Fw: Thurs.17.2.22
  Roderick Smith

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Thurs.17.2.22 Metro Twitter
Aircraft: No ramp access to platforms until late 2021 (pedestrian-underpass works), delayed to March 2022.
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works?
4.33 Sandringham line: Trains are running as scheduled this morning after the FireRescueVic action late last night near Prahran.
8.36 Frankston line: Major delays (an equipment fault near Mordialloc).
- 9.00 Trains may originate/terminate at intermediate stations.
- 9.15 Consider alternatives via the PTV journey planner.
- 11.10 clearing
15.35 Stony Point line: Major delays (an 'operational incident' between Tyabb and Hastings.
- 15.46 clearing, with minor delays.
- Always good to allow extra travel time.
- I smile when I see something related to just the Stony Point line; it's always perfect.
17.05 Lilydale/Belgrave/Alamein/Glen Waverley lines: All trains direct to/from Flinders St (an 'operational incident' at Melbourne Central). From loop stations, take a train from pfm 2 to Flinders St.
- 17.37 Outbound trains are resuming loop running.  First trains: 17.17 Upper FT Gully; 17.23 Glen Waverley.
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Sunshine from 20.45 until the last train (works).
22.45 Frankston line: Major delays (police near Bonbeach).
- 23.06  trains may terminate/originate at Mordialloc. Consider alternatives for local trips Mordialloc - Frankston.
- 23.14  clearing.

Ambitious plans to revive vehicle manufacturing in Australia have been ditched, with local company Nexport blaming a lack of government subsidies and support.
17 February 2022: Ambitious plans to build a new $700 million electric vehicle manufacturing facility in NSW have been scrapped, Drive understands.
Sydney-based company Nexport – which is also the Australian distributor for soon-to-launch Chinese marque BYD – had previously promised to assemble zero-emission cars and electrify 8000 public buses domestically, while employing more than 2000 Southern Highland residents.
However the undeveloped 94.5 hectare rural site originally earmarked for the project has since been listed for sale online, and Nexport has conceded its plans were never financially viable without tax-payer subsidies.
Multiple company executives and employees declined to comment when contacted by Drive for further information, however today told the ABC a lack of local government backing had sunk the project.
"We were highly committed to the development of the land at Moss Vale and the opportunities this presented to our company and the broader community," a spokesperson for Nexport said.
"Unfortunately, despite numerous attempts to engage with government over the past year we have not been able to secure any certainty regarding the 8000 buses across NSW that need to be transitioned."
20 October 2020: There's a grand plan afoot to bring automotive manufacturing back to Australia, with the announcement of a new $700 million facility in New South Wales dedicated solely to the local production of electric vehicles.
The facility will be owned and operated by Nexport, an electric bus company launched in 2018 that's currently working to assist the NSW government with its plans to electrify the state's 8000-strong public bus fleet.
The zero emissions facility is set to be erected on a 51-hectare site in Moss Vale in the state's Southern Highlands, and funding has been secured via the investment group TrueGreen, a majority owner of Nexport that also operates a portfolio of other 'CleanTech' companies.
The move comes after Nexport was appointed to the NSW government's public bus procurement panel, with a request to supply the largest proportion of the government's electric bus orders – and now the company is hoping to seize the opportunity to localise its operations and support Australian suppliers.
Currently, Nexport runs its assembly operations out of Malaysia using parts sourced from Switzerland, but wants its next batch of electric buses to be made Down Under utilising a mixture of local parts and overseas technologies.
As such, Nexport has acquired several of the companies that formed its overseas supply chain and has plans to bring them to Australia, while sourcing as many components as possible from suppliers here.
"We need intelligent production in Australia – if we go back to the old ways, demanding every component needs to be Australian, we will fail," TrueGreen CEO and Nexport managing director Luke Todd told Drive.
"There are certain technologies that it doesn't make sense to produce locally, so if we source those components overseas but then source things like the aluminium or the seats locally, we can make sure we use 80-90 per cent of local content but do it in an intelligent, sustainable way."
Described as an "advanced manufacturing base and eco village", the new site is expected to generate more than 2000 new jobs over the next five years, with plans to have it fully up and running by the end of 2021.
In the meantime, Mr Todd said Nexport already owns and runs an "interim" facility in NSW that will be used for production until the new site is functional.
The first production priority for the new site will be electric buses, but Nexport is also deep into the development of the first Australian-made fully electric ute, which will use a modular platform that can also be applied to other light commercial vehicles and, eventually, passenger cars.
Nexport is also in partnership with Chinese electric car manufacturer BYD, which supplies Nexport with its power units for the electric buses, and the two companies have a five-year plan to import BYD vehicles to Australia, with Nexport carrying out any required engineering upgrades locally.
The BYD cars will be sold exclusively in Australia through Nexport's online electric car sales platform, EV Direct, which launches in December this year.
Mr Todd said Australian consumers could expect to see BYD vehicles available on EV Direct roughly six months from its launch, but Nexport is looking for expressions of interest from consumers as to the other electric vehicle brands they'd like to see offered in Australia.
"For many of these companies, it's not viable for them to set up the infrastructure and operations in Australia, so we want to be a behind-the-scenes turn-key solution for that," Mr Todd explained.
"We will set up the sales capability, the warehousing, the logistics, the engineering upgrades, the ADR compliance, so for companies like [electric car startup] Rivian or whoever it may be, we will be their entry point to Australia – we can release their products via the one stop shop that is EV Direct."

