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                    [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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                    [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.
In support of Operation Tetris, the government established a ‘Whole-of-Australian-Government’ coordinated procurement system for property-related services. This arrangement covers leasing services and property and facilities management for domestic office accommodation and shopfronts. The coordinated approach for property-related services is designed to improve the efficiency of property services across the Commonwealth and maximise the value for money that can be achieved by consolidating the Commonwealth’s purchasing power. All non-corporate commonwealth entities (NCCE) will be required to commence using the arrangements for their outsourced property needs once their existing contracts expire. NCCE will, however, be able to enter into new contracts, including any extensions or expansions to existing property-related arrangements (excluding leases), as long as those contracts expire before 30 June 2018. Lease arrangements will remain subject to Resource Management Guide 504 (RMG 504) in respect of endorsement by the Minister for Finance. Since the national roll-out, the government claims Operation Tetris has successfully filled over 60,000 square metres of vacant and surplus office space in the ACT and a further 7,000 square metres in other capital cities, including:
  • 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.
  [post_title] => Govt outsources office management [post_excerpt] => The Commonwealth has appointed three service providers to manage its property portfolio. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => commonwealth-outsources-office-management [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-18 13:30:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-18 03:30:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=28052 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27979 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-09-08 08:27:47 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-09-07 22:27:47 [post_content] => Volkswagen has been ordered to publish a nationwide notice  concerning the class actions related to the global Dieselgate emissions scandal. The Federal Court has ordered that the notices be displayed on the VW, Audi and Skoda corporate websites and Australian Facebook pages, in what is believed to be first instance of Facebook being used in a federal consumer class action. Abridged versions of these notices are also to be published in major state and national newspapers from next week, clarifying key issues relating to the voluntary recall being undertaken by the manufacturers. Law firm Maurice Blackburn had requested Court orders that the notices be issued, in part to better inform those unwittingly caught up in the global diesel emissions scandal. In handing down judgment on the issue, presiding Judge, Justice Lindsay Foster, remarked that it was “necessary to put the record straight” on suggestions from Volkswagen that the Australian vehicle approval authority, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) had said the voluntary recall work would have no impact on performance, fuel economy or service intervals of affected vehicles, when they hadn’t. Class action principal at Maurice Blackburn running the case Jason Geisker said ever since the emissions scandal broke VW has attempted to gloss over its failings and only ever provided a one-sided story to motorists. “A real issue needing clarification for VW, Audi and Skoda customers relates to controversial suggestions about the impact of the proposed voluntary ‘fix’ on the performance, fuel economy and service requirements of the vehicles – these class actions will determine whether these claims are accurate or not,” Mr Geisker said. “We think it is important for affected motorists to understand that any suggestion that Australian authorities have confirmed that the voluntary recall has no impact on these vehicles is simply not true. “These notices will help ensure that affected motorists are better informed about the issues being decided by the court through the class actions arising out of the diesel emissions scandal, including the controversies surrounding the voluntary recall.” Key aspects of the notices that will appear on the car manufacturer websites and pushed out to their social media accounts include the following: “The Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda software update does not simply remove the test mode. The software update will affect the manner in which the engine runs. It will:
  • 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.
Further details will include telling customers that:
  • 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.
  [post_title] => Volkswagen ordered to come clean, even on Facebook [post_excerpt] => Volkswagen has been ordered to publish a nationwide notice on the Dieselgate emissions scandal. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => volkswagen-ordered-come-clean-even-facebook [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-08 10:22:53 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-08 00:22:53 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27979 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27947 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges: The Audit. The Australia Institute has released the Electricity Update of the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit) for August 2017. The report, by energy analyst Dr Hugh Saddler, shows flat demand across the National Energy Market (NEM). “Total annual demand for electricity in the NEM is dead flat. With both national economic activity and population continuing to grow, electricity consumers are continuing to respond to ever rising prices by using electricity more efficiently, as they have been doing for most of the past seven years,” Dr Saddler said. “This year consumers have seen a very sharp rise in electricity price due to generation costs.  However, for the last six years price rises seen by consumers were almost entirely caused by network ‘gold-plating’. “This report shows that electricity consumers are continuing to pay for the policy failures of the last decade in the regulation of monopoly network businesses. “The reduction in brown coal production in the NEM is being met by increased black coal as well as increased renewable production – notably wind power, which bounced back to another all-time production record in July.”  “The retirement of decrepit brown coal plants in Victoria had the potential to limit supply and cause price rises, but South Australian wind has come to the rescue keeping the lights on and putting downward pressure on wholesale prices,” Dr Saddler said. The Audit In June 2017, The Australia Institute launched the National Energy Emissions Audit (The Audit), written by energy analyst and ANU Honorary Associate Professor Dr Hugh Saddler, which tracks Australia's emissions of greenhouse gases from the combustion of fossil fuels. The National Energy Emissions Audit will be published on a quarterly basis, in September, December, March and June each year. In each intermediate month the NEEA Electricity Update will report on changes to emissions from electricity generation in the National Electricity Market (NEM).     [post_title] => Electricity update [post_excerpt] => Flat electricity demand puts price rises squarely on network charges. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => electricity-update [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-31 21:05:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-31 11:05:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://governmentnews.com.au/?p=27947 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27487 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-27 07:17:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-26 21:17:58 [post_content] => The mobile phone industry’s product stewardship program MobileMuster has commended the efforts of local councils who have dramatically increased their collections and helped make recycling more accessible to the community. Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP Minister for Environment and Energy said eight councils from across Australia were recognised as Australia’s top recyclers. “Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste issues in Australia and it’s great to see MobileMuster bringing industry and local government together to make it easy to recycle and deliver important environmental benefits to our communities.” The top achievers The following councils took out top honours in the awards:
  • 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.
Recycling manager for MobileMuster Spyro Kalos said: “While council collections have been steadily growing in the last couple of years, it’s great to see an even higher lift this year with councils helping inform and educate their residents about recycling.” “In the last year, councils have increased their collections by a huge 25% and recycled over 4.5 tonnes of mobiles phone and components through the program. “Over the last decade, local government partners have collected 35 tonnes of mobiles phone components for recycling, including approximately 420,000 handsets and batteries. “However, with an estimated 23 million old mobile phones sitting in drawers waiting to be recycled, including five million that are broken and no longer working, MobileMuster will continue to work with councils to encourage residents to recycle responsibly,” Mr Kalos said. The top Mobile Muster councils in each state were: New South Wales
  1. Hornsby Shire Council
  2. City of Sydney
  3. Randwick City Council
  4. Lake Macquarie City Council
  5. Burwood Council
Northern Territory
  1. Alice Springs Town Council
  2. East Arnhem Shire Council
  3. West Arnhem Regional Council
Queensland
  1. Brisbane City Council
  2. Redland City Council
  3. Townsville City Council
  4. Scenic Rim Regional Council
  5. Cairns Regional Council
South Australia
  1. City of Onkaparinga
  2. City of Charles Sturt
  3. City of Tea Tree Gully
  4. City of Mitcham
  5. City of Port Adelaide Enfield
Tasmania
  1. Burnie City Council
  2. Launceston City Council
  3. Glenorchy City Council
  4. Break O’Day Council
  5. Kingborough Council
Victoria
  1. Moonee Valley City Council
  2. Nillumbik Shire Council
  3. City of Monash
  4. Latrobe City Council
  5. City of Greater Geelong
Western Australia
  1. City of Stirling
  2. City of South Perth
  3. City of Fremantle
  4. City of Cockburn
  5. City of Vincent
[post_title] => Council recycling up 25% [post_excerpt] => Recycling of old mobile phones by councils is up 25%, to 4.5 tonnes. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-recycling-25 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-27 11:23:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-27 01:23:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27487 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27415 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-06-16 11:31:34 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-16 01:31:34 [post_content] =>   By Charles Pauka Australian governments, vehicle manufacturers, transport technology providers and other interested parties have been asked to contribute to the development of a national safety assurance regime for automated vehicles. The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a discussion paper Regulatory options to assure automated vehicle safety in Australia, which examines the balance between government oversight and industry self-regulation for automated vehicle safety. The paper identifies four regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology. Chief executive of the NTC Paul Retter said Australia’s transport ministers asked the NTC to look at what level of regulation is needed to ensure automated driving technologies are safe now and into the future. “Australian governments are starting to remove legislative barriers to more automated road vehicles. Without a safety assurance system, these vehicles could potentially be deployed with no government oversight or regulatory intervention,” Mr Retter said. Read more here. This story first appeared in Transport and Logistics News.  [post_title] => National safety scheme for automated vehicles [post_excerpt] => National Transport Commission releases discussion paper. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27415 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-16 11:56:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-16 01:56:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27415 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24142 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-12-20 14:00:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-20 03:00:15 [post_content] => dd-buses-web_opt  

