Asylum seeking children to remain in WA private schools

Asylum seeking children will continue to be sent to private schools after negotiations broke down Photo: Angela Wylie Asylum seeking children will continue to be sent to private schools after negotiations broke down Photo: Angela Wylie
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Asylum seeking children will continue to be sent to private schools after negotiations broke down Photo: Angela Wylie

Asylum seeking children will continue to be sent to private schools after negotiations broke down Photo: Angela Wylie

Asylum seeking children in Western Australia will continue to attend private schools after negotiations to bring the state in line with the rest of the country broke down.

In 2013, Fairfax Media revealed that WA was the only state without a funding agreement with the federal government that allowed asylum seeking children to attend public schools.

The WA and federal governments had been in negotiations for an arrangement to cover the cost of asylum seeker students to attend public schools – like in every other state – since mid 2012.

But negotiations between the two are understood to have ceased at the tail end of 2014 with the federal government deciding to abandon plans for a funding agreement.

This means the federal government will continue to pay for WA primary and secondary students, who are on bridging visas, to attend private schools.

In October 2013 a spokeswoman for the WA government said the election of a new federal government had “delayed the establishment of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)”.

On Tuesday a Department of Premier and Cabinet spokeswoman told Fairfax Media “the Commonwealth Government, late last year, indicated it did not wish to pursue an MoU for the provision of state school services to asylum seeker children”.This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Solar industry gets $33.3m boost to fuel commercial take-up

Commercial buyers are seen as the solar PV growth market in Australia. Photo: Glenn Hunt Commercial buyers are seen as the solar PV growth market in Australia. Photo: Glenn Hunt
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Commercial buyers are seen as the solar PV growth market in Australia. Photo: Glenn Hunt

Commercial buyers are seen as the solar PV growth market in Australia. Photo: Glenn Hunt

The flagging Australian solar industry will get a $33.3 million boost as the government’s green investment bank combines with a Chinese partner to spur companies to take up more photovoltaic panels.

The Clean Energy Finance Corp, which the Abbott government has been seeking to axe, will provide as much as $20 million to the venture with ET Solar to encourage more shopping centres and other big power users to cut their power bills.

“There is huge scope to expand and deepen the solar PV market in the commercial sector,” Oliver Yates, the CEFC’s chief executive, said in a media release.

Market analysts Green Energy Trading says that Australia added about 800 megawatts of solar PV capacity in 2014, little changed from a year earlier.

The commercial sector is filling the gap left as state-based support for residential solar PV retreats further, tripling its share of the market since 2012 to 15 per cent.

Under the program, ET Solar will own, operate and maintain solar PV systems ranging from 30 kilowatts to 2 megawatts in size, with the customer agreeing to buy the electricity at an agreed rate below the current power price.

“We see the [power purchase agreement] finance model as a way to remove the barrier of the upfront capital requirement which should enable many more Australian businesses to benefit from solar, reducing energy costs and lowering emissions,” Mr Yates said.

The Abbott government’s efforts to cut the renewable energy target for large-scale generators – and related agencies such as the CEFC – have so far been blocked in the Senate.

Federal ministers have not made it clear whether they will continue to back the small-scale end of the market, which currently aids solar PV units with capacity of as much as 100 kW.

The commercial sector offers a better match of power demand and potential supply than many households. Shopping centres, for instance, typically operate during daylight hours and would consume all the power generated on their roofs, while many homes are vacant during the day.

“Our first PV systems installed through this program will involve large-scale commercial projects in Queensland, the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales, with a rollout to all states around Australia,” Sam Khalil, head of operations and business development for ET Solar Australia, said.

“We currently have a commercial-scale car port structure solar project under way in Queensland, which will incorporate solar energy into a shopping centre car park, with similar construction planned in other states,” Mr Khalil said.

