‘No one will see it’: Illegal seafood dumping outrages fishing couple



Caroline and Darren Wall discovered on Christmas Day “commercial quantities” of abandoned seafood, still in its packaging, dumped near an area of Firewood Creek (off Trinity Inlet) where the couple regularly places crab pots. The Mooroobool couple had been channelling up the creek twice a day in the week leading up to Christmas, but it wasn’t until Christmas morning when they noticed blue plastic bags and rotting cardboard boxes. “It was several boxes. It looked like someone just thought ‘let’s get rid of this’,” Ms Wall said.

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“There were some bags of rotting seafood floating among mangroves and then the blue lining bags which we collected some of, and disposed of them in the rubbish bin. Whole cardboard cartons had been thrown in the water. The boxes were soggy and breaking up. “We were outraged as we have been crabbing up that creek for over 20 years and it is always pristine.“Where this was, you can’t go any further up the creek in a boat. They’ve probably gone up there and thought ‘no one will see it here’.”Ms Wall said she was concerned crocodiles would smell the seafood and swallow the plastic bags. She said she had tried to report the incident to Cairns Regional Council, the Department of Environment and Science and the Cairns office of Maritime Safety Queensland — but was unsuccessful due to each office being in Christmas shutdown.“Christmas is one of the busiest (times) on the water … so I think they should definitely have people on the phones and make it easier to report,” Ms Wall said. A council media spokeswoman said it hadn’t been reported to the council yet but once notified, the local government would then determine if the dumping was on council land, gather evidence and arrange for the site to be cleaned up, or it would notify the relevant authority if it was not in its jurisdiction.A DES media spokeswoman said it did not fall under the department’s jurisdiction and it would be referred onto the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for investigation.



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Why Apple is dumping Intel—and what we might get out of it


This is the web version of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the top tech news. To get it delivered daily to your in-box, sign up here.

If the tech industry was an episode of The Great British Baking Show, this week would be chip week.

For its showstopper challenge, the judges would like Apple to make a new computer. It can be any size and shape you like, laptop or desktop, and you can use any materials you’d like. But it cannot have a central processor chip from Intel or AMD or anyone else. The chip must be an original design. Now, this is a showstopper challenge, so the judges are expecting a gorgeous creation with stunning looks, long battery life, and good performance. You have 24 hours (until it is revealed).

Now bake!

Kidding aside, the tech event of the week and perhaps the year is Apple’s Tuesday unveiling of its first Macintosh computers that use chips of its own design. The original Mac, back in 1984, ran on a Motorola processor. About a decade later, Apple switched to the PowerPC line, a joint venture with Moto and IBM. And about a decade after that, in 2006, came Macs with Intel processors, which have had a good long run.

But as with the prior transitions, one of the main reasons for Apple’s upcoming switch away from Intel is stagnation at the source.

Motorola’s 68000 processors in early Macs fell behind the chip trend of the 1990s: Known as reduced instruction set computing, or RISC, the big idea was to eliminate programming complexity, freeing the processor to work more quickly.

Then the problem with the PowerPC was that IBM had little interest in optimizing chips for laptops to make them run cool enough without big fans (Tim Cook once called it “the mother of all thermal challenges”).

Intel’s chips, sadly, have also fallen behind in multiple ways. Intel was years behind in shrinking a transistor from a scale of 14 nanometers to 10 nanometers, or about 1/10,000 the width of a human hair. Even now, not all Intel’s parts have moved to 10 nanometers, and the company says its switch to 7 nanometers is also running late. The delays have allowed rivals Samsung and Taiwan Semiconductor to leap ahead in chip manufacturing.

And Intel has long been behind in making low-power chips that run cooler for use in portable devices. That’s why Apple didn’t use Intel chips for the iPhone and the iPad (and nearly every other smartphone and tablet maker followed suit). That’s also a relevant concern for laptops.

When Apple switched to the PowerPC, Mac users got a tremendous increase in performance that enabled software to leap forward. When Apple switched to Intel, Mac users got a decent performance boost. But since the exact same chips were also used in Windows computers, a sneaky side benefit was Macs could suddenly run Windows programs more easily. That ignited one of the greatest increases in Mac sales (and market share) ever.

This time around, with Apple switching to chips of its own design using basic frameworks from ARM and manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor, it’s unclear exactly what will be the most important benefit. It could be amazing performance. It could be extreme low-power usage. It could be something else that isn’t obvious.

But when Apple brings its showstopper up to the judging table tomorrow, I’m betting they will be awarded “star baker.”     

Aaron Pressman
@ampressman
aaron.pressman@fortune.com





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Are local councils dumping recyclables now we can’t export to China?


If Western Australia’s waste crisis had a human face, it would be the workers who man a conveyer belt in Canning Vale, picking out the contaminants that should not have been put in household recycling bins.

