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



Friday, 31 August 2012

‘Billionaire’s burden’ a cruel hoax


Australian Greens housing spokesperson - Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 30 August 2012.

Mining billionaire and heir to Lang Hancock’s empire Gina Rinehart has no idea what life is like for workers on the minimum wage, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam said Ms Rinehart’s desire to cut the minimum wage was “based on ignorance and a complete lack of concern for the challenges working people face in their lives”.

“According to Anglicare’s research, people on minimum wage can’t afford more than 95 per cent of the rental properties in this country, and more than 99 per cent of the rentals in Western Australia.  Workers on minimum wage can’t pay the rent, and they’ve got an old-money billionaire telling them they should work more and be paid less for it.”

Senator Ludlam said it was “insulting” that Ms Rinehart told working people to, in her words, “spend less time drinking, or smoking and socialising, and more time working”.

“Gina Rinehart’s message to these workers is – stop trying to enjoy the little free time you have, and work harder.  Australian workers already work very hard and productivity is growing.  Not all of us were able to inherit a mining empire shortly before a world-wide mineral commodities boom.”

“Australian workers on the minimum wage should be paid more, not less, and mining billionaires should pay their fair share of tax.”


Media contact: Giovanni Torre – 0417 174 302

Brothel licensing will be public health disaster – Greens

Cate Faehrmann MLC

Responding to reports the government will establish a Brothel Licensing
Authority, Greens MP Cate Faehrmann says a brothel licensing scheme will
be a public health disaster for NSW, and could lead to increased rates
of HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases.

"The evidence against licensing is overwhelming. It will lead to poorer
health and public safety outcomes, not just for sex workers but for the
entire community," said Ms Faehrmann.

"Licensing schemes have been a dismal failure in other states.  Where
they exist they are extremely expensive and have the opposite effect of
what is intended, creating a more dangerous environment for sex workers
and their clients.

"In contrast, NSW has an enviable record on HIV prevention, and this is
partly down to the decriminalisation model and the services that are
therefore freely available from organisations like the Sex Workers
Outreach Project.

"In Queensland, where brothel licensing scheme operates, around 90% of
the industry has been forced underground. That means the majority of sex
work is unregulated, illegal and therefore more dangerous. Workers and
clients simply don't have the kind of access to health services and law
enforcement that is necessary.

"The timing of this announcement is typical. This isn't about
protecting women and cleaning up the sex industry, this is a cynical
attempt to politicise another controversial issue for political gain.

"No one is suggesting there aren't problems or improvements that could
be made. Currently there are very comprehensive planning guidelines for
brothel regulation that are not applied consistently by local
government. This is where improvements can be made.

"I challenge the government to point to a single licensing scheme
elsewhere in the world that has improved health and public safety
outcomes. It simply doesn't exist," said Ms Faehrmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

Lot 490 rubber stamped by Planning Assessment Commission


Media Release - 29 August 2012

The State's developer friendly Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has rubber stamped the development at Lot 490 on the Tweed Coast, to the
outrage of locals and environmentalists.

Greens MP and Planning spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"The approval on Lot 490 is a squandered opportunity by the State
government to protect some of the last remaining coastal vegetation in
the region.

"When I visited the site earlier this year, it was clear that the site
had immense ecological value.  Over 60 species of native vegetation have
been recorded in the area and it provides crucial habitat for many
native species including endangered Glossy Black Cockatoos.

"This decision by the PAC is part of an ongoing pattern that sees this
body approving the overwhelming majority of developments that come
before it.

"The PAC's approval rate is a staggering 94 per cent and it agrees with
the government's planning bureaucrats in more than 96 per cent of cases.
 No wonder the community feels locked out of planning decisions under
this government.

"Minor amendments made by the PAC in its approval may look like a
concession but do little more than pull back some of the most
extravagant parts of the developer's proposal.

"This development will have a disastrous impact on not only the
immediate site, but it will also cut straight across a rare wildlife
corridor linking the coast and the Tweed hinterland.

"This decision highlights exactly why a truly independent and community
focussed state planning body must urgently be implemented in NSW" Mr
Shoebridge said.

