11 Mar 15 The Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) are deeply concerned that the Royal Commission’s draft terms of reference are too narrow and do not protect the health of South Australians.
“The draft terms of reference do not address health impacts at all, for either industry workers or the general public,” said Dr Margaret Beavis, President of MAPW. “Nuclear reactors are associated with increased rates of childhood leukemia in surrounding areas, and there are already legacy health issues in South Australia resulting from previous nuclear activities and uranium mining,” she added.
“In addition, the large government subsidies reactors require may reduce funds available for public institutions like hospitals and health services in South Australia,” Dr Beavis added.
The MAPW and PHAA are calling for a comprehensive examination of the entire nuclear industry, including uranium mining and security risks.
“There are health threats associated with every step of the nuclear fuel cycle and ample scientific evidence regarding the hazards of low dose radiation exposure,” said PHAA spokesperson Dr Michael Fonda. “There needs to be a genuine and scientific assessment of the health impacts of the nuclear industry both from the past and for the future,” he added.
This Royal Commission provides an opportunity to explore energy solutions for South Australia. “Uranium is a non-renewable resource and Australia needs a 21st century Energy Policy that hastens the transition of our economy toward one powered by renewables, not one that ties us down in outmoded and potentially dangerous technologies,” Dr Beavis said.
Both organisations have offered to assist the Royal Commission in its inquiry.
The $12.9m project will use a combination of solar, wind, diesel, storage and enabling technologies, together with a “sophisticated” control system, to displace more than 60% of the island’s diesel generated energy, ARENA said.
The project is scheduled for completion in November 2016.
“The Flinders Island project will build on the success of a similar project Hydro Tasmania developed on King Island with ARENA support, which is delivering 100% renewable energy to the island when conditions allow,” ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said.
“One of the exciting aspects of the Flinders Island project is the development of a portable hybrid energy solution with the potential to further drive down costs and move a step closer to delivering a commercially competitive product.
“Hydro Tasmania will trial a series of modular units suitable to house and transport components for off-grid hybrid renewable energy projects.
“This low-cost, scalable approach has the potential to be a real game changer in remote areas – reducing the amount of construction and engineering work needed to be carried out on site would significantly reduce costs, risks and construction time.”
Mr Frischknecht said Hydro Tasmania’s hybrid project demonstrates how a flexible and integrated approach can provide improved penetration of renewable energy.
“Technologies like storage and dynamic resistors smooth out the power generated from solar and wind, while the automated control systems ensure generation and enabling equipment are coordinated and perform when required,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“Australia is a large country with many off-grid communities and industries facing similar energy supply challenges, whether they are on islands or in remote locations on the mainland.
“ARENA is committed to working with Hydro Tasmania to share the learning and expertise from the King Island and Flinders Island projects.
“This knowledge sharing will ensure we are best placed to advance competitive, reliable renewable energy options for off-grid Australia and help reduce its reliance on trucked and shipped in diesel.”
Explainer: Why the Tasmanian Government abandoned defamation law changes, ABC News 5 Feb 15 By Michael Atkin Tasmania was pushing to become the first state in the country to allow companies to sue people for defamation but recently dumped the proposal, breaking an election promise. Attorney-General Vanessa Goodwin admitted there was zero appetite from other states for the move.
It was the second blow to the Government’s plans to crackdown on forest protesters, a push much heralded in last year’s election campaign.
In the Government’s sights were groups like Markets For Change, Bob Brown Foundation and activists like Miranda Gibson who sat in a tree for a record 457 days……….
the move prompted widespread criticism from lawyers, environmentalists, civil libertarians. Even Australian businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court joined the campaign against the move.
Backlash beyond Tasmanian borders
Peter Bartlett, a partner at Minter Ellison Lawyer, defends some of the country’s top media organisations in court. He said breaking away from Australia’s uniform defamation laws was a retrograde step that could have turned Tasmania into the defamation capital of the country.
“We have a uniform defamation act, it took us nearly 30 years to get the states and territories and the Commonwealth to get a like mind … and they were able to agree to uniformity which meant that one of terms [was] corporations were not allowed to sue,” Mr Bartlett said.
“State and territory borders are largely irrelevant to the media so they would need to self censor because of the risk of a corporation suing them in Tasmania.”
Crikey’s business editor Paddy Manning was sued by the big end of town and he was concerned that if Tasmania proceeded it would happen more often. “It’s already quite difficult to write tough [and] investigative stories about big business in Australia,” he said.
