A new entrepreneurial program at Melbourne University, the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP), has been established to assist the translation of innovative ideas to commercial reality.

 

The University’s Melbourne School of Engineering (MSE), which is hosting the program, joins only a handful of leading institutions globally providing an entrepreneurial program to students, staff and alumni. 

 

Launched this year, MAP aims to help entrepreneurs in the Melbourne School of Engineering community maximise their chances of success through access to resources and mentoring, accelerate the progress of participants’ start-ups and create a culture of entrepreneurship at the University. 

 

Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering Professor Iven Mareels said MAP would help translate ideas into practice and increase opportunities for staff, students and alumni to develop successful entrepreneurial careers.

 

“Engineering is all about investing in new ways of doings things and the MAP program offers a practical way for ideas to develop into potentially commercial ventures,” he said. 

 

“By involving mentors in the program, our students, academics and alumni can gain unlimited exposure to a range of experts who can guide, advise and support them through the journey of innovation. Who knows, we may see the next iteration of a Facebook come out of this program.” 

 

Four teams out of 32, have been selected to receive entrepreneurial fellowships, as well as mentorship and assistance for their business start-ups. The four teams come from a variety of backgrounds including engineering students, alumni and external participants.

 

The 2012 MAP participants are:

  • VenueMob: An Internet venue booking system that will streamline venue bookings. This tool will enable venue owners to better use their function spaces and function organisers to compare venues and make the right venue booking quickly and easily.
  • Remote Area Power System: A remote area power system that will enable clients in rural and remote areas to get the most effective use from their available energy supply, whether it be off-grid alternative energy sources, single wire earth return (SWER), or a combination of both.
  • UniSquare:  A next-generation Internet social platform for University students aimed at improving students’ experience of going to university, by sharing relevant information. 
  • 121cast: A free, personalised, interactive radio station that reads emails, calendar, news, weather and social media, as well as playing music and podcasts. The stream mixes a combination of text content converted to speech and traditionally produced audio content (such as radio and music). It is customised to individual needs and can be used on a variety of devices such as mobile apps for phones; tablets; desktop web browsers; and embedded devices such as internet connected car stereo or home entertainment systems.

 

More information is here.

Published on: EngineeringCareer

Vodafone Australia has revealed plans to rollout its new 4G network and expand its existing 3G network.

 

The move has been welcomed by the Federal Government, with Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, saying the move will ensure broader and better service for its customers.

 

"We are seeing extraordinary growth in demand for mobile broadband capacity. Australians are increasingly using smartphones, tablets and other portable devices. Deployment of 4G mobile networks will ensure consumers and businesses get the improved services they need,” Senator Conroy said.

 

"It's also increasingly clear that as more Australians use portable devices to access more data, there is an increasing need to offload the data to a fixed-line network as quickly as possible. That's why Vodafone's announcement complements the Gillard Government's investment in the National Broadband Network.”

 

 

 

Published on: ICTCareer

The new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Water Sensitive Cities, based at Monash University, will open this week.

 

The CRC will have research hubs in the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia and the National University of Singapore.

 

Projects that will focus on better ways to manage urban water resources to ensure future cities are resilient to climatic extremes - of floods, droughts and heat - will be undertaken in all Australian capital cities, Singapore and The Netherlands.

 

The Australian Federal Government has provided $30 million in start-up funding for the Centre, and industry partners and universities have committed an additional $90 million in resources over the next nine years. Substantial private sector investment in projects is also anticipated.

 

Monash University's Professor Tony Wong, will lead the CRC which has already identified 19 projects and forged links with more than 70 partners across the public, private and tertiary sectors.

 

Professor Wong said sustainable urban water management was an international issue with city population densities increasing globally.

 

"By 2050, up to 80 per cent of Australia's population will live in our cities. In order to ensure urban water supplies, urban water systems will require a radical overhaul," Professor Wong said.

 

"Current systems cater for water supply and waste water disposal, without any focus on recycling water, stormwater collection or incorporating ecological solutions. Supported by access to water, the greening of cities will enhance their biodiversity and urban heat management. The CRC will work directly with government and communities to implement sustainable water management solutions."

