Australian news, and some related international items

Sydney: huge climate rally shows support for Pacific islanders

climate-changeHuge crowds march in Sydney climate rally, Herald Sun, November 29, 2015
  Thousands of protesters have marched through Sydney CBD to the Opera House to rally for action on climate change ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris.

The giant costumed figures of Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott greeted scientists, activists, families, elderly and youth that gathered at the Domain on Sunday to urge leaders to shift more rapidly to renewable energy and cut carbon emissions worldwide.

People have waved placards to the sound of drums while others have broken into dance and worn costumes of marine life that would be affected by increasing global temperatures.

“Minds change or climate change” read one placard, while another said “there is no Planet B”.

Climate Council’s Professor Tim Flannery addressed the crowd before they marched, saying a successful outcome at the UN summit was vital. “Do your utmost to see success at Paris, we won’t accept anything less,” he said to the cheers of the crowd, which he described as “the biggest climate march” in Australia’s history.

The rally observed a minute’s silence to acknowledge those most affected by climate change, especially Australia’s neighbours in the Pacific.

Earlier, deputy federal Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said the government had to take action now before the cost of reducing emissions increased.”The sooner we start making cuts to our carbon pollution, the cheaper it’ll be to get there,” she told reporters in Sydney just before the rally.

 “Climate change is not a distant future threat for our Pacific neighbours, it is happening right now.”……

Sydney march organiser Reece Proudfoot said those taking part in the Australian marches walked in solidarity with millions of people across the world as part of a global campaign. Mr Proudfoot welcomed Labor’s pledge on Friday to cut carbon emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, which is well above the coalition pledge of between 26 and 28 per cent.

More than 40,000 people marched in Melbourne’s central business district on Friday to kick off the weekend of climate marches, with dozens of events also taking place in regional towns across the country.

November 30, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Yet another delay in radioactive cleanup of Sydney’s Hunter’s Hill

text ionisingResidents appalled as radioactive clean-up of Sydney street delayed another four years   State Politics Editor, The Sun-Herald

The clean-up of radioactive waste from a residential street in Hunters Hill has been delayed for another four years, as the cost has almost doubled.

The Baird government was ordered by the Environment Protection Authority last November to submit a plan to remove toxic waste from six properties on Nelson Parade after a decade of delay and political paralysis.

The clean-up was to begin within 90 days of the plan being approved.

But Government Property NSW’s annual report has revealed the remediation work won’t be undertaken until 2016-17, and won’t be complete until 2018-19.

Remediation costs have blown out from $12.4 million to $22.5 million “mainly as a result of changes in the final waste disposal location”.

Philippa Clarke, of the Nelson Parade Action Group, said a delay until 2018 was “appalling”. Continue reading

November 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Bathurst – oldest inland city – No to ‘newest nuclear waste dump’ !

Protest-No!Bathurst business group concerned about nuclear dump proposal By Gavin Coote A Bathurst business group says it is unconvinced of the economic benefits being touted for a shortlisted nuclear waste site in the district.

Dozens of people packed a hall in Hill End yesterday to hear about the Federal Government’s proposal to store the material at nearby Sallys Flat.

The Bathurst Business Chamber says the $10 million sweetener on offer to the selected community would not offset the potential economic losses.

The president Stacey Whittaker said there could be ramifications for the local tourism and agriculture sectors if the proposal went ahead. “I don’t think it’s bringing anything positive to the region,” Ms Whittaker said. “We’ve got a lot of small businesses by way of farming out in the that area which I think are certainly more important and have put more back into the community and the area than a nuclear waste dump will ever do.”

Sallys Flat is one of six sites shortlisted for the facility, and government officials have told the forum it would not pose a safety threat.

Ms Whittaker said the stigma surrounding nuclear waste could draw unnecessary negativity to the area. “Certainly from the local business side of things in town itself of Bathurst, people are a bit concerned.

“You know Bathurst, oldest inland city in Australia and first nuclear waste dump. “That’s not a real good title, is it?”

November 30, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Calare MP John Cobb blames local media for ‘sensationalism’ about nuclear waste dumping

radioactive trashMember for Calare John Cobb’s words to offer hope for Sallys Flat, Western Advocate, 22 Nov 15   Calare MP John Cobb has guaranteed no nuclear waste dump would be built in Sallys Flat if local residents remain “generally opposed” to it.

