Queensland Greens spokesperson, Dr Libby Connors, said the latest deaths made the release of the Noosa Fish Health Investigation Taskforce report all the more urgent.
“We know the two veterinary scientists on the scientific sub-committee concluded agricultural chemicals were factors in the fish deaths,” Dr Connors said.
“The public has the right to be concerned about the delay in releasing the final report which was originally scheduled for April.”
Since the taskforce began its investigation:
* Sunfish Queensland has reported an increase in deformities in bream caught along the southeast coast
* The United States Environmental Protection Agency has commenced withdrawing endosulfan from the US market owing to concerns about endosulfan’s environmental harm
* The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) was revealed to have misrepresented chemical test results from the Noosa River
“In the midst of mounting local and international evidence, Australian agencies responsible for monitoring agri-chemical use appear to be in denial about the environmental harm and harm to public health caused by these chemicals,” Dr Connors said.
“We need to know what action, if any, the Queensland government is going to take in the face of this evidence of serious environmental harm.
“How many more fish deaths have to occur before the report will be released?
“The Noosa fish hatchery is clearly the canary in the southeast Queensland environment.”
“The report clearly validates many of the concerns raised by Darling Downs and Surat Basin communities at the epicentre of the conflict between resource extraction and farming.
“The inquiry learned that tightening the regulations on a case by case basis – while essential – does not address the question of whether the short term benefits of coal mining on productive farmland outweigh the long-term costs.
“These costs can be great indeed: compromised land, damaged aquifers and reduced food security.
“The Australian Greens believe that leaving this for State Governments to determine is unacceptable and will inevitably lead to the irreversible destruction of some of Australia’s prime farming country.
“The Commonwealth reserves the right to assess and, if necessary, block development projects if they breach matters of national environmental significance.
“We think similar tests should apply in the case of irreversible damage to water resources or destruction of prime farmland.
“We want to see the Water Act 2007 amended to ban mining and extractive industries where they will have adverse impacts on groundwater resources and the environment,” Senator Ludlam concluded.
The Australian Greens say World Toilet Day is an opportunity to highlight the importance of world-wide sanitation.
“It is shocking that 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation. This risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, most of which are children, every year,” said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.
“Today is World Toilet Day, which some think is funny, but the number of deaths and suffering as a result of poor sanitation is a sobering reminder that more is needed to reduce suffering around the world.”
“Lack of proper sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of malnutrition and infection, causing diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid and worm infections that kill 5,000 children each day.”
“Clean toilets contribute to poverty eradication by protection one’s health and ability to work. Safe collection and treatment of human waste and other various wastewaters protects drinking water sources and eco-systems, creating clean and healthy living environments, particularly in urban areas,” said Senator Siewert.
“Australia’s contribution to sanitation projects in the developing world should be increased. By next year it is expected to increase to $250m, however, this is still below our fair share – Australia’s calculated fair share to sanitation in the Millennium Development Goals is estimated to be $350m.”
“The current sanitation problem in Timor-Leste illustrates this point. Diarrhoea is a leading cause of under-five child deaths in Timor-Leste, accounting for 22% of the total 5,000 children that die every year. Access to sanitation in Timor-Leste is estimated at 41% and the country is perilously short of meeting the MDG target for sanitation. The sanitation improvements that will dramatically improve child mortality and general community health in Timor-Leste are relatively cheap and easily implemented.”
The Senate yesterday passed a Greens motion recognising the importance of World Toilet Day, and calling on the government to invest in foreign aid projects aimed at improving sanitation levels.
“The Senate has backed my calls for the Australian Government to play a constructive, proactive role at the upcoming Global Framework for Action on Water and Sanitation meeting in Washington April 2010. This is the opportunity for global support of sanitation policy leadership,” concluded Senator Siewert.
Anna Bligh should pump recycled water into Wivenhoe Dam rather than squandering billions on more energy-hungry and expensive desalination plants, said the Greens today.
“The $9 billion water recycling plant and pipelines are ready to go – taxpayers have already footed the bill. Bligh just needs to show leadership and turn on the tap to supply sustainable water which is cleaner than what we are drinking now,” said Australian Greens lead Senate candidate for Queensland, Larissa Waters.
“Bligh is continuing the Community Futures Taskforce in the Mary Valley, but what about the impact on new communities threatened with eviction, damage and pollution from desalination? No community should ever again be subjected to the cruel uncertainty and arrogance that the Mary Valley people were.
“The federal government has saved Anna Bligh $1.8 billion dollars by refusing Traveston Dam – she should use that money to supply a free rainwater tank to every remaining South East Queensland home without one, and to invest in stormwater harvesting in our cities to catch the rain where it falls.
“If Bligh is determined not to use money saved from Traveston on providing sustainable water solutions, then it should be used to reduce government debt. The cost of Traveston was one of the reasons she used to justify selling off the state’s valuable assets – now there is even less excuse for this ill-conceived flogging off of public goods.”
“Bligh should also bring back the tough water restrictions that South East Queenslanders showed they were easily able to meet. A permanent water saving target of 170L per person is achievable and will keep a lid on water costs.
“If we are to get serious about sustainable water supply for South East Queensland, we must ensure that population growth in our region is sustainable. We should refuse to grant new development approvals unless the proponent can demonstrate that the necessary water is available and that planning processes address sustainable water supplies.
With timely planning and provision of water recycling, demand and supply management, rainwater tanks, stormwater harvesting, evaporation reduction, water efficiency and sustainable groundwater extraction, there should be no need for energy-guzzling desalination.
“Bligh should also scrap the planned Nathan Dam on the Dawson River which is designed to provide water to coal mines, and invest that money into providing renewable energy which will create Queensland jobs,” concluded Ms Waters.
Please download the Queensland Greens Membership Form here or contact the Convenor of the Noosa Greens directly
How You Can Get Involved...
We would love to hear from you, what you consider our priorities should be to ensure our community remains special and sustainable. Please feel welcome to contact our Convenor Steve Haines directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 0421 00 1956.