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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Senate vote confirms Greens only party standing up for farmers against big mining

Posted by Steve on March 6, 2014


The old parties have voted down the Greens’ bill to give landholders the right to say no to coal and gas, in the Senate today, confirming the Greens are the only party standing up for farmers against the big mining companies.

A Lock the Gate delegation of farmers, traditional owners, tourism operators and winemakers watched on.

“Unfortunately, the delegation from Lock the Gate, of people personally affected by mining on their land, has come to Canberra to see the old parties let them down,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens mining spokesperson, said.

“Right across our country, people are concerned about coal and gas threatening their land, water and climate and disgracefully landholders have no rights to stop the big mining companies from marching on to their land and doing whatever they want.

“Alarmingly shale gas is taking over Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia and the Greens are the only party standing up for landholders against this dangerous industry.

“Without the right to say no, this David and Goliath situation forced upon unwilling farming families across Australia is even more weighted in favour of big coal and gas.

“The Liberal and National Senators didn’t even bother to participate in the Senate debate, even though rural communities are crying out for landholder rights.

“The old parties also voted down our Senate motion supporting Lock the Gate’s call for national laws to protect food-producing land from coal and gas and to give landholders the power of veto over mining on their land.

“It’s really disappointing that Liberal, National and Labor senators are all ignoring the community and instead doing the bidding of the big mining companies.

“We know that the old parties accept donations from the big mining companies, including the Nationals accepting money from Santos, and it’s sad to see where their priorities lie.

“When Tony Abbott is out in the bush he says that mining companies shouldn’t be allowed on farmers’ land without permission but then he does nothing about it in Canberra.

“The old parties need to wake up and realise we’re at the end of the fossil fuel era and we have viable renewable alternatives that don’t threaten our land, water and climate.

“The Greens won’t give up as a strong voice in Parliament for everyone who eats, drinks and needs a liveable climate,” Senator Waters said.

The Greens’ Landholders’ Right to Refuse (Gas and Coal) Bill 2013

Abbott ticks off environmental destruction shopping list

Posted by Steve on December 30, 2013


It has been 111 days since the election and Australians are now enjoying the end of year sales, but Tony Abbott’s government has been ticking off a shopping list of 125 environmental destruction approvals for projects.

“Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt are rushing through environmental approvals at a rate of more than one a day,” Greens Leader Christine Milne said.

“They can’t hand back approval powers to the states and weaken environmental protection fast enough for their big business mates, so Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt are rushing through projects with a rubber stamp.

“Open for business is just Tony Abbott’s code for dig it up, cut it down and ship it away. He doesn’t care about protecting the environment.

“Australians expect our governments to closely consider environmental impacts in order to protect threatened species and special places.

“Tony Abbott doesn’t care. He wants to build massive coalmines, coal ports, gas wells and massive developments as quickly as possible.”

MOU for environmental vandalism across Queensland

Posted by Steve on September 25, 2013


The federal and Queensland governments’ new agreement to hand federal environment protection powers to the state government will devastate the state’s natural assets, say the Australian Greens.

“So much of Queensland’s iconic environment has been deemed to have national significance, like our Great Barrier Reef and our ancient rainforests, and for more than 30 years places like this have had special federal protection,” Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said.

“Now Tony Abbott is ripping up that federal protection so there’s nothing to stop Campbell Newman giving the big mining companies open slather across Queensland.

“Then Mr Abbott is set to move on to the other states and territories, leaving a patchwork of varying environmental standards across the country, with no federal power to enforce them, which will no doubt create confusion and uncertainty for business.

“The Newman Government says it wants to maintain environmental standards but its track record indicates otherwise.

“Premier Newman has proven himself an environment vandal, having already gutted state protection for national parks, coastal areas, native vegetation and wild rivers.

“And when it comes to the Great Barrier Reef, Mr Newman says ‘we’re in the coal business’.

“The Reef is on the brink of becoming a dredging dump ground for coal and gas ports and a shipping super highway – now, more than ever, leaving the fox in charge of the hen house will prove disastrous.

“Leaving the Reef in the hands of an environmentally reckless premier will no doubt spark international criticism, with UNESCO warning that the Reef could be added to the list of World Heritage sites in danger within a year if it continues to be overrun by development,” Senator Waters said.

Abbott will trash Australia’s environmental icons

Posted by Steve on September 23, 2013


Tony Abbott’s plan to devolve environment approval powers to the states so he can push through damaging developments is environmentally reckless.

“Tony Abbott is focused on destroying the environment in the fastest possible timeframe by handing over environmental powers to the states in a bid to fast track mining applications,” Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

“The strategic assessments that Greg Hunt is crowing about today will put state premiers in charge of protecting nationally significant environmental assets like the Great Barrier Reef.

“It is totally irresponsible to leave the Great Barrier Reef in Campbell Newman’s hands, especially when UNESCO is warning the Reef could be added to the World Heritage in danger list if its industrialisation does not slow down.

“When asked about the Reef, Premier Newman declared that ‘we’re in the coal business.’

“Giving state governments the final say will wind back Australia’s environment protection by more than 30 years.