ET Solar, a top-tier maker of PV panels based in Nanjing, China, will provide $13.3 million in equity for the venture.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

American Sniper review: Clint Eastwood a bit off target

Screen couple: Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller play Chris Kyle and his wife, Taya, in American SniperAmerican Sniper, much of which is the source of Jason Hall’s screenplay. With Bradley Cooper playing Kyle and Sienna Miller his wife, Taya, Eastwood opens the story with a young Kyle picking up some traditional values about guns and the nature of manhood from his father. From there it’s a quick path to serving his country once terrorists attack US embassies in 1988.
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But most of the story centres on Kyle in action over four tours of Iraq and his relationship with Taya. As his reputation as a sniper grows, he becomes known as “Legend” to US troops and “The Devil of Ramadi” to Iraqi insurgents. Back home, he’s just absent, even when he’s there. To provide appropriate Iraqi antagonists, Hall creates an enforcer named “The Butcher” (Mido Hamada) and an opposing sniper named Mustapha (Sammy Sheik). As the conflict progresses, a huge bounty is placed on Kyle’s head and Mustapha becomes the man most likely to claim the prize.

Eastwood plays a delicate and not altogether successful balancing act, trying to portray Kyle as both a man who cannot but be affected by his job (his first kill is a woman and her young son), and a zealous patriot who believes in his country and its role as protector. Complicating matters greatly for Hall and Eastwood (spoiler alert, if you don’t know the truth about Kyle) was his death in 2013, just as the screenplay was being completed. In an interview, Hall admitted it caused a great deal of rewriting, the pressure now to memorialise Kyle as father and hero. It certainly provides the film with a strikingly tacked-on ending, undermining what would have been a powerful tale about the individual psychology of war, in the vein of the far superior The Hurt Locker. The action sequences are excellent, the plastic baby is dreadful (you’ll see it when it comes) and Cooper does a fine job in his most serious role to date.It might get you talking, but it’s not one of Eastwood’s finest.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

OCEARCH heads down under: Australian sharks to be monitored online 24/7

Although the research at the moment won’t allow tagging of great whites OCEARCH have tagged them in the past Photo: OCEARCH Although the research at the moment won’t allow tagging of great whites OCEARCH have tagged them in the past Photo: OCEARCH
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The research will take their vessel from Perth to Broome in a bid to lean more about sharks of WA’s coast Photo: OCEARCH

Although the research at the moment won’t allow tagging of great whites OCEARCH have tagged them in the past Photo: OCEARCH

Although the research at the moment won’t allow tagging of great whites OCEARCH have tagged them in the past Photo: OCEARCH

The exact location of 40 Australian sharks will soon be monitored online at any time of the day thanks to technology being used by an American outfit currently in the country.

In a first for Australia, scientists will be given greater access to the animal than most other shark tagging and research operations, thanks to OCEARCH Ocean Research.

The company is providing research expeditions on its “mothership” vessel which has the capacity to allow tagging of large sharks by bringing them up on an overwater platform.

Tiger shark tagging expeditions will be carried out in Western Australia and Queensland, with 20 sharks to be tagged with SPOT tags, which allow for the live monitoring to be tagged on each of the ocean voyages.

While it is understood these tags, which allow for 24/7 location monitoring, have been fitted to juvenile sharks in Australia in the past it is believed this could be the first time mature sharks will be monitored with such technology in the country.

And the tracking will not only be accessible to researchers, as real-time tracking becomes freely available to the public online for the first time.

The research work is carried out by local scientists, with the OCEARCH vessel and its crew providing the capacity to catch the sharks.

Scientists from as far away as Tokyo, Argentina and the US will join researchers from the University of Queensland, James Cook University, the University of Western Australia and the University of Tasmania.

Their reserach will focus on conservation and learning more about shark behaviour and their movements to increase safety for those who use marine environments.

The tiger sharks will be caught with hand lines and brought onboard the overwater platform, manoeuvered with a custom lift, then released after researchers have completed their 15 minutes of work.

The shark is then guided by hand in to the water on and off the lift.

James Cook University’s Dr Adam Barnett described the OCEARCH expedition as a “great opportunity” to advance shark research.

“We have the chance to tag more tiger sharks with OCEARCH satellite technology over a period of a few weeks than our team has in the past 14 years in Queensland waters,” Dr Barnett said.

“Having hands-on, safe access to live mature tiger sharks will be a significant boost to research, allowing us to conduct projects that are undoable in the water, providing data we could never have dreamed of achieving on our own.

“Researchers in this area are crying out for funding so to have access to the resources of this calibre is the best start to the New Year.”

OCEARCH, which operates with funding provided by sponsors including Caterpillar, will launch its first expedition from Brisbane at the end of January and the vessel will head to WA in April to begin a Broome to Perth reserach expedition.

