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IndyWatch Au Environment News Feed was generated at Australian News IndyWatch.

Wednesday, 15 August


The NEG is a con that will deliver neither lower prices or cleaner energy "IndyWatch Feed"

Contributed by Jim Hayes

A lot of people are talking about the National energy Guarantee (NEG). As Malcolm Turnbull and his government pursue it, the opposition grows.

On the one hand, there are those on who share Tony Abbotts view of the world, and see even a minimal relaxation of the pro coal policy as a sellout. As we saw, this brought some dissention into the Liberal Party room.

Then there is the much bigger number who regard the NEG as a betrayal of the governments responsibility to act appropriately on the threat of global warming and turn to alternative clean energy.

As the debate This debate unfolded, an unprecedented heat wave in the northern hemisphere was actually killing people and a large part of Australia was suffering from drought again. Findings from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO,  and other scientific bodies, makes it clear that more frequent and severe droughts, bushfires and floods are the consequence of rising global temperatures in australia are linked to a warming climate. Over the longer term, the southern half of our continent is drying up.

You would think that everyone would get the hint. But not so. Some have an amazing ability to not see what they dont want to see.

If truth is told, the NEG was hatched up as an intended publicity stunt, to win the government some much needed credibility.

Australia wants much more done to lower carbon emissions and a decisive shift to renewable energy. The idea is to make a show of working towards cleaner electricity. Never mind that the proposed target of a 26 percent reduction is not enough to even meet the governments existing Paris commitment, that it is based on continuing to boost rely on coal generation and investment on renewables is slashed. Few are being fooled by the pretence that the NEG is a genuine emissions reductions policy.

The other claim is that implementation of the NEC will lead to lower electricity prices. No, it wont, because the claim is made on the back of pretending that high prices are caused by supply problems.

Australias high energy prices are the result of the National Electricity Market, which is designed not only to privatise generation and distribution but al...


Restricting global warming to 1.5C would halve risk of marine heatwaves "IndyWatch Feed"

Marine heatwaves could become 41 times more likely across the globe by 2100 than in pre-industrial times if little is done to stop greenhouse gas emissions, a new study finds.

Such a surge in heatwaves could push marine organisms and ecosystems to the limits of the resilience and even beyond, which could cause irreversible changes, the researchers write in the journal Nature.

However, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels the aspirational target of the Paris Agreement could more than halve the rise in frequency and intensity of marine heatwaves, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

Scorching seas

As with a heatwave on land, a marine heatwave is an extended period of unusually high temperatures.

Surges in sea temperatures can have large impacts on underwater ecosystems. The Great Barrier Reef, for example, has experienced four mass coral bleaching events caused by prolonged exposure to high sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the past two decades.

In 2010-11, a marine heatwave caused the loss of 36% of the seagrass meadows in Shark Bay in Western Australia an important refuge for dugongs, green turtles and manta rays.

The new research uses a combination of satellite data and modelling to investigate how climate change has influenced the frequency and severity of marine heatwaves to date. It then uses this information to, for the first time, make projections about how marine heatwaves are likely to change in the coming decades.

The results show that marine heatwaves have already become longer-lasting and more frequent, extensive and intense in the past few decades, says lead author Prof Thomas Frlicher, a researcher at the ocean modelling group at the University of Bern. He tells Carbon Brief:

If temperatures were to rise by 3.5C relative to pre-industrial levels as is...


Bangarla Aboriginal Corporation to go to Supreme Court to halt Kimba vote on nuclear waste dump "IndyWatch Feed"

Barngarla People seeking Supreme Court injunction to halt Kimba vote on nuclear waste facility, 2018 Jean, Jade Gailberger, The Advertiser, August 14, 2018  

A VOTE by Kimba residents on whether they want a radioactive waste dump in the district is in jeopardy after an indigenous group sought an injunction to stop it.

The Barngarla People on Tuesday applied for an urgent Supreme Court injunction to halt the Kimba vote.

