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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbulls rumoured Reef rescue package must address Queenslands deforestation crisis and climate change if theres to be any hope in saving the Great Barrier Reef.
Today The Australian reported that the Turnbull Government was proposing a $400 million Reef rescue package in the next Budget after Fairfax revealed on the weekend that Turnbull Government reef funding had dropped $58 million.
Deforestation is Australias greatest hidden environmental crisis, said Wilderness Society Nature Campaigner Jessica Panegyres. It is a big contributor to the declining health of the Great Barrier Reef. When forests are bulldozed, soil is eroded, runs down rivers and smothers the Reef. This damaging process has worsened on the Turnbull Governments watch.
Queensland has seen a huge surge in deforestation in recent years to about 400,000 hectares a year due to the combination of weakened laws in Queensland and systemic inaction by the Turnbull Government. This clearing releases 45 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year, when climate change is the greatest long-term threat to the Reef. Forty percent of this deforestation is happening in Great Barrier Reef catchments, directly threatening our already struggling natural treasure. Clearing in Reef catchments has increased almost 50 per cent in 2015-16 to 158,000 hectares.
This is despite a promise from the Turnbull Government to UNESCO to use federal laws to protect the Reef from excessive land clearing and arrest the decline of water quality. The government has powers under the EPBC Act to control this destruction, but whenever these powers look to be used, you see aggressive meddling and threats from the National Party and land clearing lobbyists. The result is a massive escalation of deforestation in Reef catchments that the Federal Government has failed to stop.
The Liberal National Party is desperately split over this issue. On the one hand the Queensland LNP and prominent Nationals such as Senator Matt Canavan are vehemently opposed to any cont...
The Queensland Parliaments new deforestation laws are a vital first step to ending the states deforestation crisis, the Wilderness Society said after the legislation was passed late tonight.
Today the Queensland Government showed leadership in passing new laws to tackle the states deforestation crisis, which is seeing a Gabba-sized area of forest and bushland bulldozed every three minutes, said the Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman.
Queenslands deforestation rate puts us on a list of global deforestation frontsmaking Australia the only developed country on that list. The deforestation of 395,000ha in 2015-16 had a devastating impact on wildlife and the climate, with nearly 45 million animals killed; thats one animal killed every second. That deforestation created 45 million tonnes of carbon emissionswhich is like adding more than 10 million cars to Australias already crowded roads.
These laws are a vital first step in stopping Queenslands globally significant deforestation crisis, but there are some loopholes in the legislation that need to be closed if these laws are going to truly end Queenslands deforestation crisis. We would like to see the protection of all threatened species habitat and vegetation around all rivers, as well as the curbing of deforestation in Category X exempt areas. There is more work to be done.
But, right now, we can all celebrate the fact that a decisive first step has been taken to ending Queenslands deforestation crisis.
For further comment, please contact Wilderness Society Queensland Campaign Manager Gemma Plesman on 0423 044 431.
These are notes and not the official minutes from the Maules Creek coal mine Community Consultative Committee (CCC) meeting held on 16 May 2018 at the Boggabri Golf Club, Gunnedah Road, Boggabri NSW 2382.
The official minutes wont be approved and released until the 16.8.2018 and due to the interest in declining groundwater levels at Maules Creek these notes are put up on the website for the information of the community. A functioning CCC is a condition in Schedule 5 of the Project Approval.
The CCC guidelines can be found here. Under Section 6 Communication with the broader community, the guidelines say;
Committee members are encouraged to discuss concerns and disseminate information about the project to the wider community, including stakeholder groups.
Attendees: Darren Swain (DS) WHC, Cr Robert Kneale (RK) Narrabri Council, Peter Wilkinson (PWi) WHC, Scott Mitchell (SM) WHC, Carolyn Nancarrow (CN) Community, Cath Collyer (CC) Community, Libby Laird (LL) Community, Anna Christie (AC) Environmental Representative (alternate) Kristen Golly WHC, Lindsay Fulloon, Megan Proust- EPA, Rebecca Scriviner- EPA.
Apologies: Steve Eather (SE), Jack Warnock (JW) Community, Simmone Moodie (SM) Community Aboriginal Representative, Kerrie Clarke (KC) Environmental Representative.