Founding chairman and expedition leader, Chris Fischer said “OCEARCH data has influenced policy makers in a number of countries resulting in better outcomes for both shark and humans”.

“The new data will help provide Australia with a better understanding of when, how and why tiger sharks forage particularly near public beaches,” Mr Fischer said.

“This project is about delivering previously unattainable data to public safety officials and conservation managers.

“It will be a privilege to serve the Australian people and your tiger shark research community. It’s our goal to create the most inclusive, open sourced shark project with the Australian people in history.”

Mr Fischer said in addition to the SPOT tags, a number of acoustic tags would also be placed on tiger sharks on both expeditions, which will be able to be picked up by other shark monotoring networks such as the existing one in WA.

In recent months the WA government has copped critiscism for using information from the monitoring network to target great white sharks as part of catch and kill orders. And while Mr Fischer said such actions in relation to sharks tagged by OCEARCH would be “concerning” he said his team “would communicate with those public officials to try and avoid any conflict like that”.

In previous years two fully funded offers to carry out shark tagging expeditions in WA were turned down by the state government in favour of focusing on the current tagging methods already carried out on behalf of the state government.

Since then, Western Australia launched website SharkSmart which provides details of when sharks are detected near beacons positioned off some metropolitan and regional beaches.

Despite the possible threat of great white sharks to humans being a topic of debate in Australia in recent times, Mr Fischer said the scientists on board will not be able to tag great white sharks because of their protected status.

New South Wales beaches closed for a record long stint last week because of great white shark sightings and the WA government is currently spending more than ever on shark mitigation strategies. This has been as a result of an unprecedented spate of fatal shark attacks in the past few years involving what have mostly been believed to be great white sharks.

“We have offered assistance to tag great whites and have not heard back from CSIRO or federal government, you have to get approval from CSIRO if you want work with white sharks,” he said.

Mr Fischer said those on board would likely have their “hands full” with tiger sharks and turtle research anyway but may also come across bull sharks and mako sharks.

The CSIRO has previously said OCEARCH’s protocols for handling great white sharks were “not consistent wih CSIRO protocols” for the species.

Sea Shepherd spokeswoman Natalie Banks said they supported tagging in favour of harsher control methods and would be interested in talking with representatives of OCEARCH when they are in Western Australia in regard to what they do. Follow WAtoday on Twitter

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Nhill junior Country Week kicks off

UNDERWAY: Junior Country Week cricket action kicked off in Nhill this week. Picture: FILE PHOTOHORSHAM and Wimmera-MalleeNorth enjoyed wins against theirregional counterparts on day oneof under-14s West WimmeraCountry Week action at Nhill thisweek.
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Horsham defeated Wimmera-MalleeSouth, while West Wimmeralost to Wimmera-MalleeNorth.

Horsham coach Simon Gebertsaid quality bowling from his teammade it hard for Wimmera-MalleeSouth to score.

Horsham batted first and made6-179 before South replied with8-95.

Gebert’s son and captainBrayden took two wickets, as didMitch Jorgenson and SeanWouters.

With the bat, Mitch Martinretired with 36 runs, while Jorgensonmade 32 and Josh Leith made31.

Gebert said he was pleased tosee the whole team contribute tothe win.

‘‘We had some good batting andour bowling was exceptional and Icouldn’t be happier with the fielding,’’he said.

For Wimmera-Mallee, CodyBrooks top-scored with 23, whileCharlie Dean took three wicketswith the ball.

In the other match, Wimmera-MalleeNorth was 4-208 in itsdefeat of West Wimmera, whichmade 6-130.

Wimmera-Mallee North coachGlenn Westerland said the topthree batters for his side performedbrilliantly.

Fletcher Douglas, 35, Sam Griffiths,35, and Tom Letts, 37, allretired after reaching the maximumscore allowed.

With the ball, six North bowlerstook one wicket apiece, while TomLetts had figures of three overs forthree maidens and no wickets.

West Wimmera’s Josh Lees, 33,and Liam Preston, 38 retired, didwell with the bat and Josh Leestook two wickets.

Country Week organiser MaxMagrath said there was idealweather for cricket on Monday.

‘‘It has been going very well, allthe players have all been enjoyingthemselves,’’ he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.