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. leyland atlantean_optWith 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.”

sydney-bus-museum-vintage-bus-sydney-comedy-festiv1_optFor 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)
Enhanced services:
  • 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)
Sydney Metropolitan More than 1,950 new weekly trips, including 2 new routes.
  • New route 530 (Burwood to Chatswood via Five Dock, Hunters Hill and Lane Cove)
  • New route 985 (Miranda to Cronulla via Woolooware Shores)
Enhanced services on the following routes:
  • 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)
New all-night services on the following routes:
  • 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
Lower Hunter – More than 170 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • New route 178 (Anambah to Rutherford)
  • Extended routes 260 and 261 (Minmi and Fletcher to Jesmond and University)
Central Coast – 45 new weekly trips, including 1 extended route:
  • 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
Blue Mountains – More than 30 new weekly trips on route 686 between Katoomba, Echo Point and Scenic World Illawarra – More than 240 new weekly trips, including 2 new or extended routes:
  • 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
[post_title] => Best of 2016: High & mighty: double decker buses return to mainstream Sydney route service [post_excerpt] => Back to the Future II [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => double-decker-buses-return-to-mainstream-sydney-route-service [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-12-20 15:26:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-20 04:26:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24142 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 3 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24427 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-18 17:19:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-18 07:19:11 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_24435" align="alignnone" width="300"]iStock_000024856222_Small_opt Legalising Uber will cost $250mil.[/caption]   The Baird Government has officially opened the door to its ambitious $250 million compensation package for New South Wales taxi and hire car licence holders hit by the biggest regulatory shake-up of the sector in the state’s history, urging those affected to apply for “transitional assistance payments” of up to $20,000. The much anticipated compensation cash package comes as Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance presses on with reforms revealed in December last year that effectively legalised ride-sharing operations like Uber in the state at the stroke of a pen –but sent the value of taxi and hire car plates plummeting. Already feeling the heat from competition regulators, the taxi industry in NSW – like other states – had been fighting a rear guard action to maintain what had been a crumbing legal monopoly under siege from online ‘point-to-point’ network operators which use private cars and drivers. Although widely embraced by passengers, the new services created a significant problem for the government because they not only flew under the regulatory radar, but stripped away valuable revenue as well. “We’ve ushered in a new era for the transport economy under the new Point to Point Transport Act, providing taxi, hire car and rideshare customers with more choice and increased competition,” Mr Constance said. “In recognition that these reforms have liberated the point to point market, we’ve put in place one of the most generous industry adjustment packages in the world for taxi licence holders.” While the changes undoubtedly legitimised newer ‘booked services’ operators and drivers who had previously faced stiff fines and prosecution, they also put the onus for compliance back onto network operators and businesses rather than leaving it to individual drivers. At the time Mr Constance vowed the creation of a new, stand-alone, watchdog in the form of a specific Commissioner would be “the toughest regulator the NSW point to point transport industry has ever had.” The Transport Minister also found himself getting some free advice from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak at a press conference that Uber should not be allowed to become a monopoly. Powers provided to the new Commissioner include ability to hit companies that fail to meet safety requirements with big, court imposed fines that are based on an offending firm’s profitability rather than a traditional sliding scale that typically hit drivers rather than their employers. The get tough push also included criminal sanctions and jail sentences of up to two years “for nominated directors and managers found guilty of serious safety breaches” to discourage corners being cut. “For the first time the buck will stop with the company making profit from the services – not just the driver,” Mr Constance said in December last year. But before the regulatory stick is applied, the Baird government wants drivers and operators that have been financially hit by the legalisation of ride sharing to access relief funds. Mr Constance said the NSW Government would now “write to more than 4,000 eligible licence holders” to let them know how to apply for the money, and would process each application “as quickly as possible.” More specifically the $250 million relief package includes:
  • $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.
Mr Constance said affected licence holders would be able to access “dedicated Taxi and Hire Car Business Advisors” as well as or the NSW Taxi Council to get help filing applications for financial relief. Applications for the money close on 13th January 2017 and can be made at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/pointtopoint/industry-assistance. [post_title] => Uber and Out: Claims for Taxi reform compensation cash now open [post_excerpt] => Sharing (the pain) economy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => uber-claims-taxi-reform-compensation-cash-now-open [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-19 10:04:45 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-19 00:04:45 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=24427 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 24328 [post_author] => 671 [post_date] => 2016-07-07 06:00:09 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-06 20:00:09 [post_content] =>   Employee welding using MIG/MAG welder.   [By Geoff Crittenden, chief executive, Welding Technology Institute of Australia] Public safety is at risk unless Australian politicians legislate to enforce compliance with Australian standards for fabricated steel. There are buildings and infrastructure across Australia manufactured from imported fabricated steel that does not meet Australian standards. This country urgently needs laws to ensure all fabricated steel erected in Australia must be certified as compliant with the standards and the standards must be enforced.
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 collapse

Despite 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 required

There 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 policy

Public 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 ) [9] => 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"]Data cloud image_opt 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"]HERE_Infographic_Sensor_ingestion_opt 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 ) [10] => 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"]Rob Fitzpatrick_opt 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 ) [11] => 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"]KellyVille-Platform_With-Station-Attendants-(1)-Accordion-900px_opt $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 ) [12] => 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"]Driverless BMW_opt 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 ) [13] => 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"]Rail Trial Murray to Mountains_opt 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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