Sunday, October 6, 2013

Climate Council, which replaced the axed Climate Commission, reaches $1 million funding target - Yahoo!7

Climate Council, which replaced the axed Climate Commission, reaches $1 million funding target - Yahoo!7
"Australians are concerned about climate change, they want to see something done, so getting that independent scientific information is really important," she said.
Professor Flannery said donations started rolling in from September 24.
"We had our first donation from James in New South Wales for $15 at midnight," he said at the time.
"We've been raising $1,000 an hour... through the night."
By Tuesday afternoon 7,200 people had donated $218,000.
Professor Flannery says the council's purpose is to provide independent information on the science of climate change.
"We have simply one goal and one objective and we always have, which is to take the science, the economics of climate change and what's happening internationally in terms of action and present it in a clear and understandable and authoritative way to the Australian public," he said.


  1. From Kimberley Page :

    Monday, October 7th, 2013

    Robyn Wells in Broome Shire’s irrigation plans

    Shire elections candidate Robyn Wells is concerned at draft plans for irrigation areas north and south of Broome.

    “Big projects run high risks of chemical contamination of groundwater, changes in the water table and seawater intrusion,” Ms Wells said.

    “Other industries should be investigated before the Shire commits to such high-risk projects.”

    You can read her statement here:

    Media Release – Water Worries

    The Broome Shire’s Local Planning Strategy shows an extensive irrigation investigation area south of Broome. Shire Council candidate Robyn Wells is concerned that groundwater could be allocated to broadscale agriculture, mining or fracking.

    “Big projects run high risks of chemical contamination of groundwater, changes in the water table and seawater intrusion,” said Ms Wells.

    “Other industries should be investigated before the Shire commits to such high-risk projects,” Ms Wells said. “There is enormous potential for growing biofuels in water-scarce areas or developing native plant industries, requiring much less water. We should be finding out how best to exploit our natural resources without causing damage to the country or putting our groundwater reserves at risk.”

    Ms Wells pointed out that the draft Local Planning Strategy shows that the Dampier Peninsula is also under consideration for irrigated agriculture and mining.

    “Both mining and irrigated agriculture use huge volumes of water. Such projects on the Dampier Peninsula could endanger Broome’s water supply,” Ms Wells said.

    “The public needs to be fully informed about the nature of applications to use water,” Ms Wells said. “Most residents of the Shire have had no input to the Strategy, having only seen it at a late stage, when it was put out for public comment.”

    “Residents will be raising these matters and other concerns about the Local Planning Strategy at a Special Electors’ Meeting on Monday 14th October at the Shire Offices,” Ms Wells concluded.
    - See more at:

    1. It will certainly be very interesting to see how many hectares they are planning to irrigate.

      The Ord River Irrigation Scheme will have about 29,000 hectares of land under irrigation when Stage 2 is complete.

      There are plans for Stage 3 going over into the NT to take it to 43,000 hectares.

      To do that they will have to engineer the spillway and dams to almost double Lake Argyle's capacity from about 11 Syd Arbs to 20+ Syd Arbs.

      So the lake as it is can do 29,000 hectares.

      That is 290 square kilometres.( say an area 29 x 10 ).


      "When the Ord River Dam was completed it became the largest capacity Dam in Australia with a volume of 5641 gigilitres (equivalent to 11.2 Sydney Harbours) The flow from both Dams was regulated to maintain a stable level in Lake Kununurra, which enabled the water to be diverted by gravity to the Ivanhoe Plain. The permanent water supply to Lake Kununurra also enabled the development for irrigated land on the adjacent Packsaddle Plain."


      Territory crucial to success of Ord sugar project

      ......."At 13,000 hectares you're right on the cusp, you're on the lower end that any investor in sugar would expect.

      "Ideally you want to be double that. Ideally a sugar industry wants to be at 40,000 hectares of production, and if you're going to reach that scale, then the Northern Territory lands need to be considered."

      The Northern Territory Government has given Ord Stage 3 major project status and allocated $400,000 in its budget to help the Territory's newly-formed Ord Development Unit.


      The Ord River Irrigation area today[edit source]

      The Ord River dams provide water for irrigation to over 117 km² of farmland and there are plans to extend the scheme to allow irrigation of 440 km² in the near future.


      Lake Argyle
      A massive storage reservoir, Lake Argyle formed where the Ord River enters the Carr-Boyd Ranges just south of Kununurra. Lake Argyle is now the largest fresh water storage in mainland Australia. Its storage capacity is 10,760 million cubic metres of water or about 9 times the water volume of Sydney Harbour.

      Ord Stage 1 - 14,000 ha of irrigated farm land
      The Ord River Irrigation Area includes approximately 14,000 hectares of developed land, which has access to considerable water resources from Lake Argyle on the Ord River. This land is harvested to produce a diverse range of crops including: chickpeas, sorghum seed, melons, pumpkins, mangoes, bananas, citrus, irrigated pasture, tropical forests and sugar cane. Sugar production accounts for approximately on third, by area, of the cultivated land in the ORIA.

      Ord-East Kimberley Expansion Project
      The Western Australian Government has committed $220 million from the Royalties for Regions program towards the expansion of the current Ord irrigation area. 8,000 hectares of land is being developed with the first release in 2011. The development includes off-farm infrastructure such as irrigation, drainage and roads. Approvals for an additional 6,000 hectares are also being progressed.


