Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales govt looking tor national nuclear waste dump for its Hunters Hill radioactive trash

WASTES-1A National Radioactive Waste Management Facility planned by the Federal Government? – ConspiracyOz

Environment agency orders Hunters Hill clean up Kirsty Needham May 17, 2015 The Baird government has been ordered by the Environment Protection Authority to clean up homes in Hunters Hill contaminated by a uranium smelter 100 years ago, after years of stalling. Plans to transfer contaminated waste from Nelson Parade in Hunters Hill to a Kemps Creek landfill have plagued successive state governments.   Western Sydney residents rejected becoming a “dumping ground” for the radioactive waste, while Hunters Hill residents complained the contaminated soil had to be removed from the residential street.

Former Treasurer Andrew Constance put the clean-up on hold last February.   But the Environment Protection Authority has issued a management order to Government Property NSW, which owns three of the contaminated houses, and has been tasked with carrying out the remediation of six properties in Nelson Parade. The EPA said the land was significantly contaminated with arsenic, lead and coal tar pitch which exceeded safety levels for residential land. Government Property NSW hadn’t met the remediation plans approved by the EPA in 2007 and 2013, the EPA said. It has been ordered to lodge a revised clean-up plan, confirm it has engaged a remediation contractor, and give monthly progress reports to the EPA.

A spokesperson for Government Property NSW said the agency had complied with the EPA management order and provided the details. “The details of the Project Plan will soon be published by the Department of Planning & Environment,” he said. “No restricted solid waste will be transferred from Hunters Hill to Kemps Creek while other alternatives are pursued. A national radioactive waste management facility planned by the federal government still remains the preferred option, the location of which is still to be determined.” A decision on where to send the waste has been delegated to the Planning Assessment Commission, which is expected to hold a public meeting.

May 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Alarmingly poor management- Santos’ uranium incident

May 15, 2015 by  The Greens coal seam gas spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today said that the conclusions from theNSW EPA’s completed investigations into Uranium contamination at Santos’ Narrabri CSG operations revealed alarmingly poor management and insufficient monitoring and he called on Santos to abandon the Narrabri project.

In their report, the EPA have said that they “have concerns with aspects of the site operations and management” and are issuing Santos with two legally binding Pollution Reduction Programs (PRPs) to improve groundwater monitoring.

“The myth that no cases of aquifer contaminations have occurred in NSW was busted by this incident where elevated levels of Uranium and other heavy metals were found in the groundwater near Santos’ holding ponds,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“No level of Uranium or other heavy metal contamination from coal seam gas is acceptable and the pathetic $1500 EPA at the time is hardly a deterrent to Santos or other companies.”

“It is alarming that the EPA have confirmed Santos does not have a sufficient monitoring program in place. Yet again we find that the management of a coal seam gas operation is not up to scratch and that pollution incidents cannot be properly assessed.”

“The Greens believe that coal seam gas is unnecessary, unwanted and unsafe and that Santos should pack up and leave NSW,” Mr Buckingham said. Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0427 713 101

May 16, 2015 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Australia IS obligated to take back wastes originating from Lucas Heights nuclear reactor

text-cat-questionWhy does the Australian government persist in the lie that the nuclear waste contracted to return from UK and France originated from medical/scientific research?  The medical radionuclides are but a tiny, tacked on part of the Lucas Heights reactor, and they are short-lived and not requiring export for reprocessing. The returning high level wastes originated from the reactor’s own process.

Federal budget 2015: Why Australia’s nuclear waste legacy will cost $27 million May 13, 2015  National political reporter The Abbott government will spend nearly $27 million over four years to return radioactive waste that has been treated in the United Kingdom to Lucas Heights.

We believe the waste coming back to Lucas Heights is the least worst way to manage itIn what the Australian Conservation Foundation has described as the “least worst option” the material will be stored in a temporary, purpose-built storage facility at Lucas Heights while Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane examines possible sites for a future Australian nuclear waste dump.

The funding is part of an agreement with the UK to return one of two batches of Australian waste, which the government said was largely generated from scientific research and nuclear medicine over a number of decades.

The second batch of nuclear material was sent to a facility in France for processing and its return has been funded in budgets since 2010.

