Politics Random Ramblings

Bulk Billing Under Threat?

Politics Random Ramblings

Tony Abbott – Wrecking Ball

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Politics Random Ramblings

Hydro saved Tasmania Really?

Hydro saved Tasmania from shocking electricity price hikes, says energy regulator


HYDRO saved Tasmania from shocking electricity price hikes in 2012-13, a report by the Australian Energy Regulator says.

The State of the Energy Market report found average Tasmanian electricity bills rose by 3 per cent because of the carbon tax, compared with a 12 per cent hit in the ACT.

AER chairman Andrew Reeves said Tasmania’s high concentration of hydro power kept bills down.

“The average carbon pass-through-to-spot electricity prices during 2012-13 was broadly consistent in mainland regions at $17.70 per MWh but significantly lower in Tasmania at $10 per MWh,” he said.

The carbon tax of $23 a tonne, introduced in July 2012, helped Hydro Tasmania to an operating profit of $238 million as it received higher prices without having to pay the tax.

In his annual report Tasmanian Auditor-General Mike Blake found the gas-powered Tamar Valley power station cost almost $17 million in carbon tax.

AER’s report said the tax added 12 per cent to the average ACT power bill, followed by Queensland (9 per cent), Victoria (8 per cent), NSW (7 per cent) and South Australia (4 per cent).

The Coalition Government has said the repeal of the carbon tax would result in an average fall in bills of 9 per cent. But the AER report suggests the repeal would result in only a 3 per cent fall in Tasmania.

The Office of the Tasmanian Economic Regulator is believed to have decided yesterday on a new price determination from January 1.

Sourced from The Mercury

So all of the price rises over the last year have been to prop up Aurora more then create this so called buffer! As Tasmanian people are paying a carbon tax on hydro generated power but that same power when sold via Bass Link is carbon tax free! So who saved who? 😐

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Royal Hobart Hospital Waiting Lists Figures Fudged?

Royal Hobart Hospital on the mend with cut to surgery wait lists


ELECTIVE surgery waiting lists at the Royal Hobart Hospital have been dramatically reduced since the start of the year, new figures reveal.

The latest Health and Human Services Department statistics show the number of patients waiting for elective surgery at the state’s major hospital had fallen by 20.7 per cent since January — from 3064 to 2431.

But the average waiting time for surgery at the RHH rose slightly from 45 days to 47 days.

RHH surgical services group manager Adrianne Belchamber yesterday praised the efforts of hospital staff and said the focus on reducing surgery waiting lists would continue across all procedures in the new year.

“Staff at the RHH have worked hard to achieve this significant reduction in the elective surgery waiting list,” Ms Belchamber said.

“These gains have been supported by implementing efficient systems as well as having state and national targets in place, which give staff a clear goal to work towards achieving.

“Next year we will continue our focus of reducing the number of patients waiting the longest for elective surgery, as well as the most urgent cases.”

Health Minister Michelle O’Byrne said the Royal Hobart Hospital waiting-list improvement was a result of hard work throughout the state organisation.

“The Tasmanian Health Organisation has been systematically reviewing its list, along with targeting long-wait patients, resulting in a more effective management of elective surgery patients,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“Importantly, admissions from the wait list — that is the number of patients being treated and therefore removed from the list — increased at all four of the state’s public hospitals.

“This is an important indicator because it shows that our hospitals are working harder and more efficiently to get more people their surgery.”

Ms O’Byrne said progress was being made in Tasmanian hospitals despite a growth in demand.

But Opposition health spokesman Jeremy Rockliff said the extent of patients waiting for surgery would not be known until the lists of people waiting to be assessed by a surgeon were also regularly disclosed.

“We shouldn’t forget that thousands more patients are being kept on hidden waiting lists,” Mr Rockliff said.

He said that across the state, elective surgery waiting lists had grown since before the last state election.

