Saturday, 29 April 2017

Cr Toni Wright-Turner re removal of Bellingen Camphor laurel trees

Pic from Bellingen Courier Sun
"It is indeed sad to be facing the loss of the old Camphors in Church Street which have given shade and character to our town these past decades. It is also sad to feel the division within our community this issue is causing.

The journey of becoming a new councillor has been one of significant learning, along the way having to come to terms with the responsibilities, constraints and opportunities of the position. In this process I have come to realise how easy it is to stand in the public arena and use incomplete information and half-truths to create an impression that something has happened or not happened in a particular way. It is also possible from the public arena to be 'single issue' and only see or address that part of an issue or situation which concerns or interests you personally. Now, 7 months in, we are tasked with the implementation of the Main Street Plan, and the ‘Camphor debate’ has become another example of half-truths and single issues.

This type of approach is a luxury which Councillors do not have - we are elected to consider of the complexities of an issue, to look at it critically from as many perspectives as possible and to make the best decision for the WHOLE community based on the understanding we have developed.

"Westpac has have ruled out funding Adani’s coal mine," says Bandt

Westpac has caved to public pressure and have ruled out funding Adani’s coal mine. 

Show everyone how strong our movement is by sharing the news.

Pic from Stop Adani Campaign
Today Westpac released their new climate change policy which has ruled out funding any projects in new coal basins. This means they will not fund Adani.

This has been a long fight for many of our friends in the climate movement and a big leap forward in the campaign to #StopAdani. Finally, Westpac have bowed to public pressure and ruled out funding this carbon bomb.

Will you share the good news that Westpac will not fund the Adani mine?

We know to stop Adani we need to stop the money. But that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Stay tuned to find out what’s next for the campaign.

Thank you for standing with me,

Adam Bandt MP
Spokesperson for Climate Change & Energy

Councillor Jennie Fenton on the trees, rumours and council responsibility

Pic from Courier Sun
"Councillor Jennie Fenton’s statement regarding the camphor laurel removal 

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one. A truly spectacular array of lies and mistruths have been shared in various locations with very few people (on either ‘side’ of the debate) actually doing fact-checking or engaging with the wealth of material available, including reports from experts in their fields, asking staff or councillors, or doing their own research."

"Remember how vocal some people were about the Youth Hub?

The northern end of Church Street upgrade?

The Urunga to Hungry Head cycle path?

These are examples of people reacting to change. We need to move past reaction to action so that everyone in our community can be a part of our town centre."    Cr Jennie Fenton

Read the full story
Link to Bellingen Courier Sun Story

Turnbull’s thespian gas showmanship won’t bring prices down: Bandt

Greens energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that Malcolm Turnbull’s forced announcement to impose export restrictions on gas producers won’t bring prices down.

“Intermittent announcements about gas from the Prime Minister won’t bring prices down below the high international price and do not constitute a national energy plan,” said Mr. Bandt

“Now that our east coast is locked into the global marketplace, the Prime Minister’s implication that he can magically wave his wand to bring gas prices back to low levels are a fanciful, reckless promise.

Greens launch #SaveKidsTV campaign to defend Australian children’s television

Defending the things that matter
The Australian Greens have today launched the #SaveKidsTV campaign<> to protect children’s storytelling in Australia.

#SaveKidsTV will seek to protect our children’s television industry by highlighting the challenges that the sector faces from new streaming services like Netflix and Stan while also pushing for the government to strengthen the requirements of television broadcasters to produce and air high quality locally made children’s content.

Stop the Forestry Corp breaches action, May 10

"Please come and spread the word and send flyers to all your contacts  about this North East Forest Alliance and North Coast Environment Council action." Kalang River Forest Alliance

seam gas for price hikes - it is more expensive to produce. Blame coal

The cost of producing coal seam gas at Santos’ Narrabri project will be almost double the production cost of conventional gas in Bass Strait according to the Australia Energy Market Operator, and will be unlikely to reduce the price of gas in the domestic market.  It is the drive into unconventional gas and the cartel dominating the gas market that has led to the massive price rises. 

Unconventional gas is more expensive to produce due to the large amount of salty water that must be extracted to depressurise the aquifer and the large number of wells and associated infrastructure that must be drilled and fracked.

The Core Energy Group report commissioned by AEMO in February 2015 found:

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Queenslanders kept in the dark about Adani, Greens push “Stop Adani Bill”

The former leader of the Australian Greens Bob Brown, and Australian Greens Deputy Leader Senator Larissa Waters have today called on Queensland Labor and the Coalition to play it straight with Queenslanders about Adani’s mega-coal mine.

Bob Brown, former leader of the Australian Greens said:

“Queenslanders are being kept in the dark about the environmental impact of this mega coal mine and the number of jobs it will create.

“An Adani expert under oath said there would be 1,500 jobs or less, but Prime Minister Turnbull and Premier Palaszczuk say it will create up to 10,000.

Australia's gas crusader trying to keep your power bills low.

"What the frack? I was on A Current Affair today exposing Malcolm Turnbull's pathetic refusal to stand up to multinational oil corporations who are fracking our land at the same time as jacking up domestic gas prices.

4 years ago I predicted that the monster LNG export terminals in Qld would suck up all the gas on the East coast and Labor and Liberal MPs called me a joke and laughed at me - well now they are exposed as the fools." 
Jeremy Buckingham Facebook

"Excellent work Jeremy Buckingham! Let's hope your persistent message resonates far and wide and is remembered at the ballot box. Only one party (and certainly no Independent) has the plans and policies to deal with the whole fossil fuel, climate catastrophe debacle." Carol Vernon

Link to Current Affair Video

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

NSW - Public housing for private profit?

