Australian news, and some related international items

Australian Youth Climate Coalition Welcomes SA Government Commitment to Carbon Pollution Free SA by 2050, Calls for 100% Renewable Power

logo-Aust-Youth-Climate-CoaThe Australian Youth Climate Coalition has welcomed the South Australian Government’s commitment to a zero emissions South Australia by 2050 made today following the release of the recommendations of the South Australian Low Carbon Economy Expert Panel. The AYCC is urging the SA Government to adopt the panel’s recommendation of powering SA with 100% renewable.

“It’s great to see Premier Weatherill stepping up and committing South Australia to being carbon pollution free by 2050” Dan Spencer, South Australian campaigner with the AYCC said.

“South Australia has led the way with renewable energy and we now have the opportunity to plan a just transition to 100% renewable energy and build a cleaner, fairer, job rich South Australia” Mr Spencer said.

“The government’s expert panel has recommended South Australia transition to 100% renewable energy, we now want to see Jay Weatherill take this opportunity and commit to powering SA with renewables” Mr Spencer said.

The AYCC says the SA Government’s announcement should put the pressure on Prime Minister Turnbull to do more.

“We can’t forget how important acting on global warming is and the Prime Minister needs to stop letting us down” Mr Spencer said.

“South Australia is incredibly vulnerable to the impacts of increasing heatwaves and bushfires which is why the State Government stepping up is critical, now Prime Minister Turnbull needs to act” Mr Spencer said.

“This announcement comes just days before world leaders meet in Paris to discuss action on climate change and the community will be out in force this weekend calling for stronger action. We welcome the Premier’s announcement, it’s time for the Prime Minister to up his game” Mr Spencer said.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Double jeopardy: Australian uranium deals are deficient and dangerous

India-uranium1Dave Sweeney, 25 Nov 15  The federal government has failed to serve Australia’s national interest or observe responsible nuclear policy by finalising controversial uranium supply deals with both India and the United Arab Emirates, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.

News of the signed agreements flies in the face of a recent government-controlled parliamentary committee report on the proposed Indian deal which recommended Australia not supply uranium to India at this time or on these terms.

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) said a series of practical steps were urgently needed to address safety, security and legal uncertainty as a pre-condition to uranium sales to India.

“Serious and unresolved concerns have been ignored,” said ACF campaigner Dave Sweeney.

“By putting the promise of profit for uranium companies ahead of the safety of the wider community the government has prioritised nuclear interests over the national interest.

“The Foreign Minister has called the India deal ‘an important milestone’ when it is in fact a millstone and a retreat from responsibility.

“Australian uranium directly fuelled Fukushima.  To fail to learn from this or apply increased scrutiny and rigour to uranium and nuclear deals is indefensible and derelict.


“These two deals are bad deals.  This risky and radioactive trade lacks social license and will continue to be actively contested.”

November 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Queensland community meetings of indigenous and non indigenous people discuss nuclear dump plan

Hear-This-wayAUDIO: Community meetings are being held in response to proposals of a nuclear waste dump on November 23, 2015 Cassandra Tim Journalist

Queensland – The first of four to six planned community meetings has been held in response to Oman Ama being named as one of six potential sites to become a nuclear waste dump.

The federal government is under fire from several camps about its plans to bury low levels of radioactive waste and to store higher level waste above ground in sheds in a number of proposed sites across the country.

The forum in Inglewood attracted up to 200 local residents, a lobby group consisting of several councils and alongside them was Co-Chair of the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance, Adam Sharah.
Mr Sharah says he welcomes the consultation process to engage the interests of local First Nations people and Land Councils.

He says local non-Indigenous residents used the event to voice their concern over the region potentially housing nuclear waste.
There are three nominated locations to be Australia’s first nuclear waste dump in South Australia and one each in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Queensland.

