooding is occurring along the Orara River at Coutts Crossing.
Further rain is forecast for the next 36 to 48 hours which could cause renewed river level rises. The situation is being closely monitored and revised forecasts will be issued if necessary.

Orara River:

Moderate flooding is occurring along the Orara River at Coutts Crossing.
The Orara River at Glenreagh Automatic Gauge is expected to exceed the minor flood level (5.00 metres) Sunday morning.
The Orara River at Glenreagh Bridge (manual flood gauge) is expected to exceed the minor flood level (4.00 metres) Sunday morning.
The Orara River at Coutts Crossing was 9.00 metres at 2:35 am Sunday with moderate flooding. Further rises are possible with forecast rain.

Flood Safety Advice:

In life threatening emergencies, call 000 (triple zero) immediately. If you require rescue, assistance to evacuate or other emergency help, ring NSW SES on 132 500.
  • * Avoid drowning. Stay out of rising water, seek refuge in the highest available place.
  • * Prevent damage to your vehicle. Move it under cover, away from areas likely to flood.
  • * Avoid being swept away. Stay out of fast-flowing creeks and storm drains.
  • * Never drive, ride or walk through flood water. Flood water can be deceptive and dangerous.
Latest Far North Coast river heights can be found here.

State of Play in Scott Morrison's Personal War On The Poor And Vulnerable: at least 9,600 angry people are taking on the federal government over 'robodebt'

These emails are just two examples of correspondance which has seen the light of day, concerning the legality of Morrison Coalition Government's Dept. of Human Services-Centrelink income compliance program or 'robodebt', since government made admissions in Amarto v The Commonwealth and was notified of an intent by certain persons to commence a class action arguing that the Commonwealth has taken money from Centrelink recipients unjustly.

The emails indicate the federal government's knowledge that sole use of the automated data matching system to calculate a 'robobebt' was unlawful. 

However they do not indicate exactly when the federal government became aware of this fact and Minister for Government Service & Liberal MP for Fadden Stuart Robert is refusing to disclose the exact date - in large measure because at least 9,600 people have now registered to take part in a class action being undertaken by Gordon Legal.

This class action asks the Federal Court of Australia not just to rule on the legality of 'robodebt', but also to determine whether the so-called collection fees levied by Centrelink should be refunded, whether those who have repaid all or part of those amounts should be paid interest and, whether the persons affected are entitled to compensation for any distress or inconvenience caused.

Gordon Legal has said it is pursuing the class action despite the government’s backdown, given that Centrelink has not promised to return the money taken from its clients nor promised to provide compensation for inconvenience and distress.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Vast amounts of money potentially influencing the May 2019 Australian federal election will not be disclosed to the public

CPI, Briefing Paper, 2 February 2020

The Centre for Public Integrity, media release, 3 February 2020:

A new briefing paper released by The Centre for Public Integrity today shows that vast amounts of money potentially influencing last year’s federal election will not be disclosed to the public.

Annual returns released on Monday by the Australian Electoral Commission will only cover some donations to political parties and other participants.

The paper shows that over $1 billion, or 36% of party income, has not been disclosed since 1999.

Donations under $14,000 will not be disclosed, much income from associated entities, party fundraising events, membership fees is likely to be hidden,” said political finance expert and director of The Centre for Public Integrity Professor Joo Cheong Tham.

Campaign spending will not be made public. Voters will not know who spent what in key states or marginal electorates.”

Any breaches of disclosure regulations are unlikely to be investigated, as the AEC lacks the resources and there is no National Integrity Commission.’

We need urgent reform of our disclosure system so that donations over $1000 are disclosed in real time, spending is made public, and any breaches are properly investigated by a National Integrity Commission,” concluded Professor Tham.

Read the briefing paper here.