One solution to ETS options

Mr Rudd should be investing in carbon reductions that deliver benefits, not obstaclesTHE Rudd Emissions Trading Scheme legislation is a process where the Government sells or gifts certificates to pollute, and as such is not a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. This fact is best exampled by the Rudd government’s action in including compensation to cover increased electricity charges to low-income families because it knows electricity generators are going to, and for technical reasons have to, continue to pollute, pay for the certificates and pass the cost on to consumers.You will, in fact, be paying to maintain the existing pollution.At BlueScope Steel, similar circumstances exist. A blast furnace cannot make steel without burning carbon, with the associated emissions. The industry has been improving that process for 100 years and there is probably little improvement available.So BlueScope must buy certificates to pollute. The Government offers them some free certificates for a limited time but the managing director says they are not enough and his business will not survive. In today’s intensely competitive market, the purchase of one certificate is one too many.But view it from the other side of the argument. Through buying or receiving free certificates, BlueScope gains the legal right to emit exactly the same quantity of CO2 pollutants as it does now.So where is the climate advantage? Worse still, BlueScope must deal at every trading level with intense international competition. Under the Rudd Emissions Trading Scheme it is argued costs of certificates to pollute will be cheaper if bought offshore. But from whom? Well, it’s your biggest competitor China, who, because it does not propose an ETS but is investing billions in low-emissions technology, will have many certificates to sell. The United States Congress narrowly passed an ETS, which will have no material effect on US industry until 2025. It may never pass the US Senate.The US has also restructured its vehicle industry, reducing manufacturing costs in one sector by about $1500 per car. It has provided billions of dollars of free capital. What then is the future of the Australian car industry and the steel it consumes when managers in Detroit sell cheaper cars of US manufacture in Australia, while our steel producers must increase their prices, buying certificates to pollute?The Australian manufacturer has few options. The first is to close down and/or relocate overseas. Wage cuts to Chinese levels is another.Green energy jobs sound attractive, but the cost of energy they produce will be higher than the certificates and so create the same problem.So who will create private sector jobs to sell energy that no-one can afford?An ETS guarantees increased costs to maintain the CO2 pollution necessary in so many industries. There is, however, a solution – for Government to invest directly in energy efficiency, and some renewables that produce large quantities of energy in a predictable fashion. Initial debts can be recovered over extended periods.For every $1 billion of government funds invested in proven technologies, it is my belief a real cut in CO2 emissions from the electricity sector can be achieved with corresponding decrease in electricity charges.Instead of taxing business out of business and workers out of jobs, Mr Rudd should be investing in carbon reductions that deliver benefits, not obstacles.Wilson Tuckey, Liberal Member for O’Connor, Western Australia.
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Latrobe Carnival 2004

One to watch: Hobart’s Ryan Foster…is an emerging talent on the track.(1/2)For much of their hundred-plus years the carnivals were quite different to what they are now. They were very much a male only affair, at least from the competitor point of view.
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When Bevan Robinson made his vow upon winning the Latrobe Wheel in 1954 to return 50 years later, I doubt that he would have expected to see women playing the on track roles they do know.

I doubt he would also have expected to see Olympians or budding Australian representatives using the carnivals as a stage to show their abilities to the general public.

But what Robinson and his family will see at the carnivals series of 2004-05 will be a very happy and successful mix of the new and the old.

He will no doubt be delighted to see that the wheelrace is conducted essentially in the same style as it was when he rode to victory.

At a time when nostalgia is booming, Tasmanians can be proud that traditions like our carnivals have survived the very test of time.

Being able to list 100 wheel or gift winners is a testament to the efforts and commitment of those volunteers who have made and continue to make the contributions which ensure these special events live on.

The carnivals would perhaps not have survived had appropriate changes not been made. The abolition of the old amateur-pro eligibility for cyclists and athletes has surely been the most dramatic.

But the globalisation which has enabled the likes of Japanese cyclist, Koji Yoshi and his mates, American Olympian Jame Carney and his band, and Nigerian sprinter Ambrose Ezenwa to participate on a regular basis, has done its bit to expand the carnivals’ scope.

One other thing that has changed, albeit very recently, is that the Latrobe Gift is now the equal of its previously more revered counterpart at Burnie.

It has taken a little time, but the rise in prizemoney and the increased stature of the Tasmanian carnivals on the national scene, has seen a significant lift in the number of local and interstate athletes targeting the Boxing Day event.

The carnival series has played a significant role in the development of the North-West Coast of Tasmania as a nursery for emerging women sprinters at a national level.

Now suddenly it is the mile race at Latrobe, which has attracted competitor interest. I suspect, as a result, it may well be the best race on today’s programme, either on the grass or the cycling track.

Watch out for one of Tasmania’s most exciting young talents, Ryan Foster, fresh from two victories at the recent Australian age championships in Sydney.