Background

After analysing 461 major project planning decisions, including 127
decisions by the Planning Assessment Commission, that have been made
since the O’Farrell government came into office in 2011 the following
facts emerge:
In 97.6 per cent of cases major projects are approved by the O’Farrell
government;
The PAC agrees with the assessment of the planning bureaucrats in 96
per cent of cases;
The PAC approves 94 per cent of all development matters it considers;
The PAC has approved every single application for a new or expanded
mine or coal seam gas project that it has considered.
Media contact: Mark Riboldi 0433 753 376

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Greens support community blockade of coal seam gas at Fullerton Cove


JEREMY BUCKINGHAM MLC - MEDIA RELEASE

20 August 2012

Greens support community blockade of coal seam gas at Fullerton Cove

The Greens NSW spokesperson on mining Jeremy Buckingham voiced the Greens' support for the blockade of a coal seam gas drilling site by Fullerton Cove residents today, saying that drilling at the site was a high risk activity.  Jeremy visited residents at Fullerton Cove last Friday.

"The Greens support the community blockade at Fullerton Cove and congratulate the residents involved for standing up for their local environment and community," said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

"Dart Energy are planning to drill a pilot production coal seam gas well only metres from a RAMSAR wetland, and through the Tomago Sands aquifer that supplies 20% of Newcastle's drinking water.  This is a risky proposition.

"If Dart Energy are allowed to drill these gas wells, it is the first step in their plan to turn the area between Newcastle and Port Stephens into a gas field.  This Petroleum Exploration Area (PEL) 458 extends from Newcastle right up to the Myall Lakes.

"Don't be fooled by Dart's propaganda about powering a vegetable greenhouse. This is all about proving the resource and eventually drilling a large gas field right through the Tomago Sands area.

"My recent visit to coal seam gas fields in the United States really revealed how the gas industry can dominate the landscape, with gas wells, compressor plants, pipelines and powerlines turning the area into a heavy industrial zone.

"The residents of Fullerton Cove are not just taking action for their own backyard, but are doing so on behalf of the citizens of Newcastle and Port Stephens and the Greens salute them," he said.

Contact: Max Phillips - 9230 2202  or  0419 444 916

Kempsey Shire Council Minutes 18 October 2011- discussion of pollution of Macleay River



NOM2 Macleay River Compliance Audit Program
File: 350 {Folio No. 459522}

RESOLVED: Moved: Cl. Bowell Seconded: Cl. Sproule 

  1. 1  That the Office of Environment & Heritage undertake a review of the March 2001 report and analysis of the Catchment of the Heavy Metals Loading of Streams in the Macleay River catchment. 

  2. 2  That Council write to the Premiers Department to support the reinstatement of the Macleay Contamination Working Group and that Council be invited to be represented on this group.
I intend to move the following Motion at the Ordinary meeting to be held Tuesday 

Kempsey Shire Council FULL TEXT Minutes Ordinary Meeting 18 October 2011 Page

18 October 2011: 

That the Office of Environment & Heritage undertake a Compliance Audit Program within the Macleay River in respect to arsenic, antimony and heavy metals. 

MOTION IMPLICATIONS
Environmental, Policy or Statutory:
A Compliance Audit Program would
determine the nature and extent of any pollution of the Macleay River. 

Social: The Macleay River is the source of many activities which impact on the community. 

Economic (Financial): The cost of the program should be the responsibility of the Department of Environment and Heritage. 

REPORT DETAILS 

On 30 August 2011 Council was advised through NSW Office of Environment and Heritage there had been a “release” of material from a sediment erosion control dam. The material contained traces of metals, arsenic, antimony, copper and zinc. 

Due to contaminants in the Macleay River, a Water Treatment Plant was installed at Bellbrook with a grant of $701,817 from the Federal Government. 

Prior to the installation, the total cost of carting water over a five year period (2005-2010) was $716,596. Council received $245,920 in subsidy via grant funding. The net cost amounted to $470,676. 

These procedures addressed the problem at Bellbrook only. 

There have been fish kills reported in Georges Creek and the upper reaches of the Macleay River with the cause unknown. 

The District Management Emergency Officer (through to Office of Environment & Heritage) had advised that there had been no breach of the licence (issued to the mine) in regards to this matter. 

The question is raised as to whether the licence provides for the release of materials.
Recent media articles refer to:
proposed legislation requiring companies to report chemical leaks and spills; and
a study by the Total Environment Centre which disclosed dozens of breaches, including many that had gone unreported, and that the current
system of monitoring was “dysfunctional”.

Kings, Grammar to get yet more as O'Farrell's cuts hit public schools


Media release: 20 August 2012

The O'Farrell government's obsession with cutting public spending should be focused on the elite non-government schools that are about to receive an increase in their Commonwealth funding, according to Greens NSW MP John
Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: "Prime Minister Julia Gillard has caved in to pressure from the well-organised private education lobby and promised yet more cash for all non-government schools, no matter how wealthy they are.

