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Monday, 15 January

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Sunday, 14 January


EP 233: Sunscreen & Soda Eaves "IndyWatch Feed"

Ep 233 Instagram

Photo: Teds Records (Sunscreen), Justin Edwards (SE)


Recorded and mixed by Branko Cosic
Recorded at The Brightside Brisbane, 27th August 2017

Sunscreen is a band from Sydneys Inner West. Fronted by Sarah Sykes (from Flowertruck) and Alexander McDonald, Sunscreens emotional guitar-pop draws inspiration from bands Mazzy Star and The Go-Betweens, delivering ultimate UV protection for the emotions and soul.

The band has supported promising acts including The Ocean Party, Rolling Blackouts C.F, DMAs, RVG and Jade Imagine. As well as headline shows to support the launch of their debut EP, Just a Drop, a split between Dinosaur City Records and Spunk.

Soda Eaves

Recorded by Reuben Aptroot and mixed by Branko Cosic
Recorded at Sonic Masala Fest, Brisbane, 19th August 2017

Primarily the solo effort of Jake Core, Soda Eaves features contributions from a number of friends, including Jordan Ireland, Alec Marshall (Hot palms, Sui Zhen) a...


Espresso & Matcha's Saporous Expedition - Sydney: Masuya Suisan "IndyWatch Feed"

On several of the trips that I had taken with Iron Fist to Sydney, sometimes we have stayed in the Metro Hotel, which overlooks Campbell Street. Every time we go, I look down from the hotel room to see considerable crowds at Masuya Suisan downstairs and make a note that I ought to try it, but as always, I had already made a booking of some sort and we never got the chance. So this time when I went with Queen V, I made a point to go and try it out (Sorry, Iron Fist, I'll have to go with you some other time ;).

Noting the significant crowds, I mad...


REVIEW: Spielberg Drama The Post Is More Relevant Than Ever "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

As the American government continues to be viewed with doubtful and suspicious eyes, not to mention the hammering the news media receives, a film like Steven Spielbergs The Post feels more relevant than ever, despite its 1970s setting. Before the White House was taken down by the Watergate scandal in 1972, the Presidential estate fought ...

The post REVIEW: Spielberg Drama The Post Is More Relevant Than Ever appeared first on QNEWS.


Eating Out: Brisbane Vegan Markets August 2017 "IndyWatch Feed"

Continuing to catch up on my many visits to the Brisbane Vegan Markets last year! In August, I went to both the regular morning markets (2nd Sunday of the month) and the twilight markets (4th Sunday of the month). Buckle up, there's a lot of food!

First up, the morning markets. I went on my own to these, and stocked up on a number of treats before managing to get a seat out of the sun. I tried a mushroom woodfired pizza from a pizza place that I cannot remember the name of, and it was nice, though a bit sparse with the mushrooms.

Mushroom Woodfired Pizza at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Unfortunately my next choice was not great. I ordered some 'poutine' fries from a stall, I say 'poutine' like that because as well as gravy it had sour cream and things on top. After I ordered, turns out that there wasn't even gravy. There were black beans, so not even remotely like a poutine. And it just was not good. It was so bland (I couldn't taste the cheese sauce or the sour cream at all), the fries were not cooked well. I ate as much as I could, because it was expensive, but I was bitter about it the whole time, thinking of other tasty treats I could be having.

Poutine from The Vegan Van at Brisbane Vegan Markets

Thankfully, I brought it back with dessert. The Black Forest Brownie from my favourite stall, Green Street Foods. It was so good. And yes, that is coconut whipped cream on the side, but they work it like magic and it is so light and doesn't make me sick!

And I washed it all down with a delicious (though huge) strawberry cashew mylk from Nutsy.



Coal is now the biggest threat to energy security "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Worried the electricity system won't keep up over summer? Worry about coal. Seriously.

One of the four giant units at Victoria's ageing Loy Yang A power station broke down on Tuesday night at 11.05, taking out 230 megawatts, and then at 1.10 on Wednesday morning after being partially restarted, taking out what by then was 161 megawatts.

When demand soared during Sunday's heatwave, the Eraring plant on Lake Macquarie in NSW lost 275 megawatts. A few minutes later, Loy Yang A lost 264 megawatts.

