NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage.
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With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nz-hits-85-renewable-electricity-profitably [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-19 09:48:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:48:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28071 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28052 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-18 13:21:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:21:00 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_28053" align="alignnone" width="300"] Cameron Offices on the corner of College Street and Chandler Way, Belconnen, ACT. Source: Wikipedia user Adz.[/caption] With the aim of driving greater efficiency in the management of the Commonwealth’s property portfolio, three property service providers have been appointed. The providers are Broadspectrum Property Pty Ltd (Broadspectrum), Evolve FM Pty Ltd (Evolve FM), and Jones Lang LaSalle (ACT) Pty Ltd (JLL). They will provide leasing and facilities management services to over 90 Commonwealth entities. These appointments are part of the Government’s plan to realise further savings in excess of $100 million in property-related expenditure over the four years of the contracts, including through consolidating the Commonwealth’s buying power. The new property service provider arrangements complement other efficiency measures already in place, including Operation Tetris (see below), which had a goal of realising savings of $300 million over 10 years through reductions in surplus leased property holdings. The appointment of the providers followed an open tender process and represents strong outcomes for Indigenous business and small to medium enterprises (SME). Each Property Service Provider has committed to exceed the Indigenous Procurement Policy targets of 3 per cent for levels of Indigenous employment and/or engagement of downstream contractors. The Property Service Providers are also required to meet or exceed the Government’s SME targets of 10 per cent of downstream contract value. Broadspectrum and JLL are large, established global providers. Evolve FM is an Australian-based, Indigenous-owned company. The appointments are for an initial term until 30 June 2021, with possible extensions of up to a further four years. Operation Tetris squeezes more in The Department of Finance’s property efficiency program consists of:
- Absorbing entities’ lease requirements, where feasible, into existing vacant office accommodation (Operation Tetris) undertaken in the ACT in 2015-16 and rolled out nationally from 2016-17.
- Ensuring that leases and other property services are delivered through coordinated procurements that will maximise the Commonwealth’s substantial purchasing power.
- A reduction in the median work point vacancy rate from 20.9 per cent (2015) to 13.8 per cent (2016).
- A reduction in net lettable area leased by the Commonwealth from 3.13 million square metres in 2015 to 2.89 million square metres in 2016.
- Change the fuel injection settings, the number, timing and fuel quantity of injections used.
- Increase the production of particulate matter (soot), which likely will lead to more frequent regeneration of the diesel particulate filter.
- Increase the fuel injection pressure.
- Increase the extent of exhaust gas recirculation into the engine.
- In the case of Audi Q5 vehicles equipped with an SCR system, change its operation resulting in the use of a larger amount of AdBlue.
- Having the recall work done is not compulsory. Your consent is required before any recall work is done. Contrary to what we know some VW customers have been told, people are still entitled to access servicing, repairs or spare parts for their vehicle whether or not they’ve chosen to have the recall work done.
- In addition, there is no impact on existing warranties for those that have decided not to have the recall work performed on their vehicles and not getting the recall work is not a waiver of any of your rights in our class action or otherwise.
- National Top Collector per Capita – District Council of Orroroo – Carrieton (SA).
- NSW Top Collector – New South Wales – Hornsby Shire Council.
- Territory Top Collector – Northern Territory – Alice Springs Town Council.
- QLD Top Collector – Queensland – Brisbane City Council.
- WA Top Collector – Western Australia – City of Stirling.
- SA Top Collector – South Australia – City of Onkaparinga.
- TAS Top Collector – Tasmania – Burnie City Council.
- VIC Top Collector – Victoria – Moonee Valley City Council.
- Hornsby Shire Council
- City of Sydney
- Randwick City Council
- Lake Macquarie City Council
- Burwood Council
- Alice Springs Town Council
- East Arnhem Shire Council
- West Arnhem Regional Council
- Brisbane City Council
- Redland City Council
- Townsville City Council
- Scenic Rim Regional Council
- Cairns Regional Council
- City of Onkaparinga
- City of Charles Sturt
- City of Tea Tree Gully
- City of Mitcham
- City of Port Adelaide Enfield
- Burnie City Council
- Launceston City Council
- Glenorchy City Council
- Break O’Day Council
- Kingborough Council
- Moonee Valley City Council
- Nillumbik Shire Council
- City of Monash
- Latrobe City Council
- City of Greater Geelong
- City of Stirling
- City of South Perth
- City of Fremantle
- City of Cockburn
- City of Vincent
Double decker buses will soon become a common sight on Sydney’s streets once more after the New South Wales Government revealed it will commission a proper fleet of the high capacity vehicles to boost capacity on crowded runs as part of a $108 million service boost and refresh in the 2016-17 NSW Budget
Exact details on who will manufacture and how many of the new 80-seat beasts will be deployed are still to be finalised, but the firm commitment to reinstate double deckers into mainstream route service in Sydney cements major turnaround in public transport thinking 30-years after the last Leyland Atlantean made its from Wynyard to Avalon in May 1986.
While the Baird Government started trialling Bustech double deckers North-West T-Way at the end of August 2012, the pre-Budget essentially embeds the top deck vehicles as part of the city’s core fleet for the foreseeable future.
