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



Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dangerous dog bites drown out Local Govt Ministers bark


Media Release - 29 June 2012

Answers to questions from the Greens in NSW Parliament have revealed a large gap between the number of reported dog attacks and the number of dogs declared dangerous, requiring serious action from Local Government Minister Don Page according to Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge.

"The huge difference between the number of reported dog attacks and the number of dogs declared dangerous requires a substantive response from the Minister," Mr Shoebridge said.

"There have been over 15,000 dog attacks reported in NSW since the beginning of 2009, yet in the same period only around 1,000 dogs have been declared dangerous.

The figures show that local authorities are failing to act to protect people from dangerous dogs.

"In the 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial years there were 10,254 reported dog attacked, yet from 2010 to date there have been only 754 dogs declared dangerous.

"This level of inaction is placing public safety at risk.

"The Minister has told local councils that they must take dangerous dogs seriously, yet he himself has done nothing on the issue.

"In Mirabooka recently, a young woman was attacked by two Staffordshire terriers and received serious injuries to her head and arms.

"The local Society of Companion Animal Rescuers had warned the RSPCA, Lake Macquarie Council and Local Government Minister Don Page about these dogs, and all had failed to take action.

"Waiting until someone is seriously injured by a dangerous dog is too late, the Minister must become proactive to ensure that reports of dog attacks are properly dealt with.

"The 2004 review of the Companion Animals Act recommended further consideration of the  'need for and the possibility of introducing an option for people to refer  nuisance cat and dog issues to Local Courts  if dissatisfied with councils' decisions or perceived inaction'.

"The Greens have a notice of motion before the NSW Upper House to refer to the Law and Justice Committee the issue of whether people should be able to refer dangerous dogs directly to local courts if the authorities fail to act.

"In the interest of public safety and animal welfare, The Greens are calling on Local Minister Don Page to support the immediate consideration of this law reform," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: Mark Riboldi 0433 753 376
More information: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2012/06/29/dangerous-dog-bites-drown-out-local-govt-ministers-bark/
Newcastle Herald: http://www.theherald.com.au/news/local/news/general/dog-attacks-up-but-little-action-taken/2607161.aspx
ABC Online: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-29/councils-failing-to-act-over-nsw-dog-attacks/4099714?section=nsw

Friday, 29 June 2012

O'Farrell ignores teachers at his peril

Media Release: 27 June 2012

NSW public school teachers are sending a clear message to the O'Farrell government that they should rethink their Local Schools, Local Decisions policy, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye

Dr Kaye said: "Tens of thousands of teachers today sacrificed a day's pay to tell the O'Farrell government that they will not sit by while the public education system is vandalised.

"These are massive changes and they are poorly thought through.

"Education Minister Adrian Piccoli wants to dump responsibility for inadequate resources onto principals.

"The inevitable consequence will be school leaders making all the hard decisions and copping the community anger.

"Without any evidence, the O'Farrell government is reshaping education in NSW. The aim is to pare back spending of the public system and make principals bear all the blame.

"This scheme is all about cutting the budget. The number of lower-cost casuals will dramatically increase and parents will face the reality of their children being taught by a succession of temporary teachers.

"Today was a turning point in the debate. The massive turn out and the commitment of teachers to stop the system that supports their students being dismantled must give the O'Farrell government cause to think.

"Teachers are driven by their determination to protect their schools from an experiment that is certain to undermine student outcomes.

"The Greens congratulate the state's teachers and their unions for a strong commitment to public education.

"We will continue to challenge the O'Farrell government and demand they step back from the brink," Dr Kaye said.


For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Media Release: O’Farrell attacks planning rights


Plans by the O’Farrell government to remove people’s rights to object to developments in their neighbourhood will deliver the most pro-developer and anti-community laws in the country.  If made law, these changes will deliver Sydney and NSW directly into the hands of the development industry.

See SMH report:
http://www.smh.com.au/business/property/residents-to-lose-objection-rights-in-new-planning-laws-20120626-210mx.html

Greens NSW MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said:


"The Planning Minister has described removing people’s right to object to
development in their neighbourhood as a ‘daring and bold’ move but a better
description would be reckless and dangerous.


“Removing the right to object to development will take away the voice of
residents and leave developers a free hand.


“This will be a return to the bad old days of the 1960’s and 70’s when a
lot of what was precious in this State was bull dozed for ugly and
inappropriate development.


“For most people their home is their biggest single asset, and to think
that it could be seriously impacted by major development without the right
to even comment on the proposal is a terrible step backwards for planning
laws.


“Anyone with any experience in planning knows that communities only
seriously engage with development once a specific proposal is on the books,
no amount of wishful thinking will change this.


“Thankfully this is not yet law and there is an ongoing consultation
process.


“This announcement must be a wake up call for communities across NSW to get
engaged and tell the government not to follow the former government’s path
and hand over this State to the developers," Mr Shoebridge said.


 More information: 9230 3030 | 0408 113 952

Greens question Metgasco's evidence to coal seam gas inquiry

JEREMY BUCKINGHAM MLC - THE GREENS NSW

MEDIA RELEASE 26 June 2012

Greens NSW mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has called on Metgasco
to clarify whether or not the evidence they provided to the NSW
Parliament Inquiry into Coal Seam Gas was accurate, following
revelations they have illegally disposed of coal seam gas water at the
Casino Sewage Treatment Plant.

