The Power in Power

Currently the State owned electricity utilities cost the WA taxpayer dearly, around $500 million a year or $400 per household.  This of course is on top of what we pay for our power at the meter.  This is an absurd situation brought on by the difference between the regulated fixed price and the cost of delivery of power to our homes.  The power utilities put their money on large-scale coal and gas generation, and did not factor in the support for renewable energy by the people of WA.  The recent attempt by the State to tear up contracts made with householders on feed-in tariffs shows just how badly they got it wrong.  Another example of the State’s misguided commitment to coal was the wasting of $280 million on the bungled Muja refurbishment project.
Meanwhile the Federal Government wants to water down, or let’s be frank, scrap the renewable energy targets (RET).  This will wreck renewable energy investment and any attempt we had to fulfil our national commitment to reducing global warming.  How can our political leaders be so at odds with the citizens on power generation?  Politically powerful fossil fuel generators around Australia are now complaining that the renewable power industry has undermined their business model that is based on selling dirty energy backed by government subsidies.
Back in WA mums and dads can feed renewable energy into the grid, but businesses and other organisations cannot.  Carnegie Wave Power had to find a dedicated buyer for their renewable energy that did not rely on grid connection.  The Fremantle Community Wind Farm are stopped by their inability to use the grid (even at a price) to distribute their energy to their customers.  In Fremantle, Council has aspirations to install a solar farm on the old South Fremantle Landfill Site, but again this can only be done if the power can be distributed to customers via the existing grid.
When voting tomorrow vote for the candidate or party that will work to remove the stranglehold dirty power generators have on our renewable future, vote for renewable power generators to compete on a level playing field.  My vote will be with Scott Ludlam.

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Heritage Awards Announced

Fremantle_Harbour_QRpedia_plateHeritage Minister Albert Jacob has announced the annual State Heritage awards finalists.  Of the 56 Finalists 11 winners will be announced at His Majesty’s Theatre on 3rd April.

Fremantle is again represented by Fremantle Prison and walking tour organisers 2 Feet & a Heartbeat.  Fremantle Arts Centre are represented by their Time Window app that traces the relationship of the venue to Submarine History.  This came out of the concerns relating to the demolition of the US Navy Laundry.  Fremantle Society is again recognised, this time for their Freopedia QR code project.  Gideon Digby, who helped with the QR listing is also recognised as a Heritage Newcomer.

 

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Refreshing Cold Water

Water 1I have rejected bottled water for a very long time.  The plastic bottles are an absolute hazard in the waste stream, and when sparkling water has come from overseas the energy to deliver it is absurd.  We have some of the best water in the world, right on tap.  So why not drink it?

There are now 2 ProAcqua water dispensers in Fremantle, one on Esplanade Park and one in Kings Square.  I went down yesterday, bought a card for $10 and went to the machine in King’s Square, where I found a nice young lady dispensing the water for free!

Once you have a card, available from local businesses and the Tourist Centre, you can get icy cold still or sparkling water for 25c for small, 40c for medium and 50c for a large refill.

The water is filtered, UV steralised and chilled so it tastes so much better than water out of a plastic bottle.  For the enthusiast there are also stainless steel vacuum flask bottles for sale at about $25, these keep the water fresh and cold for several hours.

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We need an end to the growth mentality

Over the weekend, against the odds,  Joe Hockey got the G20 leaders to commit to a global growth target of 2% above current predictions.  This is supposed to fix all the ills of the GFC and the contraction in China.

When will economists understand the Globe is not growing?  On the contrary as they are exploited resources are diminishing, in some cases at an alarming rate.  Treating the globe as a factory that can support ever increasing production is totally flawed.  It is the mother of all Pyramid or Ponzi Schemes.

We have to see the world as a biosphere with a finite capacity to support human activity.  Far better to aspire to a reduction in exploiting the earth’s resources by 2%, because if we do nothing the planet will.  We are fast reaching Peak Growth!  What will our legacy to future generations be?  I want it to be a planet in better shape than we inherited not a Mad Max world.

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Where the #$@% is Kulcha

Formidable Vegetable Sound System were booked to play Kulcha but have been caught up in Kulcha’s demise.  Rather than getting grumpy they wrote a piece and posted it on U-Tube.  Thanks Mal & Charlie, great work.

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RIP Kulcha

 Well the news is out, after months of hard work and negotiations Kulcha has finally had to close its doors.  This is a sad result for the board, management and members of Kulcha.  We really believed the Department of Culture and the Arts (DCA) when they said they valued Kulcha, and had real expectations they would assist financially.  In November the Board submitted a recapitalisation proposal as advised, whilst simultaneously reducing our FTE by 40% to show real commitment from our side.  Unfortunately not only did Minister Day reject our proposal outright he took an inordinately long time to come to his decision; time we did not have, being unable to seek alternative funds.  On the very day we were given that bad news from DCA, Kulcha also received a letter from the ATO demanding full payment on a legacy debt that we had been doing our best to pay off.

The Arts industry is rallying behind Kulcha and this means a lot to the Board and Staff.  Henry Boston, Executive Director of the Chamber of Arts & Culture said: “Kulcha was one of the few arts organisations that was actively mainstreaming multi-cultural voices in WA at a time when the states population has become increasingly diverse.”  The Board’s concerns now lie with the emerging multicultural artists who no longer have Kulcha by their side.  We are especially sad the showcase Oz Concert will not go ahead, we had great plans to build on last years huge success as the major event in Harmony Week.

The board are looking at hosting a meeting for members so we can explain what went wrong and answer questions.  Hopefully a new force will emerge to take the place of Kulcha, WA’s multicultural community deserves this.

I’d like to thank the staff and board for staying the very difficult course and working long hours to try and save Kulcha.

Jon Strachan President of Kulcha Multicultural Arts of WA

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