The announcement is also the second major public transport ‘back to the future’ flip for Transport for NSW after the commitment to reinstate light rail services (or heavy trams) in the city and eastern suburbs, with deployments in the West also highly likely to be commissioned.Heavy crowding and more demand than capacity during peak-hour services for Sydney buses has been a serious and persistent problem for at least the last decade, as urban renewal and residential infill push more commuters onto the bus system. The biggest headaches for authorities and commuters alike include passengers who are closer to a bus route destination often missing out on scheduled morning trips because vehicles are filled to capacity well before they get near their terminus. Efforts to deploy more, larger single decker and articulated or ‘bendy’ busses have also created knock-on effects as busses get stuck long queues to unload passengers on approaches to the city and other major centres. A big benefit of double decker buses is that even though they carry 65 per cent more passengers than regular buses – 130 people when completely full on seated and standing capacity – they only occupy the space of a single bus making it easier to cram more services into smaller areas and tighter streets. With major residential developments now replacing industrial real estate on the city fringe, authorities are looking to boost both capacity and frequency. “Thousands of Sydneysiders rely on bus travel every day to get from A to B and we know demand for services is continually increasing, particularly in growth centres in the North West and South West, as well as in inner city areas like Green Square,” said NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.
“Since coming to office, the NSW Government has delivered more than 15,800 extra weekly public transport services for customers and today’s announcement is further proof that we’re committed to putting on even more where and when they’re needed most.
“This is all about staying ahead of the curve to ensure customers have sufficient levels of service well into the future.”For people that remember Sydney’s original double decker bus fleet, it’s actually more like replacing something many feel, like trams, should never have been taken away in the first place. Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian – who spearheaded many of the key public transit reforms when she held the Transport portfolio – said the upcoming NSW Budget would continue to fund more services and infrastructure. “These double decker buses have allowed us to deliver good customer outcomes and we are pleased to be rolling out more of them across Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said before cataloguing where new money was going to be spent. The Treasurer said that under the NSW Budget 2016-16 commitment, 12 new or extended routes will come online. They include a new cross suburban link between the Inner West and Lower North Shore, all night services seven days a week for Green Square and Zetland as well as Abbotsford, Five Dock and Rouse Hill on weekends. The addition of new all-night services has long been called for by groups representing essential services and the hospitality sector where the availability and cost of labour have been hit by the shortage of car spaces and a lack of alternative transport options. Fleet renewal and replacement is also a strong focus, with older non-air conditioned buses finally dropped from service in favour of climate controlled accessible (or ‘kneeling’) busses that allow wheelchair users to roll-on and roll-off regular services – an important addition given many older Sydney railway stations still don’t have lifts. Specifics for the 2016/17 Growth Bus Services Program Western Sydney (including Hills District and South West) More than 1,350 new weekly trips, including 5 new or extended routes.
- New route 605 (North Kellyville to Rouse Hill Town Centre)
- Extended route 751 (Marsden Park to Blacktown via Colebee)
- Extended route T72 (Blacktown to Rouse Hill Town Centre via Alex Avenue)
- Extended route T74 (Blacktown to Riverstone via Hambledon Road)
- Extended route 783 (Penrith to Jordan Springs)
- 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2)
- 610X/M61 (Rouse Hill and Castle Hill to City M2)
- 611 (Blacktown to Macquarie Park via M2)
- 615X (North Kellyville to City via M2)
- 619 (Rouse Hill to Macquarie Park via Kellyville and M2)
- 620X-621 (Castle Hill and Cherrybrook to Macquarie Park and City via M2)
- 700 (Blacktown to Parramatta via Prospect)
- 740 (Plumpton to Macquarie Park via M2)
- 841 (Narellan to Leppington)
- T65 (Rouse Hill to Parramatta via Westmead)
- T80 (Liverpool to Parramatta via Bonnyrigg)
- New route 530 (Burwood to Chatswood via Five Dock, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove)
- New route 985 (Miranda to Cronulla via Woolooware Shores)
- Various Northern Beaches routes between Mona Vale and the City
- 197 (Mona Vale to Macquarie Park via Terrey Hills)
- 270-274 (Frenchs Forest District to City)
- 343 (Kingsford to City)
- 370 (Leichhardt to Coogee)
- 433 (Balmain to Railway Square via Harold Park)
- 477 (Miranda to Rockdale via Sans Souci)
- 506 (Macquarie University and East Ryde to City via Hunters Hill)
- 518 (Macquarie University to City via Ryde)
- M20 (Zetland to Wynyard via Central Station)
- M41 (Burwood to Macquarie Park via Ryde)
- 301 (Zetland to City via Surry Hills) – seven days
- 438 (Abbotsford to City via Five Dock and Leichhardt) – Friday and Saturday only
- 607X (Rouse Hill to City via M2) – Friday and Saturday only
- New route 178 (Anambah to Rutherford)
- Extended routes 260 and 261 (Minmi and Fletcher to Jesmond and University)
- Extended route 40 (Gosford – Wyoming)
- Enhanced services on routes 67 and 68 between Terrigal and Gosford
- Enhanced services on route 33 between Gosford and Mangrove Mountain
- New route 75 (Tullimbar to Stockland Shellharbour)
- Extended route 32 (Dapto to Brooks Reach)
- Enhanced services on route 1 between Austinmer and Wollongong
- Enhanced services on routes 31-33 between Wollongong and Dapto District
- Enhanced services on route 34 between Warrawong and Wollongong
- $98 million for payments of $20,000 per ordinary and transferrable licence, for up to two licences, for licences held before 1 July 2015;
- $142 million for taxi licensees facing hardship as a result of the changes; and
- Up to $10 million for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licensees.