The revelations of the illegal disposal of coal seam gas waste water
are stated in a letter from the Environmental Protection Authority to
the Environmental Defenders Office: http://bit.ly/KHEPxe

“The recent acknowledgement by the Environmental Protection Authority
that Metgasco was illegally disposing of coal seam gas water at the
Casino Sewage Treatment Plant appears to contradict some of the evidence
given by Metgasco at the inquiry," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It is extremely serious to mislead a parliamentary inquiry. I will
be writing to the committee asking it to look into this matter.

“What is clear is that Metgasco is continuing to treat the Casino,
Lismore and Kyogle communities with contempt and dishonesty in relation
to their plans.

“To any fair minded person the construction of their so call
‘temporary storage’ pond at Casino is a clear breach of the
Government’s no evaporation ponds policy.

“They are hiding behind semantics and the Government continues to
fail in its obligations to hold the coal seam gas industry to account.

Nationals move to open backdoor for corrupted cash


Media Release 24 June 2012

The NSW National Party wants to take NSW back to the bad old days of hundreds of thousands of dollars of developer, tobacco industry, gambling and alcohol cash corrupting public decisions, according to Greens NSW MP
John Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: "The Nationals are suffering withdrawal symptoms.

"While the junior Coalition partner might be missing the cash, politics in NSW is better off without the corrupting influence of backdoor donations.

"The Nationals want to open a loophole that would allow a political party
to pick up hundreds of thousands of dollars from each of these industries.

"The 2009 and 2010 bans were designed to allow decisions on developments
and controlling the social damage of alcohol, tobacco and gambling to be
made without the influence of donations from those industries.

"Now the Nationals want to open the floodgates.

"Under the Nationals' proposal, each of British American Tobacco's seven
directors could donate $5,000 in each financial year, giving the
Nationals's election war chest $140,000 worth of reasons to oppose stronger
tobacco control measures.

"The intent of the 2010 amendment moved by the Greens and supported by
Labor was to protect politics from the influence of these industries and
their appetite for capturing potential addicts.

"The Nationals want to cut open a loophole that would have the same effect
as allowing these industries to donate the hundreds of thousands of dollars
they are used to.

"Development decisions would again be biased against the community and
tobacco, alcohol and gambling control measures would be compromised.

"Even a single developer donation of $5,000 can purchase a lot of influence
at a local government election.

"Premier Barry O'Farrell should rule out any change to the law that would
weaken the protections put in place in 2009 and 2010," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

------------------------------
John Kaye
Greens NSW MP
phone: 0407 195 455
web: www.john.nsw.greens.org.au

Firefighters and paramedics at risk


Media Release - 21 June 2012

The Greens are seeking crossbench support for an amendment to the O'Farrell government's changes to the workers compensation scheme which would see firefighters and paramedics receive the same protections as police and other emergency services personnel.

Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge said:

"Firefighters and paramedics work side by side with police, the RFS and SES in dealing with emergencies – they deserve the same level of protection.

"Under the proposed legislation, firefighters and paramedics stand to
have seriously reduced benefits compared to other emergency workers.

"The risks that firefighters and paramedics take on a daily basis are
being ignored by the O'Farrell government.

"The Greens are calling on the government and all parties to support
these basic protections for emergency service workers.

"Of course all workers should have this protection, but we will do all
we can to protect anyone from these harsh attacks on workers
compensation," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: Mark Riboldi 0433 753 376

Greens NSW MP John Kaye congratulated High Court challenger Ron Williams for successfully ending the $222 million National School Chaplaincy Program.

Media release: 20 June 2012




Greens NSW MP John Kaye congratulated High Court challenger Ron Williams for successfully ending the $222 million National School Chaplaincy Program.

Dr Kaye said: "Mr Williams courageously took on the chaplaincy lobby and won.

"This is a great victory for secular public education.

"The offensive misuse of public money to push religion onto innocent public school children has come to an end.

"By offering an additional pair of helping hands to over-stretched public schools, the National School Chaplaincy Program was a Trojan horse for groups like the Scripture Union.

"Mr Williams has acted for every parent who wants to send their son or daughter to a public school without fear that they will be subjected to religious indoctrination.

"The use of enthusiastic amateurs to address the welfare needs of troubled students has been  dangerous and misleading.  Public funding of chaplains has been offensive.

"NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli should immediately push for the funds to be redirected to a new program to employ qualified child welfare workers to address the real needs of students.

"The money could be spent on offering a helping hand to students who are struggling with emotional or family issues, without fear of secular children being recruited into a religion.

"The Program budget could provide $25 million a year to NSW which would support 300 new qualified welfare workers for the schools with the greatest need," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Daily Examiner Story: Unions claim job cuts on the way

MORE than 100 local public sector jobs could be on the chopping block as a result of state budget cuts, according to the Clarence Valley Community Unions (CVCU).

CVCU spokesman and Northern Region executive for the NSW Police Association Tony King said a bit of number-crunching had revealed a grim assessment of the situation facing the Valley in the wake of the state budget outlined by Treasurer Mike Baird last week.