On New Year's Day, unit 1 of Millmerran in Queensland stalled, taking out 156 megawatts. On December 28, unit 2 of Tarong in Queensland stalled, taking out 314 megawatts. On Boxing Day, unit 4 at Loy Yang stalled, taking out 528 megawatts. On Christmas Day, unit 1 at Gladstone stalled, taking out 230 megawatts, then unit 1 at the Tallawarra gas plant in NSW, taking out 187 megawatts. And so on, back to the start of summer.

When unit 3 at Loy Yang shut down without warning on December 14 taking out 560 megawatts and imperilling the entire system, the new Tesla battery 1000 kilometres away in South Australia sprang into action ahead of the coal-fired power station that was contracted to restore stability. It proved to be "dispatchable" in a way coal-fired power stations are not.

Age, heat and the steady encroachment of renewables are destroying the only advantages coal-fired power stations ever had.

When Treasurer Scott Morrison stood up in Federal Parliament and waved around a lump of coal in a stunt unworthy of his office, he said coal was an important part of ensuring a "more certain" energy future.

But he was speaking about the past.

Coal-fired power stations didn't used to get critically hot as often as they do now. The February 2017 heatwave that took out 2438 megawatts in one day in NSW might have once been a once-in-500-year event. Now it's a once-in-50-year event and perhaps soon a once-in-five-year event. The calculations are by the Australia Institute's Mark Ogge and Hannah Aulby in a study of the risks to energy security entitled Can't Stand the Heat. Ogge is the person who has been keeping a record of power station outages.



What a job? Move to NSW "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

It's the easiest to find a job since the mining boom.

The latest count from the Bureau of Statistics shows there were a record 216,000 job vacancies in November and 661,400 Australians out of work, the lowest total since 2012.

The ratio of 3.1 means there were roughly three job seekers for each vacant job, a step up from November 2016 when there were 3.7.

In NSW, the state with the best odds, there were only 2.2 job seekers for each vacant job, one of the lowest ratios ever recorded. A year earlier there were 2.7.

While Victoria has recorded the biggest improvement, the odds remain nowhere near as good as in NSW. There were 3.1 unemployed Victorians trying to get each vacant job in November, down from 4.2 a year earlier.

In Queensland the odds improved from 4.5 per vacant job to 3.9, in South Australia from 6.1 to 5.7, in Western Australia from 4.7 to 4.3 and in Tasmania from 7.9 to 5.7.

In the Northern Territory the odds remained little changed at about two unemployed per vacancy, and in the Australian Capital Territory they slid from 1.6 to just 1.3. But the ACT figures are unrealistic because they are biased downwards by the number of ACT workers living outside of the territory and the number who come from interstate for jobs.

The better odds in every state reflect both a surge in the number of vacancies, from 69,000 to 81,500 in NSW, and from 45,400 to 57,500 in Victoria, and also a drop in the number of Australians identifying as unemployed.

A near-record 383,300 more Australians have found work in the past 12 months, almost all of them full-time.

Construction vacancies have ju...

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Saturday, 13 January


White-necked Petrel at Offshore--Southport pelagic reported by Rob Morris and all on board the Southport Pelagic organised by Paul Walbridge on 13-01-2018 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

It was an interesting day off Southport yesterday in a 25+kt northerly. Lots of birds although the north wind caused reduced diversity. Great numbers of Tahitis, a Kermadec and a showy White-necked Petrel in 60fths were the highlights.


Marsupial fossil discovery in Australia "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

This 2016 video is called Extinct and Extant Australian Species.

From Palaeontologia Electronica:

Miminipossum notioplanetes, a Miocene forest-dwelling phalangeridan (Marsupialia; Diprotodontia) from northern and central Australia


Miminipossum notioplanetes represents a new Early/Middle Miocene family (Miminipossumidae) of phalangeridan possums recovered from the Two Trees Local Fauna from the Riversleigh World Heritage area in northwestern Queensland and the Kutjamarpu Local Fauna of the Tirari Desert in northern South Australia. Because of widespread convergence in key features of P3 and M1 among phalangeridan families, the interfamilial relationships of Miminipossumidae are uncertain. The age of the Kutjamarpu Local Fauna has been in doubt with estimates ranging from Late Oligocene to Middle Miocene. The new taxon raises to 15 the number of taxa in the Kutjamarpu Local Fauna that are shared with both...