Must we wait for deaths to occur before action is taken?I’m not asking for special treatment, just compliance with the same set of rules that govern Australian-made steel fabrications. A whistleblower has given me copies of documents that show a grain silo under construction in a rural Australian location, which I will not identify to protect the whistleblower, is being built from imported fabricated steel modules that are not compliant.
A WTIA-certified senior welding inspector’s report shows 10 separate items tested do not comply. Problems identified include undersize, missing and incomplete welds.[caption id="attachment_24334" align="alignleft" width="287"] Structures at risk. Pic: WTIA[/caption] A separate qualified consultant’s visual weld inspection of the imported silo support structure found none of the welds inspected is compliant with the Australian standard, AS/NZS 1554.1:2014 (Structural Steel Welding). The consultant’s report said: “The welds are deemed unacceptable.” Both reports include photographs that clearly show the sub-standard welds.
Risk of collapseDespite the serious safety issues raised in these reports, my understanding is construction is proceeding with no rectification of the non-compliant welds. I am fearful this silo will collapse and could cause fatalities. This silo is just one example of a problem that is rampant across the nation. About 85% of the 600,000 tonnes of fabricated steel imported into Australia every year is non-compliant.
Compliance with Australian standards is not mandatory and there is no way to legally force a structure’s owner to rectify shoddy workmanship.We need a law that clearly states that no fabricated steel structure can be erected in Australia without being inspected and certified as compliant. [caption id="attachment_24336" align="alignleft" width="143"] Geoff Crittenden[/caption] My colleagues and I in the steel supply chain have provided details of dangerous structures, including a footbridge between two schools in Western Australia, to government agencies but our warnings have been ignored. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is a watchdog that protects children from unsafe imported toys and the like, but there is no regulation to protect the public from imported, fabricated steel that poses serious safety risks to all Australians. In April, I gave evidence to the Senate Economics References Committee’s inquiry into the future of Australia's steel industry and explained there was no law requiring fabricated steel to be inspected by a qualified welding inspector to ensure it met Australian welding standards. It was obvious many committee members were unaware of that fact. I had hoped the Senate inquiry may assist in getting the required legislation, but we must now wait for the new parliament to be formulated, so the process is delayed. The issue needs to be reinstated to the parliamentary agenda urgently.
Regulatory intervention requiredThere is a simple solution to stop substandard fabricated steel products being imported –government support for a regulated inspection scheme. A two-tiered scheme with audited self-certification permitted for some low-risk fabricated products, but compulsory third-party certification for fabricated steel used in high-risk projects, including road, rail, mining and energy infrastructure, is the answer. WTIA, as the welding industry’s peak body, can manage the scheme at no cost to the Federal Government, including facilitating independent, third-party qualified inspectors to ensure welds on imported steel are safe. [caption id="attachment_24335" align="alignright" width="287"] Defects abound: Pic: WTIA[/caption] I fear governments are not taking public safety seriously. Right around Australia, there are bridges, light poles, crash barriers, road gantries and other infrastructure manufactured from imported, fabricated steel that has never been certified as being safe. They all have the potential to fail with a potential loss of life. The Australian steel industry’s future is at risk and it is important to retain a vibrant industry but public safety must be paramount in politicians’ minds.
We need fair competition for Australia’s fabrication and steel industry but, more importantly, we must protect lives.There is also an economic imperative. When defective welds in imported fabrications are identified, Australian workshops are frequently asked to rework them, increasing whole-of-life costs. If it’s a government project, that cost is ultimately borne by taxpayers. The cost of additional reworking could be avoided if it were illegal to import fabricated steel without it being inspected and certified. I am aware of unsafe structures that have been cut-up and reworked in Australian fabrication shops, but not all unsafe welds are identified because they are not checked by qualified welding inspectors when they reach Australia. There is no doubt the steel industry is in dire straits. The moderate size of Australia’s steel industry, the rapidly declining manufacturing sector, Australia’s proximity to low-cost producers, and the de-regulated compliance environment have made it so vulnerable it is at the tipping point of viability. Without public intervention it is likely BlueScope would have closed its Port Kembla, NSW, operation, probably triggering a general collapse in the steel industry. Arrium is in voluntary administration with debts of $4 billion and workers at its Whyalla, South Australia, steelworks face uncertain futures.
A strong steel industry is critical to the future of Australian manufacturing. Arrium’s 7,000 direct employees are just the tip of the iceberg; more than 14,000 Australians are employed in related jobs.However, if there was a law in place to enforce the Australian standards, Arrium would not be in the strife it is in today.