November 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Adani misled tribunal – says traditional land owners

Traditional land owner tells court Adani misled tribunal over mine’s benefits

” … Burragubba’s barrister, David Yarrow, told a court  hearing in Brisbane on Monday that the tribunal’s decision  was invalid because it had been misled by Adani as to the  economic benefits of the mine in Queensland’s Galilee basin.  Yarrow said testimony by the company’s own expert in a  separate land court case challenging the mine, including  its likely creation of 1,200 jobs, differed significantly from  the case Adani put to the tribunal, which referred to 7,000 jobs.
He said Adani was obliged to produce information to the  tribunal that was not misleading, but that the company  “by choosing one expert over another, where there is a  material difference between those expert reports, was  relevantly misleading”. … ”

Traditional owners appeal against native title process for Adani’s Carmichael mine  ” … Spokesperson Adrian Burragubba said Adani dishonestly  and knowingly relied on inaccurate information on the economic and employment benefits of their project. “Adani justified its
mine in the Native Title Tribunal with false claims that it will create 7,000 jobs and generate huge economic benefits,”
Mr Burragubba said. “We say today that these claims mislead  the Tribunal and amount to fraud.” … David Yarrow, a lawyer  for Mr Burragubba, told the court that Adani had failed to  provide the Native Title Tribunal with certain material concerning the economic impact of the coal mine. … “

November 25, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


India-uranium1India-Australia nuclear agreement: supplying uranium to a nuclear flashpoint  AUSTRALIA/INDIA U-DEAL SELLS URANIUM DIRECTLY INTO SUBCONTINENTAL NUCLEAR ARMS RACE, John Hallam Nuclear Weapons Campaigner PND-NSW

The India-Australia uranium deal, whereby Australia agrees to sell uranium to India in spite of India’s not being a signatory of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty, and in spite of the fact that a vigorous nuclear arms race is in progress on the subcontinent, beggars belief for anyone who has been involved for decades as I have, in questions of nuclear nonproliferation, disarmament, and nuclear safety.

A vigorous nuclear arms race is taking place right now on the Indian subcontinent between India and Pakistan, with Pakistan now having some 130 nuclear warheads, and India not far behind with between 110 and 120.

Pakistan has deployed short-range, war-fighting ‘mini nukes’ to repel Indian tank attacks. India has said that their use will lead to full-scale nuclear war.

India and Pakistan are poised on a nuclear knife-edge. While we can say all we like that Australian uranium will only ever be used to ‘civil’ uses, the fact is that because India has limited uranium supplies of its own (mined under appalling conditions at Jharsguda in Bihar with catastrophic effects on the health of local people) – the fact is that use of Australian uranium will ‘free up’ un-safeguarded Indian uranium for weapons use. It can be no other way, there is simply no avoiding the brute facts of arithmetic. Uranium that has been replaced by imported (Australian) uranium for nuclear power use is now available for use in nuclear weapons.

Australia has chosen to sell its uranium into the worlds most dangerous nuclear flashpoint. It has done so against the recommendations of a parliamentary joint committee.

This is a mindbogglingly foolish decision.


November 22, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Aboriginal legal challenge to Carmichael coal project in Queensland

justiceTraditional owners challenge Qld mine

Indian energy giant Adani’s controversial $16.5 billion Carmichael coal mine is facing even more legal action, with traditional owners to become the latest to challenge its approval.

Wangan and Jagalingou cultural leader Adrian Burragubba will appear in the Federal Court in Brisbane on Monday to challenge a National Native Title Tribunal decision that allowed the government to issue a mining licence for the Carmichael project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin without traditional owners’ consent.

 The court action will come after the Australian Conservation Foundation earlier this month lodged papers in the same court against federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s re-approval of the mega-project.

The environmental group is arguing Mr Hunt didn’t properly consider the impact emissions from burning coal will have on climate pollution and Australia’s international obligations to protect the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef.

November 22, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Impact of El Nino on Peru and Australia

El Nino: Separated by the Pacific, Australia gripped by drought while Peru prepares for devastating rain, ABC News, By freelance contributor Krista Eleftheriou in Peru 19 Nov 15 The world’s largest ocean is hosting the yin and yang of El Nino.

On one side of the Pacific, large tracts of Australia are gripped by drought triggered by the phenomenon. On the opposite side, the desert coastline of Peru is preparing for devastating rain.

Scientists warn Peru faces one of the strongest El Ninos on record.

In the next few months it could deliver a multi-billion-dollar damages bill from landslides, floods, failed crops and the collapse of the world’s largest anchovy fishery.

