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IndyWatch Central Victorian News Feed was generated at Australian Local News IndyWatch.

Sunday, 20 May


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

05:13 Kyneton - Southern Cross service will not run due to a train fault.Customers are asked to board the assist coach ex-Gisborne or the 05:07 Bendigo to SCS. 

[05:40 21/05]


Worlds Largest 3D Printer is now Able to Print Giant Metal Objects "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Melbourne, Australia is now the city that contains the worlds largest known 3D printer. Melbourne based manufacturer Titomic recently displayed their accomplishment by printing a large metal rendering of their corporate logo.

Among the objects listed as capable of being printed by the Australian 3D printer, the CEO of Titomic Jeff Lang reports that it can print a submarine, or wings for an aircraft: soon.

At the Titomic factory in Waverly, Australia in the outer regions of Melbourne, this 9 metre long, 3 metre wide and 1.5 metre tall 3D printer now surpasses the next largest, owned by notorious General Electric. GEs printer is about 5 times less large.

The printer owned by General Electric is capable of printing solid metal objects up to a cubic metre in size, while this Titomic bed can put out parts up to 40 cubic metres in size.

Heres where this story gets realistic: you know their ability to develop this technology came with strings attached.

A government agency in Australia gave out a significant portion of funds to create this 3D printer. It was CSIRO who supplied the funds, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Remember, Australia is still fully a Commonwealth nation, under the control of Britain in more respects than one may care to admit....


Can we save energy, jobs and growth at the same time ? "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

I apologise in advance to anyone with a short attention span, this is a bit long at almost one and a half hours  especially as if you are new to limits to growth, you might have to watch it more than once!
If you ever needed proof that economics is an imbecilic proposal, then this is it.

Published on 30 Jan 2018

Jancovicis conference in ENS School of Paris 08/01/2018 To download the Presentation : The depletion of natural resources, with oil to start with, and the need for a stable climate, will make it harder and harder to pursue economic growth as we know it. It has now become urgent to develop a new branch of economics which does not rely on the unrealistic assumption of a perpetual GDP increase. In this Colloquium, I will discuss a physical approach to economics which aims at understanding and managing the scaling back of our world economy. Biography : Jean-Marc Jancovici, is a French engineer who graduated from cole Polytechnique and Tlcom, and who specializes in energy-climate subjects. He is a consultant, teacher, lecturer, author of books and columnist. He is known for his outreach work on climate change and the energy crisis. He is co-founder of the organization Carbone 4 and president of the think tank The Shift Project. Original video : Facebook page :...


Bendigo Line Notification: Delay update - Bendigo line "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

16:25 Bendigo - Southern Cross is delayed approximately 17 minutes due to an ill passenger at Castlemaine station.

[17:12 20/05]


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

12:25 Bendigo - Southern Cross service has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. 

[11:47 20/05]


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

10:22 Southern Cross - Bendigo  service has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. 

[09:12 20/05]

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Saturday, 19 May


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

21:25 Southern Cross - Bendigo will not run and has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. 

[14:23 19/05]


Australian government protecting paedophiles and not victims "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Here is another example of how the people in government protect criminals and not their victims;

Will you hold the County Court (of Victoria) judge responsible if the paedophile rapes your daughter?


ABC star Annabel Crabb not happy about the view from her Royal Wedding hotel "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The ABC does not have enough money to cover Australian news in Gosford, Geelong, Parramatta etal ... but does have enough money to splurge on tabloid wedding coverage that every other network also provides. The lack of self-awareness is simply staggering. G C (@GrayConnolly) May 17, 2018


Bendigo Line Notification: Service change "castlemaine IndyWatch Emergency Feed"

15:22 Southern Cross - Bendigo service has been replaced by road coaches due to staff sickness. 

[12:44 19/05]


3CR Radio Interveiw with Fran Murrell after her trip to the Phillipines "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

3CR INTRO: Last month over 80 delegates, farmers, scientists and development workers from the Asia Pacific region joined peasant farmers in the Philippines for a 5-day conference with the aim of stopping the introduction of so-called Golden Rice, which is a genetically modified organism, which the proponents claim will significantly address hunger and vitamin A deficiency.


Download the Transcript below.

PDF icon golden-rice_-ranscript-3cr.pdf


Theme announced for  30th National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Childrens Day 2018 "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Childrens Day 2018 Announcement 

Melbourne, Australia:
SNAICC is delighted to announce the theme for
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Childrens Day for 2018 is
SNAICC Celebrating Our Children for 30 Years

Our children are the youngest people from the longest living culture in the world,
with rich traditions, lore and customs that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Our children are growing up strong with connection to family, community and country.
Our children are the centre of our families and the heart of our communities.
They are our future and the carriers of our story.

This year, we invite communities to take a walk down memory lane,
as we revisit some of the highlights of the last 30 years. We look back
on the empowering protest movements instigated by community that had led
to the establishment of the first Childrens Day on 4 August 1988.

We look back at all of the amazing moments weve shared with our children over the years,
and how were watching them grow into leaders.

We look back to see what weve achieved, and decide where we want to go
from here to create a better future for our children.

If you have celebrated Childrens Day at any time during the past 30 years,
we would love to hear from you.

Read How to get involved in Childrens Day 2018:


May 19 #OnThisDay in #Australian #History "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

1793 - Governor Arthur Phillip returned to England accompanied by Bennelong and Yemmerawanne. Following a six-month voyage, they landed in Falmouth, England on this day.

1805 - The Sydney Gazette was bemoaning the fact that so many furbabies had multiplied within the colony, or in their words...
"The prodigious canine increase within the last twelvemonth is as little surprising as alarming: go where you will you must patiently submit to be formally introduced by half a dozen domestic yelpers, who martial the way at the extreme danger of your calves. Upon many families the support of a number of useless creatures falls as a heavy tax; and yet, from some recommendatory qualification, imperceptible to every body but the owner, they must still be supported at the certain expence of those entitled by
nature to our first consideration."

1820 - Russian explorer Faddei Faddeevich (Fabian) Bellingshausen sailed merrily from Port Jackson for the Sandwich Islands where he made further discoveries, notably Ono Island in the Fiji group.