Independent Chair: David Ross (DR)
D.S: Excellent safety record.
Community: (Incredulous.) Does this exclude all the accidents in April?
Discussion of injured person. Flown to hospital. One has shoulder injury. Not well.
The other has slight injury. Bruising.
AC: what about the digge...
We always knew that there is a connection between the promotion of climate denial and it is always useful to be armed with evidence, showing that these are peddlers of lies for short-term greed.
It is well known that specialist public relations firms that were once engaged to build public opinion around the belief that there is no proof that smoking is bad for you. They also worked for oil. now they have turned their talents, to saying there is no proof that the worlds climate is rising.
Any connection between interests standing to gain from polluting the Great Barrier Reef and and the need to protect it, should concern everyone.
Of the recent$500 million provided in the recent budget for the reef, $144 million of it will be going to a partnership between the government and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The trouble with this, is that the foundations , major patron was by Peabody Energy, which had been heavily involved in funding the climate change denial campaign. This corporation went into receivership and no longer exists. But there are others, including Mitsubishi, Rio Tinto, BHP, Origin Energy, AGL and ConocoPhillips Australia. This is enough to suggest that the Great Barrier Reef fondation is compromised. This sort of patronage does not exist without reason.
We know that the Turnbull government is under immense pressure, to look like its doing something to protect the Reef. This certainly fits the bill, with the added benefit of providing a cover for what it really wants to do.
Perhaps there are those within or associated with the foundation, who genuinely want positive action. But this does not get away from the fact that it is compromised by its ties.
The funding is said to be marked for improving water quality, tackling the crown-of-thorns starfish, and expanding reef restoration, and to develop coral that is more resistant to high temperatures and light stress.
There is concern that there will be a new emphasis on promoting solutions through management, without having to do anything about the threat of global arming.
Behind all the fanfare about a newly discovered concern for the future of the worlds biggest reef system, nothing has been done to stop exploration for mineral and gas resources. The danger is that the companies patronising the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, stand first in line to benefit from any discoveries....
CANBERRA, AAP Labor has left the door open to supporting the second stage of the Turnbull governments income tax plan, but the coalition still wont be splitting its package.
The opposition already supports the first part of the income tax cut plan, which starts with a reduction of up to $530 a year under a low and middle-income tax offset.
It remains coy on changes to certain tax brackets at various stages, awaiting further details.
Labor finance spokesman Jim Chalmers says the party is still discussing the second phase.
Were going to have a conversation about it internally. Weve said were not wild about stage three; we said were keen on 1 July; were still having a conversation about stage two, he told Sky News.
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen insists Labor wants more details.
We support the 2018 tax cuts, we have grave reservations about the 2024 tax cuts, we want more information about the 2022 tax cuts, he told reporters in Canberra.
The treasurer wants the parliament to vote on these tax cuts but he wont release the year on year costing.
But Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has reaffirmed the government will not be splitting the package.
We are focused on securing the passage of the whole plan, he said.
Labor will have to decide whether they will stand in the way of income tax relief.
The plan is due to be debated in parliament on Tuesday.
The government has the numbers in the lower house to pass the draft laws this sitting fortnight.
But the real negotiations will come to a head when the Senate sits in late June just days out from when the first round of cuts are due to start.
And Pauline Hanson, whose One Nation party holds three key Senate seats, now says shes not convinced the cuts will deliver the governments promised jobs growth, The Australian reported on Tuesday.
But cabinet minister Peter Dutton denies this means One Nation has killed off the package, saying negotiations are continuing.
She is a wiley operator, Pauline. She will put out there she is supporting it, she is not supporting it, she is not supporting it, he told Nine Network.
She understands the benefit of tax cuts in an economy like ours.
Senator Hanson says the cuts havent been well received in the community and is critical of their slow phase-in.
This government is talking about it six or eight years down the track. Well, thats not good enough, she told The Australian.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann defended this, saying t...
It has been said that this dump will not go ahead if the community is opposed to it, therefore we dont understand why this discussion is even still happening given that the clear majority of Traditional Owners are so opposed to it?
