No Economist, AUSTRALIA is not even close to the best economy

WOW!  This refutes the bull dust circulated by the TITANS!

The Unconventional Economist too has been spelling this out for some time … and now former Reserve Bank of New Zealand special adviser, Michael Reddell expertly explains why Australia is “not even close to the most successful economy”

NORWAY … despite it having a much higher average productivity (oil and gas with few people) and smart people but huge net government financial assets … while our governments import more people and conduct “Sellergate”!

A particularly stupid model for a natural resource rich country like Australia, which derives the lion’s share of its income through selling commodities 

Whereas Norway also saved the bounty from its resources boom via implementing a genuine super profits tax and Sovereign Wealth Fund.  It doesn’t owe the World a Trillion dollars!

In short, Norway has adopted a sustainable growth model for the benefit of its citizens, whereas Australia has adopted a quantity-based ponzi model concentrated in urbanisation and household debt, which benefits ‘growth lobby’ rent-seekers like Highrise Harry Triguboff and Gerry Harvey over ordinary residents.

A signpost of what not to do.

RALLY and boot the LNP out!

 

No Economist, Australia is not even close to the best economy

By Leith van Onselen

 

The Economist’s ludicrously Panglossian cover story trumpeting the Australian economy has been comprehensively destroyed by former Reserve Bank of New Zealand special adviser, Michael Reddell, who expertly explains why Australia is “not even close to the most successful economy”:

Productivity is, in the old phrase, if not everything in the longer-term about economic performance then almost everything.  And here is a simple chart showing two comparisons, using OECD data which start in 1970.   The first line compares Australia’s real GDP per hour worked to the median of the top-tier group I’ve used in various posts and articles this year (the US, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Denmark).   And the second line compares Australia to Norway.

Did anyone in The Economist think of Norway –  not only does it have much higher average productivity (think oil and gas and few people –  and good institutions/smart people) but huge net government financial assets?

Average productivity in that frontier group of six is 20 per cent higher than in Australia.  In Norway it is 50 per cent higher.  And 50 years ago, Australia outperformed the median member of the six, and was level pegging with Norway

But what really stands out about Australia, relative to the other countries, is its rate of population growth.   Indeed, this is what The Economist really seems to like about Australia, lauding the country’s “enthusiasm” for immigration.

Whether one looks from 1970, or just over the last quarter century or even the last decade, Australia’s rate of population growth has materially outstripped those of the other countries.   In the last 25 years, Australia’s population (UN annual numbers) increased by 41 per cent, while the population of the median of those high productivity group of six rose by 13 per cent.    The difference isn’t wholly about migration, but immigration is the bit governments make choices about.

In a country with an export base almost entirely dependent on a fixed stock of natural resources –  farm products, mineral products, tourism – and actually with foreign trade shares of GDP among the very lowest in the OECD, it is bordering on the insane to be actively importing lots and lots more people (as successive Australian governments have been doing in the last 15 years or so).

It is a quite different matter in countries –  like most advanced OECD countries now –  that are trading the fruit of ideas, or that are tightly bound into sophisticated manufacturing supply chains. 

But this is Australia –  one of the most remote countries on that planet which (like New Zealand) has failed over decades to develop many outward-oriented industries that don’t depend largely on natural resources (or immigration subsidies around export education).    The fruit of the (vast) natural resources is, to a first approximation, just spread more thinly…

Truly astonishing in fact, in the specific circumstances of Australia.  The enthusiasm of Australian governments for high immigration to Australia is just as wrongheaded –  and more culpable –  as that of The Economist’s editorial writers.

All sorts of daft ideas have had their day over history.   This one –  at least in modern Australia –  seems based more on belief and ideology than any serious evidence that Australians themselves might actually be benefiting from the immigration.

Michael Reddell has hit the nail on the head here. Instead of trying to grow the economy via productivity-based reform, the Australian Government has chosen the lazy quantity-driven approach of importing people (‘quantitative peopling’).

This is a particularly stupid model for a natural resource rich country like Australia, which derives the lion’s share of its income through selling commodities:

*Running a mass immigration policy necessarily dilutes Australia’s fixed mineral endowment among more people and, other things equal, makes incumbent residents poorer.

It also worsens Australia’s current account deficit, since all of the extra people won’t add much to Australia’s export base, but will massively increase imports. To illustrate this point, consider the next chart showing the massive increase in the trade deficit in NSW and VIC since the immigration floodgates were opened in the early-2000s:

*Basically, all the extra migrants that have flooded into Sydney and Melbourne have barely lifted exports, since these cities don’t actually produce much that is tradeable.

By contrast, imports have skyrocketed via more purchases of consumer goods like flat screen TVs, cars, furniture, etc. These net imports must be paid for, either by increasing the nation’s debt or through selling-off the nation’s assets. We’ve been doing both.

Running a mass immigration program also worsens one of the major drags on productivity: infrastructure bottlenecks and congestion, while helping to suppress wages.

