The Bullroarer - Monday 11th August 2008

SMH: 40% of Sydney hit harder by rising prices

MORE than 40 per cent of Sydney's suburbs have become increasingly vulnerable to high oil prices and mortgage stress in the past five years, according to a study to be released today by Griffith University.

See the Griffith University Press Release: Fuel and mortgage VAMPIRE sucks households dry
(more articles below the fold)

The Age: Guess who came to Beijing banquet

THE men who are shaping Australia's corporate future took time out from the Olympic Games on Saturday to tuck into some West Australian rock lobster with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Australian embassy in Beijing. Together, the assets controlled by the men at the table added up to more than Australia's gross domestic product. Rudd was flanked by Lou Jiwei, president of China's $US200 billion sovereign wealth fund, the China Investment Corporation, and Baosteel president Xu Lejiang. They both would like to know whether the PM will let them buy serious stakes in Australia's three biggest mining companies.

The Age: Social gap widens from outer to inner Melbourne

Half of all first-home buyers reside in the outer suburbs and have been hit hard by the 12 interest rate rises since 2002. The report advocates that the same public transport options in inner and middle suburbs be made available to outer Melbourne. State governments, including the Victorian Government, were focused on "big-ticket" solutions such as underground rail tunnels. But these would merely strengthen the transport advantages of inner-city residents.

TheWest: Suburbs at risk of fuel, mortgage stress: uni
Herald Sun: Transport ills add to family stresses

Daily Telegraph: Another broken transport plan

IT IS an unfortunate fact of life in NSW that every time the State Government announces a new major project it appears it is quietly shelving something already promised. So it is that, beneath the razzle-dazzle of the newly unveiled metro rail system for western Sydney, it has finally emerged that the long-anticipated fast train to Penrith is in the process of being killed off.

Daily Telegraph: Iemma Government's high-speed western Sydney rail link dumped

Business Spectator: Sydney begins transport studies

Sydney's controversial transport plans are being taken a step further with a review of a proposed western metro rail line and upgrades to the M5 East. Feasibility studies for the two projects will kick off this month, costing $45 million of state and commonwealth funds, the NSW government has announced.

The Australian: Oil price forces change to flower flow

SOARING air freight prices this year are hastening a switch to sea transport in what will mark a tipping point for the global cut flower industry, according to the world's biggest rose supplier, Ramakrishna Karuturi.

yourguide: Fuel prices damaging regional tourism

RESULTS from a survey of 1300 motorists in NSW and the ACT conducted by the NRMA were released this week confirming that petrol prices were having an alarming impact on tourism in regional areas. Petrol prices were in fact having a greater impact than interest rates on the public’s holiday plans showing that 54 percent were making destination changes as a direct result of fuel bills.

Courier Mail: Springfield aims to supply world with green technology

SPRINGFIELD, the home of cartoon family the Simpsons, has a nuclear power station that gives local wildlife strange features. Brisbane's Springfield, in the city's southwest, is set to play a key role in developing Australian companies that supply environmentally friendly technology and products to Australians and the world, investors say.

yourguide: New train to cope with surge

A NEW VLocity carriage is bound for the Traralgon rail line to help V/Line cope with a 56 per cent surge in patronage across the entire Gippsland network. Premier John Brumby has announced 50 new carriages for the five regional networks will be rolled out from now until 2012. The Traralgon and Bendigo lines will receive the first of the 76 seater VLocity carriages.

Daily Mercury: Project fast-track (McFarlane oil shale deposit)

THE company behind the controversial plan to mine oil shale near the Whitsundays intends to ask the Queensland Government to declare their project one of "State Significance", which could accelerate their development process. As the custodians of the McFarlane oil shale deposit, Queensland Energy Resources is currently conducting a pre-feasibility study to determine the commercial viability of an open-cut mine 15 kilometres south of Proserpine and 30km from Airlie Beach.

