Petrol Quality in Australia is at least 13 years behind Europe!

Australia the third world country

Australia has continued it’s backward slide by delaying the move to higher quality petrol until at least 2027. The current levels of sulphur in petrol in Australia was banned in 2009 in Europe.

  • 91 RON regular unleaded – 150ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2005)
  • 95 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)
  • 98 RON premium unleaded – 50ppm (unchanged since 1/1/2008)

The petroleum industry claimed that it needed eight years to upgrade the four remaining refineries in Australia at a cost of $979 million or it would have to shut them down. The refineries are located;

  • Brisbane – Caltex
  • Geelong – Viva/Shell
  • Melbourne – Mobile
  • Perth – BP

The delay in moving to low sulphur petrol means increased costs in buying vehicles in Australia as engines need re-calibration and some variants of engine are not available at all due to the costs which run into millions of dollars.

Is Australia really a third world country?

With regards to petrol quality the answer is a resounding yes.

Out of the 36 countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Australia has the worst petrol quality.

Out of 100 countries Australia at the start of 2018 was ranked number 73 after falling three places from the previous year. A number of other countries have since transitioned to lower sulphur so Australia is likely down between 80 and 90 currently.

Maximum Gasoline Sulfur Limits (2018)
More countries are changing over to 50ppm or lower by 2020 so this will leave Australia near the bottom of the top 100. It is likely within a few years that Australia will out of the top 100 list.
Australia is one of the few countries that do not have petrol that matches emission standards!

Lagging behind Europe

Europe adopted new fuel standards way and as usual Australia lagged so far behind, it is likely that with a staged introduction planned in 2027 for the new fuels that we will not be totally on 10ppm fuel until sometime in the 2030’s especially if we allow the fuel companies who rake in huge profits to dictate the change. In fact Europe already has Euro 6.2 and Australia is till thinking about Euro 6 for 2027 onwards.

  • Euro 2 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2003-2004* (8 years behind)
  • Euro 3 | Europe 1996 | Australia 2005-2006* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 4 | Europe 2000 | Australia 2008-2010* (10 years behind)
  • Euro 5 | Europe 2009 | Australia 2013-2016* (7 years behind)
  • Euro 6 | Europe 2014 | Australia 2027+ (13+ years behind)

*European year applies to all vehicles whereas Australia applies the first year to new vehicle models and the second year to all vehicles sold.

Source | Emission Requirements for new petrol passenger cars in Australia and European Emission Standards.

Volkswagen pushing for higher fuel standards and emissions

Volkswagen Australia managing director, Michael Bartsch, has called for Australia’s fuel standards and emissions testing to be dragged into line with the latest European rules, lest we become a “dumping ground” for old engine technology.

Speaking at a briefing in Sydney this week, the executive said our current fuel standards put Australia at risk of becoming a “second-tier” market, and argued the transition to higher-quality, lower-sulphur fuel was as important as the switch from leaded to unleaded petrol.

“We’re becoming outsiders,” Bartsch (pictured below) told journalists. “It won’t be long before vehicles are going to have to be produced purely for these really poor sulphur content countries,” he said, speaking of Australia’s fuel standards.

At the moment, local regulations allow 50 parts per million (ppm) of sulphur in premium unleaded, and 150ppm in regular unleaded petrol. European rules allow a maximum of 10ppm. We’re ranked 70th in the world for fuel quality, largely due to this sulphur content.

Bartsch didn’t pull any punches when addressing this point of view, suggesting the AAA and fuel companies are misleading the public on the issue.

“The fuel companies are pulling wool over people’s eyes, the AAA is pulling wool over people’s eyes as to what the real-world environment is,” he told assembled press.

“We’ll start seeing a lot of options drop off in terms of powertrains and engines that we can get,” he later argued, prompted about the timeline laid out by the AAA.

“What you’ll start seeing is that we’ll start getting lower common denominator products and… we’ll start paying more for the cars, because they’ll start doing special testing and special engine runs, and keeping old model lines alive, and putting old engines down the production line to keep a few markets going,” Bartsch explained.

“How long do you think that’s sustainable for a country that only sells a million cars a year. It’s not sustainable.”

Fuel standards are in the firing line

Volkswagen has said the following which they encouraged their dealers to share with their local member of parliament.

The advent of Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) this year in Europe will, in combination with Australia’s lack of progress in moving toward the Euro 6 emissions regime, impact adversely on car buyers.

As of next year, Australians will no longer be able to access many of the world’s best practice and most efficient cars.

Cars that are fitted with a petrol particulate filter cannot run on Australia’s fuel which has an exceedingly high sulphur content – some 50 parts per million [PULP] as opposed to the European standard of less than 10, the letter continues.

The new Volkswagen 1.4 litre petrol engine cannot be introduced to Australia as it has a petrol particulate filter that requires fuel of 10ppm or lower.

Petrol Particulate Filter

Petrol engined cars with petrol particulate filters required for new European emission controls will not be able to fitted to Australian delivered models because of our third world fuel quality standards.

Whilst they can run in the short term on 50ppm 95 and 98 RON fuel they will be destroyed after one tank of 150ppm 91 RON.

Porsche has joined other Volkswagen Group cars by not bringing petrol particulate filters to Australia because of the poor quality of fuel.

“The majority of petrol sold in Australia is imported, so there is no reason why European standard petrol could not be imported at a negligible costs at the bowser. Surely better fuel quality is in everyone’s interest.”

Volkswagen Group spokesman, Paul Pottinger

Why does it matter?

The most popular fuel in Australia is 91 RON which has 150ppm sulphur which is amongst the dirtiest fuel in the world, this creates sulphur dioxide which creates breathing problems and is the cause of acid rain. High levels of sulphur also increase wear on the engine and don’t burn as efficiently as low sulphur fuels meaning you get less mileage from each tank of fuel costing you more.

Another issue is that this limits the choice of vehicles on the market as some engines are not suitable or require extensive work which lowers their performance.

Further Reading

Stricter Fuel Standards set to bring cleaner cars to Aussie roads

Australia’s Petrol is one of the dirtiest in the world

Australia a dumping ground for old engines

NSW Government lies about Container Deposit Scheme benefits and the costs

The Return and Earn Scheme

The NSW Government told the suckers people of NSW that cans and bottles make up 43% of all litter and their new Container Deposit Scheme will reduce this by 25%. Impressive numbers as this would be a nearly 11% reduction in litter. They would call this scheme “Return and Earn” when it’s really “Return and get your deposit back”, clearly they don’t understand the definition of the word earn and as will be seen below words like integrity.

The NSW Government is serious about reducing litter.
The Premier has committed to reduce the volume of litter in New
South Wales by 40% by 2020.

The Premier of NSW | September 2015

But of course the NSW Government misled the people of NSW and the only way to find out is if you read the Litter prevention strategy for NSW 2017-2020. The only report you will find is a draft report, the final report was due in the first half of 2018 but we’re almost into the second half of 2019 and it still hasn’t been released. Make of that what you will.

Looking at the volume estimate Container Deposit Scheme beverage containers make up 43% of litter.

If we view this as the number of items and Container Deposit Scheme beverage containers make up 9% of litter.

The earlier estimate from the NSW Government was that a drop of 25% would be achieved which would reduce the 9% by volume to 6.75% which is a drop of 2.25% in the total number of items littered.

Looking at the comparison figures for the period 2005 to 2016 there have already been drops each year so why the rush to implement what became a flawed and expensive Container Deposit Scheme.


The document proceeds to talk about South Australia but only mentions the reduction in containers, it does not talk about a substantial increase in bottle lids.

Checking the statistics on containers does show a decrease in South Australia on the number of beverage containers in the CSIRO Marine Debris Project Final Report Aug 2014.

It’s not all roses in South Australia however because Australian container recyclers refuse to take bottle lids and you have to remove them before you return them. The rest of the world that have container refund schemes take the lids including the machines that crush them in the store so they don’t need to be removed. The flaw in Australia’s recycling is that in South Australia a substantial number of the lids are thrown away and end up on the beaches, in the water, parks and everywhere litter is found. The logical solution to this would be to require the recycling facilities to take the full complete bottle with lid and recycle or dispose of the plastic lid.

In Queensland this is also a safety issue because apparently when being crushed the pressure created can cause the lid to fly off and injure or kill.

The Strategy document claims that the cost of collecting litter in 2016 for councils, public and private land managers and community groups is $180 million per year with claimed savings from a Container Refund Scheme of $45 million a year.

The Real Figures

The NSW Government figures which will frankly be no doubt over-inflated show a reduction in litter of 2.25% however this comes at a cost, a huge cost that all beverage consumers are paying.

In the first three months of the scheme from December 2017 to February 2018 the scheme took in $110 million in deposits and paid out $8.3 million leaving the bottlers with a profit of $101.7 million or $406.8 million for the year.

As is usual in Australia the NSW Government did not want any responsibility for managing the scheme so allowed the five largest beverage companies to set up the Exchange for Change which is used to run and manage the NSW Container Deposit Scheme. This didn’t stop them for hiring over 18 staff to “oversee” the scheme.

Asahi, Carlton United Breweries, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coopers and Lion eagerly setup this new scheme as the NSW Government made no allowances for deposits that are not claimed so these are returned as profit from the scheme to the beverage companies. When does the idiocracy stop? Are the village idiots given priority in government positions?

December 2017 to March 2018 saw 1.556 billion eligible containers were sold in NSW but only 204 million were returned which is 13.1%. Assuming this rate remains the same this is an additional cost to consumers of $406.8 million per year. One of the benefits of this Container Refund Scheme was to reduce the cost for councils in collecting litter but with such a low rate of returns this is unlikely to occur in any meaningful way and the beverage manufacturers are profiting in an obscene manner when these funds would cover the councils costs of litter collection nearly three times.

According to the Return and Earn Media Release each container has between 11.13c and 14.07c added to it but this is based on a much higher recovery percentage so not only is their profit in making it hard for consumers to claim but also in the overstated costs per container. This is a win-win for the companies who setup the scheme and who keep all the excess funds.

Updated figures for December 2017 to January 2019 (14 months but the ABC call it 15 months!?!?!?).

5.446 billion eligible containers sold in this period and 1.3 billion returned has increased the rate of the return to 23% which is lower then it was when they were collected in the roadside recycling bins. However Government figures have it at 54%, are we being lied to again?

Lies, Lies and more Lies

The NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s business case for the setup of a Container Deposit Scheme stated that eligible containers were recycled at a rate of 53%. Other government documents put it at 50% and the following document from the NSW Government puts it at up to 60% and note that they mention that hoarding may occur in the leadup to the Container Deposit Scheme.

We have assumed that the Return and Earn scheme must be prepared to fund a potentially high total recovery rate in the initial months, with NSW kerbside recycling already recovering
as much as 60% of all supplied containers based on available statistics, and the potential for container hoarding prior to December 2017.

NSW Government Return and Earn Scheme Costs | August 2017

The NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton claimed that container recycling had jumped 69% in the twelve months since the scheme began from 32% to 54%.

Which is true?

Looking at key points in the Ministers media release and it looks like the Container Deposit Scheme has been an outstanding success despite the massive cost but has it?

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said Return and Earn has been an outstanding success and changed the way people dispose of empty drink containers.

Eligible drink containers collected and recycled: up by 69 per cent
Eligible drink container litter volume: down 44 per cent
NSW total litter volume: down 48 per cent since 2013

“More than half the drink containers in the marketplace (54 per cent) are now being recovered, compared with the 32 per cent that was being collected in yellow bins before Return and Earn kicked in.

“While litter volume has pleasingly dropped across all litter categories, the largest reduction is from eligible drink containers which now represent an all-time low of 37 per cent of the NSW litter volume stream,” Ms Upton said.

“This means the Premier’s target of a reducing litter in NSW by 40 per cent cut by 2020 is going to be well and truly met – and then some.

“This shows the impact and undeniable success of Return and Earn on reducing litter across the state.

Return and Earn: A billion reasons to celebrate | 2nd of December 2018

Where does the 32% figure come from when NSW Environmental Protection Agency’s figure was 53% and the schemes own figures are up to 60%?

The figure was based on the EPA looking at a cross selection of recycling bins in 29 council areas across the state with 100 households from each council area selected for examination. Households were notified beforehand and were able to opt out. So not only is this not a proper audit of the bins as you have notified residents and given them an opt out right but this audit was performed TWO months AFTER the scheme started so people were stockpiling them to return them so the results are worthless..