Reddell’s comparison with Norway is also apt. Unlike Australia, Norway’s population growth has been relatively modest, increasing by only 47% since 1960, versus Australia’s 140% increase over the same period:

This lower population growth has meant that Norway has not diluted its mineral wealth to anywhere near the same degree as Australia, thereby helping to bolster both per capita wealth, as well as per capita GDP:

 

Norway also saved the bounty from its resources boom via implementing a genuine super profits tax and Sovereign Wealth Fund. So, instead of owing the world a trillion dollars (see next chart), Norway has instead saved a trillion dollars:

In short, Norway has adopted a sustainable growth model for the benefit of its citizens, whereas Australia has adopted a quantity-based ponzi model concentrated in urbanisation and household debt, which benefits ‘growth lobby’ rent-seekers like Highrise Harry Triguboff and Gerry Harvey over ordinary residents.

Australia’s economy is no role model, but rather a signpost of what not to do.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

 

SOURCE:   https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/10/no-economist-australia-not-even-close-best-economy/?fbclid=IwAR3cDcskK_HRw66qeuw3VrqQjp93nPstouLPbNKrM_D_jsaEnP6a5hpoKwU

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Four Million Australians ‘Left Behind’ By Public Transport

07f2564d-40c3-4c63-bbd4-9031be93bc72

11 MILLION MORE PEOPLE IN 30 YEARS

is not natural growth … it is force-fed immigration.

This is a particularly stupid model for a natural resource rich country like Australia, which derives the lion’s share of its income through selling commodities.

Rendering more than 4 million people now at a disadvantage having to meet the expense of a vehicle, with daily tolls,  limiting their access to employment, education and more!  Negatively impacting their quality of life with long commutes!

Of course we are unflinchingly suburban … because developers both local and foreign have landbanked our urban fringe farmlands for a housing supply that could not meet the foreign demand … the State Governments were already behind in building the infrastructure!

The solution is to cut back on the Ponzi high immigration!

Four Million Australians ‘Left Behind’ By Public Transport


 

Over the next 30 years, Australia will grow by more than 11 million people, and much of this growth will be in the outer reaches of our cities.

A new report by Infrastructure Australia has warned that the outer urban areas of our cities are being left behind.

More than four million suburban city-dwellers do not have frequent public transport services within walking distance of their home.

Inadequate access to public transport is driving disadvantage, limiting access to employment, education and other social infrastructure, which can have a tangible impact on quality of life.

The report defines walking distance as 800 metres to a suburban rail service and 400 metres for other services. A medium to high-frequency service is defined as four or more services during weekday morning peak times.

Residents in Melbourne’s outer suburbs have the worst access to public transport – with 1.4 million people, or 62 per cent, without access to frequent public transport services within walking distance.

More than 1 million people in Sydney and Brisbane also fall into this category, while half a million Perth residents and 200,000 Adelaide residents live with inadequate access to public transport.

Related: Victoria Unveils $50 Billion Suburban Rail Project

The report defines walking distance as 800m to a suburban rail service and 400 metres for other services.

The report defines walking distance as 800m to a suburban rail service and 400 metres for other services.Source: Infrastructure Australia

Inadequate access to public transport means that people in outer urban areas travel further and take more time to get to work.About 45 per cent of these residents travel more than 20 km each day to work, compared to just 7 per cent of inner-city dwellers.

“Without access to reasonable public transport services, people living or working in our outer suburbs are more reliant on their cars,” Infrastructure Australia executive director of policy and research Peter Colacino said.

“Meaning they shoulder the burden of additional vehicle operating costs, leaving less money for other household expenses compared to commuters in inner suburbs.”

Colacino called on state governments to improve existing transport networks and consider new technology to service communities in the growing outer suburbs.

“In the past, it has been very costly to deliver public transport in lower density, outer suburban areas where houses and employment centres are typically spread over large distances.

“Traditional public transport models are most efficient and effective in areas of high demand, often requiring higher density.

“However, new technology and delivery models, such as on-demand buses, offer an immediate opportunity to confront these challenges by increasing the flexibility and reach of the network and therefore serving a more diverse range of destinations.”

 

SOURCE:  https://theurbandeveloper.com/articles/four-million-australians-dont-have-adequate-access-to-public-transport-?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=291018%20NSW&utm_content=291018%20NSW+CID_d314fd28ef7b8a877ca3b5deda4f7b79&utm_source=email&utm_term=Continue%20Reading

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DID NSW do a special deal for SHENHUA?

IT appears not only to Lock the Gate Spokeswoman Georgina Woods but to anyone reading this article, or having followed the secrecy shrouding Shenhua – the contribution of “street furniture” and the like …
There is a pattern here …
A dubious decision is hanging around this Minister with its fetid odour, and it’s time the Minister released the secret Shenhua deeds, and explain to the people of NSW why this government gave Shenhua a “quarter of a Billion dollars” and got nothing in return!!

 

“These new documents indicate that someone in the Government thought the Shenhua deeds bound the Minister to renew the company’s coal exploration licence.”

AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE SHOULD CONTACT THE MINISTER, DON HARWIN!

RECOMMEND you put it in writing so you have a record!
Postal The Hon. Don Harwin MLC
GPO Box 5341
SYDNEY NSW 2001
P (02) 8574 7200
F (02) 9339 5568

 

 

 

Online message by filling in the form:  then take a copy!

E Contact the Minister for Resources, Energy and Utilities, and the Arts

 

Did NSW do a special deal for Shenhua?

