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New energy agreement deal signed

Left: President of Chongqing Tianfu Coal Industry Group, Mr Yang Zu Hong shakes hands with CEO of Harp Syngas Aldous Hicks at the signing of the joint venture documents. Photo by Jen WalkerA MITTAGONG company will be involved in the world’s first commercial extraction of syngas after signing a joint venture agreement with Chongqing Tainfu Coal Industry Limited.
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Harp Syngas, a subsidiary of Syngas Power, will provide the technical know-how to the Chongqing Energy Investment Group, one of the largest enterprises in China.

CEO of Harp Syngas, Aldous Hicks, said that Australia was at the forefront of in-situ gasification – the technology used to extract energy from deep coal – but until now no-one actually delivered it in commercial quantities.

“Syngas is the best solution at the moment to reducing the “nasties” produced by burning pulverised coal in boilers. There is a very strong anti-coal movement in Australia and rightly so. Coal is a great energy source and brought great wealth to Australia and the world, but it is now time to produce energy in a much cleaner way,” he said.

Syngas production happens hundreds of metres below mined-out open-cut or underground coal mines. The process involves drilling into the coal seam, injecting air or oxygen and sometimes water to gasify the coal to produce syngas.

Syngas Power said that no fracking is involved and the process has the lowest surface foot print of any energy source.

Mr Hicks said the process had substantial potential in China because no new coal mine licences were being issued.

“We want to go over mined-out mines, so there is no need for new land area to be set aside for the process.

While we would like to use this technology in Australia, I think we are too risk averse. However, it is certainly time to look at other sources of energy apart from coal mining.

President of Chongqing Energy Investment Group, Mr Feng Yue, said they chose to work with Syngas due to their reputation and technical expertise.

“This is the first time we have used this technology. I believe this type of clean energy will eventually change the way we mine,” he said.

Syngas Power was established in 2011 and is involved in projects in the U.K. and Japan as well as in Western Australia and the Hunter Valley.

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Fire safety warning for Highlanders

Above: Highlanders are urged to be vigilant about bushfire safety. Photo: FDCHIGHLANDERS are urged to be proactive about protecting their homes from bushfires.
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The Highlands has experienced wild weather over the past week and Bowral fire fighter Max Cottingham urged residents to remain vigilant about bushfire safety.

Mr Cottingham said it had been a quiet period for the Bowral Fire Brigade, but said strong winds had caused some problems.

“There have been no major incidents of late, we’ve mainly been called out for wind related incidents with power lines or fallen trees,” he said. “But it’s a timely reminder for people to keep their yards tidy and to have a bushfire safety plan.”

Mr Cottingham said Highlanders should keep their gutters clean and contact a tree arborist to clear out dead wood in trees.

“Don’t leave fire safety to chance,” he said.

The 2015/16 bushfire season officially begins on October 1, but the threat of bushfire may arrive earlier this year.

For more information, visit 梧桐夜网rfs.nsw.gov419论坛

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Lindsay West heads north to help Canadians

Katoomba-based Fire and Rescue NSW Metro West 3 zone commander Lindsay West at the fire control centre camp in Cariboo fire district in British Columbia, Canada, last week. A helicopter pilot prepares to fill another load of water to drop on a huge wildfire burning in Puntzi Lake in north-western Canada. A team of 102 Australian firefighters, including Lindsay West, are currently in Canada providing assistance.
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A Katoomba firefighter is helping battle a bushfire crisis across three states in Canada.

Australia has sent a 102-strong team of firefighters and senior incident controllers to help combat the spreading wildfires, which have already forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people and destroyed dozens of properties.

Among the Aussie contingent is Katoomba-based Lindsay West, the Fire and Rescue NSW zone commander of Metro West 3, which includes the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Lithgow.

Mr West told the Gazette on Friday that he is part of a small all-Australian team that took over as incident managers of the Puntzi Lake wildfire in British Columbia’s heavily forested interior plateau last week. The area is about 500km northwest of Vancouver.

Mr West said the initial briefing his team was given revealed how different Canadian fire conditions are to ours.