The Hawker district will also vote.

Two sites near Kimba, on the Eyre Peninsula, have been short-listed as possible locations for a low-level radioactive waste storage facility. A third short-listed site is near the Flinders Ranges community of Hawker.

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation will argue that native title-holders who live outside Kimba District Council boundaries should be entitled to vote.

The Barngarla have more than 200 members, most of whom live outside the councils boundaries.

The group will argue that the ballot breaches the Racial Discrimination Act and that Kimba Council does not have the power to conduct the vote.

The corporation is seeking a...


Senator Rex Patrick: Additional Comments on Senate Report re selection process for siting nuclear waste dump "IndyWatch Feed"

Recommendation 1 The Minister must quantify how broad community support will be determined and do so before vote.

Recommendation 2 As a minimum, broad community support must mean a 65% vote in favour in the AEC vote, AND agreement from all adjoining neighbours AND the agreement from aboriginal communities.

Recommendation 3 The ANSTO Act should be changed to permit the storage of intermediate-level waste until such time as an appropriate facility site has been identified and a facility built and commissioned

Senator Rex Patrick Senator for South AustraliaSelection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia, 14 August 2018

p. 67 Additional Comments by Senator Rex Patrick Kimba and Hawker, when you finally surrender, it must be of your own free will!

The Work of the Committee

1.1 I thank the committee for the work it has done in relation to this very important inquiry. I also thank the secretariat for their behind the scenes efforts.

1.2 I support the general findings in this report and the recommendations that flow from them, but I feel they do not address several substantive issues with enough force.

1.3 Out of responsibility to the communities of Hawker and Kimba, I address those issues now.

A Facility is needed

1.4 Centre Alliance accepts that Australia...


MIT Computer Model Predicts Dramatic Drop In Quality Of Life Around 2020 And The End Of Civilization Around 2040 "IndyWatch Feed"

Is humanity approaching a major turning point?  A computer model that was originally developed in 1973 by a group of scientists at MIT is warning that things are about to dramatically change.  If the computer predictions are accurate, our standard of living will start to decline dramatically around the year 2020, and we will witness the end of civilization around the year 2040.  Of course this is not the first time ominous predictions such as this have been made about our future.  For years, experts have been warning that we are heading for severe shortages of water, food and oil as our limited natural resources begin to run out.  For years, experts have been warning that our economic model is not sustainable and that we are heading for a historic collapse.  For years, experts have been warning about the alarming increase in seismic activity all over the planet and about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Society is crumbling all around us, and the elements for a perfect storm are definitely coming together.

So maybe this computer model is on to something.

The name of the computer program is World One, and it was originally created by Jay Forrester

The prediction came from a programme nicknamed World One, which was developed by a team of MIT researchers and processed by Australias largest computer.

It was originally devised by computer pioneer Jay Forrester, after he was tasked by the Club of Rome to develop a model of global sustainability.

However, the shocking result of the computer calculations showed that the level of pollution and population would cause a global collapse by 2040.

The fact that the Club of Rome was behind Jay Forresters work is a major red flag, because...


Greens Dissenting Report on selection process for nuclear waste dump "IndyWatch Feed"

The definition of broad community support has been inconsistent throughout the entire process

decision-making power of the Minister is wholly arbitrary. It is nonsensical to say that we must accept an arbitrary decision-making process as a means to avoid arbitrary decision-making processes.

The Adnyamathanha people have a demonstrable interest in the process of site selection.

it is condescending and inaccurate to suggest that community concerns around the impact of a radioactive waste dump on agriculture and tourism perceptions of safety and attractiveness are unfounded.

It is imperative that all stakeholders within transport corridors should be consulted.

