Australian news, and some related international items

Fight back against government plans to shut down remote Aboriginal communities

The racist and neo-liberal mindset that drives the present and previous governments’ policies on land rights and remote, self managed communities does not recognise any culture or society that may be based on community or collective principles, or practises ecological land management, developed for this environment over tens of thousands years.

The UN State of the Indigenous Peoples Report (2009) observed that free-market economies have devastated Indigenous peoples worldwide……What is going on with the forced closure of Indigenous communities and the driving of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands has all the hallmarks of a land grab – rolling back the hard won recognition of land rights and native title in Australia.

Australia’s First Nations peoples and their supporters are coming together in unprecedented numbers to fight back against community closures and policies that foster cultural genocide and disempowerment.

Racist land grab  Stand against forced closures of Aboriginal communities! The Guardian Len Waster, 24 June 15  The Abbott Liberal-National government wants to shut down 150 Indigenous communities in remote Australia. Its actions threaten to leave some of Australia’s most vulnerable people without water, electricity or basic services. The remote or homeland communities that are under threat allow Aboriginal people to live on their traditional country, where they can sustain their language, their spiritual connection to land and their culture.

They are among the more than 1,200 small, discrete Indigenous communities in regional and remote Australia, which present policies place under threat of eventual closure and forced eviction.

As long as there are adequate services people experience better health and wellbeing in their homeland communities than when living in larger townships, where social dysfunction and disadvantage are often prevalent. Continue reading

June 24, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Solar panels with battery storage: Western Australia’s White Gum Valley project

solar White Gum Valley WAGreen energy for White Gum Valley development ‘an Australian first’, to benefit residents and investors, ABC News By Kathryn Diss, 19 June 15 A new residential complex south of Perth will feature solar panels and battery storage technology, providing financial benefits for tenants and investors.

Landcorp’s White Gum Valley project will include apartments, townhouses, maisonettes and single home sites, housing more than 150 people on the former Kim Beazley school site.

The WA Government said the use of renewable energy technology would cut energy and water bills by about $1,200 a year for tenants in the complex, which will feature a demonstration housing project managed as a strata development………

Overcoming barriers to solar technology Ms Green said the new business model overcomes several barriers which have prevented solar technology from taking off on strata developments.
“Barriers include getting approvals from Western Power, designing the system so that it is compliant with strata laws is really important, and also designing a system which is going to charge no more than what [residents] would pay from Synergy,” she said.

What has been designed here is something that should be affordable to the Gen Y marketplace
Ms Green said the project would be the focus of a four-year study at Curtin University into low carbon living, and is confident it will succeed.

“People are willing to buy apartments that perhaps cost a bit more, but the pay-off is they don’t pay the electricity bill,” Ms Green said………

June 20, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back rejects medical expertise on wind farms

A Sydney University review of 25 studies into the possible health effects of wind turbines found none had produced evidence they were detrimental to human health and in 2014 the Australian Medical Association issued a statement saying the available evidence did not support the idea that windfarm noise harmed human health

wind-farm-evil-1Liberal senator wants windfarm inquiry to recognise ‘adverse health effects‘, Guardian,  Political Editor, 12 June 15
Coalition figures want inquiry to acknowledge alleged health impacts and support more checks by the regulator 
A new federal inquiry could call for commonwealth oversight of windfarm regulations and demand recognition of the alleged health impacts of turbines on people living near them, according to Coalition senators.

The prime minister, Tony Abbott, dismayed the wind industry on Thursday when he told Sydney radio announcer Alan Jones that he wished the government had been able to reduce the number of new windfarms more than was possible in a recent renewable energy deal with Labor, and agreed windfarms had “potential health impacts”. Continue reading

June 12, 2015 Posted by | Western Australia, wind | Leave a comment

Paladin (apparently not Australian owned) signs Western Australian uranium deal

uranium-orePaladin signs uranium land deal MICHAEL RODDAN BUSINESS SPECTATOR JUNE 01, 2015 Uranium miner Paladin Energy will pay $16 million for land containing a uranium deposit as the group looks to enhance the value of its neighbouring project.

Paladin (PDN) will take over Energia Minerals’ Carley Bore uranium project in north west Western Australia for $15.8 million in cash and shares.