January 14 On This Day in Australian History "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

1788 - Convicts disembarked from their world trip cruise at Botany Bay, but they didn't get much sight-seeing done, for some reason...

1803 - Lieutenant-Colonel David Collins drew the short straw to found a new settlement at Port Phillip... give up now David, it'll all end in tears....and Bill Buckley doing a runner!

1816 - Micky Micky, an Indigenous man, was admitted to Newcastle Gaol from Brisbane charged with various attempts to murder. Sent for trial.

1815 - The road over the Blue Mountains was completed to the Macquarie River.

1830 - In a classic lesson to update your maps when trekking around a new colony, Charles Sturt named a puddle of H2o the Murray River, not realising the oh-so-modest Hamilton Hume had had the honour of naming it after himself 6 years earlier.

1834 - Charles Waldron of the Illawarra district was belted to death although he took a good long 4 days to expire when convicts Mary Maloney and Sarah McGregor battered their tyrant boss (though not with a nice beer fish batter).
Over-whelming public sympathy saw their death sentences changed to 3 years imprisonment.

1837 - Gov Hindmarsh got hisself in print when the first printing press in South Oz became operational with the printing of the Guv's Proclamation "Establishment of Government".

1839 - Breakout attempt at Carter's Barracks by 19 soldiers confined there because of severe punishment such as being worked on the ring. The punishment of the ring was similar to the practice of breaking in horses. The men were made to form four deep and march round the ring twenty times, and afterwards ten times at double quick pace.

1840 - The SA Land Commissioners were dissolved by Lord John Russell, Secretary of State For The Colonies, and replaced by three Land & Emigration Commissioners, whose powers were extended over the sale of the waste lands of the Crown throughout the British Colonies and for applying the proceeds to emigration. Col Robert Richard Torrens continues as Chairman.

1842 Mary MacKillop, the only Australian to be canonised, was hatched in Fitzroy, Victoria.

1852 - William A'Beckett was appointed first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

1852 - Beruke, or Gellibrand, member of Native Police Corps, buried at South Yarra Depot, near Clara Street.

1852 - Melbourne failed in its bid to become Australia's capital.

1856 - Weenpulta, Weellanna , Yardulunulkarna and Eelanna were Hanged at Franklin Harbour for the murder of Peter Brown.

1856 - John Scott was Hanged at Perth Gaol for the murder of William Longmate at Vasse.

1866 - Bushranger John Dunn escaped briefly from Dubbo Gaol, NSW.



Espresso & Matcha's Saporous Expedition - Sydney: Black Star Pastry CBD "IndyWatch Feed"

Finishing off my quest to go to ALL the Black Star Pastries in Sydney, I now come to review the one that started my craze, and the one that I actually frequent the most (when I am in Sydney of course), being the one situated in my favourite bookstore, Kinokuniya in the Galleries of Sydney CBD.

After landing in Sydney and checking into our hotel nearby the first thing we knew we had to do was to head down there and stock up on cake for the next few days. Being conveniently lunchtime, the place was packed. 

What captured our attention, a...


Black-chinned Honeyeater at Raysource Rd, Haigslea reported by Russell' Yong & J. Hatton on 13-01-2018 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Killer views this morning (~7:30am) of four Black-chinned Honeyeaters feeding down low, right over the cross-junction. At least one was not in full colours and had a pale bill hence an immature and likely sign of local breeding. Readily lD'd by blue eye-skin and black chin; they were extensively vocal and were constantly calling throughout the time we were there (~30 mins). Closest l have ever seen this species to Brisbane.

Channel-billed Cuckoo at Gladstone reported by Ted and Alex Wnorowski on 13-01-2018 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

A pair of T. Crows successfully raised and fledged 4 cuckoo chicks in our garden. Channel-billed Cuckoos are common but so many chicks in one nest are rather unusual. This explained why our crows seemed so busy lately, raiding every property in the neighbourhood and storing pieces of food in the gaps of air conditioners, garden furniture slats and palm crowns.All four fledglings left the nest this morning and flew to the top of a tall Norfolk pine. They made very loud noises, constantly begging their foster-parents for food. After 30 min they all flew away - 4 cuckoos frantically chasing two crows in the sky.