    2. Lake Argyle - The Truth.



      Ord experiment a 'failure'

      19 Aug, 2013 07:30 AM


      THE former chairman of Kevin Rudd's hand-picked taskforce to develop northern Australia said the Ord Irrigation Scheme has failed to become the region's food bowl.

      Joe Ross, a prominent indigenous leader appointed by Mr Rudd in 2008 to oversee a wide-ranging study into the future of economic development in the north, said the Ord River Irrigation scheme had become one of the world's largest sandalwood producers.

      But the region has a history of failed food crops in rice, sugar and cotton.

      Mr Ross noted Mr Rudd's northern Australia election promise on Thursday did not mention the $20 million review which found governments should invest more money in researching water resources, groundwater and salinity risks, particularly where new intensive agriculture projects were planned. "The question that has to be asked is whether the Ord has been productive in food." He said the Carnarvon agricultural region of Western Australia "dwarfed" the Ord's food output "pound for pound".

      Indian sandalwood is estimated to account for about 60 per cent of the total farming area around Kununurra, about 3500 hectares, and has replaced food crops such as melons, pumpkins, legumes, chick peas and bananas.

      Labor promises $10m to expand scheme

      Labor has promised to spend $10 million toward the expansion of the Ord Irrigation Scheme, from 29,000 hectares to 43,000 hectares.

      "This would unleash an enormous amount of agricultural land for the future, and the economists tell us $150 million worth of agricultural production from sugar-based crops and elsewhere," Mr Rudd said on Thursday. "This is about investing in a huge new project for Australia, the future of agribusiness and on top of that, you are looking at the expansion of the Ord irrigation area by one-thirdover its current size."

      Mr Ross was also critical of the Coalition's plans to create a series of dams across northern Australia to capture ground water.

      He said damming the water system would have a major impact on northern Australia's successful fishing industry, which is worth billions of dollars.

      "The truth is, in northern Australia there are great opportunities in tourism and fisheries, let alone existing projects," Mr Ross said. "Dams would totally destroy the river systems."

      High salinity, pests, diseases, transport issues and world agriculture commodity prices have taken their toll on many projects in the Ord Irrigation Scheme since the early 1960s.


    3. Ord experiment a 'failure'


      Wilderness society calls scheme white elephant

      This has led some critics, such as the Wilderness Society and other environmental and agriculture groups, to label the scheme a "white elephant".

      Cotton crops were abandoned in 1974 after the massive use of fertilisers to combat insects rendered the industry unviable. Agriculture economist Dr David McKinna said a sugar mill built near the Ord River was closed down after stage one of the scheme because volumes were too low to be viable.

      He said stages 2 and 3 of the scheme may build enough production volume to make some industries workable.

      A Chinese company, Kimberley Agriculture Investments, will invest $700 million in irrigated farmland and infrastructure to re-establish a sugar industry and sugar mill. But the company now looks set to focus on sorghum as an interim or even long-term crop.

      Previous attempts at sugar processing were stymied by rising salinity – five or six times sea salinity in some areas of the scheme. The high levels of salt in the sugar cane led to glazing of equipment in the now-mothballed sugar mills.

      Mosaic irrigation more suitable

      Agriculture experts say the complex system of seasonal groundwater and underground aquifers means small-scale, or mosaic irrigation, is more suitable for the region than broadacre irrigation.

      The Wilderness Society estimates more than $1.3 billion has already been spent on the Ord River scheme. "It is perplexing the Rudd government would place more stress on the federal budget by throwing yet more money at the failed Ord scheme to seduce Chinese investment into sugar cane," said Gavan McFadzean.

      "All attempts at large-scale cropping have failed, including sugar, rice and cotton. Ord Stage 2 alone has already received $517 million of taxpayer funds.

      "Taxpayer support for food bowl development would be better spent assisting the existing agricultural sector with research and development, improving supply chains, finding new markets and attracting skilled labour and new capital investment.

    4. Ord water allocation plan almost doubles

      ABC Rural
      Tyne McConnon

      The amount of water used for irrigation in the Ord will almost double under the State Government's latest water allocation plan.

      This is the first time the plan has been updated since 2006.

      The new plan says 400 gigalitres of water will be made available for the Ord, including developments earmarked for the future stage two development.

      Minister for Water Terry Redman says the water management plan caters for the region's expansion over the next five to seven years.

      "The current plan highlights a total of 865 gigalitres of water, 750 of that goes from Lake Kununurra, 350 of that is already allocated and there's another 400 that is available to be allocated."

      Kimberley Agriculture Investment who are developing Stage 2 of the Ord expansion scheme are planning to grow sugar.

      Mr Redman says he believes the water allocated for the land will be adequate for the water thirsty crop.

      "I have every confidence that the available water in the plan will deal with agriculture in Western Australia, on the Western Australia side of the border, in regard to the expansions in the Ord.

      "Even if you're growing sugar cane it will cover that."

      Despite further expansion into the Northern Territory being considered in the plan the plan doesn't' allocate for it.

      Mr Redman says the government is currently looking at plans to increase Lake Argyle's capacity to supply the irrigation scheme with water.

      However Mr Redman says such an idea is still in the early planning stages.


      SO how many hectares do they intend to irrigate?

      How many wells do the intend to frack?

      How much water do people need - swimming pools and all?

      How much water for cattle,farming,mining etc.?

      That gives us a grand total of ......................... ?