So the NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton is using a figure that was collected in a manner that is stupid beyond all comprehension and ignoring all the previous figures because they show that this scheme has achieved nothing! When are politicians going to be held accountable for lying to and misleading citizens to cover up the fact that they have wasted BILLIONS of taxpayer money on a scheme that does nothing!

Ms Upton said that, as a result of Return and Earn, eligible drink container litter volume has dropped by 44 per cent and now represents an all-time low of 37 per cent of the NSW litter volume stream.

Return and Earn breaks records | 18th of January 2018

This is outright deception by the Minister Gabrielle Upton. The recycling rate has increased from 53% to 54% so how it is possible for the litter volume to drop by 7%?

At best the NSW Container Deposit Scheme has increased recycling by 1% and at worst they have decreased by 6%. The true figure is probably somewhere in between so the billions of dollars in setting up the scheme and lost productivity have all be for nothing.

Minister Gabrielle Upton unable to do the maths!

Is it asking too much for a minister earning hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, a generous pension and a large team of staff to actually know their portfolio?

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton has dodged questions from Ben Fordham over a crucial Return and Earn detail.

Ms Upton insists the container deposit scheme is now “steady” and going “real places” but can’t give a figure on how many containers are going through the vending machines as a percentage of how many containers are sold.

“There are almost 640 million drink containers through the system since it began,” the Minister says.

Ben, “Does that work out to be 10 per cent of the total number of containers that are sold? Or 25 per cent or 50 per cent?”

Minister Upton, “Look, it is a percentage of the drink containers that are sold. Not every drink container, Ben, is going to be put through the system. People are making a choice.”

Ben, “But what is it? 50 per cent? Do you know what it is?”

Despite not being able to answer the question, Ms Upton says the figure wouldn’t determine “whether this scheme is a success”.

“There are many millions of drinks that are eligible to be returned, sold every day,” she says.

“People make choices about whether they will claim back a deposit.

“The strong numbers, just under 640 million drink containers, indicates that lots and lots of people every day are returning it and participating in the scheme.”

Ben has since crunched the numbers, and has the figures.

“The return rate is 27 per cent,” he says. “So out of 100 containers sold, 27 are handed in on average.

“So if 640 million have been handed in in total, the total number of containers sold since December 1, would be approximately 2.3 billion.”

‘Do you know what it is?’ | 30th of August 2018

What other costs are there for the NSW Container Deposit Scheme?

The NEW environmental protection agency requires 18.5 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) staff to oversee the Container Deposit Scheme. The cost of these staff? $2.8 million per year.

NSW Container Deposit Scheme
EPA’s fees for monitoring, compliance and approving containers
24 September 2018

Return and Earn Depots

I’m not going to go into these for NSW, the fact is that there are too few places to return and they don’t have many Reverse Vending Machines (RVM). The system is poorly implemented like the Queensland system and billions of dollars have been wasted on schemes that just make no sense in anyway.

It would have been cheaper, had minimal impact on the environment, had a very high container return rate and been a lot quicker to implement to have Reverse Vending Machines fitted to most supermarkets. This way the consumer can return the containers when they do their shopping next, no need for special trips, no environmental issues with all the travel, no time wasted as it becomes part of your grocery shopping, no need to register to multiple services nor have to work out how it works at another deport. All you do is insert your containers and when you are done you receive a voucher for the supermarket which you can also receive cash for.

The Queensland Container Refund Scheme continues to worsen and what is the cost to the environment?

The Container Refund Schemes (called a different name in every state of course) in Australia are so utterly absurd. I’ve written about the Queensland system and shown that a Reverse Vending Machine (RVM) would have been a fraction of the price and meant that people can return their empty containers when they do their shopping.

We already knew from South Australian experience that depots experiences long queues of cars lined up idling for long periods of time and your average car can hold maybe 200 to 500 containers depending on how many bottles you have and this gives you $20 to $50 but factor in your costs of getting to the deport in time and wear and tear and how much are you really getting back and what cost to the environment are all these trips?

Reed Recycling in Townsville

What a great way to spend the weekend, sitting in your car and sucking on the fumes of the car in front whilst waiting to get a return on a deposit that may end up costing you money to get back.

Reed Recycling in Townsville

And when you do get to the front of the line you get to unload your car, and if you left the bottle caps on to stop them leaking you have to remove them before you hand them over for counting. And don’t crush or otherwise damage the containers or they won’t be accepted if they can’t see the barcode area.

Reed Recycling in Townsville

Job creation in Queensland at work. Instead of using machines that can process these at the point of sale and take care of all the work we get humans to double, triple and quadruple handle the containers.

Container drop off in Bowen

Drop your containers off at some locations but of course they are often full so some people put their labels on your bags! And don’t forget that some companies will keep all your containers if you don’t have the exact number that they specify in the bag. Why would you want to return your containers when you go shopping, it’s much more interesting going on a road trip and burning your fuel.

Staff and contractors have been ripped off by a Charters Towers depot that has since done a runner. Payments being delayed for six or more weeks are still common.

COEX spokesperson Adam Nicholson would not discuss specifics while investigations were ongoing, but said their priority was ensuring customers were not left out of pocket.

“We have seen a massive response, far more than we or anyone else predicted,” he said.

“I think we are experiencing twice the number or volume of containers as seen in New South Wales, so we’ve really load-tested our scheme since day one.

“The positive is that we know where our areas for improvement, are and we’re working really hard behind the scenes.”

COEX spokesperson Adam Nicholson

So Queensland has experienced twice the number or volume of containers as seen in New South Wales? That doesn’t sound correct but surely COEX wouldn’t mislead us?

Between the 1st of November 2018 and I assume the 21st of January 2019 (going by the date on the article) COEX has processed 150 million containers. That is roughly 11 weeks so 13.6 million containers per week.

The NSW system handled 1.3 billion over 14 months so 61 weeks which is 21 million containers a week.

So COEX has been caught misleading the public with false statistics, if I can look them up surely COEX can. Is it asking too much for Government sponsored organisations to actually know the industry they are working in?

Container deposit scheme demand creates mountain of cans at recycling depot

Data cabling in Australia is the most regulated in the World | DIY ILLEGAL!

Australia not content with having the most cumbersome laws for pretty much everything has taken it further and now made it illegal for registered cablers to make patch leads. The draconian laws apply to both homes and business and Australia is the only country in the world where data cabling in the home is illegal unless performed by a registered cabler. Even running a premade telephone cord between rooms using any method of fixing and even under a rug is illegal in Australia and punishable .

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S008:2019
Requirements for customer cabling products

DRAFT AUSTRALIAN STANDARD DR AS/CA S009:2019
Installation requirements for customer cabling (Wiring rules)

Imagine using premade data cables and install a patch panel that has RJ45 ports on each side so you can plug all the premade cables in, you would think this would be legal but not in Australia if it is attached to or runs though any part of the building structure. Anything relating to data work is illegal for a homeowner and the new standards are only expanding what you can’t do.

There is more usage of fibre and a logical path forward would be to relax the regulations as there is no risk of interference, injury or death in installing a fibre optic cable but we now have additional regulations around them.

I cannot find anywhere in the world where data cabling is illegal for the homeowner, there are regulations for commercial data cabling in many countries but many still allow some DIY. In Australia it is illegal to perform any data cabling including making patch leads or running a CAT 6 cable between rooms unless you are a licensed cabler.

5.9.2 Connecting cords, patch cords and extension leads
A CABLING PROVIDER shall not make an equipment connecting CORD, PATCH CORD, extension lead or the like using component parts, whether or not such parts meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Note: CORDS are required to meet the requirements of AS/CA S008.
Manufacturers are directed to the regulatory obligations for compliance labelling of CORDS.

To summarise this new rule, a registered cabler is no longer able to make a patch lead of any type even when a patch cable may not be readily available. Customer would like a 3.7m telephone patch lead with RJ45 on one and RJ12 on the other, they’ll just have to order a 5m online and wait.

There are many products installed in Australia that require custom patch leads to be made for example where the patch leads are no longer made or take too long to obtain but no matter what the reason we trust a cabler to install all the data cabling throughout the building but there is no trust in making a simple patch lead?

This would apply to any devices connected to a network either wired or wirelessly. Arduino and Raspberry Pi owners connecting to other modules using I2C cables have to have cables manufactured that meet the AS/CA S008 standard and cannot make their own cable.

CCTV installers who run cable between the Network Video Recorder (NVR) and terminate each end with a RJ45 plug to connect the NVR direct to the camera will also be illegal and the only way to legally do this would be to create a pigtail so RJ45 on the camera end and fit a patch panel at the NVR end adding extra cost and complexity to installs which are passed on to consumers.

However only a registered data cabler can replace a CCTV camera installed in this manner and the same applies to a WiFi access point installed on a ceiling, if the cable is terminated to a plug it is illegal for anyone who is not a registered cabler to change the WiFi access point or camera and even to unplug or plug it in.

The rules, laws and regulations in Australia for many industries are only there to protect the industry, they have nothing to do with safety but everything to do with increasing costs and protecting certain jobs.

Logically there would be guidelines for home wiring that give homeowners advice, guidance and examples on how to run cabling in a safe manner and legalise data cabling by the homeowner. Education is the key not draconian laws and regulations that make no sense and that are ignored by many.

Many homeowners are going to do their own data cabling work regardless of the laws but at the moment they cannot get information on how to run the cable in a safe manner because to access the standards that give this information costs hundreds of dollars.

If the NBN can’t enforce their data cablers to install as per the existing rules and the ACMA won’t enforce the rules, why even have them?

The Next Generation of Queensland drivers licence is going to be digital but at what cost?

The Queensland Government not content with their last attempt at a smart drivers licence that will cost us a BILLION dollars by 2025 to 2030 is now creating another solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. It’s 2003 all over again as the bullshit starts to fly from the mouths of ministers. One of the big selling points of the “Smart Licence” that started in 2003 was the ability to control what information people could see but in the end we received a $1,000,000,000 version of the old drivers license on a new piece of plastic!

The new story of the digital drivers license starts in 2018 after yet another minister has read too much about blockchain and these new fangled digital wallets.

Queensland driver licences next in line for digital evolution

24th of October 2018 | Media Statements

Queenslanders use their driver licence to rent a house, open a bank account, book Airbnb, or check-in to a hotel. A digital driver licence will allow people to do all of this via their mobile device.

We’re not phasing out physical licences but we think people should be given the choice to have a digital option, if that’s their preference

Unlike a physical driver licence, the digital wallet gives you control about how much information you allow a third party to see, copy and retain.

A digital wallet can be more secure than a physical licence as security features include the ability to verify a digital wallet by scanning a QR code or similar.

A pilot for the digital wallet could be ready in second half of 2019.

There will also be the opportunity to include other services in the future, including allowing customers to change their address, renew their licence and pay their registration fees through the digital wallet.

This initiative aligns with Palaszczuk Government’s priority to deliver an easy to use and accessible digital service that meets the needs of the community.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey | 24th of October 2018

Mr Bailey said a procurement process to engage a vendor to develop a digital wallet and supporting platforms would start soon, with an industry briefing event being held on 26 October.

Great so just like the previous “smart” drivers licence project that was an utter failure because it was driven by the vendors we are going down the same path again. Why not work with the other states on this and come up with a system that works across all states and territories instead of going solo? Why not look at what they do overseas? And more to the point why not sort out all the issues with the current physical drivers licence and replace it with one that is much cheaper and uses current technology?


Planning for the future – Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms

Since 1910 when paper driver licences were first introduced, Queenslanders have been using it for more than just driving. Driver licences are now used for a wide range of transactions, from renting a house, to purchasing medication, applying for a mortgage and booking a hotel. Businesses have made licences the dominant form of identity.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads are in the early stages of developing a convenient, safer, and smarter way for you to store your Queensland Government identification cards, like a driver licence or proof of age card, on a mobile device, instead of carrying a physical one.

The Digital Wallet provides a range of benefits:

  • Security—it’s more secure than a physical product and will include extra security features to ensure your data is protected against cybercrimes and theft. For example, if you lose your phone anyone finding it will have to by-pass your device security (if enabled) then the security in the digital wallet.
  • Control—You will be able to control what information you share with others. For example if you need to prove your age, the wallet will allow the person checking to see your photo and confirm your age, but not see your name or where you live.
  • Convenience—you will be able to update your details immediately, at any time of the day, and receive notifications when your licence is due.
  • Real time information—any changes to your licence will be immediately updated in the wallet.