Wood Sandpiper; Australasian Shoveler at Lake Clarendon reported by Russell' Yong & J. Hatton on 13-01-2018 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Prolonged views of one Wood Sandpiper on the rock-strewn exposed land, close to the foot of the dam tower. At least four Aust Shovelers were seen from this vantage point, but no doubt there were more further out.

Musk Duck at Lake Clarendon reported by Donald Gaydon; Heath Gaydon on 13-01-2018 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Single bird, female or juvenile, no throat lobe visable, large size, reptilian head and bill, sitting low in water, spiky tail held vertically. Single Musk Duck sighted amongst thousands of other waterfowl - primarily Hardheads and Grey Teal. Very hot conditions 40 degrees C at 10.30am


"Butterflies..." "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

"I think humans might be like butterflies; people die every day without many other people knowing about them, seeing their colors, hearing their stories... and when humans are broken, they're like broken butterfly wings; suddenly there are so many beauties that are seen in different ways, so many thoughts and visions and possibilities that form, which couldn't form when the person wasn't broken! So it is not a very sad thing to be broken, after all! It's during the times of being broken, that you have all the opportunities to become things unforgettable! Just like the broken butterfly wing that I found, which has given me so many thoughts, in so many ways, has shown me so many words, and imaginations! But butterflies need to know, that it doesn't matter at all if the whole world saw their colors or not! But what matters is that they flew, they glided, they hovered, they saw, they felt, and they knew! And they loved the ones whom they flew with! And that is an existence worthwhile!"
- C. JoyBell C.


Defence analysts suggesting that Australia might need nuclear weapons? "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

 Why Australia might be forced to consider nuclear weapons, Brisbane Times, By Tony Walker
12 January 2018  ..Fifty years on from Strangeloves release its not an irrelevant question to ask whether America has in place fail-safe mechanisms to prevent just such a nuclear accident; nor is it out of order to note the beginning of a debate in the shadows about Australia going nuclear.

Not since the John Gorton era of the late 1960s cabinet documents confirm discussion then has the possibility of Australia becoming a nuclear power been canvassed, except on the margins of the defence debate, and in top secret advice to the government of the day.

However, in recent weeks the issue has found its way crabwise into public domain via contributions from defence analysts Paul Dibb, Richard Brabin-Smith, and Hugh White in his Quarterly Essay...


Your Wedding Questions Answered At Same-Sex Marriage Boot Camp "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

Getting married but dont even know where to start planning your perfect wedding? Brisbanes Broadway Chapel in Woolloongabba is owned and run by local couple James and Nick (pictured), and theyre thrilled to welcome the first same-sex couples to the heritage-listed venue. Theyre offering prospective couples the chance to sign up for Same-Sex Marriage Boot ...

The post Your Wedding Questions Answered At Same-Sex Marriage Boot Camp appeared first on QNEWS.


Brick Bistro Bar "IndyWatch Feed"

Brick Bistro Bar, Redcliffe

One weekend, we went to Redcliffe for an outing and explored the morning market. Prior to that, we had early lunch so that Miss G will not get cranky! We stopped by at Brick Bistro Bar and thankfully just started their lunch session, which is mostly tapas style. While waiting for the meals to arrive, G had some colouring session with the supplied crayons and drawing papers. 

We certainly ordered quite a bit for two adults and one baby/toddler. Trying to guess what she will eat, we ordered a mix of food. The meals all came out around the same time and G was just salivating (maybe just a little)! LOL! 

Cheese burger slider with chips ($9)
Firstly, we ordered a kid's meal (cheese burger slider) that came with fries and soft drinks for $9. The bun was quite dry but the rest was delicious. Beef patty flavourful and really good chips. 

