Australian Politics 2017-03-14 15:39:00
The dream has died. "Green" South Australia returns to "fossil fuels"
Natural gas is a "fossil fuel" (a hydroCARBON)
THE South Australian government has unveiled ambitious new plans to build a gas power station and battery storage facility to try and fix its power problems.
Premier Jay Weatherill announced the $550 million six-point plan during a press conference this morning.
He said the events of February 8 were a powerful indication of a broken national electricity market.
"On that occasion, we had a private national electricity market that chose to black-out South Australians rather than turn on a power station," Mr Weatherill said. "This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs."
Mr Weatherill’s plan involves the state government building Australia’s largest battery facility to store renewable energy and a new 250 megawatt gas-fired power plant.
According to The Advertiser, the new power plant is expected to cost $360 million and would deliver close to 10 per cent of the state’s peak demand.
Mr Weatherill said the government would own the plant but it had not just established who would run and maintain it.
The battery storage would be funded as part of a new $150 million renewable technology fund.
The government would also encourage the construction of a new privately-owned power station using a government bulk buy power contract.
Other elements of the strategy include legislation to give the Energy Minister direct power to intervene in the electricity market and force power stations to fire up in times of need.
The government will also set an "energy security target" to force electricity retailers to buy 36 per cent of their power from locally-generated baseload sources in SA.
Mr Weatherill said he wanted to put South Australian gas ahead of Victorian coal, and to ensure South Australian power was reserved for South Australians.
"We have expert advice that this will reduce the price of electricity when competitive pressures are returned to the market, which this plans to achieve," he said.
Mr Weatherill said he couldn’t guarantee that South Australia would never be blacked out again but expert advice said the plan would help reduce the risk.
"I can’t guarantee what happens with the weather. If a tree falls on a power line it will black-out a suburb. I can’t guarantee that won’t happen," he said.
"Without this, we are at risk of increased blackouts and load shedding. That is why this plan is essential."
When asked whether it would have been cheaper to pay the Port Augusta coal-fired power station to fire up, Mr Weatherill said it didn’t offer what the state needed.
"What we have here is an ageing coal-fired power station that couldn’t guarantee its capacity to gain the fuel necessary at an economic price to secure its future," he said. "That is the past. We are talking about the future."
Mr Weatherill said he hadn’t told Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull yet about the state’s plan but hoped to do so soon.
He said that the government-owned gas power plant would be there provide for peak demand and emergency responses.
"In the long term it also sits there as an investment in new generation capacity here in SA," he said.
"The private sector is not building new generation. That is why government is stepping up and taking control of our energy future by investing in new generation."
Climate Institute to shut due to lack of public support
A lot of Greenie enterprises would lapse except for their access to the government teat
Australia's original climate change-focused think-tank and lobby group will shut after it failed to replace the multi-million-dollar bequest it relied on.
The Climate Institute, known for its research and leading role in public debate since being set up in 2005, will close in June.
It comes 18 months after the institute called for public donations to offset the lapsing of the foundational support set up by Rupert Murdoch's niece, Eve Kantor, and her husband, farmer Mark Wootton.
Mr Wootton, also the institute's chairman, said he was proud that the institute had built understanding of a complex issue during a tumultuous time in Australian public life.
He said he was particularly gratified to have seen the shift in the business and finance communities, where many who were opposed to the institute's goals had in recent years become allies.
"We are disappointed that some in government prefer to treat what should be a risk-management issue as a proxy for political and ideological battles," he said.
"They are increasingly isolated as the costs of inaction mount and the opportunities and benefits of action become ever clearer."
Where membership-based environment groups are necessarily focused on building grassroots support in the community, the Climate Institute has developed a reputation for policy analysis and building partnerships across the ideological spectrum.
It played a central role in the campaign for a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, and in bringing together groups representing business, investors, unions and the welfare sector to push for change.
It also focused on improving understanding of the importance of climate risk-management in the financial sector, particularly superannuation funds.
Muslim leader claims authorities have been 'turning a blind eye' to radicalised students at Punchbowl Boys High School for 'years'
A prominent Muslim community leader claimed extremism has been a problem at Punchbowl Boys High School for at least six years.
Jamal Daoud said he heard concerns about radicalisation at the Sydney public school since 2011, and the NSW Government should have acted years ago. 'It's been going on for years,' he claimed.
'I had a friend whose son attended the school and was worried about extremism... there was violence and radical name-calling,' he told the Daily Telegraph.
Mr Daoud claimed the government had 'turned a blind eye' to students who were supporting Islamic extremism and called for a 'holistic' approach to the problem.
He said radicalisation 'spread like a disease' and the source needed to be investigated - including looking into mosques linked to the school.
'It is an organised process that starts at home, school and at the mosque,' Mr Daoud said.
'My friend whose son attended the school himself ended up becoming radicalised and the things he had once seen as wrong, he started to see as right.'
Punchbowl High's Muslim convert principal Chris Griffiths and his deputy Joumana Dennaoui were dumped earlier this month after an investigation.
NSW Education boss Mark Scott said Mr Griffiths blocked an anti-radicalisation program, which lead to them being removed from their positions.
The school was identified as one of 19 New South Wales schools at risk of radicalising Muslim students.
It followed a series of allegations by staff, parents, and students into Mr Griffiths' running of the school, with Mr Scott conceding it was 'off the rails'.
Mr Griffiths allegedly stopping female teachers from participating in official events such as the Year 12 graduation ceremony.
He was also said to be trying to make the school Muslim-only, preventing police liaison officers from entering - with 'actively hostile' relations so bad they couldn't get in for 2.5 years.
Police were 'concerned about his rhetoric' and felt he was leading students down a 'dangerous path', after they had good relations when his predecessor Jihad Dib was in charge.