What’s next
We’ve started the procurement process to engage vendor partners to develop the Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms, with a pilot program to commence late 2019. The pilot will be developed in consultation with customers, police and other key stakeholders to ensure key features are accessible and are designed to meet the needs of the community. Following feedback from the pilot, the wallet will be implemented across the state. Additional features may be added in the future as customers’ and stakeholders’ needs arise.

About the program
The Customer Orientated Registration and Licencing program has been established to modernise Queensland’s registration and licensing system. The program aims to deliver digital and business solutions that simplify and improve the way our customers interact with us.

The program will focus on how to re-think service design from a human-centred approach, simplify processes, regulatory, legislative and policy drivers, and build the next generation of digital platforms that enable those outcomes, in partnership with our customers.

We’re establishing a Digital Wallet, and Enabling Platforms that will allow Queenslanders to have their driver licences and other Queensland Government issued products available digitally on their mobile devices should they choose to do so.

Program vision
The Department’s vision is “A single integrated transport network accessible to everyone”.

We have several key goals that form the core to enabling the Department’s vision:

  • A single view of our customer, for our customers
  • Simplify our process and policy/legislative drivers to make the customer experience better and our systems simpler
  • Connect our business, our partners and our customers
  • Exit our legacy platforms in a practical, sustainable way that adds value to our business
  • All of this is underwritten by the principles of faster, cheaper, better, safer outcomes of the program. The Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms are the first steps to achieving these goals.

Partnering with industry
We are partnering with industry to develop a Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms. The aim of this procurement activity is to engage vendor/s or a consortia to develop 2 solutions:

Digital Wallet
An application on a mobile device that can store credentials such as licences in a secure fashion. These credentials can be managed by the owner and provide access as well as pay for services and other products.

Enabling Platforms
A group of technologies that are used as a foundation platform to develop other applications, processes or technologies.

The Digital Wallet will need new foundation technology that will allow it to link credentials to products and services within our department. Once the pilot is complete, this Enabling Platforms can be used and leveraged by other services across the government sector as well as allow the department to transition its legacy platforms to support new ways of working.

For more information about the procurement of the Digital Wallet and Enabling Platforms opportunity, please email the ICT Procurement team.

Original page here

Will digital licences be available in QLD?

24th of October 2018 | RACQ

RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said this kind of technology would be an added convenience for drivers.

“Many of us are already cashless and using smartphones to pay for our goods and do our banking so this is clearly the next step,” Mr Spalding said.

“If we can get the security right – as we have with internet banking, this will really make it easier for many drivers who don’t want to carry so many cards around.

How is it an added convenience? It’s all very well to say these things but I cannot see how this is an added convenience. Cashless? How many people are really cashless, yet another buzzword to throw around.

And security for internet banking is clearly not “right” as it still has major flaws that need to be addressed. RACQ has raised none of the security issues but just fully supported this.

If you want to carry around less cards maybe the Queensland Government could deliver on all the promises it made with the previous driver licence project that the RACQ supported despite it being a total failure at a huge cost the motorists that RACQ claims to represent.

RACQ could spend some time looking at other countries and how they managed drivers licences and other ID along with the risks before supporting the Queensland Government.

Here are some questions you could ask and get answers to for the Motorists you “claim” to represent.

Questions that haven’t be asked by the media, the RACQ or anyone else regarding the “digital” driver licence

  • What happens if your mobile has a flat battery?
  • How can emergency services access the digital card if they can’t unlock you phone at the scene of an accident?
  • What happens if you travel overseas or to another state where they don’t recognise your “digital” drivers licence?
  • How much is the “digital” drivers licence going to cost?
  • What happens if your “digital” licence is compromised and used to hire vehicles, tools and trailers? Who is liable for this?
  • How does the person accepting the licence keep a record of it? Now they can scan it, photocopy it or take a photo but what happens with a digital licence?
  • What will be the cost to modify systems for businesses who use licences for ID such are renting a car, house, trailer or tools.
  • What happens if a business refuses to accept the “digital” drivers licence?
  • What happens if your phone is lost and is unlocked?
  • What if you phone is stolen and unlocked?
  • If you get pulled over by the police will they need to take your phone back to their vehicle in an unlocked state and given that this allows the police to look through your phone legally now what legislation is going to be in place to protect drivers?
  • What if the police when looking at your phone at the drivers licence see a message come up that indicated possible criminal activity, are there going to be safeguards in place for all or just some types of crime?
  • What if there is no internet when you need to show your drivers licence?
  • What if the TMR systems are down and you need to show your drivers licence?
  • What role will the company providing this service have in being able to access and alter licence information?
  • Will there be a 24 hour helpline in the event of problems?
  • Will this digital drivers licence be location aware and track your movements?

Other States

Each state has a completely different approach using a different vendor and a different method of implementation along with different features.

South Australia

Total spent on digital drivers licence so far $1.919 million.

(for the app with Appvation)

Dropped their previous app which had 270,000 users called EzyReg.

“Premier Jay Weatherill said physical licences and other passes would remain available for the foreseeable future.”

Digital Pass and Licence

Do you still need a physical card?
While digital passes and licences are now available in South Australia, some organisations and businesses may not be set up to validate your digital pass or licence.

An organisation or business may request that you present your physical licence, so it is recommended that you continue to carry your physical licence with you just in case, especially when you travel interstate or overseas.

New South Wales

Based on blockchain technology. Why? Because they can. $$$$

Total spent on digital drivers licence so far $17.8 million

  • Invested $8.5 million in the 2017-2018 budget towards the rollout of digital drivers licences and the Dubbo trial.
  • $9.3 million in the 2018-2019 budget to rollout across the state by the end of 2019.

If the driver’s phone has a flat battery, cracked screen or other problems that mean that card details cannot be read they will be treated the same as failing to product a physical licence.

Digital Driver Licence

Queenslands “Smart” Drivers Licence and how our Government screwed us with a Billion dollar failure

The story of the drivers licence replacement project that was slated to be a zero cost upgrade but will eventually cost Queensland taxpayers and drivers $1,000,000,000 between 2025 and 2030 started in 2001, announced in 2003 and progressively the costs kept adding and the deployment keep getting pushed out until 2011 when it was finally available with none of the functionality or features promised. How did we end up with the same for such a high cost? Government incompetence.

2003

Queensland driving towards a secure Smart State licence

29th of September 2003 | Media Statements

The first announcement of a new drivers licence requirement is made by Premier Peter Beattie and the Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer.

Apparently according to the Premier Peter Beattie this licence would make the “Smart State” an international leader and keep us all safe from fraud. Meanwhile Estonia became the international leader in smart card licences, didn’t feel the need to announce it and our state government committed fraud to the tune of $1,000,000,000 by extorting their taxpayers excessively for the new smart dumb licence.

The proposed new licence would make the Smart State an international leader in secure smart card licences, and give us an edge in the fight against fraud.

The new licence would have a built-in computer chip to securely store and process information that could be accessed only by a special reader.

“It would securely store personal details, plus a photo and signature, and would have the capacity to store emergency contact information.

Premier Peter Beattie | 29th of September 2003

One of the claims was that this would cost around $60 million if we replaced existing systems in the Transport Department offices however if they enter into a public private partnership the system may cost us the same as the current system.

Depending on the private sector’s interest in a public private partnership, the new system may involve no cost to Queensland taxpayers.

Transport Minister Steve Bredhauer | 30th of September 2003

The new cards would offer us the follow advantages

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Any attempt to crack the ‘keys’ of this type of smart card technology would be extremely expensive. A would-be hacker would need to invest in several millions of dollars in technology just to crack one card, and this could not be achieved without destruction of the particular card itself.

Queensland Government | 29th of September 2003 | Security Safeguards attachment to press release

In the consultation paper that was released in 2003 and which is no longer available online the following features were promoted.

Licence holders would be able to check their own licensing information stored on the smartcard using a self serve terminal or if they have a reader attached to their home computer.

If licensing information such as address and expiry date were to be stored on the chip, in the future, licence holders would be able to give permission (for example, by using their own PIN {Personal Identification Number}) for other organisations such as car hire companies to access it.

Queensland Police Service could use readers containing special access software to access driver licensing and emergency contact information.

Queensland Government Consultation Paper for Smart Licence | 2003

The quotes from the consultation paper are available on the submission made by the EFA in response to the Queensland Smart Card Driver Licence Proposal. I’m not going to duplicate they work that they have done as their submission covers the reasons why the smart card on the new licence is not secure and what the Queensland Government promised was never going to be delivered.

There was no requirement for a smart card to be used, all they needed was a more secure way of creating the cards instead of using laminated cards that were being stolen from Transport Department offices by thieves jumping the counter, taking a whole tray of cards and laminate and walking out. Of course we could have secured the card making equipment but this would have been too logical. These devices were available in 2003 and are much more common now, a small printer creates the cards and prints them on the spot but I digress as this is the story of the billion dollar smart card that has no smarts!

2004

Market Sounding for New Drivers Licence

20th of May 2004 | Media Statements

The Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas is sounding out the market for new ways to make money with the new drivers licence and announced three weeks submission period from businesses wanting to use outdated technology.

The new licence could offer a range of potential features, including storing emergency contact details on an electronic chip on the licence, or using the chip to let licence holders carry out secure online transactions with government agencies.

The chip may also let licence holders receive credit card-linked loyalty or reward points for buying low-cost goods and services. These may include buying public transport or parking tickets, or goods from vending machines by using money stored on the smartcard.

But these are ideas only – this market sounding is all about hearing from the private sector what it thinks are potential commercial applications for the proposed licence.

Mr Lucas said the new smartcard licence provided a chance for the Smart State to be a leader in using innovative technology for a new generation of driver licensing.

I expect many Queenslanders will find the use of optional extras such as credit cards and cash cards to the smartcard licence very convenient, but that will be entirely a matter for them, no ifs and no buts

The market sounding will help Queensland Transport prepare the final business case by identifying private sector interest in providing commercial services on the driver licence proposal.

An initial market sounding study, conducted in 2001 prior to this licence proposal, found it was both a feasible and manageable project.

This second round will confirm the feasibility of our approach to this project’s development, as well as its overall viability.

Minister for Transport & Main Roads, The Honourable Paul Lucas | 20th of May 2004

2005

A change in direction

The Smart Cards will no longer be able to used for shopping and vending machines! But Premier Peter Beattie sold this as one of the major features.

Smartcard licences to be issued to Queensland drivers will not be multifunction transaction cards. The card would be confined to its main purpose of licensing drivers.

Transport Minister Paul Lucas | January 2005

Smart Licence on the Cards

29th of December 2005 | Media Statement

The way driver’s licences are currently made and the way information is stored needs to be brought into the new digital age.

Queensland is the Smart State, and we will have a smarter licensing product in place in 2008.

Licence holders will be able to opt to have some of their personal information, such as their address, moved from the display panel and put instead on the microchip, which the old cards don’t allow.

Owners of the new licence will set a four-digit Personal Identification Number (PIN) to the card to help protect their privacy.

Premier & Treasurer, The Honourable Peter Beattie | 29th of December 2005

Clearly not that smart Peter given that it was 2011 before the cards were being rolled out at a cost many times higher that delivers none of the benefits you promised.

2006

The next announcement from the Queensland Government came on the 10th of August 2006 and they had dropped the idea to continue to produce the cards themselves and have gone straight to letting the private sector develop a solution that no doubt will cost us a fortune.

It’s a quantum leap in the security and integrity of licence information

They’ll be publicly released next week. The tender will invite expressions of interest from the private sector for planning, design, integration, financing, delivery, management and maintenance of the drivers licence.

The proposal will be developed under Public Private Partnerships guidelines in accordance with State Government policies.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Paul Lucas | 10th of August 2006

2007

2008

The Shortlist

18th of January 2008 | Media Statement

Four years after being announced the Queensland Government finally announced on the 18th of January 2007 a shortlist of consortia. The companies involved would develop proposals for selection later in 2007 with a pilot deployment in 2008 and a full deployment in 2009.
(this was delayed by another two years before this occurred)

The new licence will feature an embedded microchip, and this new technology will feature advanced cryptography, making the licence extremely difficult to inappropriately access or alter.

This is about getting the right people to develop the most secure licence in Australia, and achieving value for money

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Paul Lucas | 18th of January 2007
  • EDS, consisting of Placard, Viisage, Sagem Australasia, Grabba International, ActivIdentity Australia and Sun Microsystems Australia;
  • Fujitsu Australia, consisting of Giesecke and Devrient Australasia;
  • Australia Post, consisting of Datacard South Pacific, Oberthur Card Systems Australia, Ingenico International (Pacific) and ActivIdentity Australia; and
  • Leigh Mardon, consisting of LM Gemplus, Gemalto, Grabba International and Hewlett Packard Australia.