“I think it’s undemocratic. It’s an attack on free speech and it’s not the way we do things in this country.
“Misinformation is actually in the eye of the beholder and business does not need another law reform in its favour that’s going to lead to open slather on journalists just because Tasmania wants to shut down its forestry debate.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-05/why-tasmania-backed-down-on-defamation-law-changes/6072170
The Coalition government fought hard to give the captains and cabin boys of industry what they wanted. Ruddock insisted that companies be able to sue their detractors in the courts, but the Labor state governments wanted the prohibition against corporate libel actions to be the rule across the nation. It was one of the sticking points during the negotiations and, in the end, to get agreement Ruddock relented.
There was a weird sort of compromise, whereby only very small corporations, of less than 10 employees, could sue in their own name. This was a crumb tossed off the table so the commonwealth attorney general could save face.
Such has been the case since the uniform Defamation Act came into being in 2006. Now, nine years later, the Hodgman Liberal government in Tasmania is proposing to break ranks, amend its act and let corporations of all stripes off the leash so they can sink their fangs into citizens critical of “job creating” proposals……… Continue reading
Labor lashes timing of defamation law change DUNCAN ABEY MERCURY JANUARY 12, 2015 NEW corporate defamation laws proposed by the Tasmanian Government represent a direct attack on freedom of speech and will stifle public debate, the Opposition says.
And deputy Labor leader Michelle O’Byrne said the timing could not be worse, in the wake of the deadly attacks on the staff of satirical Paris-based magazine Charlie Hedbo.
“Once again Tasmania is at the front of the national stage for the wrong reasons,” Ms O’Byrne said.
“The State Government wants to bring in legislation around defamation that will mean nobody can ever say anything against a corporation.
“Now this doesn’t just apply to the people the Government says it will target, such as forestry protesters, but it will apply to individuals and it will apply to the media.
“The right to free speech has never been more warmly embraced by the world than after what we have seen in Paris, and for nobody to be ever allowed to say anything negative about a corporation just smacks of silencing dissent.”………….http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/labor-lashes-timing-of-defamation-law-change/story-fnj4f7k1-1227181465484
Tasmania big net beneficiary from RET, Australia Institute report finds, SMH November 28, 2014 Peter Hannam
The report found the state generated about $125 million in renewable energy certificates in 2013 under the federal scheme with costs from consumers of only about $22.5 million.
One target of the report is claims by four big power users in the state that the RET was costing them alone $20 million a year, placing at risk thousands of jobs in the struggling state.
That claim was “bogus”, with partial exemption certificates covering 40-67 per cent of their costs under the scheme usually omitted from the analysis, Matt Grudnoff, a senior economist at the institute and author of the report, said………
The Australia Institute report is also aimed at discouraging newly independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie adding her vote to the RET cut plan.
However, her chief of staff, Rob Messenger, said “trite, little studies” were unlikely to sway the former Palmer United Party senator’s views……..
Senator Lambie’s vote, should it swing to the Coalition, won’t alone be enough to force through a reduction of the RET.
So long as Labor and the Greens remain united in their opposition to the move, they need only Senator Nick Xenophon and the two remaining PUP senators – Dio Wang and Glenn Lazarus – to give them the 38 votes required to block any change. http://www.smh.com.au/environment/tasmania-big-net-beneficiary-from-ret-australia-institute-report-finds-20141128-11vbz9.html
Researchers making waves in bid to harness renewable energy, ABC News 10 Nov 14 By Damian McIntyre A team of researchers in Tasmania is testing equipment designed to capture an endless supply of clean energy generated by waves.
The Australian Maritime College in Launceston and a West Australian company have joined forces to test the commercial viability of the wave energy converter.
The director of Bombora Wave Power, Shawn Ryan, was optimistic the design would eventually lead to a commercial venture.”We think we’ve solved the issues of the predecessors that have gone before us,” he said. “The key criteria we looked at was survivability, so you’ve got to survive those large storm events that have highly energetic sea states and cost of electricity is the dominant consideration.
“It’s seabed mounted so that we can potentially survive those larger storm events that others have had difficulty trying to get through.
“With a number of different design features, we think that we’ve cracked the kernel.” here are several trials underway in Australia but so far there are no large scale operations.
The company believes the market for wave power will be substantial. “There could be up to 500 gigawatts of wave energy installed by 2050,” Mr Ryan said………http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-11/researchers-making-waves-in-bid-harness-renewable-energy/5883226
King Island’s wind farm fate closes in http://www.themercury.com.au/king-islands-wind-farm-fate-closes-in/story-fnj3twbb-1227095516599 HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY OCTOBER 20, 2014
THE King Island community should know by early next year if their remote Bass Strait home will also become home to the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
Hydro Tasmania has almost completed a feasibility study into its $2 billion, 200-turbine proposal and is expected to announce early next year if the project will go ahead.
