- Protect our land and water from mining.
- Honesty and integrity in politics
- Local jobs
- People before profits
- Improved heath and education services.



Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Glenugie protest

Merry Christmas from the Glenugie protest against Metgasco's attempts to frack for coal seam gas near Grafton.

Christmas tree at the peaceful Glenugie protest

From the Clarence Greens Facebook page


Visit the site and give your support. Read more at:

The Glenugie (near Grafton) anti- csg protest continues

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas is an important time to remember the need to reduce waste.

Reblogged from the NSW Greens website

Christmas is an important time to remember the need to reduce waste.

The Greens encourage people to share with friends, family and the community the issue of conspicuous consumption.  This issue is at the heart of the consumer capitalism we live under, and one which we must be addressed, if sustainability of resources is to become possible.

We must make changes to the one-upmanship that passes for the sharing of presents.  There are alternatives, options that demonstrate the value friendship, originality and community; those of useful handmade presents, symbolic gestures of sharing, gifts of one's own precious time in the form of a helping hand, a funny poem, or organising a neighbourhood get-together.

It's time to look for alternatives, and enjoy the friendship, the creativity and fun that holidays can bring to us.

NSW Politics – 2012 year in review – a message from David


Reblogged from David's website





Some of the big issues for David and his team in 2012, by portfolio area:
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
PLANNING & HERITAGE
JUSTICE
FORESTRY
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
FIREARMS & GAME COUNCIL
INTERNATIONAL
Thanks to everyone for all your hard work and support in 2012. See you for more of the same next year.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Jeremy Buckingham's Frack Finding Tour of the USA

This is the reality of coal seam gas mining in the USA. Don't be fooled by the publicity of the mining companies and the state government. One little well in the middle of a green field is not the reality.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Australian clean energy: at a crossroads

Reblogged from the Australian Greens

We are at a crossroads. We have the tools we need to cut the pollution that drives global warming and build a clean energy economy. But will we make the choice to do so?

The impacts of global warming are already being felt, and tipping points that scientists fear are getting ever closer, making our task more urgent than ever. But cashed-up polluters and their lobby groups continue to fight every measure to strengthen clean energy in Australia.

We're really proud to have built the foundations this year with the Clean Energy Act that the Greens negotiated: making polluters pay to pollute and using funds to invest in building and improving clean energy technologies, helping care for people by lifting the tax free threshold and building more efficient homes, and helping farmers create healthy landscapes that store more carbon and can deal with the bad times.

Now, we need to remove the obstacles that remain across Australia to moving to a 100% renewable energy economy, as quickly as possible. We have to stop the rush for coal, gas and uranium that threatens to undo all the great work that Australians have done. We have to turn away from the road that leads to climate catastrophe and choose the path that leads to a cleaner, happier, healthier world.

Find out the latest about Australian clean energy, what's holding it back and how to help build it across the country, right here.

Skip to:

Globe still warming: the latest research.

Building clean energy in Australia and around the world.

What's next? Moving to 100% renewable energy.

Don't turn back now: the coal, gas and uranium rush threatens it all.

Time to stop subsidising the rush: ending unfair handouts.

Globe: Still Warming

Globe: still warming
The latest research makes it clear that the world is still warming at a faster rate than ever.
Is Australia ready for a warmer world? Christine Milne has just secured a Senate Inquiry into Australia's preparedness for a warming climate, when it comes to insurance affordability, emergency services, planning and more. You can write to the Inquiry here.

With more and more evidence of faster In this context, cutting the pollution that drives global warming is more important than ever.

Building clean energy in Australia and around the world

Monday, 17 December 2012

Glenugie (near Grafton) Coal Seam Gas Protest




Visit the site and take some support for the protestors - ice, water, cooked meals. Visit the information tent. Take some materials away for friends and relatives. Tell your neighbours. Camp at the site or by the Coldstream River nearby. Your Christmas and New Year will be enriched.

The  Coldstream River is part of the Clarence River catchment. These rivers are too precious to risk.


The Metgasco drill pad at Glenugie


'THE anti-CSG protest at Glenugie continues today with NSW Greens MLC Jan Barham joining the 50 to 60 protesters on the site.' Daily Examiner Story
Banners at Glenugie




'Images from the site of the CSG protest at Avenue Rd, Glenugie on Monday. Photos JoJo Newby' / The Daily Examiner



 'GREENS NSW spokesman on mining Jeremy Buckingham visited the anti-CSG protest at Glenugie on Friday, to rally support.
 Mr Buckingham, just returned from a "frack finding" tour of the United States, said the industry has left behind a legacy of polluted water and rivers. 

"It is clear this is a dangerous industry," said Mr Buckingham.' Daily Examiner Story

Christmas tree at Glenugie's peaceful protest

 

Where is the Glenugie site?

Road is labelled Golden Mile Road on Google maps

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=-29.766132,153.061479




 

 Call to Action - The Time is Now --------CSG Free Northern Rivers

Newcastle rail closure is for developers not residents – Greens


Newcastle Railway Station
Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the NSW Government's decision to close the rail line from Wickham and replace
services with buses will hold back Newcastle and is for the interests of developers rather than residents.

"It's laughable that the government is presenting buses replacing trains as a long term solution. Newcastle needs planning vision, not more of the same," said Ms Faehrmann.

"Removing the line will hold Newcastle back. Infrastructure NSW's tunnel vision of winding back public transport and replacing with more roads and motor vehicles is 70s era thinking and it will be a disaster in the coming decades.

