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



Thursday, 31 January 2013

The Observer:Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse'


Lord Stern now believes he should have been more ‘blunt’ about threat to economies from temperature rises. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian
Author of 2006 review speaks out on danger to economies as planet absorbs less carbon and is 'on track' for 4C rise

Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Stern, who is now a crossbench peer, said: "Looking back, I underestimated the risks. The planet and the atmosphere seem to be absorbing less carbon than we expected, and emissions are rising pretty strongly. Some of the effects are coming through more quickly than we thought then."

The Stern review, published in 2006, pointed to a 75% chance that global temperatures would rise by between two and three degrees above the long-term average; he now believes we are "on track for something like four ". Had he known the way the situation would evolve, he says, "I think I would have been a bit more blunt. I would have been much more strong about the risks of a four- or five-degree rise."

He said some countries, including China, had now started to grasp the seriousness of the risks, but governments should now act forcefully to shift their economies towards less energy-intensive, more environmentally sustainable technologies.

"This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly. Do we want to play Russian roulette with two bullets or one? These risks for many people are existential."
Stern said he backed the UK's Climate Change Act, which commits the government to ambitious carbon reduction targets. But he called for increased investment in greening the economy, saying: "It's a very exciting growth story."

David Cameron made much of his environmental credentials before the 2010 election, travelling to the Arctic to highlight his commitment to tackling global warming. But the coalition's commitment to green policies has recently been questioned, amid scepticism among Tory backbenchers about the benefits of wind power, and the chancellor's enthusiasm for exploiting Britain's shale gas reserves.
Stern's comments came as Jim Yong Kim, the new president of the World Bank, also at Davos, gave a grave warning about the risk of conflicts over natural resources should the forecast of a four-degree global increase above the historical average prove accurate.

"There will be water and food fights everywhere," Kim said as he pledged to make tackling climate change a priority of his five-year term.

Kim said action was needed to create a carbon market, eliminate fossil-fuel subsidies and "green" the world's 100 megacities, which are responsible for 60 to 70% of global emissions.

He added that the 2012 droughts in the US, which pushed up the price of wheat and maize, had led to the world's poor eating less. For the first time, the bank president said, extreme weather had been attributed to man-made climate change. "People are starting to connect the dots. If they start to forget, I am there to remind them.

"We have to find climate-friendly ways of encouraging economic growth. The good news is we think they exist".

Kim said there would be no solution to climate change without private sector involvement and urged companies to seize the opportunity to make profits: "There is a lot of money to be made in building the technologies and bending the arc of climate change."

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Have you met Cate Faehrmann?

Home



Cate Faehrmann is a passionate environmentalist and social justice advocate. She has been a Greens Member of the NSW Legislative Council since 2010.



During her time in Parliament, Cate has been a strong advocate for the environment, including working to protect national parks and marine protected areas, fighting for tougher pollution laws and campaigning around animal welfare. She fights hard for increased public transport investment, including light rail and cycling infrastructure.

Cate has been consulting on, and campaigning for, dying with dignity laws since entering Parliament and plans to introduce a bill to bring about this much-needed change in 2013.

Some of her recent achievements include winning support for a Greens motion  in the NSW Upper House calling on the Commonwealth to support marriage equality and exposing hidden plans to drill for coal seam gas in St Peters, in Sydney's inner west.

Prior to entering Parliament, Cate headed up the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, was a founding director of GetUp!, and a Board member of the NSW Environmental Defenders' Office. She has also managed Greens election campaigns and media strategies in New Zealand, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Cate is passionate about building social movements and empowering communities to make positive change. One of her initiatives, Walk Against Warming, became Australia’s biggest community day of action on climate change, mobilising over 100,000 Australians to take action.

Stay Connected to Cate Faehrmann for the Senate




Sunday, 27 January 2013

UPDATE: Glenugie January 27, 2013



An earlier pic of the drilling rig with protesters


The drilling rig has been packed up and is being moved to another site. Great news for the people of Glenugie but not so good for the residents near the new site.

Orica toxic legacy shows need for tougher pollution laws - Greens




Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the latest
revelations about the toxic pollution legacy from Orica's facilities
at Port Botany in Sydney show just how important tough pollution laws
are for protecting community health.

See today's Sun Herald here:
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/toxic-metals-found-near-homes-20130126-2ddl9.html

"This frightening saga is an excellent example of why governments need
to crack down on polluting industry with tough laws to protect
community health," said Ms Faehrmann.

"Orica has shown complete disregard for community health and local
residents. Only strong pollution laws will guarantee communities are
not exposed because too many big companies will always put shareholder
profits before being a good corporate citizen.

"It took the hard work of residents and, ultimately, media attention
to expose this mess. It should not have taken mothers concerned about
their kids' health to get action here.

"If communities have to scream from their rooftops before any action
is taken about potentially deadly contamination in their
neighbourhoods, then clearly our laws are failing them.

"I congratulate the EPA for finally taking a first step. However, the
review at Port Botany must include comprehensive and independent
testing in residents homes with the best available expertise. That
hasn't been guaranteed and without it, the 'review' will be
meaningless.

"The NSW Government must also now order a full audit with independent
testing around of all Orica's facilities both current and former.
Given Orica's track record, there's every reason to believe their
disregard for the safety of the community has been repeated
elsewhere," said Ms Faehrmann.


Mercury often washed into bay, former ICI boss says 

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/mercury-often-washed-into-bay-former-ici-boss-says-20130127-2dez2.html#ixzz2JD9EQSUG

Elite private schools grow richer and more expensive on public subsidies

Pic from Wikipedia article

Media release: 26 January 2013

Spectacular increases in wealthy private school fees demonstrate that public funding is not making them more affordable, according to Greens NSW MP John Kaye

('Private school fees boom', Sydney Morning Herald, 26 January, p. 3, http://j.mp/SNDRn1)

Dr Kaye said: "The King's School charges fees of $28,905 despite receiving more than $4,300 per student  in state and federal subsidies.

