Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Time to leave the TPP, not Australian community, in the dust

Future trade deals need to hold every day Australians at their centre, not just corporations, Australian Greens Trade spokesperson Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today, following reports of Trade Minister Steven Ciobo trying to revive the dodgy Trans Pacific Partnership.

"Trade deals need people, not corporations, at their core. The mark was missed with the TPP and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership when corporations took the wheel and left Australians in the dust," Senator Hanson-Young said.

The Conversation: Forestry agreements need a full overhaul, not just a tick and flick

 Regional Forest Agreements were supposed to give certainty to both loggers and conservationists. But they haven’t.

  Erosion in NSW plantation after logging by Forest Corp
For almost two decades, the management of forests in parts of Western Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales has been underpinned by state and federal Regional Forest Agreements (RFAs), defined as “20-year plans for the conservation and sustainable management of Australia’s native forests”.

The broad aim of RFAs is to “provide certainty for forest-based industries, forest-dependent communities and conservation”. RFAs are now up for renewal, and it would certainly be in industry advocates’ interest for them to be simply “ticked off”, without the critical scrutiny that is clearly warranted.

The RFAs need to be fully reviewed, not just renewed, because they have had highly perverse outcomes – rather than helping to ease environmental problems, the agreements have actually worsened them in some cases.

Professor, The Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University

Read original article in The Conversation

Monday, 23 January 2017

No more mergers of councils anywhere

With recently installed Nationals leader John Barilaro's announcement that he will stop further council amalgamations in the bush, it's time for a consistent state-wide end to all forced council mergers. You cannot have one rule for local democracy in the bush and another in the city. Every resident in NSW deserves a fair go.

It's time for the likes of Liberal MPs Anthony Roberts, Gabrielle Upton, Victor Dominello and Premier-to-be Gladys Berejiklian to stand up for their residents and protect their local councils from forced mergers.

Under the cover of Trump: Acland coal mine expansion shows fossil donors call the shots

 The Australian Greens say the approval<http://epbcnotices.environment.gov.au/_entity/annotation/cd0f5b8e-b0de-e611-bdfe-005056ba00a8/a71d58ad-4cba-48b6-8dab-f3091fc31cd5?t=1484890284547> of the disastrous Acland Stage 3 thermal coal mine expansion on Queensland's fertile Darling Downs shows the old parties are run by the coal industry.

"This mine expansion will swallow up prime agricultural land, threaten our precious groundwater and exacerbate dangerous global warming, but both Liberal and Labor are falling over themselves to approve it anyway," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for mining Senator Larissa Waters.

"The fact that the Liberals cynically published this approval under the shadow of the Trump inauguration is exactly what Australians are sick of from politicians.

Greens call again for an end to council amalgamations.

 With recently installed Nationals leader John Barilaro's announcement that he will stop further council amalgamations in the bush, it's time for a consistent state-wide end to all forced council mergers. You cannot have one rule for local democracy in the bush and another in the city. Every resident in NSW deserves a fair go.

It's time for the likes of Liberal MPs Anthony Roberts, Gabrielle Upton, Victor Dominello and Premier-to-be Gladys Berejiklian to stand up for their residents and protect their local councils from forced mergers.

Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:

"It's three years too late but finally the Nationals have worked out that axing local councils is political suicide.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Time for WestConnex to be history like Baird

Now that Baird is opting out of politics, his centerpiece project needs to be stopped.  Since he and Tony Abbott turned the first sod of this toxic project back in March 2015, community opposition has continued to grow.

Public criticism of WestConnex, billion dollar budget blowouts, shonky, secretive planning and huge contracts to companies under federal police investigation, have all played a significant role in the declining popularity of Premier Baird, according to Greens Member for Newtown Jenny Leong MP.

"We've seen the appalling treatment of hundreds of home owners and renters who've had their homes forcibly acquired in the most egregious manner, along with the bulldozing of swathes of heritage protected homes," said Ms Leong.

NYTimes Story: How 2016 Became Earth’s Hottest Year on Record

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2016 is the hottest year on the historical record and the third consecutive record-breaking year, scientists say.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

NSW Greens MPs respond to Baird resignation

Today’s announcement that Mike Baird is resigning after just 2 years and 9 months as NSW Premier is a chance for NSW to take a fresh direction on the environment and social justice. The Greens NSW wish Premier Baird well in his retirement and acknowledge the impact that public life has had on his family and personal life.

