Barnaby Joyce said building the Bradfield Scheme to redirect water is the one thing Australia can do to reduce the effects of drought. Is he correct?

Updated 

The claim

Wild weather, floods and drought — and, of course, climate change — have been a key focus of public, academic and political debate in the past year.

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce tweetedon March 3: “Here in Victoria. Bushfires and drought. We must be a nation of vision. The one thing we can do to drive a solution to reduce the effects of drought is build the Bradfield Scheme.”

Barnaby Joyce

@Barnaby_Joyce

Here in Victoria. Bushfires and drought. We must be a nation of vision. The one thing we can do to drive a solution to reduce the effects of drought is build the Bradfield Scheme.

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An ambitious plan from the 1930s, the Bradfield Scheme was aimed at diverting floodwaters from the north of the country inland.

And March’s tweet was not the first time Mr Joyce had mentioned the scheme.

Earlier in the year, in response to the devastating floods in Queensland and one of the driest years on record, he told Sky News: “We could start the process of the Bradfield Scheme”.

“The solution is moving from where we have too much to where not enough, from where there is an abundance to where there is paucity. This is something we could do.

“If that water was to come down, we would have irrigation through western Queensland towns, through western NSW.

“You’d be able to fill up the Menindee Lakes and deal with your problems basically at the lower lakes.”

The NSW Nationals also brought attention to the scheme in February, with a promise to put “$25 million on the table” to investigate building a modern version of the scheme.

“The cyclones, the perennial wet season in Queensland, we can utilise this excess precipitation for the people in NSW,” they said in a Facebook post.

“It just makes sense. We can bring the water to where we need it.”

So, is the Bradfield Scheme the solution to easing the effect of drought and floods in northern Australia?

RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Verdict: pie in the sky.

The viability of the Bradfield Scheme as an irrigation plan has been dismissed many times by experts over the past 80 years.

The scheme has been rebutted on scientific, engineering and economic grounds.

Statutory authorities and government departments, as well as independent researchers, have identified “miscalculations”, “tremendous costs”, “overestimations” and scientific inaccuracies contained in the proposed scheme.

They rejected its promise of moderating the climate and of delivering increased rainfall to Australia’s arid centre.

Experts told Fact Check that engineering solutions and alternative models for diverting water inland could be found, but the costs were likely prohibitive, with no guaranteed agricultural benefits.

“[It] wouldn’t deliver; wouldn’t repay the cost,” said Professor Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW.

“A mad idea for both economic and ecological reasons.”

What is the Bradfield Scheme?

In 1938, John Job Crew (JJC) Bradfield, engineer and principal designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, proposed an ambitious water infrastructure plan that became known as the Bradfield Scheme.

According to a 1947 report by William Nimmo, the chief engineer of the Stanley River Works Board, Bradfield’s 10-page typed plan had been submitted to the office of then-Queensland Premier William Forgan Smith.

It was titled: “Queensland: The Conservation and Utilization of Her Water Resources”.

Studying rainfall patterns, water resources and the impact of drought, Bradfield envisaged a complex hydraulic system using dams, pumps and pipes to divert floodwaters from the coastal rivers of north Queensland inland across the Great Dividing Range.

However, Bradfield’s plan was rejected by the government due to a lack of research and the anticipated high cost of the proposal.

Despite this, Bradfield reportedly continued to push his proposal through the media and in public lectures until his death in 1943.

In 1941, he had expanded his proposal to include extra dams and a larger irrigation area suitable for irrigated crops such as maize, rice and cotton.

Bradfield’s revamped scheme — titled Watering Inland Australia — was published in the Australian illustrated magazine Walkabout in June of that year, and in Rydge’s Business Journal the following October.

Again, the scheme was rejected.

Would it improve the climate?

The Bradfield Scheme had predicted that by increasing irrigation in the dry centre of Australia, the country’s farmland would be expanded, creating jobs, increasing food exports and drawing people to land that was sparsely inhabited.

“Far-reaching schemes are required to ameliorate the climate and rejuvenate inland Australia,” Bradfield wrote in Watering Inland Australia.

“Australia eventually should easily accommodate 90 million people, 30 per square mile.

“A rejuvenated inland, creating employment and settling a population in comfortable circumstances would be one part in such a long-range policy.”

A key point in Bradfield’s theory was that, by supplying water and maintaining permanent water surfaces in the continent’s centre — like a full Lake Eyre in northern South Australia — the centre’s climate would improve with increased rainfall and lowering of temperatures.

He based this suggestion partly on prior research done by meteorologist Edwin T Quayle, who investigated increased annual rainfall around rivers, lakes and irrigated cultivations in western Victoria and South Australia.

In 1945, a committee of four meteorologists established by the Queensland government investigated the expanded Bradfield Scheme, under the direction of H N Warren, director of Meteorological Services.

The committee included Quayle, whose research Bradfield had drawn upon.

Their findings — which were endorsed by all but Quayle — were presented to the federal parliament, and concluded that Bradfield’s increased rainfall suggestion “could not be substantiated”.

It said the potential climatic improvement was “overestimated”.

Earlier this century, another expert group reviewed the scheme, with its findings published in the Australian Meteorological Magazine in 2004.

The paper, co-authored by scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology Research Institute and CSIRO, and with the benefit of longer term data and sophisticated climate models, also considered whether flooding inland Australia could lead to climate amelioration.

To test Bradfield’s theory, the team used examples of international research on the significance of water surfaces to climate amelioration, the results of the earlier reviews of the scheme, and evaporation rates in the area.

They also used large-scale models developed by the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne, namely C-AM (CSIRO conformal cubic atmospheric model) and MUGCM (Melbourne University atmospheric general circulation model).

The experts concluded that diverting floodwaters to the centre of the country and maintaining a full Lake Eyre would change the climate only marginally, if at all.

Dr Neville Nicholls, co-author of the paper and currently emeritus professor at Monash University, told Fact Check that even if large evaporation could be avoided, there would not be substantial changes to the climate.

“We found no evidence that the scheme would help avoid droughts by increasing inland rainfall or decreasing temperature, except very close to the water body,” he said.

Would it be worth the cost?

Another major point of criticism of the Bradfield Scheme was the estimated costs of implementing it.

Bradfield had put the cost of his revised scheme in 1941 at “up to £40 million”, which translates to approximately $3.2 billion in 2018 prices.

Experts said this was likely a gross underestimation.

In 1947, hydraulic engineer William Nimmo’s critical review demonstrated that Bradfield had overestimated the “water capability supply” — the quantity of floodwater available for diversion — by 250 per cent, while grossly underestimating the plan’s cost.

According to Nimmo’s calculations, the cost of delivering water to the Flinders River alone would be almost $6.9 billion (in 2018 dollars).