"The specularly affluent Sydney Grammar will get even more public funding,
despite being able to spend $39,348 on each of its students.

"The inner city elite institution currently receives more than $2,000 per
student from the Gillard government and $1,000 from the state.

"That is more than four times the amount spent on many public school
students.

"Increasing public subsidies to schools like Sydney Grammar will amplify
educational inequality and squander scarce taxpayers' dollars that could be
effectively spent in the state's public schools.

"The history of the last twelve years is that escalating public funding of
wealthy private schools makes then less affordable. Fees have grown much
faster than inflation.

"The O'Farrell government is obsessed with cutting public spending.
Programs that address drug and alcohol abuse, disadvantaged schools and
sustainability have been dumped.

"The $1.2 million the state gives to Sydney Grammar each year would be a
better target than cutting drug and alcohol programs in public education.

"As the Prime Minister seems intent on rewriting the rules to make elite
private schools even wealthier, the NSW government should stop pouring more
$70 million a year into creating yet more educational inequality.

"The money should go back into public schools where it would be effectively
invested in the state's future," Dr Kaye said.

For more information:  John Kaye 0407 195 455

Two governments, two education plans, no dollars


Media release: 19 August 2012

Both the O'Farrell and Gillard governments are pushing policies that will devastate public schools while the Gonski review's promise of a $5 billion boost to education funding is rapidly becoming a political orphan, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government is trying to dump responsibility for decades of inadequate funding onto school principals, while Prime
Minister Julie Gillard wants to punish schools that serve disadvantaged communities.

"Neither level of government is prepared to stump up the additional funding that public schools so desperately need to reduce class sizes and allow teachers to develop their professional practice.

"Both the state Coalition and federal Labor are trying to impose corporate models onto public schools.

"Importing failed ideologies from the USA and the UK will squander the legacy of a quality public education system that ensures every class is taught by a qualified teacher.

"Public schools do not need to bribed, threatened, shamed or bullied into preforming better.

"If Mr O'Farrell or Ms Gillard wants to help, they should provide additional funds to support early career teachers and allow teachers time to work together on improving teaching and learning.

"Punishing schools that struggle will inevitably result in a downward spiral in educational outcomes.

"It might sound smart in Canberra or New York but it wont work in the tougher areas of NSW," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

NSW Greens condemn Australian Government's lies and inaction on Assange

Photo Via Wikipedia
Media Release - 18 August 2012

At its state delegates meeting today the NSW Greens expressed the party's thanks to the government of Ecuador for providing political asylum for Julian Assange and its condemnation of the Australian Government's lies and inaction in regards to this Australian citizen.

NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge said:

"It is simply extraordinary that Julian Assange, an Australian citizen, is facing extradition to the United States for essentially political charges and our government does nothing.

"Documents made public today make it clear that the Australian government
has known since at least 2010 that Julian Assange is facing extradition to
the United States for his work with Wikileaks and his own government has
hidden this information from the public.

*Resolution passed today:*

That the NSW Greens:

1. Thanks the government of Ecuador for protecting an Australian citizen,
Julian Assange by granting him political asylum because of the real risk he
faces of extradition to the United States for the 'crime' of providing the
world's public with information on the secret operations of the world's
governments through Wikileaks.

2. Condemns the failure of the Australian government to stand up for the
rights of its citizen Julian Assange.

3. Notes with concern the threats of the United Kingdom government to storm
the Ecuadorian Embassy to violently remove Julian Assange.

4. Notes that there is now compelling evidence that the Australian
government has been aware of formal action being taken by the United States
government since 2010 to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange and has
failed to oppose or question these actions.

5. Expresses its deep concern that the Australian foreign minister Bob Carr
has repeatedly mislead the Australian public by stating that the Australian
government has "received no hint" that the United States plans to extradite
Julian Assange, and

6. Calls on the Australian government to publicly oppose Julian Assange's
extradition to the United States for his activities with Wikileaks,
cooperate with the Ecuadorian government in providing him political asylum
and oppose any actions by the government of the United Kingdom to
forcefully remove him from the Ecuadorian Embassy.

*Media contact: 0408 113 952*

Thursday, 16 August 2012

More action on Lyme disease: Greens



Borrelia bacteria
Greens MP John Kaye will ask parliament to acknowledge the issue of untreated Lyme disease in NSW and call on the Minister for Health to commission an independent study into the diagnosis and care of this often serious but underrated illness.