The decision also hinges on the Federal Government not scrapping the Renewable Energy Target. Hydro Tasmania is one of 16 major renewable energy companies who have argued for the retention of the present RET.
The TasWind project is forecast to pump more than $7 million a year into the island economy and provide an estimated $220 million annual revenue boost to the state’s coffers.
Debate over the pros and cons of the proposal has divided the small community and Hydro Tasmania started its feasibility study after 58 per cent of residents indicated they wanted to move on to the assessment stage.
Bill Shorten says Renewable Energy Target vital to Tasmania’s north-west Yahoo News September 17, 2014 Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has called on the Federal Government to support the Renewable Energy Target (RET) during a trip to Tasmania’s west coast……Mr Shorten said the Government needs to retain the RET to ensure the proposed wind farm at Granville Harbour goes ahead.
“It beggars belief that you have got up to 200 jobs just waiting to roll: 33 wind turbines, one of the windiest areas in Australia,” he said.
“The community want them, they don’t share Joe Hockey’s view that somehow wind farms are sick-making.
“They want the jobs, they want the wind farms but what they need is a government in Canberra who understands that renewable energy is not some green plot but part of the sustainable mix going forward.”
Liberal Senator David Bushby gave assurances the Federal Government had not yet decided what to do about the RET……….
projects such as the Granville Harbour wind farms remain in doubt.
In her meeting with Mr Shorten this morning, West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity stressed the importance of the RET to the region.
She told 91.7 ABC Northern Tasmania that while there was not much Mr Shorten could do for the region she wanted him to support the retention of the RET to ensure the Granville wind farm went ahead.
“They could employ within weeks about 30-odd men to start doing the roadworks for it,” she said.
“The problem being, for them to source and get the final tick-off regarding financing, they’re relying on the Renewable Energy Target.”…….https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25005137/bill-shorten-says-renewable-energy-target-vital-to-tasmanias-north-west/
Greens urges Hodgman Government to ‘utterly reject’ RET review recommendations http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-08-31/tasmania-energy-minister-canberra-ret-renewable-energy-target/5708488 31 Aug 14, By Ellen Coulter Greens leader Christine Milne has urged the Hodgman Government to stand up for renewable energy and “utterly reject” the Warburton report’s recommendations.
The review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), chaired by Dick Warburton, has recommended the scheme be drastically cut back.
The prospect that the findings will be adopted by the Abbott Government has cast a pall over the renewable energy industry Australia wide.
In Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania has warned any winding back would threaten billions of dollars in investment and doubt prevails over proposals such as the Granville Harbour wind farm on Tasmania’s west coast.
Liberal Premier Will Hodgman says he is worried about the Commonwealth’s response to the review, which is expected in about a fortnight.
State Energy Minister Matthew Groom is planning to fly to Canberra this week to urge the Federal Government against scrapping the RET. “We’re very anxious about any decision that the Federal Government might make to this scheme that could disadvantage the state,” Mr Hodgman said.
“I urge the Federal Government to look very carefully at Tasmania, consider our investment and also further opportunities in the future.”
Mr Hodgman said he has been arguing Tasmania’s case for months and that Mr Groom would again be pushing the cause to his federal counterparts.
But Ms Milne said the Tasmanian Liberals were not doing enough.
She maintained that Prime Minister Tony Abbott was determined to “destroy renewable energy”.
“It was his idea to abolish the Renewable Energy Target altogether,” she said.
She said the Tasmanian Government was “attacking the Federal Government with a wet lettuce leaf” and needed to present a strong rejection of the Warburton review.
“I think it is time that if Matthew Green supports a clean energy future, supports renewable energy, that he stands up and really condemns the direction of the Abbott Government and rejects utterly the Warburton report on renewable energy,” Ms Milne said.
“Frankly, it is pathetic. If they are going to make a stand they need to stand with the jobs, with the university [UTAS], with the renewable energy future and against Eric Abetz.”
Tasmanian Aboriginal land rights stalled on the road to reconciliation, ABC 936 Hobart 28 May 14 This week celebrates the process of reconciliation between Tasmania’s traditional owners of the land and the broader community. While significant land has been returned, and in a recent example purchased, the most recent efforts to transfer two significant sites via an amendment to the Aboriginal Lands Act has stalled with the change of state government earlier this year.
