Economy

How efficiently does your NSW council operate?

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Who has ever bothered to read the annual reports published by the local councils? Have we ever brought our local councillors to task on costs? For instance, why does household waste removal cost 2x as much in Woollahra as it does in Penrith? Of course, income disparity is one factor but is there a luxury element to garbage disposal in the wealthy suburbs? Garbage collection is just garbage collection, no? Of course, the distances travelled by garbage trucks might be a factor. Yet Waverley costs $17,500/hectare for annual rubbish disposal whereas Hornsby (arguably national parks don’t make it apples for apples comparisons) is $511/ha. Lane Cove has a similar area to Waverley but costs only $4,709/ha. Someone is making some serious coin on the collections in some council areas based off annual escalations one would think.

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Why does the City of Sydney council have a $924/resident cost per council staff versus $277 in Liverpool? Or on an area basis, why does it cost $83,000/ha in Sydney vs a similarly populated Parramatta at $12,300/ha?

Staff ha.png30% of Clover Moore’s budget is allocated to council staff. Councils in Hornsby, The Hills and Camden are less than 20%. Cumberland and Liverpool councils have around 50% of the budget allocated to staff.

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The City of Sydney rakes in $757mn pa or $3,154 per 240,000 odd residents. Mosman pulls in just under $50mn or $1,600 per 31,000 residents. Blacktown pulls in $640mn revenue per annum across 366,534 residents.

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Did we realise the collective equity base of our Sydney metro councils exceeds $66bn? $21bn of that in Sydney. How well are those assets being managed? There are some lazy balance sheets and even lazier investment strategies for all the collective billions sitting in those accounts.

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So next time you attend your council meeting, perhaps you can ask what the investment strategies are among the millions of your monies raised has been allocated?

 

We should be thinking of merging more councils. Plenty of inefficiencies to be squeezed out and plenty of opportunities to lower rates to the residents. Get off the high horse on declaring climate emergencies and look at streamlining services that really benefit those they serve.

More hypocrisy with the Climate Emergency, this time in Canada

What a joke.

Canadians are not for carbon taxes. The landslides against the Trudeau Liberals in the provincial elections of Ontario & Alberta (and the recent by-election in Nova Scotia yesterday) have all used the key platform policies of rescinding carbon taxes. 

Steve Craig and the Progressive Conservatives handed the Nova Scotia New Democrats their first loss in the constituency of Sackville-Cobequid in 34 years at the by-election. Craig won the election with 2,655 votes. Liberal candidate Michel Hindlet was a distant third with 658 votes, just ahead of Green Party candidate Anthony Edmonds who received 488 votes. Why? Because Canadians want sustainable work where they have a competitive advantage. Not to be punished with punitive taxation with policies driven by a completely incompetent government.

Candian PM Justin Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine ‘Climate Barbie’ McKenna have essentially copied the example set by the Irish government with respect to its announced ‘Climate Emergency.’ It is pure posturing not backed up by action. The pipeline fiasco has been so incompetently handled.

The Canadian Liberal government paid $4.5bn for a 60yr old pipeline that was sold a decade ago to Kinder Morgan for $377m for an asset RBC valued at $2.5bn. Last year, Kinder Morgan threatened to cancel the project altogether. Desperate to keep it alive – and the most transparent example of how much the Canadian govt depends on oil  – Trudeau nationalised it. Another $7.5bn will be spent to “create jobs” with this pipeline.

Apart from Canadian tax dollars going to fund a US company’s ability to expand and compete against Canadian suppliers, the real truth of Trudeau’s intentions probably doesn’t become any clearer when examining the sponsored summer jobs programme (where businesses could only get greenlighted if they shared “his” values). Yes, taxpayer dollars were approved by Trudeau to help activists protest a pipeline he’s just bought. This was an ad posted by Dogwood:

“As an organizing assistant through the Canada Summer Jobs program, you will work directly with a Dogwood Provincial Organizer and the field organizing team to help our organizing network stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tanker project, as well as help us strengthen the public call for stronger, more accountable and transparent democracy.”