Dr Kaye said: "Lyme disease is a complex illness that has difficult testing and diagnosis procedures. Many of the various treatment strategies are contested.

"The economic and human consequences of untreated Lyme disease are too great for this health issue to be ignored any longer.

"The existence of Lyme disease in NSW is regularly dismissed, particularly by NSW Health.

"Testing and diagnosis options in Australia are insufficient. Until there is acceptance of the disease, adequate knowledge and appropriate services for suffers will always be limited.

"The lack of approved Lyme disease testing facilities in Australia poses a serious health risk. This must change. Cost and availability must not impede diagnosis of this dangerous illness.

"The Lyme Disease Association of Australia argues for greater recognition and study of the Lyme disease bacteria, its existence in Australia and the treatment of the illness. The Greens Upper House motion will address the issues confronting many suspected Lyme disease victims.

"We will be increasing pressure on Health Minister Jillian Skinner to confront this serious health concern.

"The Greens believe that this issue can no longer be ignored. Lyme disease is a serious concern across NSW, particularly in rural areas. Ms Skinner needs to listen to these legitimate concerns and take action to protect the growing number of suffers and those at risk," Dr Kaye said.


The following motion was introduced into parliament August 15, 2012 and was rejected.

Notice of Motion

Greens NSW MP John Kaye to move

1) That this House notes that:
a)    Lyme disease (LD) is a tick-borne zoonosis caused by the spirochaete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi.
b)    Increasing numbers of requests for serology tests for B. burgdorferi from patients in NSW suggest that the disease or closely related infections may be on the rise in this state
c)    Definitive blood tests for the presence of B. burgdorferi are not available in NSW creating the significant and in some cases prohibitive financial burden for patients with suspected Lyme disease for whom definitive diagnosis involves a test at a North American laboratory
d)    Early diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease reduces morbidity and long term debilitation.
e)    The absence of NATA-certified testing facilities in Australia may be creating a public health risk.

2) That this House calls on the Minister for Health to commission an independent study into:

a)      The adequacy of facilities for diagnosis of the presence of B. burgdorferi and other spirochaete bacteria in NSW  and

b)      Advice provided to doctors in respect of the detection and treatment of Lyme disease

3) That the report be tabled in both Houses of parliament.

For more information:       John Kaye 0407 195 455

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Greens Release CountryLink analysis with Masterplan


Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says planning for regional rail should address future demand and travel patterns, not just problems with the current CountryLink fleet.

Ms Faehrmann has called for the government to release the analysis regarding CountryLink services that has been prepared for Transport for NSW – at the same time as the government's draft transport masterplan
is made public.

"It would make a mockery of the masterplan process if the vital information contained in this report wasn't made public ," said Ms Faehrmann.

"What is clear is that CountryLink is an incredibly important asset for the future of NSW transport. In the consultation I recently conducted to mirror the government's own process, a consistent theme from regional NSW was that rail had to be taken seriously and made viable for the future.

"The government needs to invest for a time when demand will be significantly higher, as oil prices increase and driving long distances becomes less and less affordable for everyday Australians. Investment in a modern fleet of trains for regional NSW must be a part of this.

"Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian is right when she says that Labor failed to invest or plan during their term in office, but that can't be used as an excuse to delay, or as an excuse to cover up this analysis.

"The analysis must be released if the public is to have any confidence in the direction the masterplan will take," said Ms Faerhmann.

Media contact: Peter Stahel 0433 005 727

O'Farrell trashes 400 year old right to silence

Media Release - 14 August 2012

The O'Farrell government is removing a four century old right to silence apparently to target hardened criminals but in doing so they are removing this right from everyone in NSW.

"This government is trashing a four hundred year old right to silence just to get a headline about fighting gang crime," Greens NSW MP and
Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said.

"The a reason the right to silence has stood so long that is because it protects individuals from the heavy handed use of police powers.

"Most people's interactions with police are in highly charged and emotional circumstances.  It is at these times that the right to silence is crucial in order to protect people from being entrapped or
misunderstood.

“You don’t institute fundamental law reform that applies to everyone to deal with only a limited number of hardened criminals.

"If organised criminals are getting smarter the solution is smarter policing, not the erosion of a fundamental pillar of the justice system.

“It’s the prosecution’s responsibility to get a conviction, not an individual's responsibility to prove their innocence or guilt through their own words.

"These laws are said to be designed for criminal gangs, but they will apply to everyone.

"We have already seen the consorting laws, supposedly implemented to crack down on bikie gang crime, being used against a man going to the shops with a mate.