      Water supply

      Rainfall in south-west WA has already reduced by around 15 per cent since the mid-1970s. From 1911 to 1974 the average stream flow into Perth Dams was 338 gigalitres. From 1975 to 2000 average stream flow was almost half this value at 177 gigalitres. From 2001 to 2010 inflows again halved to approximately 75 gigalitres. There is evidence that greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are responsible for half the decline in rainfall in south-west WA.

      Modelling suggests a decrease in mean annual rainfall of 7 per cent and a 14 per cent reduction in surface water runoff in the period 2021 to 2050 relative to the period 1961 to 1990. If current climate trends continue, south-west WA will potentially experience 80 per cent more drought-months by 2070.

      A hotter, drier climate would inflict a high economic impact on water supply infrastructure across the country, with Perth likely to be the most severely impacted city in Australia through climate change induced water scarcity.

      Extreme events

      ...............In the north of WA there may be a decrease in the total number of cyclones, however, there is likely to be an increase in the proportion of tropical cyclones in the more intense categories. By 2030 there may be a 60 per cent increase in intensity of the most severe storms and a 140 per cent increase by 2070.


      ........................Even using an optimistic calculation that 35 gigalitres (35 billion litres) of rainwater would flow into the city's dams - far greater than the 13 gigalitres last year - the dams would run dry.

      "(Even) given recycled water, less water use, pumping the surface aquifer at Gnangara Mound a little bit more and hoping for rain, we'll basically have no water left at the end of summer 2012," Professor Imberger said.


      SO just about everyone agrees the future for WA is very dodgy as far as water and heat goes.

      ""The current plan highlights a total of 865 gigalitres of water" (for the Ord scheme)

      If the current rainfall for Perth is 75 gigs ( it has been as low as 30+ gigs ) then..........

      The amount allocated for the Ord is between 12 to 27 years rainfall for Perth.

    6. Re Kimberley cyclones - it could be that the cyclones pass over land further south as time goes on - a disaster for the Kimberley.

    7. To be clear about the above figures - Redmans press release.(from Kimberley Page)


      Monday, October 7th, 2013

      Ord surface water plan released

      Water minister Terry Redman release an allocation plan for surface water in the Ord Valley today.

      The plan was drawn up to cater for increased water needs expected from the Knox and Goomig Plains developments.

      “This management strategy will ensure there are secure and reliable water supplies for an expanding irrigation industry as well as a healthy lower Ord environment,” Mr Redman said.

      You can read a media release here:

      Government of Western Australia

      Department of the Premier and Cabinet

      Hon Terry Redman MLA


      Minister for Water


      Ord River plan to support future development

      •New measures to support irrigation expansion of the Ord River
      •Plan outlines water allocation and management arrangements

      Water Minister Terry Redman today released a water management plan to help cater for the needs of the Ord expansion project in the Goomig and Knox plains areas.

      Mr Redman said the Ord surface water allocation plan would cater for the water requirements of the recently announced Kimberley Agricultural Investment’s 13,400ha Ord Stage 2 irrigation expansion project.

      The Minister said the plan outlined how surface water would be allocated and licensed to meet the current needs of agriculture and industry while ensuring water flows of the lower Ord were maintained.

      “The Ord River is one of Australia’s most significant waterways and the area is under increasing demand from irrigated agriculture and hydropower. The new plan strikes the right balance between the needs of all stakeholders,” he said.

      The plan also identified water for further agricultural expansion.


      “Under the plan, up to 865GL of WATER can be allocated ANNUALLY from the Ord River downstream of the Ord River Dam, providing a reliable water supply to satisfy future irrigation demand,” Mr Redman said.


      “It also sets out how releases from the Ord River Dam power station will be managed and adjusted over time as additional irrigation areas are established when inflows are lower during drier times.

      “This management strategy will ensure there are secure and reliable water supplies for an expanding irrigation industry as well as a healthy lower Ord environment.”

      Clearer management guidelines regarding traditional indigenous access to the waterway, water-based tourism and recreational opportunities are also included in the plan.

      Community members, industry representatives and other stakeholders contributed to the development of the Ord plan, which replaces the 2006 Ord River management plan.

      Fact File
      •The allocation limit of 865GL/year includes 750GL for diversion at Lake Kununurra and 115GL for diversion at Carlton Plain and Mantinea
      •The Ord surface water allocation plan will be evaluated annually to ensure ongoing security and reliability of water supply
      •The allocation plan can be accessed at

      - See more at:

  2. Australia's dirty deals exposed at APEC.

    An open letter to the people of Australia from three West Papuans

    In a letter handed to the Australian consulate staff in Bali, the three demand that Indonesia treat them as 'human beings'

    Dear brothers and sisters,

    We’re writing to inform you that we had (sic) entered the Australian Consulate in Bali to seek refuge and to deliver our message to the APEC leaders in Bali including US State Secretary John Kerry and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott.

    We want these leaders to persuade the Indonesian government to treat Papuan people better.

    Human rights abuses are our routine. Many of our colleagues protested and sought their political aspiration heard. But they ended up [in] prisons.

    These political prisoners committed no crime. They are explicitly committed to non-violence. The Indonesian government arrested and jailed them for discussing their political human rights beliefs.

    We want the Indonesian government to lift the 50 year restriction it has imposed on West Papua. We want foreigners, including journalists, diplomats, observers and tourists to be able to visit West Papua freely without asking for special permits.

    We need your help. We seek refuge and plead for our safety.