1825 - Francis Nicholas Rossi replaced D'Arcy Wentworth as Superintendent of Police in New South Wales.

1826 - Today saw the first issue of the Monitor newspaper in Sydney.
Gossip, ladies!
Shipping intelligence galore!

1830 - Polish explorer Strzelecki, having tripped over a large lump of land in south-east Victoria, named it Gippsland after the Governor of NSW George Gipps.

1837 -  Surveyor-General and explorer Sir Thomas Mitchell was a tad tired and emotional so he left Sydney on eighteen months leave.

1838 - The first Catholic Mass on Pentecost Sunday was celebrated in Melbourne with Father Patrick Bonaventure Geoghegan in the driving seat.

1845 - F.H. Faulding, the son of a surgeon, opened the doors of his business as a chemist at 5 Rundle Street.  His business grew rapidly as he made remedies for stock as well as people and he bought a site in Clarence Place, off King William Street, to give him more room for his manufacturing and wholesale business.

1854 - Ballarat Post Office opened cnr Mair & Lydiard Sts.

1861 - Helen Porter Mitchell, better known as Dame Nellie Melba, was pupped.

1863 0 The Flinders Street Baptist Church in Adelaide was officially opened with Rev. Silas Mead at the helm.

1869 - The Main North Railway Line (NSW) was flung open all over the shop, from Singleton to Muswellbrook.

1915 - Lance Corporal Albert Jacka won the first VC awarded to an Aussie for the action at Courtney's Post, Gallipoli.

1915 - John Simpson (Kirkpatrick), better known as The Man With The Donkey, was killed.After risking his life so many times to bring wounded to safety with the help of his do...

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Friday, 04 May


Boom Time Australia "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

If youre not already, its time to get excited about stocks.

The market hit a three-month high yesterday.

And we can now see that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is prepared to splash the cash across the country.

The PM was in Victoria recently, promising funding for a Melbourne Airport rail link.

Then he jetted to Western Australia, promising to splurge hundreds of millions of dollars on health and transport projects.

And now hes sweet-talking Queenslanders

The Australian Financial Review reports that the federal government will fund half of an $800 million upgrade on the Sunshine Coast. Its part of a $2 billion package for Queensland.

Theres plenty of building going on in Australia right nowand theres going to be plenty more in the future

The first government in years looking forward to budget night

The PM can get away with this and still deliver modest tax cuts because the governments revenues are smashing previous expectations.

Part of this is related to the ongoing strength in commodity prices, which looks very bullish for Australia.

We can thank China and Japan for much of this, although for different reasons.

China is actively trying to reduce its reliance on coal in order to clean up its appalling pollution.

Its still a heavy coal user, but even this shift has sent its imports of LNG up strongly. Its now the second highest importer in the world after Japan. This is sending Australias LNG exports booming.

But the bigger surprise might be Japan. Its demand for coal is growing strongly again as it bucks the worldwide trend away from coal burning in developed countries.

This demand is not going anywhere anytime soon. Science Magazine reports that the Japanese government expects coal to provide 26% of Japans electricity even in 2030.

At one point, the country wanted to slash that figure to 10%. Instead, 36 new coal-fired power plants are on the way just to prove the point.

This is partly whats keeping the price of thermal coal higher than the Australian Treasury previously forecast. And coking coal is even stronger against the previous price estimate in December.

The longer these prices stay strong, the more excited you should be about the markets future. The more revenue that pours into mining companies, the more the Aussie market will heat up

Watch for a re-rating on this stock

One company seeing the be...


Approvals hang tough (value at all-time record high) "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Approvals hang tough

Very strong building approvals defying the forecasters with another 19,600 dwellings approved in March 2018.

Including the non-residential sector, the annual value of building approvals has blazed to a record $126.4 billion, including an all-time high $46 billion for commercial approvals. 

Not much of a downturn there yet, then.

The residential strength was driven by Melbourne apartments, and if any city needs more supply it's that one, with population growth at unprecedented highs. 

House approvals also followed demographic flows, with Perth in decline, and Melbourne and Brisbane rising. 

Most of the new detached housing built is really across 'Greater Brisbane', including North Lakes, Mango Hill, Moreton Bay, and Ipswich. 

Piecing it together, dwelling approvals have been trending steadily higher again over the past year, following popul...

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Wednesday, 02 May


Time to rethink monetary policy "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

But another crisis is brewing; and there are signs that it will be bigger than 2008.  And when that crisis bursts over us, this time around we need to put these changes in place before the economists rally round and persuade our craven politicians that there is no alternative because there is.

Lifted from the excellent Consciousness of Sheep blog.

When the first stuffed platypus was presented to European scientists, they dismissed it.  What we have here, they opined, is some unfortunate lutrinae onto which some scoundrel has attached various anatidae parts.  And so the innocent little platypus, which had been minding its own business until the European explorers arrived, was placed on the same zoological shelf as the Yeti.

The European scientists, you see, had a model.  A map of how the worlds animal species were ordered.  At the apex, predictably, were humans themselves.  Beneath them were anatomically similar apes and monkeys; followed by cats, dogs, pigs, etc.  What all of these higher species had in common, however, was that they were all mammals creatures that carry their young in an internal womb, and that suckle them with milk.  This distinguished them from other, dissimilar species like birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects.

Then along comes this upstart platypus, not just looking like it possesses bird parts, but having the audacity to lay eggs!  For several decades, despite growing evidence that platypuses were real, European scientists continued to dismiss these reported sightings as fake news.  The platypus was an unfortunate intrusion into the scientists neatly ordered model of how the world worked.  Despite the philosophy of science demanding that a fact like the existence of a platypus that disproves a model is the very essence of falsifiability, the scientists chose to reject the fact rather than deconstruct and rebuild their model.

The same European scientists later and infamously rejected evidence for the existence of one of the platypuss neighbours the black swan which brings us to a modern pseudoscience that also famously rejects reality in order to preserve the models that it has spent decades finessing.

Economic models have already proved their very negative worth in the worst possible way in the shape of the 2008 financial crash and the ensuing global depression.  This ought to have been enough for the entire economics profession to be given their marching orders...


