Liberals Question Carbon Tax

LIBERAL energy spokesman Matthew Groom has demanded to know why Tasmanians will pay carbon tax on the mostly carbon-free electricity generated in Tasmania.

It was confirmed last week that half of the 10.5 per cent increase in power prices about $125 a year for the average household is because of the carbon tax.

But Mr Groom pointed out that Tasmanians operate on more than 80 per cent renewable energy.

“The whole point of the carbon tax is to transition to renewable energy yet Tasmanians have already made and paid for that transition, with our energy companies still holding more than $2 billion of debt as a result,” he said.

Government spokesman Matthew Sullivan explained that electricity producer Hydro would not be subject to the carbon tax, as its hydro-electric and wind power generation methods did not emit carbon.

But he said Aurora, which buys electricity from Hydro to sell to Tasmanian customers, would attract a share of the tax because it runs the gas-fired Tamar Valley Power Station, which does emit carbon.

Meanwhile, families with incomes of up to $150,000 a year will be better off under the carbon tax, according to Treasurer Wayne Swan.

A Treasury analysis reveals half of all families earning up to $150,000 will be over compensated for the carbon tax with tax cuts and welfare changes equivalent to 120 per cent of the expected cost.

Sourced from The Mercury

So just how short of a memory does the Liberal Party think we (the public) have forgotten the policy that the Liberals wanted to implement back in the late 90″s. Lets just recap, they wanted to fully privatise Aurora,Transend & Hydro hence the reason the original Hydro was split into three separate entities. Now they (Liberals) want us to believe that they really have our interest first and not just point scoring in the hopes of maybe winning the next (whenever it be) state election!

However why wasn’t the questions raised before the regulator rubber stamped the approval would have been the better approach… 😐

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Yet Another Electricity Rise

ELECTRICITY prices will rise by 10.56 per cent from July 1, following a decision by the Tasmanian Economic Regulator.

The rise equates to about $232 on the average $2200 annual bill for each of Aurora Energy’s residential customers.

Chairman of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator Glenn Appleyard said higher-than-forecast network charges, higher-than-forecast costs of complying with the Australian Government’s renewable energy schemes and higher rates of inflation are the main reasons for the price increase being more than the 8.71 per cent increase forecast in 2010.

Rises were smaller than the 26 per cent which was anticipated earlier this year.

The carbon tax was estimated to have comprised 5.6 per cent of the rise.

In the Budget the State Government spent $37 million to restrict the previously anticipated rises by about $200 per household.

In May an Australian Energy Regulator determination restricted Aurora to an 11.5 per cent increase in revenue for 2012-17 period, which itself had the effect of cutting bills by$74 per household.

Sourced from The Mercury

So yet again Tasmanians get yet another cash grab from Aurora. However this time under the guise of Carbon Tax! So Energy Regular how can you justify such a move? and of course for the Tasmanian government do you even remember that election promise of capped electricity rise of no more than 5% 🙁

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Galaxy Nexus Day 3

Well on Tuesday (5th June) I finally got my mitts on the Galaxy Nexus (i9250) This now brings about retirement of my HTC Desire (A8183) this was my launching into the world that is Android! and once my contract was up I knew that I wanted the development phone from this point forward.

Ice Cream Sandwich is a nice layout from that I’m used to with earlier versions of Android 2.1 – 2.3 and as I’ve used Cyanogenmod for about the last 18 months I prefer the native android look and feel over the stock version of HTC Sense that originally came with the Desire. The Nexus had a slightly modified release of ICS 4.02 (Telstra customised with Australian English) that I replace with the current (at the time of writing) 4.04 development build of Yakju and I’ve added SuperSU (root)

One of the main issues with the HTC Desire was its lack of storage space (a total of 148Mb with stock Hboot) but now with the Nexus that’s no an issue as it has a comfortable 13Gb to play with. The only part that I didn’t realise was the lack of an SDcard slot, but I don’t see that I’ll need to add more storage to it anyway.

With the lack of any hardware buttons this gives a nice smooth appearance but I was at a small loss as I tended to use the optical pointer, so I’ve found myself floundering a little if I need to change the cursor or place but I soon learnt that by holding you finger down on the screen you get an arrow that you can the move about any text. This will take a little getting used to but I suppose I was a little spoilt with that feature on the Desire!

So after only having the nexus for 3 days I’m very happy with it! You can expect more posts about my journey with the Nexus as I discover new things. At this point I’m sticking with Jakju, but I will no doubt experiment with other custom roms in the future… 🙂

Kindergarten Politicians

IF Tasmanian politics is theatre, albeit played on a very small stage, Budget Estimates is a week of matinee performances.