"Why spend so much valuable money on removing public transport infrastructure, when it could be spent improving it.

"The line will be sorely missed if it goes. So much so that I predict a future government will see this folly as it is and bring back the line. But it's not too late to save it and I think the community will come out strongly in its defence.

"The government clearly hasn't thought very hard about alternative solutions to revitalise Newcastle city centre. That's because they are motivated by the interests of big developers rather than the people who live, shop and work in the area.

"We can connect Newcastle and create new spaces for urban renewal without ripping up what little public transport there is. We need more rail not less!" said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Friday, 14 December 2012

O'Farrell continues his war on renewables


Premier Barry O'Farrell's axing of six clean energy schemes will do almost nothing to alleviate household electricity bills, according Greens NSW MP John Kaye.
 
Dr Kaye said: "Apart from the carbon price, all other green schemes have added only $76 a year to the average household power bill over the past five years, compared to a massive $654 from gold plating the wires and poles.
 
"Barry O'Farrell keeps these figures well hidden because they show that the knife he is taking to the energy efficiency and renewable energy schemes is really focused on destroying the green industries, not taking the pressure off households.
 
"Just like the misleading statements on power bills about the impacts of the carbon price, the O'Farrell government is living the Tony Abbott myth that reducing greenhouse gas emissions will cripple household budgets. 
 
"Far from rendering the state green schemes redundant, the carbon price makes them much more effective.
 
"The additional effort from the state government was helping NSW businesses and households reduce their electricity consumption and bring down costs for themselves and for the rest of the community.
 
"The Energy Savings Action Plans focused industry on using electricity more efficiently and cutting waste. Dumping the scheme is a nice gift to the Coalition's friends in big business but it is bad news for the environment.
 
"The Premier is trying to shift the blame away from state's transmission and distribution authorities. The Coalition failed in its first 19 months in office to reign in the excessive infrastructure spending that is the real culprit for rising power bills. Now they are trying to pretend that axing the green schemes will take the pressure off households.
 
"The Nationals and Liberals have conducted a war against renewable energy. The Draft Wind Energy planning guidelines and the Renewable Energy Action Plan have shattered public confidence in the future of carbon-free electricity generation in this state.
 
"This is the next step in driving the wind and solar industries out of the state. 
 
"The Premier's posturing is great news for the coal industry and for the coal-powered generators that the Coalition is trying to privatise but in the long run it will only drive up household bills, squander job opportunities and grow the state's contribution to climate chaos," Dr Kaye said.
 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Lismore meeting a barometer of betrayal

  Reblogged from Aiden Rickett's site 

'The recent visit of the NSW planning minister Hazzard and his departmental bureaucrats to Lismore was always going to be a fiery one. There’s an important context in Lismore. This city voted 87% against coal seam gas mining in September 2012, and three days later the NSW government renewed expired licences and gave one of the first approvals for csg production to gas company Metgasco, that operates exclusively in the Northern Rivers region.'

Complete article at : Lismore meeting a barometer of betrayal







Bellingen Shire Council says 'NO!" to reckless mining practices


Cr King
Greens councillor, Dominic King's motion requiring mining companies to scientifically demonstrate that the mining will be safe and that there will be no detrimental environmental effects, before mining is endorsed, was passed by Bellingen Shire Council on November 28. The motion was passed after a mayoral minute described as 'not strong enough' by Cr King, was unsuccessful.

Mayor Troy's motion is below followed by Cr King's motion. Note: There were two minor amendments to Cr King's motion.

Story in Bellingen Courier Sun

Friday, 30 November 2012

High speed rail for the North Coast ???

A new report, commissioned by Greens Deputy Leader Adam Bandt, outlines a strong economic case for High Speed Rail removing the need to build a second airport for Sydney and shows $48 billion in benefits from a HSR network along the East Coast.

High Speed Rail: Benefits that add up, prepared by a former partner at Deloitte, shows the benefits of HSR in time saved by consumers, congestion savings, accident reduction and pollution reduction.
 
 
“This report undermines the case for a second airport in Sydney,” said Australian Greens transport spokesperson and NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon.
 
“The report’s analysis shows that High Speed Rail could decrease congestion at Sydney Airport, saving $10 billion, which is equivalent to the avoided cost of a second Sydney airport.
 
“High Speed Rail could have a two-fold benefit to Sydney Airport congestion - substitute for 30 percent of forecast 2036 passenger trips and transport 10 per cent of passengers to Canberra Airport from where they can fly to their final destination.
 
“High Speed Rail is therefore predicted as being capable of meeting up to 40 % of future Sydney Airport passenger demand.
 
 “HSR is expected to substitute for about 24% of Australia’s total domestic air kilometres, with 22.7 million passenger trips diverted from Sydney to High Speed Rail in 2036.
 
“This represents 63 per cent of the 36 million actual passenger trips at Sydney Airport in 2010/11 and 30 per cent of the forecast 76.8 million passenger trips at Sydney Airport in 2035.
 
“The Joint Study into Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region report, released in March by the Gillard government, described the enormous increase in flights expected over the next two decades at Sydney Airport.
 
“It noted that if congestion is not resolved Australia GDP will be lowered by $2.5 billion pa by 2035.
 
“High Speed Rail is one clear solution for Sydney’s airport woes. Now the Gillard government needs to make a financial commitment to ensure it happens,” Senator Rhiannon said.
 

