Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Water bill bungle hits households

EXCLUSIVE

MELBOURNE households have been overcharged by more than $300 million for their water in an administrative error that will leave consumers out of pocket for the next five years.
Households are believed to have been overcharged by an average of about $177 each for water in 2011 - but Melbourne Water has enraged consumer groups by saying it will take five years to repay the money.

A draft of Melbourne Water's business plan for 2013 reveals that it excessively billed customers by a total of $306 million by mistakenly charging them for the desalination plant before construction had finished and when it had not yet delivered a drop of water.
The Age believes households serviced by any of the city's three water retailers - Yarra Valley Water, City West Water and South East Water - would be entitled to refunds averaging about $177.
However, consumer groups are outraged that rather than returning that money to households immediately, through a reduction in their next water bills, the $306 million will be used to offset bill increases over the next five years.
Gerard Brody, from the Consumer Action Law Centre, says consumers should have their money returned immediately. ''If consumers have overpaid them then I see no reason why Melbourne Water shouldn't just return that money as soon as possible,'' he said.
''Consumers are currently struggling with the cost of essential services including electricity, gas and water bills and yet this business wants to hold on to their money.''
Melbourne Water's general manager of strategic planning, Ben Furmage, said yesterday households were charged too much because payments scheduled to be made to desal plant operators AquaSure on the completion of the project were not required when the plant was not finished on time.
The money to pay Aquasure was nevertheless recouped from consumers.
The beleaguered Wonthaggi plant was originally due to be completed and ready for production by December 2011.
A further deadline of June 30 this year was subsequently announced as the date for when the plant was due to be fully operational. AquaSure has since requested an extension of the second deadline to the end of February 2013.
Mr Furmage suggested the billing blunder was not Melbourne's Water's fault. ''The over-recovery [of money] from the city retailers in the current pricing period was due to external factors beyond our control such as construction delays and higher costs at the Wonthaggi desalination plant,'' he told The Age.
''We will rectify this in the next [five-year] period to ensure customers are returned the over-recovered revenue, with $316 million to be returned over the period. This will help offset future increases in water bills from the desalination plant,'' he said. That includes $10 million in interest and inflation.
''We're acutely aware that the over-recovery is a bitter pill for customers at a time of increasing prices and we've done a lot of work to arrive at the best way to ensure impacts are minimised.''
However, he said repaying the money immediately would jeopardise the ''financial stability'' of the water authority.
''Giving it all back in the first year would result in big wholesale and retail bill fluctuations in subsequent years and impact our financial stability in the face of ongoing annual desalination costs of at least $650 million.''
Melbourne Water's proposed method of repayment is yet to be approved by the Essential Services Commission, which will review Melbourne Water's final plan when it is submitted in September.
The water body could not confirm how consumers would know they had been repaid the money they were owed, as it was unlikely to be itemised on their water bills.
However, it said the commission would hold it accountable. ''We are regulated by the Essential Services Commission which is the independent umpire,'' Mr Furmage said.

theage.com.au 13 Jun 2012

More fraud bought to you by the corporates.
Never a 'blunder', what a joke on the intelligence of the masses.

Naturally there will never be any court time allocated to this matter.


Lygon St biker hoons left alone by police


The corporate media is the tool used for government propaganda. 

Current media advertisements show that police have no/zero tolerance to speedsters and so called ‘hoons’.

A current advertisement shows how a motorcyclist allegedly speeding is involved in a fatal car accident, but if the speed was lowered, a step back in time shows that the collision would be avoided. A similar ad aired regarding a jay walker misled the masses.

Lygon Street is a very well known restaurant strip in the northern Melbourne suburb of Carlton. It is renowned for its assortment of Italian cuisine, pizzerias and more recently Asian dining.  It has been so for decades.