 

Shenhua is developing the controversial Watermark coal project among some of NSW’s best farmland at Breeza, on the Liverpool Plains.

Landholder alliance, Lock the Gate, said documents released to the group by government sparked concerns that an agreement to renew Shenhua’s exploration licence was struck one year before the planning department had completed its assessment of the application.

 

The government has denied there was a deal to pre-empt the planning process.

 

Related:

 

The deeds were signed around June last year.

 

That’s the same time as when NSW Government paid $262 million to buy 51 per cent of Shenhua’s exploration tenement – an area it did not intend to mine.

 

At the time, government was considering Shenhua’s application to renew its exploration licence, which was eventually approved on July 21 this year.

 

*The terms of the deeds haven’t been revealed, with commercial considerations cited as the reason for secrecy.

 

But it appears Shenhua believed the terms included an agreement for its exploration licence to be renewed.

 

Three days after the $262m buyback last year, and a year before the eventual approvalShenhua advised the Hong Kong stock exchange it had a deal to renew its licence. 

 

“(Shenhua) Watermark reached an agreement with the NSW Government in relation to partial extension of the exploration licence,” Shenhua’s statement to the market said.

 

A briefing document provided by the Department of Planning to Resources Minister Don Harwin requested he approve its contents by June 18 – listing the reason for the deadline: “to meet the requirement under the deeds of settlement for the government to renew EL 7223 as soon as reasonably practicable”.

 

On July 9 this year the miner wrote to Premier Gladys Berejiklian demanding its licence be renewed, citing an agreement in the deeds. The EL was approved 12 days later.

 

Agreement on this (exploration licence renewal) was reached on June 29, 2017, and a deed of settlement was signed,” said Dr Ling Wen, chief executive and president of China Energy Investment Corporation, parent company of Australian entity Shenhua Watermark.

 

A spokesman for the Department of Planning said there was no agreement to renew the exploration licence.

 

“There was no deadline for any decision on the exploration licence renewal application in the deed of settlement, nor was there any commitment to renew the licence,” the spokesman said.

 

“The application for renewal was determined in accordance with the Act and usual departmental process.”

 

Labor mining spokesman Adam Searle asked Mr Harwin if there was an agreement in the deeds for the licence to be renewed.

 

“Will the Minister inform the House exactly what undertakings were given to Shenhua in connection with the Watermark project, given also that Shenhua informed the Hong Kong stock exchange last year that it had secured the agreement of the government to renew the exploration licence?”

 

Mr Harwin said the deed relates only to terms around the buyback of land from Shenhua.

 

“I assure the House that the deed did not afford Shenhua any special rights or privileges (for) its exploration licence renewal application,” Mr Harwin said.

 

“All applications for mining titles are subject to a rigorous process by the Division of Resources and Geoscience, and this title was no different.”

 

Shenhua’s letter to Ms Berejiklian complained about more than the renewal process.

 

The company said is was “completely unacceptable” that Acting Deputy Secretary of the Resources and Geoscince Divisions, Michael Wright, had advised Shenhua would be required to contribute $2 million to a community benefit fund.

 

Shenhua’s original EL required a $5m community contribution, which the company provided until the term expired in 2016 and Shenhua did not want to be forced to pay any more.

 

An email released under a freedom of information request showed Mr Wright emailed Mr Harwin’s office on April 16 this year recommended that a further $2m commnuity fund be a mandatory condition for the EL renewal.

 

“We intend to commence the preparation of a revised draft EL renewal which includes a

requirement to establish a community benefits fund,” Mr Wright said in the email.

 

However, when the EL was renewed in July, the community fund was listed as a voluntary contribution. 

 

A spokesman for the Planning Department said community benefit funds are not always compulsory.

 

“Shenhua’s application was for an exploration licence renewal. The work program put forward by this company is only in relation to exploration, and is limited in size and scope, and therefore has limited impact on the local community,” the spokesman said.

 

“As a result, it was decided that a voluntary contribution was appropriate.”

 

Lock the Gate spokeswoman Georgina Woods said the new documents reveal

“This dubious decision is hanging around the Minister like a bad smell. The only way to clear the air is for the Minister to release the secret Shenhua deeds and tell the people of NSW why the Government gave a mining company a quarter of a billion dollars and got nothing in return,” Ms Woods said.

 

“These new documents indicate that someone in the Government thought the Shenhua deeds bound the Minister to renew the company’s coal exploration licence.

At this point, a denial is not enough.

 

“The public has a right to know what our money has bought and the terms of the secret deeds the Minister signed with Shenhua. If he won’t release them, then it’s time for the Premier to intervene and clear the air.”

 

SOURCE:  https://www.northerndailyleader.com.au/story/5709274/did-nsw-do-a-special-deal-for-shenhua/?cs=159&utm_source=eBulletin+list+June+2018&utm_campaign=aeb797342a-ebulletin26Oct2018&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0aa74baca5-aeb797342a-114237

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Buildings threatening CROWN, LENDLEASE views have no height limit, court told

 

PERHAPS Barangaroo could also be classed as a ‘SCAM’ having been approved through our very own State.

Ahhh, greed!

This is an absolute hoot –  the case is now before the Court.