"Anyone could understand the police wanting these new powers but it is the Attorney General's task to moderate police demands and protect the integrity of the criminal justice system.  Sadly, the current Attorney seems to have forgotten this," Mr Shoebridge said.

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

NSW COUNCILS FRONT UP TO COAL SEAM GAS THREAT

2012-08-09 17:13
 
Antimony Processing site at Urunga
More than 25 councils across NSW have now passed motions against coal seam gas (CSG) mining in their local government area. Some motions declare a moratorium on coal seam gas, others are focussed on security of water issues, others request NSW government for consultation and transparency on plans before mining is approved.

In May Richmond Valley Council joined the growing list of Northern Rivers councils to declare a moratorium on new coal seam gas projects after previously opposing it.

In the majority of councils putting motions it’s Greens councillors who have taken the initiatives, preparing and advocating for the motion. “I wanted to achieve bi-partisan support across the council on this key issue because ultimately it will affect us all if our water supply is polluted and our agricultural land destroyed,” says Pauline Tyrell, Greens  Councillor at Canada Bay. “Even though my council is in the city we still eat the food from the Liverpool plains and enjoy the wine from the Hunter Valley, two of the areas under serious threat if coal seam gas mining goes ahead.”

Momentum from urban Sydney councils increased after last year’s NSW Local Government Association (LGA) annual general meeting passed its own motion against coal seam gas mining. This motion included rejecting suggestions by industry that coal seam gas development is appropriate in residential areas, and called on the government to rescind exploration licences over residential areas.    
                                                                            
Lock the Gate says that a show of unity by councils across NSW will empower more communities to say no to CSG and also pack a political punch within NSW state government. There are many things Councils can do to legally delay mining in their LGAs and show the mining companies they do not have a social license. The movement against coal seam gas regularly uses term ‘people’s moratorium’.

Many communities within LGAs in northern NSW are now also declaring themselves CSG-Free with more than 20 communities now having declared themselves CSG-Free.

Visit  www.lockthegate.org.au/local-councils for the list of NSW councils that have passed motions against coal seam gas.

This article comes from the NSW Greens' 'Greenvoice".


Bellingen Shire Council was asked by the MNC Greens to pass a motion that only supported mining that would operate with extremely strict conditions. The MNC Greens received only two acknowledgments of their correspondence and the matter was left for the new council to tackle.


More at Mining in our shire: MNC Greens request of Bellingen Shire ...

Saturday, 11 August 2012

O'Farrell signs on to TAFE privatisation agenda


Media release: 10 August 2012

The O'Farrell government is intending  to break up the TAFE system, increase the reliance of the public provider on commercial 'fee-for-service' courses and reduce non-contact hours for teachers, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye.

See the NSW Government response to the vocational education and training recommendations in the Final Report of the Commission of Audit, http://j.mp/QhV1SS.

Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government wants to break TAFE apart, compel teachers to take on even more face-to-face hours and force more students to pay the full cost of their training.

"Inevitably the quality of skills in NSW will suffer.

"Increasing the so-called 'productivity' of TAFE teachers in reality means reducing the amount of time for planning lessons, developing new teaching ideas, working with students who are struggling and helping other teachers develop their professional skills.

"The previous Labor government slashed funding per student by 48 percent, while fees and charges went up by 15 percent.

"Now the O'Farrell government wants to squeeze yet more dollars out of TAFE teachers.

"Many young people cannot afford to pay  fees and will be denied the ability to improve their skills.

"Breaking TAFE apart into autonomous institutes is the next step towards privatisation.

"The public provider is being carved up into bits that are then to be thrown into competition with low-quality private providers.

"NSW is set to follow the disastrous Victorian model that has seen the public provider's share of students fall below 50 percent and institutes face bankruptcy.

"It is clear that Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has been overruled by Treasury officials and Premier's Department head Chris Eccles.

"Despite the Minister's assurances, the government's response to the Schott commission makes it clear that TAFE is about to be abandoned into a race to the bottom with profit-driven low-quality private providers.

"In the long run, it is the economy of NSW that will suffer as the quality of trades skills inevitably declines.

"The O'Farrell government is also planning further outsourcing of maintenance, operations and in some cases infrastructure ownership at Sydney Water and Hunter Water.

"Saving a few dollars now will inevitably result in rising household bills,declining quality and security of the water supply and thousands of jobs lost," Dr Kaye said.