Lygon St. is also well known for another reason, that being of a meeting place where the activities lead to vehicular burnouts, and speeding along the main road. This kind of activity put the lives of pedestrians at risk along with the patrons sitting at the outside dining facilities.The speed limit along Lygon St. currently is 40km/h.

During the peak evening dinner periods of Thursday, Friday and Saturday, many a ‘hoon’ drives past Lygon St. at either double the speed limit or covering the street with tyre smoke choking patrons and pedestrians alike.

Videos have been obtained by corpau, showing motor bike riders performing burnouts with not a police car in sight. Bikers (media term erroneously describe them as bikies), either performing burnouts or riding clearly with unroadworthy motorbikes ride past police.

There can be 3 or more driving offences committed an hour at Lygon St, with no police in sight.
The police do not touch bikers under any circumstances at Lygon St. but rather choose easy targets like students turning left, who may have forgotten to use their indicators.

Corrupt police work together with criminal biker members in return for favours. Simple road infringements are just the beginning of the list.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

$100m Southern Star Observation Wheel a broken wreck

PREMIER Ted Baillieu slammed the troubled Southern Star Observation Wheel as the company behind the shambolic development once again refused to give an estimated finish date.

Mr Baillieu blasted the wheel as a "disappointing sight" on Melbourne's skyline, after Lord Mayor Robert Doyle's calls in yesterday's Herald Sun for a timeline for completion.
Readers were outraged over the wheel's botched construction today, with more than three-quarters voting for it to be scrapped in a poll of 1491 people.
"It looks like what it is, which is a large, expensive, half-completed project, which has been very troubled, and the sooner it's resolved I think the better for everybody," Mr Baillieu said.
"It's an incredibly disappointing sight on Melbourne's landscape. It's obviously a very expensive project. It's been troubled for some engineering reasons and health and safety reasons."
Cr Doyle labelled the wheel an "embarrassment", after repeated refusals from owner ING Real Estate to announce an estimated finish date.
"I think we're all sick of it and I'm not entirely happy with the amount of information we're being given," Cr Doyle said.
"I'd hate to see it go from unfortunate, to sad, to tragic, but that's where we're headed."
In December 2008, the wheel opened two years behind schedule and closed just 40 days later after cracks appeared in the structure.
A spokesman for Southern Star Wheel management yesterday said the construction of the wheel was "very complex" and the occupational health and safety rules were very strict on-site.
He said the State Government would be briefed on progress of the wheel in July, and an estimated finish date might be available then.

heraldsun.com.au 13 Jun 2012

Another project failure overseen by the government.

Project failure was due to the hiring of cheap unskilled engineers, couple together with inferior materials.

All part of a cost cutting exercise that puts the lives of people in danger.

Economic growth figures falsified


The Australian government has just recently released the latest economic growth figures for 2012. 

The corporate media duly announced that economists were stunned with the current figures, as they were less optimistic, and as a result inaccurate by approximately 100%.

Professional economists, together with other industry analysts use current data and sophisticated models based on current information from all industries to give future estimates. The error rate is usually marginal and not major as in this case.

To insinuate that economists got it wrong, is not only an insult to the professionals but a blatant farce in the face of the general populous.

The government has provided false information in relation to the economic  growth of Australia, to push a government supported agenda, rather than to report factual figures.

The government also falsifies the unemployment rate in order to paint a rosier picture than it actually is.

Many industry analysts use a more realistic unemployment figure of just over 8%, rather than the actual reported figure by the government of just over 5%.

There is an eerie silence in the corporate media, about debunking the government’s official economic growth figures, and the true figures will never be revealed.

This is not a matter of doomsayers, or skepticism, but rather the ‘optimistic’ figures are designed to instill faith in the masses, in order to spend more.

Naturally the government is well prepared to whitewash any criticism.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Muslim youth leader on drug charges

A PROMINENT Muslim youth leader, who preaches the perils of crime to his community, has been charged with possessing more than $1.5 million worth of cocaine.