His steady, building loping style should be especially effective in handicap racing.

Yes, as it has done for more than a century, Latrobe should once again provide the stage for the public emergence of one of our most promising.

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Meet the UOW graduate turned Microsoft playmaker

University of Wollongong graduate and Microsoft games developer Sean Jenkin says he is working on a console to revolutionise the gaming world. Picture: ROBERT PEETIf you want to know the kind of games your kids will soon be clamouring for, Sean Jenkin is the person to ask.The former Figtree resident and University of Wollongong computer science graduate is the man software giant Microsoft employs to develop the “next big thing”.He has been the brains behind gaming hits such as Kameo, Rise of Nations and Fable, and has worked on creating consoles such as Xbox 1 and Xbox 360.He arrived back in Wollongong yesterday to share some of his expertise with university students.Although tight-lipped about games that will climb the charts this year, Mr Jenkin did reveal he was working on a new console that would revolutionise the gaming world.”Project Natal is where we’re heading in Microsoft,” he said.”That will be full body control of every game, with no controllers, nothing to hold. It can recognise who you are and say hello, or good morning.”We release that sometime next year, probably, and it’s a whole revolution in terms of how you play games.”Mr Jenkin began working for Microsoft shortly after graduating in 1999. Now based in Seattle, he works as development lead for Xbox Live Indie Games, and is enjoying his life in America.”It’s a different speed to Wollongong but the opportunities there – everything’s so big, bold and everyone is going for everything,” he said.Mr Jenkin is in Australia for his sister’s wedding but welcomed the chance to return to the university to talk about his experience.”It’s a great opportunity to bring that back and help the university develop their programs,” he said.”I learned how to learn here … and if I ever thought about doing a postgraduate qualification I would want to do that at Wollongong.” Of his job, Mr Jenkin said: “It’s a dream come true. The people I get to work with are the smartest and most creative in the industry. And I’m getting paid to make fun.”
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Illawarra jobless give up search

The Illawarra’s official jobless rate has gone down – but not for a good reason. Instead of more people finding work, more of the region’s unemployed have abandoned the search and dropped out of official statistics.There are now 16,000 fewer people employed in the Illawarra than there were in January as the region’s employers have shed thousands of jobs.Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday showed the unemployment rate for the Wollongong statistical division (encompassing Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama council areas) was 5.6 per cent for July.That is down 2.6 percentage points from June, and four percentage points from May, when unemployment peaked in the region at 9.6 per cent.Illawarra Research and Information Service executive director Simon Pomfret said the figures appeared contradictory as the region had lost 4000 jobs since the beginning of the year.”Times are tough and we’ve got unemployment falling,” he said.”The participation rate has thrown the numbers out. The number of people qualified to say they are in the labour force or actively looking for work is normally around 60 per cent.”For July it’s at 52.4 per cent.”Mr Pomfret said disillusioned job seekers were giving up on their search for work. He said they were no longer counted in official unemployment figures, making it appear as though there were fewer people without jobs.”I very much doubt (unemployment figures) can fall any lower than they already are,” Mr Pomfret said.”The number of unemployed will stabilise, and as the participation rate starts to pick up we will see the number of unemployed will pick up.”As for the bigger economic picture, Mr Pomfret said consumer confidence was growing, although it had not translated into the real economy yet, and the economic downturn should have “bottomed out”.
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Putting price on carbon could cost Illawarra jobs

An emissions trading scheme would help open opportunities for green jobs, according to Deputy Premier and Minister for Climate Change and the Environment, Carmel Tebbutt.However, Illawarra-based Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells said the proposed scheme would export local jobs overseas.On a visit to the region yesterday, Ms Tebbutt said the NSW Government supported the Federal Government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme.”We know if we are going to address damaging climate change into the future we need to put a price on carbon and that is what the scheme does,” Ms Tebbutt said.”We know it will have an impact on electricity prices and other areas of the economy, but the Federal Government has outlined a clear compensation plan to try and address that.”There are also opportunities in green jobs and emerging industries and we are keen to pursue those opportunities if the scheme passes.”We have made clear we support compensation for strongly affected industries and we will continue to have this discussion with the Federal Government.”All of the reports that have been done have showed quite clearly that the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action.”Meantime, speaking in Parliament, Sen Fierravanti-Wells said Wollongong and the Illawarra would bear the brunt of any emissions trading scheme.”A fact not lost by the Illawarra Mercury, which has been giving prominent attention to this debate,” she said.Sen Fierravanti-Wells repeated the claims of BlueScope Steel that the proposed scheme threatened to erode tens of millions of dollars from the company’s books and had the potential to threaten the viability of 12,000 jobs supported by its operations.”It is concerning that the Government has embarked upon such a complex scheme without addressing the concerns of so many vulnerable Australians,” she said.
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