 

The CRC for Water Sensitive Cities grew from the Centre for Water Sensitive Cities established under the auspices of the Monash Sustainability Institute in early 2010. Professor Wong co-founded the centre with Monash Professors Ana Deletic and Rebekah Brown. 

 

"Our centre is a great example of cross-faculty research - Ana is one of our top researcher in engineering and Rebekah a leading social science scholar from the Faculty of Arts, both with a keen focus on delivering positive impacts to society. We now have five faculties involved in research projects," Professor Wong said.

 

"The successes we had on the ground allowed us to make a very strong case for the establishment of the CRC."

 

The Monash Centre for Water Sensitive Cities will independently continue its research on developing water management strategies to enhance urban liveability. 

 

Published on: WaterCareer

The 2012 National Climate Change Adaptation conference has wrapped up in Melbourne, covering issues such as preventing food and water shortages, managing more intense natural disasters and their economic fallout and avoiding climate-driven extinctions.

 

Hosted jointly by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship (CAF) the conference has urged a more concentrated agenda on tacking a range of issues that have become more urgent since the previous conference in 2010.

 

“Decision makers in government, business and the community are faced with making choices now that will determine how successfully we manage the impacts of climate change in the future. These issues have become more urgent since the previous conference,” NCCARF Director, Professor Jean Palutikof said.

 

Speakers at the conference included:

  • Francis Zwiers, Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, University of Victoria, Canada.
  • Tony McMichael, National Centre for Environmental and Population Health, Australian National University.
  • Mark Howden, Chief Research Scientist, CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences.
  • Kristie L. Ebi, Executive Director of the Technical Support Unit for IPCC Working Group II.
  • Peter Cosier, Director and Founding Member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists.
  • Mark Rogers, Asset Manager, Infrastructure Investment at Colonial First State Global Asset Management.
  • Hugh Possingham, Director, ARC centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions and the National Environmental Research Program Environmental Decisions Hub.

 

 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

Australia’s regions are leading the uptake of clean energy programs, with 28 of the fist 63 Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) grants being awarded to regional organisations.

 

The 28 regional organisations will share in $10.4 million of the $42 million allocated to improve energy efficiency for local government and community groups.

 

"It's clear that the community, including, councils and community groups, have embraced the opportunities that come with reducing carbon emissions," Mr Crean said.

 

Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus said the CEEP grants will help organisations overcome barriers in adopting energy efficiency measures, such as replacing outdated technologies with new, smarter and cleaner ones.

 

"Councils and community groups will reduce their operating costs, while lowering greenhouse gas emissions - it's a win-win for the regions," Mr Dreyfus said.

 

For example, Wagga Wagga City Council will receive $375,075 toward a $776,520 project to install a co-generation plant at the aquatic centre.

 

Applications for round one of the $200 million Community Energy Efficiency Program were assessed by an independent committee on the potential to improve energy efficiency, encourage and demonstrate energy management, value for money, project management and design.

 

An announcement on the second round will be made later this year.

 

The regional recipients of round one CEEP funding:

Organisation Name

Project Title

Project Description

State

Amount Requested

Total Project Cost

Temora Aviation Museum Inc.

Lighting Retrofit and Upgrade for Museum Public Exhibition Areas

Upgrade lighting in the museum's two main public exhibition areas.

NSW

$118,126

$236,252

Maitland City Bowls Sports and Recreation Club

Trigeneration and Electric Duct Heating Retrofit

Installation of a tri-generation system to upgrade heating and cooling for the club.

NSW

$403,607

$807,213

Police and Community Youth Clubs NSW

Lighting Retrofit PCYC NSW

Retrofit lighting in 59 PCYC club buildings in NSW.

NSW

$886,022

$1,722,044

Southern Midlands Council

Implementing and Promoting Energy Efficiency Solutions in Heritage Buildings Through Retrofitting the 1880's Southern Midlands Town Hall

Retrofit the town hall for thermal efficiency and upgrade the lighting and heating systems.