Hour after hour they pull mainly soft plastic off the belt in a small, airless room.

The workers must wear heavy-duty dust masks for this dirty, physical work.

Recently the man in charge of the plant, Tim Youe, said workers came across a contaminant almost beyond belief.

“A dead goat — the poor guys on the picking line, it comes across the conveyer belt [and] they had to do an emergency stop.”

Hour after hour, workers pull contaminants like soft plastic from recyclables in Canning Vale.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

A high contamination rate was identified as one of WA’s biggest recycling problems in a report recently released by WA’s Auditor General.

It also found the proportion of waste recycled in WA had not changed in five years and that WA’s recycling performance sat below the national average.

Curtin University Sustainability Professor Peter Newman said WA was in “overtime” when it came to waste management.

A man wearing a yellow vest and white hard hat holds a plastic drink bottle at a recycling facility.
Professor Peter Newman says WA has failed in its waste management.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

“I started this 40 years ago to try and change this system and when I read the Auditor General’s report, I realise it’s failed,” he said.

Less than two-thirds of recycling target hit

Targets set by the WA Government state that by 2020, 65 per cent of waste in the metropolitan area should be being recycled.

But according to the report, the most recent data available — for 2017-18 — put the waste recovery rate for Peel and Perth at just 41 per cent.

The figures were even worse in the regions, where the 2020 target was 50 per cent and the recycling rate in 2016-17 was just over half that, at 28 per cent.

Part of the problem is high recycling contamination rates, which households can do their bit to resolve.

A logo featuring three green bins with different coloured tops.
The ‘Recycle Right’ app helps people to work out what goes in each bin.(ABC News: Supplied)

Mr Youe strongly advises residents to download the Recycle Right app, to help them determine what can go in each bin.

But other problems, including limited recycling facilities and inconsistent education on the topic, are issues industry and governments need to work on.

Waste quadruples at recycling plant after fire

Several years ago, China decided to stop importing contaminated waste.

From January 2021, Australian states and territories will begin a phased ban on the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres.

The phased ban has underlined the need for more recycling facilities in WA.

The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council’s (SMRC) facility in Canning Vale in Perth’s south, is one of just three in the city.

One of the others, Cleanaway’s Guildford plant, burnt down last year and in the immediate aftermath, councils kept collecting recyclables but instead of being recycled they were sent to landfill.

A large green and yellow conveyor belt full of recycling.
This Canning Vale plant is one of three similar facilities in Perth.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

Mr Youe said the SMRC had since increased its shifts three-fold to help process the recyclables that would have been going to Guildford.

In a statement, Cleanaway said the Guildford plant was expected to be rebuilt by the end of the year.

Onus on industry to build facilities: Minister

WA’s Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said the Government was not looking to build recycling plants, but would support industry doing so.

“Look, we are not going to construct facilities and in fact when the third one [Guildford] is up and running, we have got too much capacity,” Mr Dawson said.

A man wearing a suit stands in front of piles of bright blue plastic crates.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson says the Government will not build recycling plants.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

“The previous government made an investment about 10 years ago for a glass recycling facility in Western Australia, the State Government put significant dollars on the table and then overseas countries paid more for the glass, so that factory had to close down.

“So, it’s a constant risk.

“But certainly now, by other countries overseas deciding not to take waste to processing anymore it does give us a level of confidence that the material will be available and so for the facilities that we want to fund, there will be material for them to operate [with].”

A pile of contaminated waste paper tied in bundles.
From January, Australia will start phasing out the export of contaminated waste paper to Asia.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

Landfill levy unspent as waste grows

According to the Auditor General’s report, few local governments had transparent waste management plans.

It also highlighted $40 million had been collected from ratepayers as a landfill levy to deal with the waste problem, but as of June last year that money was sitting unspent in State Government coffers.

Gunther Hoppe, chief executive of the Mindarie Regional Council, oversees the Tamala Park tip near Kinross and said there was no shortage of ways the money could be spent.

“[There] is a great opportunity for that $40 million to be reapplied into waste industries … for us to develop onshore processing capacity here in WA using that money,” Mr Hoppe said.

A man wearing a bright orange vest stands in front of a rainwater tank at a rubbish processing facility.
Gunther Hoppe says WA could build more onshore waste processing facilities.(ABC News: Eliza Borrello)

Mr Dawson said the Auditor General relied on data from two years ago.

He also said waste management had improved since then and the Government had a spending plan for the $40 million waste fund.

He said half the money was being offered for new privately-run recycling facilities and funds had also been allocated to the Containers for Change scheme.

“There’s a lot more work to be done in this space,” Mr Dawson said.

“So we need to work together to ensure that the money they collect is being put in the right direction.”

FOGO councils lead the charge

There are some WA local governments enjoying success with recycling.

According to the report, the City of Bunbury and Melville both recycled about 60 per cent of their waste.

