Home Blog Page 827

Questions to candidates

0

“WHAT WILL YOU DO IF ELECTED TO ENSURE THE ENERGY SUPPLIES OF THE ELECTORATE FOR THE NEXT THIRTY YEARS?”

Make no bones about it, this is a loaded and VERY TOUGH question.

May I suggest you consider the following points?

-Even though Australia is one of the few countries to have increased the URR* of its coal reserves and has reasonable natural gas reserves, we have no synthetic fuel plants and are a net importer of oil.

-Most countries have not revised their coal reserves since the 1970’s and those that did revised their URR downwards (worst case example, Poland 60bmt -> 1.1bmt*)

-OPEC’s stated reserves since 1980 have not changed and were revised upward at the same time to allow a greater export/reserves ratio for OPEC members, thus making those stated reserves somewhat dubious.

-Most likely Australia will come under increasing pressure to sell it’s natural gas and coal to other countries, e.g. China

-World C&C* production seems to have plateaued at ~86mbpd* due to large declines in Canterell (Gulf of Mexico) & North Sea oil fields. Even new mega-projects like Haradh 3 in Saudi Arabia (300kbpd) are only offsetting declines in other wells in Ghawar.

-Local consumption of oil in OPEC countries and Russia is increasing (Iran >26% in 5 years). This leaves less and less to export to other countries.

-World indium supplies (used in photovoltaic panels) are tight.

-We have no nuclear plants and no uranium enriching capability.

-Drought and water availability is affecting food production, leaving little scope for biofuel production.

-All energy transition strategies will need fossil fuel inputs in an ever-tightening market.

-Development in the electorate continues apace based entirely on the cheap availability of fossil fuels.

* Ultimately Recoverable Resource – how much you can get out as opposed to how much is in the ground
* mbpd – million barrels per day
* Crude and Condensate – essentially crude oil less natural gas liquid products like butane and propane.
*bmt – billion metric tons

Scouts don't just tie knots

0

Scouts go bush, photo by Ivan Sanders
Sure they learn knots but look what they use them for, tying the bikes onto the trailers to go bush. Lake Tuggeranong Sea Scouts had a number of Scouts who have been riding bikes since the age of eight, who decided that the rest of the troop should learn.
Having put a trip to Ingledene Forest on the program, 15 Scouts, 3 leaders and a number of parents spent a fun Sunday doing the circuit (slowly at first) and then moving onto the bush tracks. They have decided that this should be a regular event. How many 12 years olds can turn up at school on Monday saying that they went bush on motorbikes on the weekend.
As usual, the day included some community service and a truck load of old car bits were collected for removal by the rangers.
Anyway, with summer coming up the Scouts are programming lots of water activities: canoeing, windsurfing and sailing, Maybe even a raft-trip to Maccas again.
Scouting is fun, serious fun.

My first day at school in Australia

0

When I first came to my ESL class everybody shook hands with me. The teacher told me to sit next to Iek Meng. Iek Meng is pretty friendly, he lended his note book to me. And then I copied down all the notes in his book till the lesson was finished. After the lesson the teacher asked me how I felt? I think she is a nice teacher. Everybody treated me good that day.

perry ACT

Improve your Mental Health for World Mental Health Day

0

Did you know that one in five Australian adults experience a mental disorder in any one year – including an alcohol or substance use disorder? Or that many people suffer more than one mental disorder at the same time, such as depression and anxiety, which commonly occur together? Do you know the signs of depression and anxiety or the symptoms of substance use disorder? Would you know what to do work colleague was considering suicide or experiencing a panic attack?