It’s a space where the elected representatives can liken each other to Robert Mugabe, accuse one another of “constipating the economy”, claim the Spirit of Tasmania ferries are “a superhighway for drugs”, thank one another for “another completely unsatisfactory answer”, and misconstrue Budget papers to say just about anything they want.

The annual hearings crack open the door on Government spending and fiscal performance, giving an insight perhaps not so much into where Tasmania is going as where it has just been.

The hearings can be marathon affairs lasting 10 hours as members traverse portfolios in exacting detail, before committee chairs mercifully declare: “The time for examination has expired.”

Otto von Bismark once said something to the effect that the business of government was like the manufacture of sausages, it is better not to see them being made. Estimates is Bismark’s adage writ large.

This year’s hearings were a chance for the Liberal Opposition to forensically extract the effects of the massive cuts in the 2010-11 Budget through the system.

So Tasmanians learned that in the past nine months 250 nurses had disappeared from the state’s health system one a day as the Opposition delighted in calculating and hospital waiting lists had grown about 5 per cent.

We heard of 150 fewer teachers (or 373 depending on how you count) and 118 teachers aides too, along with 50 police, although one of those will return to the streets thanks to cuts to the PCYC.

Perhaps the most extraordinary revelation of the hearings was the Government’s plan to table legislation to enact the forest peace deal with big gaps for the details to be filled in later.

Absent from the Intergovernmental Forestry Agreement bills will be the size of the reserves or of timber quotas, but at least the deadline will be met. The move will give parties to the peace deal a couple more months to sort out a lasting agreement.

By fulfilling the letter of its deal with the Federal Government, the Giddings Government will ensure $100 million in development funding continues to flow.

Among other revelations were the likelihood that Social Inclusion Commissioner David Adams will not be replaced when his contract expires in October, although the Education Department will find some work to keep the premier’s dumped $200,000-a-year former chief of staff Mark Sayer busy.

A new Basslink connector isn’t likely anytime soon, thanks to the troubled Budget, nor is a 35-seat Lower House, but the people of the Huon Valley will be getting a visit from entrepreneur whisperer Ernesto Sirolli.

And the state’s Aboriginal people will have to wait another year for proper protection of their ancient heritage, although the 14-year delay has probably imparted a degree of patience.

Estimates is a fine forum for the political trivia buff and provides good fodder for Twitter.

Where else can you find out that vandals and arsonists are costing Housing Tasmania $5 million a year, Tourism Tasmania is spending $2 million on a website, 2 per cent of the suspensions from government schools were for sexual incidents and exactly no dead birds stuffed with drugs were thrown over the perimeter fences of Risdon Prison last year?

Hayes Prison Farm is no more sold than it was a year ago, although there’s a lovely patch of bush up the back that might be worth looking after.

Oh, and there were 2.8 fewer spin doctors in the Government Media Unit last year, $699,208 less spent on travel and one less ministerial car, while compensation claims by educators numbered 501 and cost $9.28 million.

At their best, Budget estimates hearings offer an unprecedented opportunity to see the inner workings of government.

Into each hearing each morning trudges a platoon of senior public servants, each clutching a lever arch folder filled with data on the minutia of every section of every department.

What wondrous secrets must lie within those bulging folders for the person who asks just the right question the interesting tidbits governments keep from those they govern.

Premier Lara Giddings had a phalanx of about 30 minders and helpers who filled Parliament’s Long Room and while the vast majority were never required they were diverted from their daily duties nonetheless.

As a spectacle, Estimates hearings attracts a limited public following – though there are moments of humour and conflict.

Like when Premier Lara Giddings patiently explained that detailing how the Government works out its likely GST share isn’t in the public interest or when yet another minister tried to turn a question on an inquisitor, starting a reply with “Here we go again … “.

There is little love lost between Education Minister Nick McKim or his counterpart Michael Ferguson, nor between Opposition Treasury spokesman Peter Gutwein and the Premier. Even normally softly spoken Attorney-General Brian Wightman and Liberal Matthew Groom managed some sparks.

Ms Giddings’ feigned indignation to Opposition questioning is coming along well, and even rubbing off on Greens leader Nick McKim – though he could possibly try harder to suppress his broad smile when deflecting Mr Ferguson’s inquiries with political jabs of his own.

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne displayed a hitherto unknown skill for reading out figures at a breakneck pace that unfortunately defied any attempt by reporters to write them down.

But with a power-sharing parliament, some of the sting is taken out of proceedings and the Liberals are left to do all the heavy lifting the Greens once shared.

Sourced from The Mercury

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