    October 4, 2013


    Markus Jerewon, Yuvensius Goo, Rofinus Yanggam


    Three West Papuans occupy Australian consulate in Bali

    West Papuan group demands Indonesian government treat them ‘like human beings’

    Three West Papuans who entered the Australian consulate in Bali overnight have left the compound after being warned by the consul-general that the Indonesian army would be called, the group says.

    Markus Jerewon, 29, Yuvensius Goo, 22 and Rofinus Yanggam, 30, scaled the two-metre high fence of the Australian compound in Bali’s Renon district at 3.20am local time (6.20am AEST) on Sunday morning.

    They called on the Australian government to pressure Indonesia to release all Papuan political prisoners and open the secretive province to foreign journalists.

    But Yanggam told Guardian Australia the group left in fear for their lives after the consul-general, Brett Farmer, told them the Indonesian police and army would be called.

    The group understood the Indonesian authorities would be able to enter the consulate only on invitation from Australia.

    “They told us: 'we don’t accept you to stay here. If you stay here for five minutes, I will call the Indonesian army to come and take you out,'” Yanggam said.

    “I know that if I am arrested then my life will be over. I will have no control over my life any more. So better to get out now.”

    The independent senator Nick Xenophon called on foreign minister Julie Bishop to provide a detailed timeline and explanation of what occurred, AAP reported.

    "These three young men were not asking for West Papuan independence from Indonesia. All they were asking for is entirely consistent with the Lombok Treaty of 2006, signed by both Australia and Indonesia," he said.

    "Instead of getting sanctuary and help, the Australian government effectively threatened them and now there is serious concern over the activists' safety."

    Xenophon's calls were backed by Professor Clinton Fernandes of the University of NSW, who has written extensively on West Papua and the Australian/Indonesian relationship.

    He said when the media circus had moved on after APEC, the trio "may be tried, most certainly they will be beaten, and at some point might be disappeared".

    The Australian consulate in Bali and Bishop did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  3. Three West Papuans occupy Australian consulate in Bali


    In an exclusive interview with Guardian Australia before he scaled the wall, Yanggam said, “the Indonesian army is killing our families, and taking them to jail. This is the best thing we can do in order to expose the situation in Papua. We want to survive.

    “I’m not [disrespecting] the Indonesian people, I’m just saying that we want treatment from the Indonesian government like human beings.”

    He told Guardian Australia that two of his brothers had been killed by the Indonesian military – and that one had died just last week.

    Asked why he was prepared to risk his own safety to bring awareness to the situation in West Papua, he said “I feel it is important for not only him, but other Papuan people also.

    “We don’t feel safe in Papua.”

    The independent senator Nick Xenophon said before the men left the consulate it was "critical that the Australian foreign minister gives these three young men sanctuary", AAP reported.

    "To expel them would potentially put their lives at great risk."

    Xenophon said the trio's requests deserved to be considered and they should be given sanctuary in the Australian consulate "unless their safety can be guaranteed by Indonesian authorities".

    "They're not seeking independence," he said.

    "They are simply asking for political prisoners to be released and for international journalists to have access to West Papua as journalists have access to other provinces of Indonesia."

    A spokesman for the group, Rinto Kogoya, who is co-ordinator of the Alliance of Papuan Students, said it was time the world understood what was happening inside the province, which was officially acquired by Indonesia in 1969.

    “The international community doesn’t know the reality in Papua. The military oppresses the civil society – we’re not free to do anything – and I think this is the moment to open democracy to Papua,” he said.

    “People are jailed [if they] ask about rights. This is a struggle for our right to a free life.”

    Asked why the group had chosen the Australian government, Kogoya said, “Australia is one of the powerful countries in the world. I think they have a strong power to push the Indonesian government to release the political prisoners in West Papua and to push the Indonesian Government to open access to international journalists.”

    “More than 200,000 people have died in West Papua, killed by the Indonesian military.

    “International journalists must come to Papua. They will see the reality of life for the Papuan people,” he said.

    Yanggam told Guardian Australia the group intended to stay inside the consulate until their demands were met. They feared for their lives if they were expelled by Australia.

    “We need your help. We seek refuge and plead for our safety,” he said.

  4. Abbott says Papua better off under SBY

    PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has reiterated his support for Indonesia's sovereignty over Papua while insisting three activists who breached the walls of the Australian consulate in Bali left the compound voluntarily.

    The three men - Rofinus Yanggam, Markus Jerewon, and Yuvensius Goo - climbed the walls of the consulate in the early hours of Sunday morning to highlight claims of abuse and ill-treatment of West Papuans in the restive Indonesian province.

    The men, who hoped to gain the attention of world leaders in Bali for the APEC summit, left the compound before 7am but it has since been alleged they were threatened with arrest by Australian Consul-General Brett Farmer.

    Mr Abbott on Monday insisted the activists left of their own accord after a "lengthy discussion" and warned Australia would not be party to protests aimed at undermining Indonesia's authority over West Papua.

    "We have a very strong relationship with Indonesia and we are not going to give people a platform to grandstand against Indonesia," he told reporters on the sidelines of the APEC summit.

    "And people seeking to grandstand against Indonesia, please, don't look to do it in Australia. You are not welcome."

    Mr Yanggam claimed consular officials threatened to call the Indonesian military unless the trio of protesters left.

    "We don't accept you to stay here. If you stay here for five minutes, I will call the Indonesian army to come and take you out", Mr Yanggam quoted Australian officials as saying.