Though not funny is the part that destroyed public land –  but gobsmacking is the part where the state-run Barangaroo Delivery Authority changed the rules mid-stream and “scrapped height limits”.

Awfulizers V Awfulizers

In their lust for growth (profit) what they are constructing devalues, spoils … detracts from Our magnificent Sydney Opera House …

Buildings threatening CROWN, LENDLEASE views have no height limit, court told

The NSW government told building company Grocon that height limits had been scrapped for buildings in Barangaroo that James Packer’s Crown Resorts and infrastructure giant Lendlease feared would block harbour views from their tower developments, a court has heard.

Crown and Lendlease launched legal action against the state-run Barangaroo Delivery Authority in a bid to protect “sight lines” to the Harbour Bridge and Opera House from their developments.

A hearing for the lawsuits began in the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, after more than two years of negotiations between the companies and authorities.

An artist's impression of James Packer’s Crown Casino complex, on the far left, at Barangaroo.
An artist’s impression of James Packer’s Crown Casino complex, on the far left, at Barangaroo.

 

Crown’s $2.2 billion, six-star hotel, residential and casino complex is under construction at the waterfront in Barangaroo South and is due for completion in 2021. Lendlease is building high-rise apartment blocks in the same area as Crown.

The companies are concerned their views will be hindered by proposed developments at the neighbouring Barangaroo Central, a five-hectare site with a mixed commercial and residential building and a Sydney Metro train station.

 

The companies say their respective contracts with the BDA required the authority to negotiate in good faith with them about proposed departures from the initial plan for Central Barangaroo that “guaranteed them sight lines” to the harbour.

The authority is arguing the clauses were not directed at an “outcome”, but were focused on good faith negotiations that did not guarantee those sight lines.

Crown’s barrister Neil Young, QC, said the concept plan for the Barangaroo precinct had “a long history” and arose from government panels, expert investigation and consultation with developers and the community.

A core principle of that plan, which both companies’ relied on when they entered into development agreements for the site, was provision for low-rise development in Central Barangaroo, he said.

“All of that was revised, somewhat rapidly, and without consultation, in the second bid process.”

Lendlease’s barrister Noel Hutley, SC, said the authority had put forward a revised masterplan for Central Barangaroo when it reopened tenders after the new Metro station was announced in 2015.

Mr Hutley said that plan had been “quite a drastic change” from the original masterplan and had “scrapped height limits”.

He said the BDA had been aware the two companies wanted to maximise harbour views from their developments.

But the authority had “apparently made it quite clear” to Grocon, which led a consortium of developers that successfully bid to redevelop the precinct, that there were no height limits.

Crown Casino under construction at Barangaroo.
Crown Casino under construction at Barangaroo. CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER

 

He cited an email in which a Grocon employee wrote to a Crown senior executive: “The priority for us at the moment is height.

“The BDA has said to us there are no height limits and have encouraged us to go higher south of the Highgate line.”

The court heard the “Highgate line” referred to the height of an apartment building that was “the main blocking structure” for views towards the Opera House from the companies’ developments.

Crown and Lendlease are seeking declarations and an injunction stopping the authority from breaching the terms of the respective development agreements.

The hearing continues on Tuesday in front of Justice Robert McDougall.

 

Megan Gorrey is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald. She was previously a reporter at The Canberra Times.

 

SOURCE:  https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/buildings-threatening-crown-lendlease-views-have-no-height-limit-court-told-20181028-p50cfe.html

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Huawei’s ban to 5G network ‘supported by technical advice’, spy agency chief says

Updated 

The head of Australia’s most secretive electronic spy agency has revealed Australia’s “entire” emerging 5G mobile communications network could have been threatened if Chinese electronics giant Huawei had not been banned from supplying equipment.

Key points:

  • Mike Burgess said the decision to block Huawei and ZTE was “not taken lightly”
  • ASD manages risky suppliers by locking them out of providing “core” elements
  • Australia may need to be more vigilant about the origins of components for critical infrastructure

Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) chief Mike Burgess has told Canberra’s national security community “my advice was to exclude high risk vendors from the entirety of 5G networks” because “a potential threat anywhere in the network is a threat to the whole network”.

On the last full day of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership and on the eve of the Liberal party room decision to elect Scott Morrison, the government quietly announced the decision to block Huawei and another Chinese firm, ZTE, providing components into the next generation networks being built by the major telecommunications companies.

Since the August upheaval, the Morrison Government has provided little further explanation as to why these “high-risk vendors” represented an unacceptable risk to the multi-billion dollar 5G rollout.

In a speech titled “Coming out from the shadows”, Mr Burgess set out to explain ASD’s role and thinking behind the ban on Chinese involvement.

The decision was “not taken lightly” and was “supported by technical advice from our agency”, Mr Burgess said.

Noting that 5G technology will be at the centre of applications ranging from driverless cars to power and water supply, the computer engineer declared “the stakes could not be higher.”

“This is about more than just protecting the confidentiality of our information — it is also about integrity and availability of the data and systems that we rely on in our everyday lives.

“Getting security right for critical infrastructure is paramount.”