The cost of taking it over the mountains to potential irrigators would be “enormous”.

letter from the prime minister’s office to the Farmers and Settlers’ Association of NSW that was signed by the minister for post-war reconstruction, John Dedman, referred to both the unfavourable findings of Nimmo’s report and the meteorologists’ earlier review of the scheme.

Nimmo had also found that, in places, ground elevation had been miscalculated and some water diversions would therefore require electricity to be achieved.

This would further drive up running costs.

Experts questioned whether the price of the water making it to the end of the system would be affordable for irrigators.

At the time, according to reports, Nimmo had calculated that the cost to irrigators would be 25 to 30 times the cost of water being supplied to Victorian and New South Wales farms by the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Another study carried out in 1982 by Cameron McNamara, consulting engineers for the Queensland Government, also identified “underestimated costs” and “engineering miscalculations” of the original Bradfield Scheme.

That study also questioned the suitability of the land to be irrigated for certain crops.

Around the same time, others continued to champion a scheme of this nature.

In late 1981, for example, a Queensland Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Water Resources sub-committee — comprising Dr Eric Heidecker, Roy Stainkey and Bob Katter Jnr — introduced the Revised Bradfield Scheme for specific diversions.

However, this iteration of Bradfield’s idea also failed to gain traction.

University of NSW Professor Richard Kingsford told Fact Check that while the cost of implementing the Bradfield Scheme today was estimated to be in the billions of dollars, the main consideration was whether the resultant productivity gains would be enough to justify the cost of diverting the water.

“[It] wouldn’t deliver; wouldn’t repay the cost,” he said.

Dr Daniel Connell, a research fellow at the Australian National University, agreed that the scheme would only be possible with “massive government subsidies which far exceed the value of what would be produced”.

“It’s much cheaper to desalinate water, the cost of which now makes that option feasible for a wealthy city, but still far above what is needed to make agriculture financially viable,” he said.

Experts told Fact Check that alternative models and schemes could be easier — and cheaper — to implement than Bradfield’s, but the extent of any potential agricultural productivity was likely to be fiercely contested.

The environmental impact of diverting floodwater

Professor Kingsford told Fact Check that beyond the recent devastating events in Queensland, floods in general had “a significant role to play in the ecosystem”.

“In the Murray-Darling, we have large areas that are dying with not enough water because, essentially, we have taken the floods away,” he said.

“You take all that water away and you put it somewhere else, you get a collapse of those ecosystems, which has happened in the Nile Delta, it’s happening in the Yangtze [in China] at the moment.”

Diverting floodwaters from their natural paths could cause wide movement of invasive species, collapse marine and estuary ecosystems, and even cause economic damage to coastal communities, according to experts.

He also pointed out that the Snowy Mountains Scheme was like a mini-Bradfield in that it had diverted water successfully to irrigators, although at the same time “it has devastated the [Snowy] river”.

Still making waves, even after decades of rejection

The Bradfield Scheme has continued to get a nod from politicians of varying political hue, including former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (2007) and independent federal MP Bob Katter (2018).

On April 11, One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson kicked off her 2019 Federal Election campaign with a media release that promised: “We will build the hybrid Bradfield Water Scheme and drought-proof much of the country, while solving the issue of water for the Murray Darling.”

Professor Albert Van Dijk, of the Australian National University, told Fact Check that scientists used the term “pipe dream” for such optimistic but outdated ideas.

“Grandiose ideas like these have historically resurfaced every time that elections are held during a drought,” he noted.

“They have been thoroughly debunked as both uneconomical and hugely damaging. There’s really no point debating them again.”

ANU Emeritus Professor of History Tim Griffiths agreed that, historically, the “reviving” of the Bradfield Scheme coincided with droughts, floods and times of crisis in general.

Professors Van Dijk and Kingsford both agreed that there was no easy fix for drought.

“We have to essentially be able to live with the droughts that come regularly to our continent,” Professor Kingsford said.

“The problem is they are getting stronger and more intense as a result of climate change.”

In recent years, federal and state governments have commissioned various studies into Australia’s infrastructure and water security.

Fact Check was unable to find any direct reference to the Bradfield Scheme among them.

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO were unable to provide any more recent research on John Bradfield’s ambitious infrastructure plan.

Principal researcher: Christina Arampatzi

factcheck@rmit.edu.au

Sources

Barnaby Joyce, Twitter, March 3, 2019

Barnaby Joyce, Sky News Opinion Interview, February 2, 2019

NSW Nationals, Facebook Post, February 25, 2019

The Bradfield Scheme: Comments by W.H.R Nimmo (1947), Queensland Government Library Services

Watering Inland Australia (collection: just add water), National Archives of Australia

Watering Inland Australia , by J.J.C Bradfield (1941), National Archives of Australia

Watering Inland Australia, by J.J.C Bradfield (1941), Queensland Government Services

The Bradfield Scheme, critical reviews and discussions, National Archives of Australia

The rainfall response to permanent inland water in Australia, Australian Meteorological Magazine, March 2004

Irrigation vision ‘still article of faith’, The Canberra Times, Trove, January 27, 1983

Barry Jones MP, House of Representatives, December 8, 1983

The Revised Bradfield Scheme (a proposition), Queensland Parliament, November, 1981

Premier Peter Beattie, ABC News Article, February 19, 2007

Bob Katter, House of Representatives, June 27, 2018

Pauline Hanson, Media Release, April 11, 2019

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-24/fact-check-bradfield-scheme-barnaby-joyce-drought/11029284

TWO REPORTS ON LABOR’s PARENT VISA PLAN

 

THE whole Population Ponzi Scheme is on fragile ground … as previously extensively discussed on CAAN, and what is presenting a danger, and disappointing is the Pollies use of WeChat, the access by Migrants and their families to our Politicians … the pressure they are exerting leading up to this Election … how can this not be a concern for our Democracy?

 IT would appear Labor is responding following Scomo having announced on WeChat 15,000 sponsored Parental Visas to be granted each year starting from April 2019 … to capture the High Net Worth from China rather than the Indian Community who are objecting to the fees despite the enormous cost of BILLIONS to the Australian Taxpayer!

That money will be stripped from such services as mental health, schools, homelessness, and the humanitarian stream! ffs … 

WHY can these people simply not visit their families overseas?  That is what happens elsewhere!

AT the same time we are told we need high migration numbers to support OUR EXISTING ageing population?

WHO is running Australia?

https://caanhousinginequalitywithaussieslockedout.wordpress.com/2019/04/10/australians-should-cry-foul-at-scummo-15000-parental-visas/

 

FOLLOWING a report on 2GB and another from the Unconventional Economist!

 

100,000 potential new migrants under Labor’s parent visa plan

 

Demographers are warning of a wave of about 100,000 new migrants under Labor’s plan for an uncapped long-stay parents’ visa. 

The plan would allow for an unlimited number of migrant parents to be reunited with their children with Labor announcing the three-year sponsored parents’ visa would cost $1250 and a five-year visa, $2500.