Contact: Alison Orme for Lee Rhiannon 0487 350 880
 
A possible rail corridor

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Government Gags Whistleblowers in Rushed Ombudsman's Bill

Media Release - 24 November 2012

Sweeping new statutory secrecy provisions have been enacted for the Ombudsman in legislation that was rushed through the NSW Parliament with less than 24 hours notice this week.  The legislation was presented as urgent to allow for the Ombudsman to deal with the police wiretapping scandal uncovered in Taskforce Emblems, but the new secrecy provisions extend to all hearings before the Ombudsman.

As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ombudsmans-secrecy-powers-20121123-29yko.html

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

"This legislation was rushed through the parliament in less than 24 hours
with no public notice and no public consultation.

"The Ombudsman has never made out a case in any of his public reports for
increased secrecy powers.

"This legislation makes it a crime for a whistleblower who gives evidence
or a document to the Ombudsman in a hearing to then publicly release the
documents or tell anyone what they had said in the hearing.

"Gagging whistleblowers a step backwards for accountability in NSW.

"The government said it had discussed these matters with the Ombudsman, who
supported the legislation.

"Not only do these powers make the Ombudsman less accountable, the process
that has lead to this legislation has been a behind closed doors
conversation between the government and the Ombudsman.

"This is hardly best practice for any government agency, let alone the
public accountability watchdog.

"The Greens recognise there may be a case for some secrecy when the
Ombudsman is inquiring into matters that have been before the Crime
Commission or the PIC, but not for the bread and butter inquiries the
Ombudsman undertakes into government practices.

"A Greens amendment to limit these new secrecy provisions to matters
involving the PIC and the Crime Commission was defeated by a combined vote
of the Government and Opposition," Mr Shoebridge said.

Duck hunting now Coalition policy in NSW

Media Release:  22 November 2012

Legislation authorising increased duck hunting on private land has now passed the NSW upper house with the full in principle support of the O'Farrell government. It is certain to pass the lower house later today.

Greens NSW MP and Firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"What was originally a duck hunting bill from the minor Shooters and Fishers Party has been embraced and adopted wholeheartedly by the O'Farrell government.

"The pro-hunting Game Council will now be licensing duck hunters in NSW.

"The O'Farrell duck hunting scheme expands the former Labor government's 'game bird mitigation' program and will see thousands of our native animals being killed and wounded for sport," Mr Shoebridge said.

Native Birds to be hunted

Ducks
Australian Shelduck or Mountain Duck (Tadorna tadornoides)
Australian Wood Duck or Maned Duck (Chenonetta jubata)
Black Duck or Pacific Black Duck (Anas superciliosa)
Blue-winged Shoveler or Australasian Shoveler (Anas rhynchotis)
Chestnut Teal (Anas castanea)
Grass Whistling Duck or Plumed Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna eytoni)
Grey Teal (Anas gibberifrons)
Hardhead Duck or White-eyed Duck (Aythya australis)
Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus membranaceus)
Water Whistling Duck, Wandering  Whistling Duck or Whistling or
Wandering Tree Duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)

Quails
Brown Quail (Coturnix ypsilophora)
Stubble Quail (Coturnix pectoralis)

Pigeons
Common Bronzewing Pigeon (Phaps chalcoptera)
Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes)

Land and Water Commissioner appointment must not be a political fix

JEREMY BUCKINGHAM - MEDIA RELEASE - 22 November 2012

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining and agriculture Jeremy Buckingham has called on the NSW Government to rule out appointing National Farmers Federation President Jock Laurie to the position of Land and Water Commissioner.

"The Land and Water Commissioner will have significant responsibilities and needs to be totally independent.  It should not be a political appointment," Mr Buckingham said.

The Greens understand that the Government is considering appointing the current National Farmers Federation boss Jock Laurie for the position of Land and Water Commissioner.

"Mr Laurie is closely linked to the National Party and this year said
he would not rule out seeking preselection to run for the Nationals in a
federal seat.

"Such a political appointment risks a conflict of interest.  The
Commissioner will be required to be the arbiter between landholders and
miners and such a sensitive position must be filled by an independent
person.

"When the Government announced the position they made clear that it
would "complement the Federal Government’s newly established interim
Independent Expert Scientific Committee".  The appointment needs to have
a solid background in land and water science.

Mr Laurie said on Landline earlier this year in relation to the
establishment of the Federal Government's Independent Expert Scientific
Committee:

"..you need to go and get some independent people; so not company paid
people, you need to get some independent people who understand the
issues, can actually go and give you some proper advice and give the
governments around Australia some proper advice when it comes to water
and the actual impact on water."

Mr Buckingham said: "The Government should take Mr Laurie's advice and
find an independent person with the appropriate skills to take on this
important role as an advocate for landholders and a protector of water
in the state."

Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Friday, 23 November 2012

Too precious to lose campaign

The Nymboida River in Nymboi-Binderay National Park

With COAG confirmed for December 7, we now know exactly when Labor will start to hand nearly all federal environmental powers to the states, abandoning places like the Reef and species like the koala to the whim of one level of government – and a resource-hungry one at that. They’re negotiating big parts of the deal on December 7, and want to sign off between then and March.

Our environment is under attack like never before.

From the Great Barrier Reef to the Kimberley to Tasmania’s Tarkine wilderness, the thoughtless greed of the mining bubble is putting at risk places and wildlife which are too precious to lose, and the communities who rely on them.