Its the Consumption, Stupid. "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics The Gaping Hole in the Middle of the Circular Economy

paul mobbsA great article by Paul Mobbs, an independent environmental consultant, investigator, author and lecturer, and maintains the Free Range Activism Website (FRAW).

Why the latest buzz-phrase in consumer sustainability is not only failing to tackle the core problem, but why it is doomed to fail

Listening to Radio 4 this morning I heard the two juxtaposed keywords that Ive learned to dread over the last couple of the years; circular economy. Its a great idea, and I cant fault the true belief of those promoting it. My problem is that the way they describe it has little to do with the physical realities of the world, and hence its really just a get out of hell free card for affluent consumers  who are, it would appear, the most vociferous proponents of this idea.

As is so often the case with feel-good eco-stories, the Today programmes[1] interviewer was all light and fluffy; and obviously flummoxed because they did not have the confidence to ask any basic, challenging questions of the interviewee.

The segment was examining the...


We May Be Running But Are Rarely in a Hurry "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Whats the hurry? Are you going somewhere or are you Being? Isnt it refreshing when we see people who manage to have a full day of activity and get things []





 May 2nd, 2018 

The Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV) is delighted with the Victorian Government biggest budget announcement for our culturally diverse community.

ECCV Chairperson Cr Kris Pavlidis welcomes the $43.6m budget allocation, highlighting the $21.9m injection toward specialised employment support programs will contribute to improving migrant and refugee employment outcomes.

Cr Pavlidis said the significant investment of $8.6m into the African Communities Action Plan to address social and economic issues, including education, employment health and wellbeing, will be able to directly empower grassroot communities of African heritage.

Cr Kris Pavlidis applauds the $1.4m increase to the Multicultural Festivals and Events program for community groups including ethnic clubs.  Cr Pavlidis says its important that ethnic and multicultural community organisations will directly benefit from this boost. The $17.1m investment into existing community programs and security upgrades to Victorias multicultural community centres will further improve community amenity and safety. 

ECCV congratulates the Victorian Government on the $15m investment towards programs for young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in training, school and work, in addition to the $1.7m supporting culturally diverse young people at risk of offending. The ECCV Chairperson says its important to fund practical support and pathways for isolated and vulnerable youth including sporting venues and leisure centres in outer suburban growth areas. 

The state budget provides $500,000 to improve translations for all major government policy and program announcements. ECCV recognises the significance of accessing culturally relevant language services. Cr Kris Pavlidis says ECCV has been monitoring language services funding and would welcome its prompt roll out.

The ECCV pre-budget 2018-19 submission highlighted the need for culturally responsive employment opportunities. This state budget significantly boosts access to training, upskilling and employment pathways. ECCV intends to monitor this to ensure funding reaches culturally diverse job seekers. The ECCV State Conference May 17-18th will facilitate further discussion and partnerships to initiate employment growth, workplace diversity and a job ready workforce.


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Tuesday, 01 May


Business as usual budget drops the ball on public transport "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Victoria is in danger of regressing to a 20th century car-dependent model for transport planning, and needs to renew its ambition on public and active transport, the Public Transport Users Association said today.

After the bold initiatives of 2015 and 2016, this years state budget looks more like something from five or ten years ago, said PTUA President Dr Tony Morton. For every dollar of new spending on public transport initiatives there is $2.40 on new spending on roads and car travel, which is just going to feed growing congestion. Our overall service provision for public transport will be barely keeping pace with population growth, providing little room to help people who want an alternative to sitting in traffic.

The Andrews Government is trumpeting a record $13 billion spend on infrastructure, but with this level of spending, the Victorian public is entitled to know if this is really the right infrastructure, and how its going to benefit a decade or two into the future. Are we still devoting the lions share of funding to additional road capacity thats going to fill up in two years, or are we embracing the 21st century model of efficient movement and choices?

Despite the slant to roads, the PTUA says there are important initiatives in the budget to upgrade signalling and other infrastructure on the Sunbury, Dandenong, Shepparton and Ballarat lines, to continue expanding the train fleet and to provide additional services. This builds on the governments existing major initiatives such as the Metro tunnel, road-rail grade separation and the Regional Rail Revival package.

But PTUA said the overall impression was of a government suddenly reluctant to build on its record in growing public transport, and instead doubling down on roads. They want Victorians to get excited about the North East Link, the Mordialloc Freeway and $2 billion worth of road widening in the suburbs, Dr Morton said. Barring some encouraging words about high speed regional trains, theres really nothing new thats comparable on the public transport side. Is this really all there is, as the Andrews Government goes to Victorians to seek re-election in November?

With Melbournes population set to grow by close to 1 million people per decade, the state cannot afford to drop the ball on public transport, says the PTUA. We really need to be planning the next big rail capacity boost in the west, given everything thats said about the Metro tunnel being full almost as soon as it opens. And theres the ongoing need to boost regular service frequency, including on our long-neglected suburban bus network.


Victorian Budget Formula "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Read our Victorian budget submission for further detail on the following issues. A first glance at the Victorian State Budget sees an election year budget, light on reform, big on expenditure. The billowing Victorian land market underpinned most of the spending, with $7.1 bn in stamp duties alone. Some say that the property sector was []


Best & worst "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

CoreLogic reports the best performing Australian housing markets, with Geelong top of the tree.

And the lesser performers.

Source: CoreLogic


Listings down in April as Hobart 'cascades' lower "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Easter break

Listings fell by 3.8 per cent over April from 338,000 to 325,000, with seasonal Easter impacts taking hold, according to the latest data from SQM Research.

After half a decade of low stock levels, Sydney listings are 35 per cent higher than a year earlier.

In Melbourne, too, listing are now 6 per cent higher year-on-year.

Only one capital city has seen a drop over the past 12 months, and it's a big one at that.

Yep, at the other end of the spectrum is booming Hobart, where there were only 2,270 listings, down 27 per cent from a year earlier.

It's now interesting to see how supply responds in Hobart, being a small city of about 230,000. 

Building approvals figures to follow later this week! 

