Too good to be true? Australia’s high-speed rail dream leaves a bitter taste

A would-be developer’s vision involves building eight cities between Melbourne and Sydney. But a Guardian investigation has uncovered serious doubts The federal government gave $8m of $20m earmarked to progress high-speed rail to a consortium led by a …

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Do windfarms kill birds? How Australia can limit the impact on threatened species

Bob Brown’s objection to a proposed windfarm draws attention to where renewable energy projects are being builtDo windfarms kill birds? Unarguably, they have and do.The damage turbines can inflict was infamously highlighted at California’s Altamont Pas…

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Get set for a pre-election budget doling out the pork | Greg Jericho

This week’s announcement of $5bn for a Melbourne rail link is a taster of what’s to comeThis week saw the government continue its shift into budget mode with the announcement of proposed funding for a Melbourne airport-city rail link. It highlights tha…

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A few states are driving growth, but stagnant wages remain an economic puzzle | Greg Jericho

The state economy figures provide a good picture of what is going on across the country. And they confirm a pressing problem

The latest annual gross state product figures shows that overall Victoria and New South Wales were the two strongest performing economies in 2016-17, while conversely Western Australia’s economy went backward by more than any state since the 1990s recession. But while the figures show the non-mining states are again leading the way, they also confirm that household incomes across the nation fell in real terms.

While we get the national GDP figures every three months (the next are due in two weeks) we only get the state version once a year – known as the gross state product figures. The biggest difference between GSP and the state final demand figures that are in the quarterly GDP figures is that they include trade.

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Anti-Adani protest censored by operators of Melbourne’s Federation Square

Exclusive: Operators demand images of newspaper headlines and politicians, and ‘explicitly negative’ environmental messages be removed

The operators of Melbourne’s Federation Square have censored the content of an anti-Adani slideshow presented there, demanding that all images of newspaper headlines and politicians, as well as “explicitly negative” environmental messages be removed.

On Saturday, a coalition of environmental groups held a screening of the documentary Guarding the Galilee at Federation Square, attended by about 300 people. The film is about the fight to stop Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, which would be the biggest coalmine ever built in Australia and one of the biggest in the world.

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Smart city: using technology to tackle traffic and social isolation in Melbourne

Sharing child pickup duties, getting people to the bus stop and consolidating deliveries are some of the ideas emerging in the Resilient Melbourne Citymart Challenge

Traffic congestion and social isolation are two concepts that don’t immediately appear to be connected.

But in 2012, the Grattan Institute’s Social Cities report drew a direct line between inefficient urban transport and less time spent with friends and family. One estimate suggested every 10 minutes of commuting equates to 10% fewer social connections, while other research has found that more than 10% of working parents spend more time commuting to work than they spend with their children. It’s an issue that the city of Melbourne wants to get to grips with.

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