Tasmanian Politics & State Budget 2011

With the Tasmanian state budget being passed into the public arena this week there’s a lot of unhappy people as a result of spending cuts to essential services. The following links are sourced from http://www.budget.tas.gov.au/ (.pdf format)

So after some reading, I have calmed down from my initial reaction to the media reports of this budget. However this doesn’t mean that I agree with its content! I suppose its because I look at some items in the firing line from the perspective of one who has used services that will be directly affected. Also there is the opinion of many that everyone below government has to cut spending yet the politicians won’t be. My main concern is the cuts to health, the Royal Hobart Hospital is (and has been for many years) running on a budget that in its self has led to its run down condition (by previous governments) that comparing services available in Hobart to interstate hospitals simply make us look like a joke! Tasmanian Police are also in line to have jobs cut both as uniformed officers and public servants. Meanwhile state politicians continue to be driven in luxury chauffeur driven cars at tax payers expense. The Police “Cold Case” task force has been disbanded, this alone affects my family with an unsolved murder that will now, may not be resolved as a result. Meanwhile politicians will receive a 2% pay increase.

My major issue with government (all levels) is the total lack of accountability. Tasmania has had a rather turbulent political arena over the last few years with this started with the resignation of Jim Bacon. The Labor leadership was then handed to Paul Lennon, who in turn resigned in May 2008. Then David Bartlett became the next puppet politician/premier as a hung election in 2010 was decided by the Tasmanian Governor. David Bartlett in turn resigned in early 2011 to then hand over to Lara Giddings. Not to mention the cabinet reshuffles!

So the current situation has many ministers on the move it has left its self open to a total lack of accountability especially when large sums of money are involved. Sadly if we the public conducted ourselves in this manner then we would be in serious trouble!

There’s mush more I wanted to say here but after delaying for a few days I’ve realised that some of my thoughts were without substance.

Tasmanian Politics & State Budget 2011

With the Tasmanian state budget being passed into the public arena this week there’s a lot of unhappy people as a result of spending cuts to essential services. The following links are sourced from http://www.budget.tas.gov.au/ (.pdf format)

So after some reading, I have calmed down from my initial reaction to the media reports of this budget. However this doesn’t mean that I agree with its content! I suppose its because I look at some items in the firing line from the perspective of one who has used services that will be directly affected. Also there is the opinion of many that everyone below government has to cut spending yet the politicians won’t be. My main concern is the cuts to health, the Royal Hobart Hospital is (and has been for many years) running on a budget that in its self has led to its run down condition (by previous governments) that comparing services available in Hobart to interstate hospitals simply make us look like a joke! Tasmanian Police are also in line to have jobs cut both as uniformed officers and public servants. Meanwhile state politicians continue to be driven in luxury chauffeur driven cars at tax payers expense. The Police “Cold Case” task force has been disbanded, this alone affects my family with an unsolved murder that will now, may not be resolved as a result. Meanwhile politicians will receive a 2% pay increase.

My major issue with government (all levels) is the total lack of accountability. Tasmania has had a rather turbulent political arena over the last few years with this started with the resignation of Jim Bacon. The Labor leadership was then handed to Paul Lennon, who in turn resigned in May 2008. Then David Bartlett became the next puppet politician/premier as a hung election in 2010 was decided by the Tasmanian Governor. David Bartlett in turn resigned in early 2011 to then hand over to Lara Giddings. Not to mention the cabinet reshuffles!

So the current situation has many ministers on the move it has left its self open to a total lack of accountability especially when large sums of money are involved. Sadly if we the public conducted ourselves in this manner then we would be in serious trouble!

There’s mush more I wanted to say here but after delaying for a few days I’ve realised that some of my thoughts were without substance.

BlogGlue & WordPress

Until recently I was using the WordPress plugin called YARPP This is a simple add on (for WordPress) to link related blog posts from your blog, to the display them as links below the current viewed post so should anyone reading you blog be interested they can read similar topics that you have written. The developer of YARPP has partnered up with BlogGlue to offer an extended service of allowing both related posts from your blog and of that of others (that have signed up to BlogGlue) as well as syndicating with FacebookTwitter & LinkedIn (all are optional) I’d strongly suggest taking a look at the tour section on BlogGlue to get an exact idea of how this all fits together as I’m still getting my head around a few things that as yet I’ve not quite got working as I expected.

The main area where I’m struggling is with the SEO scoring and in particular the area where I’m clearly at a loss is with the field titled Description

meta description

Because unless I’m misunderstanding the meaning of “Description” there’s no such filed within WordPress! I’m assuming that the SEO checker is looking for meta flag of <description> (not even sure if that’s how it would be represented!)