TAS

$25,646

$59,098

City of Busselton

Geothermal Heating of the City of Busselton Geographe Leisure Centre

Upgrade the heating system of a number of buildings at the Geographe Leisure Centre using a geothermal heat source.

WA

$533,206

$1,066,412

Bass Coast Shire Council

Bass Coast Shire Council Street Lighting Bulk Change

Upgrade street lights across the council area.

VIC

$291,747

$1,029,489

South Gippsland Shire Council

South Gippsland Shire Green Street Lighting Program

Upgrade street lights across the council area.

VIC

$172,812

$606,821

Alice Springs Town Council

Alice Springs Public Library - Air Conditioning upgrade

Upgrade air conditioning in the Alice Springs Library.

NT

$257,500

$535,000

Gloucester Shire Council

Air Conditioning Reconditioned in Gloucester Shire Councils Administration Building

Upgrade air conditioning system in the administration building.

NSW

$20,000

$40,000

South West Sustainability Partnership

The Great South Coast Street Smart Lighting Program

Replace street lights across the following council areas:

  • Colac Otway Shire Council
  • Corangamite Shire Council
  • Southern Grampians Shire Council
  • Moyne Shire Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Glenelg Shire Council.

VIC

$1,421,890

$3,039,954

District Council Orroroo Carrieton

Installation of Energy Management Systems, Lighting, Air-Conditioning to Council & Community Buildings and Infrastructures

Retrofit the lighting and air conditioning and improve thermal efficiency in a number of buildings across the council area.

SA

$79,075

$158,650

Corangamite Shire Council

Corangamite Shire Emission Reduction Scheme for Camperdown Depot and Camperdown Community Centre

Retrofit the lighting, heating and air-conditioning systems and improve the thermal efficiency of the main community hub and works depot.

VIC

$48,400

$101,200

Cradle Coast Authority

Portside Building Retrofit - Regional Showcase

Retrofit lighting, ventilation, insulation, heating and cooling systems.

TAS

$125,500

$261,137

City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder

Low Carbon and Energy Efficient Pool Heating for the Goldfields Oasis Leisure Centre

Installation of a system of ground source heat pumps and solar thermal heating to replace the current natural gas fired heating system.

WA

$622,725

$1,325,856

Central NSW Councils

Learning And Sharing Energy Efficiency Program in Central NSW

Upgrade the lighting in 17 council owned facilities and upgrade pool heating and pumping in the pool complex.

NSW

$1,123,861

$2,514,487

Tumbarumba Shire Council

Energy Efficient Upgrade of Tumbarumba's Water Supply Pumping Stations

Upgrade pumps in the town's water supply pumping stations.

NSW

$75,000

$150,000

Western Australian Local Government Association

WA Rural & Regional LED Street Light Retrofit - Pilbara Phase 1

Retrofit street lighting across four remote locations in the Pilbara Region.

WA

$538,968

$1,092,936

Rural City of Wangaratta

Cogeneration at Wangaratta Indoor Sports and Aquatic Centre

Installation of a co-generation plant in two council-owned facilities to replace current heating systems.

VIC

$310,000

$625,000

Shire of Manjimup

Installation of Energy Efficient Pumping and High Efficiency Pool and Space Heating Technologies at the Manjimup Regional AquaCentre

Upgrade pool and space heating with ground source heat pumps, upgrade the existing process control hardware and software and install variable speed drives on pool circulation pumps.

WA

$258,325

$551,650

East Arnhem Shire Council

East Arnhem Shire Council Street Lighting Replacement Project

Upgrade street lighting in nine communities across the council area.

NT

$219,528

$434,056

City of Greater Bendigo

Energy Efficiency Installations in Seven of City of Greater Bendigo's Highest Energy Using Facilities

Upgrade lighting and heating, ventilation and cooling services in seven facilities.

