Australian news, and some related international items

Huge Aboriginal death toll when Europeans invaded – should be recognised

Australian War Memorial should recognise revised Aboriginal death toll: researcher, Brisbane Times July 17, 2014  Brisbane Times and Sun-Herald journalist New research that has calculated an Aboriginal death toll of more than 65,000 in Queensland alone during the so-called frontier wars has renewed calls for formal recognition at the Australian War Memorial.

But the AWM in Canberra has dismissed the idea, saying recognition should instead be in the National Museum.

The research, presented to the Australian Historical Association’s Conflict in History conference last week at the University of Queensland, estimated 66,680 deaths between 1788 and 1930.

Of those deaths, 65,180 were indigenous, which is more than six times what was previously thought. The report’s co-author, historian Professor Raymond Evans, said the calculations were based on official records, witnesses’ reports and the number of patrols undertaken by the colonial Queensland government’s Native Police.

Professor Evans said the 65,180 figure was “conservative” and could be as high as 115,000.

“This is just Queensland – imagine what the nation-wide figure could be,” he said.

“If you say it’s a war, you at least allow the fact that Aboriginal people fought hard to defend their lands, so you can say they were warriors and they were fighting for their country. “They were fighting for Australia, for their land.”

Professor Evans said the estimated death toll was at least on a par with Australian casualties during World War I.

“The Australian War Memorial should recognise this as a war. It’s got such a high death rate, it was fought over a long period of time and it was fought between different communities, different nations, for territory,” he said.

“It’s a fight for land and territorial possession and it has many features of warfare and, of course, a huge death rate.”

July 21, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Queensland | Leave a comment

Ben ­Lomond uranium mine – unsafe in the past, unsafe now

safety-symbolMine safety ‘an impossibility’ JOSH ALSTON TOWNSVILLE BULLETIN JULY 15, 2014  TERRORIST cells like Al-Qaeda could target Townsville for uranium to power their nuclear weapons if the controversial Ben Lomond mine is reopened 40km from the city, according to deputy mayor Vern Veitch……

Cr Veitch, who will address an anti-uranium protest rally in Townsville later this month, said he believed that aside from the “extreme consequences” for Townsville if something went wrong at the mine, it could invite terrorists into our backyard.

“There is a risk nuclear products could fall into the wrong hands in the Middle East or Eastern Asia,” he said.

Cr Veitch said “there is always that possibility,” that the uranium mine could make Townsville a target for terrorists. Especially with the large military base (at Lavarack).”…….

With any uranium mining operations at Ben ­Lomond certain to include a highly radioactive tailings dam, he said it was an “impossibility” to ensure safety at the mine in a tropical region prone to cyclones.

“They definitely haven’t been able to contain spills in tropical Australia and I think it would be an impossibility at this location,” he said.

“The State Mining Warden of the time closed it down (in 1981) because they considered it unsafe … what makes it safe now?……

Citizens Against Mining Ben Lomond spokesman David Sewell fears radioactive materials could be transported via the city to the port and then on to the Great Barrier Reef.

The protest march will start at 9.30am on July 27 on the grassed area behind the Picnic Bay Surf Life Saving Club.

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, safety, uranium | Leave a comment

The real cost to Queensland of uranium mining may be very high

Queensland lifts its uranium ban, but is the price worth the cost? The Conversation Maxine Newlands Lecturer in Journalism, Researcher in Environmental Politics at James Cook University Liz Tynan Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator Research Student Academic Support at James Cook University 1 July 14, 

As of today, Queensland has lifted a 32-year ban on uranium mining. That decision was taken within months of the 2012 state election, despite Premier Campbell Newman’s pre-election promise not to restart mining the radioactive mineral.


Miners are being invited to apply to restart the industry under the Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan, which will mean Canadian company Mega Uranium can reopen the Ben Lomond and other mines in north Queensland.