More than 100 residents turned out at a  community meeting last Tuesday to voice their anger about Sallys Flat being shortlisted as one of six sites to potentially host the new permanent waste dump.

Mr Cobb also came under fire at that meeting for saying he was not concerned about the prospect of a nuclear waste dump being established at Sallys Flat and claiming the waste that would be dumped in the region was so benign “you could sleep on it”.

But in a written statement issued on Friday, Mr Cobb blamed the local media for “sensationalising” the issue and failing to tell the people of Sallys Flat there would be no nuclear waste dump in their backyard without their support…….

November 22, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate change brings worse heat waves to New South Wales

Think this is hot? Warming climate points to heatwaves worsening in NSW, SMH, November 20, 2015  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald NSW will experience more frequent and longer heatwaves in the future as the climate warms with the worsening extremes dependent on whether carbon emissions continue to climb, according to research from the government and the University of NSW.

The heatwave projections, released on Friday during what was expected to be Sydney’s hottest three-day spell in November in almost eight decades, cover the period to 2030 and then out to 2070.


The shift towards hotter weather is already evident, with south-eastern NSW experiencing about 18 more heatwave days a year compared with the start of the 20th century, the Office of Environment and Heritage says.

For most other parts of the state, the increase was about four-11 days.

The research, based on 12 climate models as part of the NSW and ACT Climate Modelling Project (NARCliM), estimates that most of the state will experience 1-1½ more heatwave events a year by 2030.

The number of heatwave days – defined to be excessive heat compared with historical records and the preceding 30 days – will increase by as much as 10 days a year by 2030 in the state’s north, with smaller increases near the coast. (See chart below showing the rising percentage of heatwave days each year.)

This provides a clear indication that, out to 2030, we can expect the heatwaves to happen more often, and for them to be longer,” Matthew Riley, director of OEH’s Climate and Atmospheric Science, said.

“[The models show] even more heatwaves out to 2070, that last longer still, and are becoming hotter,” Mr Riley said……

November 22, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

National Party MP John Cobb happy to host radioactive trash – Merino farmers ARE NOT!

exultantOn Friday, Member for Calare John Cobb said he was very relaxed about the Radiation-Warning1proposal to consider Sallys Flat for the dump.

He said he felt the waste was so non-threatening that a person could put it in a bag and sleep on it without feeling any ill-effects.

Merino farmers at Sallys Flat fear nuclear dump next door, Western Advocate, 17 Nov 15  PRIME wool producers around Sallys Flat fear the potential establishment of a nuclear waste dump on a neighbouring property could put their livelihoods at risk.

Geoff and Robyn Rayner produce some of the best superfine fleece in the world at their Pomanara Merino Stud, close to a neighbouring property which has been shortlisted for a permanent radioactive waste dump.

The Rayners’ home is the closest residence to the site ……The Sallys Flat site has been offered to the Federal Government for use by the landowner.

The Rayners have just signed up to become a sustainable operation and said they had to meet stringent criteria. Now, with the prospect of nuclear waste on their doorstep, all that has been put at risk.  “The stigma sticks,” Mr Rayner said. Three generations of the family have made their living from the land. Now they wonder if they will have a future. Continue reading

November 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Moree solar farm operational by end of 2015

Odisha bets big on solar power, plans to set up 1,000-Mw parkEnergy generation expected at Moree Solar Farm by year’s end, ABC News, 17 Nov 15 
Work is nearly complete on the Moree Solar Farm with an expectation energy will be generated at the site by the end of the year. 
A spokesman for the company behind the project, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, said there’s just a few tasks left to do on site.

“The Moree Solar Farm is entering the final stages of construction,” Technical manager Tom Best said.

“We’ve finalised the installation of the PV modules and the tracking system and we’re currently undertaking commissioning of the PV plant with a view to start generating energy by the end of the year.”

The project is led by FRV and has been funded with assistance of a $102 million grant from Australian Renewable Energy Agency and $47 million in debt financing from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation…….

The solar farm is expected to supply 15,000 homes.

November 19, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment

Bega climate activist Philippa Rowland to speak at UN summit in Paris

logo Paris climate1Community projects lead to world stage: Bega climate change activist to speak at UN summit in Paris ABC South East NSW  Ian Campbell, 17 Nov 15  Philippa Rowland, one of the founding members of a regionally-based climate action group, is Paris-bound, keen to play a role in shaping a safer climate future for the world.

The United Nations Conference on Climate Changeruns from November 30 to December 11, and Ms Rowland will be there as a voice from rural Australia.