House garlic and rosemary bread with olive oil and balsamic reduction ($7)



Eating Out: Pitstop Pizza, Crust, Pizza Capers (aka Vegan Pizza takes over Australia) "IndyWatch Feed"

This post is a combined pizza post, involving a bit of eating out, but also a lot of ordering in. That's right, vegan cheese has come to Australian pizza delivery places!

But first, an actual eating out experience. I am so late with posting this! Before the vegan cheese could come to our doors, Pitstop Pizza was delighting vegans with a vegan section on their menu. While no vegan meats make an appearance, the lure of vegan cheese was strong. I met up with a friend there for dinner one night to try it out.

My friend was gluten free, so she got the Vegan Vegetariana (homemade pizza sauce, vegan cheese, mushrooms, fresh tomato, marinated roasted capsicum, onion, Kalamata olives) on a gluten free vegan crust. I tried a piece (after picking off the capsicum), and it was fine. Though you could definitely tell the crust was gluten free.

Vegan Vegetariana at Pitstop Pizza

I enjoyed the Vegan Halloween pizza, with homemade pizza sauce, vegan cheese, mushrooms, pumpkin, spinach and dried oregano. On a regular, gluten filled crust, which I think definitely improved the experience.

Vegan Halloween at Pitstop Pizza

They also have some vegan desserts there, so I ordered the cherry pie. It is more like a mini cherry strudel. It was nice, but they served it cold. Definitely would have benefited from a heat up and perhaps a scoop of non-coconut vegan ice cream!

Cherry Pie at Pitstop Pizza

Not long after that visit, Crust, a nation-wide pizza chain with delivery, started offering vegan cheese, with their own special vegan pizza, and you could also customise your own. We ordered two pizzas, starting with the Vegan Alfunghi (Wild Mushroom medley topped with a Thyme & Rosemary crumb mix on a Vegan Bchamel base, garnished with fresh Shallots and vegan cheese, I had them leave off the truffle oil). It was OK, though a little bland and oily.


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Friday, 12 January


Buying Time To Beat Adani "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

The environment and the people will ultimately win the battle to stop the Galilee Basin being opened to coal mining, predicts Ben Pennings.

Adani is on the ropes, desperately trying to rescue the $1.5bn they gambled on the economically marginal and environmentally disastrous Carmichael coal mine. Gina Rinehart, Clive Palmer or Aurizon might follow Adani into the Galilee basin but the environment movement has the numbers this time. Mass social movements like #StopAdani will triumph over profit, either through the ballot box or in front of bulldozers.

People ask me why I quit my job at The Queensland Greens, why I put myself at physical and legal risk to initiate citizen resistance against Adanis plans. The answer is always the same. To buy time. There is enough coal in the Galilee Basin to not only cook the Reef, but to supercharge extreme weather and destroy farmland worldwide. The resulting death and destruction is seemingly unspeakable.

Any time gained through stopping fossil fuel projects must be used to enact meaningful cultural and systemic change. The 50 years of the modern environment movement have been the most ecologically destructive in human history, when hyper-consumerism has become our dominant religion and carbon emissions have soared.

Our dominant culture of over-consumption, expensive thrills and massive waste must be challenged and changed. Civilised humans have turned their only home into a garbage dump, created an ecological debt that cannot just be written off. Solar-powered ecocide is still ecocide.

Living beyond our means hasnt made us any happier. If needless consumer products gave us the happiness promised in their ads we wouldnt need to buy any more of them. Few people are immune to the constant lies of advertisers and politicians advocating for faceless corporations.

US Ambassador Timothy Roemer is greeted by Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group at Adani House in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. (IMAGE: U.S. Embassy New Delhi, Flickr)US Ambassador Timothy Roemer is greeted by Gautam Adani, Chairman, Adani Group at Adani House in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. (IMAGE: U.S. Embassy New Delhi, Flickr)

Every kid that gets cancer, every cyclone, and every useless nick knack contributes to economic growth. Progress must be measured differently through wellbeing, social equality and harmony. Despite advertising being embedded in our culture, people value health, relationships, and recreation more than extra possessions.

The environment movement can only challenge consumerist culture by taking up the fight for economic justice. People by nature compare themselves to others. The outlandish and celebrated...