In earlier versions of mobile and fixed communications networks, ASD has found ways to manage risky suppliers by locking them out of providing “core” elements, but its director general has concluded this was impossible to do with 5G where “the distinction between core” and the less significant “edge” of the network’ is hard to define.

A vulnerability in any single part could jeopardise the entire network.

Threats to Australia’s critical infrastructure

Without mentioning China at any moment in his speech, Mr Burgess also planted seeds of doubt about the number of security pressure points that could be applied on Australia’s critical infrastructure systems from the rise of high-tech industrial manufacturing in Asia.

The former Telstra executive observed that Australia’s openness to trade “changes the industrial base we rely on for critical infrastructure”.

“We will need to be open-eyed on the potential threats that any significant change of this kind poses to Australia’s most important interests,” he said.

Huawei Australia

@HuaweiOZ

We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia. This is a extremely disappointing result for consumers. Huawei is a world leader in 5G. Has safely & securely delivered wireless technology in Aust for close to 15 yrs

Mr Burgess did not spell out which critical infrastructure drawn from foreign sources could pose a “potential threat”, but previous decisions by the Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board have halted deeper Chinese ownership of electricity assets as well as prohibiting Huawei from key sections of the National Broadband Network.

His comments suggest Australia may need to be more vigilant about the origins of all technological components within critical infrastructure, which is not only limited to communications and energy but also takes in health equipment, banking, traffic control systems, aviation and food transport and storage.

“5G is just one example of perhaps other technologies we need to think about and understand where those supply chains for those technologies may be and whether or not that represents a risk for us.”

If deeper scrutiny is to be applied to technology embedded in other critical infrastructure “supply chains”, the ASD chief has suggested Australia would not make those decisions alone, but in partnership with other countries.

Mr Burgess had begun his working career in 1995 at what was once called the Defence Signals Directorate and returned to the agency in January this year.

Australian Signals Directorate@ASDGovAu

Hi internet, ASD here. Long time listener, first time caller.

Most of its high-tech surveillance techniques, eavesdropping on communications outside Australia, are heavily protected, but the Australian Signals Directorate has recently taken on more public responsibilities advising companies of the risks of cyber attacks.

In a nod to its more open and transparent functions, ASD has even started up its own Twitter account.

Its first tweet quipped: “Hi internet, ASD here. Long time listener, first time caller”.

SOURCE:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-30/australian-signals-directorate-boss-explains-huawei-ban/10444064

 

 

Huawei’s ban to 5G network ‘supported by technical advice’, spy agency chief says

Updated 

The head of Australia’s most secretive electronic spy agency has revealed Australia’s “entire” emerging 5G mobile communications network could have been threatened if Chinese electronics giant Huawei had not been banned from supplying equipment.

Key points:

  • Mike Burgess said the decision to block Huawei and ZTE was “not taken lightly”
  • ASD manages risky suppliers by locking them out of providing “core” elements
  • Australia may need to be more vigilant about the origins of components for critical infrastructure

Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) chief Mike Burgess has told Canberra’s national security community “my advice was to exclude high risk vendors from the entirety of 5G networks” because “a potential threat anywhere in the network is a threat to the whole network”.

On the last full day of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership and on the eve of the Liberal party room decision to elect Scott Morrison, the government quietly announced the decision to block Huawei and another Chinese firm, ZTE, providing components into the next generation networks being built by the major telecommunications companies.

Since the August upheaval, the Morrison Government has provided little further explanation as to why these “high-risk vendors” represented an unacceptable risk to the multi-billion dollar 5G rollout.

In a speech titled “Coming out from the shadows”, Mr Burgess set out to explain ASD’s role and thinking behind the ban on Chinese involvement.

The decision was “not taken lightly” and was “supported by technical advice from our agency”, Mr Burgess said.

Noting that 5G technology will be at the centre of applications ranging from driverless cars to power and water supply, the computer engineer declared “the stakes could not be higher.”

“This is about more than just protecting the confidentiality of our information — it is also about integrity and availability of the data and systems that we rely on in our everyday lives.

“Getting security right for critical infrastructure is paramount.”

In earlier versions of mobile and fixed communications networks, ASD has found ways to manage risky suppliers by locking them out of providing “core” elements, but its director general has concluded this was impossible to do with 5G where “the distinction between core” and the less significant “edge” of the network’ is hard to define.

A vulnerability in any single part could jeopardise the entire network.

Threats to Australia’s critical infrastructure

Without mentioning China at any moment in his speech, Mr Burgess also planted seeds of doubt about the number of security pressure points that could be applied on Australia’s critical infrastructure systems from the rise of high-tech industrial manufacturing in Asia.

The former Telstra executive observed that Australia’s openness to trade “changes the industrial base we rely on for critical infrastructure”.

“We will need to be open-eyed on the potential threats that any significant change of this kind poses to Australia’s most important interests,” he said.

Huawei Australia

@HuaweiOZ

We have been informed by the Govt that Huawei & ZTE have been banned from providing 5G technology to Australia. This is a extremely disappointing result for consumers. Huawei is a world leader in 5G. Has safely & securely delivered wireless technology in Aust for close to 15 yrs

Mr Burgess did not spell out which critical infrastructure drawn from foreign sources could pose a “potential threat”, but previous decisions by the Government’s Foreign Investment Review Board have halted deeper Chinese ownership of electricity assets as well as prohibiting Huawei from key sections of the National Broadband Network.