Worse, our federal and state governments plan to change the laws to make it even easier for industry to do whatever they want without listening to the community. Some things are too precious to lose.
It’s time to come together to stop big mining and logging corporations and our federal and state governments from destroying things that are too precious to lose in the name of a quick buck.

You can add the part of Australia you think is too precious to lose to our map by uploading your own photos and stories here.
Koalas- Too precious to lose

Laws to protect them

In 1999, the Howard Government introduced the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. It was meant to give Australia’s Environment Minister the power to protect the places and animals which are so important, and so fragile, that they matter to all Australians.

Now, the ALP Government and the Coalition are ganging up to make these laws weaker, and hand over most of the Environment Minister’s powers to state governments.

If environment protection were left to the states, they would have dammed the Franklin River, put oil rigs in the Great Barrier Reef and built Traveston Dam. So many of the great things that our communities have fought to save could now be wound back, or destroyed entirely.

We don’t have much time. Join the campaign to strengthen these laws before it's too late.

Dorrigo National Park- Too precious to lose


Better alternatives

We don’t have to lose these precious places and species. There are so many better alternatives for the communities that love them. Find out more about how we can support these communities as well as save our precious places here.



Download a petition
  

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Greens MP stands up for small businesses and farmers

Jamie Parker MP
20 November 2012

Small businesses and farmers need a Commissioner with legislative powers who can represent them against big businesses and vested interests, Greens MP and Spokesperson for Small Business Jamie Parker said today.

Mr Parker gave notice of the Small Business and Farming Commissioner Bill 2012 in the NSW Parliament just moments after the government introduced its own weaker Bill.

Mr Parker said:

"This Bill provides a strong legislative framework for the NSW Small Business Commissioner, thereby protecting small businesses including farmers from exploitation by big businesses and vested interests.

"The Minister has today responded to pressure to introduce legislation for the Small Business Commissioner however I'm concerned that the Bill would not provide the Commissioner with the powers necessary to protect small businesses.

"The Small Business Commissioner must be given legislative powers to stand up for small businesses including farmers. The Greens' Bill would provide businesses with the protection and support they need when dealing with large players where there is a clear imbalance in power and influence.

"Farmers particularly need protection from monopolistic behaviour particularly by large distributers and big supermarkets.

"This Bill provides the Small Business Commissioner with powers to impose penalties for breaches of mandatory industry codes.

"Small businesses must be supported in alternative dispute resolution and through codes of practice provisions.

"This Bill responds to the many small businesses in my electorate who have contacted me with concerns about the power of larger players.

"Part of what makes my electorate such a great place to live is the many small businesses which thrive along the high streets in Leichhardt, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe, Annandale and Haberfield.

"We need to protect diversity and vitality of our communities by ensuring that small businesses are able to thrive in providing goods and services to local residents," Mr Parker said.

Monday, 19 November 2012

No more delays on school bus safety – Greens bill ready to go



Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has launched her
bill to require school buses on regional routes to be fitted with seat
belts, and to prevent standing on dangerous routes.

The bill legislates the key recommendations of the long awaited report
from the government's own School Bus Safety Advisory Committee, but
brings forward the phase in period for seat belts from 10 years to 5
years.

"There have been  delays from successive governments on acting on seat
belts for school buses. There is no excuse for any further delays,"
said Ms Faehrmann.

"The Committee has now reported with modest and affordable
recommendations. We now need to push ahead to ensure the safety of our
school children travelling on some of the state's most dangerous
routes.

"The government needs to fund the necessary changes to facilitate the
phase in period, so that students and bus companies are not left in
the lurch. Some Commonwealth funding is already available.

"The Greens bill puts into action what should have been done a long
time ago. The government said back in April 2011 that it would give
priority to school bus safety. If that is the case they will support
the Greens bill.

"I have written to the government with details of the bill seeking
their support. Its measures are not controversial and they are in line
with the Committee's work. There is no reason this can't be passed
with the help of the government before the end of the year.

"The Greens are open to negotiation on the finer points because we
want action on this issue quickly. Parents won't accept further delays
so neither should the Parliament," said Ms Faehrmann.

A briefing on the bill is available here:
http://catefaehrmann.org/wp-content/uploads/BRIEFING-Child-Safety-on-School-Buses-Amendment-Bill-2012.pdf

No more delays on school bus safety – Greens bill ready to go



Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has launched her bill to require school buses on regional routes to be fitted with seat belts, and to prevent standing on dangerous routes.

Reblogged from Cate Faehrmann's site

Posted on 19 November 2012 by Cate
The bill legislates the key recommendations of the long awaited report from the government’s own School Bus Safety Advisory Committee, but brings forward the phase in period for seat belts from 10 years to 5 years.

“There have been  delays from successive governments on acting on seat belts for school buses. There is no excuse for any further delays,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“The Committee has now reported with modest and affordable recommendations. We now need to push ahead to ensure the safety of our school children travelling on some of the state’s most dangerous routes.

“The government needs to fund the necessary changes to facilitate the phase in period, so that students and bus companies are not left in the lurch. Some Commonwealth funding is already available.

“The Greens bill puts into action what should have been done a long time ago. The government said back in April 2011 that it would give priority to school bus safety. If that is the case they will support the Greens bill.