Now, Trudeau’s party has declared a climate emergency and approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain Expansion (formerly owned by Kinder Morgan) straight after.

McKenna has made so many gaffes on her carbon tax. This video shows just how little idea they have about what they wish to introduce. She also said that not only would she refuse to debate with those that disagree with her on climate change but that Canadians have a $30 trillion (yes you read right) opportunity by 2020 because of the Liberal’s carbon tax and associated environmental policies. Who wouldn’t vote for a party that can 20-bag an economy in 2 years?

More leftist lunacy. Bleat about dedication to the environment, squeal about how we face imminent death if we don’t do something and then don’t back it up with actual deeds.

Irish inhaling magic clovers

The Irish government is looking to ban new petrol and diesel car sales from 2030 in its ‘Climate Action Plan‘. One would imagine many car dealers will go out of business because the product offerings will be so slim and global supply won’t be there. Sadly the document contradicts itself too. Not to mention that Ireland’s contribution to global CO2 is only 0.000012%.

On page 33, the report drills holes in itself when it states,

Solar PV, some electrification of buses, and biofuel blending are identified in 2030 the NDP scenario but are not showing as cost- effective in MACC. Despite MACC analysis these technologies may remain in plan given other factors (e.g., exchequer cost, ease of implementation, need for public sector leadership)

So it is a poorly thought out plan to begin with such caveats.

For transport the manifesto denotes,

Accelerate the take up of EV cars and vans so that we reach 100% of all new cars and vans are EVs by 2030. This will enable achieving our target of 950,000 EVs on the road by 2030. This means approximately one third of all vehicles sold during the decade will be Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV)

Hang on a minute. In its own document on page 24 it hopes for at least 500,000 EVs on the road. Thats almost half what is mentioned in the exec summary! Which is it? Hoping no one reads this rubbish?

Make growth less transport intensive through better planning, remote and home-working and modal shift to public transport.

That will work. Just tell companies to keep people working from home. Why not get people to grow their own vegetables so they don’t need to drive to the supermarket?

Increase the renewable biofuel content of motor fuels

On page 33 under volumes, it mentions nothing. Just the E10 and B12 biofuel mix plans. Maybe Germany holds clues.

The German authorities went big for bio-fuels in 2008 forcing gas stands to install E-10 pumps to cut CO2. However as many as 3 million cars at the time weren’t equipped to run on it and as a result consumers abandoned it leaving many gas stands with shortages of the petrol and gluts of E-10 which left the petrol companies liable to huge fines (around $630mn) for not hitting government targets.

Claude Termes, a member of European Parliament from the Green Party in Luxembourg said in 2008 that “legally mandated biofuels were a dead end…the sooner It disappears, the better…my preference is zero…policymakers cannot close their eyes in front of the facts. The European Parliament is increasingly skeptical of biofuels.” Even ADAC told German drivers to avoid using E10 when traveling in other parts of continental Europe.

• Set targets for the conversion of public transport fleets to zero carbon alternatives

It is unlikely that Public transport is a swing factor. The hope is to have 1,250 electric buses by 2030. Even then it has concerns it may not hit the plan.

It is scary to think countries are willing to submit to the altar of this green madness. The word “public leadership” should cause people to run for the hills. For such a minuscule impact on the climate, Ireland is about to kill its competitiveness to protect against what? 55% renewable target with a huge uplift in EVs and an extra 600,000 households using electric heating, 400,000

The most interesting thing is that in the 2019 Irish budget, the spending ceiling for “Communication, Climate Action and Environment Group” is €391m out of total expenditures of €59.25bn or 0.6% of its budget. Note this ministry will max out at €391m for 2020 and 2021. How much will be achieved on the Climate Action Plan if resources aren’t going to plug the infrastructure gaps?

As much as the “woke” nature of the plan here is betting it misses by a country mile on dates and achievements. In the history of government led climate initiatives, failures far outweigh successes. Don’t forget Ireland gets 5% of tax revenues from fuel excise. So once consumers save the planet they can expect an EV tax to slug them instead.