The Carley Bore project in the Carnarvon Basin consists of three connected exploration licenses, located 100km south of Paladin’s Manyingee uranium project, and will increase the miner’s mineral resources in the area by more than 30 per cent……….But the miner has said it will not develop any new projects before it is confident of a sustainable uranium price of at least $US70 a pound. The material has traded between $US34 and $US40 a pound this year.

“The current low uranium price and sustained sector weakness have created an opportunity to consolidate our portfolio in strategically important regions,” Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said.

The takeover is subject to regulatory approval by the Foreign Investment review Board, as Paladin is deemed to be a foreign corporation under Australian law.

June 4, 2015 Posted by | business, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Offgrid solar power an economic winner for Western Australian farming family

cockies-Coober-PedyWA farming family opts for solar power battery system over costly grid connection, ABC News By Kathryn Diss 3 June 15 When Katherine Naughton’s family moved to a farm in Northam, north-east of Perth, it was going to cost them up to $60,000 to connect their house to the power grid.

But for just two thirds of that cost they have been able to install a solar power storage system, harnessing all of their electrical needs from the sun.”Not having that $400 bill every three months is just fantastic,” Ms Naughton said.

Perth-based company Solar Balance designed the system with Chinese battery manufacturer BYD.The batteries charge from rooftop solar panels during the day and store the energy for use when the sun goes down.

And unlike connecting to the grid, it is an investment that pays for itself. “With the cost of power going up, it’s quite scary how much it keeps going up by every single year, and you don’t know how much it’s going to be in the next five years,” Ms Naughton said. “So if we can go solar then we don’t have to worry about that bill.”

Battery storage an affordable option

With the entry of new players it will put downward pressure on battery costs which is going to be good for everyone over time because it will become more and more affordable. – Rod Hayes

The power revolution may be taking place slowly, just one household at a time, but the industry believes that is set to change………..

Curtin University’s Sustainability Policy Institute’s Jemma Green said the power grid will become less relevant.

“The grid will have a place but it will become more of a back up system as electricity prices go up even further and the price of solar and batteries decline further, the economics of grid defection are going to stack up sooner.

“This is going to have an impact on the utilisation of the grid and therefore the revenue that the government currently derives from using it.

“I think the grid and the business models of the utilities, that is the generators and the poles and wires will need to evolve to deal with this changing energy system which is effectively a centralised and decentralised energy model,” Ms Green said.

Bosche, LG and Samsung have also indicated they plan to enter the market.

June 4, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Rare earths AND URANIUM company allying with Clean Energy Council

a-cat-CANWe do need to keep an eye on rare earth developments. In the longer term, recycling must be the major way to obtain these. In the shorty term, rare earths are needed, but require vigilant management because of their radioactive toxicity, and need for secure radioactive wastes disposal
AND – this company is involved in uranium exploration ” Its projects include Nowthanna Uranium project, McKeddies project and West Arnhem Tenure. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include Australian Uranium Limited and Cabe Resources Limited.”
Yellow Rock Resources joins Clean Energy Council of Australia Tuesday, June 02, 2015 by Proactive Investors

Yellow Rock Resources has been accepted as an associate member of the Clean Energy Council of Australia.

Yellow Rock Resources (ASX:YRR) has been accepted as an associate member of the Clean Energy Council (CEC) of Australia.

The membership will allow Yellow Rock to engage with industry participants and policy makers.

Yellow Rock’s admission as a member demonstrates the company’s commitment to developing its world-class Gabanintha vanadium deposit in Western Australia specifically for emerging technology servicing the renewable energy market.

Gabanintha is a project which has the ability to support renewables as a supplier of vanadium for Vanadium Redox Battery technology.

Yellow Rock in discussions with renewable energy suppliers

Yellow Rock has initiated discussions with renewable energy suppliers SunEdison and Total Energy Australia, among others, focused on potential collaborative opportunities at Gabanintha.

Vincent Algar, chief executive, commented: “The latest excellent drilling results give us another opportunity to expand our relationships in the financial and renewable energy sectors.

“Gabanintha is a project which has the ability to support renewables as a supplier of vanadium for battery storage technology.

“In addition, Gabanintha can be supported by renewable energy generation to reduce its own operating costs, making it a unique opportunity for investors.”