Stopping rust in public policyPublic policy should recognise the importance to Australia of the steel industry and the need to maintain and repair the 2.4 billion tonnes of steel infrastructure that is crucial to the nation’s security and economy. Defence shipbuilding, mining and energy, and civil infrastructure are all reliant on the steel industry and strategically vital to Australian interests. Successive federal governments have withdrawn support for heavy industry and given up on the so-called ‘rust’ industries in favour of the ‘clean’ service and high-tech sectors. That strategy overlooks the steel infrastructure on which Australia relies. The Federal Government has removed much of its ‘red tape’ regulation to try to boost productivity and profit. But there has been little regard to the fact that the world’s most powerful economies are also the most regulated. WTIA supports a free market but sensible regulation is essential to ensure compliance reduces the risk to public safety. About WTIA The Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) is a national non-profit, membership-based body representing the Australian welding industry’s interests. It has 300 member companies and 1,200 individual members. WTIA facilitates technology transfers and research & development; certifies personnel; conducts education and training; and provides technical services to members. [post_title] => Shoddy welding ‘will lead to deaths’ [post_excerpt] => Shoddy imported steel warning. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => shoddy-welding-death-risk [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-15 09:13:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-14 23:13:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24328 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 8 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24297 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-29 21:38:10 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-29 11:38:10 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24302" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Autonomous workaround. [image: HERE][/caption] Cars and trucks – manual or self-driving – will very soon be able to see what’s coming around the next corner or over a hill and automatically avoid collisions without having line-of-sight using cloud-based technologies. Sound far-fetched? Hold that thought. The grand vision of a world filled with driverless cars that instantly communicate with each other to make transport a stress free, totally automated and intelligent experience has have generated huge attention lately … but the really big and basic questions over how future transport systems will evolve are really still up in the air. Sure, car makers, traffic authorities and technology companies are all racing towards a big shiny autonomous dream, but the far more basic issue of who will write the ‘language’ of data standards and protocols that ultimately dictates how vehicles talk to each other still hasn’t been decided. But that could be about to change. On Wednesday location technology developer HERE announced what it claims is a major step forward in thrashing out a global consensus on what kind of technical lingua franca autonomous vehicles will speak, saying that more than “more than 11 major automotive manufacturers and suppliers” had agreed to its open data standard dubbed SENSORIS. The agreement’s potentially a very big deal because it could form the basis of a workable consensus on which interoperable international standards for autonomous vehicles can be built. Global technical standards are, for the main, one of the driest and most eye-glazing subjects around – predictably, they garner little or no publicity as a result. But they’re still critically important as the bedrock foundations for technologies that need to work the world over to realise their potential. Boring, yes. Irrelevant? No way. [caption id="attachment_24301" align="alignnone" width="300"] Car cloud hits the road. [pic: HERE][/caption] The internet, aviation, telecommunications, credit cards, banking, satellites, navigation and even customs and postal systems would all come unstuck without global standards. Think the technical equivalent of the biblical Tower of Babel scenario (or Australia’s rail gauges SNAFU). According to HERE, companies that have already joined what it calls the SENSORIS Innovation Platform include AISIN AW, Robert Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Elektrobit, HARMAN, HERE, LG Electronics, Jaguar Landrover, NavInfo, PIONEER and TomTom. Ok, BuzzFeed keywords like Tesla, Apple, Uber, Trump, Kardashian, kittens, General Motors [etc] don’t quite make the cut, but the point is there’s some real momentum happening without big name brand dropping. “More organisations are expected to join in the coming weeks,” HERE said in its announcement. The design for the universal data format for vehicular chat (that’s SENSORIS) has also been submitted to Europe’s public/private partnership for helping to develop intelligent transport systems, a peak industry body called ERTICO-ITS Europe. And things are genuinely starting to move quickly on the technical language front, even if the official talk is stills preferences dry accuracy over fluffy buzzwords. “Defining a standardised interface for exchanging information between the in-vehicle sensors and a dedicated cloud as well as between clouds will enable broad access, delivery and processing of vehicle sensor data,” said ERTICO’s chief executive Hermann Meyer. “[It will] enable easy exchange of vehicle sensor data between all players, and finally enable enriched location based services which are key for mobility services as well as for automated driving.” The soundbite version of that statement is that car makers are desperate to avoid a repeat of the compatibility wars that can fragment developing industries. Betamax vs VHS; Apple vs PC, left hand drive vs right hand drive – and too many electrical power plug and voltage standards to point to. HERE’s Asia Pacific director, Brent Stafford, has an Australian spin on the concept. “Driverless vehicles need more than just these sensors to provide a smooth and safe driving experience, Stafford says. “They need to communicate with all other vehicles on the road, sending, receiving, interpreting and responding to live route conditions in real-time, Stafford says.” “By speaking a universal data language, in the future, a German built autonomous truck driving down an Australian highway will be able to warn a driverless Japanese sedan and US made SUV following close behind to ‘slow down’ or ‘change lanes’ because of a wombat or mob of kangaroos near the road ahead.” Our favourite example of ‘vehicular multiculturalism’ from Stafford revolves around trying to find a park from the incredible shrinking pool of spaces. “Perhaps a Holden parked in a busy neighbourhood could notify a BMW that has been circling nearby, that a parking spot has just become available in the adjacent space,” he says. Well it certainly wouldn’t offer it to a Ford. That would be un-Australian. If Government News had its way, intelligent self-driving cars would be able to detect approaching parking inspectors and drive-off before they could issue a ticket. That would be technological progress. [post_title] => Good to talk: Finally, agreement on single comms standard for self-driving vehicles [post_excerpt] => Digital Esperanto hits the road. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => self-driving-cars-get-a-babelfish [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-05 10:54:43 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-05 00:54:43 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24297 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24242 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-27 11:43:33 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-27 01:43:33 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24243" align="alignnone" width="239"] AIIA chief executive Rob Fitzpatrick.[/caption] [By Rob Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive, Australian Information Industry Association] Government use of digital technology is booming, if the number of entries in this year’s iAwards are any indication. The iAwards is Australia’s leading awards for innovation in ICT, honouring organisations, researchers and students at the cutting edge of technology innovation in Australia. With over 600 entries this year, the number has almost doubled from last year, boosted by a very strong showing from the public sector, at all levels of government. Hosted by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) for the last 22 years, the awards recognise and reward ICT innovations that make a positive impact on the community. There have been many entries from government in the past, but this year they comprise the majority. It is not hard to see why. The movement to open data – where governments make their information available to developers to build new applications – is revolutionising the way governments interact with citizens. This year’s record number of entries display the great diversity of applications that employ digital technology, but perhaps the most remarkable thing is the proportion that come from government (31 per cent of overall award entries came from one or more government-owned entities) and in particular public health. These days it is hard to be innovative without using digital technology. Governments at all levels are embracing the technology in a big way. When citizens and businesses get better access to the data generated by governments, which ultimately belongs to the public in any case, all sorts of applications are made possible. Open data enables better supply and demand management, more responsive emergency services, and the more timely and targeted delivery of a whole range of other government services. Collaborative momentum grows There is a growing momentum around the connections between Australian ICT developers and government authorities. A lot of communities are really latching on to the wider availability of broadband and smartphones to build applications that provide better services to the community. Consider the work that the federal government has been doing around the NationalMap, putting all manner of spatial data into the public domain and letting people determine the best places to do things like plan community events, build schools and sell homes or just finding their way to get to work. We have reached something of a tipping point in Australian society. We have a government and an opposition both talking about innovation. It’s almost as if we have been given permission to have ideas. It’s something people want to talk openly and proudly about. And it’s not just the way governments are interacting with citizens. Government departments are working differently between themselves as well. That’s one of the areas the new Digital Transformation Office is targeting, improving efficiency and the way government departments work together. We're seeing examples at the federal level, with MyGov, and in most of the states. New South Wales in particular is really showing the way, as the number of entries about NSW government services in the iAwards show. In NSW you can walk into a government service centre and talk to any of their staff about different services, including some federal government services like Medicare. Pervasive Digitalism All levels of government are digitising. The delivery of digital services is happening across the board. A look at some of the entrants in this year’s iAwards shows the diversity of applications. Hume City Council has developed a digital workflow and decision support system, a single application that captures forms, approvals methods and workflows across all local government services. Melbourne developer Ladoo has developed the Know Your Council website in conjunction with Local Government Victoria, which uses custom web services to handle and present data submitted by councils, allowing the government and the community to assess and benchmark individual council performance. There are so many examples. Addinsight is a traffic intelligence system built around a network of Bluetooth receivers that measure travel time on Adelaide roads, monitoring for unusual conditions, alerting traffic managers to potential problems and broadcasting congestion information to drivers via a smartphone app. Also from South Australia is BlueBays, a free mobile phone app to help people with disability locate and share information about accessible car parking spaces. Child Protection Intake Monitoring provides Victorian Health and Human Services staff with information about clients that will assist them to make better, quicker and more informed decisions about vulnerable children. Common Ground makes it easy to access maps and gives simple explanations of mining and exploration titles. The Federal Government Free Trade Agreement (FTA) portal helps business to seize export opportunities flowing from Australia's FTAs with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Health e-Nation But perhaps the biggest revolution is in the application of digital technology to public health. There are dozens of entrants from the sector this year. Examples include Better Health Explorer (BHX) to help users to find online health information, ClinTrial for collaboration and better access to clinical research trials, DoseMe for clinicians to determine a patient's ability to absorb and process drugs, 3D training simulation for nursing, and a number of electronic patient record systems. The range of applications, from all parts of government and from local, state and federal, is astonishing. The growth in the number of entries from the public sector is a great thing for the iAwards, and for Australia. In the past, the public sector hasn’t often shone a light on the good things it has been doing. That has really changed – people feel good about these new applications. A revolution is underway in how governments deliver services to their citizens. Rob Fitzpatrick is CEO of the Australian Information Industry Association [post_title] => Government projects dominate Australia’s biggest tech innovation awards [post_excerpt] => Public sector solutions stand out. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => government-innovations-dominate-iawards-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-28 10:29:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-28 00:29:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24242 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24213 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-21 19:27:35 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-21 09:27:35 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24214" align="alignnone" width="300"] $12bn au go go for Sydney Metro. Pic: Supplied.