Dissenting Report from the Australian Greens  Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia, 14 August 2018

1.1 The Australian Greens believe the site selection process is fundamentally flawed. There has been a consistently stated commitment by the Minister to respect the views of the communities relevant to the process by not proceeding without broad community support, ensuring that the absence of such shall serve as an effective veto. However, the Minister has refused to explain what he would consider to be sufficiently broad, ensuring that any number can be considered sufficient, or insufficient, and ultimately disenfranchising affected communities in the name of ministerial discretion.



Senate Report on Selection Process for Nuclear Waste Facility in South Australia "IndyWatch Feed"

The report is at

It is 77 pages. I confess to have only skimmed through it at this stage.  It appears to be a careful attempt to bless the process, while not having a real opinion about it, one way or the other.  To be fair, it does contain a few questions, does not appear to be a full go ahead recommendation.

Coalition Senators Senator Jane Hume Senator Dean Smith put in Additional Comments. Short and not very interesting.

Greens, Senator Hanson-Young put in a longer Dissenting Report report, strongly criticising the process.

Senator Rex Patrick put in Additional Comments, also criticising the process


Chapter 2 Community sentiment

  1. 22. Recommendation 1 2.67 If a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility were to be sited in an agricultural region, the committee recommends that the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science work with local stakeholders, so that part of the remaining 60 hectare buffer zone can be used to grow and test agricultural produce, in order to reassure the community and agricultural markets that the produce from the surrounding region does not contain excessive amounts of radiation and is safe for consumption.
  2. 23 Chapter 3 Indigenous support
  3. 31 Recommendation 2 3.40 The committee recommends that the Minister intensify and expedite efforts to fully engage with the Indigenous stakeholders near Kimba and Hawker so that comprehensive heritage assessments for all nominated sites can be completed
  4. 33 Chapter 4 Financial compensation and incentives to communities

p.36. 4.22 The committee notes that it is unfortunate for a former politician, particularly one with significant exposure to the nuclear waste issues, to place the government in the invidious position of p. 37 deciding whether he should receive financial compensation for hosting a NRWMF on his property, thereby further politicising an already contentious process.

Recommendation 3 4.25 The committee recommends that the government undertake an independent valuation of the land to be acquired to ensure that the financial compensation is consistent with the original proposal to compensate the landholder at four times the land val...


Nuclear waste being shipped to Australia by company with a terrible safety record "IndyWatch Feed"

Responsibility overboard: the shocking record of the company shipping nuclear waste to Australia

By Natalie Wasley -, 14 August 2018In the very early hours of Sunday July 29, the federal government carried out a highly secretive transport of spent nuclear fuel. Helicopters and hundreds of police accompanied trucks from the Australian Nuclear Science and Technologys reactor at Lucas Heights to Port Kembla in Wollongong.

The spent fuel was loaded onto the BBC Austria, owned by Briese Schiffahrt, a shipping line condemned across the world for dangerous and illegal practices. The cargo is heading for the La Hague facility in France to be reprocessed, with a contractual agreement for waste generated from this process to be sent back to Australia.

Any transportation of nuclear materials carries risks, but Briese has a particularly terrible safety record, including leaking oilfrom vessels,...


First reliable estimates of highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by Fukushima disaster "IndyWatch Feed" GOLDSCHMIDT CONFERENCE

Scientists have for the first time been able to estimate the amount of radioactive cesium-rich microparticles released by the disaster at the Fukushima power plant in 2011. This work, which will have significant health and environmental implications, is presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Boston*.

The flooding of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) after the disastrous earthquake on March 11 2011 caused the release of significant amounts of radioactive material, including cesium (Cs) isotopes 134Cs (half-life, 2 years) and 137Cs (half-life, 30 years). Initially scientists thought that all Cs was released in soluble form. Now however, they have realized that a part of the released Cs was in the form of glassy microparticles, formed at the time of the reactor meltdown; these particles were thrown over a wide area, but until now there has been no reliable estimate of how much radioactive cesium-rich microparticles was deposited in the surrounding area, and how this material was distributed.