"While the exclusive North Parramatta school can spend more than $33,200
per student, Arthur Phillip High School spend just $10,500 to deliver
excellent education to each of its students.

"NSW's 73 wealthiest private schools receive more than $176 million a year
in taxpayers' funds.

"It is clear that they are becoming less affordable and that they spend far
more per student than any public school.

"This is taxpayers' money that would be much better spent on children in
public schools who come from disadvantaged communities. In those schools,
it would make a real difference to educational outcomes and would help
build a fairer society.

"Putting this money into elite private schools is only amplifying the
divide between wealth and poverty and squandering funds that could make a
real difference in public education.

"Far from making them more affordable, lavish public subsidies to these
schools are driving up fees and making them even more exclusive.

"The billions of dollars of state and federal funds have poured into these
schools since 1999 have not only denied resources to the public education
system. They have kick started an arms race between elite institutions,
played out with massive investments in luxurious facilities that impress
parents but do nothing to improve educational outcomes.

"The O'Farrell government claims to be facing a budget crisis. It could
begin by ending the $69 million it give to schools like King's, Sydney
Grammar and SHORE each year," Dr Kaye said.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Cate Faehrmann hosts 'Dying with Dignity' in Coffs Harbour 12th February

Please find below your invitation to an information evening for your community.
We look forward to seeing you there and invite you to forward this email to your contacts.



Dying With Dignity: Your RIGHT to Choose?

Hosted by Greens MP Cate Faehrmann.
Cavanbah Centre
181 Harbour Drive
Coffs Harbour, NSW
 6.30 – 8 pm, Tuesday 12th February 2013

Cate Faehrmann is touring the state to talk about her Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill

WITH SPECIAL GUEST: Professor Colleen Cartwright

Professor Colleen Cartwright is Foundation Professor of Aged Services and Director of the ASLaRC Aged Services Unit at Southern Cross University. She has extensive teaching and research experience in ageing, ethics and medical decisions at the end of life, at national and international levels, with publications in major journals and a number of book chapters.  From 2002-2005 she was Chief Investigator & project manager of the Australian component of an International study to compare medical decisions at the end of life in 6 European countries and Australia.


This is your invitation to an information evening.
This is a FREE event – please bring your family and friends. No RSVP necessary. 



Dear Mid North Coast Resident

In spite of the availability of the best palliative care, some terminally ill people endure intolerable pain, suffering and loss of dignity at the end of their lives. In some of these cases patients indicate to their loved ones and their doctors that they would like to receive assistance to die. At the moment in NSW, such assistance is illegal.

In 2013, I intend to introduce a bill into the NSW Parliament that would give terminally ill people, under certain circumstances, the right to die a dignified death at a time and place of their own choosing if that is their wish. The Greens support the idea of greater patient choice at the end of life, and believe that, subject to strict legal safeguards, mentally competent, terminally ill adults should have the right to die with assistance.

Please join us for an information evening in Coffs Harbour. I am looking forward to meeting you, your family and friends. For more information about the event please contact Peter Stahel in my office at Peter.stahel@parliament.nsw.gov.au or 9230 2320.

Yours sincerely
Cate Faehrmann MP

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Get Up fact graphic - our climate crisis

Click the graphic to enlarge


'Welcome to our "new normal."

Our country is still in the middle of a record-smashing heatwave with temperatures soaring above 40 °C and hundreds of fires blazing out of control around the country. We're being told to "get used to it"[2]but while the nation rallies to fight fires, repair damage and console loved ones we're struggling to have the conversation about our warming planet, let alone get used to it.

The growing mountain of evidence tells a sobering story - a story that needs frequent and urgent repeating if we're to have a chance of preventing the worst of predicted catastrophic climate change.

That's why we've created this shareable image with the latest confronting but, hopefully, action-spurring facts. Click here to view, share and start the conversations we all need to be having at dinner tables, pubs and BBQs around the country as we face the heat and help our friends and neighbours deal with loss of property and a very difficult situation.

Over 70% of Australians had a taste this week of the kind of conditions scientific modelling clearly predicts will worsen and occur with more frequency over the coming decades.[2] It should come as no surprise to those of us who have been heeding decades of warnings by climate scientists and fighting hard for stronger action on climate that our warming world will - as we're seeing - lead to more severe summer heatwaves and fire danger. But it won't be until the entire country, from Broome to Hobart and every town in between, are connecting the dots and coming to the same conclusions that we'll see a real and urgent demand for stronger action on climate change.

And while short heatwaves and fire danger are not unfamiliar during an Australian summer, what we're experiencing this week is an unsettling harbringer of things to come - a taste of the new normal in a rapidly warming world:

Click here for a more detailed glimpse of what we're facing in Australia and around the world.

The reality is confronting; we're currently on track for at least 4°C more warming[4], marked by extreme heatwaves as we've experienced this week; increased fire danger; declining global food stocks; human health risks; loss of ecosystems and biodiversity; and life-threatening sea level rises. The US just confirmed 2012 was its hottest year ever - beating its previous high in 1998 by a full degree.[5]

So let's face the facts, together, starting now. Share this infographic on Facebook, Twitter and over email. Print it out and put it on your fridge. Put it on your work bulletin board. Let's talk about how human caused climate change is exacerbating the extreme events we're facing and are likely to face with greater frequency in the future. Let's once more make it part of our national dialogue: http://www.getup.org.au/our-new-normal

We all remember the horror of Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires. As we support our brave firefighters, provide shelter for friends and hope for relief we must do everything we can to ensure catastrophic fire events like that don't become the new normal. It's time to have a level-headed conversation about the reality of climate change.

