The dismantling of the Land Rights Act (NT) 1976 forum http://acmsydney.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/the-dismantling-of-the-land-rights-act-nt-1976-forum/ November 29, 2013
On Wednesday Graeme and I attended a forum held by ‘concerned Australians’. It was a wonderful opportunity to hear Utopia Elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks speak about her concerns with 99 year leases and other challenges communities are facing. It was also an opportunity to hear expert legal and political analysis of the Federal Government’s proposed 99 year leases. Below is a letter that Michele Harris has sent out today regarding the forum.
Also attached is a letter from Rev. Dr Djiniyini Gondarra sent to the Australian newspaper Djiniyini and The Australian- referred to by Michele below. As Michele says this letter is of great educational value and I would recommend it to you.
I would like to thank all those who attended the conversation on the “Dismantling of the Aboriginal land Rights Act (NT) 1976″ yesterday [Wednesday 27th]. To those who were unable to attend I wanted to let you know that we will attempt to use the material from the event to make a couple of you tubes which we will be able to send to you sometime soon.
It is clear from the legal advice that was provided, from both Alastair Nicholson and Frank Vincent, that there is a great deal for NT communities to be concerned about as our new Government offers considerable sums of money in return for 99-year leases. The intent of the land right act was spelt out by Gough Whitlam when he spoke to Vincent Lingiari in 1975. He said:
Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof, in Australian law, that these lands belong to the Gurindji people and I put into your hands part of the earth itself as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.
We were very fortunate to have with us Malcolm Fraser whose government was in power when the Land Rights legislation was passed into law. He stated, “If the government is wanting 99-year leases, it goes a long way to making sure Aboriginals can no longer control their own land.”
Rosalie Kunoth-Monks from Utopia shared her concerns of the increasing trauma within her community. She said. “Right now we are again traumatised because that’s the last stable thing we feel under our feet: our earth, our ground, our home of thousands of years.“
There is little doubt that government is eager to regain control over land as part of its economic drive for business and mining development.
Dr Djiniyini Gondarra from Galiwin’ku posed questions to Alastair Nicholson, former Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and answers to these and Rosalie’s questions will be circulated soon. Dr Djiniyini has been travelling around communities in Arnhem Land discussing the implications of the 99 -year leases. He has also been engaged in refuting claims made in The Australians regarding its misunderstanding of the meaning of a “Traditional Owner’ His letter, to which a clarification was made by the paper, is of great educational value and so I am attaching a copy for those who wish to read it.
Michele Harris ‘concerned Australians’
EU state aid probe likely over British plan for EDF nuclear plant 7 News, December 3, 2013, By Barbara Lewis and Foo Yun Chee BRUSSELS (Reuters) – EU regulators are likely to open a formal investigation into whether Britain’s offer of state guarantees, to help finance a nuclear plant to be built by France’s EDF , conform with the bloc’s rules, its competition commissioner said on Monday.
Britain in October signed a deal with EDF to build a nuclear plant at Hinkley Point in southwest England and became the first European country to offer a guaranteed power price over 35 years for a new nuclear project.
“Two to three weeks ago we received notification from the UK,” EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia told a Brussels conference organised by Eurelectric, which represents the EU electricity industry.
“We are starting to analyse what is in the British proposal. Probably we will open a formal investigation because many people are asking the same question as you do,” he said when asked whether the British proposal for 35 years of a guaranteed energy price was too long under the terms of EU rules on state aid………The Commission is revising its state aid guidelines and is expected to finalise the rules for 2014-2020 next year.
It has said they will not specifically include nuclear energy, dealing another blow to Britain’s hopes of early certainty. Instead, each project will be assessed on its own merits………http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/20120325/eu-state-aid-probe-likely-over-british-plan-for-edf-nuclear-plant/
German farmers reap benefits of harvesting renewable energy Ft.com By Jeevan Vasagar in Reussenköge m 2 Dec 13 Dirk Ketelsen is a farmer but these days most of his income comes from harvesting the wind. On Germany’s North Sea coast, where a fierce sea breeze blasts in across the polders, the generous financial support the government has poured into renewable energy has reared a crop of wind turbines as far as the eye can see.
Mr Ketelsen began using wind to generate electricity on his organic farm in 1990. The next year, Germany adopted legislation that set guaranteed tariffs for power generated from renewables as part of an effort to encourage less polluting forms of energy.