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Monday, 30 April


May Forum: Melbourne to Armidale Bill McKibben Livestream "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

[ Thursday, 3 May; 6:30 pm; ] It is by sheer luck that our usual monthly forum is on at exactly the same time as this important broadcast by founder and world-renowned climate defender Bill McKibben. Bill McKibben will be in Australia as a part of 350 Australias Fossil Free campaign to talk to people about what we need to do to [...] full article 


Worlds first multi-million dollar carbon-capture plant does work of just $17,640 worth of trees "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Alice Friedemann  author of When Trucks Stop Running: Energy and the Future of Transportation, 2015, Springer and Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers. Podcasts: Practical PreppingKunstlerCast 253KunstlerCast278Peak Prosperity , XX2 report


Editorial Staff. June 2, 2017. Worlds First Multi-Million Dollar Carbon-Capture Plant Does Work Of Just $17,640 Worth Of TreesIts The Worst Investment In Human History. National Economics.

On May 31st the worlds first commercial carbon dioxide capture-plant was opened in Hinwil, Switz...


Jack Alpert on Overshoot "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

jack alpert's pictureI have just listened (twice) to what I now consider to be Jim Kunstlers best podcast ever it can be downloaded here, and I highly recommend it.

Ive featured Jack Alpert once before by showcasing his losing our energy slaves video. Alpert is an engineer with expertise in systems analysis.  I find his arguments so compelling, I cant see how he could be wrong. His thinking is sometimes hard going. so hard in fact, I think once or twice even Jim lost the plot, trying to steer the conversation back to his favorite subjects, the Kardashians and the financialisation of civilisation. Mercifully, Alpert extricates himself from Kunstlers biases, such as they are, and continues developing the themes he holds dear and need to be shared everywhere, so important I think they are..

Alpert has a website where more videos are available (see below) as well as pdfs of papers he has written.

Whichever way you look at it, civilisation is screwed. But you already knew that, right?



eX-detainees highly condemn artists performed in the #Stolenwealth (commonwealth) games in Australia 2018 and call to boycott such artists. "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

We eX-detainees in Australia strongly condemn those artists who performed in the Stolenwealth aka Commonwealth Games in Australia 2018. We eX-detainees have requested artists to boycott the Commonwealth Games both nationally and internationally on the basis of our community members enduring ongoing abuses in Australia run detention centres for over 2 decades (26 years).

But our request has been regarded with clear disrespect and Australias rape and torture survivors should not have to educate people on this. Artists privileged enough to have such a platform should know that their solidarity should be with the oppressed not with a thieving murderous empire or commonwealth. This was an opportunity to leverage your power for justice but you instead chose fame and money while throwing abused and tortured communities under the bus. What is very interesting is that some of these artists are recognised as progressive and as human rights activists, yet have zero respect for refugees indefinitely detained in Australian detention camps both in and past and at the present. For over 26 years, white Australian refugee policy exists not only because of racist Australian government but also of spineless so-called progressives too.

This systemic abuse of our bodies and livelihood not only exist in detention but also long after we survived. We should not also forget those who are currently held hostage in both onshore and offshore detention camps, including some cases where people have been detained for 10 years without release date.

Therefore, we ask all our national and international followers to BOYCOTT below artists future performances due to their lack of regards for those who survived rape and torture in Australia-run detention centres.

Artist Names / Locations

Meg Mac Melbourne
The Cat Empire Melbourne
Born in a Taxi Melbourne
Regurgitator Melbourne
Confidence Man- Melbourne

Urthboy Sydney
Nina Las Vegas NSW
Icarus Productions Sydney
Hot Dub Time Machine Sydney
Thundamentals Sydney
BlueSkillet Rovers NSW
Eliza & The Delusionals- NSW

Kate Miller Heidke Brisbane
Amy Shark Brisbane
Ella Fence Brisbane
Katie Noonan Brisbane
The Jungle Giants Brisbane
Bullhorn Brisbane
Circa Contemporary Circus Brisbane
Paces Brisbane
Polytoxic dance theatre Brisbabe
Lastlings Brisbane


Were doomed: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention "IndyWatch Feed Vic"


Weve got to stop burning fossil fuels. So many aspects of life depend on fossil fuels, except for music and love and education and happiness. These things, which hardly use fossil fuels, are what we must focus on.

Were doomed: Mayer Hillman on the climate reality no one else will dare mention thumbnailWere doomed, says Mayer Hillman with such a beaming smile that it takes a moment for the words to sink in. The outcome is death, and its the end of most life on the planet because were so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels. There are no means of reversing the process which is melting the polar ice caps. And very few appear to be prepared to say so.

Hillman, an 86-year-old social scientist and senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute, does say so. His bleak forecast of the consequence of runaway climate change, he says without fanfare, is his last will and testament. His last intervention in public life. Im not going to write anymore because theres nothing more that can be said, he says when I first hear him speak to a stunned audience at the University of East Anglia late last year.

From Malthus to the Millennium Bug, apocalyptic thinking has a poor track record. But when it issues from Hillman, it may be worth paying attention. Over nearly 60 years, his research has used factual data to challenge policymakers conventional wisdom. In 1972, he criticised out-of-town shopping centres more than 20 years before the government changed planning rules to stop their spread. In 1980, he recommended halting the closure of branch line railways only now are some closed lines reopening. In 1984, he proposed energy ratings for houses finally adopted as government policy in 2007. And, more than 40 years ago, he presciently challenged societys pursuit of economic growth.

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Sunday, 29 April


2pm 21/07 | Rally: 5 Years Too Many Bring Them Here! "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

When: 2-5pm 21st July Where: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne. Facebook event here This July will mark 5 years since the PNG solution was announced 5 years of limbo in offshore detention hellholes 2 years since Manus was declared illegal Over 1.5 years since US refugee deal announced 10 deaths offshore Its(...)

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Friday, 27 April


PTUA welcomes study into high speed rail for Geelong "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the state governments announcement of a study into faster rail services for Geelong.

A $50 million study will investigate the possibility of trains running at between 250 and 300km/h between Melbourne and Geelong.

PTUA Geelong Branch Convener and Regional Spokesperson, Paul Westcott, said faster trains would provide great benefits to the people of Geelong.

It would be fantastic to see higher speeds on the Geelong line, which would mean shorter journey times for commuters, allowing them to spend more time with their families. Its encouraging to see the government planning for the higher speed trains we will need in the future first on the Geelong line, and then on other regional lines, he said.