“In some areas they have ground fuel loads of 100 tonnes per hectare, which is outrageous to us,” he said.

“They are saying it is an 8100-hectare wildfire and there is a possibility of further lightning strikes, triggering new fires.

“This fire grew nearly six times in size between Friday [July 17] and Saturday, increasing from 12 to 70 square km.

“The British Columbia Wildfire Management Branch classified it as a rank 4/5 wildfire and a fire of that rank causes entire trees to candle and spreads by crowning [burning into the tops of trees].

“Crews leave the fire control centre, about 3.5 hours’ drive from the fire, at 7am each day and return at 7.30pm.”

He said most of the firefighting was done by air or on foot and there was not a fire engine to be seen.

For residents remaining near Puntzi Lake there has been some relief of late.

“Rain last weekend allowed crews to contain 30 per cent of the fire, mainly on its southwest flank and now the fire is about 70 per cent contained,” Mr West said.

“But while rain and cooler weather is welcome, [weather bureau and Canadian wildfire and forest service] officials say it’s not sticking around long enough to make a major difference.

“There are more than 250 active fires still burning across British Columbia.”

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Online police arrest Forrestfield man on underage sex charge

Police claim the accused used social media sites to communicate in a sexual manner with a 13-year-old girl. Photo: Daniel AckerA Forrestfield man has been charged with using the internet to procure a girl for sex.
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Police arrested the 37-year-old?on July 16 after he arranged to meet a girl at Lake Monger Park in Glendalough.

It’s alleged that between April and July he used social media sites to communicate in a sexual manner with a 13-year-old girl.

He’s been charged with one count of using electronic communication to procure a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

The arrest was made by officers working for the?joint?anti child exploitation team which is a taskforce made up of Federal and WA police officers working together to combat online child sexual exploitation.

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Australia’s political donations little better than corrupt developing nations, claims Andrew Wilkie

The poker machine lobby has been generous in donating to political parties. Photo: John Woudstra Andrew Wilkie Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
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Second pokie lobby tips $45,000 into Andrews-linked fundPolitical leaders urge donations reformWho paid for Labor’s success in Victoria?

A federal MP claims Australia’s political donations system is little better than the sleazy cash-in-brown-paper-bag operations that occur in corrupt developing nations.

Independent MP Andrew Wilkie lashed out the major parties and some of his crossbench colleagues for accepting “grubby money” from the gambling industry, which successfully rolled back his attempts to curb poker machine use in Australia.

He said large donations the gambling industry made to the political parties and to the Liberal MP and?then opposition spokesman?Kevin Andrews were made as investments in return, whether that be an immediate or eventual policy decision favourable to their vested interest.

“Any suggestion that that money didn’t influence policy is patent nonsense,” Mr Wilkie told the ABC on Tuesday.

He said the proof was in the fact that the modest reforms to curb poker machines made by the Gillard minority government were “quickly overturned” by the Coalition government with the support of Labor in the Senate.

“We in Australia rail at wads of cash in brown paper bags in other countries but our political donations system is little better,” Mr Wilkie said.

Mr Wilkie’s comments follow Fairfax Media’s revelations that Clubs NSW directly donated $20,000 to the Victorian fundraising body which supports Mr Andrews, when he was the Coalition’s spokesman for gambling policy, as well as $10,000 last year.?It has since emerged that the same fundraising body also received?a?donation?of $45,000 from another pro-pokie machines lobby group .

Mr Andrews says any suggestion his policies can be bought or influenced are “wrong and offensive.”?Fairfax Media does not suggest the donations directly influenced Mr Andrews’ decision making.But Mr Wilkie said the donation exposed a clear conflict of interest.

“It’s one thing to hand money over to a political party but to effectively hand it to the Shadow Minister … through another entity … frankly it makes this no better than large sums of money changing hands in a brown paper bag in a developing country,” he said.

Mr Wilkie said donations should be declared immediately and the disclosure threshold of $13,000 lowered.

The Labor Party also supports real-time declarations and voluntarily discloses all donations made to it above $1000.

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