Queensland’s resumption of uranium mining comes only days after Australia’s newest uranium mine, Four Mile in South Australia, officially opened on 25 June.

fearYet the price of uranium has fallen from a high in 2007 of US$70 a pound to $US28, due to factors including oversupplyand what the Wall Street Journal has described as a “post-Fukushima funk”.

Given the prices are so low that The Australian has reportedthat Four Mile is already losing money, while the Beverley mine has been mothballed since January, why are Australian states looking to open more mines?………….

Battles ahead over Queensland exports

The highest concentration of Queensland’s uranium mines sit in the northern tropics, an area prone to Category 5 cyclones.

A 2013 Swiss study found uranium was far more mobile than originally thought. Uranium once extracted, becomes soluble in water, increasing the chances of contamination or radioactive dust carried in high winds and heavy rainfall.

If Ben Lomond is reopened, the quickest way to export its uranium would be through the city of Townsville, home to 190,000 people, which is only 50km from the mine.

The Port of Townsville has said it has the capability to “facilitate the transportation and export of yellowcake”. The Queensland’s government’s uranium action plan recommends that:

Queensland’s efforts should be [put] on facilitating the use of existing ports and shipping lanes by industry for the export of uranium.

However, the Port of Townsville sits within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and close to sensitive environments including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, dugong protected areas, seagrass beds, fringing coral reefs and mangrove forests.

Last year, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt told the ABC that:

I think shipping of any toxic cargo would be of concern. But really we would have to see a proposal and we would have to consider that.

So this is set to be a contentious issue: while economic development of the north has bipartisan support at a federal, state and local government level, a number of locals and environmental groups have said they will challenge any plans to reopen uranium mines and exports from Queensland.

The big question for Queensland residents to consider now is whether the return of uranium mining to the state will be worth the wait for the uranium price to recover, given the risks attached to transporting the mineral through populated and environmentally-sensitive areas.

July 2, 2014 Posted by | environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Solar energy a winner for homes in Caloundra and Iswich, Queensland

solar-rooftopCaloundra and Ipswich tops for solar: Energex   BRISBANETIMES.COM.AU  SENIOR REPORTER, 13 June 14  The retirees, holiday makers and young families of Caloundra and the working class city of Ipswich have Southeast Queensland’s highest proportion of solar systems according to a breakdown of Energex data.

The breakdown from Energex figures shows some remarkable variations from conventional thinking.

There are fewer solar systems in West End (295), Highgate Hill (210) and South Brisbane (70), than in Inala (982) or Durack (645).

There are more in Carindale (1523)  and Rochedale South (1465) than in Premier Campbell Newman’s home suburb of Ashgrove (691).

Queensland Treasurer Tim Nicholls sparked a massive outcry last week when he described some solar energy users as part of the “champagne sippers and the latte set.”

Jeremy Rich, from one of Australia’s longest-running solar energy companies, Energy Matters, said Mr Nicholls’ comments were simply wrong. “It is obvious those statements are emotional statements, without looking at the data,” Mr Rich said. “Because when you look at the data it shows that it is totally the opposite,” he said. “It is the low to middle income areas of Australia that are hurting the most.”

Their company data is similar to the Energex breakdown, showing a major interest in solar energy in Ipswich, Capalaba, Browns Plains and Cleveland in four of the top five spots.

Central Ipswich – home to Swanbank power station – has 50 per cent solar energy penetration, Mr Rich said.

Ipswich homes under the postcode of 4305 – including the suburbs from Raceview through to Brassall – have 5197 solar installations.