The Coalition parents’ visa is capped at 15,000 people, costing $5000 for three years and $10,000 for five.

Demographer Bob Birrell has labelled Labor’s plan as “vastly more generous”.

“Currently, there are about 7,000 parent places in the migration program but there’s a backlog of 100,000 applicants.

“These people, you wouldn’t be surprised of course, if they switch to this program.”

Click PLAY to hear the full interview

Labor … to give unlimited visas to migrant elderly parents

By Leith van Onselen

 

In one of the craziest policies ever written, a Shorten Labor Government will dramatically age Australia’s population by uncapping visas allowing migrants to bring their elderly parents into Australia for continuous periods of three or five years. From The Australian:

Labor has revealed its proposed three- and five-year sponsored parents’ visas would cost $1250 and $2500 per entrant — a quarter of the cost of the Coalition’s parents’ visas — and would be available to an unlimited number of applicants.

Labor would also allow a single household to sponsor up to four parents at a time — compared with two under the Coalition — and enable visa-holders to renew their visa in Australia for a second three- or five-year term…

Demographers warned that the backlog of 97,000 ­applicants for permanent parents’ visas could be expected to apply under Labor’s policy, unleashing a 1980s-level surge in migration that would place additional strain on cities and ­services…

Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, about half of whose constituents in his Sydney seat of ­McMahon speak a language other than English, said the new visa was a fair, compassionate way to help migrants reunite with elderly parents…

Mr Bowen said Labor’s pledge was in stark contrast to the ­Coalition’s “heartless, callous and cruel” policy that would force families to choose which parents they sponsored…

Under Labor’s and the Coalition’s policies, applicants would have to obtain health insurance and any debts they incurred during their stay would have to be guaranteed by sponsors.

Demographer Bob Birrell said the uncapped nature of Labor’s policy could drive up demand for hospital beds and doctors. “It is highly likely that demand for particularly health services will grow because of the high incidence of health problems for older people,” he said.

“The question then becomes — if these parents do pay for these services, are they going to out-compete locals seeking the same service?”

While these proposed visas are long stay temporary, the Productivity Commission (PC) estimates that the circa 9,000 permanent parental visas granted each year already cost Australian taxpayers between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms, with the cost rising over time as numbers increase:

Overall, the cumulated lifetime fiscal costs (in net present value terms) of a parent visa holder in 2015-16 is estimated to be between $335 000 and $410 000 per adult, which ultimately must be met by the Australian community. On this basis, the net liability to the Australian community of providing assistance to these 8700 parents over their lifetime ranges between $2.6 and $3.2 billion in present value terms. Given that there is a new inflow each year, the accumulated taxpayer liabilities become very large over time. This is a high cost for a relatively small group.

Ultimately, every dollar spent on one social program must require either additional taxes or forgone government expenditure in other areas. It seems unlikely that parent visas meet the usual standards of proven need, in contrast to areas such as mental health, homelessness or, in the context of immigration, the support of immigrants through the humanitarian stream, and foreign aid.

Given the balance of the costs and benefits, the case for retaining parent visas in their current form is weak”.

Clearly, the open borders nutters at the Labor Party have gone against the explicit recommendation of the PC by announcing the rapid expansion of the parental visa system.

The budgetary cost of having up to 100,000 elderly migrants pile into Australia under Labor’s policy is likely to be enormous –  potentially tens of billions of dollars – and will place immense strains on infrastructure, health and social services, which are already under pressure.

Moreover, with the proposed fees set so low – at around $500 a year – existing residents will be required to foot the cost for the additional investment in hospitals and infrastructure required to meet the additional demand.

Existing residents will also likely see the cost of their private health insurance increase as the elderly migrants become heavy users of the health system, thereby requiring cross-subsidisation.

There is no magic pudding when it comes to the budget, and the massive fiscal cost of Labor’s policy will divert funding from other worthwhile areas, such as raising Newstart, investing in infrastructure, or increasing disability funding.

Labor clearly cares more for the welfare of elderly citizens of other nations than Australian voters. Otherwise, why would they support such egregious fiscal vandalism?

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/04/labor-loons-to-give-unlimited-visas-to-migrant-elderly-parents/

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They were destroyed: Sydney businesses launch light rail lawsuit

Light Rail construction work at Surry Hills. More than 60 businesses have joined the class action against the NSW government seeking compensation of more than $40 million. Picture: News Corp
Light Rail construction work at Surry Hills. More than 60 businesses have joined the class action against the NSW government seeking compensation of more than $40 million. Picture: News Corp

Dozens of businesses and landlords outraged over the delayed light rail project from Sydney’s CBD to the eastern suburbs have filed a class action lawsuit against the NSW government.

The case, which has more than 60 claimants so far, was filed in the NSW Supreme Court on Tuesday morning and seeks millions in compensation from the government over “poor” planning decisions.

The business owners say the state government’s multi-billion dollar light rail project has caused them “substantial” loss and damages, Mitry Lawyers said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sophie Hunt, of Hunt Leather on George Street, has seen sales decline by 50 per cent since construction works began in October 2015.

“The effect has been devastating (with) horrendous dust, staff with migraines, bleeding noses, ear pain, asthma attacks, how can you sell in that condition?” Ms Hunt told reporters outside the Supreme Court.

For lease signs in Crown Street, Surry Hills, along the Light Rail construction corridor. Picture: Toby Zerna
For lease signs in Crown Street, Surry Hills, along the Light Rail construction corridor. Picture: Toby Zerna

“Of course I’m angry, we were perfectly fine. We’ve had to sack people, we’ve had to take on a second mortgage through no fault of our own — if it had have been six to eight months (as promised) we would have been fine.” Ms Hunt said her business had been affected for more than two-and-a-half years. Lawyer Rick Mitry argued his clients have a strong case against Transport for NSW.

“Quite frankly, to see the despair on some of their faces disturbed me,” Mr Mitry said on Tuesday.

“Their businesses were destroyed and they were destroyed.” The class of 60 businesses is expected to grow as the case gains momentum. The lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions hanging over the light rail project to Randwick and Kingsford.

Spanish sub-contractor Acciona is seeking an extra $1.2 billion saying it was misled over the complexity of the project.

Queensland-based contractor VAC Group is seeking $4 million plus damages from the government because of alleged misleading and deceptive conduct. The light rail was meant to be finished in 2019 but main contractor ALTRAC told the government in April the new completion date was March 2020. The project was originally budgeted to cost $1.6 billion before a $500 million blowout.

Despite the issues, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she’s “not concerned at all” about the “amazing project”.

— AAP

The light rail was meant to be finished in 2019, but that date has blown to March 2020. It was budgeted to cost $1.6 billion before a $500 million blowout. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone
The light rail was meant to be finished in 2019, but that date has blown to March 2020. It was budgeted to cost $1.6 billion before a $500 million blowout. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone

SOURCE:  https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/they-were-destroyed-sydney-businesses-launch-light-rail-lawsuit/news-story/98593c225e98e2e7ccd3d7056ef970c2

SYDNEY’s LIGHT RAIL FARCE ESCALATES

‘THE incompetence of the NSW Government is staggering.

