Archive for the 'Health' Category

Queenslands water policy debacle

Saturday, 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.

N.T. Commissioner out of touch with reality

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The Northern Territory’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Tony Fitzgerald says the Federal intervention into remote Aboriginal communities should be abandoned and the legislation underpinning it should be repealed. [ABC Story]

Seriously. Tony needs to get out more. Tony needs to realise how nuts things are in many indigenous communities, and realise that if the rest of us are going to consider ourselves moral human beings, we have to try and do something to fix it.

Sure, the intervention hasn’t worked miracles. I doubt anything we try ever will. But there are two types of people in this world. Those who try, and those who do nothing.

I can tell you I’d rather be on the side of the tried and failed than the did nothing and whined about it brigade.

Tony clearly just feels miffed that the fed’s cut out some of his powers, and would prefer that more children were raped and conditions stayed terrible if it means he can have his powers back. Sheesh.

We need to continue to improve on the start that was the Howard Governments Intervention, and perhaps over the next 10-30 years, with constant review and improvement, we can make a difference in the lives of these people.

Or we can do nothing.

Binge Drinking Theory

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

A lot has been written about the Rudd Governments tax hike on pre mix drinks that’s been dressed as an attack on binge drinking. Seeing as I am just a little drunk while writing for this blog tonight (yes, I write some of these articles ahead of time…who’d have thought?), it occurs to me to think more deeply about the alleged binge drinking problem.

My first thought was perhaps we need a blood alcohol limit for people just being in a public place. I can recall being particularly wasted as a 19 year old, and sitting on a public bench gathering strength for the final march to the taxi rank, when a policeman suggested to my compatriot that he get me home before I was locked up for the night.

I wasn’t being a nuisance that night (I had enough trouble walking to the taxi rank without trying to pick a fight), but there are plenty of drunk people in our cities that ARE a real nuisance, and perhaps the easy way to deal with it is to legislate a limit for the blood alcohol level you are allowed to attain and still be entitled to walk the streets. Comments?

My other point would be that the real binge drinking problem is teenagers, who are not legally supposed to be drinking anyway. In my experience, teenage girls are particularly fond of over indulging while their parents are off doing god knows what god knows where. Any readers who know teenagers well will know these stories.

I’m not sure how we would police measures to punish parents for allowing such nonsense to go on; Perhaps a rewards scheme for people to dob in alcohol fuelled teen parties so the cops can bust in record the details? If we can figure out how to catch the loser parents who let this go on, I reckon the first step should be to cut off all government benefits. Lets face it, should the average tax payer like myself be funding families who’s kids are off boozing themselves silly every weekend?

Like I said, catching them is the problem. And I have no solution, as I said at the stat of this post, I am a little drunk myself. But I am an adult, and that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

Tully excited by opening of Hungry Jack’s

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

The other day I decided to scroll through the articles on Paul Tully’s Division 2 blog. This is what I take to be Paul’s official local council blog, the place to spread news and information that enriches the lives of his local constituents.

But is that all he is enriching with this foray into the digital media? Check out this entry from the end of April. Here is the quote that made this a must blog about entry;

This new outlet will undoubtedly give the nearby McDonalds store a run for its money with what many people regard as a superior product.

Many people eh Paul? I think most people can see why my eyebrow is raised here, and I think it might be nice if Paul again comments here and lets us all know that he has never accepted any money from anyone connected to the store, and is not getting free burgers or any other kick backs.

But that aside, does anyone want their government representatives wasting their time promoting a multi national burger joint which sells terribly unhealthy food and makes our kids fat?

I didn’t think so.

Nicola Roxon fails to answer simple questions.

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Back when I blogged about the tax hike on pre mix alcoholic beverages, I wrote to Minister Roxon and asked her some simple questions;

Why are we taxing spirits so much more heavily than we do beer?

Why do we tax packaged beer at higher rates than draught beer?

Why do we tax wine on its value, rather than its alcohol content, like other alcoholic drinks?

Why don’t we tax “ready to drink” products on a sliding scale the same as packaged beer?

Doesn’t it make sense to encourage “ready to drink” makers to produce lower alcohol content drinks?

In her response, she fails to answer any of these questions, instead preferring to waffle on about all the wonderful things she’s doing to help with the alleged binge drinking problem. Basically, she has no answers.

One nugget of gold in her letter was her assertion that studies show that increasing tax on something decreases its consumption. Of all the stupid things she could have said, this must be the stupidest. What increasing the price does is convince people who CHOOSE to drink to drink less or stop completely. The people who are binge drinking are alcoholics, and are not going to stop drinking regardless of the price.

I think I’ll write back and see if she wants to answer my questions or just cite a bunch of PR BS again instead. It really makes me cranky when people won’t answer a simple question!

Alcohol Taxation makes no sense

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Following up from Saturday’s post about changes to tax on pre mix drinks, I did a little research, and found that the tax rates on various drinks are apparently as follows (correct me if these are wrong)

Rates are dollars of tax per litre of alcohol content. Figures taken from dsica.com.au, read to drink figure from the news.com.au article previously mentioned.

Type of Beverage

Rate of Tax

Draught Beer, Low Strength

$6.63

Draught Beer, Mid Strength

$20.82

Draught Beer, Full Strength

$27.24

Packaged Beer, Low Strength

$33.21

Packaged Beer, Mid Strength

$38.70

Packaged Beer, Full Strength

$38.70

Ready to Drink

$67.00

Brandy

$61.21

Spirits

$65.56

Wine*

29%*
*Wine is taxed on value rather than volume.

This raises several questions; Firstly, why are spirits taxed so much more heavily than beer is? Why is packaged beer taxed much more heavily than draught beer? Why don’t we tax wine on the percentage of alcohol like everything else?

More importantly, why has the Rudd government decided to tax read to drink spirits so heavily across the board, instead of having a sliding scale as we have with beer?

I’ve written to Nicola Roxon and asked these very questions, and I’ll be reporting back when I hear from her.

Premix tax hike a populist move

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

A few comments on Nicola Roxon’s move to raise taxes on pre mixed alcoholic drinks; Firstly, according to news.com.au, all she is doing is adjusting the rate of tax to match that of bottled alcohol. I haven’t been able to find out if the tax on beer and other things is all the same too, that might be a good excuse to write to Nicola.

As long as we are going to tax alcohol, it should be a fair tax across all forms. A simple dollar amount per litre of alcohol provides a basic incentive for makers to produce lower alcohol content drinks, because they’ll be taxed less, and be cheaper. This is the case now with pre mix and bottled alcohol.

Personally, I think this is just a grab for more tax revenue (which is odd, as we are running record surpluses). There is no evidence that the move will do anything to curb binge drinking. If the $8-$12 a go these drinks cost now isn’t deterring people, another buck a can won’t do much.

What might have done something, would have been to change the way we tax these drinks. Lets have a scaled tax on "ready to drink" products, including stubbies of beer and pre mix spirits. How about those that are less than a standard drink, we tax lightly, and those that are a lot more than a standard drink, we tax much more heavily.

Of course not; That might actually work, as well as lowered our tax burden. Can’t have that.