Premier Baird has resigned at a time when his government’s decisions on biodiversity, lockout laws, greyhound racing, forced amalgamations, tree destruction, public education, privatisation and draconian police powers have undermined community confidence in his leadership.

The Greens are committed to nonviolence

The Greens are opposed to violence in any form and we condemn any attempts to link the party to violent protest.

The Greens are committed to nonviolence. It is one of our four pillars. It is more than just an ideal; it is in our DNA as a movement and as a political party. Anyone who advocates violence does not speak for The Greens, it’s as simple as that.

The self appointed ‘Left Renewal’ group in New South Wales has no standing or recognition within the Australian Greens. These people are not authorised to speak on behalf of the Australian Greens.

Factionalism, as we’ve seen demonstrated time and time again by the Labor Party, is an insidious problem that drives a wedge between people who should be natural allies. We have never had formal factions in the Australian Greens and that is not something that we intend to change.

Greens respond to poor Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook report card

The Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook released today highlights the Turnbull Government’s dead-end plan to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable Australians, Leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale said.

​“There is one message in this MYEFO for everyday Australians: unless you’re a big corporation or Liberal Party donor, you don’t matter.”

“Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to hand out tax cuts to the wealthiest Australians while wage growth remains stagnant is a slap in the face to ordinary Australians doing it tough.”

Turnbull missed the boat with reshuffle

Rewarding Greg Hunt with the health portfolio after his disastrous turn as Environment Minister shows just how out of touch Malcolm Turnbull is, leader of the Australian Greens Dr Richard Di Natale said.

“Greg Hunt nearly killed the Great Barrier Reef, imagine what he’s going to do to our health?”

“Hunt has an opportunity to show right away whether he’s prepared to put the interests of regular Australians before wealthy corporations. He should immediately rule out the exorbitant increase in health insurance premiums demanded by the industry and reverse the cuts to children’s dental care announced by his predecessor.”

Statement on non-violent protest

As an individual and a proud Australian Greens member, I am deeply committed to the principle of non-violence. It is a founding and core pillar of our party, one that every Greens member pledges to uphold. I do not support burning the Australian flag and condemn the use of violence to achieve any means; it’s in the DNA of our party and it always will be.

Left Renewal is a tiny splinter group and as stated by our co-conveners do not speak on behalf of the Australian Greens.

I believe this small group of individuals are undermining the important national conversation about how we celebrate our wonderfully diverse nation, including moving the date of our national day.

We deserve a celebration that is not marred by a bloody history, so that all of us, including our First Peoples, can enjoy everything that makes us proud to be Australian.

Media Release
Richard Di Natale 19 Jan 2017

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Labor must end the games on Trans Pacific Partnership

Labor must end the cat and mouse game over the TPP, the Australian Greens have said today, calling on the Opposition to clarify how they will vote when implementing legislation is presented to Parliament.

"Labor needs to stop the double speak on the TPP and commit to voting the dodgy trade deal down when it reaches the Senate," the Australian Greens Trade spokesperson Sarah Hanson-Young said.

"Hiding behind Donald Trump is simply not good enough. Instead of playing cat and mouse games, the Australian community needs clear and confident opposition to the big business trade deal, that if realised will leave ordinary Australians worse off.

Dead marine animals increase by 300% under Baird Government mesh net program

Justin Field
The NSW Shark Meshing program is a marine animal culling program and should be phased out according to NSW Greens Marine and Fisheries spokesperson, Justin Field.

The call comes after the NSW Government released the Shark Meshing (Bather Protection) Program 2015-16 Annual Performance Report showing dramatic increases in animals caught and killed in the mesh nets.

Shark mesh nets at 51 beaches between Wollongong and Newcastle caught 748 marine animals and killed 364 of them in the 2015/2016 year. There was a dramatic four-fold increase in the number of animals caught and 300% increase in marine animals found dead in the nets.