Now a group of international scientists, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya (Associate Professor of Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan) has been able to give the first accurate estimates of the amount of the radioactive microparticles in the environment. This work describes the significance of the microparticles to current radiation levels, and provides fundamenta...


Nuclear waste transport port; Port Lincoln? there will be no discussion says Dept of Industry Innovation and Science "IndyWatch Feed"

Port Lincoln a possible port for waste transport

The Department of Innovation, Industry and Science says there will be no discussion on whether ports, including in Port Lincoln, will have nuclear waste material move through them until a storage site has been chosen.

AECOM Australia prepared site characterisation technical reports for the department for each of the proposed sites for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility.

For the site reports for Lyndhurst and Napandee, near Kimba, it discusses the potential for waste to be shipped from Port Kembla, New South Wales, to key ports including Port Lincoln, Port Pirie and Whyalla.

It also details the potential for a new commodities port in the upper Spencer Gulf to be used to transport waste to either Lyndhurst or Napandee.

The report details Port Lincolns potential to utilise rail to transport the waste from the port, but would be subject to third party restrictions due to the railway being privately owned.



Despite weather extremes the grand Walkatjurra Walkabout against uranium mining presses on "IndyWatch Feed"

K-A Garlick at Nuclear Free WA, 15 Aug 18 The Walkatjurra Walkabout have survived the first 10 days of the protest walk in freezing overnight temperatures and long hot walking days. Walking strong a group of 55 people gathered at Yeelirrie to support Traditional Owners, Aunty Shirley, Lizzie Wonyabong and Vicky Abdhullah in their 40-year struggle to stop the proposed Yeelirrie uranium mine.

The three women have shared stories of the area where they and their families grew up on. and their ancestors grew up.   The group was joined by Youno Downs Station, who shared stories of the history of uranium exploration and company intimidation over the years they have lived on the pastoralist station.  Water is what the company is after, they (Cameco) need up to 10 millions of litres of water and they want us to give it to them! . to be continued!


Radioactive sheep in Australia add evidence about Israeli nuclear bomb test "IndyWatch Feed"

Radioactive sheep shed light on secret nuclear weapons test, Christopher Carbone, Fox News, August 14, 2018 Newly discovered data from radioactive sheep provides strong evidence that a mysterious double flash detected almost 39 years ago near a remote island group was a nuclear explosion.

Ever since the flash was observed by a US Vela satellite orbiting above Earth in September 1979, theres been speculation that it was produced by a nuclear weapon test by Israel. International researchers in the journal Science & Global Security analyzed previously unpublished results of radiation testing at a US lab of thyroid organs from sheep in southeastern Australia in order to make their determination.

The flash was located in the area of Marion and Prince Edward islands, which are in the South Indian Ocean about halfway between Africa and Antarctica.

A new publication sheds further light on the Vela Incident of 1979, said Professor Nick Wilson of Otago University at Wellington, who highlighted the findings but was not involved with the study itself. [The research] adds to the evidence base that this was an illegal nuclear weapons test, very likely to have been conducted by Israel with assistance from the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Wilson, an epidemiologist and member of the Australia-based Medical Association for the Prevention of War, said the test would have violated the Limited Test Ban Treaty signed in 1963, and urged the United Nations to mount a full inquiry.

The researchers conclude that iodine-131, which is an unstable radioactive form of the element iodine found in the thyroids of some Australian sheep, would be consistent with them having grazed in the path of a potential radioactive fallout plume from a [Sept. 22, 1979] low-yield nuclear test in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Thyroid samples from sheep killed in Melbourne were regularly sent to the US for testing monthly in 1979 but also in the 1950s and 1980s, researchers say.

According to a report in the New Zealand Herald, the sheep had been grazing in an area hit by rain four days after the flash incident was observed, which would have been in...