There is a common misconception that mental disorders affect ‘other people’ and have ‘nothing to do with me.’ However, mental disorders are one of Australia’s biggest health problems, ranking third after heart disease and cancer.
The stigma associated with mental health problems hinders people from seeking help. By becoming familiar with the signs and how to respond, you can help those in need. In addition to seeking appropriate professional assistance, there are many things that individuals and organisations can do to improve their mental health and build resilience. As part of World Mental Health Day (October 10th) and ACT Health and Safety Month, O2C Solutions, a Canberra based transformational company that uses training, coaching and consulting to build successful and resilient people, leaders and organisations, will be presenting a ‘Personal Resilience’ workshop and ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ seminars suitable for individuals and organisations. These will be held on the 23rd and 25th October 2007.
Emotional Resilience is the ability to use the ‘heart’ to create a belief that life is meaningful. Our e-motions give us the passion and the desire to progress. On an individual level, the ability to recognise, understand and demonstrate an understanding of your own and others’ emotions enable us to derive a better perception of the environment. At an organisational level, being able to identify the feeling, vibe, mode, or climate within the workplace enables leaders, managers and staff to perform to their potential. For both organisations and individuals, understanding ourselves and others requires an ability to perceive, interpret and demonstrate an understanding of the emotions we encounter within the environment. A resilient organisation is a living, flexible community that provides sufficient structure and security yet enables creativity and imagination to flourish.
If you are looking to increase your own resilience, or that of your organisation, then the resilience workshop may be of interest to you. The resilience workshop will describe the components of resilience, look at ways to increase resilience to deal effectively with stress and change, identify triggers to stress and show participants how to develop an action plan to build their resilience.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we seem to try at work, we are affected by mental stress. ‘Mental Stress,’ which includes things like work pressure, harassment, exposure to workplace or occupational violence, exposure to other traumatic events and other mental stress factors is increasingly being flagged as a health and safety issue in the workplace. Traditionally, businesses have focused on ensuring the physical health and safety of their workforce. However, an 83% increase in work-related compensation claims associated with mental stress from 1996/97 to 2003/04 has created an awareness of the need to maintain and boost mental health in the workplace.

The Health, Wellbeing and You seminars on the 25th October 2007 will consider the relationship between a healthy body and mind, how to cope with stress, provide information on a range of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and psychosis and will describe how to provide immediate help in a mental health crisis. Professional resources will also be available.
People are as unique as the organisations in which they work. People have unique and different learning styles, language skills, background and subject understanding. Our courses use contemporary and cutting edge techniques to maximise participant access to the knowledge and information within the course. Furthermore, our courses are highly interactive and include both experiential and reflective activities to augment learning for participants.
For more information on the seminars, or if you wish to attend, please contact O2C Client Relations Manager, Emma Pieper on mobile: 0410 544 069 or ejp@o2c.com.au or visit the O2C website www.o2c.com.au.

Dance fest smokefree, but smoking hot!

0

Canberrans had a taste this morning of things to come at next week’s 2007 SmokeFree Youth Dance Fest, with energetic performances at the festival launch bringing home the message that dance is for everyone.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said the Dance Fest, now in its 23rd year, had grown to become one of the most successful and broad-reaching youth arts events in the ACT.

This year the festival will involve about 2000 students from high schools and secondary colleges, presenting choreographed performances on the theme of ‘reflection’.

“Dance is a healthy, engaging and energetic art form that is booming amongst young people in the national capital,” Mr Stanhope said. “And it is easy to see why. Dance truly is an artform in which everyone can participate, and from everyone can benefit.

“Dance Fest grows in popularity every year, and each new performance showcases the remarkable talents of young people across our high schools and colleges.”

Dance Fest is organised and presented by Ausdance, which celebrates and promotes the work of local dance practitioners, teachers and students and promotes dance and artistic appreciation in schools.

Ausdance ACT is one of the ACT’s key arts organisations, receiving significant funding through the Government’s Arts Fund.

The 2007 SmokeFree Youth Dance Fest season runs from Wednesday 26 to Friday 28 September at the Canberra Theatre, in Civic Square.

ACT equine businesses urged to apply for help

0

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has urged local businesses affected by the equine flu outbreak across the border to explore whether they are eligible for compensation under the Commonwealth’s $114 million assistance package.

“I would urge any ACT businesses or equine professionals who are experiencing extra costs or significant financial hardship as a consequence of the quarantine measures the ACT has had no choice but to impose, to apply for a share of the Commonwealth assistance,” Mr Stanhope said today.

“The ACT Government is doing what it can to enable those who work with horses get back to business as quickly as possible – most recently by conducting two highly successful workshops in biosecurity procedures, which were attended by 33 farriers, horse dentists and equine workers. A training session for racecourse personnel will be held at Thoroughbred Park on Thursday.

“The ACT Government is mindful of the threat of horse flu and conscious of the strain the quarantine measures has had on horse owners and workers. Thankfully, the ACT has remained disease-free to date, but we cannot afford to be complacent. The ACT will continue to respond as part of the national strategic approach to the equine influenza outbreak.

“I know that these precautions will bring little joy to those who make their livelihoods from equine activities, and I therefore urge anyone who thinks they might be eligible for a share of the Commonwealth’s $114 million compensation package to make inquiries as soon as possible.”