Caloundra’s postcode of 4551 – including Caloundra, Caloundra West, Currimundi and Dickey Beach –  has 6311 solar installations up to May 2014………

A quick top 10 of Energex’s solar hot spots and their postcodes are:

1: Caloundra 4551: 6311 solar installations

2: Ipswich central east 4305: 5197 solar installations from Raceview to Brassall

3: Advancetown/Gold Coast hinterland  4211: solar 4941 installations

4:  Buderim 4556: 4379 solar installations

5: Beenleigh 4207: 4363  solar installations

6: Bray Park 4500: 3931 solar installations

7: Ipswich south-west 4300: Goodna/Camira to Springfield: 3930 solar installations

8: Amberley, Barellan Point and Blacksoil 4306: 3910 solar installations

9:  Mt Cotton and Redland Bay 4165: 3810 solar installations

10:  Gympie and its surrounds 4570: 3678 solar installations.

June 14, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Queensland govt to intervene on the side of wind power opponents?

astroturf-windWind farm opponents welcome intervention ABC Rural    By Charlie McKillop, 12 June 14, Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney will determine the fate of a controversial wind farm proposed on the far north’s Atherton Tableland.

Mr Seeney has informed the Mareeba Council he’s decided to ‘call in’ the development application to establish 75 wind turbines at Mt Emerald, about 100 kilometres west of Cairns.

The move has been welcomed by both the mayor of Mareeba, Tom Gilmore, and opponents of the wind farm, who agree the size and complexity of the assessment is beyond the technical and financial resources of the council.

But Steve Lavis, from the Tablelands Wind Turbine Action Group, admits he has reservations about the decision being taken out of the local community…….

June 13, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, wind | Leave a comment

Queensland Competition Authority finds Renewable Energy Target not causing electricity price rises

CEC: Renewable Energy Target not power price villain: Queensland Competition Authority Tue, 10 June 2014

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) confirmed on Friday what the clean energy industry has been saying for years – that the Renewable Energy Target is not a major factor in rising power prices.

Clean Energy Council media release 2 June 2014

Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said the latest price determination from the QCA showed that in 2014-2015 the cost of the Renewable Energy Target to Queensland households will fall, while all other parts of the average electricity bill will rise.

“In particular, power bills are set to jump due to the increasing cost of gas and the costs of the poles and wires in the electricity network,” Mr Marsh said.

“The Renewable Energy Target makes up less than 3 per cent of the average power bill, supports thousands of jobs and is an insurance policy against the future cost of gas power, which some analysts predict may be the defining energy challenge of this decade.” The Renewable Energy Target is designed to ensure at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable energy such as wind, hydro, solar and bioenergy like sugar cane waste by 2020 – at the lowest cost. The policy is currently under review, leading to uncertainty which has frozen investment in the sector until it has been completed.

Mr Marsh said the cost to consumers was a major part of the current review process, and four studies this year had shown that power prices would actually increase slightly if the Renewable Energy Target was removed.

“Removing the Renewable Energy Target would mean that we need to source more power from increasingly expensive gas, driving up costs for energy users such as mums and dads and manufacturers. We have already seen the start of this in Queensland with the latest price determination from the QCA.

“The Australian Industry Group, which represents some 60,000 businesses including many manufacturers, has also recognised that there would be no benefit to consumers if the Renewable Energy Target was reduced.”

June 11, 2014 Posted by | energy, Queensland | Leave a comment

Rio Tinto finds that solar is the best way to power Queensland off-grid mine

Parkinson-Report-Rio Tinto to deploy 6.7MW solar PV + storage at off-grid mine
REneweconomy By Giles Parkinson on 22 May 2014 A ground-breaking, $23.4 million project to cut out daytime diesel consumption at Rio Tinto bauxite mine at Weipa could unlock billions of dollars of similar investments in the mining industry – which is weighed down by soaring energy costs.

Mining giant Rio Tinto is to host a $23.4 million solar PV plus storage facility at its Weipa bauxite mine, that is the first of its type and scale in the world and could unleash billions of dollars of similar investment. Rio Tinto Alcan – with the help of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency – is to install a 1.7MW solar PV array at its Weipa bauxite mine later this year, and then add a further 5MW of solar PV and battery storage.