About Gabanintha

The Gabanintha deposit is an intrusive layered intrusive body smaller, but displaying similar characteristics to the igneous Bushveld Complex, host to some of the world’s most significant platinum, vanadium and chromite deposits.

The project will have continued newsflow over coming weeks as more results flow through from the recent reverse circulation drilling program. commence on receipt of all assay results.
Currently 167 historical drill holes support an Inferred Resource of 125 million tonnes at 0.70% vanadium, 8.64%TiO2 and 32.6% iron.

This includes a separate high grade Indicated and Inferred Resource of 60.4 million tonnes at 0.98% vanadium, 11.4% TiO2 and 42.15% iron.

June 4, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, rare earths, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Perth wave energy project producing power and fresh water


Carnegie Wave Energy based in Perth is a world leader in wave energy technology. In 2014 the company began deployment of three wave energy converters at the Garden Island naval base off the coast near Perth. Large buoys rise and fall with passing waves. Each is tied by rope to the sea floor. As waves pass, the buoys rise, the ropes tighten and extremely high pressure is created in a water-based fluid. This is piped to shore where the pressure powers water desalination and the production of electricity. This technology, known as CETO, has application for small coastal towns and remote islands where oil or diesel is often used in generators. The Perth project is the first demonstration of a complete grid-connected CETO system anywhere in the world.

May 31, 2015 Posted by | energy, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Western Australian gas company planning to sell solar panels and batteries

solar-panels-and-moneyAlinta’s solar plan to cut bills, The West Australian  Daniel Mercer June 1, 2015 Gas giant Alinta is hatching a plan to sell solar panels and batteries to households, allowing them to slash power bills by reducing reliance on the electricity grid.

Alinta is also weighing the idea of offering micro gas generators, which could pave the way for households to disconnect from the grid altogether.

The plan looms as a direct challenge to taxpayer-owned electricity provider Synergy, which has been losing millions of dollars as customers switch to solar en masse.

There are about 170,000 households in the South West grid alone which have photovoltaic cells on their roofs, and this figure is expected to soar by the end of the decade.

Under Alinta’s plan, tipped to start this year, it would lease solar panels to residential customers, who would then provide any power they did not use back to Alinta to sell into the market.

The Sydney-based company would also offer batteries to store surplus solar power and small gas-fired generators that could be used as a backup in the event it was cloudy for days.

Efficient and affordable battery storage has long been regarded as the holy grail of renewable energy and US firm Tesla announced last month it was on the verge of being able to produce it………

May 31, 2015 Posted by | solar, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Federal and Western Australian govts systematic attack on environmental critics

Funding withdrawal from Environmental Defender’s Office criticised as ‘systematic attack’ on community groups, ABC News, By Stephanie Dalzell, 28 May 15, The Conservation Council of Western Australia has accused the State and Federal Governments of launching a “systematic attack” on community groups which scrutinise policy decisions.

The criticism comes after WA’s Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) had its funding completely withdrawn by the State Government, effective from the end of this financial year.

The decision follows similar action by the Federal Government in 2013.

The EDO, which also relies on grants and donations, said the combined cut in state and federal funding would leave it with a gap of $250,000 in annual operating expenses. Conservation Council director Piers Verstegen said the cut appeared to be a direct response to the EDO’s advocacy for groups which challenged policy or development decisions.

“The EDO is an extremely important organisation in our community and it brings scrutiny to environmental issues often where government make bad decisions or go wrong in relation to environmental management,” he said. “I think the Government’s keen to remove that scrutiny.

“I think this is part of a systematic attack on community groups around the country that engage in advocacy on environmental issues and stand up for clean water, healthy land, and healthy ecosystems.

“And when that doesn’t align with government policy or the industries that government [is] supporting, that’s when government [feels] uncomfortable with that advocacy and [starts] to cut funding.”……..

May 29, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Why Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne want Bjørn Lomborg’s Consensus Centre

cartoon-climate-AustWhy the Abbott government wants Bjørn Lomborg’s Consensus Centre, The Saturday Paper , 16 May 15  MIKE SECCOMBE
Covert negotiations, whispered announcements and an awkward about-face reveal a political agenda behind reaching consensus.  Mazzarol, Winthrop professor in the business school of the University of Western Australia, is reciting the long list of hoops a proponent must jump through to gain approval for a research centre at the university.