So here’s the SEO checker (this can be used prior to posting)

So currently all my blog posts fail in this description filed, so they suffer from a poor rating 🙁  Anyway I’m now keen to get this resolved (yes read that as I’ll be reading all about SEO!) So should you (or if already) consider using this service and would like to have me as a referring partner then just either send me an email (details on my contact page) or use the connect function from within BlogGlue…

BlogGlue & WordPress

Until recently I was using the WordPress plugin called YARPP This is a simple add on (for WordPress) to link related blog posts from your blog, to the display them as links below the current viewed post so should anyone reading you blog be interested they can read similar topics that you have written. The developer of YARPP has partnered up with BlogGlue to offer an extended service of allowing both related posts from your blog and of that of others (that have signed up to BlogGlue) as well as syndicating with FacebookTwitter & LinkedIn (all are optional) I’d strongly suggest taking a look at the tour section on BlogGlue to get an exact idea of how this all fits together as I’m still getting my head around a few things that as yet I’ve not quite got working as I expected.

The main area where I’m struggling is with the SEO scoring and in particular the area where I’m clearly at a loss is with the field titled Description

meta description

Because unless I’m misunderstanding the meaning of “Description” there’s no such filed within WordPress! I’m assuming that the SEO checker is looking for meta flag of <description> (not even sure if that’s how it would be represented!)

So here’s the SEO checker (this can be used prior to posting)

So currently all my blog posts fail in this description filed, so they suffer from a poor rating 🙁  Anyway I’m now keen to get this resolved (yes read that as I’ll be reading all about SEO!) So should you (or if already) consider using this service and would like to have me as a referring partner then just either send me an email (details on my contact page) or use the connect function from within BlogGlue…

Greed and spineless regulator…

Well it’s now officially been passed by the government regulator for this to go ahead. Never has this regulator refused a request put before them, regulator or sock puppet?

POWER bills will rise by 11 per cent next month after the Tasmanian Economic Regulator yesterday signed off on a request from Aurora for the price jump.

Premier Lara Giddings acknowledged the rise would cause pain for many and she vowed to offer higher concessions in line with the price hike to the most disadvantaged Tasmanians.

She said she understood that many in the community would find the price rise a struggle and she would find money in the Budget for concessions.

“We will try to alleviate that struggle and pain for Tasmanians,” Ms Giddings said.

“I do understand that this is not a good day.”

The rise equates to a $28 increase a quarter for low-energy-use households, a $45 increase a quarter for medium users and a $70 a quarter increase for high energy users.

The 11 per cent rise is higher than the 8.5 per cent the Tasmanian Economic Regulator estimated when it made its prices forecast last year.

But regulator Glenn Appleyard said the extra 2.5 per cent reflected costs outside Aurora’s control.

Aurora has said the rise is needed to pay for investment in transmission and distribution systems and extra costs arising from the Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target schemes.

Mr Appleyard said actual network charges accounted for about 2 per cent of the rise and the remainder was the purchase of Renewable Energy Certificates.

The rise, which comes into effect on July 1 for households and businesses, was blasted by the Tasmanian Liberals.

Opposition energy spokesman Matthew Groom said power prices were spiralling out of control and the latest rise would “push many Tasmanians over the edge”.

“While the Green-Labor Government is sitting back doing nothing, the Tasmanian Liberals believe that the state needs competition in the energy sector to put downward pressure on power prices,” Mr Groom said.

Ms Giddings said the Government would come to the aid of Aurora’s 79,000 concession customers.

“What we are doing as a Government is trying to ensure we can support those people who are struggling to pay those bills,” Ms Giddings said.

Article sourced from The Mercury Hobart

WordTwitPro now available

As mentioned in a previous post, the WordTwitPro plugin by BraveNewCode is now available. For a short period they are offering a discount to existing customers, so get in quick before this offer expires…

Aurora’s ongoing cash grab…

TASMANIAN households face an 11 per cent jump in power prices from the start of July.

Aurora Energy has applied to Tasmania’s Economic Regulator for a price increase of 10.97 per cent for residents including Pay as You Go customers and small businesses.

The Economic Regulator’s 2010 Retail Determination had previously estimated residential prices would increase by 8.5 per cent on July 1.

Aurora Energy CEO Peter Davis conceded the Economic Regulator may not give Aurora the full increase it was seeking.

But if it did it would equate to a $28 increase a quarter for a low -energy use household, $45 increase a quarter of medium users, and $70 a quarter for high-energy users.

Dr Davis said the increase was to pay for investment in the electricity transmission and distribution systems and extra costs arising from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target schemes which required all Australian energy retailers to buy an increasing amount of energy certificates from new, renewable sources such as rooftop solar installations.

“Aurora is acutely aware of the impact of price rises on our customers and has embarked on an unprecedented business wide efficiency drive that has already delivered significant reductions, as demonstrated by Aurora’s proposal for its distribution system submitted last week,” he said.