[/caption] Accelerated transport infrastructure renewal and expansion has emerged as the major long-term thrust of the Baird Government’s New South Wales Budget 2016, with a $10.5 billion splash on public transport soaking up more than half of the $20.2 billion headline figure for overall recurrent and capital funding for transport infrastructure including roads. The record spend comes as state transport planners seize what infrastructure experts describe as a once in a lifetime opportunity to build-in forward capacity to cope with strong population growth in Sydney and the regions and move away from reactive projects previously centred around car-based commuters. The showpiece of the package is $2.7 billion for the new Sydney Metro rapid transit automated railway that will create a second major rail network linking Sydney’s North and West, and the city’s via the CBD, including a new underground crossing that traverses Sydney Harbour. The total projected cost for that project alone is $12 billion over the coming four years. “Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards,” said NSW transport Minister Andrew Constance. “The Budget includes $1.3 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest, which is set to open in the first half of 2019. Around $1.4 billion has been allocated for the second stage, Sydney Metro City & Southwest.” [quote]A further $1 billion has been earmarked for new suburban trains on the existing rail network, a renewal that’s over and above the $3.9 billion previously allocated to replace the current ageing fleet of electric intercity trains.[/quote] Exact numbers on how many new suburban trains will come, however the Budget Papers reveal the “procurement process” will start in 2016 with the new trains adding extra capacity to support rising numbers of commuters. Light Rail expansion stays on track The resurgence of light rail in NSW has also continued to forge ahead, with $64 million “to continue planning and preparatory work for Parramatta Light Rail” and $142 million for Newcastle’s Light Rail, while the delivery of the Sydney CBD and South East Light Rail scored $71 billion. Business groups and property developers are especially keen on the Parramatta Light Rail because of the potential of the project to trigger urban renewal and redevelopment and create public transport corridors across the West rather than just to and from the city. One driver for the anticipated building boom – which is expected to amount to tens of thousands of dwellings – is a new special levy based on floor space ratios that will be applied to new builds to help fund the new light rail line. Making a B-Line for Buses While there were no surprises on the bus funding front thanks to the pre-announcement of spending – particularly the reintroduction of double decker buses onto main route services – the creation of the ‘B-Line’ high frequency fast bus service to Sydney’s Northern Beaches has continued in earnest, attracting $210 million for “continued planning and infrastructure”. Intended to bolster bus frequency by an extra 480 servicers a week at a maximum interval of just 10 minutes, the new service will launch in 2017 and feature architecturally designed bus stops, dedicated commuter parking for bus travellers and real time information at stops. Also in the Budget mix is a further $108 million for 218 new busses “to replace older buses and expand private and public fleets across NSW.” New Ferries Floated Having already privatised the operation of Sydney Ferries, funding has finally flowed for an inner harbour fleet renewal for Sydney’s most picturesque more of public transit that was once the target of criticism that it provided little more than a boutique service for Sydney’s richest residents – those living near or on the waterfront. [quote]The Budget has allocated $30 million for 6 new inner harbour ferries, a relative bargain considering recreational boats with a tenth of the passenger capacity can easily tip the $5 million mark. The first arrives at the end of 2016.[/quote] The Parramatta River also gets four new riverboats at a price tag of $8 million for those prepared to swap some extra time getting to work for water views and fresh air on their daily commute. The huge and controversial casino and office development of Barangaroo also get funding for its own wharf in the Budget, with $17 million allocated for the build but no mention of whether the facility is intended to act as a western CBD water transport hub for commuter coming from the North Shore or other stops to the Southwest. Regulation Uber alles Letting ride share and point-to-point transport platforms like Uber legitimately enter the market in NSW hasn’t come cheap, even if commuters ultimately benefit. [quote]Having changed legislation to allow for the introduction and regulation of point-to-point competitors, including the creation of a new watchdog, the compensation bill for axing the taxi industry’s licensed monopoly has come in at $250 million.[/quote] The bail out and transition package comprises of $142 million over three years for taxi licensees “facing hardship as a result of industry changes”, $98 million for payments to taxi licence holders who purchased plates before July 2015 and “up to $10 million over three years for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licence owners.” Assistance to vulnerable and disabled passengers who can’t catch public transport is also up there, with $16 million a year to help allocated to ensure “wheelchair accessible taxis continue to be available for those in the community who crucially rely on them.” Community transport and home and community care services for people unable drive or catch public transport score $84 million. [post_title] => NSW Budget 2016: Public transport upgrades the big ticket winner [post_excerpt] => Cash splash on new trains, buses and ferries. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => public-transport-upgrades-are-the-biggest-winners-in-nsw-budget-2016 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-23 23:06:56 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-23 13:06:56 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24213 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24181 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-16 22:05:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-16 12:05:56 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24182" align="alignnone" width="300"] Is NSW ready for hands-free happiness?