This area is currently under some protection from the Aboriginal Heritage Act of SA however, we are concerned that the Federal Government may attempt to override this state legislation. This concern is increased given that the government has suspended federal environmental and Aboriginal heritage protections during the siting period for the planned dump.
ATLA is in partnership with IBA in owning the Wilpena Pound Resort and we dont want a waste dump to affect our tourism future.
It is NOT international best practice to go against the Traditional Owners and we call upon the federal government to stop this proposal immediately
How can you determine Indigenous support, for each process advancement stage, when ATLA was not approached until the project entered phase 2.
The antechinus is a strange little mouse-like creature that endures two to three weeks of marathon mating sessions that leave the male so exhausted that it ultimately dies. But suicidal mating is not all thats killing these animals. Habitat loss, climate change and threats from feral animals like cats, cattle and horses are driving two species of antechinus, both described only recently, to extinction. On May 11, the Australian government officially declared the silver-headed antechinus (Antechinus argentus) and the black-tailed dusky antechinus (Antechinus arktos) endangered. Both species live on remote mountaintops in Queensland, Australia. The silver-headed antechinus, first described in 2013, is known only from the forests of Kroombit Tops National Park in southeast Queensland and two other locations near the border of Queensland and New South Wales. The black-tailed dusky antechinus, described in 2014, is known from three isolated locations near the border of southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales. Both species occur only in high-altitude forests and have reached their altitudinal limits within their known distribution, the Australian governments Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) wrote in the species assessments. It is pretty rare to uncover new mammals in developed countries such as Australia, Andrew Baker of the Queensland University of Technology, whose team discovered the two species, said in a statement. These two new species were discovered on misty mountain summits. They have likely retreated there as the climate has warmed, and there is now nowhere left for them to go. Andrew Baker with a black-tailed dusky antechinus. Image courtesy of Queensland University of Technology.
Tribes fight to stop new uranium mines on sacred Mt. Taylor
Student Vincent Laroza finds a lot of hard things to think about when studying nuclear history
RES Australia proposes 176MW solar farm plus lithium-ion battery bank for Pallamana, 60km south-east of Adelaide.
Neoen gains council planning approval for a 500MW solar farm and large battery storage facility in south-west Queensland.
Despite intense pressure from Turnbull government, AGL rejects bid for Liddell power station, saying the highly conditional offer did not reflect the value of the site. Abbott and Joyce are apoplectic and call for forced sale.
For years, Arctic watchers have been concerned that if May and June ran much warmer than average following an equally severe winter, we could see substantial sea ice losses, severe Arctic fires, and related knock-on global weather effects. This May, temperatures over the Arctic Ocean have run much warmer than average. And in the GFS 
SYDNEY, AAP AGL has refused Alinta Energys $250 million offer to buy Liddell Power Station and reaffirmed its decision to close the plant in 2022.
The power giant says it assessed the offer from Alinta and its Hong Kong-based owner, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises, and that the deal significantly undervalues future cashflow from the NSW site.
AGL said the offer is not in the interest of its shareholders and that it will stick to its NSW power generation plan, which includes repurposing the Liddell site to address any capacity shortfall after its closure in 2022.
The energy company last month announced it will spend up to $400 million to build a new gas-fired power station near Newcastle in NSW as part of a plan to help it address the loss in energy supply that could happen as a result of Liddell closing.
AGL has completed a thorough assessment of the offer and, after careful consideration, has advised Chow Tai Fook and Alinta that it will not proceed any further with the offer, the company said in a statement on Monday.
Alinta made its bid for the ageing Hunter Valley power station in April, describing it as a compelling commercial proposition for AGL shareholders.
Treasurer Scott Morrison has previously urged AGL to accept the offer from Alinta to buy the plant, echoing calls from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who wants the station to stay open until 2025, when the expansion of the Snowy Hydro scheme is online.
On Monday, former prime minister Tony Abbott said the Turnbull government should buy the power station and then on-sell it to Alinta Energy.
My very strong view given that the federal government has effectively now got responsibility for energy security, the government should compulsorily acquire this power station for the price Alinta were prepared to pay and then it should sell it to Alinta, he told 2GB radio.