For more than 100 years, government-funded public housing has been available to low income earners in NSW.

Government-owned estates provided working class people, the elderly, new immigrants, young families, and working people in low-income, essential services the opportunity to live in our cities and regional centres, and participate in their local communities.

Lest we forget Are we taking the right lessons from the ANZAC story? Lest our tribute to those who've given their lives become lip service and flag-waving, it's time for some serious reflection.

By Senator Scott Ludlam
“Let silent contemplation be your offering.”

Those are the words etched before the flame of remembrance under the shadow of the war memorial on the edge of Kings Park in Perth. On an ordinary day, the space is filled with people milling about the lawn with stunning views across the city, but those words always make an impact on me; a reminder of a certain quiet reverence subtly at odds with the bright surrounds. The memorial itself is a somber monolith, a tall granite capstone for a small arcade containing hundreds of engraved names. These young men boarded steamers more than a century ago and never came back. Unlike similar places of memory in East Asia or old Europa — Hong Kong and Berlin come to mind — these shrines are signifiers of a peculiarly distant kind of loss.

The Australian Greens stand with Australia's students and universities

The Australian Greens have pledged to use their power in the Parliament to protect Australia's higher education sector from any further funding cuts ahead of the Turnbull-Joyce government's budget in May.

"We are putting the Government on notice that we will not accept any more nasty cuts to our universities and tertiary institutions," Greens education and finance spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Greens' inquiry to probe government's 457 visa changes

The Australian Greens have announced that they will move to establish a Senate inquiry into the government's 457 visa changes when parliament returns for the Budget in May.
"If Australia is going to attract the type of expertise, intelligence and experience that we need, we have to engage with our region and the wider international community," the Greens' finance and trade spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"This Senate inquiry will look into how the government's move will hurt in the wrong areas, while leaving those sectors where exploitation of workers has been a concern relatively untouched.

Liberal/Nationals fail to deliver commitment to consult with Brunswick Valley and Mullumbimby community

Brunswick Valley community and Mullumbimby residents were given assurances in 2015 by the then-Minister for Health Jillian Skinner that they would be consulted about the future of the Mullumbimby and District Memorial hospital site; but this never took place, says Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith.

“Yesterday we were told we have 28 days to cobble a plan together, the NSW government doesn’t seem to realise that community consultation takes time,” says Ms Smith.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Coffs Coast Advocate : OPINION: Councils must take control of growing industry

OPINION: The proliferation of white netting and plastic covered igloos that are springing up across the region is hard to ignore as the flourishing blueberry industry takes off.

Bringing "jobs and growth" to the North Coast, this type of intensive horticulture is receiving strong support from governments at all levels.

However, the industry is almost totally unregulated, allowed to clear what is termed regrowth forest, build enormous dams, and transform rural landscapes into a 'sea' of plastic without the need to seek any approvals whatsoever.

The problem is, blueberries are largely grown hydroponically, and so are highly dependent on water, hence the huge dams to capture the 10% of rainfall run-off that each landowner is entitled to.

The long, steep drop from 1992 Rio Earth Summit

Earth photographed from space

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was a watershed moment in global environmental governance — yet today our weather maps need new colours to illustrate our climate's warming. What happened?

Go to Australian Greens and Read more »

Manus Island and Nauru Senate Inquiry

Evidence presented to the Senate inquiry into the conditions on Manus Island and Nauru should prompt the immediate closure of both offshore detention centres, Greens Immigration spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"Australia’s centres on Manus Island and Nauru are inhumane, non-compliant with international obligations, and should immediately be closed and all detainees brought to Australia," Senator McKim said.

"The inquiry heard shocking evidence of appalling and unacceptable conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres, and a systemic failure of the Australian government to adequately respond."

Commons across NSW saved

Greens amendments to the Crown Lands Act secured in NSW Parliament last year will continue to protect commons across NSW as the Coalition Government has abandoned its plan to abolish commons. This will leave precious parcels of community land safe for the enjoyment of their local communities for generations to come.

Greens MP and Planning and Heritage David Shoebridge said:

"Pressure from the community and the Greens have seen the Government forced to reverse their proposal to convert all land in NSW held as commons to Crown Land.

Chevron’s greedy tax fight proves it can’t be trusted with the Bight

Chevron has proven it cannot be trusted with the pristine environment of the Great Australian Bight if they refuse to play by Australia’s tax rules, Australian Greens Senator for South Australia and finance spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said today.

“Chevron has fought for almost 15 years against paying its fair share of tax to Australians, after being given a leg up by the Australian government. The loan to Chevron not only ripped off Australian taxpayers for years, but the money ended up offshore providing no benefit to Australia,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“How can we trust a company who goes to great lengths to shift money around to shirk their tax responsibilities with a precious environment like the Bight? If they can’t be trusted to do the right thing by the taxpayer, they can’t be trusted to do the right thing by this pristine environment.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

NAPLAN testing riddled with errors – not just with the online roll out

The Australian Greens are calling on the NAPLAN testing model to be reviewed following the latest flaw, a failed online roll-out, and reports that testing causes anxiety among students.

“NAPLAN is seriously flawed and cannot continue in its current format. We knew the flaws in the NAPLAN online system when it was announced two years ago and it is unsurprising to see that it has been abandoned by the states – the only thing it would achieve is giving those better-off schools a leg-up in testing rather than actually aiding an improvement in learning outcomes in the classroom,” Greens education spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.