His comments suggest Australia may need to be more vigilant about the origins of all technological components within critical infrastructure, which is not only limited to communications and energy but also takes in health equipment, banking, traffic control systems, aviation and food transport and storage.

“5G is just one example of perhaps other technologies we need to think about and understand where those supply chains for those technologies may be and whether or not that represents a risk for us.”

If deeper scrutiny is to be applied to technology embedded in other critical infrastructure “supply chains”, the ASD chief has suggested Australia would not make those decisions alone, but in partnership with other countries.

Mr Burgess had begun his working career in 1995 at what was once called the Defence Signals Directorate and returned to the agency in January this year.

Australian Signals Directorate@ASDGovAu

Hi internet, ASD here. Long time listener, first time caller.

Most of its high-tech surveillance techniques, eavesdropping on communications outside Australia, are heavily protected, but the Australian Signals Directorate has recently taken on more public responsibilities advising companies of the risks of cyber attacks.

In a nod to its more open and transparent functions, ASD has even started up its own Twitter account.

Its first tweet quipped: “Hi internet, ASD here. Long time listener, first time caller”.

Parramatta River SEWAGE spill prompts health warning, EPA investigation

 

SYDNEY’S water and sewerage system is  100 years old … it was not built for a population of 5 million or more people …

recall it was built for a Sydney population of 3 million people!

Perhaps that is a factor the NSW Government should take into account

Parramatta River sewage spill prompts health warning, EPA investigation

OCTOBER 30 2018

 

The NSW Environmental Protection Authority is investigating Sydney Water after large amounts of raw sewage spilled into the Parramatta River last week.

Key points

  • The spill happened on October 21 after a wastewater pumping station collapsed
  • Authorities have warned people not to swim or fish between Northmead and Silverwater Bridge
  • Sydney Water is pumping fresh water into the river and other measures to minimise damage

A large volume of the untreated waste water polluted the Parramatta River on October 21, when a wall in a waste water pumping station at Northmead collapsed.

The overflow has now stopped and bypasses are in place while Sydney Water replaces the pumping station and conducts an investigation.

Gary Hurley from Sydney Water apologised to local residents and said they were still working out how much sewage went in the river.

However, he did say it was a “substantial flow”.

The overflow was stopped within 24 hours but there have been leaks since.

“We’ve certainly had a number of fish killed, they were mainly carp, and we’ll work with the local authorities to restock that with more native species,” Mr Hurley said.

 

The above-ground structure of the station — about the size of a two-storey house and made of double brick — has been removed, and work has started a few metres away to build a temporary replacement which Sydney Water plans to have operational by around Christmas.

“We’ve had a structural failure below the ground, cause is unknown, but that’s resulted in a lot of instability in the structure and it actually caused damage to the pumps so the station became inoperable,” he said.

“Crews have worked around the clock for the last week to make the site safe … and to minimise the impact on the environment and the local community.

Mr Hurley said there was no indication of the cause of the collapse and the station had recently been inspected.

‘This is old technology’

The spill occurred days after the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) — of which Sydney Water is a member — launched its plan to open three new swimming spots along the river by 2025.

PRCG chair Councillor Mark Drury said the incident was very concerning and he wanted to ensure a similar incident did not happen in the future.

“We do have old infrastructure along the way and it needs to be maintained,” he said, adding that he hoped Sydney Water would have a systematic review of its pump stations.

“We’ve got to get a lot smarter about this, we can’t have sewage that effectively goes into our waterways.

“All around the world they’ve got better ways of doing it, this is old technology, probably put in at a time where we didn’t care about the river.”

Ian Wright from Western Sydney University said there could be public health and environmental consequences.

 

“I can see Sydney Water are throwing everything at this, as they should — it’s going to be a slow, expensive, difficult process,” Dr Wright said.

“I reckon this is going to take quite a long time for the natural environment to absorb the impact.”

In a statement, the NSW Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it was working with government agencies following the incident, and its investigation was ongoing.

The Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is working with Sydney Water and has directed residents to avoid swimming, fishing and other recreational activities between Northmead and the Silverwater Bridge at Ermington.

Pets should also avoid swimming in the river, they advised.

WSLHD said their public health unit is reviewing sample results from the river on a daily basis and water quality has improved over the last few days.

“Although Sydney Water is taking all possible steps to reduce the risk of a future overflow, there is the potential for further sewage overflows whilst Sydney Water is working to reinstate the Wastewater Pumping Station at Northmead.”

Lake Parramatta is safe to use as it is upstream of the overflow area.

Sydney Water is flushing the area with fresh water, as well as using aerators to increase oxygen in the water.

SOURCE:   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-30/parramatta-river-sewage-spill-prompts-health-warning/10442906

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  • Ban on Chinese mobile giants for 5G ‘needed to protect critical infrastructure’

 

Australia’s spy chief has revealed that critical infrastructure, including the electricity grid and water supplies, could not have been adequately protected if China’s Huawei or ZTE had been allowed to build the country’s new 5G mobile networks.