AGL chief executive Andy Vesey has previously said the board had not been swayed by criticism from the prime minister and senior coalition figures because the decision to close the ageing power plant was based on a rigorous process.
Investors appeared to be pleased with the news, with AGL shares up 0.9 per cent higher to $21.48 after the first half-hour of trade.
Source: Isabel Esterman / Mongabay.
In 2008, when a consortium led by ExxonMobil was drumming up support for a $19 billion natural gas extraction and processing project in Papua New Guinea, proponents of the development predicted it would underpin the countrys economy for decades.
Production began in 2014, and now reaches approximately 7.9 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year. However, according to two recent reports by advocacy group Jubilee Australia Research Centre, the PNG LNG project has not only exacerbated conflict and inequality in the Papua New Guinea highlands, it has also failed to produce the promised benefits. According to Jubilee Australias analysis, PNGs economy would be better off if the gas had been left in the ground.
Predicted economic impacts of the PNG LNG project compared to actual impacts (based on Jubilee Australias analysis of underlying economic trends). While exports have exceeded expectations, GDP growth has been slower than forecast and income, employment and government spending have dropped. Image courtesy of Jubilee Australia.
When pitching the project, developers made big promises about the economic and social benefits the megaproject would bring to the country.
One influential 2008 study, an economic impact analysis commissioned by ExxonMobil and authored by Australian con...
Stopping the Adani coal mine would pose no sovereign risk to Australia, and politicians on both sides have willingly misled people into thinking otherwise, says respected economist Saul Eslake.
The former chief economist of ANZ told Fairfax Media the major parties were abusing the term for political gain when in fact there had been no impact on Australias sovereign rating because of decisions taken on environmental grounds.
In a paper commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation, Mr Eslake found there was absolutely no reason the countrys sovereign risk would be affected if a future government stopped the Adani mine proceeding for environmental reasons.
Nor were the banks likely to downgrade Australias risk rating. Banks wouldnt be concerned, because banks dont want to loan to it anyway, Mr Eslake told Fairfax Media in an interview.
The verdict by one of Australias most prominent economists, flies in the face of arguments from Labor and the Coalition.
Before the Batman byelection, at which Labor had to woo left-wing voters in inner Melbourne, it was reported Opposition Leader Bill Shorten had to be talked out of outright opposition to Adani by senior colleagues concerned about sovereign risk.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan accused Labor of seeking to trade off our countrys investment reputation for some cheap votes.
In interviews since, Mr Shorten has argued you cant simply ban it and create sovereign risk and said an incoming Labor government would not rip up contracts made by previous governments.
Mr Eslake pointed out there is no contract between the Commonwealth and Adani. He said the term sovereign risk had a specific meaning the chance that a government will default on its debt and politicians were abusing it to confuse and mislead voters.
You cant describe every time a government makes a decision as sovereign risk, otherwise the term has no meaning, he said.
Sovereign risk is not the risk a government might change its mind or make a decision I dont like.
Governments regularly made environmental decisions that did not affect sovereign risk, Mr Eslake said, such as bans on uranium mining, domestic gas controls and logging restrictions....
Last Tuesday (May 15, 2018), the new German Finance Minister
Olaf Scholz stood up in the German Bundestag and delivered his
first fiscal policy presentation. Not only was die schwarze Null
(Black Zero) sustained but in his address, the new German Finance
Minister made it clear that Germany would not entertain any
expansion of the EU fiscal capacity (thus rejecting Emmanuel
Macrons proposals) and wanted to delay other reforms that Germany
had previously suggested they would support (beefing up the Single
Resolution Fund and the creation of the European Monetary Union).
For those Europhile progressives who have been hanging their hat on
the hope that the takeover of the German Finance Ministry by the
SPD would be the deal breaker that the Scholzs presentation was
nothing short of a disaster. He reiterated Germany would not be
shifting in any major way and that Member States just had to buckle
down and follow Germanys fiscal example surpluses as far as the eye
can see. None of this was a surprise to me. It has been clear for
some time that Scholz is just a continuation of Schuble. Indeed
some pointed statements from Bundestag politicians next day in
their responses suggested just that.