Australian Conservation Foundation nuclear-free campaigner David Sweeney said of the federal money: “We believe the waste coming back to Lucas Heights is the least worst way to manage it.”

“That is – it’s still not a good thing,” he said.

“But because of the expertise, security and the presence of a purpose built facility at Lucas Heights it is the most appropriate option for the nation.”……….

May 15, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Sea level rise a serious consideration for Mid North Coast councils

Mid North Coast councils advised to take sea level rise seriously sea level flat earth One of the authors of a new study into sea level rise is advising Mid North Coast councils not to cave-in to landholder concerns about property values.

The study has found sea levels are rising faster than previously thought, and appear to be accelerating.Coastal councils, coastal planners, do need to take account of sea level rise in the 21st century  – Dr John Church, CSIRO

It found seas have risen faster since 1993, compared to previous decades, and its observations are in line with projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

CSIRO Fellow, John Church, was among the authors and said the findings have major implications for coastal planning. Continue reading

May 15, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Wind power subsidising New South Wales farmers

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Farmers use wind farm rent to pay on-farm costs ABC NSW Country Hour 24 Apr 15
Joshua Becker 
Farmers in south-east New South Wales are using wind farm rent to subsidise on-farm costs.  AUDIO: Farmer uses rent from wind farm to pay for on weed management (ABC Rural)


Howard Charles is one of 17 farmers who have wind turbines from the Boco Rock Wind Farm on their properties west of Nimmitabel in south-east NSW.

He said money from hosting wind farms on his property had helped him tackle noxious weeds on his property.

“With the two towers on our farm the extra income from the rent certainly helps with controlling the weeds, which is a never ending problem, serrated tussock in particular,” he said.

“I don’t see any downside, we are the closest house to the wind farm, some of the towers are less than a kilometre from here, even with prevailing winds we don’t hear it, I don’t see it. I do wonder what all the fuss is about sometimes.

“They’re certainly not interfering with our agriculture at all and I think we’re going to wake up down the track to the fact that renewable energy is pretty important.

“The most telling comment I’ve had about this [wind farm] is – ‘thank God we’re not the Hunter Valley’…….

April 25, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

New South Wales goes for big solar energy

sunBaird and Nyngan bask in big solar energy switch by  on April 17, 2015 The Federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) may still be in political limbo, but states are voting with their sustainable dollars after New South Wales’ Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy Anthony Roberts and Minister for the Environment Mark Speakman cut the ribbon on what has been hailed as the installation of the final solar panel at Australia’s largest solar project. Continue reading

April 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Aboriginal women speak out for a Treaty

text TreatyAboriginal women on why Australia needs a treaty Thursday, April 9, 2015 By Rachel Evans & Richard Fan More than 150 people filled the Redfern Community Centre on March 20 to discuss a treaty for Australia’s first people.

Organised by Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS), the event was hosted by veteran journalist Jeff McMullen and televised by National Indigenous TV. As coverage of female Aboriginal voices are rare among mainstream discourses, their retelling of their pasts and hopes for the future captivated the room.

Natalie Cromb, a Gamileraay woman, said that a treaty “would help the Australian government keep its word to the Aboriginal people”. She noted the ongoing debates between treaty and constitutional recognition and argued that the British colonisers fashioned three legal ways to justify their occupation: “First it was settlement, second through conquest, then third through succession — where sovereignty was ceded and agreement was reached between the parties.”

Cromb observed that Britain occupied the land, declared terra nullius and declared that Australia’s Indigenous people were an absent, fading race. “Terra nullius was deliberate and the average Australian does not know about this history of rapes, murders, and genocidal policies, and that it was also used to deny compensation,” she said.

Cromb said that a treaty “is vital to our solution. It would be a first meaningful step. A treaty is the insurance policy we need to hold the government to account. But we are still at the bottom of the social pyramid. We are having water switched off in communities. We know constitutional change won’t stop the removal of our people.”

Amala Groom, a Wiradjuri woman and founding member of Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) and STICS, noted that a treaty “would recognise the sovereignty of the First Nations over their land”, and secure the right of self-determination which was promised when Australia ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 40 years ago. Continue reading

April 15, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, New South Wales | Leave a comment

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird firmly on the side of the coal lobby

fossil-fuel-industryThom Mitchell: Backing Big Coal – Mike Baird Promises To Up The Ante For Acting On Your Conscience
Miners get rewarded for destroying our environment, while protestors cop massive fines. And it’s about to get worse. Welcome to Mike Baird’s new New South Wales……..

