Tag Archives: doubt

Jobs in doubt as transport company folds

Updated February 22, 2013 08:00:34

A Tasmanian courier and storage company is expected to stop trading this afternoon after 25 years in the business, with the loss of about 100 jobs.

Road Runners told its workers in Hobart, Devonport and Launceston on Thursday that it had gone into administration.

The company lost a major contract in January and administrator Paul Cook says it has been struggling to pay wages.

Mr Cook was in talks with a potential buyer last night.

The Workplace Relations Minister, David O’Byrne, says he hopes a deal can be secured to protect as many jobs as possible.

Michael Bailey from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is a sign of the times.

“We seem to be taking one step forward in Tasmanian business and two steps back.”

“We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on that and supporting any of our members that have been caught up in this and clearly it’s a very difficult situation for all people involved.”

Creditors will meet on March 4.

Topics: company-news, devonport-7310, launceston-7250

First posted February 21, 2013 15:15:12

Activists doubt river gas study


The Lock the Gate Alliance has questioned the validity of a State Government investigation into gas seeping into a western Darling Downs river in the state’s south.


The report found the gas, which is bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River, near Chinchilla, does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.


The alliance says the gas is linked to nearby coal seam gas (CSG) wells.


Secretary Sarah Moles says the Government has a vested interest in the CSG industry and cannot be trusted.


“Affected landholders and people in the vicinity have very little or no confidence in the independence of the Government’s testing and the community should be involved in selecting a truly independent company or scientific organisation to undertake those tests so that everybody is confident,” she said.


She says the report’s findings are flawed.


“It seems inconsistent to be able to say there is no proof,” she said.


“I’d further add that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and if they continue to test, which is a good thing, then it seems premature to … claim that there are no risks.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, regional-development, environmental-impact, rivers, activism-and-lobbying, mining-rural, chinchilla-4413, toowoomba-4350

First posted January 22, 2013 09:41:47

Activists doubt river gas study


The Lock the Gate Alliance has questioned the validity of a State Government investigation into gas seeping into a western Darling Downs river in the state’s south.


The report found the gas, which is bubbling to the surface of the Condamine River, near Chinchilla, does not pose a threat to the environment or public health.


The alliance says the gas is linked to nearby coal seam gas (CSG) wells.


Secretary Sarah Moles says the Government has a vested interest in the CSG industry and cannot be trusted.


“Affected landholders and people in the vicinity have very little or no confidence in the independence of the Government’s testing and the community should be involved in selecting a truly independent company or scientific organisation to undertake those tests so that everybody is confident,” she said.


She says the report’s findings are flawed.


“It seems inconsistent to be able to say there is no proof,” she said.


“I’d further add that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence and if they continue to test, which is a good thing, then it seems premature to … claim that there are no risks.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, regional-development, environmental-impact, rivers, activism-and-lobbying, mining-rural, chinchilla-4413, toowoomba-4350

First posted January 22, 2013 09:41:47

Private growers cast doubt on forestry peace


Private forest growers have used a parliamentary inquiry to raise concerns about Tasmania’s forest peace deal.


Upper House MPs are holding a public inquiry into the peace deal legislation.


Australian Forest Growers chief executive Warwick Ragg says the bill is not in the best interests of all Tasmanians.


He says the durability arrangements are ineffective and will not stop damaging market campaigns.


“The provisions of durability, whilst highly commendable, do not seem to provide sufficient insurance against a meltdown of environmental support in the short or medium term,” he said.


Conservationists claim the bill will not deliver peace in the state’s forests.


Tasmanian Conservation Trust director Peter McGlone has told the hearing the bill is flawed and needs amendments.


“The TFA Bill and the Tasmanian Forests Agreement, if implemented unchanged, will not deliver a comprehensive forest conservation outcome, peace in the community or…also peace in the marketplace,” he said.


Forestry Tasmania’s chairman says the peace deal will challenge the state-owned company’s commercial viability.


Bob Annells says the company supports the deal but would like to see minor changes, such as the issue of sovereign risk being addressed.


He says planning for new logging coupes is already underway.


“There is no doubt that reduced supply levels will challenge our commercial viability,” he said.