    Australian Greens Senator Richard Di Natale said the three "effectively had a gun to their head".

    "After hearing directly from the West Papuans involved, we now know the truth is that they only (left) after being threatened with being handed over to the Indonesian police," he said in Melbourne on Monday.

    Senator Di Natale, the founding co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua group, said West Papuan protesters would face imprisonment if handed over to the Indonesian authorities.

    Indonesia, which took control of Papua from the Dutch in 1963, has for a long time fought a separatist movement in the province and faced various allegations of systematic abuse of the native population.

    There have been numerous incidents of torture committed by the Indonesian military while the local population also complains that much of the wealth generated in the resource-rich province flows back to Jakarta while West Papuans remain poor.

    Mr Abbott says the "situation in West Papua is getting better not worse".

    "I want to acknowledge the work that President (Susilo Bambang) Yudhoyono has done to provide greater autonomy, to provide a better level of government services and ultimately a better life for the people of West Papua," he said.

    The protest had threatened to overshadow what was Mr Abbott's first involvement in a meeting of world leaders since he was elected prime minister last month.

  5. Greens' claims over Ferguson lobbying are in the ballpark

    It’s not unusual for former government ministers to find top paying jobs in the private sector. But two recent appointments of former federal resources and energy minister, Martin Ferguson, have drawn the ire of Australian Greens' leader Christine Milne.

    Mr Ferguson's new roles, six months after he resigned from federal cabinet in March, made a mockery of the ministerial code of conduct, Senator Milne said.

    "Martin Ferguson's appointment as group executive of natural resources for Seven Group Holdings and as chair to a petroleum industry advisory board makes a mockery of the code of conduct which prevents former ministers engaging in lobbying activities relating to any matter that they had official dealings in," she said.

    The new jobs

    Mr Ferguson accepted a role as chairman of an advisory board of the gas and oil industry's peak body, the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association.

    The association's website acknowledges its status as a lobby group, saying it "works with Australian governments to help promote the development of the nation's oil and gas resources in a manner that maximises the return to the Australian industry and community". Its board includes representatives from Australia's largest oil and gas companies including resources giants BHP Billiton, Origin Energy and Shell.


    The claim: Christine Milne says former resources minister Martin Ferguson's new jobs make a mockery of the lobbying code of conduct.
    The verdict: By taking up the appointment within the cooling off period it can be argued that Mr Ferguson has made a mockery of the intent and spirit of the code


    The Verdict

    There is no evidence that Mr Ferguson has breached the code. But by taking up the appointment within the cooling off period it can be argued that he has made a mockery of the intent and spirit of the code. Senator Milne's claim is in the ballpark.

  6. Another Barnett/Buswell fiasco.


    Big harvest fuels fears over roads

    WA's peak local government body has warned the State Government that it is facing a road safety crisis and massive budget blowout as farmers prepare for a bumper grain harvest.

    The WA Local Government Association weighed into the debate over the future of grain freight rail lines with a dire assessment of the condition of Wheatbelt roads under the burden of thousands of extra truck movements.

    It said the State Government faced road costs of hundreds of millions of dollars to allow the safe transport of grain by truck.

    It will request an assessment of all relevant local-government roads used for grain freight to determine the cost and schedule for required safety, upgrade and maintenance work.

    The move came after Brookfield Rail announced it was closing the York to Quairading and Merredin to Trayning lines and with the future of the remaining lines, known as Tier 3, in doubt.

    WALGA president Troy Pickard said most local roads were not designed for the grain freight task and local governments could not keep up with the cost of repairs and maintenance.

    "To move significant freight on to local roads may have a significantly detrimental effect on the road safety and structural integrity of a road," he said.

    The State and Commonwealth allocated $118 million to Wheatbelt road upgrades about three years ago after a policy decision not to invest in Tier 3.

    A spokesman for Transport Minister Troy Buswell, who estimates 12 per cent of WA's grain is carried on Tier 3, said about 80 per cent of the upgrades had been completed.

    But Quairading shire president and local farmer Darryl Richards said the State's so-called upgrades were a debacle.
    "On the Quairading to York road they have just done a patch-up job, a real political stunt," he said. "That road is already breaking up and it will break up even further with the rain we have had and the trucks at harvest."

  7. Report highlights need to diversify beyond mining with LNG, tourism, education and agribusiness options

    A report has highlighted the need to diversify WA's economy beyond the mining industry.

    The economic forecaster Deloitte has found that while mining will continue to play an important role in WA over the coming decades, other industries have huge potential for growth.

    It has identified four sectors - gas, agribusiness, international education and tourism - as being the most important to WA's economic future.

    Deloitte's Mike McNulty says the LNG industry is particularly crucial.

    "For Australia, it's a real coming of age moment as an LNG and gas exporter over the next five years," he said.

    "And, the opportunity in WA is enormous in that we have the right capabilities to actually build up a centre of excellence in Western Australia around gas which I think is a huge opportunity for us going forward."

    Mr McNulty says tourism is another sector with huge potential in WA.

    "We're blessed with wonderful weather and a lot of other things, and we're a very safe place to come for holidays," he said.

    "So, tourism is somewhere where we see an opportunity but it doesn't come without the investment and the world class facilities that people will actually travel for.

    "And, even the more basic essentials of having, in Western Australia, sufficient hotel space."

  8. THERE is a definite link between the goings on in Washington and our own goings on here in Broome over the failed gas plant.