The Commonwealth package, announced by the Federal Minister for Agriculture Peter McGauran earlier this month, provides:
. $20 million for wage supplementation for workers involved in commercial horse-dependent industries who have lost their income, with recipients receiving the equivalent of the Newstart Allowance;
. $45 million in assistance grants for businesses that derive most of their income from the commercial horse industry and that have experienced a significant loss of income;
. $44 million for those whose racing, harness or competition horses have been unable to compete and generate income due to quarantine restrictions; and
. $1 million for non-profit, non-government equestrian organisations that have incurred direct expenses as a result of the outbreak and the quarantine.

The assistance comes on top of another $4 million announced earlier by the Commonwealth. Canberra businesses or individuals who think they could be eligible for compensation should ring the Equine Influenza Hotline on 1800 234 002.

Positive results from exotic grass reduction

0

A Government program to reduce the incidence of exotic grasses is yielding some positive early results.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said preliminary findings showed that slashing and grazing by Parks, Conservation and Lands on Coolamon Ridge, in Kambah, appeared to have reduced the frequency of occurrence of exotic annual grasses.

“Exotic grasses inhibit native species and are a source of fuel for bushfires after they dry out,” Mr Stanhope said.

“In 2005 ACT Parks and Conservation Service established a trial at Coolamon Ridge to test whether grazing, herbicides or slashing could be used to reduce exotic annual grasses. The goal has been to replace the annual exotic grass cover on Coolamon Ridge with regenerating native species, while identifying any unintended damage caused by the various control approaches.”

Results of the study will be used to guide management of exotic annual species, primarily in the two sites where the trials are being undertaken. If the results continue to be promising, the trial may be expanded.

Treatments will be applied once more in 2007 at both sites. The sites will be monitored in 2007 and 2008, followed by a detailed analysis in 2009.

Monitoring shows fish stocking of lakes a success

0

Monitoring of fish stocks in urban lakes indicates that the Government’s recreational stocking program is a success.

“Fisheries in Lake Tuggeranong, Lake Ginninderra and Gungahlin Pond were monitored this year, with a total of 393 fish comprising five different species being caught using multifilament gill nets,” Mr Stanhope said today.

“The most common species was Redfin Perch, followed by Carp and Golden Perch.”

Canberra’s urban lakes and the Googong River are regularly stocked with native fish fingerlings as part of the Government’s stocking program. The program is designed primarily to maintain recreational fisheries, though there are secondary conservation benefits.

Monitoring is carried out every two years to determine the success of the stocking program.

Fish are taken to laboratories for processing. They are weighed, measured, inspected for parasites and reproductive condition.

The stocking program is on ongoing activity funded by the ACT Government. Lake Burley Griffin stocking is funded by the National Capital Authority.

Yerrabi Pond is scheduled for monitoring next year.

Government biosecurity training for equine sector

0

Workers in the horse industry, including local farriers, will tomorrow receive training in biosecurity procedures to help ensure that the national capital remains free of equine flu.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said the ACT Government’s Chief Veterinarian, Dr Will Andrew, would provide industry workers with information and instruction on appropriate cleaning and disinfection procedures. These would help ensure that farriers, equine dentists and other industry professionals could confidently return to work, secure in the knowledge that they were doing everything possible to prevent the spread of the disease.

“Although the ACT is so far free of the equine influenza, I am acutely aware of the financial impact the outbreak across the border, and the current quarantine, are having on horse owners in the ACT,” Mr Stanhope said.

“Tomorrow’s training will reinforce key biosecurity measures and help professionals ensure a safe environment for their clients’ animals. This free training session is highly recommended to any individuals whose primary income depends on the equine industry.”

Mr Stanhope said the training was part of the Government’s proactive approach to keeping the territory free of equine flu. A list of those professionals who participate in tomorrow’s training will be posted on the TAMS website at http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/equine_influenza.

A free kit of disinfectant equipment would be provided to all participants to encourage compliance with recommended biosecurity measures.

Two training sessions are scheduled for tomorrow and additional sessions will be hosted depending on demand.

Equine industry professionals interested in attending should call Canberra Connect on 13 22 81.

Mr Stanhope said he was grateful to the equestrian community for its patience and for its compliance with the standstill. He said it was important that owners and equine professionals did not become complacent as time passed without the flu spreading into the Territory. Under the quarantine the movement of horses or horse equipment across the ACT/NSW border or within the ACT without a permit is prohibited. Permits will only be issued in exceptional circumstances. For information call 6207 8705. Breaches of the quarantine are punishable by six months imprisonment or a $5,000 fine.

