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.

Prime Minister still has no national energy plan, stuck in endless loop of feasibility study announcements: Bandt

Greens climate change and energy spokesperson Adam Bandt MP today said that the Prime Minister’s announcement on Tasmanian pumped hydro shows that he is stuck in an endless loop of proclamations in hi-vis vests, none of which constitute a coherent national plan on energy policy.

“When large-scale renewables with storage could be rapidly rolled out and switched on, another feasibility study for pumped hydro won’t keep the lights on next year,” said Mr. Bandt.

“Malcolm Turnbull is stuck in an endless loop of hi-vis proclamations, none of which amount to a coherent national energy plan.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Peter Dutton's values are not Australian values

Senator McKim
Peter Dutton and Malcolm Turnbull's rolling citizenship announcements are a transparently desperate attempt to win back votes from Pauline Hanson and appease the far right of the Liberal Party, Greens Immigration and Citizenship spokesperson Nick McKim says.

"We should be bringing people together, not dividing them through patronising citizenship tests and unnecessary waits for permanent residency and citizenship," Senator McKim said.

"The real problem here is that Peter Dutton's values are not mainstream Australian values.

Government to put university out of reach for low income students

The Australian Greens have slammed the Government's plans to hit university students with higher fees and force graduates to pay their HELP/HECS back on a much lower income in a move that will price young people from low income families out of a university education.

"This government is determined to put the 'class' back into 'classroom'. We don't want to see a return of the bad old days when only the well-off could afford a university education. Increasing fees will put university out of reach for many young people, especially those from low income backgrounds," Greens education spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

Coffs Coast Advocate: Urunga foreshore development: have your say April 22, Morgo St Reserve, 10.00am til 12.00

 Bellingen Shire Council

"Urunga foreshore development: have your say


URUNGA residents are being urged to have their say on the development of a master plan that will guide the future development and use of the Kalang River foreshore adjoining Atherton Dr.

Member for Oxley, Melinda Pavey, said this section of Crown land within the Bellinger Heads State Park is a valuable public recreational asset.

"With its magnificent park settings and river views, the Atherton Drive foreshore provides a range of public recreational opportunities and has important heritage and conservation values,” Ms Pavey said.

"The Master Plan will consider redevelopment options to enhance public recreational opportunities, the future of the boathouses, vehicular access and the protection of environmental assets.”

The main issues for consideration in the master plan include uncontrolled vehicle access and unauthorised campervan camping.

The Artherton Drive Foreshore Masterplan project is being funded through the 2016-17 round of the Public Reserves Management Fund Program.

A community consultation session is being held on Saturday, April 22 at Morgo Street Reserve from 10am until 12pm.

"The information session is a great opportunity for Urunga residents and the broader community to discuss the proposal with the project consultants and representatives from the Bellinger Heads State Park Trust,” Ms Pavey said.

Residents can also have their say online here."

Are the developers sniffing around your foreshore? Does this Liberal/National Party government have its eyes on selling off public lands?

How Big Oil Fracked Australia


You’ve probably heard a lot about the gas crisis lately.   

I recently travelled to Gladstone to witness the massive export LNG terminals that have driven coal seam gas and fracking in Australia.

The scale of these export terminals and the amount of gas being shipped really hit home.

Australian industry and households are paying the price as multinational oil companies ship gas to Asia and the domestic cost of gas skyrockets.

This is the great gas rip off. We need to get the word out so that Big Oil can’t continue to rip off Australia and destroy our land, water, communities and climate.

Please watch and share this video on Facebook to spread the word:

Australia is the only country in the world that exports gas without either a national interest test or domestic gas reservation. Crazy, right?

For the money that’s been wasted on these export LNG terminals, we could have built a world class NBN of fibre to the home, we could have high speed rail and we could have transformed our energy sector into clean, green, renewable energy.

Don’t let the gas giants who have fracked Australia get away with stuffing up our domestic gas market too.  Please share this video and spread the word.

Thank you for your support,

Jeremy Buckingham
Greens NSW MLC

P.S. Watch and share my video below or if you’re not on Facebook here’s a YouTube link to share:

Film: The Bentley Effect in Bellingen April 30 at 6PM

There will be a special screening of The Bentley Effect
 Sunday, April 30 at the Bellingen Show grounds at 6pm.

 The film was screened in Coffs Harbour during Earth Hour this year to an enthusiastic reception.
There will be Q&A following the film. On the panel Dr Wayne Summerville,  Jeremy  Buckingham Greens MLC  and Brendan Shoebridge, the producer.

