31 January, 2012

DRAFT LETTER -Coles/Woolworths Price wars on fresh produce

Rowan Barber


Dear Manager

Re: Coles/Woolworths Price wars on fresh produce

Coles supermarkets launched a marketing campaign http://www.coles.com.au/Stores-Services/Freshness-Super-Specials.aspx slashing the retail price of selected fresh produce.

As the State Manager of the Australian Sustainable Business Group, I have concerns about the impacts on the ecological and economic sustainability of food processing industries, if these short term behaviours by Coles (and/or Woolworths) affect the supply chain in the long term.

I fear the upstream impacts on Australian farmers and the viability of their businesses. I also fear the downstream impacts on consumers of a restriction of variety. i fear smaller retailers may be adversely impacted. My over arching concern is a cost driven impact on ecological sustainability of agriculture.

I would like Coles (and/or Woolworths) to pay fair and reasonable prices to Australian farmers.

i am interested to know what step the ACCC will take to regulate the behaviour of Coles and/or Woolworths to protect the long term interests of consumers, suppliers, competitors and processors in the fresh produce industry.


Yours sincerely

Rowan Barber

24 January, 2012

Sustainable Procurement, Qld Election, DERM, Gas

Sustainable Procurement
There are a couple of imminent developments which will have significant impacts on the process of implementing sustainable procurement:
The Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC) is market testing a sustainability rating tool in preparation for a national launch in Parliament House Canberra in February 2012.
AGIC has a whole category on sustainable procurement recognising its importance. Aurecon Pty Ltd and Net Balance Pty Ltd were the authors of this category and it was based on the British Standard BS8903:2010 which is recognised as probably the leading edge worldwide.
The Australian Water Association (AWA) has developed a Water Sector Sustainability Framework to assist AWA's Corporate Members embed sustainability principles and practices within their business activities, and encourage organisations to assess their progress. The AWA Framework consists of a Sustainability Charter for the water sector, providing a set of Sustainability Principles by which participants can guide their business activities.
The AWA Framework also provides a Business Case for participation and a Toolkit which will in time be developed into an online 'Sustainability Knowledge Point'. AWA is now ready for Corporate Members to sign-up to their AWA Water Sector Sustainability Framework and Charter.

Qld State Election
The Election date has not been announced but Qld is definitely in election mode.
ASBG’s will be writing to major & minor political parties to clarify their policies on issues that impact Environmental Management & Sustainability in the lead up to the Qld State Election.
Earlier today the Qld Premier met with Commissioner Cate Holmes.
The Commissioner advised she would be holding further hearings and therefore would require an extension to the Inquiry's reporting date. The Premier advised she would be prepared to grant an extension.
She also advised the Commissioner the granting of such an extension could have implications for the timing of elections and this would require me to seek urgent legal advice on a number of options.
The Premier awaiting this advice and will she make a further public statement once she has received and considered it.

The State Opposition have been critical of the Qld Labor Government’s environment credentials indicating that the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM)’s poor management was responsible for its ineffectiveness in administering and enforcing legislation.
A LNP Government would repeal the Waste Reduction & Recycling Act & would probably disassemble DERM. Shadow Minister for the Environment Andrew Powell said there’s no proper rigour & reporting in the management of waste in Qld. He cites Auditor-General reports accusing DERM of focusing on outputs then outcomes when it came to mitigating risks to the environment.
Regional Queensland was subjected to inconsistent monitoring and compliance from the department, and there was appalling and limited oversight to assist regions plan effectively.

Stradbroke Island
Last year the Qld Premier announced a timetable to phase out sand mining on Stradbroke Island with a view to boosting the national park area on the Island to 80% by 2027. The Government believes North Straddie has enormous potential to grow a thriving, eco-tourism industry. It has legislated to ensure a phasing out of mining by 2027. A joint management process for land use is proposed with the Traditional Owners - the Quandamooka people.
Sand mining has occurred on Stradbroke Island for more than 50 years & could continue sustainable for at least another 200 years. However, the Qld Government is determined to make Straddie a political football & form the basis of it Environmental credentials. The LNP opposition believe that the extended national park now incorporates un-rehabilitated areas (including a tailings dam) which responsibility the Government will have to restore.

Gas Powered Pork Barrels
The availability & potential of gas reserves in Qld had outstripped existing & potential demand in the greater east coast Australian Gas market.
Qld Coal Seam Gas (CSG) producers want to access international gas markets via Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). The first CSG-based LNG project was announced in May 2007 & since then a further nine have followed, of which 4 have achieved ‘significant project’ status & 3 have all the necessary approvals for the projects to proceed.
The Government wants to use the profits of the next resources boom, before they have calculated or demonstrated an understanding of costs of the Environmental impacts.
The Qld State Government is trying to link the modernisation of the education to the resources sector. The Qld Premier announced last year, that the Government will establish an Education Trust with the royalties from LNG. The Trust will be funded directly through 50% of LNG royalties. The Government is counting (& spending) chickens before they hatch relying on Treasury projections that indicate this will mean more than $1.8b will enter the Trust over the next 10 years.
The Government is also spending multi-billion dollars with TRUenergy, to provide 2 new gas fired power stations for Qld. The stations in Ipswich & Gladstone will be powered with CSG. In all of the propaganda from the Government & the Gas Industry, they quote the figure that gas will emit up to 50% less CO2 than coal-fired stations. There is no data to verify this claim & it is being brought into question by the proponents of renewable energy industry.
TRUenergy has already commenced the application process for development of both gas-fired power stations, which will occur over the next 12 months, with construction to begin as early as 2013.