Rally in Canadian town against siting as nuclear waste dump "IndyWatch Feed"

Hornepayne residents rally against nuclear waste storage  Tuesdays rally includes march, guest speakers, Aug 14, 2018 


Tesla big battery to be installed at Lake Bonney wind farm RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

Infigen Energy to install 25MW/52MWh Tesla Powerpack battery storage system at its Lake Bonney wind farm in South Australia. The post Tesla big battery to be installed at Lake Bonney wind farm appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Tesla big battery to be installed at Lake Bonney wind farm RenewEconomy


Gupta launches 1GW renewable plan at Cultana solar project RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

Gupta confirms plans for 1GW of dispatchable renewables at ground-breaking ceremony at new Cultana solar project, a day after Coalition agree to NEG policy that models zero new investment in large-scale renewables and storage over next decade. The post Gupta launches 1GW renewable plan at Cultana solar project appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Gupta launches 1GW renewable plan at Cultana solar project RenewEconomy


August 14 Energy News geoharvey "IndyWatch Feed"

Science and Technology: Minesto to fly Wales kite Minesto, a Swedish company, is poised to start subsea testing of its 500-kW tidal kite off the coast of Wales after completing initial commissioning sea trials. The company said the DG500 will undergo flying full subsea trajectories off Holyhead as part of the next phase []

via August 14 Energy News geoharvey


Video of the Day: Counting Frydenbergs NEG lies RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

Smart Energy Council counts eight lies told by the federal energy minister in his Sunday ABC TV interview and fact-checks them all. The post Video of the Day: Counting Frydenbergs NEG lies appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Video of the Day: Counting Frydenbergs NEG lies RenewEconomy


To HELE with emissions, Turnbull embraces new baseload coal RenewEconomy "IndyWatch Feed"

Turnbull says he would welcome new coal generator, and prepares to fight Labor on emissions. The post To HELE with emissions, Turnbull embraces new baseload coal appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via To HELE with emissions, Turnbull embraces new baseload coal RenewEconomy


Hormesis Advocates Dodge Scientific Rigor With Special Pleadings; Ties To Tobacco Industry-Koch Brothers Exposed By CHP Emeritus US EPA Comment Deadline August 16th 11.59 PM Eastern Time Mining Awareness + "IndyWatch Feed"

Originally posted on Mining Awareness + : Comment extended to Auguest 16th, 1159 pm ET, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OA-2018-0259 Robert Applebaum is a Certified Health Physicist, CHP, Emeritus. Below is Applebaums response to an attempt to increase radiation exposure limits, through the US NRC. Currently, the same players, Calabrese et al., appear to be trying to get

via Hormesis Advocates Dodge Scientific Rigor With Special Pleadings; Ties To Tobacco Industry-Koch Brothers Exposed By CHP Emeritus US EPA Comment Deadline August 16th 11.59 PM Eastern Time Mining Awareness +


Wages growth up at a glacial pace "IndyWatch Feed"

Wages growth a bit better

Wage prices increased by 0.6 per cent in the June quarter.

That was the best quarter since all the way back in March 2014, remarkably.

It was enough to pull annual wages growth reluctantly up to 2.1 per cent. 

Around the traps the best performers were Victoria and Tasmania at 2 per cent. 

And the worst performers were Western Australia and the Northern Territory at 1 per cent, reflective of the resources cycle.

Indeed, mining was the worst performing sector at 1.33 per cent, followed by retail at 1.46 per cent. 

The best performing sector was healthcare at 2.74 per cent.

Melbourne is set to be the best performing economy going forward, with construction and job vacancies exploding.

The above figures confirm that low wages growth is not just about immigration - in fact wages growth is higher where the migrants are heading (and vice-versa).

Low wages growth is rather a....


Turnbulls Lucky Windfall "IndyWatch Feed"

You wont need to worry too much about Turkey for the time being.

US stocks closed up in overnight trade.

The markets judgement is clear: The bull market continues.

We can draw a similar conclusion for Australia. Despite the headlines, the S&P/ASX 200 still looks strong.

We can thank thermal coal for a good part of that.