IT has messed up nearly every major INFRASTRUCTURE project that it has embarked upon in a futile attempt to keep pace with Sydney’s break-neck population growth.’ 

AND it would appear the Federal LNP policies allowing high immigration, Visa Manipulation & Permanent Residency have facilitated the NSW Farce and COST NSW Incumbents far too much!

ABC photoA streetscape

Sydney’s light rail farce escalates

By Leith van Onselen

 

In the wake of the massive cost blow-outs and delays hitting both the Parramatta Light Rail Project and the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project, the former head of Infrastructure NSW, Paul Broad, in June described the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project as a waste of money and a vanity project that should have never been started.

This was immediately followed by a secret report prepared by the NSW State Government’s own experts – the Transport for NSW’s urban domain reference group – which warned the plan for Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project was ill-conceived from the outset.

In August, NSW Auditor-General Margaret Crawford slammed the management of the Eastern Suburbs Light Rail Project, claiming the Government’s failure to conduct a proper business case has led to a $500 million cost blowout. RBA Governor, Phil Lowe, also panned the project as a textbook example of poor oversight.

 

Construction opposite a cafe.

ABC Photo

In September, the farce intensified further with more than 60 businesses and landlords launching a class action lawsuitagainst the NSW Government. It was also revealed that NSW taxpayers are on the hook for a $500 million loan undertaken by the consortium building Sydney’s light rail project.

 

The light rail was meant to be finished in 2019, but that date has blown to March 2020. It was budgeted to cost $1.6 billion before a $500 million blowout. Picture: Flavio Brancaleone

Then in November, the Auditor-General released a report predicting further cost blow-outs.

As we already know, Spanish subcontractor Acciona sued the NSW Government for $1.2 billion, in addition to the projects existing $2.1 billion cost, claiming it had been misled about the cost of ripping up powerlines under the CBD and replacing them.

Sydneysiders also face a one-year delay for the project to be finished.

Today, it has been revealed that a contractor was paid almost $500,000 by the NSW Government to prevent it from being ripped off. From The Australian:

The NSW government is paying a contractor $471,240 a year to ensure that it is paying the right extra “variations” — or payments in excess of what has been contracted…

The government tenders website reveals that between April last year and the end of March, East West Services Pty Ltd was paid the money to “conduct general assessment of variations and claims” and “undertake assessment of cost entitlement for variations and claims”…

Opposition transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said that “the Liberals’ incompetence now requires further money for contractor claims and modifications that should never have happened”.

“This government has given the consultants and financiers another hefty payday at the expense of taxpayers,” she said.

The incompetence of the NSW Government is staggering. It has messed up nearly every major infrastructure project that it has embarked upon in a futile attempt to keep pace with Sydney’s break-neck population growth.

Let’s hope it can do better this term.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

 

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/04/sydneys-light-rail-farce-escalates/

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MAKE AUSTRALIA STUPID: CHECK BAGGAGE

AS WE KEEP SAYIN’ … check the preferences of fringe parties like that of Pauline and Clive with preferences for the LIBS … we don’t want to be back where we started, do we?

With even more of the same X 2 Ham Actors at the helm … ?

NO Party is going to deliver on all that we want … it will be a compromise to get the best we can in the interests of Our Youth, their future prospects for jobs …

WHEN a few boomers refer to Millennials as being jealous … or suggest they do not work so hard … boomers were protected by Award rates of Pay, many gained free University education, with incomes that enabled them to save a home deposit before they were 30!

NOW we have Gen Rent …

 

Please consider voting for … Housing, Our Environment, Health and well-being of Our Society, Wages Growth! … over the interests of Big Business, foreign buyers, China … The Caymans …

P.S. CLIVE PALMER IS CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THE HUGE CHINESE BUY-UP OF AUSTRALIA … BUT WHO IS FINANCING HIS $30 – $50M CAMPAIGN?

A. HIS ESTRANGED CHINESE BUSINESS PARTNER! (ABC THE DRUM: 24 APRIL 2019)

 

 

United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer is on track to deliver perhaps the biggest election upset. Picture: Shae Beplate.

Clive has spent $30M on his campaign! United Australia Party leader Clive Palmer is on track to deliver perhaps the biggest election upset. Picture: Shae Beplate.Source:News Corp Australia

 

ALBO SLAMS ‘OUTRAGEOUS PALMER’

 
Sky News Australia✔@SkyNewsAust.@AlboMP: Today I have announced an inquiry into the inland railway debacle and the government’s handling of that… particularly the role of @Barnaby_Joyce when he was the infrastructure minister.MORE: http://bit.ly/2DweJNU  #amagenda

29

9:17 AM – Apr 23, 2019

29 people are talking about this

Labor frontbencher Anthony Albanese has launched an attack against Clive Palmer after polling showed the former MP could be a kingmaker at the next election, warning Australians of the problems with voting for fringe parties.

Mr Albanese also lashed Mr Palmer’s $30 million advertising campaign, which is being funded through his company Minerology, whose headquarters are now in New Zealand.

Asked if he was surprised by Mr Palmer’s rising popularity, as revealed in today’s Newspoll, given the “debacle” of the Palmer United Party in the 44th parliament, Mr Albanese told Sky News:

“It was a debacle and what’s more of course his attitude towards the workers in Townsville (at his Queensland Nickel refinery) was quite outrageous.

“I think people need to be very clear about voting for these fringe parties and be clear that they won’t necessarily get what they think they’re voting for.

We know that with these fringe parties, what has happened is that senators have been elected and then they’ve resigned, become independents, joined other parties, had all sorts of moving chairs in the Senate. It was hard to keep up with who was a member of where during the last term of office I’ve got to say.

“The irony of Clive Palmer and where his money is coming from, to fund this advertising campaign that is speaking about having a concern about foreign investment in Australia is quite frankly breathtaking.”

Mr Albanese could not say if Labor would try and clinch preference deals with Mr Palmer’s United Australia Party.

“That’s above my pay grade. What we’re concerned about is having primary votes for the Labor Party,” he said.

AND THIS!

Can “make Australia stupid again” save Scummo?

 

Clive Palmer, who was the Member for Fairfax, shown falling asleep during House of Representatives Question Time in May 2014.

Clive Palmer, who was the Member for Fairfax, shown falling asleep during House of Representatives Question Time in May 2014.Source:AAP

 

The Australian is excited:

Scott Morrison is on the verge of securing a preference deal with Clive Palmer that would all but guarantee the Queensland billionaire a Senate spot and help ring-fence marginal seats the Coalition must hold to retain government.

Under the deal being finalised, Mr Palmer’s United Australia Party would be placed ahead of One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party on the Liberal and LNP how-to-vote cards for the Senate.

