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Posts from the ‘Locale is Aus’ Category

Melbourne’s oBikes face impounding under anti-clutter crackdown

The Guardian, 17 October 2017
The operators of the distinctive yellow bicycles littering Melbourne will have two hours to move bikes left in dangerous places or face fines. Dozens of dockless bikes have been thrown up trees, on to train tracks and dumped in rivers by their users.
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Competitive tendering hasn’t delivered for public transport, so why reward poor performance?

The Conversation, 10 October 2017
Transdev, which operates about one-third of Melbourne’s buses, recently had 33 buses taken off the road due to safety defects. Transport Safety Victoria’s action coincides with a review of a three-year rollover of the French company’s A$1.7 billion contract. The contract was announced in 2013 following competitive tendering. This confluence of events raises at least two questions about contracting for transport services. Australian state governments should reflect on whether competitive tendering necessarily delivers the best outcomes for the public, and on the role of operator performance in contract renewal.
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Stuck in traffic: we need a smarter approach to congestion than building more roads

The Conversation, 3 October 2017
The equation doesn’t look pretty. Traffic congestion costs us billions of dollars each year – so we are told – and population growth is not letting up. When road rage meets large economic costs, it’s little wonder our politicians are desperate to do something. The trouble is, too often that “something” is a great big new freeway. Building more roads isn’t the best answer, because the roads we have are mostly up to the job – if only we could make better use of them by spreading traffic out beyond the morning and evening peaks.
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We’re investing heavily in urban greening, so how are our cities doing?

The Conversation, 27 September 2017
Governments at all levels invest a lot in greening Australian suburbs. Yet, in a recent report, we show that the greening efforts of most of our metropolitan local governments are actually going backwards.
This is a puzzle, as greening has clear environmental and economic benefits. The environmental benefits are obvious and relatively easy to count. For private home owners, numerous studies have linked greening to a range of economic benefits from energy savings to higher house prices. So how do we explain the loss of green cover?
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Australia wind energy’s record day of production in August

REnew economy, 22 September 2017
Australia set a new record for wind energy production on August 16, producing an average 3,629MW over one 30 minute settlement period to the National Electricity Market (which doesn’t include W.A. or the Northern Territory). The record, noted by Hugh Saddler in The Australia Institute-sponsored monthly update of emissions and energy supply, meant that wind energy counted for more than 17 per cent of total grid demand.

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Bike share schemes may seem a waste of space but the economics makes sense

ABC News, 19 September 2017
Have you ever walked past (or tripped over) a shared bike and wondered how it’s possible for the business to survive with a ride costing as little as $2 per half hour? While bike share schemes attract controversy in some places, the economic models behind such schemes actually have more to do with data mining, advertising and turning a profit from interest on the deposits than from the bike rental itself.

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Airbnb and empty houses: who’s responsible for managing the impacts on our cities?

The Conversation, 19 September 2017
The Airbnb and empty house phenomena and their presumed links to housing and rental prices have attracted considerable media and political attention. The ABC points to the “dark side” of Airbnb and its effect on long-term rental prices. Empty houses are being linked to higher housing prices and to foreign investment, most often Chinese investment. The Australian headlines that “China buyers raise ghost town fears”. The Commonwealth and state governments are seeking to regulate the phenomena. It is questionable whether they should and even whether they understand the data and trends.

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Queensland Cycling Strategy

The Queensland Cycling Strategy sets the direction for encouraging more cycling, more often throughout Queensland. It is accompanied by an action plan and Queensland State of Cycling Report, which will be updated every two years to help us prioritise our efforts and respond to changes that impact cycling in Queensland.

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ESB chair says demand response could kill need for new power plants

ReNew Economy, 14 September 2017
The chair of Australia’s newly formed Energy Security Board, Dr Kerry Schott, has stressed the importance of demand response in meeting the nation’s energy security and affordability needs, telling ABC Radio that if we could harness the technology effectively, we could “all stop worrying about building new plants of any description.”
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Rooftop solar pushes South Australia to record low grid demand – in spring!

ReNew Economy, 13 September 2017
Spring is barely two weeks old and the sun had yet to pass the spring equinox (September 23), but already South Australia has set a new record low for electricity demand from the grid, thanks to its increasing supply of rooftop solar PV. The record low demand – 786MW – was reached around 2pm on Sunday and was cited by Australian Energy Market Operator chief executive Audrey Zibelman as an example of how the grid is transforming.

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