Commodities across the board are taking a hit right now.

But shareholders in Whitehaven Coal Ltd [ASX:WHC] probably cant believe their luck. Thermal coal is at its highest Australian dollar price since July 2008.

Demand from Asia for power generation is driving this even as European use declines. And nobody wants to invest in coal anymore many banks wont even consider financing projects.

The Australian reported in April that the Treasury was anticipating a thermal coal price of US$85 in its estimates of company tax receipts.

Currently its just over US$120. If it continues to stay high, its going to pour more money into government coffers.

That could conceivably give Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull more ammunition to prop up his position through infrastructure spending in key electorates.

Thats one reason I dont buy into a real estate collapse scenario.

Here in Melbourne, a Brighton shop just sold for $3.2 million above its reserve.

But that look likes chump change compared to the $100 million a Chinese developer has paid for an apple orchard in Melbournes Wantirna South.

One wonders how the coal-producing regions of Australia are shaping up in terms of property. There must be plenty of money around.

In any case, the current bull market in coal also reveals that theres always opportunity in the share market, even when the overall index doesnt do much or the outlook doesnt appear particularly bullish.

I happen to think the current drawdown in commodities like oil and copper represents a buying opportunity. And Im not alone.

The Australian Financial Review reported yesterday that specialist resource investment firm Terra Capital is looking to raise $300$400 million to help fund its spending plans.

Its not as if the massive Asian market is going anywhere. That places Australia in good stead in the coming years.

A new chapter

The world and markets present opportunities all the time.

Thats one reason Im going to hand over the full Daily Reckoning Australia editorship to my good friend and colleague Shae Russell.

In turn, Ill....


Adani knew about pollution risk and the Queensland authorities were aware of it "IndyWatch Feed"

Contributed from Queensland

Not too much of a surprise really, but the revelation that  both Adani and the Queensland government were aware in advance, that polluted water could be released from the companys Abbot Point coal terminal during cyclone Debbie in 2017, has still sent a little shock wave around the country.

When it came, the Caley Valley wetlands near the Abbot Point terminal, were polluted.

The Adani licence was amended after the, fact, to allow more pollution in other areas, which includes the Great Barrier Reef world heritage area.

As if this was not enough, Adani was caught breaching the new licence by more than 800 percent. It forced the authorities to issue a penalty notice.

All this was in emails obtained by the Mackay Conservation Group, under Queenslands right to information laws, and reported by the ABC last week. Adani unsuccessfully fought the release of the emails.

Particularly sinister, is that Adani knew that its contaminated water was well above the total suspended solids (TSS) normally allowed is 30mg/L and Adanis special conditions, which allowed up to 100 mg/L. The fact that the water contained in the range of 500 to 900 mg/L, was communicated to the department that administers the licence on 28 March.

There was a clear breech and Adani was fined the $12,190. For a multi-billion-dollar company this is nothing and makes a mockery of the law. At the very least, the licence should have been suspended.

Adani fought the fine and release of the emails, because of the fear that they would damage the companys reputation.

Peter McCallum, coordinator of the Mackay Conservation Group, said the emails show the company knew the pollution could occur.

These documents that Adani didnt want released to the public show they were fully aware there was a high concentration of pollutants in the water that would be released, he said.

A company proved to disregard the conditions of its licence is only encouraged, if allowed to effectively get away with it. The Queensland government promised safeg...

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Tuesday, 14 August


Real Unemployment accounts for over 18 percent of the workforce "IndyWatch Feed"

Contributed by Joe Montero

According to the latest statistics from Roy Morgan, unemployment stood at `10 percent in July. The Morgan rate differs from the 5.4 stated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for June, because it considers all those who would work, if they had the opportunity, and does not consider one hour of work during the survey week as being employed. The Roy Morganram is therefore much more accurate.