The Weipa mine  is located on the Cape York Peninsula at the very northern tip of eastern Australia, and relies on expensive diesel that has to be shipped in.

The first phase of the solar project – to be built with First Solar thin-film modules and constructed by Australian solar firm Ingenero – is expected to reduce daytime diesel demand from the mine’s 26MW diesel generator by up to 20 per cent.

However, the addition of more solar and storage to balance out intermittency could reduce daytime diesel consumption altogether at certain times.

The Weipa project was the first of around 70 submissions  – worth several billion dollars of investment – from mining operators in Australia for funding for such ground breaking projects under ARENA’s $400 million remote energy program.

The ending of the commodities boom has made miners more focused on energy costs. Continue reading

May 23, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Weipa solar project brings cheap energy to remote Queensland community

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Cheaper electricity from Weipa solar project final act of axed renewable energy agency Many remote communities around Australia are totally reliant on costly diesel fuel to provide the electricity that most take for granted. But the far north Queensland mining town of Weipa is adding solar energy to the mix in what’s being called an Australian first. It could be the final act for an agency that’s facing the axe after last week’s savage federal budget.

May 22, 2014 Posted by | Audiovisual, Queensland, solar | Leave a comment

Climate research censored by Queensland University?

civil-liberty-2smQueensland University tries to block climate research GRAHAM LLOYD THE AUSTRALIAN MAY 17, 2014  THE University of Queensland has threatened legal action to stop the release of data used in a paper that establishes a 97 per cent scientific consensus on ­anthropogenic climate change

The paper, lead authored by John Cook, has been the subject of debate over its methodology since it was published last year…..(subscribers only)

May 17, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Queensland | Leave a comment

Lady Elliot Island to add wind and solar to its existing hybrid energy

map-Lady-Elliot-IslandMore renewable energy in the wind for Lady Elliot Island By Frances Adcock  Operators on Lady Elliot Island, north-east of Bundaberg, will consider installing wind generators to further improve the island’s energy efficiency.

One-hundred new solar panels will be installed at the island’s hybrid solar power station, which has provided more than half of the island’s power since 2008.

The island’s resort manager, Peter Gash, wants the island to become even more reliant on renewable energy.

“By Christmas we’d hope to do it by, we’d like to install a 10 kilowatt wind generator which will continue to feed power into the battery and into the grid, night and day, and if we can get the success we are hoping for with our 10 to 12 kilowatt wind generator and our 73 kilowatt of solar we will be hopeful we will be somewhere up around 90 per cent renewable,” he said.

He says after the installation of the new panels, more than 70 per cent of the island will be reliant on renewable energy. “We have a barge coming out on Wednesday and there is 125 panels on that and they are 260 watts per panel and they will go up on two separate roofs, and that’s a 16 and 17 kilowatt system,” he said.

“So another 33 kilowatts, so another 125 panels, so that puts us up at 73 kilowatts of power which is a substantial amount of power.”

May 13, 2014 Posted by | Queensland, solar, wind | Leave a comment

Queensland uranium mining not to happen any time soon (perhaps never?)

radiation-sign-sadUranium mining to face delays North West Star By CHRIS BURNS May 5, 2014, 

QUEENSLAND Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche says he does not expect a rush of uranium mine development in the North West when Queensland regulations are approved later this year.

Mr Roche based his views on the length of time it took for uranium mines to be built after Western Australia approved legislation. The experience in Western Australia after they gave the go-ahead to uranium mining is that it took over four years for the first mine to get through all the approval stages,” Mr Roche said.

May 6, 2014 Posted by | business, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium industry not economic for Mt Isa, and fraught with environmental problems for Queensland

bull-uncertain-uraniumUranium debate heats up in Mount Isa  Queensland labour senator Jan McLucas says the state’s uranium deposits are too small to warrant developing the industry ABC Rural  By Virginia Tapp, 1 May 14

“These mines at Valhalla and Westmoreland are not huge deposits, they will not employ large numbers of people like Mount Isa, Cloncurry and Century have done.