'Students were being told that if 'the pigs' stop you, to film them and refuse their directions,' a senior constable told the Telegraph.
Several employees claimed non-Muslim staff were verbally attacked, including with threats of beheading, by Muslim students declaring themselves ISIS sympathisers.
Non-Muslim students said they were bullied into attending Muslim prayers, lectures on the Koran and cut their hair to conform to Islam.
Another student allegedly attacked a teacher last year after refusing to participate in an anti-radicalisation program.
There was no suggestion either Mr Griffiths or Ms Dennaoui condoned the threats or incidents, but they were not reported to police.
Then, just as Mr Griffiths' replacement Robert Patruno took over, two men of Middle Eastern appearance, aged 19 and 20, allegedly threatened him. 'We're going to get you. We're going to f*** you up, you dog. F*** you,' the men allegedly said, according to the Telegraph.
Undeterred, Mr Patruno vowed to tackle radicalisation and sexism at the school by implementing the Stronger Communities Working Together program - and fly the Australian flag every day.
'It all comes down to education. If there is those values in the school, I'm going to address them. I'm not going to turn my back on them,' he said.
Whistleblower suing Federal cops over reprisals
AN Australian Federal Police agent is claiming $10.3 million in damages from the organisation for allegedly seeking reprisal against him after he became a whistleblower.
AFP agent Bradley Turner, 37, who is on worker’s compensation for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) through Comcare, is suing the AFP in the Federal Court of Australia for allegedly breaching the Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Act.
The Act was introduced in 2013 to encourage public officials to report suspected wrongdoing in the Australian public sector and to "offer protection to ‘whistleblowers’ from reprisal action".
But Mr Turner said the organisation failed to abide by the Act when he reported "government sanctioned ethnic cleansing, murder, rape and corruption" to the AFP in Lae, Papua New Guinea, while he was deployed there in 2013-14.
The AFP members deployed to PNG under the International Deployment Group are based there as advisers and mentors to PNG Police and don’t have powers to enforce laws.
According to Mr Turner, AFP responded to his reports of PNG Police misconduct by leading "constant internal investigations into (him) for being a whistleblower", and allegedly tried to "ruin (his) reputation" by discrediting him.
"When I told internal affairs their investigation was illegal because I had protections under the Act, I was told ‘we don’t give a sh*t about that, you spoke out and will be dealt with," Mr Turner told news.com.au.
"They told other AFP members not to talk to me, you name it, they went for the jugular".
A spokesperson for the AFP told news.com.au the organisation "does not comment on matters that are the subject of court proceedings".
AFP officer Brad Turner in Lae during his deployment.
AFP officer Brad Turner in Lae during his deployment.Source:Supplied
Mr Turner said he was "suing the AFP for $10.3 million" with the "largest component of that (being) 30 years worth of salary".
"My career is effectively over," he said.
"I can’t go back to the AFP for having been a whistleblower.
"The reprisals against me brought about my PTSD and made it worse."
Mr Turner said the incidents he reported took place in crime hotspot Lae, the capital of the country’s second-largest province, as exclusively revealed by news.com.au.
"We were witnessing ethnic cleansing and some murders (by PNG Police) ... stuff like shooting unarmed civilians ... and it was being covered up (by the AFP) ... because of political interests in PNG ... including the asylum seeker resettlement deal on Manus," Mr Turner said.
In a previous statement, an AFP spokesperson said the organisation "does not have the jurisdiction to conduct investigations in Papua New Guinea".
"The AFP received a large amount of material from (Mr Turner) in both July 2015 and September 2015 relating to a number of matters during his deployment in PNG during 2013 and 2014," the spokesperson said.
"The AFP reviewed this material and did not identify any matters requiring further action by the AFP.
"The AFP has not received any reports from AFP members deployed to PNG alleging that they have observed Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary officers involved in murders."
Mr Turner said he provided witness reports, including photographs, about violence and murders in Lae to AFP management but alleged they weren’t included in the weekly reports sent by the organisation in PNG to Canberra.
"The AFP should have briefed government who then could have applied pressure through AusAID or the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trading," he said.
At one point, Mr Turner was under investigation for the murder of a PNG local in custody but was later cleared after the AFP found there was no evidence to support the claim.
Mr Turner said he has been unable to work since returning to Australia because of his PTSD.
"When I returned home, I put my hand up for help, and they (AFP) went after me hammer and tong," he said.
He said the AFP "fought tooth and nail" to prevent him from getting his Comcare claim approved although it was eventually accepted.
"The claim was eventually approved due to the weight of evidence that I was able to provide to Comcare such as medical reports, photographic evidence of traumatic incidences and my outstanding performance evaluation which specifically mentioned several incidences," he said.
"What worries me is how many officers from PNG put in claims and got knocked back.
"I had photographic evidence which helped me, it’s highly unlikely everyone else has that as well.
"I would never have gotten PTSD if the reporting from Lae was not sanitised and if the AFP had conducted a proper investigation into it instead of continuing the cover up."
The case has been to the Australian Federal Court for mention with both parties expected to attend a hearing on May 15 if not settled prior.
Mr Turner is one of almost 100 AFP Agents, past and present, who have come forward about a mental health crisis within the organisation, after it was exposed by news.com.au.
The whistleblowers have shared their concerns over bullying, the wellbeing of members and inadequate welfare support within the organisation after an agent took her own life at the AFP Melbourne headquarters last month.
Following news.com.au’s reports, the Australian National Audit Office has ordered an audit "to examine the effectiveness of the AFP in managing the mental health of its employees" and is currently taking submissions from the public. The Australian Federal Police Association is also pushing senators for an inquiry into the AFP.
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