Horse owners with any concerns about the health of their animals should ring Canberra Connect on 13 22 81 or visit http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/equine_influenza

Plans for Namadgi fire access trails finalised

0

Plans for proposed fire trails in Namadgi National Park have now been finalised after extensive community consultation, with plans for the most controversial trail being dropped and plans for another suspended to give time to explore alternative options, Chief Minister Jon Stanhope announced today.

Following extensive environmental investigations, and consultation with park users, environmentalists and the Bush Fire Council, and public meetings, it is proposed:

. to start work on the Bullen Range fire trail this summer. The proposed trail, which is close to Weston Creek and Tuggeranong, will enable the Government to conduct hazard reduction burning to protect Canberra suburbs from bushfire. No significant community or environmental issues were identified in relation to this trail;
. the proposed Stockyard Spur and Link Trail will be subject to further assessment. While no significant issues were identified in relation to the overgrown Spur section, the proposed Link section involved some real concerns in relation to erosion, impact on water quality, access and weeds. The Government will now assess the possibility of upgrading the walking trail and look at constructing a turnaround capacity on the spur trail, doing away with the necessity for trail work on a very steep section of land that falls into the water catchment area;
. the Spencers Trail proposal will be put on hold while the Government looks at alternative options. This trail is intended to duplicate an existing trail on nearby private property in NSW. Use of that trail needs to be agreed with the landowner. The area near the proposed trail was burned by fire in 2006-07 and it is considered unlikely that fires will present a problem in the next 12 months, giving the Government time to explore options;
. the proposed Orroral Tors Fire Trail will not proceed. Territory and Municipal Services and the Emergency Services Authority will continue to work together to identify an alternative approach. There was significant opposition to this proposed trail from the Indigenous community and park users, including bush walkers. The Government believes there may be lower-impact alternatives that will achieve the same strategic purpose. The current review of the Strategic Bushfire Management Plan and the preparation of sub-regional fire management plans is expected to identify alternatives to achieve fire management objectives in this area.

Mr Stanhope said that the Government had worked exhaustively with stakeholders to meet their concerns and he was extremely pleased with the result, which would allow the Government to better protect the community from potential fires, whilst maintaining environmental values and addressing the legitimate concerns of various interest groups.

Canberrans urged to maintain water discipline

0

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has congratulated Canberrans for doing their bit to ensure that ACTEW has not had to introduce Stage 4 water restrictions this spring and summer.

And he has urged them to maintain the discipline they have shown to date and to resist the temptation to think that the reprieve signals that things are ‘back to normal’.

“I most sincerely congratulate all those Canberrans who have played their part, showing considerable restraint over the winter months to help keep Canberra’s water use below target,” Mr Stanhope said today, in the wake of ACTEW’s announcement that Stage 3 restrictions would persist this spring and summer.

“However, with dam levels still down from this time last year by 6%, now is no time to be letting down our guard. As a keen gardener, I know as well as anyone that the temptation to relax one’s vigilance will be powerful as the weather warms up. I am pleased that under the existing water restrictions Canberrans can still focus on watering trees and shrubs as well as maintaining home vegetable gardens.

“I urge Canberrans to see today’s announcement for what it is – a short-term reprieve, not a ticket of leave.”

Mr Stanhope said it was important not to lose sight of the fact that Stage 4 Restrictions, if and when they became necessary, would have a significant impact on the city and the community – environmentally, economically and socially.

That was why the Government had established an inter-departmental committee to analyse potential impacts and to put in place strategies for ameliorating the worst of these. The work of that IDC was continuing, notwithstanding today’s announcement. The aim was to have in place a comprehensive suite of responses in advance of any future decision on Stage 4, and to help Canberrans make the changes to their behaviour and lifestyles that would insulate them from the worst effects of tougher restrictions into the future.

The Government has also established a Water Security Taskforce and Advisory Panel which will shortly provide advice on strengthening water security for the ACT and region.

Canberrans urged to maintain water discipline

0

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has congratulated Canberrans for doing their bit to ensure that ACTEW has not had to introduce Stage 4 water restrictions this spring and summer.

And he has urged them to maintain the discipline they have shown to date and to resist the temptation to think that the reprieve signals that things are ‘back to normal’.

“I most sincerely congratulate all those Canberrans who have played their part, showing considerable restraint over the winter months to help keep Canberra’s water use below target,” Mr Stanhope said today, in the wake of ACTEW’s announcement that Stage 3 restrictions would persist this spring and summer.

