Daily News Roundup

July 12, 2018

Image: The West Australian

THURSDAY 12th JULY

Federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has signalled the coalition government could financially back new power generation as part of a suite of measures to tackle skyrocketing power costs, the ABC reports.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has recommended the government underwrite new power plants to help companies who haven’t been able to get finance.

Mr Frydenberg said the competition watchdog had identified a failure in the market but stressed the ACCC’s report had not favoured any particular technology.

“What they’re saying is the government needs to step in here provide some sort of assurance,” Mr Frydenberg told the Nine Network on Thursday.

“This is something that does have a lot of merit and we’ll consider it.”

Some Nationals and Liberals have claimed the recommendation is vindication for their push to build new coal-fired power plants.

But Mr Frydenberg said it could include coal, gas, renewable energy or battery storage.

Labor’s energy spokesman Mark Butler said there was no appetite in the business community to invest in new coal-fired power generation, with or without government support.

“The coal ideologues in the coalition partyroom have effectively hijacked what is quite an important and serious recommendation,” Mr Butler told ABC radio.

Deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie said science should determine which technology would get the best outcomes for power bills.

“We have to walk away from the evangelical attachment to one particular fuel source for power generation over another,” Senator McKenzie told Sky News.

The ACCC’s report, which sets out a blueprint to cut 25 per cent from electricity bills, got warm support from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull when it was released on Wednesday.

“Australians are crying out for an energy policy that is focused on them,” Mr Turnbull said.

A key measure involves forcing retailers to offer a benchmark price near the middle of the market, to end confusing and deceptive discounts.

ACCC chair Rod Sims estimates bills could drop up to 25 per cent for the average household if the report’s 56 recommendations are all implemented.

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A livestock export company linked to the disastrous Awassi Express voyage has had its licence suspended, leaving tens of thousands of sheep in limbo, reports Australian Associated Press..

The federal Agriculture Department suspended Emanuel Exports’ licence last month after revelations of thousands of animal deaths in sweltering conditions.

Now its “sister” entity, EMS Rural Exports, is believed to have been denied a permit to ship sheep to the Middle East.

In a statement, the department said the company remains responsible for the sheep, which are in a feedlot, and that veterinarians have determined they are in good health and well-cared for.

EMS wanted to take about 45,000 sheep from Fremantle to Kuwait on the Al Shuwaikh, but will now face a full review following the suspension.

A separate smaller sheep shipment to the Middle East was expected to follow.

Animals Australia say they’re relieved by the decision after earlier threatening to stop the export with Federal Court action.

“The possibility of these sheep being exported by an affiliate of suspended exporter Emanuel Exports, has had both the public and politicians shaking their heads in dismay and disbelief,” Animals Australia’s Lyn White said.

Footage from the Emanuel Exports-chartered Awassi Express sparked outrage in April, after it showed thousands of sheep dead, dying and suffering in their own filth and extreme heat on their way to the Middle East.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud cited legal advice showing he had no powers to interfere in regulatory decisions other than closing down the entire live export industry.

“Last time this happened was 2011, when Labor did so. The resulting lawsuit continues to this day and many farming families still struggle with the personal and mental cost of that decision,” he said.

“I will not make Labor’s mistake again.”

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In the last fortnight Sarah Eaton has found two pregnant Hereford cows and a calf dead from brutal injuries at her cattle stud at Stoney Creek near Woodford in south-east Queensland.

Ms Eaton was forced to euthanase a fourth cow that had both ears ripped off and wounds to its nose and buttocks.

A graphic video posted to Facebook has been shared dozens of times.

“I apologise in advance for the gory s*** that people are about to see,” Ms Eaton writes.

“But if people of Stoney Creek or Woodford or those traveling through can’t keep their f***ing dogs locked up, I’m going to shoot them, promised.

Ms Eaton fired a shot at the dogs as they attacked two more pregnant cows in broad daylight this week and said the same well-fed animals were filmed after entering a neighbour’s property.

“These dogs, they’re killing for enjoyment,” she said.

“None of the animals are getting touched after they’ve been killed and they’re going for big strong animals, they’re not going for weak old ones, they’re not going for calves, they’re going for big animals.

“You can’t put into words being confronted by something like this. It’s pretty traumatic.”

Moreton Bay Regional Council is providing support by placing traps on Ms Eaton’s property and running regional baiting programs.

The attacks have highlighted a nationwide problem of uncontrolled and wild dogs on urban outskirts.

Ms Eaton’s threat to shoot what she suspects are domestic dogs has been condemned by some, but has also gained widespread support.

This daily news roundup is curated with stories from ABC News.

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