I wrote about why the elevation of Olaf Scholz will be a disaster for European reform in this blog post Forget European reform the Germans have anyway (April 23, 2018).
His Bundestag speech (May 15, 2018) just confirmed that assessment.
On May 16, 2018, when the Bundestag President, Wolfgang Schauble handed the floor to the spokesperson for Die Linke, Gesine Ltzsch to respond to the German fiscal statement that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had delivered the day before, she opened by saying that Olaf Scholtzs fiscal statement ran contrary to the title of the coalition agreement Ein neuer Aufbruch fur Europa Eine neue Dynamik fur Deutschland Ein neuer Zusammenhalt fur unser Land (A new departure for Europe A new dynamic for Germany A new coheson for our country.
She said that (Bundestag Protokoll, Wednesday, May 16, 2018, page 2898):
none of this is true in this budget. This is not only a disgrace for Olaf Scholz, but above all is fatal for our citizens. They continue to promote the black zero. I wonder why the SPD really wanted to take over the Ministry of Finance if it only wanted to continue the policy of Wolfgang Schauble.
The black zero is the famous schwarze Null or balanced fiscal state which Schauble obsessed about.
In a similar vein, Leader of the Alliance 90/The Greens, Katrin Gring-Eckardt asked Andrea Nahles (Leader of the Social Democratic Part....
CANBERRA, AAP Prominent economist Saul Eslake believes ditching the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland wont hurt Australias credit rating.
Mr Eslakes new report commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation found no evidence that stopping the project on environmental grounds would hurt Australias ability to attract foreign investment.
There is absolutely no reason to think that Australias sovereign credit rating would be in any way affected if a future Australian government were to prevent the Adani Carmichael coal mine from going ahead on environmental grounds, Mr Eslake writes.
Labor opposes the mine, but federal leader Bill Shorten has vowed not to tear up approvals if he won the next election to avoid reducing foreign investment in Australia.
The government claims Mr Shortens opposition to the project will hurt jobs and investment.
ACF chief executive Kelly OShanassy said the report removed the only remaining objection to the government stopping the construction of the mine.
Attempts to justify Adanis dirty Carmichael mine are falling like dominoes and the threats are crystal clear, Ms OShanassy said in a statement.
A draft decision for consideration by the World Heritage Committee at its July meeting has been released by the UN, with its associated expert report raising concerns about some provisions of the of Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA) Management Plan. Specifically the report identifies the secret zoning switch in the Management Plan that paves the way for private commercial developments and a degradation of wilderness values, like the controversial Lake Malbena hut and buildings in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park.
The report also criticises the governments progress in developing a Tourism Master Plana document requested in 2015 that should serve to refine the balance between conservation and tourism. Despite the failure to progress this Plan, controversial project approvals and taxpayer handoutssuch as for the South Coast Track Hutscontinue.
The UN again highlights government failure of process and identifies the impacts of tourism/visitation/recreation as a factor affecting Tasmanias World Heritage Area, said Vica Bayley, spokesperson for the Wilderness Society.
The secret switch of wilderness zone for something lesser, to specifically allow for private commercial developments that will degrade wilderness values and would otherwise be prohibited, has raised the concern of the World Heritage Committees expert advisors.
Its important to note, this secret zoning switch hasnt just happened at Lake Malbena in the Walls of Jerusalem National Park; its repeated along the Overland Track where new huts are proposed and at Lake Rodway near Cradle Mountain, to clear the way for a private commercial lodge."
With regard to the Tourism Master Plan, the conclusions of the experts states, it is of concern that this key strategic document is missing.
Mr Bayley said, in the absence of the Tourism Master Plan, development approvals like Lake Malbena and taxpayer handouts such as that for the South Coast Track huts continue, pre-empting the plan and raising concerns about the protection of World Heritage values.
This is absurd and logically, all assessments and taxpayer grants should stop until that Tourism Master Plan is completed.
The draft decision also calls on government to speed up the designation of over 20,000 hectares of World Heritage-listed forests as reserves under Tasmanias Na...
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