Mining site remediated at great cost to taxpayers.

Here is a story on our MNC Greens blog from August 2011. Bellingen District Greens pushed hard for remediation of this shameful site. We are thrilled the remediation of this Urunga site has finally taken place after being ignored for years by Liberal, National and Labor Party governments but watch National Party MPs move in to take credit for finally restoring this wetland. Over $6 000 000 of taxpayers' money has been spent to remediate a site allowed to occur by poor government regulation of mining and mineral processing. There are many of these polluted sites in Australia.

Mining the Dorrigo Plateau has already polluted our coastal rivers. National Party MPs still advocate for mining these plateau sites in high rainfall areas. The further mining of poisonous minerals, such as antimony and arsenic, on our plateau, cannot be allowed.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Contaminated by Antimony and Arsenic, Urunga's Hidden Site

The Antimony processing business previously on this site  once employed locals.  What a pity that it could not also employ locals to remediate the site. Antimony and Arsenic are washed into Station Creek thence into Urunga lagoon. Can this site ever be remediated?

"...levels of arsenic consistently exceeded the ANZECC (2000) swimming water quality guideline of 50 μg/L between March and May 2003. Levels of both arsenic and antimony in Station Creek increased after February 2003, a period dominated by many small rainfall events. These results suggest that arsenic and antimony are washed into the creek during wet weather.

Beachwatch Partnership Pilot Program State of the Beaches 2002–03
Department of Environment and Conservation NSW"

Learn more about the dangers of antimony at the new site of Dorrigo Environment Watch

Article in the Coffs Coast Advocate, August 13

Contaminated by Antimony and Arsenic, Urunga's Hidden Site

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Gas swap craziness isn’t a national plan

 The Greens spokesperson for energy, Adam Bandt MP, today said that the Australian Industry Group’s (AI Group) call for ‘gas swaps’ – that has been backed by the Labor party – is a crazy approach showing just how far energy policy in this country has deteriorated.

“When Australia produces more gas than we use, the idea of buying gas from other countries to deal with skyrocketing prices shows just how far energy policy has deteriorated,” said Mr. Bandt.

“The old parties still have no national energy plan, as this latest desperate idea demonstrates.

“This proposal is just a desperate attempt to try and fill the energy policy void that’s been left by this government. It’s another reason why the government needs to adopt The Greens’ proposal for an independent authority to manage the energy transition.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Local Greens group change of name

Now we no longer serve the Macleay and Nambucca Shires but just the Bellingen Shire area we have changed our name to:

We are always happy to provide contact and information at our permanent stall at the Bellingen Community Markets. We sometimes are able to staff a stall at the Dorrigo Markets. We hope that eventually we will be allowed to staff a stall at the Urunga Markets.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Greens NSW NEWS from our MPs

Thanks to Greens candidates in by-elections

Last weekend Greens NSW contested four by-elections. We fielded candidates in the three State seats of North Shore, Manly and Gosford, and also in a Local Government by-election in Blacktown. All four of our candidates ran outstanding campaigns, with excellent support from their campaign teams. The Greens had strong results in all four elections, and we would like to thank Justin Alick, Clara Williams Rolden, Abigail Boyd and Chris Winslow for their wonderful work in representing the party in local their electorates. We would also like to thank the many volunteers who helped out on election day and over the course of the campaigns.
Debbie Gibson & Tony Hickey
Co-Convenors, Greens NSW

Support a Sydney Marine Park

Justin Field MLC

I’m proud of the opportunity to turn my passion for our oceans and beaches into action with the launch of a new community campaign for a Sydney Marine Park. It’s time we had real, lasting protection for the iconic Sydney Harbour, its surrounds and our unique aquatic life. Sign the petition now and share with friends.
Sign the petition »

Calling out the Premier on Housing Affordability

Jenny Leong, MP for Newtown

We know that increasing housing approvals hasn’t improved housing affordability despite the Liberal Government’s empty claims. I asked the Premier to explain when exactly this developers’ bonanza might result in stabilising or reducing housing prices.
Find out more »

Jamie Parker MP 

Global Greens Congress, UK

Jamie Parker, MP for Balmain

I recently attended the Global Greens Congress in the UK, a fantastic opportunity to learn from 2000 other Greens around the world. I then travelled to the European Parliament to meet with representatives from European Green groups and leaders of the European Climate Foundation. A fascinating trip and much learned.
Find out more »