“We will need funding support during that transition period especially for our non-commercial functions.


“However, we accept that government has made the decision to support the TFA in spite of this downside in order to achieve the goal of peace between deeply divided stakeholders.”


The Local Government Association is concerned about the impact of the deal on local communities, saying the Commonwealth’s socio-economic study has come too late.


Chief executive Allan Garcia says the Commonwealth’s funding of the study should have come two years ago.


He says councils feel ignored in the peace deal process when they will have to deal with any fallout, including job losses.


“They are angry at having to deal with these issues and then not getting any cut through, you know there’s no cut through from the state.”


“I don’t think there’s been much recognition of the fact that the issues that are existing now aren’t just going to happen when the IGA finally gets implemented.


“These issues are existing now.”


Tasmanian flooring producer Oakdale Industries has told the inquiry it may be forced to import timber from Victoria if the forest peace deal is implemented.


Oakdale requires the equivalent of 6,000 cubic metres of sawlogs a year.


Phil Bayley from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry says it is likely Oakdale’s supplies will dry up if the bill is passed.


“The idea of a Tasmanian disability enterprise importing wood from Victoria is preposterous, given both the supply that should be available and the cost differential that bringing in wood from Victoria would entail,” he said.


Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has returned to Hobart.


It is understood he is here for further meetings with Legislative Councillors.

Topics: timber, forestry, states-and-territories, state-parliament, hobart-7000, launceston-7250

First posted January 17, 2013 12:41:14

Mine industry casts doubt over coal export prediction

Posted December 21, 2012 12:06:56

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) is warning Australia will fail to regain its position as the world’s top coal exporter unless costs can be reduced.

Global energy organisation, the International Energy Agency (IEA), says while Queensland was recovering from the 2010-’11 floods, investment in Indonesia’s coal sector surged.

Indonesia has now over taken Australia as the world’s largest coal exporter.

The IEAs Medium-Term Market Report says Australia will regain its top position within five years because of several proposed mining developments.

However, QRC spokesman Michael Roche says Australia is becoming internationally uncompetitive and those major projects might not go ahead unless costs can be reduced.

“They have in front of them a menu of opportunities in Queensland, opportunities in New South Wales but also opportunities in South Africa, Mozambique, Colombia and Mongolia,” Mr Roche said.

He says it cannot be assumed environmental approvals will lead to project investment.

“We can’t take for granted that just because and EIS [environmental impact statement] has been drawn up that the project will attract the capital,” he said.

Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) spokesman Steve Smyth says the report’s predictions undermine industry job cuts.

“I’m not seeing a reduction in the amount of coal trains or stockpiles or coal required for export, but industry has a prosperous future,” Mr Smyth said.

“I think some of these analysts who haven’t actually been out and looked at the infrastructure should do that, they might get a surprise.”

Topics: mining-industry, regulation, trade, activism-and-lobbying, federal—state-issues, economic-trends, unions, gladstone-4680, rockhampton-4700, mackay-4740, toowoomba-4350, mount-isa-4825

Extra flights in doubt

Updated December 02, 2012 11:10:12

A new report reveals extra flights recently put on to Tasmania are unlikely to continue beyond the summer.

The report commissioned by the State Government looks at air and sea access to Tasmania.

It said it was doubtful a 30 per cent boost in flights would be sustained during the winter slowdown.

The report also revealed the Spirit of Tasmania ferries are less than half full of passengers between April and December.

In response, the Tourism Minister Scott Bacon said the government would contribute an extra $1 million in marketing funding.

“We want to use that money to promote Tasmania and get as many people out here as possible,” he said.

The Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the response was inadequate.

“One million dollars isn’t going to go far enough,” he said.

“It’s a relatively small amount in the scheme of things and once again it’s the government underselling the tourism industry.”

The Tourism Industry Council’s Luke Martin said what Tasmania needed was more winter events.

“We’ve got to create the demand to sustain the flights that we’ve already got in the system,” he said.

The government will also appoint an access development adviser.

Topics: transport, tas

First posted December 02, 2012 06:24:15

Desert solar power plan in doubt

 Desertec had ambitious plans to deliver electricity from renewable sources to Europe via undersea cables An ambitious plan to provide 15% of Europe’s power needs from solar plants in North Africa has run into trouble.


