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.
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.”
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:
Letter to Noosa News, 19 June 2012
Posted by Jim McDonald on March 19, 2012
Catch up with Noosa Greens Candidate Jim McDonald and read what he says on various election topics.
Jim has covered a wide range of issues during the election. They include:
- My 30 second pitch to Mary-Lou Stevens “In the elevator” on ABC Coast FM:
Noosa voters should vote for me because I am an experienced advocate with vision.
I’ll introduce a Private Members Bill for a plebiscite so that Noosa residents can decide on de-amalgamation.
I want a prosperous Noosa that is prepared for the new economy and for climate change, with regional food security, a Coast served by light rail and connecting to fast trains, a region with its own renewable energy sources, and jobs in clean industries.
I’ll push to get the Noosa GPs After Hours Service put back in the hospital to take pressure off emergency services.
I’ll oppose any exploitation of the coal reserves under the Coast.
And I don’t owe vested interests any favours It will be the people I owe.
Jim has been activiely campaigning to get some decent representation of Noosa into the parliament. More information available on the following sites:
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 Creek [photo: Jim McDonald
I 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 »
Posted by Jim McDonald on February 7, 2012
The Greens candidate for Noosa, Jim McDonald, called for the State Government to restore Unity Water assets to the Councils that developed them.
Dr McDonald said, “Ratepayers funds helped develop Noosa’s water supply and so it belongs to the community. It should never have been grabbed by the Bligh Government to be corporatised in preparation for selling off another public asset. Lake Macdonald was a Noosa Council project.
“Unity Water has done nothing but slug consumers and adopted practices that look more like a mafia operation: exhorbitant metre reading guesses and residents slugged for costs even if they are not connected to the grid are, frankly, unethical standover tactics.
“Separating Unity Water from the Council is also dysfunctional. Subsided trenches crossing Noosa’s streets remain unrepaired despite the Sunshine Coast Regional Council having just completed asphalt road repairs throughout Noosa.
“In one case, a subsided trench on Hill Street in Sunshine Beach lies unrepaired not 10 metres away from the recent round of resurfacing. The Council claims maintenance of the trenches is Unity Water’s responsibility.
“We can blame Labor for that nonsense. But what does the LNP propose? Their so-called “CanDo” policy States that Glen Elmes’ party will combine Unity Water into an even larger body, claiming it would be more efficient. What that will do is make it easier to sell it off to private enterprise and the LNP should come clean about their plans.
“Not being known for its consistency, the party that tries to tell us that the amalgamated Sunshine Coast Regional Council isn’t efficient for Noosa ratepayers argues for State centralisation of water assets developed by the Noosa Shire!
“In no case in Australia has the sale of publicly owned utilites resulted in cheaper prices for consumers whether they have been sold by Labor or Liberal/Nationals.
“Voters are entitled to straight answers from the LNP for their ultimate plans for Unity Water and other publicly-owned assets. Mr Elmes should come clean and state unambiguously that the LNP will return Noosa’s water assets to a reconstituted Noosa Council.
“The Greens are committed to retaining essential public services in public ownership to be run in the public interest.
“I will work in the Parliament for residents to get back Noosa Council control over the assets their rates paid for.”
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Media Release, 6 February 2012
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.”
Greens Candidate, Noosa
Posted by Jim McDonald on January 24, 2012
Jim McDonald, the Greens Candidate for Noosa, writes to the Noosa News about de-amalgamation:
I’d like to thank Bob Ansett for pointing out what the LNP’s website says about Noosa’s de-amalgamation because what the LNP spokesperson for Local Government, Gympie MP, David Gibson, says and doesn’t say on that website is quite different from the LNP’s actual policy.
As The Greens candidate for Noosa, I have called for a referendum to establish the ratepayers’ wishes as the primary step in giving the Noosa community the local government it really wants. This is a community-focussed process of decision-making and the role of the Government will be then to facilitate – through community consultation – any changes resulting from the community’s response.