Thanks for helping to change the conversation,
The GetUp team.

PS - We've all encountered those tough conversations with people who are skeptical about climate change and the science because of how politicised the issue has become. Whether it's over the Christmas dinner table with a cousin or aunt or at a pub with a stranger - it's often a difficult conversation to have. For some help answering questions we've compiled a list of recent research and news articlesto help to explain why this heatwave is an indicator of a warming world and what's to come.

PPS - Regardless of your feelings on climate change, severe heat and fire danger puts our safety and loved ones at risk. For politically neutral tips on dealing with severe heat and fire danger, please read "Tips for Staying Safe" at the bottom of this page.There's information about who to contact in your state if you need help and what are the prudent steps to take during extreme conditions.

[1] "Extreme Weather The New Normal," The Sydney Morning Herald, September 5, 2012.
[2] "Get Used to Record-Breaking Heat: bureau" Ben Cubby, The Sydney Morning Herald, January 9, 2012.
[3] "If you’re 27 or younger, you’ve never experienced a colder-than-average month" - Philip Bump, Grist, November 16, 2012.
[4] "Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided," World Bank commissioned report by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics, November 2012.
[5] "2012 Was the Hottest Year in U.S. History. And Yes — It’s Climate Change," Bryan, Walsh, TIME, January 8, 2013' 


GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here. Authorised by Sam Mclean, Level 2, 104 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. 

The above text blogged from Get Up

Game Council Credibility Shot to Pieces


Media Release - 23 January 2013

Reports that two senior Game Council executives have been suspended highlight the ongoing problems with the publicly funded pro-gun and hunting body, which was created to woo the shooters lobby in 2002.

See smh: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/game-boss-suspended-over-illegal-hunt-claim-20130122-2d5nn.html

Greens NSW MP and Firearms spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"For more than a decade the Game Council has been run by a pro-hunting and pro-gun interest group with little if any interest in ensuring effective and humane feral animal control.

"The two previous chairmen of the Game Council are now Shooters MPs in the Parliament, where they continue to push for more guns, more hunting and more power to this sham organisation.

"The Game Council receives millions of dollars of public money each year, but provides less than 5 full time inspectors to police hunting in the more than 2 million hectares of public land open to hunting.

"They have never shown any interest in policing animal cruelty and safe hunting laws, instead they actively promote cruel blood sports such as pig dog hunting.

"The Game Council has no credibility when it comes to professional and humane animal control. It is now time for the Premier to stop walking hand in hand with it as he introduces hunting in National Parks.

"With a damning safety report on the dangers of hunting in National Parks becoming public last year, and now these open questions on the competence and capacity of the Game Council, it is time for the Premier to halt his reckless expansion of hunting into National Parks," Mr Shoebridge said.

Cash-for-carcass program another bone for the hunting lobby


ABC: Foxes hang on a fence on a farm at Foxhow, near Ballarat in western Victoria | Photographer: (Margaret Burin ) ABC story

Media Release - 22 January 2013

The NSW Farmers association is encouraging the introduction of a bounty for wild dogs and foxes in NSW, which would be another concession to the hunting lobby and contrary to evidence from past experience, according to Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge.

"Bounties on feral animals have not been proven to control the type of feral species which are prevalent in NSW, such as feral cats, wild dogs, foxes and rabbits," Mr Shoebridge said.

"Bounties typically only remove the easiest to catch and thus most profitable specimens from a population, and with highly fecund species that allows the remaining animals to quickly repopulate.

"Scarce public funds are far better targeted at professional pest removal programmes aimed at long term population control rather than on political gimmicks like bounties.

"With the hunting lobby on the rise in NSW it is highly likely the O'Farrell government will move to throw them another bone and this could well be a cash-for-carcass programme in the form of bounties.

"If the O'Farrell government does this it will be yet further evidence that they are moving away from evidence based policies on feral animal control simply to appease the shooters lobby," Mr Shoebridge said.

More information: http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2013/01/22/cash-for-carcass-program-another-bone-for-the-hunting-lobby/

Dob-in line a distraction from housing pressures


Encouraging people to "dob in" unauthorised public housing occupants is an ineffective strategy that demonises tenants while ignoring the real problems facing our public housing system, warns Greens MP and housing spokesperson Jan Barham.

"The NSW Government's announcement of an amnesty to declare unauthorised occupants in public housing is supported but calling for a 'dob in' campaign is unfair and disrespectful," Ms Barham said.

"The evidence has shown the failure of 'dob in' strategies. The experience with the Federal tip-off line for Centrelink fraud shows that we can expect a very small number of calls to be acted upon. An anonymous dob-in system can become bogged down with complaints that are often incorrect, unsubstantiated and in some cases vexatious," Ms Barham said.

Ms Barham said that although ensuring accurate occupancy information and rental assessments are reasonable goals, the focus on "rorters" risked demonising public housing tenants. "An amnesty to encourage tenants to provide Housing NSW with accurate information about the occupants of their homes is a useful approach, but the immediate call for people to report anyone they suspect of rorting the system implies fraud is a widespread problem among public housing tenants," Ms Barham said.

"I'm concerned that the public focus on fraud is a distraction from the major challenges the Government needs to tackle in providing housing support. There is a severe shortage of social housing stock across the state, thousands of people remain on waiting lists and most of the available allocations to public housing go to those with emergency or special needs.

"There is an ongoing need to expand the resources available to support people who are struggling to put a roof over their head. With federal cuts to single parent and other payments from their already low baseline, the pressure is only going to increase, and encouraging what might be many groundless accusations against existing tenants won't solve the housing crisis in New South Wales," Ms Barham said.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Obama on Climate Change & Sustainable Technology - Inaugural Address

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  (Applause.)  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms. 