However, Mr Westcott noted that the overwhelming concern for Geelong line passengers right now is overcrowding at the Melbourne end of the line, and the unreliability of services.

Its vital to fix those problems now, as well as planning for the future, Mr Westcott said. Geelong trains should not be serving suburban passengers from Tarneit, Wyndham Vale and Deer Park.

The line to Wyndham Vale must be electrified so Metro trains can do that job, and the two planned separate tracks must be built so Geelong trains dont have to stop at suburban stations.

The PTUA has also welcomed the state governments announcement that the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) will be re-established as Rail Projects Victoria.

Rather than having separate agencies running each new project, it is sensible to have a single agency responsible for all rail projects, Mr Westcott said. It will help retain talent and skills in rail projects, and provide a pipeline of works for the people involved.

Mr Westcott noted that the new authority should be able to coordinate and combine related projects together. For example, the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority (MMRA) is planning to build a new station at Toolern on the Melton line, right next to Ferris Road, but the opportunity to grade separate Ferris Road at the same time is apparently not being taken.

Based on what the government has said, Rail Projects Victoria will start out with the same remit as the current MMRA, but we hope that more projects will be added to it over time, Mr Westcott said.

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Thursday, 26 April


North East Link plans to kill off Doncaster rail forever "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Public Transport Users Association says that detailed design plans for the North East Link and its accompanying busway include taking over the median reserve for additional car lanes. This will kill stone dead any long term plan for trains to run to Doncaster, according to the PTUA.

Whats being proposed is a radical reorganisation of the road corridor between Clifton Hill and Bulleen, said PTUA President Dr Tony Morton. The wide median which has been set aside for a train line since the 1970s will be deleted and used for car lanes. This provides space for the bus lanes they want to put on the outside of the road but the outside will never be suitable for rail due to conflict with entrance and exit ramps.

The plan to remove the median appears in the map book accompanying the North East Link Detail Design. It adds to previously announced plans for a 16-lane road monster between Bulleen and Doncaster, resembling the superhighways seen in some US cities like Los Angeles or Houston.

Dr Morton said the plan to kill Doncaster rail not only ran contrary to the publics clearly expressed preference it also promised nightmarish consequences for the Doncaster region in the long term. Rail is ultimately the only game in town when it comes to moving large numbers of people around a big city effectively, he said. Even the proposed buses wont be future-proof, and will in time become slow and crowded just like the busway services in Brisbane today. Premier Andrews and his Roads Minister are essentially foreclosing the most space-efficient mode of transport for the least space-efficient. Thats not merely short-sighted, its bordering on spite for the people of Manningham who spent years campaigning for a train.

The PTUA hears daily from bus users in the north east who suffer overcrowded, late, cancelled and defective services, Dr Morton said. The Department of Transport signed a supposedly innovative contract with private operator Transdev, which it appears leaves it powerless to enforce basic service standards on behalf of passengers. I can confidently say no-one who uses these buses today has any confidence in government assurances that buses can do the work of trains in 30 years time when Melbourne is the size of London or Paris.

Instead, Dr Morton said, residents of Manningham and other suburbs were being sentenced to a congested Los Angeles future. So the state spends $16 billion to build this 16 lane monster, and it fills up with 16 lanes of single-occupant car traffic. What do our amazing planners do then? The Americans have freeways 24 lanes wide and theyre still clogged. Freight cant go anywhere because its stuck with all the cars. You dont solve anyones transport problems passengers or freight until you...


PTUA welcomes Coalition commitments to regional rail in western Victoria "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has today welcomed the state Coalitions commitments to improve regional rail in western Victoria if elected in November.

A study commissioned by a group of councils in western Victoria in 2017 called for a swathe of improvements to public transport in their regions, including returning passenger trains to Horsham and Hamilton, and improving a number of coach connections. The Coalition have announced their intention to fund a formal business case for these proposals.

PTUA Ballarat Branch Convener, Ben Lever, welcomed the announcement as the first step towards returning passenger trains beyond Ararat.

Returning passenger trains to these communities is really vital for connecting them to each other, and to Ballarat and Melbourne. We hope this business case can do the detailed planning necessary to allow construction to start as soon as possible, he said.

Passenger trains along these routes would act as the spine of the region. When fast, high-capacity passenger trains are running on these routes, they can be complemented by connecting coaches to places that arent on the rail line, and thereby improve public transport across the whole region.

The Coalition also propose extending the Maryborough line to Donald, reactivating stations at Dunolly and St Arnaud along the way. These extensions are also seen as a first step towards returning passenger services all the way to Mildura in the future.

Returning passenger trains to these communities would be a real boon. Whether theyre taking shorter trips to Maryborough or Ballarat, or going all the way to Melbourne, a fast and well-timed train could be extremely useful for the people living in these towns. Mr Lever said.

Mr Lever did note that there were some technical obstacles to returning trains to returning passenger trains beyond Maryborough that would need to be addressed.

In that part of Victoria there is a mixture of Broad Gauge track, which is primarily used for passenger services, and Standard Gauge track, which is primarily used for freight services. Because a given train can only run on one type of track, passengers travelling all the way from Donald to Melbourne would need to change from a Standard Gauge train to a Broad Gauge train at some point in their journey the decision will need to be made about where that change should happen. We look forward to the Coalition providing these kinds of finer details about their policy in the coming months.

While Mr Lever welcomed the proposed reopening of these stations, he warned against a set and forget approach.

Governments need to bear in mind that its not just about providing the infrastructure or providing a train its about backing that up with servi...

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Wednesday, 25 April


Finally out of the ground. "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Since pouring the house slab, almost six weeks ago, quite a bit has happened on the Fanny Farm. To start with, the concrete suppliers came to the party regarding that last load that went off as soon as it was poured.  they knew theyd screwed up, there were no arguments, and the rep asked me what I wanted, and I told him, and he said OK. So Im not paying for that load, and they supplied self levelling concrete to rectify the wonky end of the house, which I will do once the walls are up  frustrating all the same.