 

One Nation's Pauline Hanson has attacked Clive Palmer’s $30 million spend on his campaign. Picture: Tricia Watkinson

One Nation’s Pauline Hanson has attacked Clive Palmer’s $30 million spend on his campaign. Picture: Tricia WatkinsonSource:News Corp Australia

 

In return, UAP would preference the Liberals and LNP second on its how-to-vote cards — a move that could be a key factor in determining the outcome in a batch of marginal seats.

And News:

The UAP recorded a primary vote of 14 per cent in the Queensland seat Herbert, where its candidate is former State of Origin player Greg Dowling.

The party is sitting on a vote of 8 per cent in Pearce (WA), 7 per cent in Lindsay (NSW) and 5 per cent in Deakin (VIC).

The average of those primary votes, which is about 8 per cent, would put the UAP ahead of One Nation and potentially give it the balance of power in the Senate.

By buying a lot of One Nation votes, Clive Palmer’s “make Australia stupid again (MASA)” campaign is a fillip for the Coalition but it is not a game changer for the result.

With two party preferred polls still sitting at 52-48 favouring Labor, the election would see Labor win the election 82 seats to 63. Even if the preference deal were to shift that by four seats the result is still decisive to Labor.

Where it may end up being more important is in the constitution of the senate. If MASA can gain a few senate spots then it strengthens the hand of the entire cross-bench in the forthcoming negotiations over Labor’s tax reform package. With Centre Alliance, One Nation and MASA all resistant to franking credit and negative gearing reform, large concessions may be necessary to get the package through the senate.

MAKE AUSTRALIA STUPID!

 

You can’t miss Clive Palmer’s bright yellow billboards.

You can’t miss Clive Palmer’s bright yellow billboards.Source:AAP

 

The largest impact of MASA may be in boosting property market prospects, truly making Australia stupid again.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/04/can-make-australia-stupid-save-scummo/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20MacroBusiness&utm_content=Daily%20MacroBusiness+CID_bf5d7fbec5da8e144f527f667b82919d&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Can%20make%20Australia%20stupid%20again%20save%20Scummo

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Universities deny problems with international student visas

 

Universities deny problems with international student visas

 

By Leith van Onselen

Hot on the heels of Dr Bob Birrell’s damning report on Australia’s ballooning international student trade, and the erosion of education standards, universities have come out swinging, denying there are problems. From The Australian:

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson said the English language standards set for international students were similar to those in the US and Britain, and overseas students at academic institutions in Australia had similar success in completing their studies compared with local students.

*Ms Jackson said Department of Education data showed student success rates at 86 per cent for international students and 84 per cent for domestic students.

“International education is about strengthening ties with our region and being part of the ­global community,” she said. “When international students choose to study in Australia, they build relationships with our students and our country that last a lifetime.”

*Lies, damned lies and statistics.

As shown by the Australian Population Research Institute, Non-English-Speaking-Countries (NESC) represented 84% of overseas born persons aged 25-34 who held degree or above level qualifications at the time of the 2016 Census.

*Alarmingly, only 24% of the NESC group were employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of MainEnglish-Speaking-Countries (MESC) and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates:

 

Moreover, problems with NESC international students have been well known for years.

For example, four years ago ABC’s Four Corners ran a detailed report, entitled “Degrees of Deception”, which uncovered rampant cheating and plagiarism across Australia’s universities by international students, as well as the deep erosion of standards:

Four Corners investigation has unearthed alarming new evidence of a decline in academic standards at institutions around the country.

Lecturers and tutors are grappling with a tide of academic misconduct and pressure from faculty managers to pass weak students. Many say commercial imperatives are overtaking academic rigour.

But why is this happening?…

Right now the country’s 40 universities are pulling in billions of dollars from students who are desperate for a degree from an Australian university and the possibility of a job and permanent residency.

But to ensure a steady flow of students from overseas, universities have had to ensure their entry requirements are sufficiently low…

Academics are under pressure to pass students, irrespective of their ability, in order to keep revenue from overseas students flowing in… very few university employees can openly acknowledge these problems. Those who do, say that they face the possibility they will lose their job…

This week, reporter Linton Besser also provides alarming evidence of corruption among the network of overseas agents who tout for business on universities’ behalf.

“The risk is they’re going to put applicants through to the university with fake qualifications or who they know have cheated on tests, or who are trying to undertake some sort of visa fraud. – Corruption investigator

Ironically, these forces are also placing international students under enormous pressure.

Despite the promises of agents, and after meeting universities’ entry requirements, many don’t have the level of English needed to successfully undertake a degree course.

Four Corners’ report was ignored entirely by Australia’s policy makers. And since it aired four years ago, international student numbers have ballooned to around half a million:

Standards have also continued to slip.

 

Graphic showing there are 640,362 international students in Australia as of 2018.

 

An ABC investigation last year “uncovered an abundance of international students who describe struggling to communicate effectively in English, participate in class, or complete assignments adequately”.

Various academics, employers and education experts also told the ABC that “English language standards are often too low or can be sidestepped via loopholes, and that students are often put in stressful classroom situations that can lead to cheating”.

 

Where Australia's international students come from. Source: Federal Department of Education and Training August 2018.

 

Earlier this year, the Victorian Government called for a review of university entry requirements amid concerns that international students with limited English are struggling to keep pace with their Australian peers:

Premier Daniel Andrews has written a letter to the National Tertiary Education Union promising to take up the issue of English entry standards with the federal government.

Acting Minister for Higher Education James Merlino said the situation was unfair on international students and teachers.

“International students are a vital part of Victoria’s education system but it’s concerning that some students are enrolled in courses without adequate English language skills to complete them,” he said.

Academics, tutors and students say some international students are struggling to understand instructions in class, complete assignments and communicate with other students.

They say English standards have been set too low and can be bypassed by enrolling in bridging courses.

The very next day, university academics “inundated” Fairfax with complaints that they are being forced to pander to international students with limited English:

Academics say they feel pressured to pass struggling international students as concerns grow about universities enrolling students with little English.

One scholar said this “moral and ethical quandary” was behind his decision to leave Australia and find work overseas.

“Once international student enrolment in our course surpassed 50 per cent, there was significant pressure to pass work which we would not have only a few years prior,” he said.

“Beyond the fact that no academic wants to fail a student, failing a significant proportion of a class reflects poorly on the teaching staff and the program.”

He is among more than 60 academics, tutors, students and parents who inundated The Age on Wednesday with their concerns about the inadequate English skills of some international students.

Even the international student association admits there are deep problems, calling for action against widespread cheating to get into Australian university:

International student associations are calling for more regulation of overseas migration agents as they reveal cheating on English tests required for Australian universities can be common practice.

The test is taken before a student is granted a visa and accepted into a tertiary education institution.

The ABC spoke to one international student, Maria Shumusti, who said she knew at least five students who had cheated.