Great Barrier Reef tourism spokesman attacks scientist over slump in visitors "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Col McKenzie calls on government to stop funding work of Terry Hughes, saying tourists won't do long-haul trips when they think the reef is dead'A Queensland tourism representative has called one of the Great Barrier Reef's leading researchers a dick, blaming the professor for a downturn in tourism growth at the state's greatest natural asset.Col McKenzie, the head of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, a group that represents more than 100 businesses in the Great [...]


To 14 January the week in nuclear news Australia "IndyWatch Feed Seq"

International relations seem to become ever more complicated and risky. Donald Trump says I probably have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un. It is really hard to make sense out of Trumps utterances, and the climate of new media makes that all the more difficult, and dangerous. Donald Trumps national security adviser, H.R. McMaster thinks its about time to bomb North Korea. 17 former nuclear launch officers warn Congress about Trumps power to destroy.

 European powers urge US not to withdraw from Iran nuclear deal. If he did, it would certainly not help international efforts to persuade North Korea to cease its nuclear weapons drive.


Defence analysts suggesting that Australia might need nuclear weapons?

Latest pro nuclear push in Australia shows the split in the nuclear industry. Former Big Nuclear...

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Monday, 01 January


Wood Sandpiper, Stubble Quail, White-winged Black Terns, Pectoral Sandpiper at Lake Clarendon reported by Ged Tranter on 31-12-2017 "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

A great morning at the lake - also Black Falcon, Freckled Ducks, 500 Whiskered Terns + 300 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.


2017 Site Review "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Another year down in the just-over five-year history of this site.  2017 did not have either a federal election or a Tasmanian state election but there was still a fair amount of interest, especially in the Queensland election.  Indeed traffic by unique pageviews was only down 40% on last year despite the lack of a federal election, and up 25% on the last year without a federal or Tasmanian election (2015).  Moreover, there were more total pageviews than in the last state election year, 2014! Here's the activity graph for the year (the units are sessions per week):

The major event of the year on the site was the Queensland election, and quite aside from Queensland elections being always so interesting, I think the real reason for this is that the flow of information from official sources was very poor.  Other spikes included two rounds of Tasmanian legislative council elections and the Marriage Law Postal Survey, but there was also a continuing run of Section 44 fun that meant there was generally something to talk about in the second half of the year.

In 2017 I published 77 articles, down nine on 2016.  The main reason for the slight drop is the reduction in the number of Poll Roundup articles, of which ten came out this year, compared to 18 in a federal election year the year before.  I expanded out Tasmanian Legislative Council previews so that each seat had its own page, but on the other hand I only did one post-count thread for Queensland.  As well as poll roundups, the same-sex marriage postal vote (ten articles) and Queensland (nine) were covered fairly heavily.  I'm pleased to have been able to keep the volume somewhere near previous years in a year when my professional workload again increased.

As usual a number of things got partly written but never finished, sometimes for lack of time or sometimes because I thought better of finishing them or lost my temper with the subject matter.  Pieces started but not yet (and in some cases probably never to be) finished included:

* The Lower House section 44 piece foreshadowed in the most recent Senate piece.
* Does Voting For One Nation Help Labor Win Elections? (Answer: Very rarely.  Somebody tell Turnbull that we do have preferences in this country.)
* An untitled piece arguing that...


Mega projects mean shortages, Treasurer says "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

So big is Melbourne's infrastructure boom that Treasurer Tim Pallas fears Victoria will run low on the specialist skills and resources such as gravel needed to make it happen.

"We've known for a while that the technical and the specialist skills required for transport projects, particularly rail projects, have been hard to get," he told The Age. "The more projects you start the harder it gets. We've only a handful of rail signallers in the entire state to manage not only the existing network but also the upgrades planned and under way.

"That's just one illustration. We are also hearing of shortages in project management, finishing trades, commercial advisory skills, industry analysis, systems engineering and tunnelling. For high-end skills, it's obvious, but its also a problem for entry-level skills."

"Only on Friday I was meeting with the extractive industries representative body, and everybody around that table was saying there is so much demand for raw materials, quarry materials, cement and sand and so on that suppliers are choosing which jobs they bid on.

"You've got to expect pressure on price."