“I have written to the government with details of the bill seeking their support. Its measures are not controversial and they are in line with the Committee’s work. There is no reason this can’t be passed with the help of the government before the end of the year.

“The Greens are open to negotiation on the finer points because we want action on this issue quickly. Parents won’t accept further delays so neither should the Parliament,” said Ms Faehrmann.

 

Not Happy Barry rally, Nov 28 in Martin Place


Under Barry O'Farrell's leadership, the NSW Government has weakened environmental protection to unthinkable levels and taken us back to the 1980s. Many achievements brought about by hard working volunteers, campaigners and interest groups have been systematically demolished.

When:  12:00pm-1pm, Wednesday 28th November 2012

Where: Martin Place at the North end, 
           between Phillip and Macquarie Streets, SYDNEY NSW 2000

What: Protest the 12 environmental decisions NSW is unhappy about!

> Allowing recreational hunting in national parks
> Slashing jobs at the Office of Environment and Heritage
> Opening the doors to uranium exploration
> Winding back marine park protection and closing Cronulla Fisheries Research Centre
> Mounting a ruthless campaign to unpin the Environmental Defenders Office
> Opening the doors for Coal Seam Gas exploration
> Approving the Maules Creek Mine, which will devastate the Leard Forest
> Backsliding on planning reform and ignoring the community
> Prioritizing coal instead of water despite promises to protect our water catchments
> Announcing trial grazing in national parks
> Making political deals that reintroduces duck hunting


Bring:  Placards and banners for your issue and a peaceful attitude.

Register your attendance at: justinm@npansw.org.au

Hosted by: National Parks Association of NSW

Yet another O'Farrell government attack on TAFE NSW


19 November 2012

The O'Farrell government is launching another assault on TAFE. As part of
the enterprise bargaining process for 2013, management is pushing for the
creation of a paraprofessional grade, paid $13,600 a year less than
teachers but with many of the same duties.

('TAFE positions slammed' SMH 19 Nov 2012 p2 http://j.mp/smh121119)

The O'Farrell government has already announced plans to abandon TAFE into
competition with low quality private providers and massive budget cuts,
including the loss of 800 positions including teachers and a 9.5% increase
in fees.

The latest move is an attempt to cut costs by undermining TAFE teacher
salaries. Students will be denied the right to be taught by a professional
with experience and detailed subject knowledge.

TAFE NSW's Information Sheet 3 "A strong Future for TAFE" (
http://j.mp/TAFEinfo3, made available on 7 November 2012), outlines a
number of new educator positions to be created including a Tutor/Instructor
2 (T/I2).

The T/I2 would conduct training and assessment, tasks that are currently
undertaken by teachers. They would present courses according to a
"pre-designed training program" using "existing resources and would not
develop course, curriculum or program resources and learning materials."

TI/2 qualification requirements would be certificate IV in training and
"demonstrated vocational competencies at least to the level being delivered
and assessed". A teacher is expected to have detailed subject knowledge
beyond the specific topic being taught.

Teachers on step 13 (4 years of experience) earn  $86,878.

Media comment

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government is picking up where
Labor left off in downgrading the professionalism of TAFE teachers.

"TAFE students will be denied the right to be taught by a professional with
detailed subject knowledge that goes beyond just delivering a pre-designed
package.  This is the next step in the race to the bottom in salaries and
expertise in skills training, with appalling consequences for students,
teachers and the future of the state's economy.

"In 2008 the NSW Labor government downgraded the qualifications required of
TAFE teachers from a university graduate diploma to a certificate 4. Now
the Coalition is pushing to have  instructors who only know a little more
than the students deliver courses.

"Education Minister Adrian Piccoli needs to explain why he would downgrade
the professional skills in an organisation that is designed to increase the
state's skills.

"The O'Farrell and Gillard governments are pushing TAFE into competition
for students and funding. Introducing paraprofessional trainers who don't
know much more than the students they are teaching  is the next step
towards forcing TAFE to become just another low quality, low cost
provider.

"The objective is to replace qualified and knowledgeable teachers with
lower paid paraprofessionals to cut costs, regardless of the short and long
term consequences. This is the irresponsible move of a government that
cannot see beyond the next budget bottom line.

"Adrian Piccoli has failed to protect TAFE from budget cuts and now it is
clear this will have unacceptable consequences for students, teachers and
the future of the state's economy," Dr Kaye said.


John Kaye, Greens MP

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Sacked Railcorp workers are key to improving services – Greens

Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2012

Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says Transport
Minister Gladys Berejiklian's latest announcement that 690 Railcorp
workers will lose their jobs in order to provide "better customer
service", is treating public servants with disdain and commuters as
fools.

"This bad news announcement on a Friday afternoon is nothing more than
a huge public transport budget cut, disguised as a feel good
commitment of improving services. Everyone knows that you don't
improve services by sacking workers," said Ms Faehrmann.

"We should always be looking for ways to better allocate resources,
but this is more about privatisation than it is about services and
comes only a few weeks after the Minister denigrated the workforce as
"bludgers".

"The Minister must provide pathways for all workers to remain in the
railways. We can't lose decades of experience and expertise at a time
when public transport is the only way out of the congestion nightmare
that is looming heavy over Sydney's future.

"The maintenance will still have to be done, but now we're going to
see it being done increasingly by private contractors. The government
is just laying the groundwork for further privatisation down the track
– that's pretty transparent," said Ms Faehrmann.