QLD smart licence to go national

13th of June 2008 | Computerworld

Expectations that Queensland’s emerging smart card driver licence will become a national model could see card readers in every Australian business, home, club and local video shop.

The licence, which uses facial recognition, has been under development by Queensland Transport for three years, and aims to reduce fraud, simplify card issuing and cut red tape.

Other states in Australia are developing similar smart-card licensing, though none are as advanced as the New Queensland Driver Licence (NQDL) project.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin said the card will be the first in Australia to include facial recognition and will remove address details from the face of the licence.

It is a huge change that people are going to have to get used to.

There is an awful amount of information that is relied upon on the face of the driver licence.

Queensland Transport land transport and safety executive director Judy Oswin

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive.

Such validation will require users to swipe their licence in a smart card reader and enter a pin number to allow the organisation to obtain basic licence details and conditions.

Oswin said other ancillary uses, such as automatic transfer of vehicle registration, will be integrated into the chip as the project develops.

“We need to focus on delivering the project but we are open to incorporating [other uses],” she said.

It will be the first time that images and written signatures are stored in a central repository for the Queensland drivers licence.

The NQDL project is pioneering smart card technology in the country, and has written components of the 24727 ISO standard which is yet to be completed.

Austroads, the association of Australian and New Zealand road transport and traffic authorities, is expected to promote the same standards used by the NQDL to ensure interoperability between states.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificates used in the Queensland licence are expected to be adopted by all states.

Oswin said police will be able to use the same smart card readers to check licence conditions and confirm identity if uniformed PKI certificates are used.

Lax interoperability between state licencing will damage everything from fraud prevention, to law enforcement and future smart card initiatives.

Users will be able to update personal information over the Internet, and possibly in the future through a series of public smart card reader terminals.

Data on the smart card will be updated whenever it is placed in a reader, and users will be supplied with record of access.

The project began the “implementation phase” at the start of last year, and its expected to commence rolling out from late 2009.

New Drivers Licence a Step Closer

13th of November 2008 | Media Statement

The Transport Minister John Mickel on the claimed to have introduced legislation to Parliament for the new drivers licence.

We are getting on with the job and advancing our Towards Q2 strategy – the new licence will be smart and secure.

Fake driver licences can be used to commit a wide range of crimes, such as money laundering, creating false identities and identity theft

…motorist’s address will not be shown. Instead it will be stored electronically on the smart chip.

This new feature is aimed at personal safety and protection of property .

Think of it this way – does your ATM card show your address ? Your credit card ? Your Medicare card ?

No – none of these display your home address. From now on, if a person has lost or had their handbag or wallet stolen, the chance of the driver’s licence being used to break into their house is significantly decreased.

Transport Minister John Micke | 13th of November 2008

These are nothing but outright false statements, they knew about the issues of taking the address off the drivers licence but they continue to put this forward as one of the major selling points knowing that it would never occur and why compare a credit card or ATM card to a drivers licence, they are not even remotely the same and only an idiot would make these comparisions.

Next they listed three key features, none of which were implemented. This was under 2 years out from full deployment and and 5 years from when they were told that what they wanted to to do with the card was not possible.

  • Digital photographs will be able to be accessed by authorised officers for licensing transactions such as licence issue and renewal and licence-related enforcement. Police access to digital photographs outside of transport-related enforcement and licensing will require a judicial order.
  • Queensland Police and transport inspectors will have handheld smartcard readers to access the information stored on the chip.
  • A cardholder may also provide access to third parties by inserting the licence into a smartcard reader, and entering their PIN to authorise information to be read from the chip, such as their address.

2009

2009/2010 Licence Costs

  • Five years | $73.30

Unisys scores five-year QLD digital drivers’ licence deal

23rd of April 2009 | ITnews

Queensland Transport will progressively replace three million laminated drivers’ licences with smartcards that use facial recognition technology supplied by Unisys.

The Department said today it has awarded a five-year contract to Unisys Australia, which will act as prime contractor and primary implementation partner for facial image capture, facial image recognition, and case management aspects of the project.

The smartcard licences will be introduced in a rolling program as existing laminated licences expire and are renewed.

The process is expected to take approximately five years.

“We have used the laminated licence design in Queensland for over 20 years,” said Judy Oswin, Department of Land, Transport and Safety executive director.

“The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to Queensland licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.”

The Unisys solution includes approximately 370 purpose-built image capture devices to take biometric facial images that are subsequently embedded into the smartcard chip.

The front counter devices will be used at most Queensland Transport customer service centres, some Queensland Government Agent Program (QGAP) offices and police stations in rural and remote areas.

Unisys said it will train Queensland Transport staff in facial image capture operation to ensure high quality, secure and consistent image capture in line with ISO standards.

Unisys will also provide Cognitec facial image recognition software to match the biometric facial image against existing images in the driver licence database, “a critical component to identify if individuals hold multiple cards in different names, or attempt to obtain cards using forged or stolen identity documents.”

Unisys partner Daon will provide biometric enrolment technology and biometric middleware software.

Where a discrepancy needs further investigation, the Unisys identification and credentialing framework LEIDA (Library of eID Artefacts software) will act as a backbone case management system to connect all the elements of the Queensland Transport solution together.

For instance, where an applicant’s photo matches a photo under a different name in the system it will trigger an alert, provide an immediate side-by-side comparison, and track ongoing case management if further investigation is required.

Queensland Transport also announced that Leigh Mardon Australia would design the customer interface devices to provide for the capture of a cardholder’s signature image, PIN and other secure information.

QLD to get smart licences next year

23rd of April 2009 | Computerworld

Queensland Transport has inked a five-year deal with Unisys to design and build a facial recognition and biometric matching platform for the state’s smartcard drivers’ licence.

Unisys would not reveal the value of the deal.

Some three million laminated drivers’ licence will be gradually replaced from mid-next year with the smartcards, which will also provide access to multiple government services.

Registered clubs, car hire companies and other government agencies including Australia Post will have access to user data embedded in the licence and stored in government databases for validation of identity, address, and whether the person is allowed to drive. The cards will also provide for the automatic transfer of vehicle registration

Unisys will design some 370 image capture devices to be used in QLD Transport customer service centres, police stations and other government agencies. It will also be responsible for cross-checking new photographs with database records to detect fraud using biometric software.

QLD Transport land and safety director Judy Oswin said the smartcards will reduce the level fraud plaguing the existing laminated drivers licence.

“We have used the laminated licence design in QLD for over 20 years. The new digital licence will deliver a more secure form of driver licence documentation for Queenslanders as it is harder to forge or alter,” Oswin said in a statement.

“As a result it will help reduce the risk of identity theft to QLD licence holders and give them greater confidence that their personal licence information is being kept secure.

“It will also enable QLD Transport to deliver services in a more convenient manner as licence holders will be able to use a card reader or the [government] Web site to view, update and transact on their licence and registration themselves,” she said.

Overarching software , dubbed the Library of eID Artefacts, will monitor all components of the smartcard system to assist fraud investigations and trigger alerts if an individual is holding drivers licences under false names.

Some 10,000 handheld smartcard readers will be deployed across the state, which may include public terminals, homes, businesses, and pubs and clubs.

The licences are expected to cost about $20.

Function-creep is one of the biggest concerns with the New Queensland Drivers’ Licence (NQDL) which has been in planning and development since 2003. The Australian Law Reform Commission said allowing additional agencies to access smartcard data creates significant privacy risks because of the large amount of personal data stored on the cards.

While the QLD card will shun wireless connectivity and require direct contact with readers, a German group last year cracked the popular Mifare Classic Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) card by removing its chip and cutting layers away. The encryption algorithm was discovered after researchers stripped away layers and photographed the connections using a microscope.

Unisys deployed a similar smartcard for Malaysia, the MyKad identity card, which the company claims is the world’s first multi-application smartcard.

Gemalto to provide a new Queensland Driver Licence in Australia

7th of July 2009 | Gemalto

Gemalto’s secure Sealys* eDriver Licence solution selected by Department of Transport and Main Roads in partnership with Prime Contractor Placard Pty

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Brisbane, Australia, July 7, 2009 – Gemalto (Euronext NL0000400653 GTO), the world leader in digital security announces that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million Sealys e​lectronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

The Department’s Land Transport and Safety Executive Director Judy Oswin says moving to this technology will place Queensland at the forefront of delivering sophisticated, and secure technology, bringing together a range of applications that will ensure a state of the art product is delivered.

The smartcard products will be a substantial leap forward in security over our existing laminated product. This is because of the strong level of authentication built into the physical product, as well as the business processes and systems that sit behind it; we will also be able to enhance electronic service delivery options for licence holders.”

“Queensland is pleased to be leading the first smartcard driver licence in Australia and believe that our ground breaking work will provide a sound basis for other states to build on, should they also decide to take on smartcard technology for their licence products,” Ms Oswin said.

Tan Teck Lee, President, Gemalto Asia added, “We are honored to be able to play a part in introducing leading security technology into driver licences issued by The Department of Transport and Main Roads. Gemalto is recognized as a leader in digital solutions boosting operational efficiency and increase security.”

Gemalto’s Sealys eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.

About Gemalto

Gemalto (Euronext NL 0000400653 GTO) is the world leader in digital secur​ity with 2008 annual revenues of €1.68 billion, and 10,000 employees operating out of 75 offices, research and service centers in 40 countries.

Gemalto is at the heart of our evolving digital society. The freedom to communicate, travel, shop, bank, entertain, and work—anytime, anywhere—has become an integral part of what people want and expect, in ways that are convenient, enjoyable and secure.

Gemalto delivers on the growing demands of billions of people worldwide for mobile connectivity, identity and data protection, credit card safety, health and transportation services, e-government and national security. We do this by supplying to governments, wireless operators, banks and enterprises a wide range of secure personal devices, such as subscriber identification modules (SIM) in mobile phones, smart banking cards, smart card access badges, electronic passports, and USB tokens for online identity protection. To complete the solution we also provide software, systems and services to help our customers achieve their goals.

As the use of Gemalto’s software and secure devices increases with the number of people interacting in the digital and wireless world, the company is poised to thrive over the coming years.

For more information please visit www.gemalto.com.

About Placard

Placard is a wholly owned Australian company, which has been in existence since 1987 as a manufacturer of plastic cards. Since then, Placard has continued to expand, and now provides comprehensive card program management products to over 500 clients and employs in excess of 170 staff. Placard is a well established, quality, total card solutions provider and has a reputation of meeting its commitments to its clients and consistently achieves service levels beyond its clients’ expectations.

Placard is the only secure card manufacturer in Australia and is recognised as the market leader in the country with a substantial card personalisation and fulfilment bureau.

Placard’s secure manufacturing and bureau facilities are both Visa and MasterCard accredited to the highest level including EMV accreditation.

Placard’s core competencies lie in the design, printing, manufacture, personalisation and mailing of ISO Standard secure and non secure plastic cards with Bureau services encompassing the latest Visa and MasterCard EMV standards for embossing, magnetic stripe encoding, indent printing, thermal print flat graphics, high quality Drop on Demand personalisation, laser printing processes and intelligent matching & mailing services.

For more information, please visit www.placard.com.au or call + 61 3 9722 5200 .

Contract awarded for new Driver Licence

July 2009 | A new Drive Licence for Queensland, Australia

In July 2009, Gemalto announced that it will together with Prime Contractor Placard Pty Ltd provide several million electronic driving licences to the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland, Australia over a five year period with implementation commencing in 2010.

Currently, just over 3 million drivers in Queensland hold laminated driver licences on which personal data is printed. The new cards will significantly improve the security and privacy of personal data by securely storing driver information electronically. This will make the new licence difficult to copy and counterfeit and thereby minimizes the potential for identity theft.

The Department of Transport and Main Roads also plans to use this secure technology for the Adult Proof of Age, Marine Licence Indicator and Industry Authority cards.

Gemalto’s eDriver Licence solution is compliant with ISO 24727 standard and the Smartcard Framework and Smartcard Licence Interoperability Protocol (SLIP), which is the standard referenced to by the drivers licence project.


2010

July 2010 to June 2011 Licence Costs

  • One year | $37.35
  • Two years | $52.05
  • Five years | $96.05

Queensland’s new driver licence

12th of May 2010 | Media Statement

The Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan declared that Queensland will soon have the most secure drivers licence system in Australia!