“So much for steady and methodical, the Coalition’s approach to the environment is reckless, destructive and out of control.”

Senator Larissa Waters, Australian Greens environment spokesperson, said:

“Premier Newman has already repealed Queensland’s protection for national parks, native vegetation, wild rivers and coastal areas – he cannot be trusted with total control of our Great Barrier Reef.

“The Reef does need a long term plan but not one that leaves it entrusted to Premier Newman and ignores the impacts of mining industrialisation.”

Council loses environmental opportunity – slugs Noosa residents instead

Posted by Jim McDonald on July 1, 2012

Noosa residents have been slugged again by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council. Not only have we lost hard rubbish clearance and 2 free annual entry tickets to the tip but now we have to pay more for rubbish collection – even the recycling bins which provide income for the Council:

Coucil Rubbish

Letter to Noosa News, 19 June 2012

Jim McDonald
Noosa Greens

Sunshine Coast Greens stalwart receives OAM

Posted by Jim McDonald on June 12, 2012

Des Ritchie OAM with the late Bob Borsellino from Noosa Branch and Garry Claridge from Maleny Branch at Narelle McCarthy's Fairfax campaign launch, Coolum 2010 (Photo: Jim McDonald)

Noosa and Hinterland Greens congratulate Maroochydore Greens stalwart, Des Ritchie, on receiving the Order of Australia medal. Des has been an active conservationist for decades and among his various positions was President of SCEC. He received the Medal for service to the performing arts, conservation and the environment in Queensland.

Positions Des has held include:
For service to the performing arts, and to conservation and the environment in Queensland.

  • President, Queensland Folk Federation, since 1996.
  • President, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, 1991-1993; Vice-President, 1994; Life Member, 1994; Coordinator, 1989-1991.
  • Volunteer, Maroochy Waterwatch; volunteer water quality tester, 1994-2007.
  • Former Managing Director, Sunshine Coast Landcare Environment Action Program.
  • Participant, South East Queensland 20/20 Planning Program; represented the Queensland environmental and community sector; involved in the development of several National Parks and reserves.
  • Community Representative, Maroochy 2025.
  • Community Visioning Project, 2003-2005.
  • Inaugural President, The Meeting Place, in the mid 1980s.
  • Former Member, Ethics Committee, Sunshine Coast University.

Awards/recognition include:

  • Champion of Conservation, Queensland Conservation, 2009.
  • Environmentalist of the Year, Sunshine Coast Environment Council, 1997.

Congratulations, Des.

Jim McDonald, 12 June 2012

Address on the Environment: Noosa Parks Association

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 25, 2012

First of all, I’d like to acknowledge the Gubbi Gubbi people whose ancestors husbanded this land for aeons before my ancestors set off in ships to this continent.

I would also like to acknowledge the significant efforts of the Noosa Parks Association for 50 years of working to preserve what all generations can enjoy in a sustainable balance of environment and controlled development in Noosa and the hinterland.

This is a balance which, after all this time, remains under threat, especially from the Regional Council. Two of the three previous councils encouraged large scale high rise, transforming Caloundra, Mooloolooba, Maroochydore and Coolum while Noosa  followed Bali’s lead in keeping buildings in a perspective that respected the landscape. And the danger is ever greater because Noosa is under-represented by this Council.

I see it as my task – if I am elected – to ensure that our priorities for Noosa prevail. In addressing the five questions, I’d like to put them into a broad context because they are closely interrelated. That context includes ensuring food security in our region – and I include the Mary Valley beacuse many of you would have campaigned against the Labor proposal for Traveston Dam.

The environmental principles were clear:

  • preserve unique or endangered species,
  • promote the health of the river, and
  • protect the world heritage Ramsar wetlands in the waters of Hervey Bay and around Fraser Island.

Yet some of my political opponents who presented themselves as Traveston warriors for the lungfish, the turtles and Mary River cod are silent as the Labor Government dishes out coalmining and CSG exploration permits along Munna Creek that flows into  the Mary at a major turtle area.

”]Munna CreekI am looking at first causes here about greenhouse emissions: the gasses sequestered in coal seams that extend through our electorate.

Huge areas have been explored at Tiaro along the Mary. In the Tin Can Bay hinterland, drilling has occurred at the junction of Coondoo Creek and Tanunda Creek that flows into the Mary River estuary. Coalmining is imminent near the Susan River outside Maryborough. It also flows into the estuary and dolphins are not unusual in that river. This is not just something that is happening outside our region. It has imminent concern for those of us in Noosa who worry about the possible degradation of the  environment in our region. Because drilling has been carried out at Wolvi. And that’s in our neighbourhood. Indeed the coalfield that is being explored along the Mary River extends from Bundaberg down to Point Arkwright and from the Blackall range out to sea.

These are resources that the coal and gas industries want so much to get their hands on that they don’t care if they encroach on farms or suburbs, as the industry has done in America. And as it is doing on Queensland farms and in Sydney suburbs. Now.