For more information:  John Kaye 0407 195 455

Serious Police misconduct must trigger automatic PIC inquiry

David outside Grafton Gaol

Media Release - 10 August 2012

Following findings by a north coast magistrate that that NSW Police Officers had engaged in serious misconduct, colluded to give false evidence, and debased the administration of justice, Greens NSW Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge has called for serious misconduct matters to be automatically investigated by a thoroughly resourced police watchdog.

See SMH:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/candid-camera-tape-police-said-had-been-damaged-shows-officers-assaulting-prisoner-20120809-23x63.html


"When a magistrate finds police officers have engaged in serious misconduct, the law should compel the police watchdog to undertake a thorough and complete investigation. This must not be discretionary," Mr Shoebridge said.

"Magistrate Heilpern found that the officers in question had lied under
oath, colluded in their evidence and brought false charges against a
member of the public.

"These are serious findings which the Police Integrity Commission must
investigate, not just by choice, but because police misconduct should be
core business of any police watchdog.

"In this case, PIC are determining whether or not to undertake a full
blown inquiry. This should not be optional.

"No one can criticise the PIC for the actions it has taken to date on
this issue, because they are complying with an overly complicated and
opaque complaints system.

"The Greens are calling on the O'Farrell Government to ensure that when
courts make findings of serious misconduct against Police Officers, this
triggers an automatic investigation by the PIC.

"This is not a revolutionary concept. These oversight structures apply
in the United Kingdom and other overseas jurisdictions and must become
law here," Mr Shoebridge said.

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

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Renewable energy plan for councils

SEVEN SYDNEY COUNCILS LEAD THE WAY ON RENEWABLE ENERGY MASTER PLAN

Reblogged from the NSW Greens site

2012-07-24 10:54
Daniel Kogoy, Greens councillor on Leichhardt Council

In inner west and southern Sydney, seven local councils are working together to develop their own renewable energy master plan.

 This master plan includes Leichhardt, Marrickville, Ashfield, Canterbury, Rockdale, Bankstown and Canada Bay councils and will identify the best ways to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in these LGAs. It will also cover financing, ownership and operational details, including community/council ownership and joint ventures.


Community owned renewable energy is already common in parts of Europe and North America. In Australia we’re in the early stages of the move away from large, centralised fossil fuel power stations towards clean, decentralised, community scale renewable energy autonomy.

Decentralised renewable energy reduces network costs as power stations can be built quickly and closer to where they are needed. It enables local ownership, which empowers communities and delivers economic benefits locally.  It also represents a great opportunity - after the recent shameful electricity sell-offs – to increase the percentage of public and community owned renewable energy.

All commercially viable renewable energy infrastructure is being investigated for the master plan including solar PV, solar thermal, waste-to-energy, mini hydro, wind power and co/tri-generation sourcing renewable fuels. There is also the potential for alignment with the City of Sydney’s renewable energy plan.

The renewable energy plan is a Greens initiative, but Greens councillors have worked hard to gain the support of various Labor, Independent and some Liberal councillors.
“These seven councils are demonstrating just what local communities can achieve by working together on an issue that has widespread support.”

The seven councils plan received a boost on July 1, 2012 when The Clean Energy Future Fund became law and $13.2 billion was made available through the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for renewable energy in Australia.

The NSW state government needs to now come to the party. Both NSW Labor and the Liberals played key roles in dismantling the successful NSW Solar Bonus Scheme and in selling off our electricity sector against widespread community outrage. NSW Labor gave planning approval for two new coal fired power stations that will increase NSW’s greenhouse gas emissions by a massive 16%.

Last year the O’Farrell government embarked on an anti-wind power crusade, enacting one of the world’s most regressive wind power policies, while supporting the expansion of coal mines and coal seam gas.

Given O’Farrell’s approach and Tony Abbott’s gallop towards federal government it is imperative that local communities show their support for renewable energy by actively investing.

To solve the climate crisis, local communities and councils must take the lead towards our 100% renewable energy future and this is what our renewable energy master plan is doing.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Hunting free-for-all in State Forests

*Media Release:   6/8/2012

Amateur hunting is occurring in more than 1.75 million hectares of State Forests with almost no one employed to check for public safety.  In answers provided to the Greens in Parliament, the NSW Game Council confirmed that it employs only 4.2 full time equivalent staff to police the hunting in State Forests.

See SMH article:
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/recreational-hunting-in-national-parks-under-fire-after-joey-shot-by-stray-arrow-20120805-23o0q.html

Greens MP and Forestry Spokesperson, David Shoebridge said:

“Over the last decade more than 1.75 million hectares of public forests
have been opened up for amateur hunting, but less than 5 people are being
employed to ensure that hunting is safe.