Boeing raises 20yr forecast

Boeing reports airlines will need around 44,000 new commercial aircraft worth $6.8 trillion by 2038, vs. 43,000 planes worth $6.49 trillion estimated in 2018. The biggest demand will remain for single-aisle jets. 32,420 narrow-body planes are likely to be built.

So much for the fear of global warming induced by air travel. In total, planes are 2% of human induced CO2. Or 0.00024% of the CO2 in the atmosphere.

Although the International Air Transport Association (IATA) wilted to the gun held to its head by the UN. The IATA has got behind the movement to do its bit for climate change. In a two page flyer, it covered the idea that we reckless passengers must consider our carbon footprint but at the same time help the U.N. raise $40bn in taxes, sorry ‘climate finance,’ between 2021 and 2035.

The reality is if Greta Thunberg receives an invite by the Queensland government to lecture on climate change she can rest easy that the footprint in the air will be so tiny because there isn’t a diesel electric train to get here.

NSW to lose State of Origin 4 (Adani)

Who’d a thunk? The Queensland Labor Government is fighting for its life. If it means trading principle for expediency, they have chosen the latter path. Even throwing on last-minute ‘infrastructure taxes’ couldn’t halt progress. Adani has been approved.

Labor has spent 8 years obstructing Adani Carmichael from going ahead. After the unlosable election result handed to its federal colleagues, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saw the light. Political suicide was at stake. It won’t stop the inevitable, especially post QLD Treasurer Jackie Trad’s deeper deficits announced this week.

What Greens Senator DiNatale fails to understand (despite saying every election hereon will be a #ClimateElection) is that Queenslanders couldn’t give a hoot for Victorians complaining about their wish to have jobs. The reality is that Adani Carmichael will likely be open for decades to come. It will employ those working at the mines and the local economies that support them.

What evidence has DiNatale got for thousands of jobs being destroyed? It is that level of economic comprehension that means they will remain such a joke as a credible party. Not least helped by the eloquence of NSW MLC Cate Faehrmann who thinks encouraging a blockade in a neighbouring state seems fair game.

There are only supposed to be three games in the State of Origin.  Faehrmann is guaranteed to lose her suggested matchup, much like former Senator Bob Brown’s convoy pre-election warm-up game concluded. Queensland will run rings around the NSW attack, as always!

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2/3rds of Canadians say carbon tax will negatively influence vote

It seems Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his Environment Minister Catherine ‘Climate Barbie’ McKenna won’t like hearing the results of a Forum poll which suggests 65% of citizens say a carbon tax would affect their vote.

Trudeau only needed to look at the drubbing handed out to his Liberal Party in Ontario and Alberta to understand the extent of how popular carbon taxes are viewed by the electorate.

Hopefully the PM can prosecute his policy with a little more skill than his plastics ban.

In any event, betting agencies money maybe slightly safer paying out early on a Conservative win. Trudeau is that disastrous.

Vacant homes in Japan hit 8.46m

8.46m homes or 13.6% of all dwellings are vacant in Japan in 2018. This is up 3.2% on 2017 according to the Housing & Land Survey. CM wrote about the population exodus from regional areas in Japan in this report.

Vacancy rates in Wakayama, Tokushima, and Kagoshima prefectures stand at 18.8%, 18.6%, and 18.4% respectively, areas suffering population exodus. Tokyo, Kanazawa (Yokohama), Okinawa and Saitama, all experiencing net migration inflows, have the lowest rates of unoccupied houses.

Yubari City in Hokkaido has a campaign poster – “No money but love.

Yubari is notable for five things. First, it is the region that produces Japan’s most expensive melons, the type you see beautifully encased in a satin-lined pine box with a price label of US$200. Second, it had to declare bankruptcy in 2007. Third, its population has fallen from 117,000 in the 1960s to around 21,000 in the 1990s to less than 8,900 today, falling 19% in the last 5 years alone. Fourth, the average age of the city’s residents is set to hit 65 by 2020. Fifth, taxable income continues to fall with estimates that government coffers will swell by a woozy 25% of the levels seen 20 years ago.

Not a good sign for the regional economies. Japan has a stall speed warning and the government plans to fix it are painfully inadequate.