The Desertec initiative hoped to deliver electricity from a network of renewable energy sources to Europe via cables under the sea.


But in recent weeks, two big industrial backers have pulled out.

Continue reading the main story
I think it is struggling to find a reason to continue – it is clear it’s lost its original purpose, it is looking for a new direction”

End Quote Prof Peter Droege Eurosolar And the Spanish government has baulked at signing an agreement to build solar power plants in Morocco.


Desertec was set up in 2009 with a projected budget of 400bn euros to tap the enormous potential of solar and other renewables in North Africa.


The hope was that by 2050, around 125 gigawatts of electric power could be generated. This would meet all the local needs and also allow huge amounts of power to be exported to Europe via high-voltage direct current cables under the Mediterranean sea.

Continue reading the main story  Every hour the Sun bathes the Earth with enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for a year Solar energy currently accounts for about 0.1% of the global energy demand Solar energy is the primary source of power for today’s Nasa missions

Source: National Geographic/Nasa

But three years later, the project has little to show for its efforts. Two large industrial partners, Siemens and Bosch, have decided they will no longer be part of the initiative.


According to Dr Daniel Ayuk Mbi Egbe, a professor at the University of Linz in Austria and an expert on African solar resources, this is not good news.


“Siemens and Bosch are very big companies,” he told BBC News, “if they don’t want to support this initiative it is going to be difficult for Desertec.”


It seems some governments share this reluctance to go forward.


One of the first concrete steps that Desertec announced was a plan to build three solar power plants in Morocco. A declaration of intent was due to be signed recently by a group of countries including Spain and Italy. But the Spanish government demurred, citing difficulties in finding the subsidies the project would need.


Hans-Josef Fell is a Green party MP in the German parliament who has sponsored renewable energy legislation. He’s sometimes referred to as the father of the feed-in tariff that has helped wind and solar power succeed in Germany. He thinks the Desertec initiative is too reliant on public subsidies.


“The governments get cold feet for one reason, Desertec needs too much support in tax money – all the public budgets are over borrowed – and tax money is not easily available,” Mr Fell said.

A solar power plant in Morocco uses mirrors to concentrate rays from the sun

Desertec says that these are small problems and will not detract from the overall success of the project. Spokesman Klaus Schmidtke told BBC News the initiative is in good shape.


In reference to the problems with Spain he said: “We are talking about a declaration of intent between some government so the Desertec initiative is not involved in these negotiations – these are done by the governments. There is no reason for us to fear any problems.”


But others are not so sure. Prof Peter Droege is the head of Eurosolar, the European association for renewable energy.


“I think it is struggling to find a reason to continue – It is clear it’s lost its original purpose, it is looking for a new direction,” he commented.


“One of the main attractions of renewable is to become energy independent,” he said.


“If you have tied yourself to another external source you have to pay for, you are missing the entire point of the renewable energy transition we are in.”

Concentrating solar power technology has been proven in many parts of the world including at this plant in California

There have been worries that the unstable political situation in North Africa is also causing concerns for investors and for governments. But according to Daniel Ayuk Mbi Egbe, the problem is more fundamental.


“The fathers of Desertec say their aim was to exploit North African energy for the European market,” he says, “but what about Africa itself?”


He added: “When you go to many African countries there are constant electricity cuts – if you want to help then you need to think not just about exporting to Europe but about supplying Africa as well.”


One positive element for the project is that there have been suggestions that China might be willing to invest so that it can get access to technology. It is interested in learning how to use high-voltage direct current cables such as those proposed for bringing power across the Mediterranean.


Green MP Hans-Josef Fell says they could be just what Desertec needs.


“China’s money could help, China wants the know how. Yes perhaps China could save the project, they are very potent,” he told BBC News.

Cruise holiday in doubt due to financial dispute

Posted October 31, 2012 21:01:09

The holiday plans of hundreds of West Australians may be in doubt after a cruise company was placed into voluntary administration.

Sydney based-Classic International Cruises, which booked the cruise ship Athena for a series of Australian cruises over a four month period, has gone into voluntary administration.