O'Farrell should suspend Mt Penny coal licence after ICAC revelations

Jeremy Buckingham in the Orara Valley
JEREMY BUCKINGHAM MLC - MEDIA RELEASE
16 November 2012

 
Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham will move a motion in the Legislative Council calling on the O'Farrell Government to suspend the Eddie Obeid related Mt Penny coal licence because of the evidence tendered in ICAC and the uncertainty the mine proposal is causing for Bylong Valley residents.


"Section 125 of the NSW Mining Act allows for the cancellation or operational suspension of an exploration licence if the Energy and Resources Minister reasonably considers that the holder of the authority provided false or misleading information in or in connection with an application," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.


"Given the evidence that has been presented to ICAC, I believe the Minister for Energy and Resources, Chris Hartcher, has cause to believe that false and misleading information is associated with the licence application and that the whole process itself may have been corrupted.


"Residents of the beautiful Bylong Valley have been fighting this coal mine for years because they want to keep their valley as good farming country.  The allegations involved in the ICAC inquiry only increase their uncertainty.


"Premier O'Farrell can not just allow the exploration licence to continue along with the planning application as if the government is oblivious to the major revelations made at ICAC.  It's time for Barry O'Farrell to give local residents some protection and certainty.


"The Greens have put on the Legislative Council notice paper a motion calling on the government to suspend or cancel this tainted exploration licence," he said.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

Government compromise on planning a testament to community response


A strong campaign from residents groups backed up by action from local councils has seen very significant improvements to the O'Farrell government's planning law amendment Bill that passed the upper house this week.   However the elements of the Bill that remained will significantly limit the ability of local councils to protect residents' views, sunlight and general amenity. 

Greens MP and Planning Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

See the SMH report here:

"This was just the opening scene in what will be a long campaign to hold the O'Farrell government to its promise to return planning powers to the community.

"The Bill as initially drafted would have produced genuinely disastrous outcomes and gutted almost all controls in key planning documents called Development Control Plans (DCPs).

"A strong campaign from residents groups and local councils who barraged the Planning Minister's office with well-reasoned submissions on why the law needed change produced results.

"The Minister sat down with the Better Planning Network, Sydney City Council and the NSW Greens and negotiated in good faith to remove a series of damaging provisions from the Bill and this should be recognised. 

"Proposals such as setting aside DCPs to the extent they "unreasonably restrict" development and provisions reducing DCPs to "guidelines" were stripped from the Bill as a result of the strong community campaign.

"However the Bill still provides that performance controls such as height, setbacks, floor space ratio controls and building footprints instead of being maximum provisions subject to merit assessment, are now as of right entitlements.

"This will give little or no ability for councils to moderate development to protect people's views, sunlight and general amenity.  These changes are a big setback for residents across the State.

"With the Planning White Paper still pending and future reforms likely to strip back local planning even further there is a good deal more to be done to mobilise the community to protect this State's planning laws.

"Unfortunately greens amendments to entirely protect Heritage Conservation Areas were not supported by the Government and these beautiful parts of the State face real challenges from overdevelopment in coming months.

"The Greens congratulate those resident groups and local councils who insisted on making their voices heard and by doing so achieved significant improvements to this planning legislation," Mr Shoebridge said.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Voluntary euthanasia discussion paper to inform debate on Greens bill in 2013

Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2012 

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann has welcomed the release of a comprehensive report from Australia 21 which examines the facts around  voluntary euthanasia and looks at existing schemes overseas. Ms Faehrmann's Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill is in the final stages of drafting and is due for debate in 2013.

"Given overwhelming public support and the suffering of some patients who want better end of life options, it is critical that we have a well informed public debate free from scare mongering. This report goes a long way to kick starting that debate, " said Ms Faehrmann.

"I will be sending a copy of this report to all my colleagues in the NSW Parliament. It is critical that read it before considering my bill in the new year.

"Importantly, the report recognises that voluntary euthanasia is already occurring in Australia despite being unlawful. This is exactly why the Greens bill is so important. We need to put in place appropriate safeguards for something that is already taking place. My bill will provide better choices and security at the end of life for people in extreme pain.

"The scare mongering around slippery slopes and non-voluntary euthanasia is not based in fact.  While not strictly taking sides, this report is a welcome unbiased examination of these issues and will hopefully allow politicians to see through these false arguments," said Ms Faehrmann.

Methane gas leaks mean coal seam gas moratorium is a must

Gas bubbles in the Condamine River

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham today called on Premier Barry O'Farrell to implement a moratorium on the coal seam gas industry in NSW after a scientific study showed high levels of methane leaking into the atmosphere from a coal seam gas field in Tara,
Queensland.

"Barry O’Farrell must impose a moratorium on this industry until the true nature of coal seam gas leaks can be properly assessed,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"The levels of methane detected by the scientific study are extremely
concerning from a climate perspective, from a health perspective, and
highlights that fracking and depressurising coal seams is having
wide-spread environmental effects.

"The methane in coal seam gas is usually associated with carbon dioxide
and other gases including a number of volatile organic compounds and
chemicals which can have serious impacts on human health such as
benzene, toluene, and xylenes.  Are these volatile organic compounds
also leaking into the environment?

"Given AGL's has a proposal for 66 coal seam gas wells near
Campbelltown currently before the Department of Planning, how can the
Premier, who is also the Minister for Western Sydney, let this industry
go ahead when scientific evidence suggests high levels of gas leakage.