VIC

$380,000

$760,000

Lismore City Council

Upgrade of Pumps, Lighting and Water Heating at Lismore Memorial Baths and Goonellabah Sports & Aquatic Centre

Upgrade pool pumps, lighting, air conditioning and water heating in two facilities.

NSW

$317,940

$637,980

Baw Baw Shire Council

Baw Baw Shire Council Street Lighting Bulk Change

Upgrade street lighting across the council area.

VIC

$489,546

$1,036,527

Port Stephens Council

Energy Efficiency Upgrade to Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning System at Port Stephens Council's Raymond Terrace Community Care Centre

Upgrade the heating, cooling and ventilation system.

NSW

$166,039

$332,078

Tamworth Regional Council

Upgrade of the Art Gallery Lighting to New Energy Efficient LED Lumiaires

Upgrade internal lighting.

NSW

$50,000

$115,610

Wagga Wagga City Council

Oasis Aquatic Centre Co-generation Project

Installation of a co-generation plant at the aquatic centre.

NSW

$375,075

$776,520

Townsville City Council

Energy Transformation Townsville: An Innovative Adaptive System of Smart Energy Demand Management, Energy Efficiency and Community Engagement

Retrofit outdoor lighting and upgrade energy management systems in a number of council facilities.

QLD

$813,000

$1,626,000

Cairns Regional Council

Cairns Regional Council - Targeting the Top 20 - Energy Efficiency Upgrades in Council Facilities

Upgrade the lighting, improve thermal efficiency and install smart meters in four facilities.

QLD

$295,450

$590,000

 

Published on: GreenCareer

Queensland Assistant Minister for Planning Reform, Ian Walker, has held the state’s first bi-monthly breakfast meeting with leaders of the state’s property and construction industry leaders.

 

Mr Walker said the meeting was evidence of the State Government’s commitment to growing the Four Pillars of the Queensland economy – Construction, Resources, Agriculture and Tourism. 


“In April, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney appointed me as the ‘go-to’ person for the property and construction industry,” Mr Walker said. 

“This Government is committed to ensuring there is a ‘can-do’ culture across departments and this morning I met with key industry representatives to discuss industry-wide issues. 

 

The organisations which met with Mr Walker included the Property Council of Australia, the SEQ Council of Mayors, the Queensland Master Builders Association and the Housing Industry Association of Queensland. 

 

Published on: TradesCareer

The Queensland Government is calling tourism operators, pastoralists, traditional owners, environmental groups and industry representatives to comment on the release of a scoping paper for the proposed bioregion management plan of the Cape York area.

 

“What we have been hearing for some time is that stakeholders are concerned about the number of ‘ad hoc’ programs on Cape York,” State Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said.

 

Minister Powell said he would outline the consultation strategy in greater detail when he visits Cairns next week, but said the bioregion management plan would focus on protection and management of the Cape’s iconic natural areas, while allowing appropriate opportunities for economic development.

 

 

“Specifically, the plan will protect Cape York’s unique environment, allow for appropriate development opportunities, deliver better management of our National Parks and deliver integrated natural resource outcomes for the Cape,” Mr Powell said.

 

The Bioregion Management Plan will replace the Wild Rivers declarations and will be the statutory land use plan for the region, guiding decisions, promoting appropriate development and protecting the Cape’s most important assets.

 

 

Published on: GreenCareer

The ACT Government has announced the formation of a reference group to prepare the territory for the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), as discussions between territory and Federal governments continue over the possibility of the ACT being one of the launch sites for the scheme.

 

"The NDIS a huge development for the disability sector and while it will provide significant benefits community groups will need assistance to prepare for the change," ACT Minister for Community Services Joy Burch said.

"The ACT Government wants to ensure that the sector is well prepared for the rollout of the NDIS, which is why we are making this early in partnership with the sector."

 

Membership of the reference group will include people with disability, families, carers, the sector and government, and will focus on preparing people with disability, families, carers, the sector and government for the advent of the NDIS.

 

Among the areas of the NDIS that the reference group may consider are: how it relates to enabling people with disability to exercise control over their lives and choose services to support them; the quality of service; and its effect on the workforce of the sector.

