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IMMIGRATION officials are preparing a 50-year migration plan to ensure that intakes consider a range of long-term issues such as climate change, water needs and national security.

The Secretary of the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Andrew Metcalfe, said yesterday the department was conducting a review of the nation’s migration needs to ensure a more rounded and visionary approach.

”In terms of the future, we are trying to lift ourselves away from year-to-year decisions to a 50-year vision,” he told the Australian and New Zealand School of Government conference in Canberra.

”We are trying to move away from an immigration department that is responsive to one that can help the government achieve long-term objectives … A long-term planning framework … is something whose time has come.”

Mr Metcalfe said a well-planned skilled migration program could contribute to Australia’s long-term economic, demographic and environmental goals.

”We want to ensure our skilled migration programs are responding to longer-term skill needs which cannot be addressed through domestic training and skills development,” he said.

”The question then is how we can best address shorter-term labour market requirements … It will be important that the skilled migrants we choose are not only young and healthy but also have a high level of education, language proficiency and other skills. This will ensure that skilled migration contributes both to labour force growth and to the productivity of our labour force.”

Mr Metcalfe said the review will include an examination of the points system used to select skilled migrants, known as the Migration Occupations in Demand List.

”The MODL is not as flexible as we would like to address a rapidly changing and uncertain global environment. In my view, one of themes of this century will be the increased mobility of people around the globe, and we need to manage this adroitly.”

But the Government has denied it has adopted a new policy towards asylum seekers in the wake of a decision this week to process a group of 10 Afghan children on the mainland rather than on Christmas Island.

”These are 10 unaccompanied minors and therefore what’s happened is that they’ve been transferred from Christmas Island to the mainland on September 2,” he said

Asked whether there had been a change of policy, the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, said: ”Absolutely not.”

He told 3AW yesterday the group of 10 children had been transferred to the mainland because unaccompanied minors were given priority in processing.

”That’s what’s happening in the case of these minors,” he said. ”That’s why they’re treated separately.”

Source  :  www.smh.com.au

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Last night’s tsunami warning for south-eastern Australia, may have come to nothing, but it did demonstrate the worth of the motsunaminitoring system, says one expert.

The warning was announced soon after an earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, occurred off the south coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Chief Meteorologist Dr Chris Ryan, of the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, says the epicentre was located in the closest earthquake source zone to Australia, a region known as the Puysegur seduction zone.

He says, despite being close to Australia, the region is far enough away that a tsunami would take more two hours to reach the coast.

Ryan says the tsunami that followed only warranted a ‘marine threat’ warning with waves rising 30 centimetres at Port Kembla, near Wollongong and no significant damage has been reported.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Seismologist David Jepsen, of Geoscience Australia, says it took two hours for waves from New Zealand to get to Tasmania.

He says the Puysegur seduction zone is a region where Australia’s tectonic plate pushes underneath the Pacific plate.

Although the Australian tsunami warning system is one of the best in the world, the system is still pretty new.

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Relief is on the way for stranded holidaymakers on Rottnest Island after a major ferry service decided to brave dubious weather conditions this weekend.

Rottnest Express had cancelled services until Monday, after forecasts of gale-force winds. It left up to 200 people stranded on the island until at least Monday, after the other operator, Oceanic Express, also decided against taking to the sea this weekend.

But Rottnest Express today decided to run skeleton services this weekend, with four trips to the island, and two back, tomorrow and Sunday.

Chief executive Tim Crosland said the company believed it had an obligation to always provide services “if safe”.

Each scheduled journey would be assessed on the prevailing weather conditions, he said.

Oceanic Express is running a service today for pre-booked passengers.

Source www.watoday.com.au

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Gale force winds tipped to hit Perth this weekend have forced two ferry operators to cancel all trips to Rottnest Island.                                                         sea storm               

The popular Rottnest Express confirmed it has cancelled all bookings from Friday to Sunday inclusive while Oceanic Cruises will not operate on Saturday or Sunday.

The third company which operates ferry trips to the island, Rottnest Fast Ferries, was already closed until July 3 for its regular winter break.

A Rottnest Express spokesman confirmed there had been “a few” bookings and all passengers would be issued refunds, while Oceanic Cruises did not have any bookings for this weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology public weather services manager Neil Bennett said waters from Yanchep to Mandurah and offshore to Rottnest Island could expect winds reaching between 30 to 40 knots on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Bennett said it was likely the Bureau would issue at least a strong wind warning but likely a gale force wind warning for the area.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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  • GreatWhiteA great white shark has been sighted circling a whale carcass near a popular Perth beach. 

Floating about six nautical miles west of Scarborough Beach, the carcass is believed to have attracted the shark, which was spotted on Sunday.

WA Department of Fisheries spokesman Tony Cappelluti said he was concerned the dead whale would float closer to the shoreline.

“While the carcass is a long way off any Perth beaches, it is important that boat users or divers are aware of the potential increased shark activity near the carcass,” Mr Cappelluti said.

“There has also been another shark sighting this morning at Strickland Bay on Rottnest Island, where warning signs were erected several days ago after sightings made during the week.”

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