“Peru, along with Australia, is one of the worst affected countries in the world from El Nino,” said Angel Cornejo, professor of climate studies at the National University Agraria in the Peruvian capital, Lima.

“Poverty is the problem here. People live in places that will flood. They are very poor and they have nowhere else to go.”….

November 19, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Subject: Open letter to nuclear waste site candidates

radioactive trashSo you want a nuclear waste dump in your neighbourhood?
I am an Australian living and working in Japan. I am married and have two small children, and we live midway between Tokyo and Fukushima, on the Pacific coast. The Japan Atomic Energy Agency has major research facilities near where I live, so we are fortunate, in a way, to be the most monitored part of Japan after Fukushima, at least when it comes to atmospheric contamination.
I feel compelled to write, as I am one of relatively few Australians with first-hand experience of living with chronic, low-level radiation contamination, as a result of the nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima power station in 2011.
If you choose to have a nuclear waste site in your area, and your worst fears are realised, either through leakage from the site, or an accident in transportation; you will have entered a brave new world of probabilities. Nothing is certain when it comes to radiation and illnesses; and in spite of experts’s assurances, we just do not have the data on chronic, low-level radiation contamination. In a way, Japan is the case study. Because radiation is odourless, colourless and tasteless, putting out a positive message about what people cannot smell, see or taste is relatively easy, from the point of view of the authorities and companies involved. People soon forget. Any resulting illnesses, such as cancers, will not appear for many years or even decades, so proving a direct link will be difficult, to say the least. It’s a spin doctors and lawyers dream.
Living with radiation all around us has forced us to reconsider and rearrange our daily lives, in order to prevent being contaminated. The most important thing for us was not the atmospheric radiation, as scary as that was. The official story has it that the main plume of radiation from Fukushima travelled north-west, then south; but our area was still affected, as were other areas.
By way of reassuring the public that they had the pulse of what was going on, the local government placed large, flat-screen TV’s in public buildings and local government offices to ‘monitor’ radiation levels. But to make sure the information is not too alarming, it is displayed in grays (which is like showing how much sun is shining) and notsieverts (which is like showing how sunburnt you are). We bought a personal radiation monitor for use at home and when we go out, and we use as our source of other radiation information.
Parks were not decontaminated around here, and there are hotspots that persist. We rarely go to the park. When my son came home from school with decorated pine cones from art class earlier this year, collected from the local park (as they do every year, said the principal) it took some explaining to get them to stop, with data collected by local NGO’s, demonstrating that the pine cones were likely to have high levels of radiation in them.
Children are not screened here, as we are not in the main contamination area. We have yearly screening done for our son, as he was affected by the fallout, evidenced by the nodules in his thyroid; but this is done at our own expense. At least we know about it and can monitor it; the authorities are not interested in his story.
But what concerns us more than that, is radiation in the food and water supplies. Sure, the authorities do screen food and water supplies, but the data is based on government-set safety levels, however we do not know how these levels were decided. Experts continue to argue. What we do know is that if radiation is detected below those government-set levels, the data shows ‘not detected’. This is false and misleading, and the cynic in me says that this will in all likelihood ‘future-proof’ agencies and companies against class actions, as lawyers in the future will have to demonstrate a link between future cancers and this incident. Hard to make that case if a review of the data 30 years hence shows ‘not detected’. But it’s also bad science; if at some time in the future research reveals that the government levels were wrong, there will be no data available to make any changes to policies.
So the data on water and food safety is less than reassuring. The authorities have published copious data sets on their websites. They do not standardise the information, and do not simplify or explain the data; those likely to access this data soon tire of such cumbersome and confusing information.
We just don’t trust the authorities to get this right.
For example, my son’s school proudly promotes local produce in their school lunch programme. He takes a lunch box. We source our fruit and veggies from Kyushu, in the south of Japan, from a company that does their own testing for radiation, on equipment that we helped pay for. We bought a second fridge for the extra storage needed. And we buy bottled water from a source well away from the affected areas.
With two small children we have to take this stuff seriously. We get on with our lives, but we no longer are willing to take risks with what would otherwise be regarded as ordinary: a trip to the park, or to a restaurant; just turning on the tap has us wondering.
Whatever side of the nuclear industry your politics are, you would be wise to consider the ramifications for you, your family, friends and neighbours, when things go pear-shaped. And go pear-shaped they will; two words I don’t put together any longer are ‘nuclear’ and ‘safety’. And I live day to day knowing why. Chronic, low-level radiation contamination may not be immediately life-threatening, but it will change your life.
I hope you decide wisely.
Phillip Otake
Wombat House
Hitachinaka, Ibaraki
Japan 3120052


November 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Doubtful that Australia will become the world’s nuclear trash dump

So will Australia become the nuclear waste dump of the world? It looks very doubtful, with too much at stake if things go wrong.