  • Biometric imaging is used rather than the old Polaroid photo. What that means is that when your photo is taken at the CSC or police station, a 16 point computer image of your face is taken and stored on the computer. That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name.
  • A number of visual security features including hologram, special inks, a watermark and shadowing.
  • A computer chip which stores your personal information, security PIN and shared secrets

Still talk of the computer chip with personal information, PIN and shared secrets which never eventuated so even up until the launch of the licence they were still misleading the public.

Providing the most secure licensing system in the country comes at a cost but the price of a Queensland licence will still compare favourably to other major Australian states.

The current cost of a five-year licence in Queensland is $73.30.

The new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week.

Next financial year the most secure licence in the country will still be cheaper than licences in four other states.

And even in five years time, our licence will cost about the same as what drivers in NSW, South Australia and the ACT pay right now (NSW $151, ACT $145, SA $150).

Each time they renew their licence, facial image recognition technology will ensure they are who they claim to be.

Minister for Transport, The Honourable Rachel Nolan | 22nd of May 2010

The Government will undertake a carefully planned roll out of the new licensing system and Department of Transport and Main Roads staff will take part in an initial trial in August.

Following that Toowoomba residents, given the city’s mix of demographics and licence products, will be able to renew licences under the new system later in the year.


The last sentence is an outright lie, they had been promoting that it can be renewed online at this point so either the Minister for Transport was telling porkies or they knew nothing about their portfolio.

Justifying the increases by making it a price per week is beyond stupid and why stop there who not publicise the registration fees as a price per day!


Driver’s licences to double in price

12th of May 2010 | Brisbane Times

The price of Queensland driver’s licences is set to more than double as the state embraces new chip technology.

The new licences, embedded with a computer chip, will be introduced in Toowoomba before the end of this year, before becoming available across the state by the end of 2011.

Special biometric imaging will replace the current polaroid photo on laminated licences.

“The laminate driver’s licences currently in use across Queensland have been in existence for almost 25 years and are in need of a major overhaul,” Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said.

The price of a new five-year licence will initially rise from $73.30 to $96.05, before escalating again to $152.50 in 2014, an overall increase of 108 per cent.

The cost will be even greater for truck drivers who will need a separate heavy vehicle licence under the new system.

The price increase is the latest hit for the state’s drivers, after hefty registration cost increases came into effect last year, while the government scrapped the fuel subsidy.

brisbanetimes.com.au reported last year at how the new licence would begin rolling out in 2010.

RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The biometric cameras needed in Queensland Transport offices and police stations will cost the state government $10,000 each to install and operate.

Smart licences have been six years in the planning and it is expected to take a further five before the rollout is complete.

Drivers will not be forced to switch to the new licences but will instead wait until their old ones expire.

Cards will still display traditional licencing information such as the licence number, name, date of birth, gender and height, address, class of licence and expiry date but the on-board microchip can be programmed with further data.

The chip will hold digital versions of the displayed information as well as digital certificates to prove the authenticity of the card as well as a “record of access” to show who has accessed information contained on the chip.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Authorities have said only Queensland and interstate police, transport compliance officers and driver licensing authorities will be able to access information stored on the chip.

“Even police will need a court order to access the information,” Ms Nolan said.

Drivers will have a 16-point hologram taken of their face, which will be stored in a central information system.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.


RACQ spokesman Gary Fites said the price hike was justified given the new security for motorists.

”We can see a more justifiable price rise in this given for what is essentially for a new and improved product compared with far less justification for the toll increases and the sorts of registration increases we’ve seen,” Mr Fites said.

”This is something people pay for every five years. It’s not hitting them every year, and it’s not hitting them every time they fill up at the [bowser].

”We would have more concern if we were paying that sort of increase for essentially the same product.”

The price hike is justified when they didn’t deliver on any of the promises! This is a new and improved product in what way?

What about those who renew every year? It makes no difference if you choose one, two, three, four or five years as you are still paying an excessive amount for something that costs under $10 in Europe for 5-10 years and that offers more security!

The RACQ said the same in 2014 so clearly they have an agenda to push that isn’t looking after the motorists of Queensland.

Security features on the new cards include facial recognition technology which links the card to an image, signature storage, high tech encryption and a PIN code which the cardholder must enter to allow authorities access to the information stored on the card.

Where is this PIN code they talk about? Seems that the government has failed to deliver.

Ms Nolan said the new look licences were designed to protect the tens of thousands of victims of personal identity fraud in Queensland each year.

Identity fraud continues to increase and looking at the statistics the new drivers licence has done nothing to abate that. Another failure.

“That makes it virtually impossible for someone else to come along later and try to get a fake licence in your name,” the minister said.

Except for the casual staff member who was able to issue 60 driver licences to people that already had licences under different names and the system that cost hundreds of millions did nothing to detect these duplicates.


New driver licence makes debut in Toowoomba

5th of November 2010 | Media Statement

The most secure driver licence system in Australia will make its public debut in Toowoomba today.

It’s a big day as we start to move from old laminated licences to delivering the most secure driver licence system in the country

When Queenslanders apply for their new licence a digital photograph will be taken and stored centrally.

Licences will also be mailed to customers within two weeks rather than being available on the spot.

“It’s just like getting your passport or a credit card. Licences will be produced at a central location meaning greater identity security and protection,” she said.

“It’s a big change but it will make Queensland licences the most secure in Australia – helping in the fight against fraud and identity theft.”

Ms Nolan said the new Queensland driver licence will initially cost $96.05 for five years, equal to around 37 cents per week.

Taking into account CPI and the cost of implementing the new system a new five-year licence in 2014-15 will cost $152.50 or around 58 cents a week – comparable to the current cost of licences in other states.

2011

2012

July 2012 to June 2013 Licence Costs

A 63 per cent increase over July 2010 to June 2011 cost

  • One year | $64.20
  • Two years | $89.50
  • Five years | $143.75

2013

Queensland drivers hit with licence increases

29th of May 2013 | CourierMail

QUEENSLAND motorists are being slugged with increases of up to 71 per cent for new smartcard driver’s licences since their rollout less than three years ago.

The cost of the new licences, which drivers can sign up for from one to five years, has risen by an average of 63 per cent since they were introduced in late 2010.

About half of the state’s 3.4 million registered drivers have already bought the new plastic credit-card sized licences but about 1.69 million drivers are still using the old laminate cards.

The cost of a one-year smartcard licence climbed by 71 per cent from $37.35 in 2010-11 to $64.20 in 2012-13.

The cost of a two-year smartcard licence also rose by 71 per cent from $52.05 to $89.50 in the same period.

Five-year smartcard licences rose by 49 per cent from $96.05 in 2010-11 to $143.75 in 2012-13.

A spokeswoman for Transport Minister Scott Emerson blamed the hefty increases on the former Labor government.

“The increase to the cost of a driver’s licence reflects the cost of producing the new card which was set under the previous government,” she said.

“Unfortunately this is another example of Labor’s reckless spending with no consideration for the impact it would have on taxpayers.”

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

The cards have a number of visual and technological security features designed to make it easier to identify forgeries.

Queensland Council of Social Service director Mark Henley said the rising costs to smartcard licences was yet another increasing cost for Queenslanders.

“I think it’s really important that the Government has a holistic view of any of the prices or costs that they passed on to the public with goods or services they provide such a licence,” he said.

“They need to have a line of sight of what the overall impact is for people.

“One of the biggest problems people face is managing the increasing costs across a variety of services and this is another increase in cost people have to wear.”

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

The option to renew laminated licences was phased out in October.

Drivers cannot upgrade from a laminated card to a smartcard online, it must be completed at a Department of Transport office.

Smartcard users are able to renew their cards electronically.


The Newman Government is looking at ways to reduce the data added to the chip and help make it smaller and cheaper which would help reduce the computer systems needed to manage the licences and cut costs.

Seriously?!? The Minister believes that the amount of data written to a tiny amount of memory has anything to with the cost of the cards and why did they achieve nothing in relation to the cost of the drivers licence in their time in government? Once again a Minister criticises the previous government, promises to reduce costs but does nothing.

The card already has none of the features that were promised so what’s actually stored on the card? The police don’t have readers so why bother putting anything on the card as the chip is not used! There’s your cost saving, replace the chip card with a standard card like they should have used in the first place but of course as you’ll find out further down the cost of the card is not the issue. The government is using this card as an excuse to tax us through yet another fee that doesn’t reflect the cost of providing the service.

RACQ executive manager of public policy Michael Roth said the licence increases were “steep” but their implementation of the system was “a good decision.”

Another failure from the RACQ who are totally out of touch with the motorists they claim to represent. They continue to turn themselves into a large corporation that exits only to make huge profits.

How can a card that does nothing that it was claimed to do be a good decision?

The cost to roll out the new Queensland licensing system was about $139 million and it’s hoped all drivers will have migrated to the new technology by the end of 2017.

This new technology of course isn’t actually being used so what did we get for $139 million? In 2003 they quoted the price as $60 million for an government roll out and a likely no cost roll out if they enter into a public/private partnership like they did so how did the prices increase by $139 million or more and why is no-one held accountable for this excessive waste of taxpayer funds?

2014

Fake Queensland drivers’ licences being investigated by crime commission amid terror identity fears

22nd of September 2014 | Cairns Post

A CRIME and Corruption Commission investigation is underway into a major fraud involving Queensland drivers’ licences, that may have helped would-be terrorists develop new identities.

A casual employee of Transport and Main Roads — who News Corp Australia understands had her employment terminated in December — is at the centre of the investigation which has been kept quiet by the department and the CCC.

It is alleged she issued upwards of 60 fraudulent licences in return for payment of $1000 each.

Sources within the department have revealed the employee allegedly “overrode” the Transport Integrated Customer Access (TICA) system to issue the licences.

The cards themselves were uncompromised.

A CCC spokesman confirmed an investigation was underway and it was “ongoing”.

“The Department of Transport and Main Roads is fully cooperating and assisting the CCC,” said the spokesman.

Staff who worked with the woman are among those who have been interviewed over the alleged fraud.

University of Queensland national security expert Professor Brian Lovell said a fake drivers licence would be considered a valuable commodity for people with criminal intent.

“If you look at the 9-11 attackers, there were 19 of them, and they had 63 drivers’ licences between them,” said Prof Lovell.

“A fake driver’s licence gives you a false identity so you can hide your trail.”

He said someone with a fake driver’s licence in Australia could easily rent a three-tonne truck and pack it with explosives.

“The Queensland licensing system is very, very strong (security wise) but if you’ve got someone on the inside issuing licences to people who have bad agendas, that’s of grave concern,” Prof Lovell said.

Queensland drivers’ licences underwent a major overhaul in late 2010 to increase their security and prevent fraud.

As well as being embedded with a computer chip, the licences feature holograms and special ink to make them almost impossible to replicate.

Information posted on the TMR website states the former laminated licence “became increasingly vulnerable to tampering and fraud and needed to be replaced with more secure technology”.

Their introduction resulted in a doubling of the price for a five-year licence from $75 to $154.

Motorists generally have to wait up to two weeks for a new licence while they are made by Victorian company Placard and returned to Queensland.

The “unsmiling” images featured on the licences have been unpopular with motorists but lauded by experts as a key to reducing crime, and even terrorism.

The CCC refused to say what the fraudulently issued licences were being used for, or if they had been recovered by the crime-fighting agency.

It is also unknown what changes, if any, have been implemented at TMR to prevent the issue of licences without proper authorisation.

A department spokesman said they were unable to comment because it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the CCC.


So much for the facial recognition system that was supposed to prevent people getting multiple drivers licences in different names. Why did we spend so many hundreds of millions for systems that don’t do what they claim?

2015

2016

2017

July 2017 to June 2018 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $76.25
  • Two year licence | $106.30
  • Three year licence | $131.55
  • Four year licence | $152.20
  • Five year licence | $170.75

2018

July 2018 to June 2019 drivers licence cost

  • One year licence | $78.90
  • Two year licence | $110.00
  • Three year licence | $136.15
  • Four year licence | $157.55
  • Five year licence | $176.75

Comparison of cards

Italy

Gemalto the same company that produces the card used in Queensland has a more advanced contactless version of the card used in Italy as a national ID card. The cost of this card is 16.79 Euros with an average cost of 23 Euros because some areas charge an administrative fee.