What set them apart was they both used so-called FOGO bins that separate organic waste.

Three green bins lined up next to one another with different coloured lids.
The FOGO system includes a red landfill bin, a yellow recycling bin and a green bin for food scraps.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

FOGO is short for Food Organics and Garden Organics.

The system involves households getting three council-issued bins.

Rubbish goes in a red bin, recycling in a yellow one and food scraps and garden clippings in a green bin.

The contents of the green bin are then sent to facilities that turn it into compost.

Households in Melville — and more recently those in the Town of Bassendean — had also been issued small kitchen FOGO bins and bin liners to help collect food scraps.

Mt Pleasant woman Kylie Wilkie and her family were big FOGO fans.

A small girl in a blue dress and a woman wearing jeans push a green bin on a driveway.
Luca McKenna (left) and Kylie Wilkie with their FOGO bin in Mt Pleasant.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

“It’s really simple,” she said.

The State Government said that as part of its waste strategy, councils in the Perth and Peel regions must offer FOGO bins by 2025.



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China investigating Australian wine subsidies, doubling down on dumping probe



FILE PHOTO: Bottles of Penfolds Grange, made by Australian wine maker Penfolds and owned by Australia’s Treasury Wine Estates, sit on a shelf for sale at a wine shop in central Sydney, Australia, August 4, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray

August 31, 2020

By Emily Chow and Byron Kaye

SHANGHAI/SYDNEY (Reuters) – China on Monday launched an investigation into alleged government subsidies of some Australian wine imports, a widely expected follow-up to an anti-dumping probe that Australian representatives said they would oppose.

The investigations come against a backdrop of increasing tensions between the countries after Canberra called for an international inquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus, which was first detected in China’s central city of Wuhan.

Beijing imposed tariffs on Australian barley in May following accusations the grain was being exported at a loss, or “dumped”. It then suspended some beef imports, before starting an investigation into dumping of Australian wine, an accusation Australia has refuted.

China’s commerce ministry said in an online statement it would now investigate some 37 Australian wine subsidy schemes following a request from the China Wine Industry Association.

The second investigation, which would take up to a year, would look into Australian support measures including “farm risk management”, a “farm financing loan scheme” and “business growth funding projects”, the commerce ministry said.

Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said the second wine probe had been “broadly foreshadowed” when the initial anti-dumping investigation was initiated.

“We strongly refute claims that initiatives like the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program, or programs that support research and development equate to a subsidy of our wine exports,” Birmingham said in a statement, referring to a scheme where the government buys water to improve the health of key waterways.

“The government will work with our internationally renowned wine industry to mount the strongest possible case against these claims,” he added.

Shares of Australia’s biggest winemaker, Treasury Wine Estates , were trading flat on Monday afternoon, in line with the broader market <.AXJO>, although the shares are down a quarter since China announced the anti-dumping probe.

China is the top market for Australian wine exports and is also Australia’s largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth A$235 billion ($170 billion) last year.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham in Sydney, and Emily Chow; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Lincoln Feast.)





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U.S. Commerce investigates possible dumping of Chinese chassis and sub-assemblies


August 20, 2020

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department on Thursday said it had initiated an investigation into possible dumping of Chinese-built chassis and sub-assemblies into the U.S. market, and whether Chinese producers were receiving unfair subsidies.

The investigation could result in Chinese imports facing anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

In a statement, Commerce said the alleged dumping margin was 188.05%. In the countervailing duty investigation, Commerce said it would investigate 30 Chinese subsidy programs, including grant programs, tax programs, and government loans.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Chris Reese)





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‘Vicious circle’ in St George Illawarra Dragons shock Ben Hunt dumping against Cronulla Sharks


The St George Illawarra Dragons have dragged out the changes for their clash against the Cronulla Sharks.

The Sharks have just the one change with Matt Moylan out and Will Kennedy starting at fullback, but the Dragons have massively shifted its spine.

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Corey Norman has moved from fullback to five eighth, with Matt Dufty coming into the side, while Ben Hunt drops onto the bench.

James Graham will also start from the bench with Trent Merrin starting at lock.

Fox League’s Ben Ikin said the added confusion may not help the side that is already struggling with organisation with Hunt likely to.

“This is a team that’s already looking a little confused,” Ikin said. “They’re lacking confidence so right now what they want is certainty. But Paul McGregor as a coach couldn’t keep doing the same thing, so he’s almost forced to make key changes to personnel. I can see if the Sharks get themselves into a situation where they get into the grind well and really apply the blowtorch to the Dragons, that because there are more changes to personnel in key positions that they look disconnected again.”

Anasta said that it was a “vicious circle” with constant changes but Nathan Hindmarsh argued the constant changes will likely continue until McGregor can find something that will work.