“However, with dam levels still down from this time last year by 6%, now is no time to be letting down our guard. As a keen gardener, I know as well as anyone that the temptation to relax one’s vigilance will be powerful as the weather warms up. I am pleased that under the existing water restrictions Canberrans can still focus on watering trees and shrubs as well as maintaining home vegetable gardens.

“I urge Canberrans to see today’s announcement for what it is – a short-term reprieve, not a ticket of leave.”

Mr Stanhope said it was important not to lose sight of the fact that Stage 4 Restrictions, if and when they became necessary, would have a significant impact on the city and the community – environmentally, economically and socially.

That was why the Government had established an inter-departmental committee to analyse potential impacts and to put in place strategies for ameliorating the worst of these. The work of that IDC was continuing, notwithstanding today’s announcement. The aim was to have in place a comprehensive suite of responses in advance of any future decision on Stage 4, and to help Canberrans make the changes to their behaviour and lifestyles that would insulate them from the worst effects of tougher restrictions into the future.

The Government has also established a Water Security Taskforce and Advisory Panel which will shortly provide advice on strengthening water security for the ACT and region.

Government and IFP agree on terms for assistance

0

The Government and Integrated Forest products have agreed on a funding assistance package for IFP’s Hume timber mill.

The Territory has agreed to a request from IFP consisting of:
. a cash contribution of $462,000 (plus GST if applicable); and
. a waiver of fees and charges to a maximum of $213,000 (plus GST if applicable), comprising a payroll tax waiver of about $163,000, rates and taxes waiver of approximately $25,000, and a land rent waiver of approximately $25,000.

“The most important aspect of this funding support is that it is to be used to secure viable jobs for the 100 or so workers employed at IFP,” Mr Stanhope said today. “The ACT Government wants to see a viable timber mill operating at Hume and for the jobs of the mill workers to remain in the ACT.”

In discussion with IFP’s receiver, Mr Stephen Longley of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Territory has emphasised that employee entitlements are to be of the highest priority, and it is with their interests in mind that the Territory has offered this level of financial assistance. To support the prioritisation of employee protection, the Government is willing to waive its priority status in relation to financial support in favour of the employees if IFP does become liquidated.

“Committing ACT funds, taxpayer’s funds, to continue supporting this business is not something I do lightly,” said Mr Stanhope, “which is why I have sought assurances from the receiver that worker entitlements will be given the highest priority.”

Further conditions of the agreement will see that the receiver utilises all of the $4 million Commonwealth funding before drawing on the Territory contribution.

The assistance offered in this package is in addition to the $1.4 million of funding assistance already provided to IFP since 2004.

Bigger role for new Commissioner for Environment

0

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has welcomed the appointment of Dr Maxine Cooper as the new Commissioner for the Environment and has announced a significant expansion of the commissioner’s role.

“Dr Cooper’s extensive professional background, including a period as Executive Director of Environment ACT from 2001-2006, and her academic qualifications, particularly her PhD in Environmental Planning and her Masters in Environmental Design, make her the ideal choice for this important and enhanced role,” Mr Stanhope said.

Mr Stanhope said that the Government had recently reviewed the role of the Office of the Commissioner for the Environment, in light of the priority the Government was placing on sustainability and climate change. On the basis of that review it had been decided to significantly expand the role of the Commissioner, making it a full-time position, to be known as Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment. The position may also incorporate some elements of the current role of Conservator of Flora and Fauna, following the completion of the review of the Nature Conservation Act. Further work will be required to flesh out the expanded role, including some legislative changes.

Mr Stanhope said he wanted the expanded Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment to be fully operational before the end of the year. In the meantime, Dr Cooper would fulfil the Commissioner for the Environment position and also refine the broader functions for the new Office.

Dr Cooper would continue to investigate and provide advice on water catchment issues and help drive the implementation of the Government’s Weathering the Change climate change policy. In addition she would work across government to help all agencies reduce their water and energy consumption.

“Since moving to Canberra six years ago, Dr Cooper has made an invaluable contribution to the ACT, particularly in the protection and enhancement of our natural environment,” Mr Stanhope said. “In her new role Dr Cooper will call upon her extensive experience in the ACT, NSW, Queensland and Western Australia overseeing environmental issues, urban, regional and transport planning, heritage, water and energy issues.

“Earlier this year, Dr Cooper demonstrated her leadership qualities as Executive Director of the ACT Government’s Water Security Taskforce, bringing to the table stakeholders including researchers, academics, scientists, the business community, environmental groups and the broader community, to debate one of the most crucial issues confronting our community – water security.”