Motivated by her connection with Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE), based in the Bega Valley of New South Wales, Ms Rowland said she would bear witness at a pivotal time in the world’s response to a warming atmosphere.

“If we turn the corner now we still have time,” she said.

Since 2006 CEFE has championed a range of renewable energy projects that have resulted in solar panels being installed on community buildings, and culminating in the Tathra Solar Farm coming online earlier this year……..

November 18, 2015 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Bathurst residents rally to protect Sallys Flat from nuclear waste

protestResidents rally to protect Sallys Flat from nuclear waste Residents in a Bathurst district village are rallying to fight Federal Government plans to store nuclear waste on a local property. Dozens of people have attended a public meeting at Hill End yesterday to discuss the proposal to house the material at nearby Sallys Flat.

Local resident Ross Brown says more than two-thirds of the community attended and all were opposed to the waste being dumped in the area. He said they were getting advice from environmental groups and federal MPs on how to stop Sallys Flat being selected by the government.

“It’s not a place where we want it to be, at Hill End or Sallys Flat,” Mr Brown said.”We want to know how best to object to it being at Sallys Flat or Hill End.

“Most people see that if the facility is here it will devalue their land. “They’re not really happy with the process of how it was selected.”

A committee is being set up as part of the community’s efforts to stop Sallys Flat being chosen.Mr Brown said locals would do everything they could to protect the area. “They’ve all offered methods in counteracting this proposal and show that the local community are (sic) entirely against it.”

November 18, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Nuclear Medicine – the Fig Leaf on the Nuclear industry

Lucas-wastes Medical radioactive wastes — the nuclear industry fig leaf, Independent Australia, 17 Nov 15  With modern developments in the non-nuclear production of medical isotopes, perhaps it’s also time to shut down the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and stop producing dangerous radioactive trash, writes Noel Wauchope.

Watching the Australian media last week, you would be sure that the government’s hunt for a nuclear waste disposal site was solely to do with medical wastes. Rarely do they mention the real impetus for this hasty search, which is Australia’s current obligation to take back processed nuclear wastes from France. Later, we will have to receive similar wastes returning from UK. …..


the vast majority of medical radioisotopes have very short half-lives, so there’s no need for them to be moved beyond the site of use…. The real problem is the returning intermediate level wastes from Australia’s used nuclear fuel rods reprocessed overseas….

it must be acknowledged that the medical radioisotopes produced at Lucas Heights do have their valuable uses in diagnostics and in the treatment of cancers.

However, it also must be recognised that all these radioisotopes can be produced without use of a nuclear reactor. This is happening increasingly and, rather like the distributed renewable energy boom, the world could be on the brink of a distributed medical radioisotope boom.  Continue reading

November 16, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, health, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Central West New South Wales wants consultation on nuclear waste dump plans

radioactive trashCalls for central west to consulted over nuclear waste plans A Bathurst environment group says a number of central west communities could be put at risk from plans to store nuclear waste in a local village.

The Federal Government has shortlisted six sites including Sallys Flat near Hill End, to house the material that is used in medical procedures and is currently stored at Lucas Heights in Sydney and in hospitals.

The Bathurst Climate Action Network says the impact of the local community and capacity of the road network need to be carefully considered before any decision is made.The president Tracey Carpenter said there were several questions that needed to be answered.

“Apart from the residents, Hill End being a national park, and the thriving community and a tourism attraction and the stigma that would come from being a nuclear waste dump, it needs to transported along our roads, through our centres,” Ms Carpenter said.

“That’s putting all our communities at risk.”

Bev Smiles from the Mudgee District Environment Group said it was not just people around Sallys Flat and the Bathurst district who would be concerned.

“Road accidents with nuclear waste are a highly relevant concern for people and the idea of having nuclear waste buried in your backyard, is something that I think people in a large area of the central west would not be comfortable with,” Ms Smiles said.

Ms Carpenter said it remained to be seen whether the local state MP Paul Toole supported his federal counterparts.“Politically it’s a really interesting issue because the local member Paul Toole opposed wind farms in our region on the grounds that it was divisive to the community,” she said.

“This would certainly be the ultimate division for a community.”

The ABC has contacted Mr Toole for a response.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Radioactive trash dump would damage tourism – Sally’s Flat residents say “NO”

radioactive trashSallys Flat should be removed from nuclear waste shortlist, residents say, ABC News 13 Nov 15  By Joanna Woodburn, Residents have slammed a proposal to store nuclear waste at Sallys Flat, near the historic gold mining village of Hill End in New South Wales’ central west.