Ms Sharmusti was previously the public relations officer with Council of International Students Australia.

Australian Federation of International Students former president, Pratik Ambani, also suspected some students were guilty of cheating and believed it was a common practice overseas.

Clearly there are deep problems within the university system that necessitate thorough investigation.

Therefore, one of the first orders of business for the incoming federal government should be to engage the Productivity Commission to undertake a warts-and-all inquiry into Australia’s bloated international student trade. This would provide Australians with a transparent analysis of the costs and benefits from this program.

As an aside, I discussed the issue yesterday on Radio 2GB:  View Source link for Video.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

 

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/04/universities-deny-problems-international-student-visas/?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20MacroBusiness&utm_content=Daily%20MacroBusiness+CID_bf5d7fbec5da8e144f527f667b82919d&utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software&utm_term=Universities%20deny%20problems%20with%20international%20student%20visas

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Barnaby Joyce said building the Bradfield Scheme to redirect water is the one thing Australia can do to reduce the effects of drought. Is he correct?

Updated 

The claim

Wild weather, floods and drought — and, of course, climate change — have been a key focus of public, academic and political debate in the past year.

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce tweeted on March 3: “Here in Victoria. Bushfires and drought. We must be a nation of vision. The one thing we can do to drive a solution to reduce the effects of drought is build the Bradfield Scheme.”

Barnaby Joyce

@Barnaby_Joyce

Here in Victoria. Bushfires and drought. We must be a nation of vision. The one thing we can do to drive a solution to reduce the effects of drought is build the Bradfield Scheme.

608 people are talking about this

An ambitious plan from the 1930s, the Bradfield Scheme was aimed at diverting floodwaters from the north of the country inland.

And March’s tweet was not the first time Mr Joyce had mentioned the scheme.

Earlier in the year, in response to the devastating floods in Queensland and one of the driest years on record, he told Sky News: “We could start the process of the Bradfield Scheme”.

“The solution is moving from where we have too much to where not enough, from where there is an abundance to where there is paucity. This is something we could do.

“If that water was to come down, we would have irrigation through western Queensland towns, through western NSW.

“You’d be able to fill up the Menindee Lakes and deal with your problems basically at the lower lakes.”

The NSW Nationals also brought attention to the scheme in February, with a promise to put “$25 million on the table” to investigate building a modern version of the scheme.

“The cyclones, the perennial wet season in Queensland, we can utilise this excess precipitation for the people in NSW,” they said in a Facebook post.

“It just makes sense. We can bring the water to where we need it.”

So, is the Bradfield Scheme the solution to easing the effect of drought and floods in northern Australia?

RMIT ABC Fact Check investigates.

The verdict

Verdict: pie in the sky.

The viability of the Bradfield Scheme as an irrigation plan has been dismissed many times by experts over the past 80 years.

The scheme has been rebutted on scientific, engineering and economic grounds.

Statutory authorities and government departments, as well as independent researchers, have identified “miscalculations”, “tremendous costs”, “overestimations” and scientific inaccuracies contained in the proposed scheme.

They rejected its promise of moderating the climate and of delivering increased rainfall to Australia’s arid centre.

Experts told Fact Check that engineering solutions and alternative models for diverting water inland could be found, but the costs were likely prohibitive, with no guaranteed agricultural benefits.

“[It] wouldn’t deliver; wouldn’t repay the cost,” said Professor Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW.

“A mad idea for both economic and ecological reasons.”

What is the Bradfield Scheme?

In 1938, John Job Crew (JJC) Bradfield, engineer and principal designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, proposed an ambitious water infrastructure plan that became known as the Bradfield Scheme.

According to a 1947 report by William Nimmo, the chief engineer of the Stanley River Works Board, Bradfield’s 10-page typed plan had been submitted to the office of then-Queensland Premier William Forgan Smith.

It was titled: “Queensland: The Conservation and Utilization of Her Water Resources”.

Studying rainfall patterns, water resources and the impact of drought, Bradfield envisaged a complex hydraulic system using dams, pumps and pipes to divert floodwaters from the coastal rivers of north Queensland inland across the Great Dividing Range.

However, Bradfield’s plan was rejected by the government due to a lack of research and the anticipated high cost of the proposal.

Despite this, Bradfield reportedly continued to push his proposal through the media and in public lectures until his death in 1943.

In 1941, he had expanded his proposal to include extra dams and a larger irrigation area suitable for irrigated crops such as maize, rice and cotton.

Bradfield’s revamped scheme — titled Watering Inland Australia — was published in the Australian illustrated magazine Walkabout in June of that year, and in Rydge’s Business Journal the following October.

Again, the scheme was rejected.

Would it improve the climate?

The Bradfield Scheme had predicted that by increasing irrigation in the dry centre of Australia, the country’s farmland would be expanded, creating jobs, increasing food exports and drawing people to land that was sparsely inhabited.

“Far-reaching schemes are required to ameliorate the climate and rejuvenate inland Australia,” Bradfield wrote in Watering Inland Australia.

“Australia eventually should easily accommodate 90 million people, 30 per square mile.

“A rejuvenated inland, creating employment and settling a population in comfortable circumstances would be one part in such a long-range policy.”

A key point in Bradfield’s theory was that, by supplying water and maintaining permanent water surfaces in the continent’s centre — like a full Lake Eyre in northern South Australia — the centre’s climate would improve with increased rainfall and lowering of temperatures.

He based this suggestion partly on prior research done by meteorologist Edwin T Quayle, who investigated increased annual rainfall around rivers, lakes and irrigated cultivations in western Victoria and South Australia.

In 1945, a committee of four meteorologists established by the Queensland government investigated the expanded Bradfield Scheme, under the direction of H N Warren, Director of Meteorological Services.

The committee included Quayle, whose research Bradfield had drawn upon.

Their findings — which were endorsed by all but Quayle — were presented to the federal parliament, and concluded that Bradfield’s increased rainfall suggestion “could not be substantiated”.

It said the potential climatic improvement was “overestimated”.

Earlier this century, another expert group reviewed the scheme, with its findings published in the Australian Meteorological Magazine in 2004.

The paper, co-authored by scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology Research Institute and CSIRO, and with the benefit of longer term data and sophisticated climate models, also considered whether flooding inland Australia could lead to climate amelioration.

To test Bradfield’s theory, the team used examples of international research on the significance of water surfaces to climate amelioration, the results of the earlier reviews of the scheme, and evaporation rates in the area.

They also used large-scale models developed by the CSIRO and the University of Melbourne, namely C-AM (CSIRO conformal cubic atmospheric model) and MUGCM (Melbourne University atmospheric general circulation model).

The experts concluded that diverting floodwaters to the centre of the country and maintaining a full Lake Eyre would change the climate only marginally, if at all.

Dr Neville Nicholls, co-author of the paper and currently emeritus professor at Monash University, told Fact Check that even if large evaporation could be avoided, there would not be substantial changes to the climate.