The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise.  That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure -- our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

Read more

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Foreign Minister in denial on India’s non-proliferation record - Greens


Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam. 22 January 2013

Foreign Minister Bob Carr’s defence of India’s non-proliferation record defies belief as well as history the Australian Greens said today.

“It is ridiculous for Bob Carr to defend India’s non-proliferation record when India produced plutonium for weapons in 1974 from a Canadian-supplied reactor it pledged to use only for ‘peaceful purposes’.

“The Foreign Minister has forgotten that Australia played a leading in role in establishing the Nuclear Supplies Group in direct response to this duplicity.


“The Foreign Minister has also forgotten that K. Subrahmanyam,  former head of the national security advisory board in India, said in 2005: ‘Given India's uranium ore crunch and the need to build up our ... nuclear deterrent arsenal as fast as possible, it is to India's advantage to categorise as many power reactors as possible as civilian ones to be refuelled by imported uranium and conserve our native uranium fuel for weapons-grade plutonium production’.  Clearly, Australian uranium would boost India’s nuclear weapons capacity.


“Rather than a fine non-proliferation record, India has a history of illicit nuclear procurement, has inadequate nuclear export controls, does not allow IAEA inspections of all of its nuclear plants, refuses to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, continues to expand its nuclear arsenal and missile capabilities, and actively contributes to the sub-continent being host to the most precarious nuclear stand-off in the world.

“India is also dangerous for peaceful anti-nuclear protesters, five of whom have been murdered since 2010 in the struggles against the nuclear industry in Koodankulam (Tamil Nadu), Jaitapur (Maharashtra) and Gorakhpur (Haryana).

“By pouring uranium into this country, Australia would fuel regional nuclear dangers and encourage an industry that India’s own Auditor General has strongly condemned, given there is no national policy on nuclear and radiation safety and that supervision of licensing, registration of nuclear radiating machines and sites, inspections, monitoring, policy development and safety standards, emergency response and verification of the disposal of nuclear waste are all sub-standard.

“Australia selling uranium to India is also a violation of the 1995 NPT Review and Extension Conference commitment to require full-scope safeguards as a condition of supply, and of our obligations under Article IV of the Treaty of Rarotonga which obliges signatories to not supply equipment or material to countries no under full scope safeguards.  India is not under full scope safeguards.

“Given these facts on the ground, any uranium deal Australia does with India would be a reckless denial of safety, security and regulatory problems.  The Foreign Minister is in denial if he thinks all is well in India, or that the Joint Standing  Committee on Treaties will simply rubber stamp an agreement that overturns long-held Australian nuclear policy.”

Uranium sales to India a disaster in the making


Australian Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam. 21 January 2013.

The Federal Government's decision to pursue uranium sales to India is a disaster in the making, the Australian Greens said today.

Greens spokesperson for nuclear policy Senator Scott Ludlam said the Labor Party has proven it cannot be trusted on the environment.

"We will be working with the anti-nuclear movement in India - which has faced brutal repression in recent times - to ensure this does not go ahead.

"Minister Bob Carr is Australia's Foreign Minister, not a publicly-funded delegate for the uranium mining industry. This decision is bad for Australia and India.

"In September 2012 a report from India's Comptroller and Auditor General on the country's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and nuclear safety regulation highlighted a series of dire flaws, and raised grave concerns about the lack of independence of the Board.

"India refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Earlier last year India ranked 28th out of 32 countries in terms of the security of their nuclear stockpiles, and in 2011 one of India's pioneer nuclear scientists  - Dr MP Parameswaran - said India should suspend its entire nuclear program because of safety risks and the unresolved problem of nuclear waste.

"Pushing uranium onto India's market temporarily benefits the uranium mining kingpins at the expense of the Indian people who deserve energy that is clean, safe, and affordable.  Nuclear is none of those things.  The Greens are the only party that stands strongly for the end of the nuclear industry and nuclear proliferation.  Australia should be working to boost India's renewable energy sector - and leaving uranium in the ground where it belongs."

Minister caves in to insurer profits with 10% Greenslip rise

 The announcement today that the Finance Minister Greg Pearce has agreed to
an average 10% increase in CTP car insurance, or ‘Greenslips’, is yet another giveaway to the insurance industry who have been gouging super
profits from the system for more than a decade.


As reported in the Daily Telegraph:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/car-rego-rockets-as-greenslips-jump-50/story-e6freuy9-1226557754229


Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:


“For more than a decade the insurance industry has been hoodwinking the
government into premium increases that have largely gone in increased
profits, and it looks like they have done it again.


“In its first ten years of operation the CTP scheme generated average
profit for insurers of 20% of all premiums paid.


“This delivered more than $1.7 billion in insurance
superprofits<http://davidshoebridge.org.au/2011/09/19/insurance-companies-gouging-millions-on-greenslips/>in just the first ten years of the scheme.


“In some years, such as 2000 and 2002 the insurers' profits were 30% or
more of every dollar paid into the scheme by motorists.


“Now the insurance companies have come again to the government asking for
premium increases and the government has once again delivered for them.


“With one insurer asking for only a 2.6% increase in insurance premums you
have to wonder why it is that Minister Pearce then agreed to giving other
insurers more than 10% increases in their fees.


“The O’Farrell government wants to blame lawyers fees for the increases,
but they fail to refer to the real cost generator in the scheme, which is
the fat profits their friends in the insurance industry take from motorists.


“With motorists being slugged an average of $50 in increased greenslip fees
it is time they asked this government what they are doing to reduce the
share going to insurance profits and increase the amount going into the
hands of those injured on the roads.


“Just as with workers compensation, this government is ignoring the needs
of the injured and everyday people and cutting deals that only benefit
their mates in the big end of town,”  Mr Shoebridge said.