"Industry body APPEA is sounding more and more like the tobacco
industry in their public relations spin designed to discredit and
dismiss the scientific studies.

"Coal seam gas is a major new industry and should not proceed while
there are still huge questions relating to its safety, environmental
impact and necessity," he said.

JEREMY BUCKINGHAM MLC - MEDIA RELEASE     15 November 2012


Link to Get Up campaign 
 

Cobbora coal mine sale a smokescreen for hidden public costs of power sell-off


Media release:15 November 2012

The Greens warned that Treasurer Mike Baird's plans to sell-off the
proposed Cobbora coal mine will not protect taxpayers and households from
decades of hidden power privatisation costs.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "Privatising power stations will always be a
bad deal for the state's economy and environment but propping up the sale
price with below-cost coal contracts will make the impacts much worse.

"The Cobbora proposal started life as a dodgy deal designed to prop up
Labor's disastrous attempts at power privatisation.

"Privatising the mine now will not suddenly make the coal more economic to
extract, wash and transport to the power stations.

"Without massive subsidies, the mine will not go ahead and the O'Farrell
government's plans to sell the power stations will be in trouble.

"Just like Labor's disastrous gentrader sell-off, the O'Farrell government
will leave costs, risks and liabilities in public hands to fatten up the
coal mine and the power stations for sale.

"When he was in opposition, Treasurer Mike Baird was a leading critic of
the Cobbora project. Now he is in government, he is hoping no one will
notice that the mine is uneconomic.

"Power privatisation will lock NSW into power station greenhouse gas
emissions of at least 60 million tonnes of a year as well as the on-going
costs of Cobbora.

"The zero-emissions renewable alternatives which would be much cheaper in
the long run will face an uphill battle against state-subsided coal," Dr
Kaye said.

Forests corporatised and primed for profit

Media Release 14 November 2012

South East Forests
The Forestry Bill 2012 which was passed by the NSW Parliament today will establish Forests NSW as a profit-making body with little regard for the environmental value of the forests in its care.

Greens MP and Forestry Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"The O'Farrell government is transforming Forests NSW from a public custodian of two million hectares of precious native forest, to a profit-maximising venture with even less environmental safeguards.

"The statutory obligation for Forestry NSW to work to preserve and enhance
our forest resources in all its activities has been removed. Instead,
decentralisation, economic efficiency and profit are now given equal weight
with environmental protection.

"The legislation also allows private and public 'Land Managers' to be
appointed to manage entire state forests.

"This will see entire state forests being managed for private profit. This
is shameful treatment of public assets that belong to this and future
generations.

"The appointment of Land Managers who can 'control and manage' the land as
they see fit is also a gift for the Game Council.

"Land Managers can now focus on non-forestry activities such as trail bike
riding, resort developments and even hunting.

"Indeed, the mention in the legislation of Land Managers conserving fauna
'other than feral animals' suggests that the Game Council may be being
lined up as potential game park operators in public forests.

"It would be a disaster for the pro-hunting, pro-gun lobby group, the Game
Council, to assume the role of custodians of our state forests," Mr
Shoebridge said.

O'Farrell's TAFE cuts strike at NSW's cultural and economic future

John Kaye being interviewed at TAFE rally

Media release: 14 November 2012

Greens NSW MP John Kaye joined teachers and students from TAFE colleges around NSW protesting the O'Farrell government's savage cuts to funding for Fine Arts courses outside NSW parliament today.

Dr Kaye said: "It is not just TAFE students and teachers who are being sacrificed. The economic and cultural future of the state is now at risk.

"O'Farrell's cuts to Fine Arts courses will devastate the creative and culturally vibrant art scene in both metropolitan and regional NSW and destroy job opportunities for thousands of budding artists.

"The Fine Arts are as valuable and justifiable as any other TAFE course.

"Cutting 800 jobs from TAFE institutions will severely compromise student learning and gut the quality and viability public vocational education for decades to come.

"TAFE teachers cannot be expected to maintain the quality of education and training with larger classes, few hours of contact, less time to see students out of hour and almost no administrative and educational support.

"If the O'Farrell government's cuts go ahead, many Fine Arts students will be left in the lurch, unable to afford to complete their studies. Opportunities for young people to gain skills and engage with the workforce will be lost.

"The previous Labor government cut TAFE to the bone. After sixteen years in office, per student funding was down 48 percent and fees and charges were 15 percent higher after inflation.

"Despite there being no fat left in the system, the O'Farrell government has picked up where Labor left off, increasing fees and putting impossible levels of pressure on teachers.

"The O'Farrell government has also signed onto the Federal Labor government's plan to dump public TAFE institutions into competition with low-quality private providers.

"Both major parties have shown total disregard for the future of TAFE and the social and economic benefits it provides the community.

"The Greens will continue to stand alongside teachers and students to defend these attacks on TAFE and to secure its future as the public provider of vocational education and training.

"Today I heard over and over again the same message from teachers and students that I have been hearing from community members on my travels around NSW over the past few weeks: TAFE is a highly valued public service that is too precious to lose. People want these cuts to be reversed immediately.

"It's time for the O'Farrell government to listen and abandon its short-sighted cost-cutting TAFE agenda," Dr Kaye said.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Ministers deny climate science

Reblogged from Cate Faehrmann's site

Posted on 07 November 2012 by Cate

Unfortunately there are climate deniers in the senior ranks of the NSW Government. Some hold the most responsible positions in government; Ministers in charge of departments which make policy on matters most sensitive to global warming – our natural environment, transport and fossil fuel resources.