Full story at Daily Examiner

Bellingen Shire Courier Sun Article Clean up process begins on contaminated Urunga site

Urunga Lagoon meets Kalang and Bellinger Rivers

Clean up process begins on contaminated Urunga site

19 Jun, 2012 11:23 AM
The NSW Government has begun planning the remediation work on the Urunga antimony contaminated site. General Manager of Crown Lands, Graham Harding, said the site, adjacent to the Pacific Highway 1.5km from the centre of Urunga, was significantly contaminated by historical activities including antimony ore crushing and processing.
More at Bellingen Shire Courier Sun 

More at Coffs Coast Independent

O'Farrell's retrospective compo cuts deliver for private insurers at expense of injured workers


Media Release - 19 June 2012

Retrospective legislation to be rushed through NSW Parliament this week
will see private insurers rewarded for price gouging, at the expense of
injured workers, according to Greens NSW Industrial Relations
Spokesperson David Shoebridge.

"This legislation will be retrospective, taking away working people's
rights from the moment it is introduced in parliament," Mr Shoebridge
said.

"This retrospectivity wasn't even recommended by the rushed hatchet
committee set up by the government.

"Among all the changes proposed to WorkCover, Mr O'Farrell has done
nothing to contain the sky-rocketing fees paid to private insurers to
manage claims, one of the real reasons that the scheme is in the red.

"People who are injured at work deserve better than the raw deal they
are getting from the O'Farrell government.

"The removal of protection when workers are travelling to and from work
represents a major assault on the rights of people in NSW.

"This legislation is an appalling step backwards – punishing injured
workers because of mismanagement by successive governments and profit
gouging by private insurers.

"Making the changes to WorkCover retrospective is an additional dirty
move by the O'Farrell government.

"If this becomes law injured workers will be many thousands of dollars
worse off, which will see many forced into poverty," Mr Shoebridge said.


Media contact: Mark Riboldi for David Shoebridge – 9230 3030 | 0433 753
376

Schools experiment based on faulty data


Media release: 19 June 2012

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli is relying on a biased and incomplete
analysis of the trial of school devolution to support his Local Schools
Local Decisions program, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

('Schools in trial show decline in enrolments', Sydney Morning Herald, 19
June 2012, page 3, http://j.mp/Mj4PxV)

Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government is conducting a dangerous
experiment on the state's public schools with no evidence that it will work.

"Handing over 70 percent of the budget to the principal will inevitably
lead to funding cuts and increasing numbers of casual teachers.

NSW Teachers Federation Leaflet
"Analysis of the results of the trial set up by the Labor government failed
to highlight the fall in enrolments at almost half of the schools involved.
It did not explain the replacement of an average of 3.6 permanent teachers
at each school with casuals.

"The trial schools were provided with additional funds which cushioned many
of the adverse impacts of the scheme.

"The raw results raise serious alarm about the future of public education
under the O'Farrell government's scheme.

"NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has failed to produce any proof that
this scheme will improve educational outcomes.

"He has not responded to the evidence that Local Schools Local Decisions
will replace permanent teachers with casuals, denying students the
continuity of a single teacher for a year.

"As the Minister calls for improvements in teacher training to attract more
qualified students, he is simultaneously undermining employment security
and salaries.

"While better coordination between universities and the Department of
Education would improve the match between courses and the needs of schools,
the O'Farrell government is actively discouraging motivated young people
from joining the profession.

"Local Schools Local Decisions will undermine employment security and
restrict career development opportunities.

"On top of the 2.5 percent wage freeze, the O'Farrell government has done
much to damage the attractiveness of teaching as choice of a profession,"
Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Fairfax restructure threatens integrity of NSW politics


Media release: 18 June 2012

The Greens will be moving in the NSW parliament this week to condemn the changes at Fairfax that threaten the quality and independence of news reporting and current affairs in this state.

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The loss of 180 editorial staff positions and the move towards a single national newsroom will dramatically reduce the amount of quality news and commentary available in newsprint in NSW.

"The changes pose a direct threat to media diversity.

"Combined with the pressure from mining magnate and share purchaser Gina Rinehart, the restructure and job cuts risk turning Fairfax into a pale imitation of News Ltd.

"The loss of 1,900 jobs might make Fairfax more profitable but many of these positions were central to the maintenance of the papers' quality.

"The restructure points towards the inevitable creation of a single editorial model for  the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald  and a lower standard of scrutiny of state politics.

"Fairfax has played a key role in exposing the aberrant behaviours of many NSW politicians.

"A move towards a national framework for the Age and the SMH, specialised for each state, will not sustain intensive levels of investigation and analysis.

"While Fairfax journalists will continue to maintain the standards of their profession, the pressure of staff cuts will take its toll on the quality of the media outlets.

"The Greens will be moving in the NSW parliament to condemn the job cuts and the loss of state focus in Fairfax.

"We will also be calling on Premier Barry O'Farrell to work with other national leaders to develop a sustainable model of media support that ensures that Fairfax and News Ltd do not have to slash jobs or sacrifice local focus to remain viable.

"Fairfax management's crisis response to declining profitability is a body blow to diversity and robustness. Media quality and diversity sits at the heart of a healthy democracy," Dr Kaye said.

For more information:  John Kaye 0407 195 455

Sunday, 17 June 2012

O’Farrell government joins with merchants of death to promote guns, hunting and shooting

David Shoebridge

The gun lobby’s hold on the O’Farrell government has further tightened with the State government now going to the extremes of joining with Gaddafi’s weapons supplier ‘Beretta’ and other gun manufacturers to co-sponsor this weekend’s two day ‘Shot Expo’ in Sydney promoting guns, knives and pistols from across the globe.