Aurora Energy has said new technology, job cuts and pushing its equipment a bit harder with further investment – a $588 million program to improve capacity and reliability – could limit price rises from 2013.

Dr Davis said Tasmanians could be confident the process on price increases was fair and they were not paying too much because the state had an independent regulator.

And he said the independent expert panel examining the energy industry in Tasmania had noted electricity prices in the state remained about “middle of the pack”.

Sourced from themercury.com.au

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Aurora's ongoing cash grab…

TASMANIAN households face an 11 per cent jump in power prices from the start of July.

Aurora Energy has applied to Tasmania’s Economic Regulator for a price increase of 10.97 per cent for residents including Pay as You Go customers and small businesses.

The Economic Regulator’s 2010 Retail Determination had previously estimated residential prices would increase by 8.5 per cent on July 1.

Aurora Energy CEO Peter Davis conceded the Economic Regulator may not give Aurora the full increase it was seeking.

But if it did it would equate to a $28 increase a quarter for a low -energy use household, $45 increase a quarter of medium users, and $70 a quarter for high-energy users.

Dr Davis said the increase was to pay for investment in the electricity transmission and distribution systems and extra costs arising from the Australian Government’s Renewable Energy Target schemes which required all Australian energy retailers to buy an increasing amount of energy certificates from new, renewable sources such as rooftop solar installations.

“Aurora is acutely aware of the impact of price rises on our customers and has embarked on an unprecedented business wide efficiency drive that has already delivered significant reductions, as demonstrated by Aurora’s proposal for its distribution system submitted last week,” he said.

Aurora Energy has said new technology, job cuts and pushing its equipment a bit harder with further investment – a $588 million program to improve capacity and reliability – could limit price rises from 2013.

Dr Davis said Tasmanians could be confident the process on price increases was fair and they were not paying too much because the state had an independent regulator.

And he said the independent expert panel examining the energy industry in Tasmania had noted electricity prices in the state remained about “middle of the pack”.

Sourced from themercury.com.au

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WordTwitPro beta testing

I’m looking forward to the upcoming release of WordTwitPro by BraveNewCode. As I currently use the free release of WordTwit, and I like the way that this works, with the Pro release this interfaces with better with multiple twitter accounts and the admin panel of WordPress.

Currently WordTwitPro beta is only available to current WPtouch Pro users, but will be available for purchase from June 10th

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Aurora Price Hike (1st day of Winter)

Item sourced from the Mercury Hobart

TASMANIANS are facing another power price shock with average annual bills set to rise by at least $50 from next year.

The rise will add to the $90 increase Aurora Energy announced in March in response to federal renewable energy targets and which will take effect from July 1.

However, the state-owned power retailer also had some brighter news for hard-pressed consumers, saying new technology and job cuts, which should begin from July, could limit power price rises from 2013.

The power price predictions on top of substantial slugs for water and sewerage bills and general cost of living rises add to pressure on the State Government as it finalises the Budget to be handed down on June 16.

Community and welfare groups say many Tasmanian families are struggling because of the steep rises in power bills over the past three years.

Liberal energy spokesman Matthew Groom said the latest power price increases would hurt Tasmanians.

Mr Groom said the Labor-Greens Government was out of touch and had failed to realise just how difficult each rise was for struggling Tasmanians.

“While the Labor-Greens Government does nothing, Tasmanians are being hit by increase after increase on their power bills,” he said.

“In contrast, the Tasmanian Liberals believe that we need competition in the energy sector so that we can put downward pressure on power prices.”

The price changes are linked to Aurora’s distribution of electricity through its poles and wires network, which accounts for about 30 per cent of power bills.

The proposed changes are awaiting approval from the Australian Energy Regulator, which received Aurora’s 2012-2017 distribution price proposal yesterday.

The total power bill, including other components such as power generation, transmission and retail, is expected to be announced next Monday.

Aurora Energy network general manager Andre Botha said the projected costs did not take into account inflation, any unforseen expenses or a carbon tax, so any projected saving on power bills, which average $2000 a year, could be annulled.

“This is about minimising the rate of increases on electricity bills, not about reducing energy bills as they are today,” he said.

Mr Botha said the initial 7.5 per cent rise in distribution costs was caused by past investment and operational costs.

But he said new technology and better efficiencies identified by the company could enable a four-year price cut of about 1 per cent, before other factors, including inflation, were considered.

“It is a huge step for the business. It involves cost savings, efficiencies and productivities that we never had because we never had access to technology. It was never cost-effective. It now is,” he said.

The AER, which will hand down its decision by April 30, will hear public comment at a community forum in Hobart on July 19.

Just take a look at the comments from the original article, you will get the feeling of how most think of this…  Oh there is only one power distribution supplier within the state so there’s no option to change supplier if you are dissatisfied, this is something that most other states have the opportunity to do.

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