“Normally they have to demonstrate they will contribute to research output of the university and the reputation of the university,” he says. “They must have at least six full-time equivalent academic staff engaged in research at the university, a viable plan for the growth of the centre, the capacity to be self-sustaining. They must have an academic and a business plan, a clear indication of the resources, facilities, funding, negotiated targets for research, training, publication volume, output quality and how that will all be measured.”

He continues, citing the criteria listed on the UWA website: “It must also have the approval of the academic council, normally has to have an interdisciplinary role, and to have demonstrated consultation with other parts of the faculty that might be involved.”

The list of requirements and processes is detailed, but Mazzarol’s point is simple. “This one didn’t go through any of those steps.”

He is referring to an entity proposed by Danish climate change contrarian Bjørn Lomborg, ironically named the Australia Consensus Centre (ACC), whose establishment was secretively negotiated over six months, quietly revealed six weeks ago, and then abandoned after an ugly collision between academe and politics. Continue reading

May 18, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump in Western Australia

A genuine commitment to volunteerism would require providing affected communities with ample time to deliberate on their willingness to host or live near a facility through publishing the full list of nominated sites.

Although the government stresses that it does not want to impose a nuclear waste facility on any community, there is no guarantee that this Government (or a future one) will not revert to earlier habits of trying to do so. Community consent is in fact not a prerequisite for its siting decision.

WA actually has state legislation in place prohibiting the storage of radioactive waste from outside the state. This means that, although the National Radioactive Waste Management Act gives the Minister the right to override state legislation, the voluntary and democratic aspects of the WA nominations are highly compromised.

Don’t waste the homelands: community opposition to a national radioactive waste dump in WA


By Anica Niepraschk , 15 May 2015 Western Australian iron ore company Ginbalbie Metals’ nomination of a section of its land to host Australia’s proposed radioactive waste management facility comes as the third known nomination in WA. The two-month nomination period for the project closed on May 5.Another known nomination comes from a landowner in Leonora, against local opposition but supported by Leonora Shire. The Shire had been keen on nominating freehold land itself but could not identify any suitable land.

The third revealed nomination from WA involves land in Kanpa, near Warburton in the eastern part of the state, and lacks support from the Ngaanyatjarra elders.

Similarly, Ginbalbie Metals’s nomination of a land near Badga station in the mid west of the state faces opposition from the traditional custodians of the land. Neither the local community nor Yalgoo shire had been consulted on the nomination. The site is even subject of a current native title claim by the Widi Native Title Claimant Group. The group expressed its strong opposition to Federal Industry Minister Macfarlane, stating that ‘the proponent has displayed an appalling level of disrespect’ for the traditional owners by failing to consult them. They generally reject radioactive waste dumps and uranium mining on their homelands. Continue reading

May 16, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | 1 Comment

Morawa Shire not happy about Gindalbie Metals nuclear dump proposal, and no right to veto

WASTES-1Gindalbie Metals nuclear dump proposal surprises nearby WA shire, ABC News  By Sarah Taillier 14 May 15, A shire in Western Australia’s Mid West says it has been caught completely off guard by a proposal to develop a national nuclear waste dump on land near its boundaries.

Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals yesterday confirmed it had nominated Badja Station, south of Yalgoo as a potential site to hold low and intermediate level radioactive waste.The proposed site lies about 70 kilometres from the township of Morawa, where more than 600 people live.

Shire of Morawa president Karen Chappel said she was stunned to hear about the application from a resident yesterday. “It could have an absolute major impact on our shire and to just hear via the telephone that this is what’s happening [is unreasonable],” she said.”I seriously would have thought that the Shire of Morawa was owed the courtesy of being told that this was on the run.”

Ms Chappel said the shire was trying to source more information about the proposal. “When we’ve gained the information that we think is necessary, our council will be taking a formal position on where we sit with regard to this proposal,” she said.

Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Federal Government’s site selection.

“That may be legislation, that may be the principal of it, but underneath it all, every politician is put there by population and the people,” Ms Chappel said.

“They have an obligation and a responsibility to sit and listen to how their decision affects us and I would suggest they would need to sit and listen to this one.”