Mr Pallas said that at $9.6 billion per year, Victoria's infrastructure spending program was unprecedented. As a proportion of the state budget it was the biggest since that of the Bolte Liberal government in the 1960s and 1970s that began construction of the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop.

Victoria's $9.6 billion per year program was in competition for resources with the NSW $12.1 billion per year program, also the biggest on record. Other big projects in Queensland and New Zealand meant that the market for skills along the east coast was tightening, as it had in Western Australia during the mining construction boom.

"We are having to get people from further away and pay them more than we thought," Mr Pallas said. "Ultimately we have to pay what the market is prepared to offer."

"Look at what happened with Sydney's Westconnex. The entire industry in NSW put in one single consolidated bid that put the state government at a disadvantage. Here, we are facing the same sort of thing with the North East Link. You can only bring so many people in from interstate. You get to a point where you hit bedrock in terms of imported skills."

Mr Pallas said it wasn't yet clear t...


Sydney accounts for half Australia's growth "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Sydney has become Australia's economic powerhouse, accounting for almost half of Australia's economic growth.

The extraordinary figure of 41.2 per cent is the highest since Victoria led the nation into recession in the early 1990s.

New calculations show that Sydney and Melbourne combined accounted for more than two-thirds of Australia's economic growth during 2016-17, a concentration rare on a global scale.

The capital city GDP estimates prepared by Terry Rawnsley of SGS Economics and Planning show Sydney's economy grew 3.3 per cent during 2016-17, easily surpassing Melbourne's 2.8 per cent.

The economy of regional NSW grew 1.5 per cent; the economy of regional Victoria grew 5.8 per cent.

A rough measure of living standards, GDP per capita grew 1 per cent in Sydney while slipping 0.1 per cent in Melbourne.

GDP per capita shrank 0.6 per cent in Brisbane and 4.7 per cent in Perth.

Mr Rawnsley said economic activity was gravitating to Sydney and Melbourne, even though Melbourne's living standards were slipping.

"It's getting economic refugees from Perth and Brisbane, whose living standards are slipping faster," he said. "Melbourne is more affordable than Sydney. If you want a big city with a vibrant economy but you don't want to pay Sydney prices, you go to Melbourne."

Sydney is Australia's hottest capital city economy. SGS suggests that to rein in Sydney's economy the Reserve Bank would have to push up its cash rate from 1.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent. To rein in Melbourne's it would have to push it 2.25 per cent. In Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide, the cash rate would have to be pushed down to 0.25 per cent.


Sunday, 31 December


January 1 On This Day in Australian History "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

1801 - The ship Speedy, a whaler, arrived at Sydney, "from the coast".

1810 - Because he had nothing better to do that day (apart from recover from a hangover), Major General Lachlan Macquarie took up office as the fifth Governor of New South Wales.

1818 - At the annual Native Feast at Parramatta, Macquarie presented gorgets to Cogie as Chief of the Georges River Tribe, and to Norwong as Chief of the Botany Tribe and the Order of Merit to Tindall of the Cow Pastures and Pulpin of the Hawkesbury Tribe

1819 - Licences were required for all persons engaged in cutting cedar at the Illawarra region.

1822 - Governor Macquarie, with the new governor, Sir Thomas Brisbane, paid a visit this morning, before Breakfast, to Elizabeth Town, the Native Village in Elizabeth Bay. 

1827 - There was so much gossip, news and tid-bits that the Sydney Gazette became a daily fishwrapper.

1829 - Lieutenant John Fitzgerald Butler returned to Illawarra to replace Major D'Arcy.

1830 - I like their timing...4 hotels in Fremantle became Western Australia's first licensed premises.

1835 - The first issue of the Colonist (newspaper)  The proprietor was John Dunmore Lang.

1837 - For a pittance of 10 licence fee generous Gov. Bourke told squatters to go forth and graze beyond the limits of location.

1838 - Another bloke with too much time over the festive season....Melbourne's first newspaper, a miniature sheet of four pages handwritten in manuscript, called the Port Phillip Advertiser, was founded and issued by John Pascoe Fawkner.

1841 -  The Colonist was incorporated in Sydney Herald .

1844 - Editor Thomas Forster and printer Edwyn Henry Statham bought the Australian.