    WHAT is it?

    ANSWER : The Dunning Kruger Effect

    ( )

    "The Dunning-Kruger effect describes a cognitive bias in which people perform poorly on a task, but lack the meta-cognitive capacity to properly evaluate their performance. As a result, such people remain unaware of their incompetence and accordingly fail to take any self-improvement measures that might rid them of their incompetence. In my extend version of the Dunning-Kruger effect, this also leads to extensive Fremdscham in others, but this is not covered by the original research...

    Dunning and Kruger reported their seminal experimental findings more than ten years ago in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Dunning-Kruger effect has since become a popular culture item, similar to inattention blindness, or cognitive dissonance."


    Dunning-Kruger as a Vicious Cycle

    Dunning and Kruger often refer to a "double curse" when interpreting their findings: People fail to grasp their own incompetence, precisely because they are so incompetent. And since, overcoming their incompetence would first require the ability to distinguish competence form incompetence people get stuck in a vicious cycle.

    "The skills needed to produce logically sound arguments, for instance, are the same skills that are necessary to recognize when a logically sound argument has been made. Thus, if people lack the skills to produce correct answers, they are also cursed with an inability to know when their answers, or anyone else's, are right or wrong. They cannot recognize their responses as mistaken, or other people's responses as superior to their own."

    [I.e. they became creationists]


    I'LL POST some pieces of a few articles from the NYT's below - but here is a brief re-cap of what happened to the gas plant :

    Despite ALL the resources at their fingertips Woodside (led by the "$9 million man" - known as "The Don");the Emperor Barnett and all his government;the Broome Chamber of Commerce (led by our very own "Oil and Gas consultant" Proctor);the Broome Shire (who wasted $8 million on it);the KLC (led by the land stealing fat cat Bergman);the Port of Pearls (Captain "No" Justice);and a motley crew of dickheads,dunces and drongos.

    NOW between the lot of them no one could count to 3.

    eg - 1 gas train in the most ideal spot cost $15.4 billion so how could 3 in the worst possible spot,JPP,cost $400 million less?

    They did admit to $20 billion after some time - a figure that only proves the above effect.


    ??? ?


  9. A re-cap of events in Washington :


    A Federal Budget Crisis Months in the Planning

    WASHINGTON — Shortly after President Obama started his second term, a loose-knit coalition of conservative activists led by former Attorney General Edwin Meese III gathered in the capital to plot strategy. Their push to repeal Mr. Obama’s health care law was going nowhere, and they desperately needed a new plan.

    Out of that session, held one morning in a location the members insist on keeping secret, came a little-noticed “blueprint to defunding Obamacare,” signed by Mr. Meese and leaders of more than three dozen conservative groups.

    It articulated a take-no-prisoners legislative strategy that had long percolated in conservative circles: that Republicans could derail the health care overhaul if conservative lawmakers were willing to push fellow Republicans — including their cautious leaders — into cutting off financing for the entire federal government.

    “We felt very strongly at the start of this year that the House needed to use the power of the purse,” said one coalition member, Michael A. Needham, who runs Heritage Action for America, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation. “At least at Heritage Action, we felt very strongly from the start that this was a fight that we were going to pick.”

    Last week the country witnessed the fallout from that strategy: a standoff that has shuttered much of the federal bureaucracy and unsettled the nation.


    Default Threat Generates Fear Around Globe

    LONDON — The bitter fiscal stalemate in Washington is producing nervous ripples from London to Bali, with increasing anxiety that the United States might actually default on a portion of its government debt, set off global financial troubles and undercut fragile economic recoveries in many countries.

    Five years after the financial crisis in the United States helped spread a deep global recession, policy makers around the world again fear collateral damage, this time with their nations becoming victims not of Wall Street’s excesses but of a political system in Washington that to many foreign eyes no longer seems to be able to function efficiently.


    Alexander Lambsdorff, a member of the European Parliament for the German Free Democratic Party...................Mr. Lambsdorff said that he admires the United States Constitution, but that the founders never imagined “a media democracy.” The weakness of the American system is in the constant political campaigning required for the House of Representatives, he said.

    “In the permanent campaign mode the representatives find themselves, there is an incentive to be more radical and less compromising,” he said. “But no democracy works without compromise, and if compromise starts to be elusive, then a democratic system has to rethink itself.”

    (echoes of our "Murcochracy")


  10. Op-Ed Columnist

    The Boehner Bunglers


    Published: October 6, 2013 1417 Comments

    The federal government is shut down, we’re about to hit the debt ceiling (with disastrous economic consequences), and no resolution is in sight. How did this happen?

    The main answer, which only the most pathologically “balanced” reporting can deny, is the radicalization of the Republican Party. As Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein put it last year in their book, “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” the G.O.P. has become “an insurgent outlier — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

    But there’s one more important piece of the story. Conservative leaders are indeed ideologically extreme, but they’re also deeply incompetent. So much so, in fact, that the Dunning-Kruger effect — the truly incompetent can’t even recognize their own incompetence — reigns supreme.

    To see what I’m talking about, consider the report in Sunday’s Times about the origins of the current crisis. Early this year, it turns out, some of the usual suspects — THE KOCH BROTHERS, the political arm of the Heritage Foundation and others — plotted strategy in the wake of Republican electoral defeat. Did they talk about rethinking ideas that voters had soundly rejected? No, they talked extortion, insisting that the threat of a shutdown would induce President Obama to abandon health reform.