Dawn Walker MLC

Defending our native forests

Dawn Walker MLC

I’ve stepped up the Greens campaign to end native forest logging, which is unsustainable and unprofitable. I recently visited the Kalang Forests, near Bellingen, which are under threat and will be visiting forests near Bega and New England this month to work with local activists to defend our precious native forests. Please get in touch with me if you know of other forests under threat.
Watch the video »

Tamara Smith MP

Standing up for renewable energy

Tamara Smith, MP for Ballina

I asked the Premier about Barnaby Joyce's statement that the Australian Capital Territory's Renewable Energy Target is "completely insane". This is in light of the fact that the target has led to a power purchase agreement that is helping to finance the Sapphire wind farm near Glen Innes and creating 265 jobs.
Find out more »

Australian Greens study tour of Palestine

David Shoebridge MLC

I’m in Palestine with the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. It has been confronting and challenging to see firsthand the impact of the Israeli Government’s 50 year military occupation. We have met brave Palestinians who have lost family members, had their houses demolished and quite literally have nothing left. Palestine desperately needs more international solidarity.
Watch the video »

Senator Lee Rhiannon


Protecting vital support services

Senator Lee Rhiannon

The Turnbull Government refuses to end tax breaks for investors but wants to axe the National Affordable Housing Agreement (NAHA), which delivers federally funded homelessness and family violence support services. The Greens are fighting to protect money for homelessness and social housing. We can't afford to lose a dollar in the upcoming budget.
Read more »

Jeremy Buckingham MLC

Giving battery storage a leg-up

Jeremy Buckingham MLC

The Australian Energy Market Commission is reviewing rules concerning the wholesale electricity market. I've been pressuring the NSW Government to favour a five-minute settlement period, which will favour modern battery storage technology and demand-management over big fossil fuel generators. The regulator has made a draft recommendation to adopt this new rule.
Read the Hansard »

Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC

World premier of 'Cultivating Murder'

Mehreen Faruqi MLC

I’ll be speaking at the world premiere of ‘Cultivating Murder’, a documentary about climate change, biodiversity and the brutal murder of environment officer Glen Turner. Let’s step up the campaign to repeal the Liberal/National land clearing laws and save our biodiversity. Regional screenings to follow.
Find out more »

Statement from NSW Greens MP and Treasury spokesperson Justin Field on the sale of NSW land titles

Another public service sold
"The land titles privatisation will risk making property prices higher, expose property owners' private data to corporate interests and leave the taxpayer worse off in the long term.

"How many times do governments have to learn the lessons that privatisation will cost consumers more and lead to poorer services?

"The sell-off of this world class and monopoly public asset is bad public policy. Voters can now be confident that the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government will just continue with the Coalition's 'privatisation at any cost' approach.

"The Greens oppose the land titles sale and will watch closely to make sure its private owners meet the requirements of the concession legislation.

"If there are avenues to overturn this privatisation in the future, we'll pursue them."

Time to let go of the past and back five-minute rule

Australian Greens Senator for South Australia Sarah Hanson-Young is calling on Malcolm Turnbull to prove himself as the bold, innovative Prime Minister he purports to be by introducing a "five minute rule" to fix and future-proof the electricity market.

"The Australian Energy Market Commission has backed a transition to a 5-minute rule which would give renewables an even playing field while those old fossil fuel operators and our Prime Minister are clutching at the past," Senator Hanson-Young said.

Another dolphin dies in Ballina shark nets

Another dolphin is dead due to the shark net trial off Ballina beaches, with the fourth monthly report from the Department for Primary Industries revealing that a Bottle Nosed dolphin died in the net off Lighthouse Beach between 8 March and 7 April.

“The DPI’s shark nets trial has really turned into a dolphin, ray and turtle net trial, except that they aren’t the target species!” said Greens MP for Ballina Tamara Smith.

Why is religion being peddled in secular schools?

Member for Ballina and NSW Greens spokesperson for Education, Tamara Smith, has criticised the NSW Government’s rejection of of the recommendation in the independent review into scripture teaching in NSW public schools that religion be an opt-in for students rather than compulsory unless you opt-out.

The recommendations about school enrolment forms and making Special Religious Education (SRE) an opt-in option for students was not supported by the NSW Government in its response to the 2015 review which has only just been publically released, despite the Greens asking for the release of the report for 12 months.

“It should be an opt-in option for SRE, not an opt-out. Religious instruction is extracurricular for state funded schools, it is not the core business of Public Schools. The NSW Government has decided that state schools are Christian by default.