 “Many public forests will never see a Game Council inspector and hunters
are subject to licence conditions that are hardly worth the paper they are
written on.

“On these figures each inspector is responsible for more than 400,000
hectares of State Forest.

“This is an impossible task for inspectors and means that, in truth, there
is no one out there watching the hunters that roam our State Forests.

“If it wasn’t a real public safety issue, it would be laughable that the
Game Council has less than five full time positions to keep an eye on more
than 15,000 licensed hunters in 1.75 million hectares of State Forests.

“The NSW Government is about to expand amateur hunting from State Forests
to National Parks where it is almost certain that the same kind of hunting
free-for-all will develop.

“With both the Game Council and the O’Farrell government in bed with the
Shooters Party, there has been no attention paid to policing hunting in
State Forests.

“Heaven help us when the hunting expands into National Parks.

“The Greens continue to call for the dangerous practice of amateur hunting
on public lands to be halted, so that our State Forests and National Parks
can return to being safe, friendly and beautiful reserves open to
everyone,” Mr Shoebridge said.

*Media Contact: 0408 113 952 *

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Lock the Mid North Coast Meeting Macksville

See the Lock the Mid North Coast video

See also 12 min video looking at the risks to health, safety, water quality, and farm income of antimony mining in the Macleay River and Clarence River catchments - with particular emphasis on plans for mining in the environmentally sensitive Nymboida River area by an Australian arm of China Shandong Jinshunda Group Co.




Lock the Mid North Coast met in Macksville. The Senior Citizens Hall was filled by those interested in finding more about current mining operations in the Nambucca and Bellingen Valleys and wanting to prevent the Mid North Coast being devastated by CSG or mineral mining.  We heard that the Bellingen and Nambucca valleys do not have a geology that favours coal seam gas mining. However, we also heard about current mineral exploration licences in our area and how antimony and goldmining are real pollution threats.




Two follow up meetings will now be held, one in Bellingen and one in Nambucca to plan larger meetings in those areas. More information on this blog soon.










Many left at lunchtime but following lunch a unanimous vote was taken authorising Cr Paula Flack to request Nambucca Council to oppose reckless mining practices that have the potential to destroy the beautiful Nambucca Valley.














NSW Planning and the City of Troy

Reblogged from NSW Greens website

2012-08-01
James Ryan, Cessnock City Greens Councillor

Brad Hazzard has produced a planning Green Paper which at first glance promises a brand new day, in which we, the people, are thoroughly consulted, we sit together at the table and everyone is happy.

We should not be fooled.

The Minister's new planning system consists of three levels of strategic planning: Regional Growth Plans, outlining general directions and targets; Subregional Delivery Plans, the main tool of deciding how land is zoned; and Local Land Use Plans, which will have with succinct local development controls.

The critical platform on which Hazzard’s Green Paper stands is that somehow meaningful community consultation, according to a ‘Public Participation Charter’, will lead to community acceptance of these plans.

From then on most development will be approved automatically if it meets the 'Code' or normal footprint for that type of development. This way, Hazzard claims we will have the best of both worlds: community consultation as well as swift development.

But the reality is that the planning blueprint released on Saturday 14th July will gut community participation, and has squibbed the hard questions of how we properly protect the environment and provide public open spaces and social infrastructure.

In short the Green Paper has basically delivered what developers asked for. As Urban Taskforce Australia said in their submission to the NSW Planning Review: “Once communities have participated in the strategic planning phase of plan making and have agreed on the key drivers of the character of a precinct, including the setting of development standards such as height, setbacks and floor space controls, there is no reason why more development could not be considered as code assessable and removed from the merit assessment stream.”

When we look at the Green Paper to see how Hazzard’s Public Participation Charter will engage a significant number of residents in strategic planning (something no-one else to date has managed to achieve) we find that the Charter is yet to be written. We also find a reference to the community engagement in recent Council Community Strategic plans, which the Paper says were an example of successful community engagement.

However, speaking as a Councillor I am very aware that my own Council’s consultation reached a relatively small number of people. Those it did reach were disproportionately dominated by business and deveopment interests.

As a Councillor my community consultation occurs 7 days a week. It occurs in the supermarket and at the soccer ground. As a conservationist and community campaigner I have spent countless hours letter boxing, door knocking, standing outside supermarkets on Saturday mornings and addressing public meetings.

I know through first hand experience of the massive amounts of effort it takes to engage a community on strategic issues even to a limited extent. There is no doubt that most people are motivated only when a concrete development proposal is put before them.