My daughter and I harvested 400kg of Geeveston Fannies, which were taken next door and turned into almost 200 litres of Cider. I have such a bumper crop this year, Im afraid that due to other pressures, like building, a lot of my apples will simply go to waste.. I just cant do everything.

IMG_20180415_090227It even snowed on Hartz. I took my Belgian wwoofer Nelle up the hill to show her Australian Alpine landscape, and she was amazed at how different it looks compared to Europe. When it snows there, it rains down on the farm, and three...

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Tuesday, 24 April


A question too obvious "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Lifted from Consciousness of Sheep. While its a UK website, Australia gets an honorable and well deserved mention..

Every now and again someone poses a question so obvious that you wonder why nobody asked it before.  When that happens, it is usually because it reveals an unconscious narrative that you have been following.  It is precisely because it jars with what you thought you knew that it is so unsettling.  And, of course, most people will seek some means of avoiding the ramifications of the question; such as questioning the motives of the person asking it.

So it is that Time Magazine Hero of the Environment, Michael Shellenberger poses just such an apparently innocuous question:

If solar and wind are so cheap, why are they making electricity so expensive?

Image result for grid renewables

There are clearly merits to this question.  The spiralling cost of electricity played a major role in the recent Australian election.  In Britain, even the neoliberal Tory government has been obliged to introduce legislation to cap energy prices; while the Labour opposition threatens to dispense with the private energy market altogether.  Across the USA prices are spiralling ever upward, making Trumps pro-fossil fuel stance popular for large numbers of Americans:

Over the last year, the media have published story after story after story about the declining price of solar panels and wind turbines.  People who read these stories are understandably left with the impression that the more solar and wind energy we produce, the lower electricity prices will become.

And yet thats not whats happening. In fact, its the opposite.

Between 2009 and 2017, the price of solar pe...

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Monday, 23 April


The Collapse of Saudi Arabia is Inevitable "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Ive been saying this for years now.  but heres one of the worlds best journalists explaining it way better than I can.. and you better believe it, when Saudi Arabia goes the way of Syria, it will be the trigger for global collapse to start in earnest.
By Nafeez Ahmed

nafeezSeptember 28, 2015 Information Clearing House MEE- On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a change in leadership to fend off the kingdoms collapse.

In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchys continued survival.

We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself, warned the letter.

Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner and informed observers think such a prospect fanciful the letters analysis of Saudi Arabias dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchys undoing well wit...

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Sunday, 22 April



Originally published on J Pratt 27s blog

Sorry about the images, no matter how much I shrink them, they wont fit on the page  you can view them properly in a separate tab..

By Michael E. Mann

Credit: Freestylephoto Getty Images

Two decades ago this week a pair of colleagues and I published the original hockey stick graph in Nature, which happened to coincide with the Earth Day 1998 observances.

The graph showed Earths temperature, relatively stable for 500 years, had spiked upward during the 20th century.

year later we would extend the graph back in time to A.D. 1000, demonstrating this rise was unprecedented over at least the past millenniumas far back as we could go with the data we had.

Original hockey stick temperature graph in Nature, 1998. The Y axis shows the Northern hemisphere mean temperature, in degrees Celsius; the zero line corresponds to the 1902 1980 mean. Credit: Global-scale Temperature Patterns and Climate Forcing over the Past Six Centuries, by Michael E. Mann et al. in Nature, Vol. 392, April 23, 1998

Although I didnt realize it at the time, publishing the hockey stick would change my life in a fundamental way. I was thrust suddenly into the spotlight. Nearly every major newspaper and television news networkcovered our study. The widespread attention was exhilarating, if not intimidating for a science nerd with little or no experienceor frankly, inclination at the timein communicating with the public.

Nothing in my training as a scientist could have prepared me for the...

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Friday, 20 April


Put our buses to work for everyone: PTUA responds to Infrastructure Victoria action plan "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

Melbournes buses need to be overhauled to follow the heavy-lifting example set by Melbournes trams, the Public Transport Users Association said on Friday.

The call comes in response to Infrastructure Victorias Five Year Focus strategy, which outlines short term actions to tackle Melbournes traffic congestion. The report calls on the State Government to make better use of existing infrastructure and bus fleets, restructuring bus networks to be more efficient and managing road space to improve priority for high-occupancy public and active transport.

Its fascinating to look back at the five year plan the PTUA produced way back in 2005, and how many of the things we were asking for then are coming up in this 2018 strategy, said PTUA President Dr Tony Morton. Things like better bus and tram priority, network planning reform, SmartBus links to connect rail corridors and so on these are perennial problems that really wont cost that much to fix but have languished for want of political attention.

But the PTUA has long identified other low hanging fruit likely to have similar bang for buck performance in the short term, Dr Morton said. For example, Infrastructure Victoria talks in their report about network connectivity, but only mention new road links to encourage more car travel. Weve repeatedly raised examples of tram lines that stop barely a kilometre short of railway stations, and where a valuable network connection could be made for want of a short extension, costing the same as a couple of kilometres of new road.

Other inexpensive initiatives included extra stations on suburban lines where spare capacity exists, the PTUA says. The 2005 plan envisaged a station at Campbellfield on the Upfield line (connecting with the 902 SmartBus) and at Newport West on the Altona line. The government wasted the opportunity to build a Campbellfield station as part of the recent grade separation completed at Camp Road, Dr Morton said. One thing missing from the report is how the government might learn from such examples to plan and maximise the benefits from such relatively small projects in future.

But the most promising short-term initiatives came from opportunities to reform bus services, especially those Infrastructure Victoria identifies as underperforming, says the PTUA. Unfortunately, we see the potential here for trendy knee-jerk solutions that make things worse, Dr Morton says. For example, the report hints strongly at the idea of removing underperforming bus routes and replacing them with taxis. However much you ginger this up with buzzwords like customer responsive service and ride sharing, all youre doing is adding cars to the road. In cities around the w...


How an Ancient Singing Tradition Helps People Cope With Trauma in the Modern World "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

In Finland, lament singing is experiencing a revival, one sad song at a time.  Tristan Ahtone

I took pills for my depression

just to smother my emotions.

Doctors said that I would need them,

but I learned to cry without them.