The cruise ship was due to leave France mid-November and head for Fremantle but the ship is currently being held by authorities due to a financial dispute.

More than 500 WA passengers were booked on a 12-night cruise which was due to leave Fremantle in December.

The Consumer Protection Commissioner, Anne Driscoll, says affected passengers should contact the administrator to register their details so they can be regularly updated on alternative arrangements.

Topics: company-news, fremantle-6160, sydney-2000

Cruise plans left in doubt

Updated November 02, 2012 15:00:40

Several cruises planned for South Australian waters next year may be affected by a Sydney-based company Classic International Cruises going into administration.

It has taken bookings for trips on the Athena, with itineraries including Kangaroo Island, Port Lincoln and Robe.

The ship is being held by authorities due to a financial dispute.

Passengers are being advised to contact the administrators, Lawler Partners.

Leah Clarke from the South Australian Tourism Commission said it hoped a replacement ship could be used.

She said there were still more than a dozen other cruise liners due to visit SA this season.

Topics: company-news, rural-tourism, travel-and-tourism, sa, kingscote-5223, adelaide-5000, port-lincoln-5606, robe-5276, port-pirie-5540

First posted November 01, 2012 15:37:01

Ta Ann future in doubt

Updated November 13, 2012 13:18:09

Timber processor Ta Ann is running at a loss and may leave the state.

The executive director Evan Rolley has told ABC Local Radio the company’s future in Tasmania is dependent on an agreement from informal peace talks between industry and environment groups.

The company will make a decision about its future within the next two weeks.

“I can’t see how we can have a future if the wood supply cannot be provided that enables the operation operation to be run profitably employing Tasmanians,” he said.

“The operation is on a knife-edge as it is.”

“We have supported the peace process but the time has now come. It is costing thousands of dollars to run these operations in this environment.

“We need a resolution and we need it in the next two weeks.”

Protesters locked themselves to a conveyor belt at the company’s Smithton mill yesterday, halting operations for six hours.

Mr Rolley says the company is on a knife-edge because relations have been strained with the Asian market.

“People have told lies about the operations about the company, misinformed markets about the company when there’s no problem in the markets in Japan,” he said.

“If you talk to the people buying flooring product in Japan, they don’t perceive some market change.”

He confirmed a tree was set on fire outside the company’s Hobart office last night.

“There’s been a whole series of these sort of protest activities against the company,” he said.

“The company just simply seeks to operate with the community support in Tasmania.

“As I said before, it’s been a strong supporter of these peace talks to try and find some common ground, a resolution of moving forward.”

Police are investigating the incident which caused about $10,000 damage.

Detective Inspector Peter Powell says the pine tree was set alight about midnight and the fire spread to the buildings’ front eaves.

Topics: timber, states-and-territories, forests, hobart-7000, tas, launceston-7250

First posted November 13, 2012 09:08:07

Underground power line project tangled by doubt

Posted October 17, 2012 16:15:46

The future of laying power lines underground in Darwin’s suburbs is in doubt as the new Northern Territory Government says continuing the project was not an election promise.

The project to remove overhead power lines in the Top End city was begun by the Labor government ten years ago.

It promised to spend $80 million over 20 years on the project, saying underground cables provided safer and more reliable power, especially during the cyclone season.

The northern suburbs of Nightcliff, Rapid Creek and Millner have been converted to underground cabling.

Power and Water has put the project on hold.

It says it waiting for the go-ahead from the new Country Liberals Government.

Essential Services Minister Dave Tollner says it is a matter for Treasurer Robyn Lambly, but the Government has since issued a statement saying it was not an election promise to keep the program going.

Power and Water spokesman Bertram Birk says the Government has not yet contacted him about continuing the work.

“We undertook the project on the previous government’s behalf and that project has come to an end at this point in time,” he said.

“I’m sure they’ll let us know if they want us to continue with that project.”

A Darwin politician says a number of recent blackouts in several of the city’s suburbs show why power lines should be put underground.

The Member for Johnston, Ken Vowles, says in suburbs like Jingili there is a real concern about power outages.

“The people of Jingili need to be notified what’s happening,” he said.