Such policies have unleashed a boom for wind, sun and other sources of renewable energy, which now account for 23 per cent of the electricity consumption of Europe’s biggest economy.
They have also proved highly lucrative for farmers like Mr Ketelsen. The tariffs set by the Renewable Energy Act, known as the EEG, not only give renewables priority access to the electricity grid – ahead of the electricity produced by traditional power plants – they ensure their owners a guaranteed return over 20 years.
“Before the EEG, we said we’ll do this for ecological reasons. Even if there’s just a little bit of profit. Then came the EEG, and it worked out very well financially,” Mr Ketelsen said.
Aussies Want Cheaper Power – But Hands Off Renewables http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4056 3 Dec 13 While not the largest cost-of-living expense, electricity bills are the bogeyman that concern Australians most.
A national survey on energy affordability carried out by CHOICE, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Energy Efficiency Council revealed 84 per cent of Australian households are concerned or very concerned about energy costs. The same percentage felt it was important or very important for their State Government to help rein in these costs.
However, instead of screaming for renewable energy support to be hit to cut the cost of power – a default choice it seems for many politicians – this was the least popular action in the survey. In fact, knee-capping renewables had a negative net approval rating in every state.
Nearly double the percentage of respondents strongly opposed such action compared to those who strongly supported it. This is a message Australia’s government would be well-advised to heed; particularly given it appears to have its sights set on the Renewable Energy Target next year.
Energy Efficiency Council’s chief executive officer, Rob Murray-Leach, said there was also a danger the national debate about the carbon bill meant other expenditures that have an even bigger impact on energy costs, like poles and wires, could be ignored or overlooked.
The most popular methods for reducing power costs emerging from the survey were:
- Government helping homes and businesses save energy
- The introduction of time of use pricing
- The use tax revenue to subsidise energy bills for low-income households
While many Australians spend far more on petrol than electricity, CHOICE says the fear stirred up by power bills could be due to several factors – electricity costs jumping far more rapidly than transport costs over the past two years, the “sticker shock” aspect of larger than expected bills and that electricity bills tend to be a significant outlay given they are received quarterly.
The summary results of the Survey of Community Views on Energy Affordability for Australia can be viewed here (PDF).
Trial complete: electric vehicles can work in Australia The Conversation, 3 Dec 13 Australia’s first electric vehicle trial has been completed. It ran from early 2010 to the end of 2012 with 11 electric Ford Focus and 23 fast-AC charging bays (Level-2). We found few technological barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in Australia, but government incentives for early adopters and government programs for the roll-out of fast-DC charging stations would help Australia fully embrace these cars……..
When are cars charged?
We were particularly interested in what time of day drivers charged their cars. This determines how much renewable energy can be used for charging (to make an EV really emission-free) and whether electricity utilities have to worry about an increase of peak demand in the future, when there might be millions of EVs.
The fleet EVs did most of their charging in the morning until mid-day, so most of the charging energy could be supplied by solar photovoltaics. This finding is significant, as company fleets are not only an early adopter of new car technology, but are also the largest customer segment for the new vehicles market in Australia………
Recommendations We found:
EVs can function as regular fleet pool cars for most applications. Read more »
- Internet Freedom under threat
- Higher prices for medicines
- Special rights for foreign investors to sue governments
- No protection for worker’s rights or the environment
- Threat to public services
More TPPA details are available at www.aftinet.org.au RSVP on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/236499866514043/?fref=ts
“We are calling on the State and Federal Governments to stop any further approvals or development of the Wiluna uranium mine until the full project can be assessed and made public.”
Forty uranium mines is the plan for Western Australia The Stringer, by Gerry Georgatos November 29th, 2013“ Credible sources in the uranium sections of resource companies first told The Stringer, in February, of futurist uranium mining plans that are being deliberated by mining companies for Western Australia –……. A couple of insiders estimate potentially 40 uranium mines will arise right throughout Western Australia in the decades to come.
Environmentalists reject that this is possible while Aboriginal Elders resident on Country say they will resist uranium mining at all costs.Local Aboriginal Elder Mr Glen Cooke has travelled from Wiluna to attend Toro Energy’s annual meeting today to highlight community concern over Toro’s plans for uranium mining in the region. Mr Cooke and another proxy shareholder, Kylie Fitzwater, have come to Perth to raise concerns about Toro’s long term plans and the company’s failure to communicate these to Wiluna residents.