So a Labor Government which gives free reign to miners and drillers, and an LNP which thought protection of the Mary Valley was important at the last election, will allow the ultimate degradation of our environment sustaining some of the most intensive greenhouse gas production industries. The scientific and anecdotal evidence is incontrovertable for responsible legislation. The least that should be done right now is a moratorium on CSG and the immediate cessation of coalmine expansion. No more coal mines! I will take this up in the Parliament as it is Greens policy.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

Sunshine Coast Council must oppose coal and gas exploration on the Sunshine Coast

Posted by Jim McDonald on February 3, 2012

The Greens candidate for the Sunshine Coast, Dr Jim McDonald, has challenged the Sunshine Coast Regional Council to oppose any coal and gas exploration on the Sunshine Coast.

He said that a statement of principle by the Council opposing coal mining or coal seam gas [CSG] extraction in the region would demonstrate its true concern for the environment.

“Not many people know that the Maryborough Basin, which is presently being prepared for coal mining and CSG in the Mary Valley, extends down to Point Arkwright. I’d be very concerned that open land in Verrierdale, for example, might be exploited for coal or gas.

“People south of Coolum might not know that there is another coal basin, the Nambour Basin, that covers the rest of the Sunshine Coast. These basins with coal reserves extend from the Blackall Range out to sea.

“It is essential for the future integrity of the Sunshine Coast environment and its attraction as a desirable region for people to live in and raise their families that the open land never be degraded by these industries.

“It is generally thought that the coal mining and CSG issues facing farmers and communities in the Darling Downs and NSW have nothing to do with the Sunshine Coast. But exploration has already extended as far south as Wolvi.

“It is no accident that mining magnate, Mr Clive Palmer, is eyeing off the Sunshine Coast.”

Dr McDonald said that he has repeatedly asked LNP MPs to oppose coal mining and CSG in the Mary Valley. He said their silence spoke loudly of their support for the mining industry in our neighbourhood.

He accused the LNP of hypocrisy. “The LNP yelled loud and long against the Traveston Dam and they joined with Mary River activists and The Greens in opposing the dam. Yet when coal companies are exploring the length of the Mary River for coal and CSG, their concern for the environment disappears.

“Every major tributary of the Mary River is being explored, and their concern over Traveston for the health of the Mary River and its unique species has disappeared.

“The Sunshine Coast Regional Council must stand firm against these activities extending into the Sunshine Coast and I urge Mayor Bob Abbott to send a clear message to Labor and the LNP that the Council will lead the community in opposition to mining the Coast.

“The Noosa Greens have actively opposed coal mining along the Mary River and its tributaries. We are concerned for the health of the river, the Mary River Cod, the lungfish and the Mary River Turtle. Coal mining and CSG will threaten the world heritage sea grasslands at the mouth of the river if coal mining is approved.”

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate, Noosa


An open letter to Drew Hutton facing court for trying to protect our land

Posted by Jim McDonald on August 22, 2011

Good luck on Thursday, Drew.

There is no doubt about the immorality of CSG extraction and coalmining on productive land and in people’s homes, but the laws are not geared towards what is best for Australia’s food security, nor what is best for the aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin, nor for the atmosphere as methane leaks, nor for the destruction of family lives and the peace of communities. On these grounds alone you have an absolute reasonable excuse.

The work you have done for the farmers and communities of the Darling Downs is sowing seeds across the country sustained by your’s and the farmers courage to stand up against multi-nationals and Australian companies out for a fast buck whatever the damage they do.

Drew, you should be proud of what you have achieved for all of us in bringing the pernicious industrialisation of our land and its resources to the public consciousness. I am!

Jim McDonald

Greens welcome blueprint to protect the future of Australia’s oceans

Posted by Steve on November 11, 2010

South West Marine Bio-region

The Australian Greens have welcomed the release of a report which sets out a blueprint for establishing a network of marine sanctuaries in Australia’s South West Marine Bio-region.

“This report sets the benchmark that must guide the Federal Government’s approach to planning in the SW marine bioregion,” said Greens Marine spokesperson Senator Rachel Siewert today.

“The research demonstrates that extensive marine sanctuaries are needed if we are to properly protect the biodiversity of the south west marine bioregional area.

“90% of species in the south west bioregion are found no where else in the world. 50% of the world’s whale and dolphin species use the area. The science shows that large marine sanctuaries need to be established in order to ensure protection of this unique biodiversity,” Senator Siewert said.

The University of Queensland blueprint Systematic Conservation Planning- A Network of Marine Sanctuaries for the South West Marine Region explores the widespread benefits which come from long term marine protection.

“This blueprint not only establishes the basis for marine biodiversity protection, it sets out a future for sustainable fishing, tourism and recreation which should support local industries, preserve fish stocks and protects our existing biodiversity,” Senator Siewert said.

“It is time to stop the scare campaign against marine sanctuaries we saw during the recent federal election and look at the science, not the myths.

“This report highlights that extensive marine protection is needed in our south west oceans, to protect our marine biodiversity and ensure fish stocks into the future,” concluded Senator Siewert.

Executive Summary of the Report can be found here
Full Report here

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Larissa's Maiden Speech