Will Australia become the world’s nuclear waste dump?, Blouin News November 16, 2015 by   “…….. P.M. Malcolm Turnbull’s idea of possibly storing nuclear waste from elsewhere — permanently — has caused an outpouring of criticism. In a withering op-ed published last week, Dr. Jim Green, the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth, Australia, blasted the country’s previous nuclear safety record and economic viability of the storage scheme.

…the country needed to undertake three priority reforms in order to realize [the nuclear waste storage scheme]:

Removing exploration and mining bans in those states where the bans exist; excluding the federal government from the current dual state/federal environmental assessment process; and increasing the number of ports through which uranium can be exported.

All of these steps are controversial, as NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) sentiment runs high when it comes to anything nuclear.

Additionally, the government’s desire to export uranium to India, as per an earlier civilian nuclear power agreement, is even outweighing the recommendations of the nonpartisan committee established to examine the matter. Continue reading

November 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Prime Minister happy to have this nation be the world’s nuclear waste dump

Turnbull nuclearA nuclear industry would be a dead end for Australia’s economy. At least, that is what the latest edition of the International Atomic Energy Agency’sNuclear Technology Review suggests.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants to turn Australia into a nuclear wasteland for other countries by  Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull feels cautious, but is at the same time open to the idea of a nuclear fuel leasing industry in Australia. The industry would consist of leasing fuel rods to other countries, and then storing the waste afterwards. In other words, Australia would become a nuclear junkyard that other countries could use to dump toxic waste.

The Prime Minister said he was originally skeptical about whether or not Australia would build power stations in order to provide electricity for its citizens. The country already has a rich supply of gas, wind and solar power.

“We have got the uranium, we mine it, why don’t we process it, turn it into the fuel rods, lease it to people overseas, when they are done, we bring them back and we have got stable, very stable geology in remote locations and a stable political environment,” the Prime Minister said.[1]


November 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

World Religions back climate conference – Philippa Rowland

Community 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 “……World religions get on board The world’s religions also are adding their weight to the conference.

Ms Rowland’s experience since starting with CEFE has led her to be a regional leader for Catholic Earth Care Australia.

“Faith groups around the world have been speaking out and feeling comfortable to take the moral responsibility to call on our leaders and general people to care for each other and care for the earth,” Ms Rowland said

In June this year Pope Francis issued an encyclical entitled Care for our Common Home.

“This sister [planet Earth] now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods which God has endowed her,” he wrote.

“We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

Ms Rowland points to similar actions and sentiments expressed by Jewish, Muslim and Buddhist leaders this year. “In many religions, when you drill down, it’s responsibility for the earth and not hurting other people,” she said. “One of the shocking things about climate change is the injustice at the fact that the impact falls hardest on those who are unable to deal with it.”

A chance to represent common humanity

That picture of the world’s people and our connectedness is where Ms Rowland sees the bulk of her work in Paris. “You can just be there representing common humanity who want to see things happen,” she said.

“So the responsibility lies in connecting with other human beings across the range and sharing that sense of hope.”…..

November 18, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Once again, South Australia faces the nuclear trash dump threat

South Australia nuclear toiletNuclear waste dump battle begins – again Canberra Times, November 15, 2015  Anica Niepraschk and Jim Green
Communities at the six sites shortlisted by the government as potential repositories for nuclear waste need to be fully informed.