Herald Sun: The world wants to work on Melbourne's big projects

OVERSEAS companies want a stake in billions of dollars of contracts for the desalination plant and Melbourne's tram network.
On the tram network, current Paris-based tramway operator Transdev, parent company to Yarra Trams, is up against France's biggest public transport group, Keolis. The shortlist knocks out German transport operator LVB, which Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said "failed to meet the stringent criteria". She said companies had to demonstrate skills and expertise to run the tram system, as well as a commitment to Melbourne and value for money for Victorians.

The West: Gas to be transitional fuel: Origin

Gas will be a transitional fuel until 2020, Origin Energy chairman Kevin McCann says. The company said it would be a winner when the emissions trading scheme is introduced in 2010 because it uses gas to generate electricity, which is cleaner than coal.

etravelblackboard: Airlines rethink fuel hedge costs as oil prices reach three-month low

In order to save on premium costs as oil prices have fallen, fuel hedges have been slowed by Asia-Pacific airlines including Singapore Airlines, Qantas and Air New Zealand. As travel demand falls and recent record highs of oil prices that have led to industry-wide losses this year, analysts say that regional airlines have been struggling to cut down costs and maintain higher profits. Fuel hedging options allows airlines to buy their fuel at a contractual fixed price - even if the price of oil increases - but if the price of oil decreases below the hedge companies would not be able to take advantage of potential profits.

The West: Time has come for WA to process its resources: Barnett

A Liberal government would establish WA as a mining and processing hub under a new plan to commission two world-class industrial sites and expand the State’s natural gas supplies, Opposition Leader Colin Barnett promised yesterday.

Courier Mail: Plantations to yield clean green fuel

AUSTRALIAN motorists could be driving cars run on clean, green fuel from forests of biodiesel trees in the future. Farmers are already rushing to get hold of seeds imported from the South American rainforests to grow plantations of trees that will produce alternative fuel to run machinery and vehicles on their properties.

The Griffith Universtiy Report once again highlights the dearth of research going into petroleum depletion and its ongoing effects vis-a-vis the mountain of money that is going into climate change science. I keep shaking my head and wondering "are we really that stupid". The answer seems to be yes.

Do you have a reference showing how much money Oz has spent on climate change research ?

Some of it - like the energy storage technology funding - seems to have been well spent - and it really cost a pittance.

My feeling is that there has been bugger-all spending on climate change research apart from paying Mr Garnaut a tidy sum to state the bleeding obvious.

Under Little Johnny Howard(Rodent Mark 1) there was obviously an idealogical barrier to doing anything effective.

Under Rodent Mark 2? Well, has anything much changed?

It was interesting to see in some of the commentary on the Northern territory election tonight that the Greens had won a record 16% of the vote, due (it would seem) to the Inpex LNG plant being granted land in Darwin.

It will be an interesting balancing act satisfying environmental concerns and general NIMBYism versus what is probably a medium term goldmine for the Territory (unlike coal mines I find it hard to object to gas developments too much).

Given the attitude to environmental concerns of the QLD government my guess would be that the proponents of the oil shale development near Proserpine will get the fast tracking they want.

The Traveston Dam fiasco is a good illustration of the way the state goverment works in direct opposition to community and overall environmental interests.The Traveston Dam is in not in a government held electorate and I suspect that neither is Proserpine.These are not primarily NIMBY issues.

I am sure there will be one hell of a fight against the oil shale mine.I hope it goes the same way as the Rundle deposit a few years back but oil prices were a lot lower then.

I hope that plantations of appropriate trees/shrubs for bio-diesel do get up in a big way in Australia,but only on land which is already cleared and is not viable or too degraded for agricutural or pastoral use.There is plenty of this type of land available due to the horrible farming practices we have been,and still are,indulging in.

I suspect that there will be pressure from proponents to clear existing forrests.This would be environmentally disastrous and there would be net gain in GHG emissions.