During Budget Estimates last month the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, the Hon. Robyn Parker revealed that she gets her information on climate science from the newspapers and believes the science is not settled and is still being debated. I asked the Minister: where did you get the information that the science (on climate change) was being debated?

She replied:
Do you not read papers, do you not listen -
And the Minister for Road and Ports and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council the Hon. Duncan Gay, coyly dodged a question from me on whether he believed that greenhouse gas emissions from trucks and cars contribute to climate change saying:
It is my understanding that a lot of people believe that.
Perhaps the most outrageous and bizarre statements have been recorded by the Government whip in the Upper House, the Hon. Dr Peter Phelps. His remarks have visited the extremist end of the climate deniers’ utterances. In the Legislative Council on 30 May 2011 he said:
I comment in this place on the latest adventures in the great global warming swindle that is gripping our nation and most of the formerly civilised world.
He appeared to be likening some present day climate scientists to totalitarian sympathisers.
Indeed, how different are today’s global warming urgers from those in pre-war Britain, who looked forward to a Britain that would be “centralised and totalitarian”? Those who ignore the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. The present idolatry for pseudoscience, the claims of settled science and of a scientific consensus—these are the leper’s bell announcing the approach of the would-be totalitarian. The bell was not heeded in the 1930s. It should be heeded now.
And then on 11 May 2011 he suggested that dragons were just as responsible for climate change as CO2 emissions. I  can only presume he doesn’t believe in dragons.

Recently I introduced a Notice of Motion into the Legislative Council calling on the NSW Government to commit to dramatically decreasing NSW’s carbon emissions including that embedded in our coal exports, and immediately work to phase out fossil fuel energy and replace it with alternative and renewable energy.

I spoke in the parliament about some of the recent science from the renowned NASA climate scientist, James Hansen, showing a link between extreme weather events such as the current catastrophic drought in the USA and climate change.  (What would we now say about Super-storm Sandy?) I mentioned 2 recent reports from our own CSIRO. One shows that our marine life is changing (many species are migrating south) as our oceans warm and currents change. The other says that by 2070 many of the environments supporting our plants and animals will disappear due to the affects of climate change. And the Arctic sea ice is melting at the fastest rate since satellite recording began in 1979.

As I spoke all I could hear were guffaws from the chamber, it was not too hard to guess where the loudest were coming from.

The first step would be for this conservative government to acknowledge that the consensus from climate scientists is that climate change is occurring and that it is human induced. Interestingly enough the Premier, Barry O’Farrell said on Stateline in March 2011:
I accept climate change. I accept the impact of man on climate change and if we’re elected to Government I’m committed to using the energies of Government to limit that impact and reduce those emissions.
If indeed, the Premier does believe this, it is obviously time that he brought the climate deniers in his own government to heel. At present it appears that the deniers hold all the cards. What chance do we have of an appropriate response to human induced global warming when cabinet doesn’t even believe in it?

Link to Cate's blog:  Ministers deny climate science

Grazing 'trial' here to stay under a Coalition government

South East Forest
Date: Tueday, 13 Nov 2012  [Greens-Media]

Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has said the government has every intention of permanently opening up some national parks to grazing and is being dishonest with the public by calling it a 'trial'.

"To call this a 'trial' is misleading the people of NSW. We can expect to see grazing continue in national parks whilever the National Party is part of the NSW government," said Ms Faehrmann.

"Under this government our national parks have become little more than playgrounds for hunters, horse riders and now cattle. What's next, 4WDs?

"The Environment Minister Robyn Parker seems to have completely missed the fact that her role is to protect and conserve the state's environment. Either that, or her voice carries absolutely no weight in Cabinet against the furious lobbying of National Party members who hate national parks.

"The National Party and some graziers have been lobbying for access to National parks for years. Just continuing all grazing that was permitted when these national parks were state forests has no scientific basis and flies in the face of responsible environmental management.

"The Environment Minister admits in her press release that this is a trade off between environment and "regional economies".

"If Robyn Parker and Barry O'Farrell understood the value of our parks for biodiversity, tourism and jobs, she'd be increasing protection for our parks, not trashing them.

"Robyn Parker wrote to me in March saying the government had no plans for a grazing trial anywhere in the state. This is yet another broken promise by the O'Farrell government and yet one more axe taken to our battered National Parks.

'Barry O'Farrell is killing off our national parks with 'death by thousand cuts'," said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Coalition sinks to new depths with nuclear submarine plot


Australian Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence - Senator Scott Ludlam. 12 November 2012.

The Greens have urged Labor to stand firm against increasingly unhinged calls for the acquisition or leasing of American nuclear attack submarines.

Australian Greens spokesperson assisting on Defence, Senator Scott Ludlam, said the Coalition and Labor MP Joel Fitzgibbon had "taken leave of their senses" on nuclear submarines.

"Labor should ignore these ill-conceived schemes.  Leasing nuclear submarines from the United States would hamstring Australia's defence flexibility and foreign policy independence, and eliminate the possibility of local construction and maintenance work in Australia.

"If the Coalition is that keen on absorbing the RAN into the US Navy, then long may they remain in opposition.

"Questions need to be asked as to why Tony Abbott's Coalition is so keen to see increased nuclear traffic in Australian ports."

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