“So-called plans to phase out mining in NSW have no place in this parliament,” Baird announced, “and I’ll be very clear on this, no place”.

In fact, Baird said, he would halve the time it takes to get big mines approved………

New Matilda understands Baird’s Liberal government will seek to change Workplace Health and Safety laws and other relevant legislation in the new parliament to reverse the liability, but protestors are unlikely to be deterred by his promise of harsher penalties……

April 13, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Wind energy company gives up on Australia due to RET uncertainty

Renewable energy sector crisis forces Banco Santander to quit Taralga wind farm, SMH,  March 31, 2015  Angela Macdonald-Smith Banco Santander, a major investor in renewable energy, will sell its only Australian wind farm and exit the local sector because of policy uncertainty that has dragged the industry into crisis.

Santander will seek a buyer for its 90 per cent stake in the 106.8 megawatt Taralga wind farm near Goulburn, which is not being included in the renewable energy fund it set up late last year with two Canadian pension giants because of the perceived poor prospects for the sector in Australia, say sources………

Santander is closing the Sydney office for its equity investment arm, which focuses on renewable energy, in mid-2015.

April 2, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wind | Leave a comment

New South Wales govt funds Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

piggy-ban-renewablesNSW Govt tips $15,000 into Byron renewable energy trading , Courier Mail, JOHN CONROY MARCH 25, 2015 The Baird Government in NSW has announced $15,000 in funding to back Byron Bay’s renewable energy trading plan.

The Byron Bay council trial in collaboration with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Institute of Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney and the NSW Renewable Energy Advocate, will allow the allow the local sports centre to sell renewable energy generated by their solar panel array to the council’s sewage treatment plant.

“This trial will mean we have two facilities using renewable energy from one site, allowing the sewage plant to run off clean, sustainable power and achieving greater use of energy generated by the sports centre’s solar panels,” Environment Minister Rob Stokes said……


    March 28, 2015 Posted by | energy, New South Wales | Leave a comment

    Australian Senate votes to back councils’ solar initiatives in western New South Wales.

    sunSenate shines a light on bright solar initiative in western NSW The Senate has passed a motion calling on all levels of government to back a solar powered initiative in western New South Wales.

    The Greens put forward the motion in the Upper House yesterday about the solar energy exchange initiative which involves 24 council areas throughout the state’s west.

    The program is also known as SEXI. Each council is installing photo-voltaic panels as part of the initiative.

    Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon said the motion was a significant show of support in the project and its ambition to provide cleaner energy. “There is nothing binding on this motion on anybody,” the Senator said. “However it clearly carries weight when the national parliament of the country comes behind a project in one specific region.”

    Senator Rhiannon said the project set an example for other councils around the nation to follow.

    “To have the support of the Senate clearly adds weight to this important project for solar energy in western New South Wales,” she said.  The councils involved in the initiative include Balranald, Bourke, Mid-Western and Narrabri.

    March 20, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

    Companies not keen to take up New South Wales uranium exploration licenses

    Slow uptake of NSW uranium exploration licenses By Jacqueline Breen, 18 Mar 15,  Only one of the six companies invited by the State Government to apply for a uranium exploration license has done so. The ban on mining uranium in New South Wales remains in place, but the Coalition has lifted the ban on exploration.

    Last year the government invited six companies to apply for licenses to explore for deposits around Broken Hill, Cobar and Dubbo.

    Only EJ Resources has submitted an application, seeking three licenses to explore north of Broken Hill.

    The other companies–Australian Zirconia, Callabonna Resources, Hartz Rare Earths, Iluka Resources and Marmota Energy–did not apply before the government’s March deadline passed. When the government announced the shortlist last year Resources Minister Anthony Roberts said the state needed a “stock-take” of its uranium resources.

    “This will allow us to understand fully what the uranium reserves are in New South Wales,” he said.

    If EJ Resources’ license application is successful, the state government’s Division of Energy and Resources said only low impact monitoring that doesn’t disturb land can be carried out, unless further approval is sought.