See the Sun Herald reporting here:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ofarrell-under-fire-as-gun-lobby-grows-20120616-20gq4.html#ixzz1xzUN9zhK


Greens MP and Firearms Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"This State government has no limits on how far it will go in promoting a
pro-gun culture, including joining with death merchants to plug guns and
hunting.


"It is just astounding that the NSW government's hunting body, the Game
Council, is using taxpayers dollars to co-sponsor a pro-guns event with
weapons manufacturers.


"The Game Council is simply out of control, and the Premier is now joined
at the hip to them through his ongoing deals with the Shooters Party in
Parliament.


"Most people will be rightly appalled when they hear that the O'Farrell
government is co-sponsoring the 'Shot Expo' with a gun manufacturer that
sold millions of dollars of small arms to the Gaddafi regime.


“In 2009 Beretta sold 11,000 pistols and rifles to Libya’s internal
security forces, and this is the very same company that the O’Farrell
government is now joining with to promote gun ownership in NSW.


“Not satisfied with getting shooters into National Parks the O’Farrell
government is now getting out there and doing its best to sell more weapons.


"NSW has run down hospitals, broken public transport and thousands of
public servants being sacked, but the O'Farrell government still has the
cash to promote gun ownership and hunting.


“This is a government which is developing increasingly skewed priorities
for public spending and public safety,” Mr Shoebridge said.

*Media Contact: 0408 113 952*

John Jeayes Article in the Macleay Argus is well worth a read.

Greens Cycling Gear

Following some discussions about entering "Green" teams in various cycling events around the country starting with an event in Brisbane for the Queensland election, the Australian Greens plan to order Greens cycling shirts and/or shorts for anyone who wants them. They will be professionally designed using the AG Greens logo and website, so they can be worn in any state. Jerseys will cost $65-75 (depending on bulk order) and knicks $70-80.


The bicycle will accomplish more for women’s sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.  ~ Author Unknown, from Demerarest’s Family Magazine, 1895

 Please contact Chris.Harris@greens.org.au for further enquiries, or to place your order.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Greens refer Hunting and Privatisation deal to ICAC


David Shoebridge
Cate Faehrmann

Media Release - 14 June 2012

The deal is in between the O'Farrell government and the radical Shooters Party in the NSW Parliament with the Shooters presenting their legislative amendments to Parliament allowing amateur hunting in National Parks and moving for the first time to outlaw anti-hunting
protests.  This week the NSW Greens referred the deal to ICAC to
investigate for corruption.

Greens MP and Environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann said:

"The bill tabled today only excludes 28 of our national parks and other types of reserves. This will leave 771 open to recreational hunters at this point in time. It's disgraceful that Barry O'Farrell has sold off public safety, the environment, animal welfare and native wildlife to the extreme demands of the Shooters Party.

"When is the truth about this shambolic deal going to come out? This
bill is contrary to the promise from last week that only 79 parks and
reserves would be open.

"National parks are iconic and hold a special place for most
Australians. It is just astounding that Mr O'Farrell thinks he can sell
them out for a dirty political deal with the Shooters party.

"What makes this deal even worse is that recreational ground shooting
is recognised by feral species experts as completely ineffective at
eradicating species," Ms Faehrmann said.

Greens MP and Firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"Shamefully this proposed law protects hunters while it criminalises
protestors.  It is hard to imagine a more aggressive attack on both our
environment and our right to protest.

"This week the NSW Greens referred the entire political deal, where the
Shooters get access to National Parks in return for the unprincipled
sell-off of the electricity generators to ICAC.

"The conduct of the Premier has smeared politics in this State and is
arguably corruption with the deal impeding the ability of the Shooters
MPs to assess the privatisation legislation on its merits.

"The deal also means that many Coalition MPs will be bound to vote for
shooting in National Parks, not because it is right, but in order to
firm up the privatisation deal with the Shooters.

The ICAC referral can be downloaded here:
http://davidshoebridge.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/120614-ICAC-Referral.pdf


Media Inquiries:
Peter Stahel for Cate Faehrmann – 0433 005 727
Mark Riboldi for David Shoebridge – 0433 753 376

Sydney Morning Herald July 9 :Shooters Party calls shots on how parks will handle hunting

NSW Upper House passes motion of support to Fairfax workers

Media release: 14 June 2012

The NSW Upper House unanimously called on Fairfax management to abandon its plans to outsource local jobs in the Hunter and Illawarra regions to New Zealand.

Dr Kaye, who moved the motion, said: "The NSW Upper House has today
thrown its support behind Fairfax workers in their struggle against
management's outsourcing plans.

"Members of the Legislative Council recognised that Fairfax's proposed
changes will undermine the quality of news and current affairs reporting
in the Hunter, the Illawarra and the rest of NSW.

"Fairfax is stubbornly pushing ahead with these changes despite the
mounting opposition to the cuts and its implications for local jobs.

"In passing this motion today, the NSW Upper House has joined Fairfax
workers and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance to condemn the
management for its short-sighted grab for cash.