“We found no evidence that the scheme would help avoid droughts by increasing inland rainfall or decreasing temperature, except very close to the water body,” he said.

Would it be worth the cost?

Another major point of criticism of the Bradfield Scheme was the estimated costs of implementing it.

Bradfield had put the cost of his revised scheme in 1941 at “up to £40 million”, which translates to approximately $3.2 billion in 2018 prices.

Experts said this was likely a gross underestimation.

In 1947, hydraulic engineer William Nimmo’s critical review demonstrated that Bradfield had overestimated the “water capability supply” — the quantity of floodwater available for diversion — by 250 per cent, while grossly underestimating the plan’s cost.

According to Nimmo’s calculations, the cost of delivering water to the Flinders River alone would be almost $6.9 billion (in 2018 dollars).

The cost of taking it over the mountains to potential irrigators would be “enormous”.

letter from the prime minister’s office to the Farmers and Settlers’ Association of NSW that was signed by the minister for post-war reconstruction, John Dedman, referred to both the unfavourable findings of Nimmo’s report and the meteorologists’ earlier review of the scheme.

Nimmo had also found that, in places, ground elevation had been miscalculated and some water diversions would therefore require electricity to be achieved.

This would further drive up running costs.

Experts questioned whether the price of the water making it to the end of the system would be affordable for irrigators.

At the time, according to reports, Nimmo had calculated that the cost to irrigators would be 25 to 30 times the cost of water being supplied to Victorian and New South Wales farms by the Snowy Mountains Scheme.

Another study carried out in 1982 by Cameron McNamara, consulting engineers for the Queensland Government, also identified “underestimated costs” and “engineering miscalculations” of the original Bradfield Scheme.

That study also questioned the suitability of the land to be irrigated for certain crops.

Around the same time, others continued to champion a scheme of this nature.

In late 1981, for example, a Queensland Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) Water Resources sub-committee — comprising Dr Eric Heidecker, Roy Stainkey and Bob Katter Jnr — introduced the Revised Bradfield Scheme for specific diversions.

However, this iteration of Bradfield’s idea also failed to gain traction.

University of NSW Professor Richard Kingsford told Fact Check that while the cost of implementing the Bradfield Scheme today was estimated to be in the billions of dollars, the main consideration was whether the resultant productivity gains would be enough to justify the cost of diverting the water.

“[It] wouldn’t deliver; wouldn’t repay the cost,” he said.

Dr Daniel Connell, a research fellow at the Australian National University, agreed that the scheme would only be possible with “massive government subsidies which far exceed the value of what would be produced”.

“It’s much cheaper to desalinate water, the cost of which now makes that option feasible for a wealthy city, but still far above what is needed to make agriculture financially viable,” he said.

Experts told Fact Check that alternative models and schemes could be easier — and cheaper — to implement than Bradfield’s, but the extent of any potential agricultural productivity was likely to be fiercely contested.

The environmental impact of diverting floodwater

Professor Kingsford told Fact Check that beyond the recent devastating events in Queensland, floods in general had “a significant role to play in the ecosystem”.

“In the Murray-Darling, we have large areas that are dying with not enough water because, essentially, we have taken the floods away,” he said.

“You take all that water away and you put it somewhere else, you get a collapse of those ecosystems, which has happened in the Nile Delta, it’s happening in the Yangtze [in China] at the moment.”

Diverting floodwaters from their natural paths could cause wide movement of invasive species, collapse marine and estuary ecosystems, and even cause economic damage to coastal communities, according to experts.

He also pointed out that the Snowy Mountains Scheme was like a mini-Bradfield in that it had diverted water successfully to irrigators, although at the same time “it has devastated the [Snowy] river”.

Still making waves, even after decades of rejection

The Bradfield Scheme has continued to get a nod from politicians of varying political hue, including former Queensland premier Peter Beattie (2007) and independent federal MP Bob Katter (2018).

On April 11, One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson kicked off her 2019 Federal Election campaign with a media release that promised: “We will build the hybrid Bradfield Water Scheme and drought-proof much of the country, while solving the issue of water for the Murray Darling.”

Professor Albert Van Dijk, of the Australian National University, told Fact Check that scientists used the term “pipe dream” for such optimistic but outdated ideas.

“Grandiose ideas like these have historically resurfaced every time that elections are held during a drought,” he noted.

“They have been thoroughly debunked as both uneconomical and hugely damaging. There’s really no point debating them again.”

ANU Emeritus Professor of History Tim Griffiths agreed that, historically, the “reviving” of the Bradfield Scheme coincided with droughts, floods and times of crisis in general.

Professors Van Dijk and Kingsford both agreed that there was no easy fix for drought.

“We have to essentially be able to live with the droughts that come regularly to our continent,” Professor Kingsford said.

“The problem is they are getting stronger and more intense as a result of climate change.”

In recent years, federal and state governments have commissioned various studies into Australia’s infrastructure and water security.

Fact Check was unable to find any direct reference to the Bradfield Scheme among them.

The Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO were unable to provide any more recent research on John Bradfield’s ambitious infrastructure plan.

Principal researcher: Christina Arampatzi

factcheck@rmit.edu.au

Sources

Barnaby Joyce, Twitter, March 3, 2019

Barnaby Joyce, Sky News Opinion Interview, February 2, 2019

NSW Nationals, Facebook Post, February 25, 2019

The Bradfield Scheme: Comments by W.H.R Nimmo (1947), Queensland Government Library Services

Watering Inland Australia (collection: just add water), National Archives of Australia

Watering Inland Australia , by J.J.C Bradfield (1941), National Archives of Australia

Watering Inland Australia, by J.J.C Bradfield (1941), Queensland Government Services

The Bradfield Scheme, critical reviews and discussions, National Archives of Australia

The rainfall response to permanent inland water in Australia, Australian Meteorological Magazine, March 2004

Irrigation vision ‘still article of faith’, The Canberra Times, Trove, January 27, 1983

Barry Jones MP, House of Representatives, December 8, 1983

The Revised Bradfield Scheme (a proposition), Queensland Parliament, November, 1981

Premier Peter Beattie, ABC News Article, February 19, 2007

Bob Katter, House of Representatives, June 27, 2018

Pauline Hanson, Media Release, April 11, 2019

WHAT I WISH THE PREVIOUS TENANTS TOLD ME BEFORE I MOVED IN

As a renter you have a measly 15-minute window to figure out if it’s the place you want to live in for the next six to 12 months. Photo: Jessica Hromas

What I wish the previous tenants told me before I moved in

ANALYSIS

Chinese economic revival may not be as good as you’d expect for Australia

23 APRIL 2019

China’s strong economic growth numbers released last week were acknowledged by the nation’s leadership in a Friday statement that slipped under the radar during Australia’s long weekend.

