Carbon Tax Debate Frustrations

June 3rd, 2012

Here’s a quick post to see if anyone out there can actually enlighten me as to how the carbon tax will actually reduce emissions; I’ve been seeing a lot of angry debate on twitter lately, and went in search of some numbers;

One very loud twitter personality keeps making the point that electricity will rise in price by about 2c per kwh under the carbon tax. The assumption, I am guessing, is that because power is then more expensive, people will use less of it; In theory, they’d be inclined to use about 2% less (as its about a 2% price rise if that figure is right). My thought is that, on one hand, people are not going to turn their heaters off in winter or their air con off in summer, and they aren’t going to shut down their fridge or hand wash their clothes, they’re just going to pay the tax. And even if they cut usage a bit, how much difference will that really make, considering demand continues to grow and the power continues to come from polluting sources?

So, my thought was, the best plan is to replace polluting sources of power with non polluting sources. So we will all switch over to green power for our electricity right? Wrong. The cost to move to green power is about 3 times the cost of the tax, so there is zero incentive for anyone to switch, and most people, struggling to pay their bills already, won’t.

Perhaps you can comment and give me an idea of how this tax will achieve it’s aim, and reduce pollution? I’d rather the feds just spent some of the billions they’ve wasted on hand outs on building some solar thermal power stations.

Junk food epidemic in Ipswich.

August 16th, 2011

It was a bit depressing to see the excitement about yet another McDonalds franchise opening in Redbank Plains that he tweeted his glee August 15th;

In this part of Ipswich, there are now three McDonalds within 5 minutes of each other.

Ipswich council should be doing something to STOP large junk food chains from opening more and more stores. We already have an obesity epidemic, and its time we did something to encourage stores that sell natural whole foods instead of the high processed, sugar filled rubbish that outlets like McDonalds are peddling.

Next time you are grabbing a feed, drop into a local Cafe and grab piece of grilled fish or a steak, with a nice healthy side salad. Your arteries will thank you.

Ipswich Flood Recovery Failure

August 16th, 2011

News broke officially this week that the Ipswich Super Bowl is a permanent casualty of the January floods.  The Queensland Times wrote up the story yesterday, giving the basic facts of the case following from their March article detailing how the landlord of the alley had chosen to throw the alley out after the floods.

Firstly, the landlord of the flooded property needs to be brought to the public and given the chance to explain themselves. Throwing the alley out is more than just a business decision, it affects the Ipswich community and on the face of it, is a very mean spirited thing to do. Plenty of people would love to know why this was done.

Next on the list is Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale. Considering his public trumpeting of Ipswich and his mission to move Ipswich foward and build a greater community, his failure to solve the bowling alley issue leaves questions about how serious he is about Ipswich.

Local council member Paul Tully even tweeted about the New McDonalds opening at Redbank Plains on the same day the news of the permanent closure of the bowling alley was in the paper. This begs the question, what does the local council value? Multi National Billion Dollar businesses who can pay the ever increasing rates, or quality local businesses providing a social outlet? (More on the Macca’s tweet in a minute)

Mayor Pisasale says that a new building would cost $5-$7 million dollars to build. Really? Only if the council builds I would suggest. A bowling alley is a very simple building, and I cannot see how that could run to $7 million dollars, and suspect that figure is for a completed bowling alley. Seeing as the current business owner would have had plans to refit the existing alley post flood, and clearly was able to do that, then all the council needed to provide was an empty building for him to do it in.

Finally, where was the great Anna Bligh? Where was JoAnn Miller? Probably busy wasting more money on School Halls nobody needs.

I suggest Ipswich residents angry at the loss should comment on the Queensland Times article as many already have. Let the powers that be know you aren’t happy.

Wivenhoe management now a joke.

February 19th, 2011

The recent news that the Bligh government has decided we should limit the storage at Wivenhoe dam to 75% of its intended capacity should be all the proof you need that the current government has no idea how to manage anything. Lets take a moment to spell it out so Anna can understand;

Floods happen. It doesn’t matter what you do with Wivenhoe, every so often we are going to have a flood. By all means do things to help lessen the impact, but dumping our water supply shouldn’t be one of them.

Improve infrastructure so when released from Wivenhoe are necessary, they can be carried out immediately and quickly. The reason why we don’t flush the excess water out of Wivenhoe in a big hurry when it does overfill is because we wash out vital road links across the Brisbane river. If we simply put a bridge across where the Moggill ferry now is, and raised colleges crossing a few metres, we could let the excess capacity (that is, over 100%) go more quickly, because there would be less consequences down stream.

Educate the public. Too many people didn’t realise they were going to be completely inundated. Leaders kept saying it was another 1974 flood, but plenty of new home owners and business owners are only in their thirties, so have no idea what that means.  You have flood maps, you have computers, why not just send a letter to every home and business once every five years and tell them what the flood risk is at their property? You waste enough money on other things, this would at least be helpful.

Build some sensible infrastructure. Why did we have ferry terminals that ended up destroyed in the flood? Why did we build river walk and then watch it tear free and float out to sea?  We have plenty of great engineers in this state, lets have them draw up plans for riverside developments that are build to accomodate the occasional flood, so we don’t have to spend millions of dollars replacing them.

