Thinking

Will Your RECS be a good FIT?

Matthew Parnell - Monday, September 14, 2009

We are getting closer to understanding the new landscape for renewable energy credits for solar systems. Regulations passed last week identifying how the Federal system works: 

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Indigenous Housing - Best Practice Project Management? I don't think so!

Matthew Parnell - Sunday, September 13, 2009

I am becoming very concerned (no, disgusted) about the failure of indigenous housing programs. Back in the day (in the late 1990) when I worked for a small NGO on housing projects in Central Australia, the process was generally devolved to small local consultants for project management, and housing cost around $100,000 including consultants fees. At the time, there was plenty of dodgy work and corruption, but at least the houses were built. Now there is “Best Practice Project Management” and a house in a remote community costs $600,000!! And yet, there is still almost no local participation in construction for all the rhetoric. It has not dawned on the bureaucrats that developing the capacity of people in remote communities is mututally exclusive of Best Practice PM. The decision-makers have been inexorably moving toward an institutionalised delivery model that takes the worst aspects of free enterprise (greed) and the bureaucracy (total inflexibility), and has become self-serving. More recently as a housing lifecycles researcher with the Desert Knowledge CRC, it was clear that the pathway of “Best Practice Project Management” was a poor path to take when looking for real outcomes.  As we pointed out in the lifecycles report, housing delivery is the best vehicle for community development and sustainable livelihood in remote communities. Whereas the only sustainable livelihood under the current system is for bureaucrats and big-company project managers.The following Australian extracts say it all: 

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Bjorn Lomborg has a good idea on climate change mitigation

Matthew Parnell - Tuesday, September 08, 2009

In yesterday’s Australian, Bjorn Lomborg of Skeptical Environmentalist fame shows that he is clearly in the camp on human contribution to climate change, but is very skeptical about Emissions Trading. He raises good points about the technology needed by 2100 to mitigate climate change, but is skeptical of the business as usual approach to technological evolution in meeting that need. I think his analysis is sobering, but perhaps a better pathway than just assuming the price signal from carbon will drive innovation in non-fossil fuels. While I disagree that there is no storage capacity for wind power (a solar system will soon be commenced in South Australia with night storage), his view is spot on and should influence the debate. He demonstrates that while one can accept the science of climate change, one doesn’t have to accept that carbon trading will bring about the change we need. Too many people on both sides of the debate are conflating these two issues and causing much confusion. Lomborg’s article is below, and can be accessed here

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Better Thinking on Indigenous Housing from World Vision

Matthew Parnell - Thursday, September 03, 2009

In Today’s The Australian comes a better story about indigenous housing in the North Queensland Community of Mapoon. While Tim Costello is the front man, this new thinking has the look of my former colleague from the Centre For Appropriate Technology, Mark Moran, who joined World Vision in 2008 to run their Indigenous program. 

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More from Peter Newman - Diamonds of Hope Parts A and B

Matthew Parnell - Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another presentation from Peter, in 2 parts as posted on You Tube by the Fremantle filmmaker, Linda Blagg. Its beautifully done. By the way, Peter has been unwell of late, but I believe he is on the mend and will be taking it a bit easier for the immediate future. 

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