The contactless electronic identity card is a polycarbonate document including full name, date and place of birth, fiscal number, residence and citizenship, code of the city of issuance, issuance and expiration dates, authentication certificate, fingerprints and a digital version of the photo.

It appears the card has no expiry date so assuming 10 years this is AUD $30 or $3 per year but the Queensland Government charge us an extra $15 per year on top of the savings they are making by not having to produce their own cards inhouse.

The Rest of Europe

Costs vary from country to country but looking at countries with similar cards (these are not driver licences but are cards with the same or more capabilities inbuilt for which we are being charged over $15 per year by the Queensland Government). If these countries can supply these cards so cheaply why are we paying so much?

Estonia | €25 for 5 years

Germany | €28.80 for 10 years

Hungary | Free

Lithuania | €8.6 per 10 years (Same card as Queensland)

Implementation Costs

It’s hard to find a comparison however one system implemented in Bulgaria cost USD $139 million for a 10 year contract to develop and supply a system for issuing biometric identity documents. This includes 1 million passports and 2.8 million identity documents.

Estonia has a far more advanced contactless card that can be used to vote, public transport and a lot more and is used for ID cards, residence permit cards, digital IDs and diplomatic IDs. A new 5 year contract for this service cost €40 million | AUD $60 million.

The Estonian ID cards are used in health care, electronic banking, signing contracts, public transit, encrypting email and voting. Estonia offers over 600 e-services to citizens and 2400 to businesses. The card’s chip stores digitised data about the authorised user, most importantly: the user’s full name, gender, national identification number, and cryptographic keys and public key certificates.

The newest version of Estonia’s ID card, featuring additional security elements and a contactless interface. The new cards also utilise Estonia’s own font and elements of its brand. One new detail is the inclusion of a QR code, which will make it easier to check the validity of the ID card. The new design also features a color photo of its bearer, which doubles as a security element and is made up of lines; looking at the card at an angle, another photo appears. The new ID cards, however, have contactless functionality built in. The new chip has a higher capacity, allowing us to add new applications to it.

The promised features from 2003

Let’s see how this card delivered on it’s promises from 2003. Failed promises have a strike through them.

  • Reduce identity fraud
  • Allow you to keep emergency contact details on the card (all police cars would be fitted out with readers)
  • Remove the need for address on the licence (all businesses that need the address would have to have card readers to read the address for example at the time video stores, car rentals etc)
  • Allow business to be transacted online with the Transport Department
  • Public transport payment card
  • Used for vending machine and small transactions in stores

Summary

In summary the promises of the “Smart Card” were over-stated and aside from a higher security card that could have been achieved through the use of card printers replacing the existing laminating machines there has been no benefit except to the private companies involved in the manufacturing of the cards and systems that support it. Instead of choosing an off the shelf system as used throughout Europe we choose instead to deal with multiple companies to produce a solution to a problem that not only did not exist but we wasted vast amounts for features that will never be used.

Other countries have continued to update their cards and allowed them to be used for public transport and many other useful applications, our politicians just talk about us being a world leader all the time but nothing could be further from the truth. Politicians should be held responsible for their actions, they are paid incredibly well by world standards, they have vast resources at their snouts fingertips but they continue to mislead the public and throw away taxpayer money because there are no ramifications.

The quoted cost of implementing this system was $139 million however drivers are paying around $15 a year extra and with 3.6 million drivers in 2017 this is an additional cost of $54 million per year since 2010. By the year 2019 the government has profited by around $400 million and delivered a product that offers nothing that the deployment of secure card printers to each Transport office would have offered. By the time they look at replacing these cards it will be 2025-30 and over a billion dollars will have been wasted.

Ministers who should represent the taxpayer seem to instead be pushing the technology that lobby groups are promoting. What has occurred with the “Smart Card” licence in Queensland is nothing short of criminal, in the 9 years since implementation the additional costs to drivers has been in the order of $540 million of which over $400 million is profit for a “Smart Card” that delivered nothing.

Other countries like Estonia are actually leading the way with innovation, the Queensland Governments idea of innovation is to talk about it in Media Statements thinking that if they repeat it enough it will come true and they will fool citizens into believing their rubbish.

And to top it off they have just announced they are looking at creating a new digital drivers licence for your smartphone, yet another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Identity theft is still an issue and one partial solution to this problem would be to have a drivers licence number that changes with each renewal but operates in a similar way to virtual credit card numbers. The card number stays the same behind the scenes but from outwards appearance this is a new number. If you think that your drivers licence has been compromised just order a renewal and it will give you a new drivers licence number and the old one is voided. When someone applies for credit using the old card number it is flagged as expired and doesn’t go through.

This new driver licence was supposed to reduce the amount of identity fraud but it has achieved nothing as most fraud is committed online using your drivers licence number. Imagine if they used a system like in Estonia where you could use a secure smart card to prove your identity.

Internet Censorship in Australia and New Zealand, who decides?

Who is blocking and why?

In the aftermath of the Christchurch attack there has been a disturbing trend from the government and large corporations to censor by making threats and actively blocking access to websites. This includes the extensive blacklisting of many websites that have tens of thousands of users from Australia and New Zealand all because there maybe a link to a video or the manifesto. Interestingly the website that first broadcast the video to millions of people Facebook is not blocked, nor is YouTube but it is OK to block smaller sites as they don’t have the resources to take action against government and large corporations.

Mainstream media are also distorting facts in order to create news.

This article is not about the attack and I am not offering an opinion on the contents or links to websites, nor the video itself, nor the manifesto but this is about the increasing issue of Internet Censorship in Australia and New Zealand.

A number of ISPs in Australia and New Zealand are blocking access to websites that they have deemed to promote material or discussion relating to the Christchuch attack and the New Zealand Government are threatening long jail terms for people distributing copies of the video.

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (Google) are platforms and aggregators which means they collect content from various sources and display or link to this content. Traditional media on the other hand are publishers and have control over what they write and publish.

There is currently a move to hold news aggregators to a higher standard then news publishers by monitoring and censoring the material on these platforms. The West has long been critical of many countries for suppression and censorship of the media but now this free speech which is part of the Western world is under attack from our own governments and large corporations who are using tragedies such as Christchurch to make a power grab in order to control what we can view and read online.

Websites blocked include

I don’t know what many of these sites are, I’ve heard of some but it’s irrelevant as to the content or my personal views as if they contain legal content they should not be blocked by large corporations or government.

To show how ridiculous these blocks are 4chan.org has no content relating to the attack but is blocked, Archive.fo and Archive.is are websites that archive content, Bitchute.com has never hosted the video, Dissenter.com is a service that allows you to post comments on websites like Disqus.com, KiwiFarms.net criticised the New Zealand Government, Liveleak.com never hosted the video, Mega.nz is a file sharing service used by business and individuals for private sharing of files, Rainews is an Italian news site, Ren.tv is independent federal TV in Russia, Sejmlog.pl is a news outlet in Poland and ZeroHedge.com is a news site that published a few excerpts from the manifesto and used them in articles.

None of these websites has a right to put forward their argument, no right to a trial, to the right to be innocent until proven guilty and all because a few companies wanted to take the law into their own hands and do what they decided was the the right thing to do.

The websites that did share, host and distribute the video and manifesto are Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (Google) but they are not on the list, see further down for my thoughts as to why. The Daily Mail in the UK published the full manifesto and defied requests to remove it and they are not on the blocked list. The UK’s Mail Online showed edited video and they had the full manifesto available, they are also not blocked and neither is the Sun and Daily Mirror which both ran edited footage. [source]

  • 4chan.org
  • 4channel.org
  • 8ch.net
  • 8chan.org
  • anonfile.com
  • ar15.com
  • archive.fo
  • archive.is
  • bestgore.com
  • betsysbiblechat.com
  • bishopikediblog.com
  • bitchute.com | Alternative to YouTube
  • blazingcatfur.ca
  • cdn-03.minfil.com
  • d.tube | Alternative to YouTube
  • dailystormer.name
  • darkweb.tokyo
  • deathaddict.co
  • dissenter.com | Allows comments to be placed on websites
  • documentcloud.org
  • encyclopediadramatica.rs | Wiki that discusses current events and topics
  • endchan.xyz
  • filedropped.com
  • files-uploader.xyz.pw
  • finanzaonline.com
  • hollywoodlanews.com
  • ilfoglio.it
  • kaotic.com
  • kiwifarms.net | Internet forum
  • liveleak.com | Alternative to YouTube
  • livestreamfails.com
  • looksim.net
  • lulz.com
  • mega.co.nz and mega.nz | File sharing site
  • mixtape.moe
  • orgishforums.com
  • rainews.it | Italian State TV
  • ren.tv | Russian independent TV channel
  • rgho.st
  • sejmlog.pl | Polish news site
  • seomarket.orgmx.com
  • toreentz2.eu
  • up.ey.md
  • uploadfiles.io | Anonymous file sharing
  • voat.co
  • wickersoft.com
  • zerohedge.com | Independent news site

The companies involved in these blocking are

  • 2degrees
  • Optus Australia
  • Optus NZ
  • Spark
  • Telstra
  • Vocus
  • Vodafone NZ

Apparently the large corporations now want to act as censor so they can push their opinion on what can and can’t be viewed. Where does this stop once you start down this path? Does Spark block access to someone running in an election because they don’t agree with them? Does Telstra block access to an organisation because they don’t agree with them?

Optus

This information was just sent in from LULZ.com who have posted this information on twitter and I have added it to the list above to keep a list of all the sites that have been targeted. The drawback is that other ISPs could use this information to block as well but we need to accept that this is the future and find ways around large corporation and government attempts to censor especially in Australia when we look at the new encryption laws.

Email sent to Optus Staff
The attached blocked site list

Spark

Simon Moutter the CEO of Spark has even gone as far as to claim this is to protect the children and vulnerable people from these awful images but what about all the other awful images on the internet including from other attacks? This is a parental responsibility to censor what their children see, not that of a large corporation who want to force their opinion on their customers.

What is hate material? Something you disagree with? Who would define hate material for private organisations to censor or are they left to choose what they censor themselves? Helen Clark (former Prime Minister of NZ) and Simon Moutter seem willing to be the judge that hate material is anything they don’t like.

Simon Moutter | CEO Spark | Twitter | 15/03/2019 at 14:55
Simon Moutter | CEO Spark | Twitter | 16/03/2019 at 03:22
Simon Moutter | CEO Spark | Twitter | 16/03/2019 at 03:29
Simon Moutter | CEO Spark | Twitter | 16/03/2019 at 08:19

Telstra

Telstra News | Telstra Corporation | Twitter | 18/03/2019 at 16:19

Open letter from Spark, Vodafone NZ and 2degrees

The brainiacs at Spark, Vodafone NZ and 2degrees sent an open letter on the 20th of March 2019 to the CEOs of Facebook, Twitter and Google in a weak attempt to justify their actions and to no doubt try and use the attack in Christchurch for pushing their agenda. I’ve only posted the key points. The full letter will be posted in another article.

You may be aware that on the afternoon of Friday 15 March, three of New Zealand’s largest broadband providers, Vodafone NZ, Spark and 2degrees, took the unprecedented step to jointly identify and suspend access to web sites that were hosting video footage taken by the gunman related to the horrific terrorism incident in Christchurch.

They fail to mention that they are now blocking sites for

  • Criticism of the New Zealand Government
  • Open discussion about the Christchurch attack
  • Quoting parts of the manifesto
  • Legitimate news sites
  • The entire Russian Federal TV network
  • And even news sites in other languages

That didn’t take long to expand what they are blocking, what next? Any sites that are critical of them? Where do they stop and why do they believe that it is their job as an internet provider to block access to information online? Why are they keeping the list of sites they are blocking a secret instead of posting them online? This lack of transparency is in stark contrast to what they are demanding from others.

You pay for internet access, not someone to decide what websites you can and can’t visit. These ISPs are not your parents, nor your guardian and this stand they are taking is a slippery slope that won’t just end at terrorism but whatever they feel like blocking. Would you allow your electricity provider to decide how and when you can use power, or your telephone provider to tell you who you can and can’t call? So why allow your internet provider to decide what you can and can’t view on the internet.

We acknowledge that in some circumstances access to legitimate content may have been prevented, and that this raises questions about censorship. For that we apologise to our customers. This is all the more reason why an urgent and broader discussion is required.

This is utter bollocks! They have blocked entire websites that contain thousands of different discussions, hundreds of thousands of videos and all because they may have found an uncensored discussion or a link to a video on another site or in some cases where the website was critical of the New Zealand government.