 

 

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The Victorian Government has announced the development of a central service hub in Wodonga to provide much needed facilities to support long-haul truck drivers.

 

"The major new development will include the construction of a 24-hour service centre, a Fatigue Management Centre (large rest area) for up to 45 trucks and a secure area for the exchange of trailers between Sydney-based and Melbourne-based drivers," State Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said.

 

"The Fatigue Management Centre, in particular, will be a major improvement addressing the critical shortage of rest areas along this route that has existed for many years.

 

"The Trailer Interchange site will support greater flexibility for drivers, allowing Melbourne-based drivers to exchange trailers with Sydney-based counterparts, which will effectively reduce time away from their home base."

 

"In addition to 48 indirect jobs, it's expected that the Wodonga Logic Transport Project will create up to 120 direct ongoing jobs at the site including service centre attendant roles, jobs in food and beverage, delivery and cleaning," Mr Ryan said.

 

"It will also build on the strength of the existing Logic Industry Park, which is already a major industrial hub supporting 470 full-time employees across a range of industries including food distribution, skills training and freight networks."

 

 

Published on: LogisticsCareer

The Victorian Government has released detailed mapping of the state’s coastline to assist local decision makers and developers.

 

State Minister for the Environment and Climate Change said that coastal inundation data, maps and guides would paint a clearer picture for local councils and planning authorities on the impact of impending sea level rises.

 

The state-wide coastal inundation maps provide modelling of possible sea level rises, while the Coastal Hazard Guide provides new information to support better informed strategic and regional scale decision-making and development.

 

To support local and property-scale decision making, more detailed local coastal hazard assessments are now underway at Port Fairy, and Gippsland Lakes.

 

Led by local authorities in conjunction with the Department of Sustainability and Environment and Department of Planning and Community Development, two more of these localised assessments will be undertaken later this year in priority areas.

 

To access the Victorian Coastal Inundation Maps and Victorian Coastal Hazard Guide and more information about the spatial data visitwww.climatechange.vic.gov.au 

 

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has renewed its push for the recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution following last week’s High Court decision over the Williams Case, which calls into question the Federal Government’s ability to provide direct funding.

 

“In our view, this decision indicates that funding currently provided to local government through programs such as Roads to Recovery is clearly open to constitutional challenge,” ALGA President Genia McCaffery said.

 

“The local government sector is calling on the Australian Government to confirm its commitment to holding a referendum by 2013 on the financial recognition of local government in the Australian Constitution.”

 

“This is an urgent issue for local government.  We have been arguing for years that we need to be recognised in the Australian Constitution to ensure the continuation of direct federal funding through programs such as Roads to Recovery.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

Western Australia’s Verve Energy’s new $300 million gas turbines have come online at the company’s Kwinana Power Station.

 

The new high efficiency gas turbines (HEGTs) are the first of their kind to operate in Australia and represent the latest in gas turbine technology. The machines add 200MW of flexible, efficient gas fired generation to the WA power system.

 

“The new HEGTs represent an investment by the State Government of $263million in a long-term power asset for WA that combines excellent efficiency with extremely flexible operating capabilities,” State Energy Minister Peter Collier said.

 

“They replace older generators at Kwinana Power Station, reinforce the security of power supplies in WA as demand continues to grow and will assist Verve Energy’s balancing operations in the WA power system, in particular in supporting its unique role in driving renewable energy platforms in WA.”

 

Key features of the new HEGTs include significantly improved efficiency compared to their predecessors; fast start capabilities, lower emissions and superior hot weather performance.

 

The HEGTs continue Verve Energy’s transition in the competitive electricity market and improve Verve’s overall plant efficiency by making better use of fuel, in particular the gas, freed up by the closure of older machines at Kwinana Power Station.

 

Published on: EnergyCareer

The 26th National Awards for Excellence in Local Government has been held in Canberra, with a tool for communicating between cultures and languages and a regional tourism smartphone.