"The NSW Upper House calls on Fairfax management to put quality news
and current affairs reporting in this state ahead of budget
considerations and to abandon its outsourcing plans," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Motion passed NSW Legislative Council 14 June 2012

1. That this House notes with concern:
(a) the proposal by Fairfax management to restructure operations at the
Illawarra Mercury and Newcastle Herald and outsource a total of 66 local
jobs in editorial production to New Zealand, and

(b) the impacts that this proposal would have on news and current
affairs reporting in New South Wales’ second and third largest cities
and the consequent impacts on the quality public debate across the
state.

2. That this House calls on Fairfax management to abandon these
changes.

Sham WorkCover committee ignores workers' rights


Media Release - 13 June 2012

The report into the NSW workers compensation scheme released today is a flawed product not reflecting the real issues with the scheme in NSW, according to Greens NSW Industrial Relations spokesperson David
Shoebridge.

"The O'Farrell government set up a hatchet committee to take the axe to
workers' rights in NSW, and that's exactly what has been delivered," Mr
Shoebridge said.

"The outcome of this flawed report by a sham committee will see injured
workers pushed into poverty, with lump sums slashed, ongoing payments
stopped after 2.5 years and compensation for injuries suffered when
travelling to and from work.

"Journey claims are a key entitlement for workers, yet they represent
less than six per cent of all claims made through the scheme – cutting
them makes no sense.

"$1.6 billion of the scheme's deficit comes from ballooning payments to
private insurers, not payments to injured workers.

"Since 1997 fees paid to private insurers to manage workers
compensation claims have grown five times faster than both inflation and
money paid to benefit injured workers, eroding the schemes financial
sustainability.

"Contrary to the Premier's rhetoric, NSW does not have a generous
workers compensation scheme, particularly since it was cut to the bone
by Labor in 2001.

"These WorkCover reforms will continue to deliver record profits for
private insurers, while pushing the families of many injured workers
into poverty," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media Inquiries: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

More information:
http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2012/05/14/1-6-billion-wasted-on-paper-shuffling-by-workcover/


The Committee Report:
http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/4ab361e7951ff4b5ca257a1c002758a0/$FILE/120613%20Final%20report.pdf


The Greens NSW submission to the enquiry:
http://djdh9atks0nwf.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Submission-to-NSW-Workers-Compensation-Scheme-Inquiry.pdf

'Farrell butchers Primary Industries budget to create pork barrel fund



The Greens NSW spokesperson on Primary Industries Jeremy Buckingham expressed concern that the O'Farrell Government had stripped $102 million out of the Department of Primary Industries, while creating a $185 million grant program that looks suspiciously like a pork barrel fund.

"It's a disgrace that the O'Farrell Government has stripped the DPI budget by almost 10% or $102 million dollars in a time when natural resource management and agriculture are facing critical challenges," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"There is a surprising lack of detail in the budget about which areas will be cut, but it seems at least some of the money has been transferred to what looks suspiciously like a pork barrel fund," he said.

Budget Paper 3, 8-7 announces $185 million in operating grants to cultural institutions to help them enhance cultural, creative and recreation opportunities.

Mr Buckingham said this looked suspiciously like a fund for local members to pork barrel through individual projects.

"The Greens are very concerned that funds have been taken out of important areas within DPI to create what looks like a big fat pork barrel.  This is not good governance," he said.

Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Thursday, 14 June 2012

O'Farrell revisiting Labor's pro-developer planning failures


Media Release - 13 June 2012

The O'Farrell government's $400 million subsidy for urban sprawl infrastructure and its fast-tracking of major project development assessments in yesterday's budget are clear indications that the O'Farrell government is set to repeat Labor's planning failures, according to Greens NSW Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge.

"This government's only response to the crisis in housing affordability is yet more urban sprawl in Sydney's fringes that at best delivers house and land packages priced at over $500,000," Mr Shoebridge said.

"In a tight budget it is remarkable that the government is subsidising private developers' infrastructure costs to the tune of over $400 million.

"Developers should be paying the true cost of development, not be subsidised by long suffering tax payers.

"Not only will the O'Farrell government be subsidising private developers, they are also "fast tracking" major development approvals.

"There is a real danger that this rush to approve projects will come at the cost of rigorous environmental assessment and community consultation.

"'Fast tracking' and cutting 'green tape' is just code for excluding the community and ignoring the environment.

"Barry O'Farrell is set to repeat Labor's failings by trying to ram home environmentally damaging projects without due process.

"The O'Farrell government has already established a pro-developer track record with its revamped Planning Assessment Commission approving almost 95% of all the projects it has considered.

"This is despite many of these projects being highly controversial.

"This is sounding very like a return to the notorious Part 3A approvals process that brought the previous Labor government into such disrepute," Mr Shoebridge said.

See SMH: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/premier-accelerates-approvals-to-kick-development-into-high-gear-20120612-208a1.html

Media inquiries: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Council Backs CSG Fight: Story Daily Examiner

"IT MAY be one of the Clarence Valley's outermost communities, but the Ewingar voice was heard loud and clear in the busy council chambers yesterday afternoon during debate about the future of coal seam gas mining."

Ewingar Creek by heavylambs (Google)
Link to Story Daily Examiner

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

RALLY: No hunting in NSW National Parks, 11am Thurs 14 June, Parliament House, Sydney





The Premier of NSW is threatening the safety of families, visitors, staff and wildlife in our national parks. He has broken his promise to keep the recreational shooters out.

He has announced a government deal with the Shooters and Fishers Party to open up 79 National Parks, Nature Reserves and State Conservation Areas across the state to volunteer hunters.