Sourced from The Mercury

Well this is news to me! as I’ve been on a “Waiting List” since 2008 and still no news as to if or when I’ll ever have the surgery. As is the case the Government just want a good PR stunt to make us think that things are progressing along when really there’s most likely multiple so called “Lists” that the one that looks the best is the one the public are told about… 😐

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Turnbull Breaks Election Promises on NBN

Back-off on NBN pledge as Turnbull takes swipe at rollout contractor 


HOPES Tasmania would have the nation’s best broadband network appear dashedFederal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has retreated from promises to deliver the NBN directly to the majority of Tasmanian homes and businesses. Mr Turnbull promised in the federal election campaign to honour contracts for Labor’s fibre to the premises model. However, on local radio yesterday he moved away from the commitment, blaming rollout contractor Visionstream. “We’ve always said we will honour the contracts,” Mr Turnbull said. “The problem is Visionstream is not prepared to work for the prices and the rates that they have agreed to. That’s why work has stopped.” Mr Turnbull also said Tasmania was not entitled to preferential treatment just because it was the first state to start the NBN rollout. “My commitment is to ensure that all Australians have access to very fast broadband sooner, cheaper and more affordably,” he said. The comments were slammed by the State Government and the information communications technology sector. Premier Lara Giddings said it was appalling that the Liberals had played such cruel politics over the NBN. “Before the election they were putting their hand on their hearts and declaring they would honour the Tasmanian contracts,” she said.”Ever since the election, they have done everything they can to try and wriggle away from it. To now try and use an argument that the project is too expensive is complete rubbish.” TAS ICT executive officer Dean Winter yesterday called on Mr Turnbull to honour his election commitment “He must stop his inaccurate claim that Visionstream is not doing any work in Tasmania,” Mr Winter said. “It is simply untrue and he is either poorly advised or being deliberately misleading.”Visionstream has ramped up its activity and has been laying fibre in Clarence, West Hobart and East Launceston over the past few weeks.” Mr Winter said issues with the NBN rollout were known before the September election. “But there was never any indication from the Coalition those issues would affect the promise to honour existing contracts.” Opposition leader Will Hodgman said the state Liberals wanted fibre to the premises and would discuss the issue with Mr Turnbull.

Sourced from The Mercury

So it was pretty much expected that this would happen. From the get go the meaning of the “Promise” was being watered down… Enjoy ADSL as for most that’s all they will ever have access to… 😐

Politics Random Ramblings

National Broadband Network

National Broadband Network blowout clouds Tasmania’s rollout agenda


TASMANIA’S leading edge on the National Broadband Network is in jeopardy after a backflip by the Federal Government over an $11 billion cost blowout.

Federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull yesterday released the Coalition’s NBN review saying the project would cost $41 billion — up from the pre-election figure of $29.5 billion.

But Mr Turnbull said the Coalition remained committed to limiting its equity investment in NBN Co to $29.5 billion, with the excess to be made up through debt.

The review showed the Coalition’s promise of delivering 25 megabits per second broadband nationally by 2016 would stretch to 2019.

The state’s information communications technology sector yesterday called on new federal MPs Brett Whiteley, Andrew Nikolic and Eric Hutchinson to press Mr Turnbull on what the cost blowout meant for Tasmania.

“Tasmania’s NBN rollout is more uncertain than ever,” TAS ICT executive officer Dean Winter said.

“How can our industry plan for the future drive the economy and increase employment if we are totally in the dark about plans for Tasmania’s broadband infrastructure?”

Mr Whiteley said the review would have no bearing on the Tasmanian rollout.

“The review was about laying out the facts for all to see,” he said.

“Under the previous Labor Government the NBN was a fact-free zone, and now we know why. We committed to honouring existing contracts during the campaign and that is happening right now.

“Any suggestion to the contrary is simply false.”

The review raised concerns about the rollout in Tasmania, suggesting the process could be accelerated by 35 per cent to 75 per cent by reducing waste and lifting performance.

“NBN Co has received a proposal from the Tasmanian Government which suggests greater use of aerial in FTTP [fibre to the premises] deployment,” the report said.

“NBN Co will explore this suggestion as one way of improving momentum.”

A passage referring to Visionstream, the company oveseeing the rollout in Tasmania, has been blacked out in the report.

Mr Winter said the original fibre to the premise plan, first promised by Labor and then promised in principle by the Coalition during the election campaign, could revolutionise the Tasmanian economy.