We call on Facebook, Twitter and Google, whose platforms carry so much content, to be a part of an urgent discussion at an industry and New Zealand Government level on an enduring solution to this issue.

This is the bit that shows how hypocritical these three are. The three social media providers who were the first ones to carry this video and spread it are the ones you haven’t blocked. You have instead penalised dozens and dozens of websites that have done nothing wrong and have nothing to do with New Zealand. This is the problem when villages let their idiots get together.

The reason they didn’t target Facebook, Twitter and Google is simple. It would not only cost the three ISPs customers who would leave in droves but the social media companies would have these ISPs in a courtroom before the ink had dried on their signatures. They target smaller websites who don’t have the capability to fight back, just like a bully would do when picking their next victim.

Already there are AI techniques that we believe can be used to identify content such as this video, in the same way that copyright infringements can be identified. These must be prioritised as a matter of urgency.

You believe or you know? There is a difference. I wish there was AI out there to stop fools from posting on the internet and I wouldn’t have to read this ridiculous rant from three people that have no idea what they are talking about. YouTube struggles to stop copyrighted material from being posted, so how will some magical system be able to work out that a terrorist attack is taking place from a video upload?

We have laws in place for drug smuggling but it happens all the time. We have customs officers to screen packages coming but most drugs still make it through. So how will you stop people from posting video, unless you force the platform to check every video before it is uploaded and have someone monitor all live video. Who is going to pay for this and is this yet another case of a few isolated examples being used to ruin what is a working system?

For the most serious types of content, such as terrorist content, more onerous requirements should apply, such as proposed in Europe, including take down within a specified period, proactive measures and fines for failure to do so. Consumers have the right to be protected whether using services funded by money or data.

What happens when three village idiots get together? .

So they claim they want to take content down within a period of time but they were quite willing to block websites immediately without notifying their paying customers or the websites involved. They have blocked news websites, news TV channels and even sites that have said they will not allow the video to be posted. They’re quite happy to be the one deciding what you access on the internet and they do this with impunity and no regard for the rights of that website, service or their customer.

If the New Zealand Government had any balls they would order the ISPs to stop their illegal activities immediately.

Who is supporting the censorship and why?

There have been thousands of instances of all manner of serious crimes and terrorist activities being uploaded and shared on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube (Google) so why all of a sudden are all these companies and groups demanding that this stop?

New Zealand Investment Funds demand censorship

The New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Accident Compensation Corporation, Government Superannuation Fund Authority, National Provident Fund and Kiwi Wealth have called on Facebook, Google and Twitter to take action or they will pull their investments from these companies.

They are also calling on other New Zealand and global investors to join them in seeking to control what material is posted online and the censorship of that content. No doubt if someone is critical of the New Zealand Investment Funds they will also demand that the social media companies remove it.

Yet another example of why control over censorship and the media must never be allowed to fall to large corporations. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund holds $170 million in Facebook stocks.

Full Statement | NEW ZEALAND INVESTMENT FUNDS, WITH COMBINED ASSETS OF MORE THAN NZ$90 BILLION, ADD THEIR WEIGHT TO CALLS FOR FACEBOOK, GOOGLE AND TWITTER TO TAKE ACTION

Australian Ethical grabs a pitchfork and joins the crowd

Australian Ethical is now considering divesting in it’s $8 million of Facebook stocks.

Full Statement | Australian Ethical mulls Facebook divestment

News Limited Lies and why LULZ.com was banned

News Limited are spreading fake news with their article by Marnie O’Neill titled “Website Kiwi Farms refuses to surrender data linked to accused Christchurch terrorist Brendan Tarrant” and their headline is “A notorious web forum has refused requests to surrender data from posts about the accused NZ terrorist, instead unleashing a profane rant.”

But what is the truth? Here is the actual request from New Zealand Police taken from the LULZ website.

At around the time of the shooting there were a number of posts and links posted on kiwifarms.net relating to the shooting and TARRANT

We would like to preserve any posts and technical data including IP addresses, email addresses etc linked to these posts pending a formal legal request .

Part of an email from New Zealand Police to administrator of Kiwi Farms

This is as good as an example as any as to why censorship shouldn’t be allowed to be run by large organisations or the government. The News Limited article is a blatant distortion of the truth and LULZ.com has been banned by various ISPs in Australia and New Zealand because it published the facts.

The police wanting to collect identifiable data from a website where discussions are taken place is the real story however the poorly written and researched News Limited article only seems to only want to attack the people involved instead of looking at the facts.

ABC Australia Censorship

It’s not just News Limited distorting the truth but Australia’s ABC is once again involved in pushing their own agenda. Compare the coverage of recent attacks.

Christchurch attack | 50 killed

ABC refused to use footage of the attack and instead used some still footage from outside the mosques.

But we weren’t his target audience. All the evidence suggests this was a horrific, cold-blooded, terrorist attack aimed not at the audiences of traditional news organisations but at reaching and triggering atomised and often extreme online audiences.

ABC were quick to point that this attacker was supported online but in the following two attacks they made no mention of the support for those attackers.

Nice attack | 86 killed and Berlin Christmas market attack | 12 killed

The ABC showed graphic photos and videos of these attacks along with descriptions. Footage of the trucks hitting pedestrians is shown which includes footage from social media. Phones and video posted on social media are discussed in their articles not condemned.

All of these attacks were terrorism, all involved mass casualties but when you have media outlets like the ABC offering such a biased coverage you can understand why censorship is so dangerous. If the media cannot report on the facts and instead twist and distort the news to suit their own agenda the public have to be able to look at the facts and make up their own mind.

The Australian Government shows why we are so behind the rest of the world!

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the problem is easy to fix, maybe we should give him a keyboard, a Facebook logon and get him to slap together this AI system to detect violence in Live Streams! Because clearly an algorithm to detect hate content being uploaded on a live stream is the same as displaying an ad on your smartphone based on your browsing history. Is it any wonder why Australia is one of the most backwards countries in the world when we have leaders saying such stupid things.

If they can write an algorithm to make sure that the ads they want you to see can appear on your mobile phone, then I’m quite confident they can write an algorithm to screen out hate content on social media platforms

The Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison | 19th of March 2019

And to further show how backwards we are “He has penned a letter to the chair of June’s G20 summit in Osaka, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, calling for the issue of social media governance to be added to the top of the agenda.”

The Greens of course have really excelled this time with their desire to have companies like Facebook become public owned like essential infrastructure but he clearly forgot that Australia’s essential infrastructure has all been sold off!

“Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale said social media had become essential infrastructure and a debate was needed about public ownership of these organisations.”

You just have enough people who can monitor this stuff and make sure it gets taken down quickly

Richard Di Natale | Leaders of the Greens party | 19th of March 2019

Brilliant idea Dick but 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single MINUTE. How do you propose that that have enough people to watch 18,000 minutes uploaded each minute given this goes on 24 hours a day 7 days a week? Just to have enough staff to cover a 24 hour period if going to need over 72,000 people and this doesn’t take into account time off or weekends so lets say 150,000 just to watch videos on YouTube alone and they currently have 3-4000 employees.

“Labor leader Bill Shorten echoed Mr Morrison’s sentiment that the answer lied in programming.”

I do not believe it is beyond the technological capacity for some of the richest, largest, most powerful, cleverest, most sophisticated businesses in the world, not to be able to better monitor the material before they publish it

Bill Shorten | Leader of the Labor party | 19th of March 2019

There is no better demonstration on why Australia has no future when our three leaders can be so utterly stupid.

Source of the stupidity | Scott Morrison wants crackdown on social media companies after sharing of Christchurch shootings footage

Censorship Police

New Zealand Police – 10 years for possession

New Zealand police have warned that just having, viewing or sharing the video from the attack can lead to a maximum jail term of 10 years. This post was removed before I could screenshot it so this image is from Nick Monroe on Twitter.

New Zealand police ask you to upload video of the attack but if you didn’t film the video you face being arrested for distributing objectionable material. So does this also mean that if you report a crime that you are not a party to that you face being charged with that crime?


Police have arrested a man on the 17th of March 2019 in relation to offences relating to distribute or possess an objectionable publication. It is not clear as to details of his crime.

More arrests have been made and most have been refused bail until their next appearance in April.

44 year old Philip Neville Arps | 18 year old supressed name

Woman arrested for posting comments on her Facebook page!

New Zealand Police have even arrested people for their fashion!

Some workplaces have fired employees for viewing or sharing the video which raises the question of where is the line drawn? The live footage of 9/11 with people jumping to their deaths for example was broadcast on the internet and TV and is still available on YouTube.

This video that was broadcast live over the internet to millions of people can now see those same people facing 10 years in prison or 14 years if they shared a copy? Who decides what is objectionable and how is the average person supposed to understand that New Zealand is one of the most censored countries in the world with laws that can apply retrospectively once the chief censor has classified a video!

The pattern has been an established one: the state will always — always — use a crisis, real or invented, to enhance its political muscle. Most of the time, this is done at the cost of individual liberties.

Nazarul Islam | Probing censorship, clamped on Christchurch fallout | 22nd of March 2019

Classification of the video

Classification of the video was not performed until the 19th of March but this only applied to the full video, if it has been edited in any way or reduced in length it has to be reclassified.

The Privacy Commissioner John Edwards has called on Facebook to share the names of everyone who shared the video with police.

The Chief Censor David Shanks has said that the official classification is retrospective so police and enforcement agencies can prosecute for sharing or viewing.

Facebook’s VP for global policy Monika Bickert said they would not normally share account details unless there was an imminent threat of violence.

On Saturday the 23rd of March 2019 the 75 page manifesto has been classified as objectionable because the chief censor David Shanks believes that it promotes murder and terrorism.

Possessing, sharing or downloading the document or the contents of it is now a criminal offence under New Zealand law. Shanks has asked anyone who sees it to report it and if you have a copy or a printout delete or destroy it.

If you didn’t know the material was objectionable and you were found in possession of it, a maximum fine of $10,000 could apply, If you knew the content was objectionable and were found in possession of it – the legal test here is ‘knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the publication is objectionable’ – a maximum term of 14 years imprisonment could apply.

Deputy Chief Censor Jared Mullen, 19th of March 2019

In the case of the Christchurch clip, the situation has been complicated by Google-owned YouTube’s decision to allow edited versions of the footage.

We have not classified any edited versions of the video, but we are working to support the DIA’s’ Digital Safety Unit who are providing advice to media organisations to support a lawful and principled approach to reporting on this matter.

Chief Censor David Shanks, 19th of March 2019

source

Censorship in New Zealand

Censorship is rife in New Zealand and this ranges from books being banned and the New Zealand International Film Festival is the only one in the world that has to pay to have all its films classified.

Ways to get around the censorship

Like the Australian Government website blocks these are performed at a DNS level so circumnavigating this is reasonably easy at the moment.

I’m not 100% sure on the legality of VPN’s in Australia as there have been questions around their use since the Australian Government introduced laws to force companies that encrypt data to provide them the key to access your data.

I’ll put together a better guide later on but in the meantime you can do this a few ways.

Change the DNS in your router

In the router configuration change the DNS settings from your ISPs to Google and/or Clouflares

  • Google DNS | Primary 8.8.8.8 | secondary 8.8.4.4
  • Cloudflare DNS | Primary 1.1.1.1 | secondary 1.0.0.1

Use a VPN | Virtual Private Network

Use a VPN from outside Five Eyes, Nine Eyes and 14 Eyes countries, these are countries that collect and share surveillance data and they record your activities online

  • Five Eyes includes many agencies inside Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Nine Eyes includes the countries above but adds Denmark, France, Netherlands and Norway.
  • Fourteen Eyes adds Germany, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Spain.

This list is not exhaustive but these are VPNs located outside of the Fourteen eyes.

ExpressVPN | British Virgin Islands
Perfect Privacy | Switzerland
NordVPN | Panama
VPNArea | Bulgaria
VPN.ac | Romania
VyprVPN | Switzerland

New road rules in Australia that will do nothing but kill people, logic once again out the window!

At first glance the road rules introduced by South Australia and now NSW and Victoria are there to save lives but the reality is all they do is kill people. No-one is suggesting that emergency workers do not deserve protection on the road but the rules introduced to save them have done anything but and have costs lives, people licenses and created confusion where you have different laws in different states that have not been communicated properly to the drivers especially those from interstate.

This points again to the problems with Australia where each state whilst following the Australian Road Rules also introduce their own laws without any regard to other states nor looking at the experiences in other countries.

These are the road rules in question for each of the states that have introduced them and following them is the simple rule that all drivers across Australia should be using.