So I stopped taking the tablets,

then I let my feelings rise up

for my mother when she passed on,

for my marriage when he quit me,

left me as a single mother,

with a hard job and no weekends.

Now I weep without taking pills,

yet I still feel very angry,

and the fury seems well-founded,

but the feelings will not hurt me.


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Tuesday, 17 April


Change the rules for refugees flyer "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

RAC flyer on why refugees rights are a union issue in colour and black and white. Please print and put up in your workplace change the rules for refugees.pdf change the rules for refugees bw.pdf


Uproar across Asia over Australia's approval of multinational GM rice. "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

For Immediate Release Friday 13th April, 2018

The genetically-modified organism (GMO) known as golden rice (GR2E rice) will not significantly address hunger or Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) according to the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC).

The International Conference on Golden Rice was organised by MASIPAG and the Stop Golden Rice Network in the Philippines and facilitated by the Anti-Poverty Commission. It included delegates and farmers, scientists, and development workers from Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, India, and the Philippines. The conference participants joined peasant farmers calling for the stopping of the GM rice outside the Department of Agriculture [1].
The conference heard that Australia/New Zealand approval of GR2E rice will impact heavily on indigenous farmers all over Asia. This is because as Filipino law stands, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) safety assessment can be used for approval to plant in many of the Asian rice growing countries.
FSANZ said that on the best available scientific evidence it was safe to eat.  Yet, experts and farmers from India, the Philippines and Indonesia provided studies raising concerns over the safety of the rice, proving that not all evidence was sought or considered by FSANZ. FSANZ has approved the rice into the Australasian food chain 'in case of contamination' to 'avoid trade issues'. There is a total absence of evidence for consumers to know if it is safe to eat.  FSANZ said feeding/ingestion studies were not provided nor did FSANZ require them [2].
FSANZs rubber stamp approach to food safety is putting the health of billions of people at risk. This GM rice is aimed at pregnant women and children and yet there is an absence of evidence of safety. Said Fran Murrell from MADGE Australia, We hope that the Philippine Government regulators protect their people by ensuring that rigorous, long term safety studies are carried out.
Liza Maza from the National Anti-Poverty Commission in the Philippines said There was no comparative studies between GR2E rice and other varieties to see if it can lessen Vitamin A deficiency,
Cris Panerio, national coordinator for the Philippino farmer and scientist alliance (MASIPAG), noted Golden rice is fraught with inherent problems, one of which is the low yield resulting to the disruption of the native structure...

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Monday, 16 April

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Saturday, 14 April


Submission to FSANZ on Food derived using new breeding techniques - we explain why all new GM foods need regulation, testing and labelling. "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

19th April 2018

We submit that:

1) The Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 was written with intent to ensure all new breeding techniques for food are, and will be, regulated. The Act requires the protection of public health and safety (Section 18 (1) (a), Objectives of the Act) therefore all new breeding techniques must be regulated.

  • The definitions for food produced using gene technology and gene technology cover food produced using all forms of New Breeding Techniques.
  • In New Zealand, it is accepted that in-vitro genome manipulations that were introduced after 1996 should be considered genetic modification techniques (Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act).
  • All new breeding techniques should be acknowledged as GM. 
  • All new breeding techniques must undergo sufficiently rigorous pre-market assessments and follow up monitoring to ensure they can be, and are being, safely consumed over an entire lifetime. 

We submit that:

2) This public consultation has broken the requirement that risk analysis be based on the best available scientific evidence, as required by Section 18 (2) of the FSANZ Act.

  • This consultation is based on workshops and an Expert Advisory Panel containing scientists with conflicts of interest
  • Austrian government agencies found there is insufficient knowledge of the risks of these techniques and all of them should be regulated.[1]
  • The Norwegian Environment and Development Agencies concluded further biosafety research needs to be done before these techniques are commercialised.[2]
  • The European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility state these techniques are recognized as GM in the medical field and should been seen as GM in agriculture and food. They assert that the application of these techniques allows for outcomes that may be unprecedented in human experience:[3]
  • Non-regulation of these techniques would mean numerous Human Rights are being breached the: Right to Food[4], Right to a Healthy Environment[5], Right to Health[6] and Right to Freedom essential for scientific research.[7]
  • Decisions on the regulation, or deregu...

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Thursday, 12 April


The End of Growth, Seven Years Later "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

I wrote The End of Growth in the months following the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008 (the book was published in North America in 2011), with the goal of helping to put that crisis in proper perspective. I argued that persistent economic growth is not normal in either an ecological or a historical frame of reference, and that a major threat to the continuation of growth (such as was posed by the 2008 crisis) is best interpreted as a signal that the global economy is approaching inevitable growth limits as the larger ecological systems of which it is a part become depleted, degraded, and destabilized.

This is not an entirely new way of thinking about the economy. Starting in the 1960s, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Kenneth Boulding, and Herman Daly laid the foundations for an economics that correctly situates human society within the context of Earths limited natural energy flows and resource stocks. In 1972, the landmark study The Limits to Growth argued that the rapid global economic expansion that began in the twentieth century would almost certainly end and reverse itself in the twenty-first due largely to resource depletion and pollution. These have remained minority views among economists for decades; however, I argued that they are well founded, and that we are now seeing the confirmation of Limits to Growth warnings.

However, three things have changed since The End of Growth first appeared in North America. There are clear signs that growth is becoming more difficult to achieve worldwide. Impacts from slowing growth are appearing in the social and political spheres. And both analysts and grassroots social movements are starting to regard growth as the cause, rather than the solution, to worsening ecological and social crises. Lets explore these developments one by one.

Signs that growth has run its course. This book argues at some length that ongoing, annu...


Community songbirds! Take flight on the airwaves in a new radio show dedicated to singing groups and choirs "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

A truly unique radio show championing the work of Choirs and Community Singing Groups is filling the airwaves above Upwey and beyond with the sweet sound of a cappella and accompanied singing each week.  The Aka-Pelican show is hosted by Rick Steen, a passionate choir singer and blues guitarist whos excited to bring this opportunity to the world in what he believes is a first.

Ricks Aka-Pelican show is broadcast by 3MDR, (Mountain District Radio) on 97.1fm. The community-run station was set up in response to the Ash Wednesday bushfires in 1983 to provide effective and direct communication to locals in the event of emergency, and other than a station manager, it is staffed and run entirely by volunteers.