Parker must take control of Orica's mercury legacy in Sydney - Greens


Following revelations Orica used misleading information to justify its
current pollution remediation plan to local residents, Greens MP and
environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann says the Environment Minister
Robyn Parker has no choice but to intervene and force Orica to pay for
independent testing. See article in today's Sydney Morning Herald here
http://tinyurl.com/b5cg7ck

Testing is needed to determine the extent of Mercury contamination
from Orica's former ChlorAlkali facility at Matraville in Sydney's
south.

Residents say the company attempted to blame other nearby industry
including a former crematorium, a power station and event home
thermometers for the problem. Their claims have been debunked by UNEP
accredited remediation expert Andrew Helps, who has demonstrated these
sources could only account for a fraction of the problem.

"Orica's ridiculous broken thermometer and tooth filling defence
should be a red flag to the Environment Minister Robyn Parker. It's
clear Orica can't be trusted when it comes to protecting the
community's health," said Ms Faehrmann.

"Orica is the polluter - not the regulator. It's not good enough that
they are being trusted to take all the right steps. The Minister has
to step in and take control and reassure the community their concerns
are being taken seriously.

"Anyone who lives near the site has the right to demand answers
regarding what their families are being exposed to, especially when
the company behaves in a secretive and defensive manner. Complete
transparency is the bare minimum residents deserve.

"Orica should be bending over backwards to remediate the pollution
they caused, not making excuses and passing the buck.

"We saw what happened last time Orica and the Minister didn't take the
public's right to know seriously - the Kooragang Island spill was a
public relations nightmare because the public were left in the dark
for too long.

"In the end, the government has to take responsibility when
corporations refuse to take their responsibilities seriously. That's
why Environment Minister Robyn Parker must immediately step in and
ensure comprehensive and independent testing takes place of the soil
and homes around Orica site," said Ms Faehrmann.

Monday, 21 January 2013


Environment Minister Parker must force independent testing and clean-up –
Greens

Greens MP and environment spokesperson Cate Faehrmann has called on the Environment Minister Robyn Parker to immediately commission independent testing to determine the extent of mercury contamination in the areas surrounding Orica's Botany plant, and ensure all necessary remediation is swiftly undertaken.

See today's Sun Herald investigation here
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/water-issues/port-botany-mercury-fears-20130119-2d00r.html

"The last time Orica didn’t respond swiftly to a pollution crisis it wasn't
just a  PR disaster for the company, but also the Environment Minister,
Robyn Parker. Mercury has serious human health impacts and families living
in the area have every right to be demanding answers," said Ms Faehrmann.

"If there are high levels of mercury contamination in the streets
surrounding Orica's Port Botany plant, then this is could be much more
serious than the Kooragang Island debacle and the Minister needs to urgently
intervene.

"If Orica is reluctant to fund an investigation into their offsite mercury
pollution, then the EPA must force them to. If the EPA fails to do so, then
Environment Minister Robyn Parker must give the EPA a clear directive.

 "At a community consultation meeting with the company before Christmas,
Orica knocked back a proposal for an independent investigation into theirhistorical mercury pollution and attempted to point the finger at otherminor sources of mercury in the area such as household thermometers and dental amalgam. This is not good enough.

"If Orica has nothing to hide, they will agree to independent testing
today," said Ms Faehrmann.

Chisso Chemical, Minimata, Japan


Protecting babies from neurotoxins

A memorial for those who died or were sickened by mercury poisoning rests on a hill overlooking the town of Minamata, Japan and the Minamata Bay on June 8, 2007.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Guttenfelderaption

Sunday, 20 January 2013

An update on Steve 'Houdini' Cansdell

Reblogged from North Coast Voices

Saturday, 19 January 2013

An update on Steve 'Houdini' Cansdell


Sydney Morning Herald journalist Sean Nicholls is like a dog with a bone. And for that the public (and those in the NSW electorate of Clarence in particular) should be most grateful.

Cansdell, the disgraced former MP for Clarence, has pedalled off into the sunset with his taxpayer-funded booty (aka a state parliamentary pension) despite significant questions remaining unanswered about his involvement in Cansdellgate.

Nicholls wrote:

Lessons from political Houdini

The award for the most outstanding public escape act of recent times must surely go to the former member for Clarence, Steve Cansdell. 

Read more

Friday, 18 January 2013

SMH Story: Full CSG health check 'essential'

NSW HEALTH has called for a ''comprehensive assessment of potential risks to human health'' in relation to coal seam gas drilling in western Sydney, a move that could halt plans for 66 new gas wells between Liverpool and Campbelltown.
The health body, via its south-west Sydney branch, said it had not been consulted on the drilling plans put forward by the gas company AGL in line with ''usual practice''.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Ted Baillieu predicts sea level rise, hides under desk


Subject: [Greens-Media]

The Victorian government has released maps of predicted sea level rise and storm surge impacts across Victoria, but has missed the legal deadline to produce a plan for adapting to climate change, the Greens say.

"We've seen droughts, flash floods, heatwaves and fires but Ted Baillieu is hiding under his desk," said Victorian Greens Leader Greg Barber

"Anyone can download the Victorian sea level rise maps from the government website* and look at them, but that’s where it ends.  The maps should be part of the planning scheme, but Planning Minister Matthew Guy knocked back the Advisory Committee recommendation to put them there.** We've been doing it with river flood zones for ages so why not sea level rise and
storm surge?"

"The state government was required by the Climate Change Act to complete a plan for adapting to climate change by December last year."

 "In Tasmania, Greens Minister for Climate Change Cassy O'Connor has
already produced a climate change adaptation plan and is talking to her
community about working together to meet the challenge," said Mr Barber


Thanks Upworthy for the image



'Risky Business - watch the Al Jazeera CSG documentary on YouTube!'




