Archive for January, 2011

Best Practice Projects Update

January 18, 2011

We currently have around 20 projects at various stages of development – across the following categories (1) Idea awaiting partners (2) Project Scoping (3) Funding submission underway (4) Awaiting funding decision (5) Contract negotiations underway.

Below is a state-of-play on some of these. Each requires collaboration – across councils, across companies, between industry and government etc. If you are interested in collaborating on any, please contact us and we’ll put you in direct contact with them.

Clean Energy Hybrids – possibility of an alliance to seek funding for wind-solar hybrid plants for small remote communities. Partners in remote regions sought. Status – Idea awaiting partners.

Indigenous Youth ‘New Horizons’ Project – in discussions with FAHCSIA and ACT Government for support via Innovation Fund to bring indigenous youths from regional Australia to Canberra for a week’s mentoring and job readiness training. We have in-principle OK from Central Darling and East Gippsland Shires. Room for two more. Status – Funding submission due to commence.

Capacity-building in Pacific Islands – a project evolving from former Aust. Foreign Affairs Minister Downer’s interest in driving stronger aid outcomes. We met with Foreign Affairs & Trade in 2010 and they showed particular interest, and referred us to Pacific Trade Investment Office in Sydney. Awaiting CEO to return from leave. Status – Ideas awaiting partners.

Eastern Adelaide stormwater – prior to Nov 2010 federal election, both Gillard and Abbott committed funds ($10m upwards) for a best-practice stormwater project. Status – Awaiting funding decision from SA Government.

Creative Arts Centre – major grant approved in principle for an iconic Outback NSW town. Status – Contract negotiations underway.

Central NSW – exciting film hub project evolving, involving a significant Canberra company. Status – project scoping almost finished. Funding submission due to commence.

Wee Waa Community Centre – community meetings being held to confirm local support. Status – scoping study planned once community and Narrabri Council give OK.

Water pipeline – Murrumbidgee Country Club ACT – won $150k for a pipeline from Murrumbidgee. A few queries from environmental groups, but persistence is winning. Status – Contract negotiations underway.

Sunrise Program – to link networks of companies across nations to drive trade and investment. Our US colleagues have lodged a submission with the US State Department (Development Innovation Ventures program) for support for a business plan. Status – Awaiting confirmation of grant.

Healthy Food Distribution Network – the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables is 50-100% higher in semi-remote areas – a major cause of obesity. An enterprising council in western NSW is seeking federal funding for a business plan to establish a network to deliver fresh food at competitive prices. Other councils welcome to join. Status – project scoping to commence soon.

Regional airfares – we are currently in discussions with regional champions about possibly lobbying the federal Minister for Transport for a trial ‘milk run’ on certain regional routes, with a view to raising patronage and lowering fares. Status – Idea awaiting partners.

Projets grandes en Paris

January 18, 2011

Europe focuses less on new, zero-carbon proto-villages – though these are happening – than on reworking the existing metropolis.

And the most exciting is Paris. It has a history of grand projects, most memorably Mitterrand’s, which included I.M. Pei’s Louvre pyramid, Jean Nouvel’s Arab Institute, Carlos Ott’s Opera de la Bastille, Bernard Tschumi’s La Villette and Gae Aulenti’s Musee d’Orsay. But they were buildings – classic political point-at-ables. What Paris proposes now, under (of all people) Nicolas Sarkozy, is both more sophisticated and more significant.

But people didn’t expect urbanism from Napoleon either, who (with Baron Haussmann) so transformed Paris as to make it not only the model for Europe but the reason Paris withstood the mid-century urge to sprawl. Fast-forward to Sarkozy. A remarkable speech in 2007, just four months post-election, called for a complete “rethink” of the city.

This grand-scale project was “nothing like a classic urban design competition”.

Rather, it was “a collective effort to understand what cities are” and to “save our planet from imminent destruction”.

So began Le Grand Paris, a study of post-Kyoto Paris. The 10 architect-led teams included artists, poets, philosophers, sociologists, the entire rive gauche racaille). Rather than competing, they were asked to pool their imagined Parisian futures. This was big. They weren’t just French. Not just French men. But (mostly) French male architects – that’s a triple-whammy ego-load. We’re talking Jean Nouvel, Roland Castro, MVRDV, Richard Rogers and the like. Yet they did it, and in a manner that let Sarkozy applaud their “advice, wisdom and humility”.

And there is agreement to co-operate in a masterplan with €25 billion ($33 billion) backing, just for stage one.
Sarkozy insists it is time for collective action. He proposes new networks of rail and water transport to support a polycentric city, new governance regimes, a mix of social housing, 10 major new parks and building over the Peripherique. Most significantly of all, he also proposes to increase density, building 70,000 new dwellings a year within the existing footprint, with a green belt to stop sprawl.

Source: Elizabeth Farrelly, SMH

Buyers unravel the ethics behind the label

January 18, 2011

Professor Roy Green (Dean of the Business School, UTS) has forwarded us a most interesting article – summary below.

If you ever buy an item of clothing from Tesco, the UK supermarket chain, you can be sure it will not contain any cotton from Uzbekistan. Tesco decided to boycott Uzbek cotton in 2006, following reports of forced and state-sanctioned child labour. That was the easy part. Eliminating the unwanted material from Tesco’s supply chain and proving that it was no longer used would take until the end of 2007.

“It was an enormously complex task,” says Alan Wragg, the company’s clothing technical director. “Even the production of a simple garment such as a T-shirt requires materials to pass through four to seven pairs of hands, so the number of possible permutations in the supply chain was huge.”

In May, the Global Reporting Initiative, a network of 20,000 organisations developing a framework for corporate sustainability reporting, published “The Transparent Economy”, a report that identified traceability as a key challenge in corporate reporting over the next decade. It also included a survey in which 86 per cent of GRI members rated “the importance of the ability of businesses to trace products through their entire life cycle” as important or
very important.