Origin Energy to bring forward closure of Australia’s largest coal-fired power plant. Nick Toscano and Mike Foley. February 17, 2022. 335 comments

Train to Caloundra gathers steam in new Sunshine Coast transport plan. Tony Moore February 17, 2022
Planning for new passenger rail from the North Coast line into Caloundra to help the Sunshine Coast handle an expected population boom will be held back until after the federal election.
With the Sunshine Coast facing the challenge to accommodate an extra 200,000 people over the next 20 years, heavy rail was “an important part of the equation”, Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey said on Wednesday.
Queensland’s Transport Minister Mark Bailey says planning for the long-awaited passenger rail into Caloundra must now wait until after the federal election.CREDIT:FACEBOOK
“Not just with the Olympic Games coming and the need to move people around, but its population growth well before that, which is driving the need for heavy rail,” he said.
Mr Bailey released the Southern Sunshine Coast Public Transport Strategy on Wednesday, showing two public transport links running east-west between Caloundra to the North Coast rail line.
“We will probably need to see the dust settle on the federal election, in terms of locking in all the governance and getting rolling on the Games planning.”
The 2022 federal election must be held by May, but Sunshine Coast residents have waited since 2005, when an earlier Labor state government promised trains would be in Caloundra by 2015.
Details of planned public transport links on the Sunshine Coast have been released.CREDIT:TRANSPORT QUEENSLAND
A Sunshine Coast light rail network - similar to the Gold Coast’s light rail - is included as an option.
The most-southern public transport link runs between Caloundra, the fast-growing Caloundra South residential area and a spot on the North Coast rail line, north of Beerwah.
The map in the plan describes it as a rapid link and faster than the more northern link which runs in an arc to Landsborough.
The more northern public transport link between Caloundra and Landsborough would have services every 30 minutes.
A Sunshine Coast light rail is among public transport options released by the Queensland government.CREDIT:TRANSPORT QUEENSLAND.
There are also three public transport routes running north-south along the Sunshine Coast.
One high-frequency line would run between Caloundra, Kawana and Maroochydore on a corridor separated from the road network.
A second high-frequency link proposed services in a loop every 15 minutes between Caloundra South, Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Kawana and the University of Sunshine Coast at Sippy Downs.
More inland, a third public transport line would link Caloundra South, Palmview and Buderim with Mooloolaba.
Mr Bailey said most of the 320,000 residents of the Sunshine Coast lived between Maroochydore and Beerwah and the Sunshine Coast Regional Council finalised routes in these areas within its mass transit study in October 2021.
Those specific routes - for buses and light rail - were included in the South Sunshine Coast Public Transport Plan.
Public comments must be made by March 16 before further detailed work can be linked to funding.
“As part of our partnership, the Palaszczuk government have commenced a $15 million,
jointly funded detailed business case for the first stage of Sunshine Coast Mass Transit,” Mr Bailey said.
“Work is also under way to investigate a heavy rail connection from Beerwah to
Maroochydore as part of the CAMCOS corridor and design is under way for the $320 million
Mooloolah River Interchange upgrade.”
* Sunshine Coast residents voted light rail LAST of 5 options in Council’s poll. I hope the State takes note.
* I see nothing in the plan that indicates a heavy rail connection. It talks of a 'corridor' which, when coupled with the light rail option, means that Sunshine Coast passengers will still need a mode transfer. Heavy rail at least to Caloundra would be far preferable - and reduce the Sunshine Coast commuters who drive to Caboolture as their overall journey. Would be a far better option to deliver on a 'fast' train option / promise
* Talk is cheap.
* Qld...the go extra slow state!
* Major infrastructure such as this needs to be carefully planned and constructed. They're not building a model train set.