The LNP proposal is for “an advisory poll of voters in any proposed new Local Government boundary” after a Queensland Boundaries Commissioner has prepared their “preferred options” for any changes after he or she has considered submissions from the community.
These are important differences that need to be understood by all the groups involved. The LNP offers the Noosa community an “advisory” role in a poll. The policy does not indicate what kind of poll that might be. The Greens have called for a local referendum – let the community decide on deamalgamation not some appointed Commissioner fiddling with boundaries, “advised” by the community.
This “advisory poll” is something quite different from Mr Newman’s and Mr Gibson’s undertaking that “residents living within the proposed new council area will, by a simple majority, vote whether or not they wish to establish a new Noosa Shire Council”.
In designating a role for a Commissioner to make the decision on whether Noosa is to get the Council it wants, the LNP has developed a process that pushes the community to the side. LNP policy also will load the cost of a new Noosa Council on the residents: “ratepayers of any proposed new local authority would bear the full costs of any de-amalgamation.”
The Greens position is that if the community decides on separation the cost should be borne by the Government since it was the Queensland Government that forced amalgamation on us in the first place.
The Commissioner’s process of decision-making looks very like a “Yes Minister” scenario. I say that because the LNP policy includes the critical statement of principle: “The LNP has made it clear that its preference is for Queensland’s Councils to remain as currently constituted to avoid any further disruption and cost for local communities.” With that statement goes any confidence that accommodating the electorate’s interests is anything more than a sop to the community’s wishes.
As a Noosa resident who favours de-amalgamation, I’m rather disappointed that Friends of Noosa and the Alliance find the LNP position so attractive since any close examination of the LNP policy shows that Campbell Newman and David Gibson have made an offer that is designed to fail the wishes of the Noosa community, and the LNP cannot be trusted to carry out their wishes.
13 January 2012
Posted by Steve on July 10, 2011
The Australian Greens, the Labor government and the Independent MPs today announced an historic agreement on a climate action package that will put a $23 per tonne price on carbon pollution, as was first proposed by the Greens, support householders and invest billions of dollars in clean, renewable energy.
This package, which the Greens have helped shape, is the first vital step towards tackling the climate crisis and building a cleaner, healthier, more secure Australia for all of us.
Major steps forward on emissions reduction targets, support for renewable energy, energy efficiency and landscape carbon, closing coal-fired power plants, limiting the use of international offsets and a floor price mean that pollution cuts that were pushed into the distant future under the government’s original plans will now be pulled forward into the next few years.
While a climate action package designed by the Greens would have been more ambitious straight away, what we have achieved is a firm foundation for the future. Where the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme acted as a ceiling on action, constraining our efforts for decades to come, this carbon price package acts as a platform on which stronger action can be built in the years ahead.
The carbon price agreement:
• Lifts Australia’s 2050 emissions target to 80%, lays the foundations for science-based climate action in the coming years and supports the effort to reach an ambitious global climate agreement;
• invests $10 billion in renewable energy, establishes ARENA, supports energy efficiency and starts planning for a 100% renewable energy future;
• helps the most vulnerable Australians;
• will begin to close coal-fired power stations and prevents the building of new commercial coal-fired power stations;
• ensures that emission intensive industry compensation will be based on rigorous independent analysis as soon as possible;
• limits the use of international offsets;
• begins to shift transport onto a cleaner base;
• makes voluntary action to cut emissions count; and
• invests $1.7 billion in protecting biodiversity and supporting farmers.
The Greens put climate action back on the political agenda after a federal election campaign during which it was a low priority for both Labor and the Coalition. By establishing a Multi-Party Climate Change Committee to deliver a carbon price as a condition for Julia Gillard to continue as Prime Minister, and by negotiating strongly and in good faith, the Greens have delivered a truly transformative package for the Australian community, economy and climate.
With this first step agreed, the Greens will continue to campaign for the much stronger action we need to effectively and efficiently tackle the climate crisis.