South Australia

Drivers are now required to travel at 25km/h when driving through an emergency service speed zone. This law came into effect on 1 September 2014.

The 25km/h Emergency Service Speed Zone applies on an area of road:

  • In the immediate vicinity of an emergency service vehicle that has stopped on the road and is displaying a flashing blue or red light; or
  • Between two sets of flashing blue or red lights that have been placed by an emergency worker at either end of a length of road on which an emergency vehicle has stopped.
  • It does not apply if you are driving on a road that is divided by a median strip and the emergency service speed zone is on the other side of the road beyond the median strip.

An emergency services vehicle includes:

  • Ambulance
  • Fire service vehicle (CFS, MFS or Federal Aviation Rescue)
  • State Emergency Services (SES) vehicle
  • Police.

Penalties are the same as speeding, if in a 80, 100 or 110kph zone and you can’t or don’t slow down you face immediate loss of license no matter what state you come from.

Victoria

From 1 July 2017 you must slow down to a speed that would enable you to stop safely when approaching and passing enforcement, emergency or escort vehicles that are stationary or moving slowly (less than 10km/h)*, and have either:

  • Red and blue flashing lights
  • Magenta (purple flashing lights)
  • An alarm sounding.

You must not exceed 40km/h when passing the vehicle and not increase your speed until a safe distance from the scene (more on this below).

The new road rule does not apply to vehicles on the opposite side of a divided road (separated by a median strip) from an emergency or enforcement vehicle scene.

  • A fire truck extinguishing roadside spot fires is an example of a slow moving emergency vehicle.

A ‘safe distance’ has not been defined in the road rule because every incident will be different.

The infringement penalty for breaching the new road rule is 1.75 penalty units ($272.05), with the maximum court penalty of 5 penalty units ($777.30). No demerit points apply.

NSW

The new rule from the 1st of September 2018 requires motorists to slow down to 40km/h when passing a stationary emergency vehicle displaying blue or red flashing lights.

The rule also requires motorists to give way to any person on foot in the immediate area of the emergency vehicle. Motorists should not increase their speed until they are a safe distance past the vehicle.

For everyone’s safety, motorists must slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles displaying blue or red flashing lights
The rule applies to vehicles travelling in both directions, unless the road is divided by a median strip

Motorists who do not comply with the rule will face a $448 fine and three demerit points with the maximum court penalty of $2,200.

Western Australia

SLOMO (Slow Down, Move Over) law was introduced on the 2nd of March 2018.

The SLOMO law requires drivers to slow down to 40 km/h when approaching specific stationary emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights while attending an incident.

SLOMO applies to all emergency service vehicles and first response personnel who need to attend to roadside incidents very quickly. Their priority is the safety and survival of the person requiring assistance.

As well as emergency vehicles, SLOMO includes tow trucks, RAC roadside assistance patrol vehicles, and Main Roads Incident Response Vehicles, which assist with the removal of broken down vehicles and debris.

Vehicles travelling in oncoming traffic from the other direction will not be required to slow down.

However, if there is an incident that has occurred in the middle of the road or on a median strip for instance, traffic in both directions would be required to slow down if lanes in both directions are affected by an incident.

The penalty for this offence is three demerit points and $300.

Summary

Four states with four different laws that apply to different vehicles.

  • South Australia fines you for exceeding the 25kph speed limit and loss of license is easy, another state has a fine but no demerit points and two other states have different demerit points and fines.
  • Victoria requires you to slow for slow moving or stationary vehicles and the other three only for stationary.
  • West Australia requires you to move over where possible, the other three do not.
  • West Australia also doesn’t apply to traffic coming in the other direction without a median strip whereas the others do.
  • Each state applies the laws to different emergency vehicles and one includes roadside service.
  • Every state has different interpretations of how soon you can speed up again.

Problems with implementation

Victoria didn’t enter the correct offence code so all fines had to be withdrawn as three points were assigned to those fines when no points should apply. However police started issued summons to appear in court until the issue was resolved. [source]


It took just one day after Victoria’s new 40km/h speed limit when passing emergency vehicles was introduced before a big truck slammed into the rear of a small sedan writing it off. [source]


A NSW driver who was unaware of the 25km/h rule in South Australia was fined $1007, disqualified from driving for 6 months after driving past two police cars with their red and blue lights on in early 2018 before laws were introduced in NSW. The police were located 12m off the road and she passed them at a speed of 85km/h hour in a 110km/h zone. The driver was a female on her own travelling from Northern NSW to visit friends in Adelaide, she had driven for 49 years with no infringements and had to find a place to store her caravan and organise a lift to get back home. [source]


South Australian Police and RAA suggested an increase in speed to 40km/h”But SAPOL and the RAA said it had led to a potentially dangerous situation on stretches of high-speed road — the South-Eastern Freeway in particular.” The government however refuse to increase the speed. [source]


More ambiguity around the new laws with NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey claiming that it’s up motorists how fast they slow down and to what speed. “In response to these concerns, NSW Roads Minister, Melinda Pavey, said it is up to motorists to assess whether it is safe to slow all the way down to 40km/h.

“To slam your breaks on to get down to 40 is dangerous and no one expects people to be driving in an unsafe manner,” she told ABC radio.

“We must be aware of what is behind us, appreciating and respecting that it takes a truck a lot longer to slow down.”” [source]


Cop injured under emergency speed rule [source]

What should we do?

Implement an Australian wide law similar to the United States move over laws which refer to requiring drivers to give a one lane buffer to stopped emergency vehicles. For example, while driving in the right lane, if the driver sees a stopped police car, the driver is required to move one lane over to the left to give enough buffer space to avoid any potential accidents.

Communicate changes to laws such as this by including an insert with vehicle registration papers as not everyone watches TV or reads News Papers to see advertising that is costly and ineffective. Distribute for free printed road rule refreshers at newsagencies, service stations and car servicing locations. Given that most people have to fill their car advertise road rule changes on the pumps or other parts of the service station.

The idea that it’s safe to have to brake heavily from 110km/h to 40km/h or 25km/h shows just how out of touch our lawmakers are.

Another system to use in conjunction with the United States move over laws is to look at how they deal with this in Germany with their unrestricted autobahns, police use a digital sign in the rear window to indicate to the driver to follow and they pull over in a safe location away from the road. Another easy solution to this problem that the Australian Governments will never consider just like the United States one above.

Simply put, Australian Governments will never introduce clear uniform laws across all the states.

Just when you thought that Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme was already complicated along come additional inane requirements!

The companies and organisations involved in the Container Refund Scheme (CRS) have their own rules on how containers are to be returned and with very few sites having Reverse Vending Machines they require you to register your details including bank account, bag up the containers, return them to a Container Refund Point and wait up to six weeks for a refund after they are manually counted.

If the manual count gives a substantially lower number like it has for many people there is no avenue to dispute this.

Each of these Container Refund Points have their own rules on the types of bags, some will provide you bags but often run out and if this is the case you have to travel to another CRP until you find one with bags that you can use. Most of the Container Refund Points will not let you use single use bags, instead you have to buy from the supermarket stronger multiple use bags and nearly all of them will not accept black bags for the safety of the sorting staff so this requires the purchase of more expensive clear bags.

Now one of the companies that requires you to use their own orange coloured bags Envirobank require you to put in exactly 50 containers, no more and no less or they will declare the bag as ineligible (see below for details). But it continues to get better, you cannot drop off 11 bags or more, if you have 501 containers or more you have to go to a depot and make a Statutory Deceleration which will require you to find a Justice of the Peace to witness the signature. All this for $50.10 or more! You couldn’t make this up!

Checking their website there is no mention of the 50 container requirement on their How It Works page which shows a very simple process. Further to this they operate an ineligible bag policy that allows them to keep the containers and void your payment so if you put in 49 or 51 containers it’s goodbye refund!

I checked the Queensland Legislation on this and can find no reference to 500 containers however found that NSW requires a statutory declaration to be made that you purchased the containers in NSW so it’s unknown if they impose this requirement in Queensland or not.

Queensland Legislation does contain this however but it is not clear where and when this applies.

Division 3 Refund amounts for empty containers 20 Bulk quantity—Act, s99T New section 20 defines bulk quantity, for the purposes of providing a refund declaration to a container refund point operator, as at least 1,500 empty containers.

Container Refund Scheme Regulation 2018

Looking at their terms of service shows even more strange requirements including their right to keep your containers without paying you compensation if you include any ineligible containers or waste.

This is also confirmed on a popular forum.

One of the recycling scheme vendors in Queensland (Envirobank) just announced that they will only accept bags that have exactly 50 containers in it. If you have less, you forfeit the entire bag. I exclusively use 1.25L bottles and therefore it is impossible to get 50 into a bag. This is getting beyond ridiculous. I clearly won’t use them anymore but my incentive to use this scheme in general is further diminished.

Whirlpool Post

The even have instructions on how to use the bags, instead of creating a bag that is easy to use they have instead forced the onus onto those returning containers to figure out a solution.

Q. How do I close my orange bags properly?

A. It may seem like a silly question, but it’s more complicated than you think.

You know that the product your delivering is overly complex when you need such lengthy instructions on closing a bag and which make you have such lengthy terms and conditions and terms of service.

All this for a Container Refund Scheme that is truly a fantastic example of Idiocracy. The CRS could have required Reverse Vending Machines to be installed at Supermarkets so you can return your containers from the place you purchased them from when you go shopping. But why go simple, logical and cheap when you can do the opposite?

Queensland’s Container Refund Scheme now requires lids to be removed for safety!

The stupidity of the Queensland Government Container Refund Scheme really knows no bounds, not content with the inefficiency of this complicated, expensive and cumbersome system when much simpler and cheaper options exist they have now require lids to be removed!

Two reasons are given, one is safety as the lids can fly off at high speed apparently and the other is that the plastic of the lid is different and they don’t recycle it. But why is this the problem of the person returning these bottles, do they now transport bottles in their vehicle that leak or do they spend time removing lids at the Container Refund Points and throw them into the landfill bin?

All other countries that offer refunds on containers accept them back with with the lids, the Reverse Vending Machines used throughout parts of Europe and other parts of the world have no problems with lids being fitted and many of these actually crush the bottle to reduce the storage space required in the store. Googling for deaths or injuries from “bottle tops” has found nothing so why is Queensland and the rest of Australia so special that these pose a real and imminent danger? Over the top workplace heath and safety laws? Stupidity? Who really knows.

From the Containers for Change Instagram post on this subject.

The lids off policy is not working. It is ‘encouraging’ littering near the refund collection points. This morning I picked up 242 plastic lids that were thrown in the surrounding roadside vegetation. This scheme was set up to address littering – it is obviously lids MUST be included in the scheme to decrease this littering. The full container must be recovered not just the ‘valuable/easy to recycle PET.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

Hi @plasticfreeseas – we appreciate your help with this. Hi Tracey, lids and bottles are different types of plastic so need to be recycled separately. Lids can also cause safety issues, shooting off bottles at high speeds if they’re crushed. So if you’re returning your containers to a container refund point or recycling them through your Council bin, the lids need to be taken off. Our CRPs have bins at their sites if people forget to do this before arriving.

4changeqld – Take off your container caps – Instagram

@4changeqld Yes I know the plastics are different types. That is not an excuse not to recycle the whole container just the PET. I’m all for separating the lids for safety reasons but there is a responsibility for the scheme to deal with this part of the container not landfill them (or have them end up as small bits of litter). This is a flaw in the scheme fundamentals and should be addressed alongside the PET container. Offsetting this externality of business is unacceptable practice.

plasticfreeseas – Take off your container caps – Instagram

As usual all the hard questions that make sense are ignored such as the following.

So now everyone is asked to drive all the way to a depot to deliver bottles. What will that cost the environment? Kerbside recycling seems far more environmental on that measure.

peterstelmach – Take off your container caps – Instagram

And the following which is only responded to with a contact us message. These issues are quite common and they have made it clear on their website that they will not look into any discrepancies.

I have been saving my eligible bottles for 2 months now. I dropped them off in 6 filled garbage bags and just got my notice that I was paid $2.50. Please explain. I feel that I have been scammed and to think that my whole family have been on a recycling mission to do our best for the environment. We were going to invest the money into a recycling system to help us continue this program at our business. $2.50 might get us some plastic garbage bags to put future bottles in. However, we thought the aim was to REDUCE the use of plastics. Not create more once use wastage.

no_sixty8 – Take off your container caps – Instagram