    This was crazy talk. After all, health reform is Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement. You’d have to be completely clueless to believe that he could be bullied into giving up his entire legacy by a defeated, unpopular G.O.P. — as opposed to responding, as he has, by making resistance to blackmail an issue of principle. But the possibility that their strategy might backfire doesn’t seem to have occurred to the would-be extortionists.

    Even more remarkable, in its way, was the response of House Republican leaders, who didn’t tell the activists they were being foolish. All they did was urge that the extortion attempt be made over the debt ceiling rather than a government shutdown. And as recently as last week Eric Cantor, the majority leader, was in effect assuring his colleagues that the president will, in fact, give in to blackmail. As far as anyone can tell, Republican leaders are just beginning to suspect that Mr. Obama really means what he has been saying all along.

    Many people seem perplexed by the transformation of the G.O.P. into the political equivalent of the Keystone Kops — the Boehner Bunglers? Republican elders, many of whom have been in denial about their party’s radicalization, seem especially startled. But all of this was predictable.


  11. The Boehner Bunglers



    It has been obvious for years that the modern Republican Party is no longer capable of thinking seriously about policy. Whether the issue is climate change or inflation, party members believe what they want to believe, and any contrary evidence is dismissed as a hoax, the product of vast liberal conspiracies.

    For a while the party was able to compartmentalize, to remain savvy and realistic about politics even as it rejected objectivity everywhere else. But this wasn’t sustainable. Sooner or later, the party’s attitude toward policy — we listen only to people who tell us what we want to hear, and attack the bearers of uncomfortable news — was bound to infect political strategy, too.

    Remember what happened in the 2012 election — not the fact that Mitt Romney lost, but the fact that all the political experts around him apparently had no inkling that he was likely to lose. Polls overwhelmingly pointed to an Obama victory, but Republican analysts denounced the polls as “skewed” and attacked the media outlets reporting those polls for their alleged liberal bias. These days Karl Rove is pleading with House Republicans to be reasonable and accept the results of the 2012 election. But on election night he tried to bully Fox News into retracting its correct call of Ohio — and hence, in effect, the election — for Mr. Obama.

    Unfortunately for all of us, even the shock of electoral defeat wasn’t enough to burst the G.O.P. bubble; it’s still a party dominated by wishful thinking, and all but impervious to inconvenient facts. And now that party’s leaders have bungled themselves into a corner.

    Everybody not inside the bubble realizes that Mr. Obama can’t and won’t negotiate under the threat that the House will blow up the economy if he doesn’t — any concession at all would legitimize extortion as a routine part of politics. Yet Republican leaders are just beginning to get a clue, and so far clearly have no idea how to back down. Meanwhile, the government is shut, and a debt crisis looms. Incompetence can be a terrible thing.

  12. Op-Ed Columnist

    Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome



    AN ape sits where Abe sat.

    The year is 2084, in the capital of the land formerly called North America.

    The peeling columns of the Lincoln Memorial, and Abe’s majestic head, elegant hands and big feet are partially submerged in sludge. Animals that escaped from the National Zoo after zookeepers were furloughed seven decades ago migrated to the memorials, hunting for food left by tourists.

    The white marble monuments are now covered in ash, Greek tragedy ruins overrun with weeds. Tea Party zombies, thrilled with the dark destruction they have wreaked on the planet, continue to maraud around the Hill, eager to chomp on humanity some more.

    Dead cherry blossom trees litter the bleak landscape. Trash blows through L’Enfant’s once beautiful boulevards, now strewn with the detritus of democracy, scraps of the original Constitution, corroded White House ID cards, stacks of worthless bills tumbling out of the Treasury Department.

    The BlackBerrys that were pried from the hands of White House employees in 2013 are now piled up on the Potomac as a flood barrier against the ever-rising tide from melting ice caps. Their owners, unable to check their messages, went insane long ago.

    Because there was no endgame, the capital’s hunger games ended in a gray void. Because there was no clean bill, now there is only a filthy stench. Because there was no wisdom, now there is only rot. The instigators, it turned out, didn’t even know what they were arguing for. Macho thrusts and feints, competing to win while the country lost.

    Thomas Jefferson’s utopia devolved into Ted Cruz’s dystopia.


    In 2084, there’s little sign of life in the godless and barren lost world. The insurance exchanges are open and the kinks are almost ironed out. But there is no one to sign up. Koch brother drones patrol the skies. A Mad Max motorcycle gang wielding hacksaws roars through the C.I.A., now a field of dead cornstalks, and the fetid hole that was once Michelle Obama’s organic vegetable garden. Will Smith and Brad Pitt are here, hunting aliens and monsters.

    The Navy-Air Force game goes on, somehow, and there are annual CrossFit games on the Mall, led by flesh-eating Dark Seeker Paul Ryan, now 114 years old. CrossFit is still fighting the Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid, even though there’s no Department of Agriculture and no food.

    A gaunt man and sickly boy, wrapped in blue tarps, trudge toward the blighted spot that was once the World War II monument, scene of the first shutdown skirmishes. They know they may not survive the winter.

    “How did this happen, Papa?” the boy asks.

    “Americans had been filled with existential dread since the 9/11 attacks, but they didn’t realize the real danger was coming from inside the government,” the man says. “It started very small with a petty fight over a six-week spending bill but quickly mushroomed out of control.”

    “Whose fault was it, Papa?” the boy presses.