Since then, the process of returning land of special significance to the traditional owners has been a gradual one.
Currently 55,606 hectares of land has been returned to the Aboriginal community, comprising 16 separate areas.
Ten parcels of land were returned in 1995, and since then Parliament has twice approved the transfer of further lands, in 1999 and 2005.
In 2012, the former state government successfully moved to amend the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Act(1995) to include the areas of Rebecca Creek, on Tasmania’s West Coast, andlarapuna*, on the East Coast.
The amendment to the legislation has since stalled in Tasmania’s upper house, the Legislative Council…………
The two sites earmarked for return are on opposite sides of the state.
Rebecca Creek, several kilometres inland from Temma on the West Coast, is the richest Aboriginal stone working area known in Tasmania.
It is a source of spongolite which was used for the production of stone tools, and archaeological evidence shows it was traded by Aboriginals further than any other raw material in Tasmania.
larapuna is located in Tasmania’s North East near Ansons Bay, and now houses the Eddystone Point Lighthouse and lighthouse keeper cottages.
The area was a rich hunting ground for fish, kangaroo and seals while the broader area contains middens, artefact sites and burial grounds.
While there is no part of Tasmania, apart from some outer lying islands, that Tasmanian Aboriginals did not regularly inhabit, the return of especially sensitive lands by successive governments is a recognition the cultural significance of land to the Aboriginal community, and an important step in the process of reconciliation.
The most recent land that has been acquired on behalf of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community was made possible through a combined purchase, rather than a transfer from the state.
Gowan Brae, a property of more than 6,000 hectares in the Central Highlands, was collaboratively purchased by Aboriginal groups, the Tasmanian Land Conservancy and the Australian Government.
It is the largest parcel of land acquired for Aboriginal people on mainland Tasmania, and contains quarry sites, evidence of long term habitation, and provides an opportunity for Tasmania’s Aboriginal community to reconnect with culturally and environmentally important land.
The Chairman of the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania Clyde Mansell described the purchase as a milestone for reconciliation in Tasmania.
The unique collaboration for the purchase means the Aboriginal Land Council of Tasmania is now the freehold owner of the land, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is the reserve manager and the Tasmanian Land Conservancy will provide ongoing support and assistance to manage the property for its conservation values.
The long legislative road
While the Legislative Council Sessional Committee concluded its public hearings into the amendments late last year, a change in government has halted the process. The Liberal party in opposition supported the amendment’s passage back in 2012, but new legislation will have to be presented before the Legislative Council can again consider it.
Any change to the amendments could mean the process of consultation may have to be taken all over again, with still no guarantee that it will pass in the final vote in the upper house.
Premier Will Hodgman has reiterated his government’s support for the legislation that will complete the handing over of the two land returns………..http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2014/05/28/4014001.htm?site=hobart
Tasmania’s successful renewable energy industry faces loss of investment if Renewable Energy Target is scrapped
Hydro Tasmania warns scrapping Renewable Energy Target will kill off investment http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-19/hydro-tasmania-warns-scrapping-renewable-energy-target-will-kil/5463404 By Lucy Shannon Australia’s largest renewable energy generator Hydro Tasmania has warned major projects will not go ahead if the Federal Government scraps the Renewable Energy Target Scheme.
The scheme, established by the Howard Government in 2001, aims to have 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity coming from renewable sources by 2020.
The Federal Government is reviewing the RET scheme, as required under legislation. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has faced strong internal pressure to scrap the target from both the Nationals and many Liberals who believe it has pushed up power prices.
Hydro Tasmania, a state-owned business, has made its submission to the review panel. Hydro Chief Stephen Davy says the RET has stimulated $18 billion worth of investment across the country. Mr Davy says if the scheme is scrapped the proposed $2 billion dollar wind farm for Tasmania’s King Island will not go ahead.
“It would almost certainly terminate any further investment in large scale renewable energy projects, and put at risk the long term viability of existing renewable energy assets,” he said.
A second electricity interconnector with Victoria would also be unlikely.
Hydro ‘vital to economy’
The submission points to the “vital and ongoing economic contribution” Hydro makes to Tasmania’s economy. It says more than $60 million was spent with Tasmanian businesses to support the construction of the Musselroe wind farm and more than 200 workers will be employed over the life of the project.
Mr Davy says with the expected abolition of the carbon price the RET is the “only long-term, large scale policy that can drive the uptake of zero-emissions energy sources.”