Police allege Fadi Abdul-Rahman, 36, who featured in Kevin Rudd's 2020 Summit in 2008 and has been a justice fighter in western Sydney, was part of a commercial cocaine syndicate that was caught with 5kg of the drug hidden in a chess set.

heraldsun.com.au 3 Jun 2012

The policy of importing criminals under the 'refugee'  banner, nets these kinds of results, which at the end of the day are detrimental to the community at large.

Criminals like Fadi Abdul-Rahman should be deported immediately, but since this is NOT the policy of the Order of the New World, but rather to incite unrest amongst the general population.

It is the children of the masses the succumb to drugs, and NOT the children of the ruling elite.

Council workers get subsidised perks

RATEPAYERS have forked out thousands of dollars to subsidise perks for council employees such as ski trips, winery tours, free DVD rentals and "Feeling fine Friday".

City of Melbourne workers are also offered yoga, Pilates and dance classes and discounted tickets to Melbourne's key attractions, internal documents reveal.

Documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information laws reveal the MCC spends $9500 a year so parking officers can use the council-owned facilities at City Baths.

Employees who join CoMLife, an association funded by the council and its workers, also get discounted entry to tourist hot spots such as Melbourne and Werribee zoos, Icehouse, the Melbourne Show and the Eureka Tower.
The council spends thousands subsidising events such as Grand Final parties, ski trips, golf tournaments and trivia nights. Other incentives include:
A $2000 function at Icehouse with prizes for staff.
WELLBEING classes of boxing, Pilates, yoga, circuit, and dance.
SUBSIDISED movie, theatre and entertainment tickets.
FREE DVD rentals for CoMLife members.
Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said ratepayers would be appalled that so much was spent on staff incentives.

"It's about time that councils realised they are dealing with ratepayers' money," he said.
Mr Davis said ratepayers deserved more investment in service for the public.
Last year the Herald Sun revealed eight Victorian councils had spent at least $180,000 on staff massages.
An MCC spokeswoman said the free massage service was no longer available.
"By investing in the health and wellbeing of our employees, we can foster a healthy work environment and culture," she said.

ninemsn.com.au 10 Jun 2012

Small firms brace for carbon tax


SMALL businesses face punishing power bill rises of up to 25 per cent due to the carbon tax and are warning of job losses and flow-on price hikes.

Putting a lie to Julia Gillard's claim that only big polluters will pay, the owner of six McDonald's outlets in Sydney estimates the carbon tax will add hundreds of thousands of dollars to his annual operating costs.

One Melbourne firm, Hardchrome Engineering, estimates the Government's greenhouse scheme will add $70,000 - or 25 per cent - to its energy bill and says customers will likely pay more from July 1.

While low and middle-income families are receiving top-up payments to offset the tax, small business owners claim the extra costs will force them to lay off staff - and work extra hours to make ends meet.

Hardchrome general manager Andrew Dugan has been told by his power supplier the carbon tax will add 25 per cent to his costs.

The firm specialises in energy-intensive electroplating and Mr Dugan says its 3000 customers are likely to pay more from July 1 to offset these price increases.

"We've got to find these savings somewhere," he said.
"The argument that it's just being paid by the top 500 (polluters), that is crap."

NSW service station operator Craig Glasby has been told his power bills will rise by 15 per cent and is now considering cutting back staff or working six days a week to cover costs.

Andrew Reitzer, chief executive of Australia's biggest grocery wholesaler, Metcash, has no doubt that grocery bills will be higher.

"It's almost a guarantee the consumer is going to pay more," Mr Reitzer said.

Opposition climate change spokesman Greg Hunt said many small businesses would cop it in the neck.

"The Prime Minister is in denial about the impact on small business," he said.

heraldsun.com.au 11 Jun 2012

Another 'tax' where 'big business' is immune from the added costs which are put on to the consumer.

Government suppoerted fraud, at the highest level, with no inquiry, or resistance from the masses.