Part of the reason, is that the size of the workforce has increased by 167,000. But Far more important, has been the growth of underemployment to 1,350,000 Australians. It accounts for 8.6 percent of the workforce. Ans uinderemployment at a given time is only a small part of the scale of precarious work existing today in Australia.

Roy Morgan considers part-time work separately. There are 4,256,000 working part-time. If this is included in the calculation, the real level of unemployment is even higher.  The real total number of people looking for work now stands at around 18.6 percent of the workforce, or 2.48 million Australians.

If all this is not considered and just the overall statistic is used, it is possible to claim that the number of real jobs has increased over the last year by 167,000; something that the Turnbull government has been quick to claim. The whole picture makes it clear. The claim is a lie.

Australia has a significant problem in finding enough work for those who need it, and that there should be a constructive approach to dealing with the problem.

This is not happening, because government policy is to leave it to the forces of the market. The markets response has been to not only fail to provide enough work, but to utilise the fact, to create precarious work. Unemployment pressures existing working conditions downward. This may suit employers in the short-run, but it is disastrous for the economy and society.

To boost its assistance to the market, the Turnbull government has been busy vilifying those who are out of work, blaming them for their situation, systematically punishing and cutting away services. In doing this, it is assisting the creation of a source of cheap labour.

This comes together with the reality of stagnant wages overall.

If Australia is going to move in the opposite direction, a real job creation program is required. Government intervention is needed,  through enough works programs, designed to build a better foundation for the economy. More infrastructure is called for. For instance, people could be put to work in building new clean energy sources, to help the growth of a new sustainable economy.

The government could grow new manufacturing industries. Greater attention could be paid to cutting down waste and improving the supply of water. Better t...


The Recession We Need to Have "IndyWatch Feed"

Enjoying that latte?

Did you buy the large or small?

If youre anything like me, youve convinced yourself that you need to buy a jumbo latte as you schlep into the office.

Of course, I dont really need to buy it. I like it. But unlike water, oxygen and a little food, a frothy milk caffeine hit isnt essential.

My insistence on travelling with an overpriced morning coffee is nothing more than the sign of someone enjoying the economic good times.

After the bills are paid, some savings are set aside, and a little gold is bought, I have some coin left over for things I want to buy.

In truth, spending five bucks on a daily coffee isnt going to break the bank.

Economists like to call this left-over cash discretionary spending.

Its a key component of the Aussie economy.

In fact, when people stop spending on the little things the good times come to an abrupt stop.

Ditching the mineral myth

Discretionary spending is far more important to the Australian economy than the resources we send to China and elsewhere.

But few people understand this.

Most Aussies continue to overestimate the role commodities play in the Australian economy.

The news constantly bombards us with how much copper, nickel or iron ore is leaving our shores.

Raw minerals make up 45% of total Aussie exports. Throw in agricultural exports and youre looking at two sectors responsible for 57% of exports based on value.

That leads many to believe were an exporting nation.

But were not.

Minerals and agricultural products may dominate what leaves shipping ports yet, combined, they make up less than 10% of our total income.

Take a look.

Aussie industry contributions to GDP

Source: IBISWorld

Yes, exports once dominated the economy a lazy century ago.

Today, Australias considered a mixed-market economy. We draw our income from four key sectors: minerals, agricultural, manufacturing and services.

The upside is that this diversity provides the economy with a buffer in tougher times.


Monday, 13 August


Great Barrier reef money and the stink of corruption "IndyWatch Feed"

Contributed by Adam Carlton

The Turnbull government has handed over $444 million to a shonky outfit, which falsely claims that it works for the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and this has bounced back to hit the government in the teeth.

The longer this saga goes on, the more is exposed. The Great Barrier Reef Foundation did not even have to go through a tender process to get the money. It turns out that it is a private organisation employing only six people and is supported by major mining corporations like BHP and Rio Tinto, as well as Orica, and Google.

The government has  defended the money was provided and has  the method used, because this organisation was in line with government policy. This is corrupt, because money was handed over in the expectation of procuring an advantage.