    The division said a land access agreement with landholders must be in place before any exploration begins.

    March 18, 2015 Posted by | business, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

    New South Wales’s Labor plans to turn Hunter Valley into a renewable energy hub

    ballot-boxNSW election 2015: Turning Hunter into a renewable energy hub  By MATTHEW KELLY March 18, 2015  THE Labor Party would invest $14 million to help the Hunter become a renewable energy hub, if elected to government.

    Labor leader Luke Foley said expanding the renewable energy sector was a key component of the party’s plan to combat climate change. Other components of the plan include keeping the state’s electricity network in public hands and legislating for a 20 per cent renewable energy target by 2020.

    It would also invest $37.4 million to replace florescent and incandescent lighting with LED technology in hospitals.  It is estimated this would cut power bills by about $72.6 million over 15 years.

    ‘‘We will focus on obtaining a greater share of our energy needs from renewable sources, which will help address the threat to our environment,’’ Mr Foley said.

    ‘‘As a state, we must pursue greater energy efficiency and cleaner energy sources.’’


    March 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

    The Greens have a renewable energy vision for New South Wales

    ballot-boxSmgreensSmgreen-collarGreens’ Clean, Renewable Energy Vision For NSW February 24, 2015

    The New South Wales Greens have unveiled their vision of a secure and clean energy future for the state, one where households and small businesses would become active participants in the electricity industry.

    Coal and gas fired electricity generation in NSW generates 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, making the state one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the world.

    The Greens’ plan includes partnering with households to support the transition away from coal-fired electricity and gas to rooftop solar, energy efficient equipment and intelligent energy trading and management.

    The plan would see the creation of public sector energy agencies to provide financial support and technical advice, investment in a “smart grid” and keeping the network in public hands.

    “Transformation of the state’s energy industry is inevitable,” stated Greens NSW MP John Kaye, who said it was important this process begins as soon as possible. “Premier Mike Baird’s plans will to pass control of much of the electricity network to private hands would create political and financial barriers to the remaking of the network.”

    The Greens say their energy vision would slash household power bills and break the stranglehold of big private-sector energy corporations. They envision an electricity sector where households and businesses would trade roof top solar electricity and other renewable sources across a publicly-owned network.

    Pursuing a 100% renewable energy based New South Wales would also create a clean power jobs boom. While there are just 1,800 jobs in NSW’s coal-fired power stations and approximately 4,000 in mining the coal these facilities burn, more than 70,000 new jobs could be created in NSW in clean energy.

    The Greens state much of the $17 billion investment in electricity transmission and distribution since 2009 in New South Wales has been in the wrong kind of technology, locking the state into a centralised and expensive supply based on coal and gas.

    “A 100% renewable energy NSW is possible, affordable and essential. But it will not happen as long as the old parties remain committed to coal and gas and continue to frustrate and undermine wind and solar,” says the party.

    February 25, 2015 Posted by | energy, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

    New South Wales Greens propose using mining tax to fund renewables

    ballot-boxSmgreensSmNSW Greens would use mining tax to fund renewable energy

    6th Feb 2015 THE “DIRTY” mining industry still has its uses, according to Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

    The Greens’ latest policy involves taxing mining companies an extra $250 million a year and investing the money into renewable energy and recycling.

    The “Renew Regional NSW Fund” would supply $1 billion over four years for energy and water saving projects, waste management, small-scale renewable energy, and agriculture research.

    Mr Buckingham alongside local Greens candidates Adam Guise and Tamara Smith were called on to explain why the coal industry would be needed to bankroll the fund. “We don’t want to base our economy on fossil fuels but what we want to do is make sure that as we make a transition out of coal, that the state benefits,” Mr Buckingham explained.

    “The state is getting very, very little; the vast majority of profits go overseas, and we want to see those returned to the whole state, not just the mining regions.”

    The mining industry contributes about $1 billion a year to the NSW economy, more than 90% from coal.

    The Greens would raise this to about $1.25 billion by lifting royalties on the coal industry by 2%, and 1% on all other minerals.

    Mr Buckingham said it was about creating an “alternative economic model” so the state’s economy wouldn’t be shocked when coal inevitably ends, also adding the royalty plunder might hasten its decline.

    February 7, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment


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