“Toro have been talking about one project on the Lake and now we hear that they are planning lots of uranium mines from Meekatharra all the way to Lake Maitland.”
“They never talked to us about that,” said Mr Cooke.
“Me and my family we never wanted one uranium mine, we sure don’t want seven of them scattered through that country.”
“Does this mean they will put uranium on trucks from all over and bring it to Wiluna and if so what will they do with the radioactive mine waste, and where will they get the water?”
“It’s just too dangerous. This is people’s homes, not just in town but we live all over and love all of that country. That place is a very special place – for all men north to south, east to west. It’s is too important to muck it up, once it’s broken it is broken forever, we could never get that back.” Read more »
see below for actions in 24 USA cities
Join the International Call to End the WTO and Stop the New Wave of Free Trade Agreements on December 3rd, the first day of the World Trade Organization meetings in Bali, Indonesia. The WTO meeting will be followed by another round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) meetings by lead negotiators in Singapore. Negotiations for the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TAFTA) are also underway.
All of these trade agreements share the same fundamental principle that profits are more important than the health and needs of people and the planet. They are destroying local economies and public infrastructure in order to establish a global neo-liberal economic system that privatizes all goods and services. These agreements grant transnational corporations the power to change laws even down to the local level and challenge court decisions in their own tribunal that operates outside of sovereign judicial systems and cannot be challenged by domestic courts.
On December 3, we call on all allies for fair trade, peace and justice to gather in a public space at noon and declare global resistance to these toxic trade agreements. Read more »
Australia records its warmest spring after blazing September, http://www.thebull.com.au/premium/a/42492-australia-records-its-warmest-spring-after-blazing-september.html Blair Trewin Climatologist, National Climate Centre at Australian Bureau of Meteorology. 1 Dec 13,
The spring of 2013 has been Australia’s warmest on record. Mean temperatures for the season were 1.57C above the 1961-1990 average, surpassing the previous record of 1.43C (set in 2006) by 0.14C. Daytime maximum temperatures were also the highest on record, coming in 2.07C above average and 0.24C above the previous record (also set in 2006), while overnight minimum temperatures were the fourth-warmest on record.
The warmth was most dramatic in September, which saw a mean temperature anomaly of +2.75C, setting a new monthly record by more than a degree. October was also a very warm month, 1.43C above average. Temperatures during November were closer to normal, 0.52C above average, but were still warm enough to complete a record spring.
The warmth was extensive, with virtually the entire country experiencing above-average mean temperatures for the spring. It was the warmest spring on record over an area covering most of western Queensland (sufficient to give Queensland its warmest spring on record), and extending into the eastern interior of the Northern Territory.
Records were also set on the west coast around Perth, on the east coast around Sydney, and on parts of the Nullarbor. The spring ranked in the 10 warmest on record over 83% of the country. The record warm spring leaves Australia on track to have its warmest calendar year on record. Mean temperatures for Australia for the 11 months ending in November were 1.23C above average and 0.18C above the previous record year, 2005.AUTHOR
|Impact of the National Commission of Audit (NCA) and Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on Australia’s governance and economy. http://billboard.anu.edu.au/event_view.asp?id=105050|
|This Roundtable event will examine how the impacts of privatisation and deregulation as framed by the NCA’s terms of reference and the signing of the TPP will coalesce into a force for radical change in Australia, raising critical questions about our sovereignty and the health of our democracy.Light refreshments will be served from 5.30 pm.
This lecture is free and open to the public. Please rsvp by Monday 2 December 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Workers can only spend a few hours at the reactor site before they reach the maximum radioactive exposure limit, and work is thus progressing at a snail’s pace
Despite the incredible lengths required to build the structure, it’s still only a band-aid
This Massive Steel Structure Will Entomb Chernobyl’s Reactor 4 (GREAT PHOTOS) http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/11/this-massive-steel-arch-will-entomb-chernobyls-reactor-4/ KELSEY CAMPBELL-DOLLAGHAN 30 NOVEMBER 2013 When an unexpected power surge sparked the world’s worst nuclear accident in Chernobyl, nearly a quarter of a million construction workers risked their lives to build an ad hoc “sarcophagus” of concrete around the stricken reactor. It was a stop-gap measure — and now, almost 30 years later, one of the biggest engineering projects in history is underway to protect it.