CSG Protest at Doubtful Creek


Reblogged from SCG Free Northern Rivers

Doubtful Creek, Kyogle Action



MORE THAN forty anti-CSG activists have rallied at the entrance of Eden Creek State Forest, after work started this morning to complete a drilling pad for Metgasco’s coal seam gas production.

Metgasco has confirmed the works are being carried on their behalf.

The site is adjacent to the Booths Rd entrance to the State Forest at Doubtful Creek, 11 km from Kyogle.
Metgasco and contract workers have been unable to enter the site this afternoon due to the blockade by protestors.

Get down there tomorrow, 16th January, early!

Half way bewteen Kyogle and Casino on the Summerland way, turn into Mcdonalds bridge road (bus stop, signs) and travel for around 10 minutes, through the township of Dyraaba (hall and a few houses), around 2 minutes past the township turn right into Bolan Road. Travel for around 5 minutes until you come to the site (Pine Tree plantation, state forest)

Large, overall map: Click to enlarge


Comments are closed.

"ABOUT 40 CSG opponents have rallied at the latest blockade site near Eden Creek State Forest at 6.30am this morning to disrupt drilling activities by Metgasco.
Ian Gaillard from protest group Keerrong Gas Squad confirmed that protestors left the site yesterday before 6pm and re-grouped again this morning at Booths Rd, Doubtful Creek."

Read more The Northern Star 

Read more: The Daily Examiner

Air, water and coal seam gas (CSG): current research and future perspectives : SCU



Are you sure of the science as to how coal seam gas mining can affect our aquifers and our future water security?

This video explains it all.




Possible transfer of contaminated soil from Urunga to Hillgrove Mine: Mayoral Media Release


MEDIA RELEASE – OFFICE OF THE MAYOR 14 January 2013
PUBLIC MEETING BELLBROOK – POSSIBLE TRANSFER CONTAMINATED SOIL FROM URUNGA TO HILLGROVE MINE 

Signage at Urunga site
Kempsey Shire Council’s Mayor and several councillors attended a meeting held in Bellbrook to discuss a possible transfer of contaminated soil from Urunga to the Hillgrove Mine near Armidale.  

The meeting was attended by around 60 people. Mayor Campbell said “The meeting was extremely well organised and facilitated.” The facilitator provided a 30 minute presentation on the fact around the possible transfer of waste and information on the background of the operations of the Hillgrove Mine. Following this the meeting was opened up to questions from those attending. 

“From what was presented at the meeting it was clear that there would be no benefits to the Kempsey Shire community’s from this proposal. All we would face is the potential risks of the contaminated fill entering our river system or being spilled in an accident in transit.” Said Mayor Campbell. 

With the Council not formally meeting until February, Mayor Campbell will now discuss the issue with councillors, with the view to requesting the State Government to take this option off the table. 

“It does not make sense to take this waste from one sensitive water environment and transfer it to another sensitive water environment.” She said. “The only options being considered should remove the potential for the waste to enter the water systems and the Hillgrove mine site does not do this. The material not only containing Antimony, but a range of other contaminates, all of which would then remain in our catchment” 

She noted that things can go wrong, pointing to combination of factors that led to a spill from the tailings of the Hillgrove Mine in 2009. “Things do happen, so it would be best if they deal with the waste in a way that takes the risks away, not transfers them.” 

Background Information:
  • $1.4million has been allocated to undertake remediation works at a previous Antimony processing site at Urunga.
  • The cleanup is being administered by the Environmental Protection Agency and Crown Lands as the owners of the site have gone into liquidation.
  • 32,000 cubic metres of contaminated waste has been identified on the site.
  • Options being considered are:
    o ContainmentOnsite
    o ContainmentOffsite:Transfertolandfillfacilityandcontained.
    o RemediationOffsite:Transfertolicensedfacilityforheavymetalprocessing.
    MEDIA INFORMATION
    Office of the Mayor 6566 3320

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Glenugie CSG protest continues January 15, 2013

 SIX arrested today by10.30pm  
After the huge protest Monday 7th January with the riot squad from Sydney there has been ongoing resistance at the Glenugie blockade! The badly managed drilling and the spillage of toxins on farming land means local heroes are stepping up every day on the front line...this corrupt model of pillaging natural resources has brought out the 'Simmo' in all the decent, peaceful folk from far and wide. Good on ya 'Simmos'!   
Comment by one of our members
Today: Glenugie farmers locked-on to their own truck, blocking access at Metgasco's CSG mining site.

Cattle fencing erected by local farmers


Various Comments

It is now 51+ days into this campaign to prevent exploratory drilling in this beautiful valley.

Tuesday - 15 January 2013 - Two local farmers are "locked on" to their ute parked in Metgasco driveway.

Tuesday - 15 January 2013 - Metgasco continue to drill - the original well pad has proven to be "difficult", as in they hit rock and the drill refused to go through. Now drilling in a second spot, with no well head. Currently on the 3rd day of driling.

Chemicals and equipment continue to arrive at Glenugie as this madness continues.

Link to Stop CSG! Illawarra site-  Abuse of power pure and simple

Images from Glenugie, January 7, 2013

CSG Protest at Glenugie 17/01

 












Abuse of power; pure and simple...a reblog

Reblogged from Stop CSG! Illawarra

Abuse of power; pure and simple.

What's going on?

The NSW government has replaced the entire board of the Sydney Catchment Authority. The new chairperson is a former director of two of Australia’s largest mining companies, and for the first time in its history there is no public health expert on the board.

The people of NSW have to ask “what is going on between the O’Farrell Government and the mining industry”?

In opposition, the (now) Minister for Resources, Chris Hartcher, lectured parliament extensively about the dangers posed by coal seam gas (CSG) mining, using Eastern Mining’s pollution of the Pilliga as an example. Similarly the Premier made a ‘no ifs, no buts’ unconditional promise to ban mining in our water catchments.