 

Regional Australia and Local Government Minister, Simon Crean announced the winners during the 2012 National General Assembly of Local Government.

 

The National Award winners are:

  • Moreland City Council, Victoria, for its CALDCOM (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communication) Storyboards; and
  • Golden Plains Shire Council, Victoria, for its Visit Golden Plains Tourism Smartphone / Tablet App and Website Digital Infrastructure Project.

 

Mr Crean said the two National Award winners were chosen from a highly competitive field of 27 category winners.

 

"Moreland City Council and Golden Plains Shire Council stood out as councils making substantial contributions to their communities and creating an environment that makes their region a better place to live and visit," Mr Crean said.

 

"Both councils have developed innovative local solutions to local challenges and they deserve this national recognition.

 

"The National General Assembly of Local Government brings a vast amount of local government experience and expertise together and it's fitting that the winners are here to receive the praise of their peers.

 

"More than 179 councils from across Australia participated in this year's Awards and submitted over 370 entries in 16 categories.

 

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

In 2009, four million people in Australia reported having a disability (18.5%), according to new profiles released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 


The main conditions associated with disability were back problems (15.6%), arthritis (14.8%), hearing loss (6%), leg damage from injury/accident (3%), depression (3%) and asthma (3%). Most (87%) people with disability had specific restrictions, meaning they had limitations in one or more of the everyday core activity areas of self-care, mobility and communication or that they had a schooling or employment restriction. The remainder (13%) had disability that was non-restricting. 

Other key findings:

  • Most young people (92% or 260,000) with disability aged 15-34 years used internet in last 12 months.
  • Almost half (46% or 132,000) of young people with disability aged 15-34 years contacted family and friends via the internet at least once a day.
  • The prevalence of disability has decreased since 2003 from 20% to 18.5%.
  • An estimated 23,700 people in Australia, or around 1 in every 100,000 people, have Multiple Sclerosis.

 

Designed to further inform key policy issues surrounding disability in Australia, these are the first of many planned for future release across the domains of:

  • society 
  • economic security
  • environment/accessibility
  • population groups and 
  • conditions and impairments. 

 

4429.0), together with Disability, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4446.0) and Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0) which are available for free download from www.abs.gov.au. 

 

Published on: HealthCareer

The Melbourne City Council has adopted the city’s 2012-13 budget, committing to a zero per cent rate rise and a $110 million capital works program.

 

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle said the budget reflected the strength of council’s economic management while investing in significant infrastructure and community services.

 

“Now that Council has endorsed the 2012-13 budget, we can immediately begin work on vital projects such as the $5.6 million expansion of the city’s bicycle network,” the Lord Mayor said.

 

“The bicycle plan is part of a comprehensive capital works package that will be delivered against the backdrop of a zero per cent rate rise. These projects will all be delivered without Council needing to reach into ratepayers’ pockets.”

 

Other key projects to be delivered under this year’s budget include:

  • $10.2 million for stormwater harvesting initiatives;
  •  $4.7 million toward the new Docklands Library and Community Centre;
  • $6.5 million to finish the revitalisation of the city’s spine, Swanston Street;
  • $2.6 million to enhance Melbourne’s iconic streetscapes;
  • $630,000 for city safety initiatives, including the permanent installation of a mega taxi rank in Queen Street;
  • $4 million to complete the construction of the Carlton Baths and Family  Resource Centre which is expected to open in October, and; 
  • $2 million to complete the design and start refurbishment of the Kathleen Syme Centre.

 

Published on: GovernmentCareer - Local

The Local Government Association of NSW (LGSA) has called on the federal Government to invest more funds and start building the Melbourne to Brisbane Rail line this decade.

 

Speaking at the Inland Rail Symposium, President of the LGSA, Cr Ray Donald, said that rail is a vital component of the transport network in rural and regional areas of NSW.

 

“Councils are responsible for around 90 per cent of the NSW road network, and with freight movement expected to double by 2030, the better option is to shift much of the freight task off our roads and start using rail as an alternate means” Cr Donald stated.