22 January, 2012

this is not a love song

This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song.....

My beloved is a Midwife by passion & vocation, currently on maternity leave.

This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song

She is in the market for a new vocation that might be more compatible with parenthood.

Happy to have, not to have not
Big business is very wise
I'm crossing over into

My beloved is currently in training to be a part-time sales rep.....

Love song
Love song
Love song
Love song

She has reluctantly joined Facebook. She refuses to put her picture on her profile and she is petrified that someone will steal her identity.

I'm going over to the other side
I'm happy to have not to have not
Big business is very wise
I'm inside free enterprise

She shall be hosting "parties" to demonstrate the products features and benefits. She will be selling a robot that processes raw foods into meals. She also has another sideline in bras and undies and other apparel.

I'm adaptable
I'm adaptable

She is way out of her comfort zone.

I'm adaptable and I like my new role
I'm getting better and better
And I have a new goal
I'm changing my ways where money applies

I am very proud of her.

This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song
This is not a love song

I'd like to support her and her ambitions.

Now are you ready to grab the candle
That tunnel vision - not television
Behind the curtain - out of the cupboard
You take the first train - into the big world
Now will I find you - now will you be there

I am here to help.....by sharing domestic duties and co-parenting an infant and a toddler.....and perhaps I can help with marketing and lead generation.

Not a love song (echo)
Not a love song
Not a love song ...

15 January, 2012

Sustainable Business Weekly QLD Edition [Waste Levy, WHS Act, QWEST]

The Waste Levy

The LNP candidate for the State seat of Ashgrove is preempting the announcement of a QLD State election & has promisedto repeal the Waste levy if he wins Government (& his seat).

The Australian Sustainable Business Group (ASBG) does not oppose the Waste Levy (in principle) but has been lobbying for some sensible changes to the QLD legislation for the sake of consistency with National initiatives & easier administration.

ASBG held a policy reference group on the 6 October 2011, with members meeting with representatives from the Department of Environment and Resources Management (DERM).

It would appear that ASBG (&/or common sense) have prevailed. DERM has made changes in their naming of low & high hazardous wastes. Now they call it Regulated Waste - low hazard and Regulated - high hazard

The business plan for waste and recycling programs funded by the new Queensland waste levy was published last month & can be accessed from the DERM website. There is a also brief levy FAQ on the DERM website.

The Waste Levy Legislation passed late last year also included:

· Establishment of a scheme to support the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative via carbon sequestration projects in Qld;

· Amendments to the Water Act 2000 to compliment the National Water Initiative;

· Amendments to the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to allow, the disposal of treated coal seam gas water to a natural water way without approval under the Act.

· The Qld Government appear to be bending over backward to provide increased flexibility in the management of seepage water discharge from coal seam gas development.

QLD Work Health Safety Act 2011

The new legislation came into force on 1 January 2012. There is still a lot of confusion about the changes.

The changes are an attempt to get some consistency in Work Health & Safety legislations in all Australian States

The regulations were first presented to industry in December 2010, as the start of a four month consultation period. The latest version of the regulatory package (model regulations and first stage codes of practice), which has been considered by the Workplace Relations Ministers, has been available to the public since September 2011. This package provides industry with a very clear picture of what is going forward. Queensland, like all other states and territories, will be introducing transitional arrangements so that industry has time to adjust to any areas that require considerable change to comply with the new laws.

Transitional provisions are included to smooth the transition to the new requirements which will require some action by business operators in order to comply.

· Transitional provisions at a glance: Work Health and Safety Act 2011

· Transitional provisions for the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

· Asbestos transitional arrangements

The Queensland Parliament passed the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (the WHS Act 2011) on 26 May 2011. The WHS Act 2011 reflects the national model WHS Act with minor (but necessary) changes which enable it to operate within the Queensland jurisdiction. This was followed on 24 November 2011 with the approval of the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 (the WHS Regulation 2011) by the Queensland Governor in Council.

The WHS Regulation reflects the national model WHS Regulation, with some changes, which will enable it to operate effectively in Queensland.

The key pieces of legislation are:

· Work Health and Safety Act 2011

· Explanatory notes (Work Health and Safety Bill 2011)

· Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

· Explanatory notes

· Proclamation of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011

The new Work Health Safety act relies on the concept of “Reasonably practicable” which takes into account a number of factors that can help one decide what is reasonable in terms of controlling risks.

To determine what is (or was at a particular time) reasonably practicable in relation to managing a risk, a person must take into account and weight up all relevant matters, including:

· the likelihood of the hazard or the risk concerned occurring

· the degree of harm that might result

· what the person concerned knows, or ought to know, about: - the hazard or the risk; and - ways of eliminating or minimising the risk

· the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk.

QWEST Network

Qld Water Energy Sustainable Technology Networking forums (QWESTNet) are running a forum on “Turning manufacturing waste into profit”. It will be at Ipswich Rugby Club on 15 February 2012 supported by Ipswich Regional Council.

The keynote presentation will be from Coca-Cola Amatil's Director of Supply Chain talking about their waste reduction. There is a good range of technologies & practical solutions to reducing one’s bills & waste to landfill.