With a background in folk and blues music, Rick joined the station as a volunteer sound engineer before being trained as an announcer and invited to present a show of his own:

I thought what would work really well is a show dedicated to supporting choirs and a cappella singing. There are around seven choirs in the Dandenongs between Upwey and Gembrook alone, making it a good niche, good for the station and its membership; people will be all over it!

3MDR has enjoyed a variety of homes during its 25-year history including a bus, a water tower and a shop. In February, the station relocated to new premises at the Forest Park Homestead, where Rick now has the luxury of a large studio space suitable for live to air broadcasts during his programs two-hour time slot, from 3 til 5:00pm on Wednesdays.



Show us a plan, and dont neglect local services, says PTUA "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Victorian Government needs to show the public an integrated plan for moving people and freight. But the government also needs to match its busy infrastructure programme with a commitment to frequent local public transport service, the Victorian Transport Infrastructure Conference heard on Thursday.

According to a presentation by Dr Tony Morton, President of the Public Transport Users Association, the government has put forward numerous multi-billion dollar transport projects, but has not explained what part they play in any strategic transport plan for the next half century.

On the one hand, the government is building the Metro rail tunnel, which is equivalent to about three West Gate Bridges in carrying capacity and has massive potential to divert single occupant car travel from the existing West Gate Bridge, Dr Morton said. Yet at the same time its sinking billions of dollars into the West Gate Tunnel, which has barely one-sixth the capacity but is likely to induce more car travel into the city, swamping any benefit the Metro tunnel provides.

Winning the West

Melbournes West faces enormous challenges in the near term dealing with urban growth and the states worst pollution from cars and trucks, not to mention the historical neglect of public transport infrastructure and services. We really cannot afford to be adding to the horrendous traffic problems that already exist. In fact we ought to be doubling down on rail infrastructure to bring the West closer to what the Eastern suburbs already enjoy. Its time to start planning Melbourne Metro Two.

Metro Two is the name given to a rail tunnel connecting Newport station underneath the Yarra with Fishermans Bend and the City. It then extends north via Parkville to connect with the South Morang line, providing added capacity to the Mernda growth area and simplifying planning for a Doncaster rail line. Versions of the line appeared in the 2012 Rail Network Development Plan and in plans considered by Infrastructure Victoria. it was also raised favourably in evidence by Victorian rail planner Ed Dotson to a 2010 Parliamentary inquiry into rail services.

Freight needs should have special consideration as part of an integrated plan, Dr Morton said. At present, freight is in a zero-sum game with single-occupant car traffic, and the cars are winning. This will happen as long as we build so-called freight roads that are just going to fill up with cars. We need to be getting more freight back on the rails, taking advantage of the latest international experience with multimodal logistics. Meanwhile, road freight solutions must be well-targeted, designed and sized so as not to induce more car travel.

Dr Morton also welcomed Wednesdays announcement by the Federal Government of $5 billion toward a Melbourne airport rail link. ...

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Wednesday, 11 April


12-2pm 13 Apr | Snap Protest: Manus isnt safe Bring Them Here! "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

When: 12-2pm Friday 13 April Where: Department of Immigration and Border Protection (corner Lonsdale and Spring Sts), Melbourne Facebook event here Protest at the Immigration Depoartment corner of Lonsdale and Springs Sts this Friday 12 noon Bring the stabbed Afghan refugee to Australia Bring eveyone Australia forced to Manus, back here to safety An(...)

Tuesday, 10 April


Trickle-Up Economics Report Launch "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

  Speakers: Dr. Gavin Putland & Dr. Polly Cleveland Date: Wednesday, April 18 Time: 6pm Location:  Prosper Australia Level 1, 64 Harcourt Street, North Melbourne Company tax cuts are favoured by government, wage rises by the opposition. We all want a vibrant economy and the dignity of work. What if there was a policy transition that turned []


Care urged on Rowville tram proposal: avoid rushing into half measures, says PTUA "IndyWatch Feed Vic"

The Public Transport Users Association has cautiously welcomed a proposal to develop a new tram line connecting Rowville to Caulfield railway station via Chadstone Shopping Centre. But the PTUA is concerned the project could leave the community worse off in the longer term by precluding a conventional train line along Wellington Road.

The previous governments network plan envisaged a regular rail link between Huntingdale and Rowville as the appropriate long term option for this corridor, PTUA President Dr Tony Morton said on Tuesday.

There was also a strong view on Infrastructure Victorias citizen jury in 2016 that this would be imperative in the next 15 years, he said.

We similarly believe conventional heavy rail is the only option in the longer term if were to see any significant mode shift to public transport to deal with our traffic problems. Its difficult to see any other option providing a competitive travel time for longer journeys.

The proposed line will run parallel to the Dandenong train line between Caulfield and Oakleigh before heading east. It will not include the existing interchange at Huntingdale station.

There are some advantages to this proposal, especially for local travel, Dr Morton said. With a tram, you can have stops both at the University and at the Synchrotron up the road, but you probably wouldnt get a train to stop at both. And it certainly delivers on the need for an improved public transport connection to Chadstone.

At the same time, the key risks for the project are speed and interchange capacity. Without serious attention to traffic priority, its not going to hold a candle to train travel as soon as youre going more than a few stops. And the interchange at Caulfield needs to cater for potentially hundreds of people at a time without getting stuck in queues our systems historically been quite bad at this kind of thing.

At present, a journey from Monash University bus interchange to Flinders Street Station can be done in 40 minutes (10 on the 601 bus and 25 on the train, assuming an average 5 minute connection). For a tram connecting at Caulfield to match what the bus and train can do currently, it would need to achieve a 30kph average speed which means it has to be faster than the existing 75 tram along Burwood Highway, and even faster than the Gold Coast Light Rail which is probably best-in-class in Australia for traffic priority right now.

Meanwhile of course, if we ever got the train the communitys been asking for, the whole trip could be cut from 40 to 30 minutes, Dr Morton said. That is the longer term opportunity for the whole high-tech precinct wed be worried about losing.

Dr Morton said the PTUA would continue to press for an integrated...

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