Victoria’s Covid restrictions set to ease as Daniel Andrews flags major changes.  Mitch Clarke, Kieran Rooney and Shannon Deery. February 17, 2022. 278 comments
Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed major changes are on the horizon as Victoria’s Covid restrictions start being wound back.
video: Victoria considers relaxing restrictions. Victoria is considering winding back COVID-19 restrictions this week as it looks to revive economic activity in the city. The state government is in talks with business groups to scrap the working from home recommendation as well as removing masks in office settings. Density limits for hospitality venues and the return of dance floors are also being reviewed. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews hinted major changes to restrictions are on the horizon including a new range of vouchers.
Further Covid restrictions are set to ease within the week, with an announcement expected in the coming days.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Wednesday revealed major changes were on the horizon, with industry and government sources flagging that density limits, dance floors and QR codes could be among the first restrictions to be wound back.
A roadmap for returning to work in the coming weeks is also being actively discussed, with business leaders telling the government it needed to scrap its work-from-home recommendation and remove masks in office settings.
Senior business figures have been told mask requirements are likely to be scrapped on a multi-stage process with the mandate likely to be dropped first in office settings.
However masks in retail settings are expected to be in place for longer.
“I hope to be able to make some really important announcements about rules (and) about normalising this virus,” Mr Andrews said.
The rules on masks in retail settings are expected to stay. Picture: David Geraghty
Daily infection numbers have stabilised giving authorities confidence to wind back restrictions imposed when Omicron cases were surging.
Mr Andrews on Wednesday also walked back his ­previously firm stance to ­exclude all international arrivals from the vaccinated economy if they weren’t triple vaccinated.
ATAGI last week ruled Australians will need to have a Covid booster shot within six months of their primary dose to be considered “up to date”.
While the state government is yet to act on the ATAGI direction by mandating a third jab, the commonwealth is not expected to enforce a booster for arrivals.
Mr Andrews said this could affect the government’s own approach to the vaccinated economy, flagging it may not be realistic to require broad-ranging mandates.
It comes as the nation’s chief health officer, Paul Kelly, revealed he wasn’t in favour of mandating vaccinations.
Speaking at a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, Professor Kelly said: “Philosophically and professionally, I’m not in favour of mandating anything including vaccinations”.
Meanwhile, all elective surgery across Victorian public and private hospitals can resume by the end of the month.
Health Minister Martin Foley said he signed off on a plan that “balances the health system response and workforce pressures with ensuring Victorians can access important surgery”.

Thurs.17.2.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Letters.
* MELBOURNE'S CBD is dead. Moribund. With little or no hope of recovery. Now overrun by beggars and unstable, sometimes violent, drug users. The glory days of the inner city are all over. Permanently. Euthanased by the destructive policies of the Andrews government.
* I HOPPED on a free tram in the city yesterday, and it was completely full. No social distancing to be seen. And the City of Melbourne wonders why visitors are avoiding the city.

Thurs.17.2.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Commonwealth Games venues.  MITCH CLARKE OLIVIA SHYING
MAJOR regional hubs will form the backbone of Victoria’s 2026 Commonwealth Games pitch, but even small rural towns could play a role in the major event.
Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong have all been flagged as potential sites, with each city boasting their own strengths for different sports.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the government was keen to capitalise on existing facilities in a bid to minimise costs.
He flagged Ballarat’s Mars Stadium could be a suitable location for athletics, while Bendigo could offer netball and basketball.
“Perhaps some of the aquatic stuff down Geelong way and I could mention many others,” he said. “Some regional com- munities are self-starters in terms of they have already got strengths  There are some first-class facilities that are al- ready there.”
Geelong is a prime candidate to host the opening ceremony, with local leaders already advocating for the city to play a key role.
City of Greater Geelong deputy mayor Trent Sullivan said the games would be an opportunity to “showcase Geelong and the Bellarine on a global stage”. Cr Sullivan said
GMHBA Stadium had the potential to “host everything from the world’s biggest bands to major sporting events”.
“Our city boasts some of the best sporting facilities in regional Australia and we’re ready to host everything from rowing to swimming, athletics, cricket, triathlons, road cycling, Rugby Sevens, and hockey,” Cr Sullivan said.
Regional Cities Victoria, which comprises Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Shepparton, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga, said the games were a gold medal opportunity.
“A Victorian Commonwealth Games in 2026, that is hosted across the state, would truly be an event to remember, and will show the world what Victoria has to offer,” said RCV Chair and Shepparton mayor Cr Kim O’Keeffe.

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