This is just the beginning of the Shooters' agenda!

It is important to join us outside Parliament House in Sydney at 11am next Thursday 14 June to send the Government a strong message that we will NOT stand for hunting in our National Parks.


The Premier's deal threatens the values of national parks and raises public safety and animal welfare concerns.

The bill to allow volunteer hunters in National Parks is likely to be introduced to parliament next Thursday 14 June.

We need a large crowd- join us outside Parliament House in Sydney at 11am next Thursday 14 June to show the Government that we will not stand for hunting in our National Parks.

See you on Thursday at 11!

 
Kevin Evans
Chief Executive Officer
National Parks Association of NSW

P.S. Please forward this email to friends, colleagues and networks. Like
NPA's facebook page or visit www.nohunting.com.au for regular updates on the No Hunting campaign and to find out more.


No Hunting in National Parks Rally supported by National Parks Association of NSW, Nature Conservation Council of NSW, Humane Society International, Total Environment Centre, WIRES, National Parks Australia Council, Public Service Association of NSW,Wildwalks, Blue Mountains Conservation Society, Central West Environment Council, Colong Foundation for Wilderness and STEP Inc.
National Parks
                                                      Association of
                                                      NSW
National Parks Association of NSW

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Public services sacrificed to O'Farrell's budget surplus obsession


Media release: 8 June 2012

Not content with slashing public sector wages and conditions and introducing punitive measures designed to undermine the union movement in NSW, the O'Farrell government is now preparing to cut a further 10,000 jobs.

Greens NSW MP and Treasury spokesperson John Kaye said: "The Coalition's first budget that cut 5000 jobs from the public sector was a lesson in short term thinking.

"In its second budget the O'Farrell government is sticking to the same tired line about the importance of bringing the budget back to surplus but with double the pain for workers and the community.

"The major parties are obsessed with cutting the so-called "back-office" workforce.

"Just because these workers are not on the front line, does not mean that their work is any less valuable to the community.

"Teachers, nurses and police rely on clerical and administrative staff to do their job more effectively.

"Cutting 10,000 jobs will inevitably mean deterioration in the quality of the public services that the community depends on.

"Reports that TAFE teachers will not be protected from front line job cuts is yet another example of the Coalition's short term thinking.

"The O'Farrell government is prepared to sacrifice TAFE on the AAA credit rating altar, despite the long term economic and social benefits that it provides.

"The Coalition's obsession with bringing the budget back to surplus might score them short term political points with Standard and Poore and the NSW Business Chamber.

"However, it will be deeply unpopular with NSW voters when the job cuts start to impact on the quality of public service delivery to the community

"This is not the time to be cutting the budget. To secure the long term economic future of the state, NSW should be investing more in public services not less," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455


Disadvantaged schools and sustainability dumped in race to school autonomy


Media release: 8 June 2012

Education Minister Adrian Piccoli's 'functional realignment' of the schools portfolio of the Department of Education and Communities has not only slashed 200 important jobs. It has also dumped both support for equity programs and any mention of environmental and sustainability education (See ABC 702 news item, 8 June, http://bit.ly/LBVZJ2).

Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government's devolution agenda is more than just about cutting costs. It is also seeing departmental support for equity programs and environmental education dumped.

"Programs that help public schools address the impacts of high densities of disadvantage will be expected to operate without backup from the Department of Education.

"These are schools that are already doing it tough and now they are being cut loose by Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.

"For almost four decades these schools have had the advice and assistance of the Department in designing and implementing programs that cut the rough edges off poverty.

"The O'Farrell government's cost cutting will now force them to go it alone with appalling consequences for students and teachers.

"Neither the programs that assist disadvantaged public schools nor sustainability education are high enough up on the agenda of the O'Farrell government to even rate a mention in the new organisational structure of the Department.

"Children from severely disadvantaged backgrounds are being deserted by the O'Farrell government.

"The support their schools have received from the Department for almost four decades is being slashed as part of the O'Farrell government's school autonomy agenda.

"Priority schools are going from their own directorate to nothing. There is not even a mention of them in the new functional descriptions.

"This is the work of a Liberal National government that puts cost cutting well ahead of disadvantaged children and the environment," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

For more background please see: http://johnkaye.org.au/disadvantaged-schools-and-sustainability-dumped-in-race-to-school-autonomy

Friday, 8 June 2012

New England schools and TAFE under attack

John outside Grafton TAFE during the Clarence byelection

Media release: 7 June 2012

Greens NSW MP John Kaye is visiting the New England region on Friday to offer his party's support to school and TAFE teachers and their communities reeling from the O'Farrell government's attacks on public schools and TAFE colleges.

Dr Kaye, who will be addressing public meetings in both Tamworth and Armidale on Friday, said: "The O'Farrell government has picked up where its Labor predecessors left off in cutting back and squeezing money out of public schools and TAFE colleges.

"Disguised as educational reform, the Coalition is implementing the recommendations of the Boston Consulting Group. The report, commissioned by Labor, identified $1 billion in potential savings from the NSW education budget.

"Since its election in March 2011, the O'Farrell government has been busy undermining cooperation between teachers and compromising student outcomes.

"First it passed wage-freeze legislation to cut the real salaries of teachers. Schools and TAFE colleges have been forced to cut back teaching programs and working conditions to achieve so-called 'efficiencies'.