It is difficult to recall a period when an Australian state has seen such disregard for proper government process and standards
 
Subsequently, we have witnessed CSG contamination events across NSW and Queensland that clearly demonstrate that neither the industry or current planning and legislation standards can be relied on to protect vital areas – such as our drinking water catchments and prime farmland – from the effects of CSG mining.

Since obtaining office with these opposing policies, Minister Hartcher has overseen CSG licence renewals and drilling approvals across our drinking water catchments that include approval for fracking. This is despite mounting scientific evidence of the danger CSG mining poses to water supplies, the increased risk created when fracking is used and the dubious nature of the clean energy tag attributed to unconventional gas by the CSG industry.

The NSW Government has ignored most recommendations of the Upper House Review Committee into CSG mining. The ensuing Strategic Regional Land Use Policy turned out to be farcical in protecting our drinking water from production CSG mining.

In the latest development, the Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, has replaced the chairman of The Sydney Catchment Authority, the independent body established for the sole purpose of protecting our drinking water supplies, with a Liberal party crony who just happens to be a former senior executive in the mining industry.

In the context of CSG licenses being granted over drinking water catchments, including two in the Illawarra, this is of grave concern. How can it possibly be acceptable that the authority charged with protecting our drinking water – for the purpose of public health – has not one public health expert, but is headed up by a former mining executive?

It is difficult to recall a period when an Australian state has seen such disregard for proper government process and standards. It’s time for all citizens of NSW to let this government know, in no uncertain terms, that this latest abuse of power is a step too far.

So please pick up your pens, switch on your laptops, raise your smart phones and let the Premier, the Cabinet, your local MP and the SCA know what you think.

O'Farrell wears ' WATER NOT COAL' t-shirt !!!!!!!

“"The next Liberal/National government will ensure mining cannot occur in any water catchment area and that any mining leases and exploration permits will reflect that common sense. No ifs, no buts, a guarantee." (Barry O’Farrell pre-election promise)


The then Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell (centre) wears the t-shirt that the Wyong mayor Bob Graham clearly remembers prior to the state election.

 More BROKEN PROMISES?????????


"Mr O'Farrell came to Wyong Shire wearing a 'Water Not Coal' shirt and said at Mardi he would squash the mining proposal forever and the Liberals went on to win the blue ribbon Labor Seat of Wyong," Cr Graham said.

Link to Lakes Mail Story

Monday, 14 January 2013

Airborne mercury produced by coal-fired power plants


By Carey L. Biron
Treaty “Insufficient” to Reduce Global Mercury LevelsDespite the undisputed international consensus on the hazards of mercury to human health, negotiations towards the new treaty have focused on environmental rather than health concerns.

Full article at: Treaty “Insufficient” to Reduce Global Mercury Levels

"Likewise, while “vague” requirements may be set for airborne mercury at coal-fired power plants, the treaty has nothing to say about the thousands of new coal plants currently being planned for construction around the world."


"For instance, 84 percent of fish sampled were not safe for consumption for more than one meal per month, under U.S. regulation. Likewise, more than 82 percent of the people studied contained mercury exceeding current health advisory levels."

"Mercury, which can remain in natural environments for years, attacks the nervous system and has been proven to be particularly debilitating for unborn babies and children."


Sunday, 13 January 2013

Australian Greens: Housing Policy




• Housing: a right
• Better designed houses
• More social housing
• New developments should be environmentally sound, close to employment and public transport, and should facilitate community interaction.  

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:
  1. Affordable housing is a human right.
  2. Access to secure, appropriate, affordable housing is a crucial determinant of health and well-being and is an important precondition for social participation and gaining access to other social services.
  3. The housing needs of low income Australians should be met through the provision of a mix of affordable options, including community housing, community land trusts, public housing, shared equity with social housing providers and private rental housing.
  4. Governments should provide sufficient public and community housing to meet current need and projected demand.
  5. New urban developments should be environmentally sound, close to employment and public transport, and should facilitate community interaction.
  6. Public participation in the planning, assessment and development of public and community housing is a right, the exercise of which should be encouraged by planning authorities.
  7. The housing needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be met as a matter of urgency.
  8. All housing development should be based on principles of sustainable design and urban planning.
  9. Existing subsidies and incentives for property investment should be reviewed with a view to guaranteeing housing affordability across all tenure types.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:
  1. The elimination of housing-related poverty.
  2. A commitment to the provision of supportive housing for homelessness, which emphasises independent housing solutions in preference to temporary and emergency ones.
  3. Australians who are unable to provide their own housing to be given housing assistance by the government.
  4. Minimal waiting times on public housing waiting lists and urgent and sufficient funding to reduce current waiting lists for public and community housing.
  5. Public housing that is accessible, affordable, secure, habitable and in locations that provide reasonable access to employment, health-care, public transport, schools and other social facilities.
  6. Adequate investment in public and community housing throughout the community to ensure its social and economic viability.
  7. Participation by tenants and homeless persons in decisions regarding their housing services.
  8. A reduction in the environmental impact of housing, both during construction and throughout the life of the building, including for new and old buildings to meet high minimum standards of durability, energy efficiency, noise insulation and water conservation.
  9. Priority given in town planning to recreational, cultural and social amenities that promote healthy communities.
  10. Greater diversity in housing to meet the accessibility needs of changing demographics and disadvantaged groups.
  11. Increased provision of emergency accommodation and transitional housing for people in need (including women and children affected by family violence, people experiencing homelessness, refugees and asylum seekers, migrants and people released from detention) with sufficient exit options to long term housing.
  12. Improved legal security of tenure and reduced discrimination.
  13. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have access to adequate, secure, well-maintained, safe and culturally appropriate long-term housing, wherever they live.
  14. National planning guidelines for new housing developments that require:
  1. a social mix of public and private housing with a minimum target of 20% affordable and public housing, and housing that caters for diverse social and cultural needs;
  2. a revised national rating system that takes into account the best international standards for efficiency and sustainability;
  3. privacy and noise controls;
  4. permeable road networks allowing for bus access;
  5. segregated bicycle paths and footpaths;
  6. landscaping, design and infrastructure for rainwater trapping, food production and wastewater recycling; and
  7. at least 15% of the development area to be allocated to public open space in addition to community facilities.
  1. National building standards that:
  1. take account of climatic variation across the continent;
  2. strengthen disability access provisions;
  3. set high standards for energy and water efficiency including passive thermal heating and cooling design;
  4. specify minimum standards for non-toxic, low environmental impact construction material;
  5. make special provision for experimental housing that fosters innovation and the above aims.
  1. National urban planning guidelines that provide for:
  1. the location of high density housing and commercial buildings close to high capacity public transport; and
  2. the clustering of medium-density housing, community facilities and small-scale businesses around neighbourhood shopping centres and other social facilities (including health care and schooling) linked with public transport.