 

The current rail freight route from Melbourne to Brisbane via Sydney is very congested, transporting nearly 30 per cent of interstate freight. Considering one freight train takes at least 150 trucks off the road, the Inland Rail Line would have major electoral support.

 

“While the Australian Government is spending $40 billion on the National Broadband Network, the $4.7 billion Inland Rail project clearly has benefits for our country and communities too. I call on both the Australian Government and the Opposition to make a commitment at the next election to start work on this important transport project.”

 

President of the Local Government Association of NSW, Cr Keith Rhoades AFSM, said NSW councils can not keep up with the road and infrastructure works required of them and continuing to move freight along these roads, particularly at the increasing levels we’ve seen, is only going to contribute further to their deterioration.

 

“Restoring existing rail infrastructure and investing in new projects, like the Melbourne to Brisbane Inland Rail corridor, will not only enhance the economic sustainability of regional NSW but also reduce the adverse affects on local road networks by freight vehicles,” said Cr Rhoades.

 

“The Inland Rail Line could also stimulate other rail traffic on nearby rail lines, many of which are under the threat of closure. Not only would these closures force additional heavy vehicle movements onto adjacent local road networks, it would impact on the growth and prosperity of local communities.”

 

“I urge the Australian Government to recognise the importance of this nation building project by substantially increasing the allocated funding for the Melbourne to Brisbane rail line and speed up its delivery.”

 

Published on: LogisticsCareer

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released guidelines to support bank account switching reforms. This guidance updates industry codes to reflect the new rules so that financial institutions and consumers can have confidence in their rights and responsibilities when switching accounts from 1 July 2012. 



ASIC has updated both the Electronic Funds Transfer Code (EFT) and the new ePayments Code which will succeed the EFT Code from 20 March 2013. The revised EFT and ePayments Codes will help industry comply with their responsibilities under the changes.

 

As a result of these changes, a financial institution (bank, building society or credit union) is now required to provide a list of regular direct debits and credits to a new financial institution at a customer’s request. 


ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said the revised codes will help industry understand their responsibilities and clarify what financial institutions need to do to comply with the new switching rules. 



‘We are confident these revised codes will help industry through this change and ultimately make it easier for consumers to move their everyday transaction account from one financial institution to another’, Mr Kell said. 

 

More information can be found here

 

 

Published on: FinanceCareer

The Federal Government has announced a $900,000 grant to the University of Melbourne to conduct a $1.2 million study Achieving Cost-effective Abatement from Australian Electricity Generation.

 

Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, said the project will produce software modelling of Australia’s electricity market to assist with understanding how the National Energy Market might achieve the cheapest cuts in carbon emissions while using increased levels of renewable energy.

 

“The project will allow many thousands of simulated combinations of wind, solar and thermal power, with optimisation tools helping to find the lowest cost combination,” Minister Ferguson said.

 

“Importantly, the project will see the development of open source modelling software to assess the performance of future energy systems, including transmission networks, under different levels of renewable energy penetration.

 

“The software will be publicly available so that it can be used by researchers in academia or industry, allowing for scrutiny and refinement over time.”

 

The project will commence on 1 July 2012 and is scheduled to end early 2015. The University of Melbourne will conduct the study with support from the University of New South Wales.

 

Other participants include the Australian Energy Market Operator, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Victorian Department of Treasury and Finance, General Electric and consultants Market Reform.

 

Published on: EnergyCareer

The Federal Government has passed amendments to the Consumer Credit and Corporations Legislation Amendment Bill 2011  through the Federal lower house that will aim to better protect those who use payday loans.

 

"This bill will put the first national cap on small amount loans, limiting the extremities of what lenders are able to charge and complementing the Gillard Government's ongoing commitment to social inclusion by addressing the financial harm caused by some lenders who use the vulnerable financial position of their customers to their advantage,” Minister for Financial Services Bill Shorten said.

 

"This cap on costs appropriately balances consumer protection and a viable return for a responsible industry.  Lenders have confirmed to the Government that will be able to continue to operate under the 20/4 cap.”