Okay, I’ve digressed a little, but the point of this post is to draw attention to the knee jerk reaction to flush our drinking water down the river, because the Premier believes there are enough voters who will think this is a good idea to win votes in the early election she is almost certain to call. It’s all very cynical, and one can only hope when the next election does roll around, we end up with a better government that this one.

Bread and milk price war

January 31st, 2011

The current price war between the major super markets over milk and bread would be welcomed by most consumers, one would think, but the courier mail has other opinions.

They trot out the independent bakeries, who all complain they can’t bake a loaf of bread for under $1.50. Somehow Coles and Woolworths are going to put all these guys out of business.

If thats correct, we should expect big bakers like Tip Top and the like to go out of business too, because their bread is usually priced between $3 and $4 a loaf. And yet, they still do okay, even when you have been able to buy bread for a $1.20 a loaf nearly everywhere for as long as I can remember (actually, it wasn’t that long ago you could get it for $1 at the local veggie shop)

Independent bakers will continue to bake a more speciality product, and the people who shop there will continue to pay a premium price for that premium product. People who are buying cheap bread will continue to do so, and save a little.

Personally, I have a problem on the milk side. It would be worth the ACCC looking into the milk market, and seeing how much market power the big supermarkets have. I once talked to a dairy farmer, and I asked him, why don’t dairy farmers simply put their price up to a more equitable level? He said the problem was there were always going to be enough dairy farms who would accept the very low rate paid by the big milk buyers, so if you don’t accept it too, you simply don’t get to sell your milk.

Perhaps that’s just market forces at work too, but I think its worth a look.

Education reform long overdue

December 30th, 2010

I read with interest today that Julia Gillard has an idea to make school principals responsible for their schools budgets and staffing. At first glance, this stuck me as very un labor like, but as we desperately need reform in the education sector, I decided not to dismiss it out of hand.

There are genuine concerns about getting good teachers to less desirable working locations, but I think that’s pretty easily solved with a higher pay scale for those regions where its hard to get teachers to go. We can also bolster those areas by insisting teaching graduates spend a few years at one of those schools.

The greens are jumping up and down worried that the idea is a secret code for slashing spending on education. While I am sure the Gillard government will have no choice but to start cutting spending soon, I don’t think this idea should be tied to that.

All in all, what’s missing from todays education system is responsibility. The teachers in the classrooms and the principals overseeing them are not held to account for the outcomes they deliver, and they should be.

I think the idea merits further debate, it’s high time we stopped focusing on money, and focus instead on the kids and their future,

Foster Care System in Crisis

October 24th, 2010

Anyone who puts themsevles foward to look after kids in need of care should be applauded, and the government should have systems in place to ensure those people get the help they need to care for those kids.

But it seems once again our State Government is incapable of delivering the services Queenslanders need at a price Queenslanders can afford;

News in that despite the state government spending 15 million tax payer dollars to recruit new foster carers, 100′s of carers have been quitting because of the poor governance of the Department of Communities.

Child Safety Minister Phil Reeves, needs to get moving on this. Meet with carers who are quitting and get the facts from them directly, then go and fix the department he is running so abused and neglected kids get the best care our society can offer.

Queensland Labor Website

October 23rd, 2010

Does anyone else find it strange that the Queensland ALP website seems to feature Julia Gillard almost exclusively? Is our state premier that much on the nose she can’t even get a look in?

Queenslands water policy debacle

October 2nd, 2010

You really have to wonder how the Queensland labor party expects to win any seats, let alone government at the next state election. One look at the litany of wasteful descisions the Bligh government has taken on water policy should be enough to have you put them last on the ballot paper.

Back when it looked like we would run out of water during one of our worst ever droughts, we were promised a new dam would be built to increase our storage, so when it did eventually rain, we’d capture more of it. Great idea, but a completely bungled process eventually led to the Queensland government wasting by their own estimate $265 million tax payer dollars.

From there, the decision was made to Build a desalination plant on the gold cost. With taxpayer dollars burning a hole in their pockets, the state government blows almost 900 million on a plant that will continue to cost big bucks to run year in year out. Despite being told that the energy input cost of desalination made it a poor choice for our region, they pushed ahead.

Then we have recycled water. This one should have been a slam dunk, but again the government bungles it. They knew they could supply power stations with the recycled water without raising concerns, which means they could get the plant built. Surely the obvious way to demonstrate the viability of pumping the recycled water into the drinking supply would simply be to have the plan operating, and then test it’s output?

At this point, any community concerns could be tested for, and the water shown not to contain whatever contaminant that people worried it might.

Instead, the Bligh government pushed ahead building a pipeline to wivenhoe dam, which they now won’t turn on because they have failed to sell the idea to the public. They arranged for water from the plant to be bottled for handing out to people to prove the water was safe, before parliament had even passed laws making it legal to do so, and eventually they quietly destroyed the bottled product.

All in all, the state government has presided over a ton of waste, and it’s time they were held to account for it.

Qld Motorways up for sale

August 27th, 2010

Once again the Queensland taxpayer is being robbed blind by a high tax state government.

Anna Bligh’s plan to sell Queensland Motorways is just the latest con job our long standing labor leaders will force on us.

Surely a toll road should be publicly owned, with a view to removing the tolls once the cost of the road has been recouped?

Once these important transport links are sold off, we can expect even higher tolls, and to be paying them forever.

It’s high time things changed in Queensland. If we keep running the show this way, selling off all our assets, then we will end up broke. How will they fix the hospitals then?