Authorised and printed by Ben Spies-Butcher and Christine Cunningham, 8-10 Hobart Place Canberra 2601

Australian Greens Policy: Immigration and Refugees



Immigration and Refugees

• Raise Humanitarian Quota
• End offshore processing
• Resettlement Services
• Australia has humanitarian and legal obligations to accept refugees and reunite families. 
• Australian society benefits from immigration.  
 

Principles

The Australian Greens believe that:
  1. Australia’s cultural, ethnic and linguistic diversity should be celebrated for greatly enriching our society and economy, and this diversity is enhanced by the immigration of people to Australia.
  2. Immigration must be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnicity, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age or socioeconomic background.
  3. Australia must enact its humanitarian and legal obligations to asylum seekers and refugees and reunite families under the international customary law and the Refugee Convention 1951 and its Protocol.
  4. Seeking asylum is a humanitarian issue rather than an issue of border security or defence, and people seeking asylum must be treated with compassion and dignity.
  5. As signatory to the Refugee Convention Australia must assess the applications of all asylum seekers who arrive in Australian territory, including territorial waters, irrespective of their mode of arrival.
  6. Australia has additional responsibilities to refugees from countries where Australian defence personnel have been deployed in conflict situations.

Aims

The Australian Greens want:
  1. A permanent migration program for Australia that prioritises family reunion and facilitates migration or resettlement to Australia within a reasonable time.
  2. The development of networks, materials and programs that increase community understanding of the causes and benefits of migration.
  3. Sufficient funding for public and community sector agencies providing migrant-specific services to deliver adequate, effective and timely support.
  4. Skilled migration programs that do not substitute for training or undermine wages and conditions in Australia.
  5. Consistent, timely and fair processes to assess the qualifications of skilled migrants permanently settling in Australia.
  6. Recognition that unaccompanied children have special needs that require a separate approach to the adult system.
  7. No family unit to be forcibly separated by Australian immigration assessment processes.
  8. Greater incentives for rural and regional distribution of refugees and immigrants using successful models for settlement.
  9. Incorporation of relevant international conventions in immigration law to ensure that there is an avenue for complaint when these rights are breached.
  10. Any appointment to tribunals to be independently made in accordance with a predefined formula of civil society representation and legal expertise.
  11. Services for new migrants and refugees that include appropriate English language classes, social security, health, legal and interpreter services, and post-trauma counselling where needed.
  12. Greatly enhanced regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific to provide safer pathways for asylum seekers, with long-term planning to accommodate people displaced by on-going conflicts and climate change. 
  13. Australia to adopt a definition of environmental refugee in its assessment criteria and to work in the UN system for inclusion of a definition in the Refugee Convention.
  14. Australia to show leadership in our region by fostering international cooperation on protecting asylum seekers and refugees, founded on shared responsibility according to capacity, and by encouraging all nations to sign and ratify the Refugee Convention.
  15. Australia to adequately contribute to the funding of and work closely with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and other agencies assisting in the movement of asylum seekers, refugees and displaced people.
  16. An increase in the humanitarian quota, and offshore quotas fulfilled without reference or linkage to any onshore arrivals or other programs.
  17. Restoration of the Australian migration zone to match Australia's territory and acceptance of responsibility for assessing all asylum claims of people who seek Australia's protection within the migration zone.
  18. Asylum seekers to be fully informed of their rights on arrival and given immediate access to legal assistance.
  19. The current system of humanitarian visas (granted only by ministerial discretion) to be replaced with an open, accountable humanitarian visa assessment.
  20. Assessment of applications for asylum completed in a timely and transparent manner.
  21. The elimination of mandatory and/or indefinite detention and the abolition of offshore processing (where an asylum seeker or refugee is returned from Australian territory to another nation to be assessed) and other forms of punitive or discriminatory treatment of asylum seekers and refugees.
  22. Once initial health, security and identity checks are completed within a maximum of 30 days, asylum seekers who arrive without a valid visa to be accommodated in the community, unless otherwise ordered by a court, with periodic judicial review thereafter.
  23. All people categorised as refugees, but given negative security assessments by ASIO, to be given reasons for such assessment and the opportunity to challenge this in the appropriate forum.
  24. Asylum seekers to have work rights, and access to social security, legal representation, interpreters, health services, case management, and appropriate education for the duration of their assessment.
  25. Where an asylum seeker is not found to be owed protection, provision of fair and appropriate accommodation until they can be repatriated. Where a person is stateless, provision of accommodation in the community until they are issued with a visa or another durable solution is found.

Authorised and printed by Ben Spies-Butcher and Christine Cunningham, 8-10 Hobart Place Canberra 2601

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