“These are small mines and I don’t think they are the answer to the question of employment in the Mount Isa region.”…….Senator McLucas also claims there is not enough information about managing uranium mines in areas that experience intermittent periods of very high rain fall and flooding.

She says parts of the abandoned Mary Kathleen uranium mine, situation between Mount Isa and Cloncurry, are still radioactive.


“The residents of Mount Isa are still living with the results of that mine and the inadequate capping of the spoil and the contamination of the land that even graziers today won’t go near.”…….

[Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection joint statement] ……”We are still assessing the condition of the Mary Kathleen site and looking at whether it could be mined again in the future.

“Contamination issues at the site may not have been properly addressed in the past.”…..

May 2, 2014 Posted by | employment, environment, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Queensland government incapable of properly monitoring Mining industries

exclamation-Summary of Auditor-General’s report on mines  SMH, 4 April 14 What was revealed in the Auditor General’s report on the monitoring of Queensland’s resource and waste industries by the Departments of Environment and Heritage Protection and Natural Resources and Mines.


“Poor data and inadequate systems continue to hinder EHP’s planning and risk assessments. As a result, EHP cannot target its monitoring and enforcement efforts to where they are most needed.”

This situation is exacerbated by the lack of coordination and sharing of relevant information across agencies, particularly between EHP and NRM……..

April 5, 2014 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Queensland’s Premier Newman breaks promise to keep ban on uranium mining

Queensland-nuclear-freeNo apology for dumping Uranium mining ban on 2nd anniversary of election of the Newman Government   Mark Bailey Keep Queensland Nuclear Free 24 March 2014,33604?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=MSC_Feed#.UzNVFahdV9U With the second anniversary of the Newman government this week, it is timely to note there has been no apology from Premier Newman for dumping his promise to Queenslanders before the last election to keep the ban on uranium mining in Queensland.

Premier Newman was explicit when he said;

“We have no plans and that’s as clear as I can be. The parliamentary team are very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland.” ABC  16 Nov 2011

Yet, two years on there is less than 100 days left until dirty and dangerous uranium mines are made legal by the Newman government with approval power likely to be handed to them by the Abbott Federal Government.The safety record of uranium mining in Australia has been appalling with over 200 recorded safety incidents at Ranger mine, which is still shut down after a toxic spill last year of a million litres of radioactive slurry.

Not a single closed uranium mine in Australia has been successfully rehabilitated to this day with the last mine at Mary Kathleen a toxic mess to this day.

Queenslanders do not want the risk of radioactive contamination of their waterways, from truck accidents near their homes and schools and they certainly don’t want uranium being exported across the Great Barrier Reef.The Newman state government should suspend their dumping of the twenty-three year ban on uranium mining forthwith and conduct an independent enquiry into all implications of allowing uranium mining in our state so that communities, schools and existing industries can have their say in this far reaching decision.

March 26, 2014 Posted by | politics, Queensland, uranium | Leave a comment

Queensland govt moves to restrict objections to mining applications

civil-liberty-2smMove to limit ideological objections to Qld mining projects, ABC News, 28 Feb 14 By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer The Queensland Government is looking to restrict who can object to mining applications, in a bid to crack down on what it calls philosophical opposition to projects.

Currently any group or person can object to applications, potentially sending the decision to the Land Court.

Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said it was “frustrating” for the Government.

“It’s obvious that the current process allows individuals or groups who are fundamentally opposed to the coal industry – for whatever reason – to use the objection process to frustrate and delay those projects,” he said. “The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”

In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications….

“The people of Queensland have elected us as a Government based on developing our coal industry to supply the world markets and our processes need to allow us to do that.”

In the next few weeks, the State Government will release a discussion paper looking at who can object to applications……

February 28, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, Queensland | Leave a comment


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