The Federal Government has shortlisted six sites to potentially house a nuclear waste storage facility, including Sallys Flat, in the Bathurst district. Near the village of Hill End, the area boomed during the 1850s gold rush and remains a major tourist attraction, according to the local progress association.

The association’s Ross Brown said the historical significance and population of the area made it a poor choice for a nuclear facility…….

 On its website, the Hill End and Tambaroora Progress Association described Hill End as a “well-preserved gold-mining ghost town”, which draws thousands of tourists each year……….

Bathurst Climate Action Network head Tracy Carpenter said Bathurst, which is an hour away from Sallys Flat, had been a sister city with Okuma in Japan, one of the towns affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster. “People cannot occupy [Okuma] since the tsunami and earthquake and the result [of] the nuclear disaster, and now we’re being slated as an area to dump nuclear waste,” she said. “It’s just appalling.”…….

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said he would be surprised if the site was chosen……….”I think people in New South Wales will take an enormous amount of convincing for such a repository to be placed in our state, somewhere around Bathurst.

“We’re not talking about the outback, we’re talking about a pretty well populated area.”…….

November 13, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Residents near Sally’s Flat, NSW, appalled at their area as potential radioactive trash site

radioactive trashLocals frightened by ‘appalling’ prospect of living near nuclear waste dump Michael Edwards reported this story on  Friday, November 13, 2015 
 MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Government has shortlisted six sites for a proposed nuclear waste dump.
Earlier this year landholders were invited to nominate land for the facility that will house almost all of Australia’s nuclear waste material. Sally’s Flat, north of Bathurst in central west New South Wales, is one of the areas that has been short-listed. Locals say they’re appalled at the prospect of living near a nuclear dump.

Michael Edwards reports.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Twenty-eight landowners nominated their properties as a potential site for a nuclear waste dump. The Federal Government has whittled that list down to six potential areas – three in South Australia, one in the Northern Territory, one in Queensland and one in New South Wales.
Sally’s Flat, in the western New South Wales, is one of the places. It’s an area renowned for producing world-class wool.

LINO ALVAREZ: It’s a very fine place. There’s no industries here as such. Everybody works on the land.

MICHAEL EDWARDS: Lino Alvarez lives in Hill End, the nearest town to Sally’s Flat which is about ten kilometres away.  The suggestion the area could be home to a nuclear waste dump scares him.

LINO ALVAREZ: It’s a disgusting proposition that in a lovely part of the world in which people come and enjoy from cities like Sydney, it will be a danger to everything.  Continue reading

November 13, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, Opposition to nuclear | 1 Comment

Why interim storage at Lucas Heights is the least worst solution for returning nuclear wastes.

WASTES-1highly-recommendedDave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation, 9 Nov 15 Last week Natalie Wasley (BNI) and myself spent a few days talking to a range of stakeholders in Sydney and Sutherland Shire and this note seeks to provide some context for the ENGO response to this development.

The BBC Shanghai left the French port of Cherbourg in mid-October carrying twenty five tonnes of Australian origin intermediate level waste returning here after reprocessing in France.

There has been controversy about the shipment, including safety and capacity concerns raised by Greenpeace about the vessel and a statement from the Indonesia’s Maritime Security Board that it can not pass through Indonesian waters. There is sure to be more domestic and international media attention when it arrives in Port Kembla (Wollongong), expected to be in early December.

After arrival in Kembla it is planned that the waste – which is in solid form inside a special transport container – will be moved by road to the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s Lucas Heights reactor facility in southern Sydney.

Some local residents are/will be calling for this material to not be stored in Sydney – this is an understandable response, but it is not one supported by the wider national nuclear free movement and key civil society partners.