“There was an undertaking that Jingili would be the next suburb and the CLP need to make sure that they are at least addressing the issue.

“It is an expensive exercise but it needs to be done in the Top End.

“The cyclone season is coming.”

Topics: electricity-energy-and-utilities, programs-and-initiatives, darwin-0800

Councils cast doubt over NBN satellite option

Posted October 16, 2012 09:15:56

Two outback Queensland councils say constructing a satellite ground station for the National Broadband Network (NBN) at Roma in the state’s south, will not solve communications issues in remote areas.

NBN Co will build two satellite dishes near the town to help deliver services to remote communities.

However, the Barcoo and Diamantina shires say remote communities that provide health, education and government services need fibre optic services rather than satellite.

Former Barcoo mayor Bruce Scott is working with the shires in an effort to source millions of dollars to change the current plans.

“The satellite solution is a great solution for domestic broadband but it will not support communities that have to have access to real-time, high-bandwidth telecommunications services,” he said.

“Satellites will not provide video links for hospital clinics, for access to school curriculums – it won’t provide what is needed for these towns to function.”

Two dishes will be housed inside a single-storey building near the town by 2015.

NBN Co spokesman Matt Dawson says the location has been carefully chosen.

“Roma was chosen really because it’s ideally located geographically,” he said.

“We need a geographical spread of where we put the ground stations across the country and also the weather conditions.

“The prevailing conditions there at Roma are good for this sort of radio frequency and also it’s good access to power and other sorts of infrastructure that we need.”

He says satellite services are designed to provide high-speed broadband for those people who want be getting NBN through the fibre or through fixed wireless because they live in regional or rural Australia.

“So many people in various regions across Queensland need access to the satellite service to be able to get high-speed broadband,” he said.

“The satellite part is really for those end users who fall outside of the fibre and the fixed wireless footprints, so those that are obviously in some of the more regional and rural and remote areas of the country.

“It’s primarily designed so that we can provide end users that can’t get high-speed broadband through any other means absolutely able to get it with the satellite solution.”

Mr Dawson says Roma will benefit from ongoing job opportunities.

“We’re really trying to close … this digital divide as it’s called, between the types of services and speeds and everything else that people in the city and more metro areas enjoy,” he said.

“Try and close that gap so people in bush can enjoy them as well.”

Topics: telecommunications, local-government, community-development, regional-development, activism-and-lobbying, regional, wireless-communication, roma-4455, longreach-4730, toowoomba-4350, mount-isa-4825

Brazil rate decision in doubt as central bank meets

Wednesday, 10 October 2012 10:23 Posted by Shoaib-ur-Rehman Siddiqui

brazil-flag BRASILIA: Traders and analysts are split on whether Brazil’s central bank will opt for another rate cut on Wednesday to bolster a languid recovery or end a year-long easing cycle that has taken rates to record lows.

Twenty-eight of the 45 analysts polled by Reuters expect the central bank to leave its Selic rate unchanged at 7.50 percent to combat forecasts of stubbornly high inflation in coming years.

The other analysts expect a cut of 25 basis points.

Most traders, on the other hand, are betting the bank will slash the rate for the tenth straight time, likely by a quarter of a percentage point, as a slow recovery and a global headwind outweigh inflation fears.

The conflicting views reflect mixed signs from the central bank itself.

It hinted it may have already ended the easing cycle at its last rate-setting meeting in August, but left the door open for an additional cut.

The bank will announce its decision after 6 p.m. local time (2100 GMT).

Recent economic data shows that the Brazilian economy is starting to pick up after a year of stagnation.

The strength of that recovery remains unclear. Meanwhile, annual inflation has picked up and is hovering above the center of the official target of 4.5 percent, plus or minus two percentage points.

“We have more signs of a recovery in activity and short-term inflation showing a negative dynamic all of which goes against a continuation of the easing cycle,” said Jankiel Santos, chief economist with BES Investimento in Sao Paulo. “However, I would not be surprised if the bank opts for another cut given growing pessimism over the global economy.”

Since the start of the easing cycle in August 2011, analysts and interest rate futures traders have had similar records in the accuracy of their predictions, according to a Thomson Reuters review of previous forecasts.

Copyright Reuters, 2012