    The man tries to explain: “The Grand Old Party, the proud haven of patriots who believed in a strong national security and fiscal responsibility, was infected with a mutant form of ideology. It was named the Sarahcuda Strain after the earliest carrier. Remember when you saw that old science fiction movie, ‘I Am Legend’? A scientist described the virus that burned through civilization as being like ‘a very fast car driven by a very bad man.’ That’s what happened: In the infected Tea Party politicians, brain function decreased and social de-evolution occurred. They began ignoring their basic survival instincts.

  13. Welcome to Ted Cruz’s Thunderdome


    “It’s hard to believe now, but they were fixated on stopping an effort to get health care to those who couldn’t afford it. It eventually led them to destroy all the things they said they held most dear.”

    The boy is confused. “They killed America because they didn’t care about keeping Americans alive?” he asks.

    The man sits down. His voice grows faint. “Well, they didn’t seem to understand themselves or what they were doing,” he continues. “In the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, many of the feverish pols believed they were waging the right and moral fight even as G.O.P. party elders like Jeb Bush, John McCain, Karl Rove and James Baker warned them that they were dragging the country toward catastrophe. The Tea Party leaders liked to refer to themselves as the Children of Reagan. But as Baker told Peggy Noonan, Reagan always said, ‘I’d rather get 80 percent of what I want than go over the cliff with my flag flying.’ ”

    The boy frowns. “But Papa, didn’t the healthy Republicans realize the infected ones had lower brain functions?”

    “Well, son, they knew there was something creepy about the ringleader, Ted Cruz,” the man replies. “His face looked pinched, like a puzzle that had not been put together quite right. He was always launching into orations with a weird cadence and self-consciously throwing folksy phrases into his speeches, like ‘Let me tell ya,’ to make himself seem Texan, when he was really a Canadian.”

    The boy looks alarmed. “A Canadian destroyed the world, Papa?”

    “Once the government shut down, a plague came, because they had closed the Center for Disease Control,” the man says. “Storms, floods and wildfires raged after FEMA was closed down and the National Guard got decimated.

    “Once we went into default, the globe got sucked into the economic vortex. With a lot of the Defense Department, F.B.I., and intelligence community on forced leave, the country became vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Without the C.I.A. to train the moderate Syrian rebels, Syria fell to Al Qaeda.

    “After the final American president, Barack Obama, canceled his trip to Asia, that part of the world decided we were weak. China moved quickly to fill the vacuum. Obama grew so disgusted, he spent his final years in office isolated in the White House residence. When he stopped returning the calls of Hassan Rouhani and Bibi Netanyahu, it was only a matter of time before the Middle East went up in flames.

    “What is left of the world is being run by Julian Assange from what is left of the Ecuadorean Embassy in London and by some right-wing nut in a cabin in Idaho.”

    The boy begins to cry. “Papa, stop. You’re making me sad. Are all the good guys gone?”

    Looking through the gray skies toward the ashen Lincoln Memorial, where an ape sits in Abe’s chair, the man replies sadly, “Yes, son.”

  14. Campaign against fossil fuel growing, says study

    A campaign to persuade investors to take their money out of the fossil fuel sector is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and could cause significant damage to coal, oil and gas companies, according to a study from the University of Oxford.

    The report compares the current fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has attracted 41 institutions since 2010, with those against tobacco, apartheid in South Africa, armaments, gambling and pornography. It concludes that the direct financial impact of such campaigns on share prices or the ability to raise funds is small but the reputational damage can still have major financial consequences.

    "Stigmatisation poses a far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies – any direct impacts of divestment pale in comparison," said Ben Caldecott, a research fellow at the University of Oxford's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, and an author of the report. "In every case we reviewed, divestment campaigns were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation."

    The report is part of a new research programme on stranded assets backed by Aviva Investors, HSBC, Standard & Poor's and others. It found: "The fossil fuel campaign has achieved a lot in the relatively short time since its inception."

    Some major investors, such as the $74bn Scandinavian asset manager Storebrand, have already pulled their funds from coal stocks. But the researchers found that even if the maximum possible capital was divested by university endowments and public pension funds, the total was relatively small compared to the market capitalisation of traded fossil fuel companies and the size of state-owned enterprises.

    However, the team concluded: "The outcome of the stigmatisation process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain."

    Analysing previous campaigns, the researchers found examples of stigmatised companies being shunned by governments and being barred from public contracts or acquiring licences. "Stigma attached to merely one small area of a large company may threaten sales across the board," the report found, citing the examples of Motorola dumping its defence business due to bad press and Revlon's decision to disinvest from its South African operation after customer groups threatened a boycott.

    The report also found instances when customers, suppliers and potential employees were scared off by stigma and where stigma had led shareholders to demand changes in the management of companies.

    Bill McKibben, the environmental campaigner who leads the divestment campaign which is expanding from the US into Europe this autumn, said: "This divestment campaign is just one front in the climate fight, but of all the actions people can take to bring about structural change, it's probably the easiest. Severing our ties with the guys digging up the carbon won't bankrupt them--but it will start to politically bankrupt them, and make their job of dominating the planet's politics that much harder."

    A report in April backed by climate economist Lord Stern found that at least two-thirds of the fossil fuels listed as assets by the world's fossil fuel companies would have to remain in the ground if governments were to fulfil their pledge of keeping climate change below the danger limit of 2C. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), backed by 193 governments, reached a similar conclusion at the end of September.

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