"Now the state-wide roll out of the schools devolution agenda will inevitably lead to less money for public schools in the New England region.

"Principals will be forced to wear the blame for every budget cut. When there is not enough money to pay for both school counsellors and special needs teachers, it will be the local school leadership who have to shoulder the responsibility.

"Pressure on school budgets will inevitably lead to the replacement of permanent teachers with cheaper casuals.

"Parents will be outraged when their child is taught by an ever changing series of different casuals instead of a permanent teacher.

"The Coalition is also refusing to find the money to replace unflued gas heaters replacement. In Opposition they were highly critical of Labor's miserly approach but once in government a state-wide replacement becomes a generation's away dream.

"The future of TAFE and the benefits it brings to the New England region are also at risk from budget cuts and privatisation.

"Across Australia, TAFE is experiencing massive cuts, with the Baillieu government slashing $290 million a year from Victoria's skills education budget and putting more than 1,500 jobs at risk. All the signs point to a similarly tough budget for TAFE in NSW on Tuesday next week.

"The O'Farrell government has signed on to a contestability model which will force TAFE in NSW to compete with low cost, low quality private training organisations.

"HECS-like income-contingent loans will plunge thousands of TAFE students in New England into debt.

"Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson should be insisting on a better deal for TAFE.

"TAFE is an essential public service that creates pathways for engagement for individuals who would otherwise be unemployed or under-employed, particularly for youth in regional areas like New England.

"The Liberals and Nationals' obsession with slashing the public education budget will come at a terrible long-term cost to the economy. It will undermine this state's future as a healthy, socially and culturally cohesive society", said Dr Kaye.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Private arsenals of up to 329 guns - and no action from O’Farrell

Date: Sat, 2 Jun2, 2012

Figures released today show that thousands of NSW shooters have large private arsenals with one shooter owning 329 firearms and 36,015 shooters have more than 6 guns at their home.  These private arsenals are legal in NSW and the O’Farrell government refuses to acknowledge they are
 attracting increased guns thefts by criminals.


See today’s SMH
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/collections-of-guns-spur-theft-fears-20120601-z1n4z.html<http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/collections-of-guns-spur-theft-fears-20120601-1zn4z.html>


NSW Greens MP and firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:


“At present there is no legal cap on the number of guns people can own in
NSW and this has led shooters to collect enormous numbers of firearms.


“Over 36,000 shooters have 6 or more registered firearms at their home in a
clear sign that NSW is adopting a dangerous gun culture after years of
concessions being made to the pro-gun and pro-hunting lobby in NSW.


“A further 34,274 Shooters own 4 or 5 five firearms at home.


“With 640 of these registered firearms stolen just last year, it is clear
that the large numbers of weapons found in the average shooter’s home is a
growing attraction to criminals.


“The simple fact is, the more guns there are in society the more likelihood
there is of gun crime and violence.


“The O’Farrell government is now a captive of the fringe Shooters Party in
NSW and refuses even to admit that the thousands of private arsenals across
the State are an issue.


“Mr “O’Farrell has been wringing his hands about the wave of gun violence
in Sydney, but that amounts to nothing if he will not tackle the number of
guns in circulation under the State’s firearm laws.


“That attitude of the Shooters Party is that people have the right to as
many guns as they like, regardless of the impact on public safety and the
number of guns this feeds to criminals.


“Barry O’Farrell needs to act to place a reasonable limitation on the
number of guns any one household can own.


“Until new restrictions are brought in, the number of guns will continue to
grow together with the inevitable flow of once-legal weapons into the hands
of criminals,”  Mr Shoebridge said.


*Media Contact: 0408 113 952.*

Industrial action by park rangers further proof of growing opposition to O'Farrell's gun deal

Date: Fri, 01 Jun

The decision by park rangers, with the support of their union the NSW Public Service Association (PSA), to commence industrial action in response to the O'Farrell government's plan to expand amateur hunting into NSW National Parks is further evidence of the community anger at the deal struck between Mr O'Farrell and the NSW gun lobby.

NSW Greens MP, David Shoebridge welcomed the industrial action by the NSW Public Service Association and said:

"This is yet more evidence of the widespread community disgust at this dangerous deal being stitched up by the O'Farrell government and the fringe Shooters Party.

"No one voted in Barry O'Farrell to relax our gun laws and promote amateur hunting in this State's National Parks.

"For too long governments in this State have actively courted the vote of the Shooters Party by relaxing firearm laws, encouraging gun ownership and promoting hunting on public land.

"Park rangers are standing up for the commonsense idea that no one should be forced to work with the fear that an amateur shooter will be stalking prey in the middle of their workplace.

"Park rangers are the experts in understanding how to control and manage feral animals on public land and they know that it is not done with a bunch of weekend cowboys out to enjoy the kill.

"Feral animal control is a serious business, not a blood sport, and must be done by licensed professionals who stick to scientifically proven feral animal control programs," Mr Shoebridge said.

Media inquiries: Mark Riboldi 9230 3030 | 0433 753 376

Coffs Coast Advocate: fights-against-private-shooting/

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Increased gun thefts means O'Farrell must act

Media release: 1 June 2012

Increased gun thefts from registered firearm owners proves once again that the primary source of illegal weapons in NSW is from the growing pool of legal weapons in this State.  WIth NSW now having more than 750,000 registered firearms in circulation, legal private arsenals are becoming inevitable targets for criminals wanting ready access to weapons and ammunition and yet the NSW government refuses to act.