Key points:

  • China’s leadership has acknowledged a turning point for economic growth, which held steady at 6.4pc
  • The Politburo has increased its focus on reforms to contain risk and reduce debt
  • Analysts say the scale of policy stimulus has been smaller than past slowdowns and they do not expect a big rebound in growth

The nation’s top decision-making body — the Central Politburo of the Communist Party — confirmed growth during the first quarter had been better than expected.

The 6.4-per-cent March-quarter growth rate was in-line with the rate recorded over the last three months of 2018 and higher than the 6.3 per cent typically forecast by analysts.

The most surprising figure, though, was industrial production, which surged from the previous month’s annual growth rate of 5.3 per cent to 8.5 per cent, well above forecasts of 5.9 per cent.

However, while most economists welcomed the rebound in economic indicators, many are warning the recovery is likely to be a stabilisation not a sustained improvement.

“While the monthly data are likely to bounce around, we don’t really expect a meaningful recovery in growth over the next 6-12 months,” wrote Neil Shearing, the global chief economist at Capital Economics.

“Policymakers in Beijing are more cognisant now than in the past of financial vulnerabilities stemming from rising debt levels.

“Accordingly, the scale of policy stimulus this time has been much smaller than in previous downturns. Beijing has done enough to stabilise the economy but investors betting on a vigorous recovery in growth are likely to be disappointed.”

Politburo focused on reforms to contain risk, reduce debt

This sentiment appears to be confirmed by a statement released by the Politburo on Friday.

“Economic priority has likely shifted from stabilisation to reforms, containing risk, deleveraging, and housing market policy again”, Citi’s China economics team noted.

“Moreover, the deleveraging and housing market policy, which were omitted in the 18Q4 meeting, are restated as policy priorities.

“On housing policy, the authorities emphasised the goal to ‘reform and improve the control mechanism’ in the housing market, and re-mentions Xi’s mantra for long-term housing policy that ‘houses are meant for living, not for speculation’ as well as the latest ‘one city, one policy’.”

 

This means most China watchers do not expect further large stimulus measures, such as a dramatic cut in bank reserve requirements that would boost lending.

“As the statement did not mention ‘keeping liquidity reasonably ample’ as it did previously, we believe that going forward, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) will be more prudent in order to control macro leverage,” observed ANZ’s China economists.

This is part of the ongoing process of trying to limit China’s large debt burden, which has grown substantially since the global financial crisis, and to ensure the more productive, rather than speculative, allocation of that debt.

Commodity producers

Chinese authorities are also trying to engineer a shift away from heavy industrial production, infrastructure and apartment developments towards greater consumer spending on goods and services.

 

However, this change will be painful for those employed in China’s industrial and property sectors, so Mr Shearing expects authorities may squib on the reforms leading to continued falls in the nation’s growth rate, possibly as low as 2 per cent over the next 10-15 years.

“For the US, Europe and other developed economies the headwinds posed by a slowing Chinese economy over the long term are in fact likely to be overwhelmed by other factors — most notably whether the development of digital technologies ultimately feed into faster productivity growth,” he predicted.

“In contrast, industrial commodity producers [particularly in Latin America and Africa] are likely to bear the brunt of China’s structural weakness as demand for the raw materials that were sucked in by its investment boom over the past decade wanes.”

While being a developed nation, Australia also falls into that second camp of industrial commodity production, meaning it may also be hit hard by this transition.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-04-23/chinese-economic-revival-may-see-stimulus-wound-back/11037872

Combustible Alucobond cladding ‘not safe’ under consumer law

 

 

Combustible Alucobond cladding ‘not safe’ under consumer law

Michael Bleby

Michael BlebySenior Reporter
Apr 22, 2019

 

 

Apartment owners in Australia’s first-ever combustible cladding class action say Alucobond supplier Halifax Vogel Group and manufacturer 3A Composites  should replace the combustible panels on their Dolls Point building and pay compensation for costs such as higher insurance premiums.

Lead applicants in the case, backed by litigation funder IMF Bentham and represented by William Roberts Lawyers, argue that the polyethylene-core panels failed to meet standards set by consumer protection laws and carried a “material risk” of causing or spreading fire, and increasing the risks to life or property in the event of a fire at their southern Sydney building.

The argument by owners of the 17 apartments sidesteps debate about the panels’ compliance with the building code, a key feature of last year’s ground-breaking Lacrosse case in which apartment owners sought damages from builder LU Simon.

Owners of the 17 apartments in Shore Dolls Point, at 172-174 Russell Avenue, are lead claimants in the cladding class action suit against the suppliers of Alucobond panels.  Louise Kennerley

 

“What we allege is that the product was unsafe, and not fit for purpose,” said
IMF Bentham investment manager Gavin Beardsell on Monday.

No doubt within that the argument’s about whether at the relevant time the product in question complied with the Building Code of Australia, but that is not the ultimate issue we have to prove.”

 

While consumer law has long given individual consumers a means of redress for defective products against manufacturers with whom they have no direct relationship, it is the first time the law has been used to bring a claim in relation to combustible cladding.

A judgment, or settlement prior to judgment, could give the compensation to owners of potentially thousands of apartments across Australia, as well as owners of commercial and government buildings and even long-term leaseholders with the obligation to rectify defects.

The statement of claim filed in the Federal Court shows owners in the four-level Shore building at 172-174 Russell Avenue argue that Alucobond PE-core cladding was “at all material times” a good acquired for consumption under Australian Consumer Law and was, accordingly, subject to ACL guarantee that it be of acceptable quality.

 

A further argument made by the owners of the building completed in 2012 is that the panels used on the building were not of “merchantable quality”, that is,  not fit for the purpose for which they were sold, under the Trade Practices Act.

HVG chief executive Bruce Rayment did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Shores Dolls Point, developed by a company called Prestige Apartments Australia, was completed in 2012.  In December 2013, a 148-square-metre two-bedroom apartment sold for $930,000, 15 months after it sold off-plan for $800,000, records show.

The case is still at early stages. The applicants are still going through the processes of serving papers on Osnabruck, Germany-based 3A Composites.

Halifax Vogel, represented by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan lawyers, was only required to file a defence and an initial tranche of Alucobond-related marketing materials, along with an affidavit as to what other relevant documents were discoverable, to the Federal Court earlier this month.

Mr Beardsell said his side was unlikely to disclose the identity of other applicants joining the class, as owners did not generally want to make it public that their building had combustible cladding.

 

“One benefit of being in this class action is your identity is not known or disclosed as a group member,” he said.

The class isn’t only open to owners of private buildings, but to government and other public owners. These entities have to explicitly opt in to any action, unlike private building owners who were all accepted unless they opted out.

William Roberts Lawyers principal Bill Petrovski said he was not at liberty to say if any public entities had opted in to the action.

Michael Bleby writes on real estate specialising in construction, infrastructure, architecture based in our Melbourne newsroom. Connect with Michael on Instagram and Twitter. Email Michael at mbleby@afr.com.au