— with AAP

Sourced from The Mercury

So as time has passed the truth of the Coalitions “Promise” has taken a new twist in just what will happen here in Tasmania. Essentially you can be assured that whatever is said will pretty much be hot air as politicians argue over the original election promise to what will eventually eventuate!  So if you are one of the lucky ones to have got FttH (FttP) installed prior to the election then you can of course enjoy internet speeds of up to 100Mb/s Download & 40Mb/s upload, but if you’re one of the unlucky one to have to be subjected to FttN then sadly you might as well just stick with whatever you have (ADSL/ADSL2+)

This is becoming a hot debate in Tasmania with the state government pushing to use fiber cable on existing Aurora infrastructure (power poles) There’s too much that can go wrong with that solution, that would cause expensive repairs and lengthy downtime should a pole be damage by a vehicle or similar… 😐

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When will Tony be Gonski?

Gonski reform: School funding plan is back on


THE Government has found the $1.2 billion it said Labor pulled from education spending and will now give all schools $2.8 billion over four years.

The sudden discovery of the extra money – which could not be found as recently as last Friday – was needed to end accusations Prime Minister Tony Abbott was guilty of a major breach of an election promise.

Prime Abbott said today all schools in Australia will get more money under his revised spending plan.

The Prime Minister rejected a suggestion he had been forced into “a $1 billion backflip” by accusations he had dumped an election pledge on funding.

Gonski is back on.
“I think we’ve given a candid explanation of what we have been doing,” he said after a week of funding uncertainty and embarrassing criticism of the Federal Government from conservative premiers.
However, it was clear that the recovery of the $1.2 billion announced at a press conference just before Question Time was to blunt expected attacks by Labor.

In the September 7 election campaign Mr Abbott and Liberal education spokesman Christopher Pyne said a Coalition government would replicate the money and the mechanics of Labor’s school funding scheme.

The Government of Labor’s Kevin Rudd had reached agreements – either in principle or in fact – with the governments of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

It had promised $2.8 billion extra over four years to all states. However, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory declined to sign up, and the $1.2 billion which was to have gone to them was returned to consolidated revenue. That meant $1.6 billion was allocated to the other states.

But last week Mr Pyne, now Education Minister, said the Abbott Government would not honour the agreements signed with the previous government and wanted the deal renegotiated.

He also said the $1.2 billion was no longer available and attacked Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, who as Education Minister reached the agreements, as “Short Change Shorten”.

But today Mr Pyne said he had completed deals with Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, and had found the extra $1.2 billion.

“We will implement a funding model that is national, fair and needs based while getting rid of the prescriptive command and control features that removed authority for schools from states, territories and the non-government sector,” Mr Abbott said in a statement.

“Labor left school funding in a mess. The hurried agreements signed in the dying days of the Labor government meant some States secured funding, while others missed out completely,” he said of the agreements the Coalition had promised to uphold.

“The Coalition Government is delivering what Labor failed to – a national agreement on school funding that ensures parents, principals and students, regardless of where they live, have funding certainty.

“The Government will also honour funding promised to non-government representative bodies for four years including $55 million to Catholic Education Commissions and $110 million to the Association of Independent Schools.

“The Government is keeping its commitments on school funding and delivering more funding over the next four years than promised by Labor.”

The agreement includes the $1.2 billion set aside by the former Labor government for the non-signatory states of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.

Mr Abbott says the deal with the three was made by Mr Pyne in the past few days.

The return of the $1.2 billion will bring total additional school funding over the next four years to $2.8 billion.

“Mr Pyne has … secured an in-principle agreement to a system which is fair and national,” he told reporters in Canberra today.

“Given that we now have a fair and national deal, the government will put the $1.2 billion that Labor took out back into schools funding over the next four years.

“There will be full funding certainty over the next four years.”

Mr Pyne said the Government would amend the Australian Education Act in 2014 to “dismantle the regulation and red tape that made the model virtually incapable of being implemented”.

“Every student in Australia will be treated exactly the same way regardless of what jurisdiction they’re in,” he said.

Labor had made deals with NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, as well as independent and Catholic schools, but Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory held out.

Sourced from The Mercury

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