[/caption] [By Gerard Waldron, Managing Director of the Australian Roads Research Board] Driverless vehicles have the potential to drastically improve road safety, reduce congestion and save the NSW economy billions of dollars over the coming decade. It’s the most important transport innovation of the century, but NSW risks falling behind other state governments if it doesn’t take the opportunity to introduce new policy and legislative measures that can drastically reduce the road toll. The significant road safety opportunity and need for a more collaborative national approach, is the message the Australian Driverless Vehicles Initiative (ADVI) will present today at the NSW Staysafe Committee Inquiry into Driverless Vehicles and Road Safety. ADVI’s partnership of more than 60 government, industry and academic organisations, including ARRB Group, led the first ever demonstrations of driverless vehicles on Australian roads in SA last year and assisted the SA government in the development of the country’s first driverless vehicle legislation. While SA is currently in the ‘driverless’ seat, NSW has a strong history in road safety initiatives, such as ANCAP crash testing since the early 1990’s. Moving to a world where cars are designed not to crash, the NSW Government has the opportunity to support new industry led technological innovations and provide a flexible environment to encourage further innovation in NSW. Research has shown the road safety benefits could also be as large as a 90 per cent reduction in road crashes, which are currently caused by human error, resulting in a potential saving of $24.3b in the national road trauma bill. Just last week, global automotive industry analysts IHS Automotive released its latest driverless vehicle forecast, predicting a substantial increase on previous estimates to nearly 76 million vehicles with some level of autonomy sold globally between now and 2035. Over half a million driverless vehicles are predicted to be sold by 2025 with China, Japan, and the USA leading the charge. [quote]Although Australia has seen a decline in vehicle manufacturing in recent years, we remain more than capable of taking global leadership in research, policy, infrastructure and adoption, just like we have done with previous technology innovations like mobile phone networks.[/quote] For a nation which suffers a $20 billion annual economic hit from congestion and spends twice as much on transport as the OECD average, driverless vehicles will provide some welcome relief for commuters, with recent research from the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB Group) showing two thirds of Australians have been impacted by worsening road congestion in the last five years. However, it’s unlikely to be an entirely smooth transition to completely autonomous vehicles and the implications of new risks for drivers requires careful investigation to inform training, testing, licensing and vehicle design. These potential risks include driver skill, engagement and ability to take back control of semi-autonomous vehicles. Issues around trust, overreliance and misuse of driverless technology and also the much publicised interaction between autonomous and non-autonomous vehicles also require Australian specific research. If these risks aren’t managed there is the very real danger that isolated road incidents involving driverless vehicles could result in reactionary legislation and policy making that would severely disrupt progress. By all levels of Australian government working closely with academia and private sectors, we can ensure scientific research informs real-world infrastructure and policy planning that will cement Australia as a global leader and enable the social and economic benefits to flow through as early as possible. The reality is, driverless and connected vehicles remain a highly complex technology and require a flexible approach to legislation, policy and infrastructure changes, unlike anything we’ve seen before in transport. [post_title] => NSW needs to take drivers seat in driverless future [post_excerpt] => Stuck in the slow lane. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-needs-to-hit-the-accelerator-on-driverless-vehicles [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-21 10:11:01 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-21 00:11:01 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24181 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24065 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-06-02 19:52:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-06-02 09:52:58 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24066" align="alignnone" width="287"] Sure signs of an election.[/caption] The Australian Greens have thrown a $1 billion carrot for dedicated bike lanes, cycling parks and better footpaths into the mix for the federal election’s great infrastructure auction, as the minor party positions itself for a potentially hung parliament and more power sharing deals in the Senate. Released this week, the $250 million a year “Bikes and Walking Commitment” promises to create a new “Active Transport Fund” that will provide federal funding for what Greens transport spokesperson Senator Janet Rice says must be a far better coordinated state and local government response. The proposed federal money for what has traditionally been municipal and state funded territory is aimed squarely at, aside from winning votes, eliminating big disparities between different council and state government projects and active transport strategies that often fail to link up because of competing interests. In cities like Sydney, the lack of funding coordination means that cashed-up CBD councils like the City of Sydney spend tens of millions on often contentious separated cycle ways, while neighbouring municipalities that funnel cycling commuters into the city centre often spend next to nothing or just refuse to disclose total spending to advocacy groups like Bicycle Network. Although the big ticket Active Transport Fund is so far short on any specific initiatives, Greens transport spokesperson Senator Janet Rice is adamant an injection of federal money to ensure coordination will make the difference between cycling becoming a safe and mainstream mode of commuting rather than a divisive and dangerous pursuit. “You can’t leave it up to the states and local government because a lot of really valuable projects miss out because of lack of funds,” Senator Rice told Government News from the No.19 Coburg bound tram in Melbourne. “You get inefficiencies, you get projects stopping at local council borders. So by having a focus on it and saying active transport needs to be a priority, you can really turbocharge the delivery of good infrastructure.” Senator Rice said that despite bicycles being “the world’s most energy efficient vehicle” the contribution of cycling in a “clean transport future” was being largely ignored. Cycle of discontent While that may be the case, the flagging of a billion dollar cash injection into what would necessarily be inner metropolitan infrastructure renewal plays directly into electorates where the Greens are standing lower-house candidates, like Grayndler in Sydney’s Inner West. Once regarded as red ribbon Labor territory, long-term incumbent Grayndler MP and Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese is having to fight-off a serious challenge from the Greens’ federal candidate for the seat from Jim Casey, a firefighter and unionist. Despite having Labor leaning councils (Marrickville and Leichhardt) and state seats, the creation of safe, efficient and dedicated cycling infrastructure in the inner west has largely failed to occur despite a big rollout in the city – a problem the Greens are now threatening to fix with funding of around $1 million per kilometre. “Depending on the complexity of each cycling project, a million dollars a kilometre buys you a pretty fancy all-bells-and-whistles bike path, making allowances for bridges and things like that,” Senator Rice said. In terms of how the money would be spent, Senator Rice said that councils that came up with coordinated and interconnected proposals would be looked at favourably – a cat herding task that, rather ironically, could be made easier by forced council amalgamations