We advocate that extended interim storage at Lucas Heights is the current least worst option as:

  • ANSTO is already both the continuing producer of and home to the vast majority of Australia’s higher level radioactive waste
  • ANSTO has certain tenure, a secure perimeter and is monitored 24/7 by Australian federal police
  • Storing the waste at ANSTO means the waste will be actively managed as operations at the site are licensed for a further three decades – it also keeps waste management on the radar of the facility/people with the highest concentration of nuclear expertise and radiation response capacity in Australia
  • Since the government realised in 2012 that the planned national waste dump at Muckaty would not be in place prior to the return of this waste, ANSTO has constructed and commissioned a new purpose built on site storage shed dedicated to housing this waste
  • Extended interim storage at ANSTO helps reduce the political pressure to rush to find a ‘remote’ out of sight, out of mind dump site and increases the chances of advancing responsible management
  • Storage at ANSTO has been publicly identified as a credible and feasible option by ANSTO, the nuclear industry lobby group, the Australian Nuclear Association and the federal nuclear regulator, the Australian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA)

Importantly, this approach also provides the ability to have a circuit breaker in this long running issue in the form of an evidence based and open review of the best longer term management options.

Nothing about the nuclear industry, especially nuclear waste, is clean or uncomplicated and some in the wider community might be critical of this position.

However we believe that extended interim storage is the least worst approach and that coupled with a sustained ENGO call for a wider public review, is the path that is most likely to usefully advance the debate about future management options.

There is also an unusually high level of common acceptance that storage at Lucas Heights is the best option in the current circumstances – as well as ENGO’s this view is shared by the Sutherland Shire Council, local Greens and environmentalists, ANSTO and the Maritime Union.

Given this, pending a safety inspection upon the ship’s arrival, we do not forsee protest action aimed at disrupting the transfer of this waste from the Port to ANSTO – we want to see that happen with as low risk as possible. There are plans for a peaceful presence to witness the arrival and transfer and convey that while we (reluctantly) accept the need for this transport to occur we will not accept these shipments becoming routine and will actively resist moves to impose a national waste dump on remote communities or develop international waste dumps/storage in Australia.

Clearly this is an important message to convey in the context of the South Australian Nuclear Royal Commission and recent comments by PM Turnbull and other senior Coalition figures.

There is also both a real opportunity and need for a clear social and wider media profile at this time on the need for an open review of the best ways to manage this material and to end/reduce its production.


November 9, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Sunshine in your beer in Sydney

sunPingala community-owned solar project to hit the roof of Young Henrys brewery, SMH,  2 November  Environment Reporter

Imagine if there was sunshine in your beer.  With a plan to build a solar farm atop the Young Henrys brewery in the heart of Sydney’s inner west, there soon could be.

Community members can become shareholders in the project – a collaboration with community energy organisation Pingala – and therefore, part owners of a future local solar farm. “When the Pingala guys came and spoke to us about it, we hadn’t had an interest in solar. Being able to put enough aside for large-scale solar wasn’t something we could afford,” said brewery part-owner Oscar McMahon.

“This was the perfect thing for us. We will start buying the power from the Pingala solar system on our roof, repaying people’s local investment into that system … we start buying renewable energy from our community.”

Electricity from the system will be used to power brewing processes, avoiding around 127 tonnes greenhouse gas emissions a year…….

The project will be the first for Pingala, part of a plan to start building community-owned solar farms on businesses and organisations across Sydney. The first stages have been realised with approval for a $40,000 innovation grant from the City of Sydney. Pingala volunteer Tom Nockolds said the renewable energy movement can no longer be ignored. “This idea, [it’s] time has really come. We’re opening up a new way for people to invest in renewable energy.” He said the project is directed at everyday “mums and dads who are struggling to find an opportunity to invest in renewables”. “Particularly in Sydney, where a high proportion of people live in apartments, are renters, or don’t have roof [space],” he said.

The Pingala initiative will aim for a 6 per cent to 8 per cent return for investors. After they have been paid back, the panels are gifted to the business to continue using.  The first stages have been realised with approval for a $40,000 innovation grant from the City of Sydney.

Pingala volunteer Tom Nockolds said the renewable energy movement can no longer be ignored. “This idea, [it’s] time has really come. We’re opening up a new way for people to invest in renewable energy.”He said the project is directed at everyday “mums and dads who are struggling to find an opportunity to invest in renewables”. “Particularly in Sydney, where a high proportion of people live in apartments, are renters, or don’t have roof [space],” he said.

The Pingala initiative will aim for a 6 per cent to 8 per cent return for investors. After they have been paid back, the panels are gifted to the business to continue using

The Young Henrys project has the nod from Lord Mayor Clover Moore, who said it shows how Sydney “can make the shift to renewable energy even faster”. While Pingala is still obtaining financial and legal advice for the project, Mr Nockolds said in the early new year solar panels will be appearing on the Young Henrys roof…..

November 2, 2015 Posted by | New South Wales, solar | Leave a comment


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