Australian news, and some related international items

Northern Territory groups condemn Chief Minister Adam Giles’ last ditch effort to get nuclear waste dump

Protest-No!NO NT DEAL BY DEADLINE FOR NUCLEAR DUMP PLAN  1 Oct 14The Environment Centre of the NT and Beyond Nuclear Initiative have today condemned Chief Minister Adam Giles’ last ditch effort to secure a nuclear waste dump site in the Northern Territory as a risky and short-sighted plan that goes against the clear wishes of the majority of Territorians.

A deadline set by Federal Resources Minister Ian MacFarlane expires today in which Aboriginal Land Councils and the NT Government could nominate a site for consideration as Australia’s first national radioactive waste dump. Without an NT site on offer, the Federal Minister will potentially open the nomination process to a national field from mid-November.

Lauren Mellor, Nuclear-free NT Campaigner stated: “The process for selecting an NT dump site has been a near decade long self-described disaster for successive Federal Governments. Instead of heeding the loud and consistent objections from targeted communities, transport workers and residents of towns along the transport route, the NT Chief Minister has thrown his weight behind a divisive, unpopular and irresponsible waste dump plan.”

“Every NT community that has been approached to host the dump since 2005 has overwhelmingly rejected the plan, choosing to protect country and the health of their community instead of being enticed by the compensation package on offer.”

Natalie Wasley from the Beyond Nuclear Initiative said, “Adam Giles and Federal Minister Ian Macfarlane cannot ignore the nine-year campaign waged by people across the Territory rejecting a national nuclear waste dump. Any attempts to nominate another NT site will be deeply unpopular- and challenged.

“Environment groups want to advance radioactive waste management in ways that ensures the environment is protected along with the rights of people living in remote communities. It is time to stop throwing darts at the map in the desperate search for a remote site. The end of the NT nomination period today should be the start of an evidence-based approach to radioactive waste management in the form of an independent, national commission”.



Lauren Mellor, Environment Centre NT (Darwin) 0413 534 125

Natalie Wasley, Beyond Nuclear Initiative (Alice Springs) 0429 900 774

October 1, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Coalition and Labor begin talks on Renewable Energy Target

ballot-boxSmRenewable energy target (RET) talks to begin between the Coalition and Labor, ABC News, AM  30 Sept 14 By political reporter Naomi Woodley The Federal Opposition has indicated it will be pushing for a precise energy use target represented by gigawatt hours, as it begins negotiations with the Government over the future of the renewable energy target (RET).

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler has responded to an invitation from the Industry Minister, Ian Macfarlane, for a meeting to discuss the RET.

“We start from a position which says the existing renewable energy policy has worked terrifically well for Australia, but beyond that I’ll do Ian Macfarlane the courtesy of hearing what he has to say and do all that we can to get this very successful policy, very critically important policy back on the rails,” Mr Butler told AM.

The RET calls for 20 per cent of Australia’s energy use to be sourced from renewable energy by 2020, and the legislation specifies that target as 41,000 gigawatt hours.

………”I’ve said in my correspondence that we won’t support the recommendations from the Warburton review,” Mr Butler said.

“We don’t think they are supported by any evidence.

“We’ve also heard pretty clearly that their implementation would devastate investment in the sector.”

Mr Macfarlane initially indicated he would like to present the Government’s response to the Warburton review within a month, but that timeframe has been revised. ……..

Neither the Government nor Opposition would be drawn on whether either would seek to extend the timetable for the 20 per cent target beyond 2020.

October 1, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Pro Renewable energy protestors target MP Barnaby Joyce

poster-renewables-rallyJoyce targeted over renewable energy target The Armidale Express By SAMANTHA-JO HARRIS Oct. 1, 2014 A POLITICAL stoush is brewing over suggestions the renewable energy target could be rolled back.

Up to 100 people from around the region waved placards out the front of New England MP Barnaby Joyce’s electorate office in Tamworth on Friday.

They were protesting against suggestions the federal government should scrap the target, which aims to achieve 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020. At the rally Mr Joyce said it was his priority to ensure electricity was affordable for residents.

His state counterpart, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said he was of a different opinion to Mr Joyce and the federal government.

He has thrown his support behind retaining the target, saying he wanted to see the state exceed the 20 per cent target.