in NSW that the Greens have been fighting at every turn. “Essentially [the money] would be administered by a federal department. Clearly critieria have to be developed as to which projects got funded. If there is a masterplan, [like] a Sydney bike paths masterplan, I’d say that would be more favourably [considered],” Senator Rice said. “Certainly if there is a project that has a number of councils working together, I’d also say it’d be a higher priority than say just random projects that somebody thought-up.” Regional areas are also in the Greens sights for cycling infrastructure, with money potentially available for the development of ‘rail-trail’ projects that convert disused rail corridors into bike touring and hiking paths that are more accessible and easier to use because more gradual inclines. Senator Rice said it was now not unusual to see 1000 cyclists a weekend turn-up to the Wangaratta to Beechworth trail, a model that showed sustainable tourism produced economic benefits. Funding for more challenging mountain bike courses, like those established in the Snowy Mountains, Canberra NSW South Coast, Tasmania and other regions to attract tourists, would also be in mix. Walking the talk Pedestrians, arguably the originators of so-called active transport, are also being factored into the Greens’ cash splash. Senator Rice said while footpath maintenance and repairs would stay remain council hands, there needed to be a focus on enabling links between different modes of transport and public facilities that made it easier to walk. “Key pedestrian connections, particularly from town centres to stations, where you need to have the investment to make them happen, that’d be the kind of projects that councils can apply for to fund,” Senator Rice said. The payback for that funding would come in the form of a reduction of the “strain on our health system by promoting good health practices and tackling Australia’s weight problem.” Senator Rice said that in the United Kingdom analysis of investments in walking and cycling infrastructure showed that almost 80 per cent of the substantial economic benefits related to improved health outcomes. “Almost two-thirds of Australian adults and a quarter of children are overweight or obese,” Senator Rice said. “Getting on our bike or walking for half an hour just three times a week makes us healthier, both physically and mentally. “We cannot leave bike and walking infrastructure to state and local governments alone,” she said. [post_title] => Reinventing the wheel: Greens pledge $1bn for bike paths [post_excerpt] => Pedalling promises a plenty. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => greens-pedal-1bn-to-cyclists-to-set-off-a-voter-chain-reaction [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-06-07 09:32:19 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-06-06 23:32:19 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24065 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 28071 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-19 09:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-18 23:28:31 [post_content] => New Zealand leads the world in zero emission renewable grid electricity now at 85%. With a nice balance between geothermal, hydroelectric, unusually continuous wind power and some solar, the country has less intermittency of green power than most. Transpower NZ, the government-owned power company, made NZD 208.4m profit in 2016-17 (AUD 190m) and has investigated grid-scale battery systems for near-term investment. Battery storage under investigation Building energy storage systems across New Zealand would represent an economic ‘game-changer’ for the country within the next few years, according to new research by national grid owner-operator Transpower. The company said its research findings show distribution-connected or community-scale batteries are expected to be economic for homes and business from 2020— promising “real potential and benefits from batteries for New Zealand consumers”. Now Transpower is preparing to conduct trials of battery storage systems, while working with industry leaders to push for market and pricing reforms the company said will be needed to “unlock the value of battery systems to maximise their value”. Transpower’s general manager for grid development Stephen Jay said: “We are actively evaluating opportunities for using new technologies throughout our network. We are preparing for what that future looks like and this battery research is the first of a number of reports we will release looking at technologies that could possibly have an impact on our business. “Battery projects at lower voltage distribution substations and at a consumer level are forecast to be economic in the next few years, due to the declining cost of battery systems,” Mr Jay said. “Over time, we believe they will also become economic for the high voltage transmission grid and this will then provide battery resilience across the whole supply chain.” Mr Jay said Transpower is not planning large-scale high voltage trials with batteries “in the near term— but we will seek opportunities to work with and learn from others in joint projects where appropriate.” According to Transpower’s study, the functionality of a battery as both a load and a generator at various times “will need to be examined, and regulatory and technical barriers to entry addressed”. In the long-term, the study said battery storage at any location in the supply chain is expected to delay or replace the need to build additional thermal peaking plant and should over time reduce the cost of electricity to consumers. Container-based battery storage systems in the order of 1-2MW “have the advantage that they can be implemented relatively quickly to target specific grid constraints in a controlled manner”, the report said. They can be ‘right sized’ for the first year of need, “with the possibility of increasing the storage capacity over time if load growth occurs”. This would “optimise initial capital expenditure and leverage the declining cost curve of future expansion”, the report said. In addition, the report said ramping up battery storage projects would support national plans to boost the take-up of electric vehicles. According to Transpower, there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles in the country, but government policy is targeting 64,000 vehicles by 2021-22. “In future, we expect that electric vehicle batteries could have the capability to be part of a battery network, providing services when the vehicle is plugged in to charge overnight,” Transpower said. With IDTechEx. You can download the Transpower report here. [post_title] => NZ hits 85% renewables, profitably [post_excerpt] => NZ Government makes $190m from electricity, focuses on renewables and grid battery storage. 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Assets & Fleet
The Commonwealth has appointed three service providers to manage its property portfolio.
Volkswagen has been ordered to publish a nationwide notice on the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges.
Recycling of old mobile phones by councils is up 25%, to 4.5 tonnes.
National Transport Commission releases discussion paper.
Back to the Future II
Sharing (the pain) economy.
Shoddy imported steel warning.
Digital Esperanto hits the road.
Public sector solutions stand out.
Cash splash on new trains, buses and ferries.
Stuck in the slow lane.