The BBC reports on the $US2 billion project to protect the decaying metal sarcophagus, using an even larger metal shield called the New Safe Confinement, or NSC. In simple terms, the NSC is a massive steel archway that is designed to protect the surrounding region if the 27-year-old sarcophagus eventually collapses. Read more »
Fukushima high school permanently closes its doors December 1, 2013 Jiji Press http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0000835400 FUKUSHIMA —A private high school near Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will close its doors permanently at the end of March, it has been learned.
Shoei High School in the city of Minami-Soma will be the first primary, middle or high school in Fukushima Prefecture to be closed due to the nuclear crisis at the plant, according to the prefectural government. The Fukushima prefectural government has approved the plan to shut the school.
Located 22 kilometers north of the plant, it has gone unused since the nuclear accident in March 2011. Soon after the accident, its neighborhood was designated by the national government as an area that needed to be evacuated. About 110 students, including those who were to enter the school in April 2011, have since transferred to an affiliated school in the city of Fukushima or schools in locations where they took shelter.
“There has never been a successful uranium mine in Australia. Each one has had its accidents, its spills, its leaks and its failed rehabilitation.”
“Uranium is the asbestos of the 21st century”
Forty uranium mines is the plan for Western Australia The Stringer, by Gerry Georgatos November 29th, 2013“……….Ms Pepper said there is still time to halt the push for uranium to be mined. “It is a long way from a Federal approval to an operating mine and we will be there every step of the way contesting and opposing this uranium mine and any other proposed uranium mine in WA.” Read more »
Wind Critics Running Out Of Puff, Renewable Energy News, 2 Dec 13 The winds of change appear to be blowing, with myths surrounding wind turbines and those who perpetuate them increasingly losing credibility as time goes on.
Last Tuesday, Senator John Madigan received a copy of a petition with hundreds of signatures from members of the Waubra community who object to the anti-wind organisation Waubra Foundation using their town’s name.
Waubra is home to the Waubra Wind Farm, which became a focus of anti-wind activity in Australia; to the point one group named itself after the town. ”The truth of the situation is that the vast majority of the Waubra community are living happily with the wind farm,” said Waubra farmer, Doug Hobson. “We’ll continue to put the case to the foundation that the decent thing to do is to allow Waubra to have our name back.”
“We are passionate about our town and it hurts when this group drags our name through the mud,” said Waubra resident, Kerryn Gallagher. “We’re very grateful to Senator Madigan for agreeing to pass on our concerns.”
It’s understood that none of the directors of the Waubra Foundation actually live in the area……
Sun Tax’ Petition Hits 25,000 Signatures http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4054 2 Dec 13 20 advocates associated with Solar Citizens will be travelling to Canberra on Monday to present a petition signed by more than 25,000 Australians who are demanding politicians to not tax the sun.
The group will be meeting with dozens of federal politicians, dispelling the myths and highlighting the need for positive measures to help the growth of solar throughout Australia. Prime Minister Abbott signalled he had renewable energy in his crosshairsrecently and incorrectly stated that the RET was contributing significantly to electricity bills. That certainly isn’t the case, even with home solar.
“Solar is a small portion – less than 6%. So, why is solar being blamed?” said Adrian Brown, a spokesperson for Solar Citizens. ”The simple answer is that it appears that big energy companies are trying to dictate our energy future, attempting to salvage their profit margins and investment in the network – and penalising solar along the way.”
Mr. Brown stated the ‘sun tax’ concept may have just been a recommendation and is by no means set in stone, but slugging solar seems to be the default solution for politicians.
More than 1.1 million Australian households have invested $8 billion to take power over their bills says the group; saving families collectively many hundreds of millions of dollars on energy bills annually. ”Making the move to solar is a real way for families to take power over their bills and do their part for our environment,” Mr Brown says.
In addition to the substantial power bill savings, the solar revolution in Australia has created many thousands of jobs. Geoff Bragg, NSW Chairman of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), says the industry could continue to grow; however, stability must be ensured. The trip to Canberra is only another step in the anti-sun tax campaign, not the end. Later this month, the group intends presenting the petition to State Premiers and Energy Ministers.
Solar Citizens is a grassroots initiative bringing together existing and future solar owners to ensure their rights are protected and to help see solar panels on every rooftop in Australia.