In the strongest comments by a government official since the ban was handed down on Chinese companies in August, Mike Burgess, the director-general of the Australian Signals Directorate, said the stakes in 5G “could not be higher”.

“Getting security right for our critical infrastructure is paramount,” he said.

The warnings coincide with a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute that reveals Australian universities are collaborating with Chinese military scientists at unprecedented levels while failing to mitigate against the risk that such co-operation might harm national security.

The report by the institute claims some People’s Liberation Army scientists are hiding behind civilian research “fronts” to obscure their military status.

“To date, there’s been no significant public discussion on why universities should be directly contributing to the technology of a non-allied military,” report author Alex Joske warns.

 

“Importantly, there’s also little evidence that universities are making any meaningful distinction between collaboration with the Chinese military and the rest of their collaboration with China.”

The report will touch a raw nerve with Australia’s university sector, which, mindful of protecting revenue streams from overseas students, has been dismissive or defensive in response to concerns that Beijing is clandestinely interfering in the tertiary sector to assert political control over Chinese students or harvest research for strategic purposes.

Mr Joske’s report seizes on figures suggesting that “five eyes” countries – Western allies who share intelligence – are the biggest hosts of PLA scientists, led by Australia on a per capita basis.

The policy institute’s report does not identify any actual breaches involving Australian universities.

More than 2500 Chinese military scientists have been sent abroad as students or visiting scholars in the past decade, the report finds.

The Chinese Communist Party is aggressively expanding its military capacity, including via efforts to align civilian research with military aims.

In his speech in Canberra on Monday night, Mr Burgess said 5G would soon sit at the top of Australia’s critical infrastructure list.

He said 5G was not just about faster data, but the new network would eventually be used to operate everything from power and water networks to self-driving cars and remote surgery.

“This is about more than just protecting the confidentiality of our information – it is also about integrity and availability of the data and systems on which we depend,” he said.

Mr Burgess did not specifically mention Huawei or ZTE, but said it was no longer sufficient to confine “high-risk vendors” to the edges of a telecommunications network.

“The distinction between core and edge collapses in 5G networks. That means that a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network,” he said.

Mr Burgess also warned Australian companies contemplating vigilante tactics against hackers by launching their own cyber counter-attacks that they would be breaking the law.

Fairfax Media understands that some major Australian firms have contemplated taking dramatic steps against potential cyber threats by directing counter-hacking against them.

Mr Burgess, who took over the agency in January after a four-year stint as Telstra’s chief information officer, said he found such talk concerning, as it would be illegal.

“While it is pleasing to see businesses talking about cybersecurity … more worryingly I’ve heard of boardrooms in Australia contemplating the prospect of hacking back to defend themselves against potential attacks,” Mr Burgess said.

“That should not be part of any organisation’s cybersecurity strategy. That would be an illegal act here in Australia.”

Mr Burgess also revealed his traditionally secretive organisation’s eavesdropping skills and intelligence analysis have been used to halt advanced terrorism plans, disrupt organised crime gangs overseas and even to help secure the release of Australians taken hostage abroad.

Mike Burgess, Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate.
Mike Burgess, Director-General of the Australian Signals Directorate.CREDIT:BEN RUSHTON

Fairfax Media is investigating cyber hacking incidents in corporate Australia. Tip off our team confidentially via this secure online system.

 

David Wroe is the defence and national security correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House

Nick McKenzie is a leading investigative journalist. He’s won Australia’s top journalism award, the Walkley, seven times and covers politics, business, foreign affairs and defence, human rights issues, the criminal justice system and social affairs.

 

Migrant workers robbed of $1 billion amid endless rorting

7-Eleven has been subject to a massive crackdown by the Fair Work Ombudsman.

 

WITH skilled migrants having grown increasingly frustrated at not being able to gain work in Australia despite leaving their homelands to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’.

PERHAPS understandably they are now demanding that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field.

A BILL that should be paid by the unscrupulous employers!

IT is high time the Scomo Government got this sorted, with 1.6 million Visa Workers in Australia that is excessive with more cheap foreign labour added to an oversupplied labour market!

THIS has caused a complete breakdown in industrial relations in Australia as firms give up on training and full time employment, and instead import cheap, easy come, easy go foreign alternatives.

The end result is mass underemployment and low wages growth.

 

 

Migrant workers robbed of $1 billion amid endless rorting

By Leith van Onselen

For years, MB has documented the egregious rorting of migrant workers, including:

  • Systemic wages theft by Dominos, Caltex, 7-Eleven, Woolworths and many other fast food franchises, which were busted for rorting migrant labour.
  • The issue culminated in 2016 when the Senate Education and Employment References Committee released a scathing report entitled A National Disgrace: The Exploitation of Temporary Work Visa Holders, which documented systemic abuses of Australia’s temporary visa system for foreign workers.
  • Mid last year, ABC’s 7.30 Report ran a disturbing expose on the modern day slavery occurring across Australia.
  • Meanwhile, Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), Natalie James, told Fairfax in August last year that people on visas continue to be exploited at an alarming rate, particularly those with limited English-language skills. It was also revealed that foreign workers are involved in more than three-quarters of legal cases initiated by the FWO against unscrupulous employers.
  • Then The ABC reported that Australia’s horticulture industry is at the centre of yet another migrant slave scandal, according to an Australian Parliamentary Inquiry into the issue.
  • The same Parliamentary Inquiry was told by an undercover Malaysian journalist that foreign workers in Victoria were “brainwashed” and trapped in debt to keep them on farms.
  • A recent UNSW Sydney and UTS survey painted the most damning picture of all, reporting that wages theft is endemic among international students, backpackers and other temporary migrants.
  • A few months ago, Fair Work warned that most of Western Sydney had become a virtual special economic zone in which two-thirds of businesses were underpaying workers, with the worst offenders being high-migrant areas.
  • Dr Bob Birrell from the Australian Population Research Institute recent report, based on 2016 Census data, revealed that most recently arrived skilled migrants (i.e. arrived between 2011 and 2016) cannot find professional jobs, with only 24% of skilled migrants from Non-English-Speaking-Countries (who comprise 84% of the total skilled migrant intake) employed as professionals as of 2016, compared with 50% of skilled migrants from Main English-Speaking-Countries and 58% of the same aged Australian-born graduates. These results accord with a recent survey from the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre, which found that 53% of skilled migrants in Western Australia said they are working in lower skilled jobs than before they arrived, with underemployment also rife.
  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest Characteristics of Recent Migrants reportrevealed that migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population, with recent migrants and temporary residents having an unemployment rate of 7.4% versus 5.4% for the Australian born population, and lower labour force participation (69.8%) than the Australian born population (70.2%).
  • ABC Radio recently highlighted the absurdity of Australia’s ‘skilled’ migration program in which skilled migrants have grown increasingly frustrated at not being able to gain work in Australia despite leaving their homelands to fill so-called ‘skills shortages’. As a result, they are now demanding that taxpayers provide government-sponsored internships to help skilled migrants gain local experience, and a chance to work in their chosen field.
  • In early 2018 the senate launched ”The operation and effectiveness of the Franchising Code of Conduct” owing in part to systematic abuse of migrant labour.
  • Then there is recent research from the University of Sydney documenting the complete corruption of the temporary visas system, and arguing that Australia running a “de-facto low-skilled immigration policy” (also discussed here at the ABC).
  • In late June the government released new laws to combat modern slavery which, bizarrely, imposed zero punishment for enslaving coolies.
  • Over recent months we witnessed widespread visa rorting across cafes and restaurants, including among high end establishments like the Rockpool Group.
  • Alan Fels, head of the Migrant Workers Taskforce, revealed that international students are systematically exploited particularly by bosses of the same ethnicity.

Pranay Alawala risked deportation to come forward about 7-Eleven's "half-pay" scam. He now works for United Voice.

 

Now, a new study by the University of Technology Sydney claims Australia had a “large, silent underclass of underpaid migrant workers” with backpackers and international students owed more than $1 billion in unpaid wages. From The Australian:

The study, to be released today, of 4322 migrant workers in Australia from 107 countries, reveals most knew they had been underpaid but only 9 per cent tried to recover the wages…

University of Technology Sydney senior law lecturer Laurie Berg said… “the system is broken… It is rational for most migrant workers to stay silent. The effort and risks of taking action aren’t worth it, given the slim chance they’ll get their wages back”…

A previous report by the ­authors revealed most inter­national students and backpackers were underpaid, with one in three earning about half the minimum wage. Temporary migrants comprise up to 11 per cent of the Australian labour market…

What do you get when you add ever more cheap foreign labour to an oversupplied labour market?

A complete breakdown in industrial relations as firms give up on training and full time employment and instead import cheap, easy come, easy go foreign alternatives. You’d be mad as business to do anything else if offered it.

The end result in mass underemployment and low wages growth.

unconventionaleconomist@hotmail.com

SOURCE:  https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2018/10/migrant-workers-robbed-1-billion-amid-endless-rorting/

Chart of the day: Upmarket housing led the price falls — but cheap properties are following

 

Another fibro home at 87 Station Street, Fairfield sold for $927,500.

 

FOR HOW LONG?

MEANWHILE Developers, the Property Sector are agitating for more business to maintain high immigration, pushing for even more Planning Law changes to allow for higher density across our established suburbs in the inner and middle rings …

There is no let-up from the grubby Mob …

VIEW:  GRATTAN INSTITUTE Solution … bulldoze our Established Suburbs for more higher density for “new migrant residents” … get outa the way Sydneysiders …

CHART OF THE DAY:  UPMARKET HOUSING LED THE PRICE FALLS … BUT CHEAP PROPERTIES ARE FOLLOWING

OCTOBER 29 2018

House prices have been falling for more than a year in Australia.

To date, most of the slump has been quarantined at the top end of the market — among the most expensive 25 per cent of houses and apartments.

However, since June the more affordable end of the market has also started to fall.

Cheaper housing tends to have less extreme swings in price and falls are quite rare.

But when the bottom end does fall, it tends to point to more persistent weakness in the property market.

VIEW LINK:

Top end properties led the decline, now the bottom end is following

What should I read next?

Want more charts?

This is part of a new daily series featuring charts which tell a story. If you know of some data that fits the bill, we’d love to hear about it.

SOURCE:   https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-10-29/house-price-falls-chart-of-the-day/10418478

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