 

The amended bill will:

  • Define small amount redit contracts as 1 year or less, keeping the amount as $2000 or less;
  • Cap costs for loans under $2000 so that the maximum any lender can charge for a small amount credit contract is 20 per cent of the amount of credit upfront and 4 per cent for each month of the loan;
  • Prohibit credit providers entering into a small amount credit contract with a term of 15 days or less; and
  • introduce an interest rate of 48%, plus an additional $400 to cover establishment costs for mid-tier loans of amounts between $2000 and $5000 with a maximum term of 2 years;

 

The bill also introduces the following responsible lending obligations to address high risk conduct in this market:

  • a rebuttable presumption that a refinance is unsuitable where the borrower is already in default;
  • a rebuttable presumption that a small amount credit contract is unsuitable where it would be the borrower's third such loan in the last 3 months;
  • a requirement for credit providers to obtain and consider a copy of the borrower's bank statements for the last 3 months before entering into the contract which will assist the Australian Securities and Investment Commission in enforcing the legislation.

 

 

Published on: FinanceCareer

The University of Tasmania has appointed Ms Ros Harvey to lead the SenseT project, one of the biggest coordinated investments in knowledge infrastructure in Tasmania’s history.

 

SenseT is a $42 million program which will use data from sensors to deliver real-time information to help industry and government make better decisions. It is expected to deliver significant productivity gains for the state’s economy as well as supporting improved management of Tasmania’s resources and the environment.

 

Initial practical projects will focus in agriculture and food production, emerging carbon markets, smart infrastructure and logistics, as well as catchment and flood management.

 

SenseT was launched by the Premier and the Minister for Regional Australia, Simon Crean, on 14th June.

 

Ms Harvey, the architect of the state’s economic development plan, is currently Deputy Secretary of the Department of Economic Development Tourism and the Arts. She returned to Tasmania in 2010 after 15 years abroad.

 

Ms Harvey was the founding Director of the Better Work program – a partnership between the World Bank group and the UN’s International Labour Organisation based in Geneva. Better Work is globally recognised as a landmark program in the field of corporate social responsibility, global supply chains and pro-poor development.

Published on: ICTCareer

Australia’s resources and energy commodity export earnings are forecast to reach a record $209 billion in 2012–13, according to the Resources and Energy Quarterly—June quarter 2012, released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

 

“The continued increase in Australia’s minerals and energy export earnings will be underpinned by strong growth in export volumes, particularly for iron ore and LNG following the completion of a number of projects.” said Professor Quentin Grafton, BREE’s Executive Director and Chief Economist.

 

The growth in earnings in 2012–13 is forecast to be underpinned by increases in export values for: iron ore, gold, thermal coal, liquefied natural gas, copper and alumina.

 

A lower assumed value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar in 2012–13 will also support increases in the value of Australia's resources and energy exports.

 

With the exception of aluminium, export volumes for all major minerals and energy commodities are forecast to increase. The largest increases, in percentage terms, are forecast to be LNG (21 per cent), alumina (15 per cent), metallurgical and thermal coal (both 13 per cent), iron ore (10 per cent) and copper (10 per cent).

 

“The increase in export volumes across the majority of commodities reflects recent expansions to mine and infrastructure capacity,” said Professor Grafton.

 

The forecast increase in LNG exports in 2012–13 reflects the start up of the Pluto LNG project, which will increase Australia's LNG capacity from around 20 million tonnes to over 24 million tonnes.

 

Australia's LNG capacity could exceed 80 million tonnes by the end of this decade.

 

Economic growth across a number of major economies, including China, is assumed to slow in 2012, relative to 2011, and then increase in 2013.

 

“Despite the uncertainty surrounding the outlook for some European economies, Australia’s export volumes for most commodities have remained strong throughout 2011–12, while prices for many commodities have remained at elevated levels relative to historical norms,” said Professor Grafton.

 

The Resources and Energy Quarterly report is available here.

Published on: ResourcesCareer

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