“……….Two of the SA sites are near Kimba, 150 kilometres west of Port Augusta. It is agricultural land and there is overwhelming opposition from local farmers. The South Australian debate also feeds into a debate as to whether the state might offer itself up as the world’s nuclear waste dump, accepting high-level nuclear waste from power reactors around the world. Despite extravagant claims about the potential revenue stream from high-level nuclear waste, less than one in six South Australians support the proposal. Continue reading

November 16, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Solution found to Australia’s nuclear waste problem – the Senate Chamber

exultantEdwards,-Sean-trashNuclear Waste To Be Stored In The Senate Chamber By  The Backburner
 The Federal Government has announced that the senate chamber will be home to the first ever nuclear waste dump. Six sites across the country were originally chosen for the shortlist before a unanimous decision to store all waste in the senate.

Several large barrels have already been placed in the chamber in preparation for the waste, ensuring adequate room was left between each one in case of an emergency.

“Occupational Health and Safety is always our number one priority,” a waste disposal employee advised as he placed one barrel next to the Speaker’s seat. “We’ll keep a few exits completely free in case of a fire – safety first! – and we’re ensuring most tubs are placed away from speakers most likely to be asked to leave during question time in case they knock one over on their way out.”

The new nuclear waste facility will store predominately low and intermediate level nuclear waste and will continue to be home to the nation’s highest levels of hot air and drivel.

Certain MPs opposed the decision, gobsmacked that the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency had not been consulted, but the Federal Government released a statement attesting to the plan’s safety.

“It’s only nuclear waste, not a swarm of bees covered in asbestos, or an asylum seeker! There’s nothing to be afraid of,” scoffed one coalition backbencher. “If you’re questioning whether we should be storing it here, or even at all, you obviously don’t understand.”

The wastage is expected to begin being dumped as soon as next week, with officials just waiting on the single ‘Caution: Waste’ A4 sign to be blu-tacked on the main chamber door.

One Independent MP advised she was indifferent about the decision. “To be honest I always leave the senate with a headache anyway, so I don’t think this will change anything. It might even lighten the place up, give the chamber a bit of glowing ambience.”


November 16, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sen Eric Abetz – the sole member of group calling for Abbott’s return

Abbott hallelujahGroup Calling For Abbott’s Return Still Has Just The One Member Senator Eric Abetz is the chair, director, treasurer, and membership body of a new political movement advocating for a return to former Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Mr Abetz used a radio interview this morning to promote the group, which he says is quickly gaining traction. “There has been a groundswell of opinion in my Canberra apartment calling for the reinstatement of Mr Abbott. In particular, all of us want to know more about the precise circumstances surrounding his deposition in September,” Mr Abetz said.

He said the group’s first meeting was a rigorous contest of ideas. “It was a very robust discussion with many valid points raised – our group is a broad church. But what’s clear – and I think I speak for all of us here – what’s clear is that we all want to see Mr Abbott as Prime Minister again”.

The senator said the group has plans to double or even triple membership numbers in the coming months. “In recent days I’ve had a chance to speak to the broader group of people who would like to see Mr Abbott back in the top job, and both of them have expressed interest in joining this movement,” he said.

November 16, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste dump threat to South Australia’s agriculture. Concern in Kimba

South Australia nuclear toiletNuclear waste proposal raises SA concerns, 13 Nov 15  The Eyre Peninsula’s clean, green farming image could be damaged if a proposed nuclear waste dump goes ahead, a regional mayor says.The federal government has short-listed six sites for a nuclear waste dump, including three in South Australia.

Two sites are west of Whyalla and another is north of Port Augusta.

 Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson, whose district covers the two Eyre Peninsula sites, will next week tour the Lucas Heights nuclear facility on a fact-finding mission.

“The concerns are around agriculture, which is our main industry. There is a concern we’ll damage our clean, green image,” Mr Johnson told AAP on Friday.

“We don’t want to base any of our decisions on fear. We want to base them on facts.”

SA Premier Jay Weatherill says findings from the Royal Commission into the Nuclear Fuel Cycle will guide SA’s response to the proposal.

Current state legislation does not allow for the establishment of a nuclear waste storage facility but that could change depending on the commission’s recommendations………

The Conservation Council of South Australia says the federal government is yet to release detailed maps showing the exact locations of short-listed sites.”Worried members of the community are not being given enough information to work out whether [site] areas are in conservation areas,” chief executive Craig Wilkins said.

“It feels like they are stage-managing the release of information.”


November 13, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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