“To me it’s not the performances, they’ve got to get the best out of their players but it’s more down to their culture, their work ethic, their mindset, their attitude — that doesn’t come down to positional changes in my eyes,” Anasta said.

Ikin added there was a difference in what was expected in different situations, with Norman and Hunt’s uncertainty having been moved to different roles would add confusion.

“I’m confused,” he said. “So when you’re out there in the live environment under pressure, expected to own the big moments as these players are, if you’re confused, chances are you’re not going to come up with the right decision.”



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BOOT test: Scott Morrison considers dumping BOOT test to retain jobs


Workers could face cuts to penalty rates, wages and some conditions to save jobs under changes to workplace laws the Prime Minister Scott Morrison is considering.

The Prime Minister confirmed on Friday that he was open to dumping the BOOT test – the better off overall test – that governs the nation’s enterprise bargaining agreements.

It ensures that enterprise bargaining agreements do not rip off workers and undercut the award for their job that would otherwise apply.

Asked if he was considering dumping that protection, Mr Morrison said the best protection workers had was a job.

“And I know one thing: If you’re not in a job, you’re not better off. If you lose your job, you’re not better off,’’he said.

“And my concern is if we keep going down the path that we’re going down and have a discussion that is constrained in a whole range of ways based on things that used to be the norms before, then people are going to lose their jobs.

“And they won’t be better off. So, I’m interested in making sure Australians coming out of a COVID crisis where millions have less hours, and over a million don’t even have a job, and I want to make them better off and that’s why the industrial relations changes that I hope to come out of this consultative and good-faith process will deliver changes that will keep people in jobs, that will get people back in jobs. Because when you’re in a job, you’re better off and that’s the better off I’m interested in.”

MORE: Read a full explanation of the BOOT here

MORE: Follow the latest virus news here

media_cameraAustralian Prime Minister Scott Morrison believes having a job is the most important thing in the post-virus economy. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Even unions have expressed a willingness in recent weeks to consider the better off overall test after the unemployment rate doubled in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

ACTU secretary Sally McManus has raised concerns about the BOOT holding up agreements but has not suggested lowering workers’ wages and conditions.

“Employers have been worried that measuring that just holds up the whole bargaining process,” she told ABC radio this week.

“I can understand if everyone has reached agreement and you have got to wait a long time for that agreement to even be approved, that’s something that in business’ mind ‘Well that’s not very efficient and that’s getting in the way of us doing things’. So we have some sympathy for that position.”

But former ACTU assistant secretary Tim Lyons told news.com.au that getting rid of the better off overall test would hurt workers.

“The way the BOOT works is it ensures that if you are under an agreement you don’t get less than the award. It’s not that complicated,’’ he said.

People queue up outside a Centrelink in Melbourne on April 20 as the lockdown gripped the country. Picture: William WEST / AFP.
media_cameraPeople queue up outside a Centrelink in Melbourne on April 20 as the lockdown gripped the country. Picture: William WEST / AFP.

The Prime Minister flagged this week he wants to bring unions to the negotiating table to consider options for workplace reform.

He’s flagged a focus on casual workers and how to ensure they have a road map to part-time or permanent status and holiday pay when they are effectively working full-time or regular hours over a long time.

While workers have a right to request to convert to permanent work it’s not always happening.

Some employers have also been hit by claims for back pay after the Fair Work tribunal found staff were effectively owed holiday leave and sick leave because they clearly were permanent workers, regardless of their contracts stating they were casuals.

The number of enterprise bargaining agreements in Australia rose rapidly since their introduction in the 1990s but have fallen over the last decade to just 10,000.

Current agreements now cover just 12.8 per cent of the private-sector workforce after a Fair Work decision that every individual worker had to be better off than the award.

Bunnings has ditched plans to strike a bargaining agreement – but this could change. Source: Bunnings.
media_cameraBunnings has ditched plans to strike a bargaining agreement – but this could change. Source: Bunnings.

As a result, many retailers and fast-food outlets were forced to dump the practice of trading penalty rates for higher hourly rates because it might leave individual workers worse off.

McDonald’s and Domino’s no longer use enterprise agreements and have shifted staff back to the award.

Bunnings has also abandoned plans to strike an enterprise bargaining agreement, a decision that could change if the BOOT test was modified.

One option to simplify the better off overall test is return to a protection that was closer to the Keating Government’s original ‘no disadvantage’ test that was less complex.

While the Labor Party had previously opposed the removal of the BOOT prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Labor leader Anthony Albanese was noncommittal on Friday.

“I’m awaiting the discussions which take place. What I do say is out of any process, workers shouldn’t be left worse off. It’s that simple,’’ he said.

“We need to have a bargaining framework whereby we can have win-win, because productivity is going backwards for employers, and wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living for employees.

“The system quite clearly isn’t working at the moment.”

Originally published as Simple change could hit Aussie workers



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