1849 - The Port Phillip Herald became a daily (Melbournes second) and changed its title to the Melbourne Morning Herald.

1850 - The South Australian Register appeared as a daily for the second time.

1850 - Standard postage introduced throughout NSW. For 3d., a letter could be posted overseas; for 2d., to the next suburb or town. For 1d you post a letter locally where you could probably hand deliver it yourself. Because of their design, the stamps became known as 'Sydney Views'.


Queensland 2017: Final Results And Polling Accuracy "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

Queensland: ALP 48 LNP 39 KAP 3 PHON 1 GREEN 1 IND 1
2PP Estimate 51.2 to Labor (+0.1 from 2015)

It's taken a while but I've finally found some time to put up something about the final results of the 2017 Queensland state election.  I try to always put something out on Christmas Day, though last year nasty weather interfered with that plan.

In a nutshell, the 2017 Queensland election was one where a great many dramatic things could have happened, but virtually none of them did, as the following sections explain:

Hardly any seats changed hands

You don't turn 89 seats into 93 without breaking a few eggs, but the level of seat transfer between the parties at this election was remarkably low.  On a notional basis and ignoring retirements and mid-term defections, just nine seats changed hands at this election, most of them marginal anyway.  The Liberal National Party lost Redlands (1.2%), Gaven (2.8%) and Aspley (3.2%) to Labor, and would have lost Maiwar (3.0%) to Labor as well but the Greens snatched it instead.  Labor lost Bundaberg (0.5% and which was a freak win last time anyway) and Burdekin (notionally theirs by 1.4% but LNP-occupied) to the LNP, and might have lost Mirani (3.8) to the LNP had not One Nation helped itself to its only win.  The LNP also dropped Noosa (6.6) to independent Sandy Bolton, and Hinchinbrook (3.4) to KAP's Nick Dametto.  In Hinchinbrook, Dametto (who according to his party had only been campaigning for four weeks) pulled off a duplicate of Andrew Wilkie's Denison 2010 winning method of coming third and getting everyone's preferences.

There was very little 2PP swing

On the night, 2PP estimates were running at about 52-48, but after a close look at the final numbers my estimate is just 51.2% to Labor, a swing of 0.1% from 2015.  Perhaps an exact figure will be derived from the ballot papers, but in the meantime mine is based on the actual numbers of preferences that flowed to Labor and the LNP in cases where both were still in the count, and estimates for the remaining preference flows based on actual flows observed at the election.  For the Greens I've used their Maiwar flow, for Strelow I've assumed her preferences would flow between the ALP and LNP much as they did between the ALP and One Nation, and for Bolton I've assumed 50-50.  Overall a shade over 90% of votes can be exactly accounted for, and those for which estimates are required are mostly One Nation.  I'm most uneasy about the estimate for KAP (51-49 to Labor), because KAP inconveniently failed to come third...


American Registered Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 Bizjet N1013 Departs Mackay Airport - Plus More! "IndyWatch Feed Qld"

On Saturday 30 December, the visiting American registered Bombardier BD-100-1A10 Challenger 300 bizjet N1013 was noted departing Mackay Airport.  It made the short hop back to Hamilton Island Airport before departing a short time later for Darwin.

N1013 parked at Mackay Airport  (File photo)

N1013 had arrived into Mackay Airport from the Gold Coast via Hamo on Wednesday 27 December.

Also on Saturday 30 December, the familiar sight of Balmoral Air Dassault Falcon 2000LX bizjet VH-WIO was back at Hamilton Island Airport.  It arrived from and then departed back to its Bankstown base.

Meanwhile, on Friday 29 December, Business Aviation Solutions Dassault Mystere Falcon 50 VH-FJQ was noted departing Hamilton Island Airport for Sydney before continuing to its Bankstown base.  It had arrived from Bankstown via Bathurst on Tuesday 26 December.

Finally, late on Friday 29 December, LifeFlight (Aeromed) LearJet 45 bizjet VH-CXJ "Ambulance 452" called into Mackay Airport from Brisbane.  It looked to be completing a medevac flight and departed to Townsville after around an hour on the ground.

Photo taken by 'AC' 

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