A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July……..

Greens spokesperson Robin Chapple described the proposal to develop a nuclear waste dump as a “blatant cash grab from a struggling company”.

May 15, 2015 Posted by | wastes, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Uranium mining companies are selectively buying off Indigenous people

Uranium Minefield: Middle Men Are Bleeding Aboriginal Land Dry, VICE  May 11, 2015 by Jack Callil Buried in Australia’s soil is a third of Earth’s uranium, the largest reserve in the world. This means there’s big money in mining it. But standing on it are Indigenous Australians with native title rights to that land. The Martu people, only numbering only around 1,000, own around 136,000 square kilometers in Western Australia.


On the other side of the dispute is the world’s largest uranium company Cameco, which in collaboration with Mitsubishi, want to extend the Kintyre mine that was previously owned by Rio Tinto. It bears the name of an area cut out of the Karlamilyi National Park for mining in 1994.

Darren Farmer, a burly middle-aged Martu man, told VICE that “the Martu people do not want this uranium mine. Everybody has said no.” But that hasn’t stopped Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who last month gave Kintyre the green light.

This decision was made possible by the intricate mechanics of the Native Title Act. Indigenous Australians are forced to nominate a corporate body that represents them legally. In the case of the Martu people, theirs is the Western Deserts Land Aboriginal Corporation ( WDLAC). In 2012 WDLAC gave up Martu land for mining, and are nowworking with Newcrest Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Reward Minerals—and Cameco.

WDLAC is currently under investigation for what VICE understands is the corrupt management of millions in mining profits. Continue reading

May 15, 2015 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Western Australia | Leave a comment

One Western Australian speaks out against radioactive waste dumping

Ben 14 May 15 As a resident of the midwest and has lived and worked on and around the area of Badja Station, I am totally against this idea in our back yard.

I as a former employee, have contributed to the success of GML during the exploration stages of the Karrara mining operation.
Thanks to that I got to see and feel this country and now regret the destruction that has already occurred

So I as one individual totally reject GML nominating this area as a facility for radioactive waste storage which will inevitably lead to establishing a much larger facility to accommodate international nuclear waste for avery handsome $$ profit to those involved.

NO PANGEA HERE !!! Please.

Yalgoo shire WA

I hope and wish the Widi people are successful in their claim of native title of this area. It is beautiful country, surrounded by at least six vibrant, active towns / communities well within a 150km radius of the proposed radioactive waste dump as well as numerous exploration (because of the mineral wealth) and tourist activities in the area, not forgetting those living off and trying to protect this area

I object to, and will support anyone against, this proposal.


May 13, 2015 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Iron ore miner in Western Australia applies to host low level nuclear waste facility

wastesGindalbie applies to host nuclear waste facility in WA’s Mid West By Emily Piesse Iron ore miner Gindalbie Metals has confirmed it has nominated part of its land holding in WA’s Mid West as a potential site for a low level radioactive waste dump.

The site, on Badja Station in the Shire of Yalgoo, has been put forward by the company under a national tender process by the Federal Government. The nuclear waste facility, which would be a national repository for low level waste, would be the first of its kind in Australia.

Most low level waste is stored in hospitals, universities and other private facilities but this would act as a central storage centre.

The Shire of Leonora in WA’s Goldfields has also confirmed it has supported an application to have the nuclear waste dump on a pastoral station’s freehold land between Leonora and Malcolm.

A spokesperson for Gindalbie confirmed the miner had submitted Badja Station to be assessed, but said it was too early to comment as the Government was yet to finalise its shortlist of sites.

Badja Station is currently the subject of a native title claim by the Widi people.

Widi spokesperson Clayton Lewis said he had no prior knowledge of Gindalbie’s proposal.”It was a bolt out of the blue … [we’re] just amazed that it’s going to happen or potentially going to happen in our country,” he said.

“We think if we can get a decent body of support at this early stage we can certainly contest it.”

A spokesperson for federal Industry and Science Minister Ian Macfarlane would not confirm whether Badja Station was under consideration, but said initial site assessments had begun.

Under the selection process, states and territories will not have the right to veto the Government’s site selection.

A shortlist of nominated sites is expected to be made public in July.

May 13, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, wastes, Western Australia | 2 Comments


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