Monday, 16 January 2017

The Guardian: Adani coalmine activists gear up to fight: ‘This will dwarf the Franklin blockade’

"As the protest against the Carmichael project – Australia’s largest proposed coalmine – moves beyond the courts and into the realm of civil disobedience, activists have a clear warning: ‘If you’re in bed with Adani, you’re a target’

Across Australia a secretive network of activists are laying the groundwork for what they expect will be the biggest environmental protest movement in the country’s history.

Of course this won’t materialise if Adani and the rest of the miners proposing to open up one of the world’s biggest coalfields walk away from Queensland’s Galilee basin first."

Read the Guardian article

 Find out more - http://galileeblockade.net/

Sunday, 15 January 2017

The year ahead – Mayor Dominic King: Bellinen Courier Sun

THE conversation about housing in the Shire was kicked off for the year with a media report noting higher-rise buildings may help the Shire’s accommodation crisis.

Mayor Dominic King spoke to the Bellingen Shire Courier-Sun to clarify what’s meant by these developments and also to discuss the year’s top priorities.

“Unit development, townhouses, community titles – these are some of the solutions to providing more affordable housing to the Shire as well as giving people a home nearer to the town’s services,” mayor King said.

“We have a retired population, single parents, homeless people and families who need a place to live.

“The world’s changing, Bellingen is changing – we cannot go back to the way it was in the 70s.

“We have to provide development, and more centralised living creates a space for more people while stopping the urban sprawl – it limits the encroachment on land and this protects the environment.”

Read article

Saturday, 14 January 2017

GRIST: None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use.

The notion of “externalities” has become familiar in environmental circles. It refers to costs imposed by businesses that are not paid for by those businesses. For instance, industrial processes can put pollutants in the air that increase public health costs, but the public, not the polluting businesses, picks up the tab. In this way, businesses privatize profits and publicize costs.

While the notion is incredibly useful, especially in folding ecological concerns into economics, I’ve always had my reservations about it. Environmentalists these days love speaking in the language of economics — it makes them sound Serious — but I worry that wrapping this notion in a bloodless technical term tends to have a narcotizing effect. It brings to mind incrementalism: boost a few taxes here, tighten a regulation there, and the industrial juggernaut can keep right on chugging. However, if we take the idea seriously, not just as an accounting phenomenon but as a deep description of current human practices, its implications are positively revolutionary.

Read original article

Echo Net Daily Story: Australia panned in global human rights report

The cover of the report shows men carrying babies making their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings after an airstrike in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo in September 2016. © 2016 Ameer Alhalbi/Agence France Presse/Getty Images

Peter Mitchell
Australia’s reputation has been damaged by serious human rights issues including its ‘draconian’ asylum seeker policy, overly broad counterterrorism laws, failure to protect children in detention and limits to the rights of people with disabilities, according to a new global report released by Human Rights Watch.

Read Echo Net Daily Story

Greens applaud win against fracking giant Santos and warn against fracking spree

The Australian Greens applaud the work of community group Western Downs Alliance in stopping Santos dumping coal seam gas wastewater in Surat Basin rivers and streams and have warned against the federal and state government's plan to expand fracking.

"Western Downs Alliance took on the Goliath of Santos and the Australian Government, and won," said Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for mining and resources Larissa Waters.

"Our rivers and the Great Artesian Basin shouldn't be used as Santos' toilet, just flushing away polluted water and ignoring the consequences.

One Nation are conspiracy-peddling knuckle-draggers

"One Nation have nothing to say about fixing the desperately high youth unemployment rate in the Far North, nor the need for protecting the Reef for the sake of the local economy," said Senator for Queensland and Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens Larissa Waters.

"One Nation are conspiracy-peddling knuckle-draggers who offer no solutions, and then vote with the Liberals to favour the big end of town and shaft ordinary Queenslanders.

"The suggestion by One Nation's Mulgrave candidate that Port Arthur was staged is an insult to all Australians who still are horrified by the worst gun massacre in our history.

"Regional Queensland is doing it tough and what Queenslanders need are long term sustainable solutions, not bizarre and racist conspiracy theories.

The revelations about the outrageous conspiracy theories held by the One Nation candidate for the Queensland state seat of Mulgrave are shocking but not surprising say the Australian Greens.

Thu, 12 Jan 2017