Witness the current level of community engagement, and outrage, occurring over the intrusion of coal seam gas (CSG) exploration into our communities and water supply.

Under Brad Hazzard's theory all of those concerned farmers and residents should have had the foresight to voice their concerns years earlier when the legislation and zonings were being written.
Like the current CSG issue, Brad Hazzards proposals will take us back to the days of Green Bans. Residents will be forced to blockade and take supposedly unlawful action when development is just too awful or inappropriate, because they will be shut out of the system.

In terms of the environment, the perennially hard question in planning is how much of the environment does the community want to protect and how much do we need to protect to maintain a healthy ecosystem? Further who pays for it?

When we ask how Brad Hazzard's proposed Regional Growth Plans and Sub Regional Delivery Plans will protect the environment there are few answers.

The non statutory State Policy on biodiversity conservation which will guide the strategic planning is yet to be written. There is no committment to ecological sustainable development. It is not mentioned once in the entire Green paper. Is the Minister saying we should no longer at least aspire to leave our environment is as good if not better condition for our children's children?

There are pages on providing infrastructure to promote growth, and making community infrastructure levies subordinate to affordable housing. In the whole document there is just one line which mentions levies for biodiversity offsets.

Mr Hazzard's new planning system is a Trojan Horse which offers the appearance of community engagement but in reality presents a mighty gift to the developers waiting with drawn swords for the gates to be opened.

Infrastructure NSW should be disbanded after Transport boss quits - Greens


Greens MP and transport spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has accused
Infrastructure NSW of being a front for private sector interests and is
calling on the Premier to disband the body after news the director-general
of Transport NSW has quit.

See story here:
http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/collision-course-transport-boss-quits-20120803-23kt2.html

“Premier O’Farrell said he established Infrastructure NSW because he wanted
to take the politics out of infrastructure delivery in NSW. What he’s done
is replace politics with profiteering - an even worse outcome for the
people of NSW,” said Ms Faehrmann.

“What has become increasingly clear is that Infrastructure NSW has been set
up so that the private sector can gain as much access to government
infrastructure contracts as possible. This is an outrage.

“Infrastructure NSW is nothing more than a front group for the private
sector construction industry.

“With five members of the board being from the private-sector and none from
the community, you can be guaranteed the yet-to-be-released infrastructure
plan will only deliver dividends for their shareholders and not the wider
public.

“If Premier O’Farrell allows himself to be guided by the selfish interests
of Infrastructure NSW, Sydney will become even more congested and even more
expensive for people to get from A to B.

“This should send alarm bells ringing through the government. The Premier
must reassure the community that their interests come first and disband
Infrastructure NSW,” said Ms Faehrmann.



*More information: Cate Faehrmann 0412 207 043*

Friday, 3 August 2012

Fresh thinking, not fear mongering, required for juven

Greens-Media

With NSW gaoling its young people at almost four times the rate of Victoria
the State needs a fresh approach to juvenile justice.  Every day a juvenile
is in gaol costs taxpayers over $650 and tends to produce better criminals
not better citizens.

See the story in the media here
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/juvenile-law--calls-for-cautions-to-spare-young-crims-from-jail/story-e6freuy9-1226441834631

Greens NSW MP and Justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"NSW gaols its young people at almost four times the rate of Victoria and
half of the young people NSW locks up are Aboriginal.  That's a failing
system.

"Gaol should be the last option for juvenile offenders when they are
brought before the Children's Court.

"Clearly, for serious or repeat offenders, gaol must remain a viable option
for magistrates but it needs to be kept as the last resort for young
people.

“Last year an average of 391 young people were held each day in NSW gaols.
 This is an annual cost to the budget of more than $93 million.

“Government projections revealed to the Greens confirm that the number of
juveniles in detention is expected to rise to 411 a day by 2013. This will
see the costs of gaoling young people rise to almost $100 million by next
year.

"International research shows that family-focused programs delivered in the
community are the most effective way of reducing offending by children.

"Diversion and support programs that work better than gaol in reducing
recidivism include education, mentoring and programs targeting specific
problems and groups, such as substance misuse, Aboriginal citizens and
violence.

“There are real social and financial benefits to be had from reallocating
the money spent locking up young people to focus on crime prevention and
addressing the causes of crime amongst juveniles.

"It's easy to run a scare campaign over youth crime, it is far more
difficult but productive to come up with solutions.  Solutions, not fear,
should be driving this State's political leaders,” Mr Shoebridge said.

Media contact: 0408 113 952

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