At Tesco, Mr Wragg knew that in order to monitor his supply chain, he first needed to see it more clearly. “We learnt quickly that our supply chain was very complicated and diverse,” he says. “We knew that Uzbek cotton was taken mainly to Bangladesh, Turkey and China, but most producers of yarn don’t use a single source, they blend cotton from a variety of countries.” The quality of raw cotton can vary depending on local factors such as weather conditions, he explains, so blending prevents inconsistencies in the finished yarn.

Science Hubs!

January 18, 2011

AUSTRALIA needs to develop at least five national scientific hubs, each with more than 10,000 researchers, says the CEO of the CSIRO, Megan Clark.

”Major shifts in how we do science and how we invest nationally are required if we are to remain globally relevant and attract the best and brightest to Australia,” said Dr Clark, giving the 2010 Lowy lecture in Sydney in November.

Sydney had an opportunity to develop a national precinct in ICT, and Melbourne could have a precinct in human life sciences and material sciences.

These ”powerhouses of innovation”, bringing together the best researchers from universities and science institutes, would require annual investments of more than $1 billion each and appropriate computing infrastructure. At present, science funding is mainly based on the excellence of individual researchers. But Australia’s main challenges – climate change, water management and prevention of chronic disease – require multidisciplinary teams, Dr Clark said.

She identified Perth as the logical site for a precinct in resource geosciences and space. Canberra likewise in plant and ecosystem science, Brisbane in environmental science and ecology and Adelaide in preventative health and nutrition.

Australia leads the world in understanding the genetics of wheat and contributed to the recent completion of the genetic sequence of cattle. We also has strengths in astronomy and space science, which could lead to more advances in communication, data handling and computing, particularly if Australia wins the bid to host the gigantic Square Kilometre Array radiotelescope in WA.

BUT in other areas – green technologies, water, environmental services – Australia has no special advantages. We have to compete fiercely, particularly when low-income markets (China, India) are driving ”reverse innovation”, with products such as Tata’s $2,000 car and cheap, high-quality medical services.

The Cockatoo Network has argued for years about the need for a concerted spatial research framework built around the competitive advantage of regions and stronger collaboration via clustering and networking techniques. We’re currently working with US agencies to link clusters as alluded to by Dr. Clark. To learn how YOU can get involved with the CSIRO, please contact us at

Source: SMH and Cockatoo resources.

About being bold

January 18, 2011

An exciting but uncertain year beckons, with regional development coming to the fore. The Gillard Government may not see out 2011, as Abbott et al conspire to force a new poll. And Rudd may prove to be an unsettling influence – like Ricky Ponting, he hasn’t realised his time is up.

Anyway, how might Cockatoo members deal with the ever-changing hues and foibles of the federal government?

Well, our consistent advice is to appreciate the quite different roles of politicians and bureaucrats, and then to be bold and persistent in dealing with both. The corollary is to ensure that your projects and ideas are sensible financially sound and broadly supported on the ground.

The $10 billion promised for regional Australia is unlikely for a variety of reasons. Our best guess is that half of this spending might happen, and mostly via competitive grants. Key programs that you should track are:

 Priority Regional Infrastructure Program ($800m) – for projects identified by local communities. Guidelines due February.
 Regional Infrastructure Fund ($6 billion) – depends on the new resources tax, which could get knocked off by the Liberals.
 Local projects identified by RDA Committees ($573m within the $6 billion above)
 TQUAL, the feds’ flagship tourism program ($40m) – guidelines due February/March, with a focus on indigenous economic development.
 Healthy Communities Initiative ($71.8m) for 33 councils – closing 4 February.
 Health and Hospitals Fund – a new round exclusively for Regional Australia.

Queensland floods – can u help please?

January 13, 2011


I am shocked and saddened to see the situation in Queensland….with Brisbane flooding, it really reminds me of the devastation Hurricane Katrnia bought to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. So, I e-mailed Jeff Finkle and asked if IEDC could set up a fund for donations, and I am going to put a task force together with Katrina experience to offer advice and counsel via teleconference on the rebuilding process.

As you may know, I was the lead consultant for the Gulf Reinvestment Forum, which was the genesis of the Gulf Reinvestment Act and other rebuilding efforts. I, and the people along the Gulf Coast that I worked with, want to help by relaying our experience and expertise in a long and difficult process..hopefully, our lessons learned can help Queensland and Brisbane save some time and heartache in coming back from this tragedy.

I need to know where the funds and outreach could be best be used….EDA, ANZIA, or maybe Cockatoo?? We need to run the funds through a non-profit here, which i can set up. Also, my best friend is the father of international blues music star Kenny Wayne Shepherd…he is married to Mel Gibson’s daughter, so has a real interest in Australia (he has toured AU twice and loves it as much as I do). I’ve asked Ken if Kenny Wayne would be willing to film a Public Service Announcement to be broadcast nationally to raise funds for rebuilding.

Unfortunately, with the Tucson, AZ massacre here, the floods have received secondary status in the news….but we can help, and of course I am determined to assist the Yank’s best friend, who in my opinion has for too long gone unappreciated. The U.S has few friends left in the world, thanks in part to our own words and deeds, but Aussies are among those that have always, as a whole, been with us, from WWII to Afghanistan and beyond.
There are Aussie tourism ads running in the U.S. now, with the musical theme “there’s nothing like Australia”. I couldn’t agree more, you are our true blue friends. Please let me know the best route for us to, in turn, show our appreciation and concern.

David A. Dodd, CEcD
DADCO Consulting, Inc.
327 Colony Bend
Shreveport, LA 71115
Phone: 318-525-5559