Malcolm Turnbull first rubbed shoulders with the corruption industry as a young 29-year old lawyer, shutting down the Costigan royal Commission for media tycoon Kerry Packer, after it had turned its investigation towards corporate crime and Packers role in it.

This was not to be the end of the story. Todays Australian prime minister has something of a track record. A few examples can be mentioned. We will stick to the more recent ones.

Arrangements between the Turnbull and Murdoch families have seen millions of dollars passing hands.

Earlier this year, the Export and Finance Industry Corporation got a taxpayer increase in funding, to the tune of 400 percent. This is $3.5 billion, to use for funding the creation of a weapons industry. The argument is not that government money went into building industry , just who it went to and for what type of industry.

There is the implication that deals have been made here. This is a world dominated by a handful of well-resourced companies operating from a very few rich countries, with far reaching connections. To get into the game of arms exporting, Australia would have to get into bed with them, and second to none, they are up to their necks, in using corruption to grease the wheels of doing business. Something smells here.

Then Turnbulls association with Andrew Goodwin, who is among those alleged to have been involved in international graft and the payment of bribes, while working on the Snowy 2.0 project, has thrown up questions that have still not been answered. The...


Corruption is ONeills Biggest Failure "IndyWatch Feed"

It is six years since Prime Minister Peter ONeill promised the country an Independent Commission Against Corruption. Yet that vision is no closer to being realised today than it was in 2012.

Peter ONeill has totally failed to live up to his promises in both the 2012 and 2017 Alotau Accords that the government would establish an ICAC.

The impact of not having a dedicated anti-corruption agency that is politically independent, fully resourced and that has full powers of arrest and prosecution has been devastating for our economic well-being and the quality of life for ordinary people.

Delegates at last weeks APEC Anti-Corruption and Transparency workshop repeatedly spoke about how corruption inhibits development and is a serious threat to economic growth [1], yet PNG had almost nothing to show in terms of progress under the United Nations Convention on Corruption. [2]

In PNG we repeatedly hear that a large-proportion of the national budget is lost every year to corruption, taking money directly from health and education services.

We also hear about the high costs that businesses have to endure as a result of corruption. Costs which reduce profits, lower employment and limit investment. Yet the government has just dragged its feet for year after year over an ICAC.

While together, PNG, Australia and China are spending more than K1.1 billion [3] on the whole APEC extravaganza in Port Moresby, a tiny proportion of that money would have been sufficient to fund the operations of a robust, independent and well staffed ICAC for more than a decade.

Ridding PNG of the scourge of corruption would do far more to assist development in PNG and ensure the well-being of our citizens than a huge party for the worlds leaders and their entourages.

Perhaps in November, when the leaders from the worlds two biggest economies will be here in PNG, they will ask the Prime Minister why he has not established an ICAC and whose interests he is protecting.



Stone tools provide new clues to Easter Island's statue builders "IndyWatch Feed"

The remote Easter Island, known locally as Rapa Nui, lies 2,300 miles off Chile's Pacific coast, a mysterious place best known for its giant stone statues. The common narrative states that the enormous heads were built by Polynesian seafarers who, the story goes, then brought about the demise of their own society through internal squabbles and draining of the island's natural resources. However, a new study published in the Journal of Pacific Archaeology suggests the true story of early civilisation on Polynesia's easternmost outpost is more complex. Archaeologists found evidence of a sophisticated society where the people shared information and collaborated, by analysing the chemical make-up of the tools used to build the sculptures. "For a long time, people wondered about the culture behind these very important statues," says Laure Dussubieux, one of the study's authors and a scientist at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. "This study shows how people were interacting, it's helping to revise the theory." "The idea of competition and collapse on Easter Island might be overstated," adds lead author Dale Simpson, Jr., an archaeologist from the University of Queensland. "To me, the stone carving industry is solid evidence that there was cooperation among families and craft groups."

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