Last year, Hydro Tasmania announced a record pre-tax profit of $238 million dollars largely on the back of the carbon price which added $70 million to its coffers.
The Greens Senator, Christine Milne says Tasmania should be very fearful of the Government’s review.
“It’s been clear from the start that this is a sham, virtually all the people they’ve got on the review are climate sceptics, they support the old fossil fuel sector and they see renewable energy as competition to the old order,” she said. A spokesman for Greg Hunt says the review’s terms of reference specifically mention sovereign risk as an issue that will be considered by the panel.
There is no fixed date yet for when the report will be delivered.
Economically depressed North Tasmania stands to lose wind farm project if Renewable Energy Target is cut.
Renewable energy fears for wind farm http://www.examiner.com.au/story/2274842/renewable-energy-fears-for-wind-farm/?cs=95 By EMILY BAKER 12 May 14, CUTS to the renewable energy target could affect a wind farm planned for the state’s economically depressed North, the project’s developer says. Low Head Wind Farm founder and director Shane Bartel yesterday said any significant cuts to the target would affect the $60 million wind farm proposed for an area east of Low Head.
Mr Bartel said the project would hire between 30 and 50 contractors in the building phase and employ five to 10 people post- construction.The project was partly driven by the federal target of 20 per cent renewable electricity production by 2020, which is under review.Low Head Wind Farm’s development application has been submitted to the government.”It’s up to the Commonwealth to approve that – we’re still working with them on that,” Mr Bartel said.
“I certainly think (a decision will be made) this month … to date, there have been no serious issues with it.”
The Australian reported on Saturday that Hydro Tasmania – which has power-purchasing agreements for its major Tasmanian wind farms Musselroe and Woolnorth – would suffer financially if there were significant cuts to the renewable energy target.
The state-owned company would not comment on the report leaked to the national newspaper but said ongoing reviews of the target had created uncertainty around wind farm revenues. “Hydro Tasmania did not confirm to The Australian the losses claimed in the story,” a statement from Hydro Tasmania said.
“It is our expectation that a positive outcome from the RET review will in fact make these figures meaningless, and our wind farm investments will be delivering the expected returns.”
Clean Energy Council deputy chief executive Kane Thornton said more than $10 billion of investment in renewable energy would be damaged if the scheme was changed. “Leaving the policy alone would create approximately 18,400 jobs by the end of the decade, additional investment of $15 billion in large-scale renewable energy and lower power bills over the medium term,” he said.
$200m wind farm on west coast passes another hurdle http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-09/24200m-wind-farm-on-west-coast-passes-another-hurdle/5441192 9 May 2014 Up to 200 jobs could be created on Tasmania’s west coast after the approval of a massive wind farm project.
The $200 million Granville Harbour project has passed another hurdle after gaining approval from West Coast Council. The proponent Westcoast Wind wants to build 33 turbines which will link to Reece Dam via an 11 kilometre transmission line. The Environment Protection Authority approved the project last month and handed it back to the council to assess.
West Coast Mayor Robyn Gerrity says it was given the green light at a special council meeting last night. “It’s a great boost for us, more job creation to saddle onto the new mining developments that are happening over the next 12 to 18 months,” she said.
The venture is still looking for investors.Last month, the proponents said they were not confident of finding investors while the Federal Government reviews the Renewable Energy Target.
Tasmania wins from pollution price http://christine-milne.greensmps.org.au/campaigns/tasmania-wins-pollution-price 21 March 14, Since the government made big businesses pay for their greenhouse pollution, Tasmanians have come out ahead because the money raised is used to help low-income earners, and invest in clean energy.
Tasmanians who earned $80,000 or less got a permanent tax cut, and the amount you earn before you pay tax was increased from $6,900 to $18,200.
More than 295,000 Tasmanians had permanent rises in their Age Pension, Disability Pension, Carer Allowance, Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy and Abstudy payments, special benefits and Family Tax Benefit A and B.
Tasmanian businesses received $13 million in grants to help their energy efficiency, and $14.9 million went to farmers and landcare groups to protect our soil, wildlife and bush from the effects of climate change.
Part of the funding raised by the price on pollution is also being used to fund investment in more clean renewable energy and energy efficiency, including projects in Tasmania. Tasmania produces more renewable energy than any other Australian state. Selling our renewable energy to other states earns about $70 million for Tasmania every year.
This money is used to pay for our hospitals, schools and other important services. Producing renewable energy fits with Tasmania’s clean, green and creative brand which so many businesses rely on.