See report in todays papers:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/sydney-news/fears-that-nsw-is-under-the-gun/story-fn7y9brv-1226377827009

NSW Greens MP and firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

“Surely now the O’Farrell government must act to put the brakes on the
emerging gun culture in NSW.

“This State has witnessed a surge in the number of licensed guns in
circulation with the numbers growing from 619,000 in 2001 to a staggering
758,802 in 2011.

“Not only has the number of registered firearms increased, so too has the
number of guns per registered shooter.

“In the last decade the number of registered guns per licence holder has
risen from just over 3 to an average of almost 5 guns per shooter.

“Despite claims from the gun lobby there is no evidence at all to suggest
that the rise in gun thefts, to 640 in 2011, is a result of a breach of the
police firearms register.

“These private arsenals become inevitable targets for criminals who can
identify where the weapons are by simply observing who comes and goes from
gun clubs and gun shops.

“With no cap on gun numbers, some registered gun owners clearly own an
excessive number of firearms, and their private arsenals are targets for
organised crime whether they are properly secured or not.

“Ever since the positive gun law reform of 1996 following the Port Arthur
massacre we have seen successive state governments weaken this State’s gun
laws in order to secure the votes of the Shooters Party in the Upper House.

“The O’Farrell government is continuing the trend of bowing to pressure
form the Shooters party and this has meant no action at all on limiting the
number of guns in circulation.

“There may be genuine reasons for someone such as a primary producer to own
1, 2 or 3 guns, but what we are seeing is people developing small arsenals.
It’s dangerous, unnecessary and it has to stop.

“Less guns in society mean less opportunities for gun crime. Reducing the
number of weapons held in private residences will work to limit the
attractiveness of gun theft by organised crime.

“We don’t want the next positive firearm law reform to come after another
tragedy. The government has a responsibility to get ahead of the game,
stand up to the Shooters, and make NSW safer now,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Consumers endorse need for truth in free-range egg labelling

Media release: 31 May 2012

Results of a CHOICE survey released today show that consumers are
demanding transparent and reliable labelling for free-range eggs that
meet high animal welfare standards which is best achieved through
legislation, according to Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and NSW MP John
Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: "The Greens' bill before the NSW Parliament would provide
a legislated definition of free-range egg production that would help end
the confusion and exploitation that is concerning consumers.

"The results of the CHOICE survey resoundingly reinforce the need to
provide certainty to individuals when they buy free-range eggs.

"This can only be achieved by ending the free range free-for-all that
industry self-regulation has become.

"Respondents sent a loud and clear message that 'free-range' must mean
adequate outdoor space and a ban on cruel procedures such as beak
trimming.

"The Egg Corporation and the large industrial producers they represent
are treating consumers with utter disdain by continuing the myth that
20,000 birds per hectare can be free range.

"The NSW Government must stand up to the Egg Corporation and protect
people who don't want to buy into animal cruelty," Dr Kaye said.

Greens Senator and animal welfare spokesperson Lee Rhiannon said: “Just
last week in Senate Estimates the CEO of the Egg Corporation made a
valiant effort to argue that 'cage egg production systems do provide
animal welfare benefits'.

“This shows exactly where the Egg Corporation is at - defending the
battery cage with its well established negative impacts on the health of
laying hens.

"Shoppers want to have faith in the free-range label. Half of the
people surveyed by CHOICE indicated they rely solely on the term
'free-range' when buying eggs.

"This undermines the Egg Corporation's argument that people can choose
between what they think is 'free-range'.

"Consumers are not swallowing the Egg Corporation's attempts to gloss
over the gross variations in the animal welfare and environmental
standards on eggs labelled as free-range”, Senator Rhiannon said.

Details of the survey can be found at http://bit.ly/JRDNuE
Senate estimate transcript of Egg Corporation claims:
http://tiny.cc/uak5ew

Historic win: NSW passes motion calling on Commonwealth to enact marriage equality

Date: Thu, 31 May 2012

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann's motion in support of marriage equality today
passed the NSW Legislative Council. The House has called on the
Commonwealth to enact marriage equality.  A conscience vote was provided
to Coalition and Labor party MPs, and the final vote was 22 to 16.

"This is a great day. I congratulate my NSW Upper House colleagues for
their leadership. Today we are on the right side of history," said Ms
Faehrmann.

"Denying anyone the right to marry who they love is ludicrous. It’s
last century and it’s time our Federal Parliament caught up. The NSW
Legislative Council, Australia's oldest House of Parliament, has shown
great leadership in sending this clear message to the Commonwealth
today.

"For the first time MPs from all major parties have joined together to
vote in favour of marriage equality.

"Yes, this was a symbolic motion, but it is immensely significant.
Today we have given voice to the majority of NSW citizens who don't want
our marriage laws to discriminate.

"Every single step towards full equality is to be welcomed and
congratulated enthusiastically. I want to thank all of my colleagues who
supported the motion, and acknowledge that for many, this was a very
difficult motion to contend with.

"In the end, the arguments against marriage equality are based on
personal and religious beliefs that have no place in our civil marriage
laws. It's time for full equality and the NSW Upper House has made that
clear," said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

John Kaye in Coffs for public meeting on egg labelling, June 9





 

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