“It cannot be refuted that renewable energy benefits consumers, helps energy security by diversifying sources and cuts greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Marshall said…..Mr Marshall said any changes would create uncertainty for businesses.

“To shift the goal posts now would be to risk these projects being scuppered and a potential loss of economic and environmental gains for our region,” Mr Marshall said.

October 1, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Pro renewable energy protest targets office of Luke Hartsuyker, Nationals Member for Cowper

poster-renewables-rallyRenewable energy target supporters march on Cowper MP office  September 27, 2014

THE SECOND stage of last weekend’s Coffs Coast march for climate action took place outside the office of The Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, on Friday.

Renewable energy workers, businesses, solar owners and climate action supporters came together to protest the Federal Government’s faltering support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

Spokesperson Marnie Cotton said the Coalition is likely on Tuesday to make changes to the RET as recommended by the Warburton Review.

“With the decision probably just a few days away it is absolutely critical that voices in support of the RET are heard and people really understand what changes could mean,” she said.

The Coalition has indicated it will make cuts and possibly abolish the small-scale targets, affecting the cost of putting solar panels on residences or businesses.

Phasing out small scale targets or carrying out the other recommendation of reducing the size of eligible installations from 100kW to 10kW could mean an increase of 30-50% in the cost of a installing solar.

“With Coffs Harbour home to approximately nine solar businesses, the impact on them and the wider impact on the local area cannot be underestimated,” Ms Cotton said.

“An estimated 9000 jobs in the Australian solar industry are under threat by changes to the RET and as Assistant Minister for Employment, Mr Hartsuyker should support the industry which provides local employment to our region.”

Coffs Harbour residents have demonstrated support for solar with some of the highest number of panels installed per head of population.

Large scale projects are increasing with the installation of a 65kW system at a local golf club now underway.

“We are determined to keep campaigning until full bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target is restored by our politicians so jobs, growth and investment can continue for the good of our nation and the climate,” Ms Cotton added.

September 29, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Outside Tony Abbott’s office, protestors rally for renewable energy

poster-renewables-rallyCommunity and industry come together to fight to keep the Renewable Energy Target CAYLA DENGATE MANLY DAILY SEPTEMBER 26, 2014 11 More than 200 people gathered at Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Manly office today as part of a national day of action to fight for the Renewable Energy Target. The protest comes less than a month after the Federal Government released a report recommending the target be watered down or closed to new investment.

The scheme is designed to reduce emissions from electricity, provide financial incentives for new renewable energy projects and ensure at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2020.

Curl Curl Solar Business Services director Nigel Morris said there was no sense to getting rid of the target, which among other things, provided a discount for solar installation in homes.

“We know 4.5 million Australians wake up every day and make a cup of coffee in a solar-powered house,” Mr Morris said. “For the government to consider axing the target … makes no sense.”

Solar Energy Industry Association national chair Brian England said Australia could be left behind.  “When the rest of the world increases renewable energy, we’re winding it back.”

Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton said the industry was affected by uncertainty. “People don’t want to invest in solar or wind when they don’t know if it has a future in Australia,” he said.

Solar Citizens campaigns director Claire O’Rourke said removing the target could increase power bills.

Manly Councillor Cathy Griffin said the event was a success.

“This is the biggest protest I’ve seen outside Tony Abbott’s office,” Ms Griffin said. “It shows people are passionate about renewable energy and going totally off fossil fuels.”

September 27, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Across Australia, citizens rally in support of Renewable Energy Target

poster-renewables-rallyRenewable energy target rallies held across Australia The Guardian, 27 Sept 14, Protesters gather in 30 locations at events organised by renewable energy lobby groups calling for the 20% target to be retained Rallies have been held across Australia calling on the federal government to uphold a commitment to renewable energy.

At some 30 locations around the nation on Friday, peaceful protesters waved placards and made speeches outside the offices of Coalition MPs and senators.

“Tasmania is a renewable energy paradise,” climate action spokesman Phil Harrington called from the back of a ute outside the Hobart office of Liberal senator Eric Abetz.

The leader of the government in the upper house wasn’t inside his office to hear speeches, which outlined the billions of dollars worth of investment Tasmania is set to reap from renewable energy projects including wind farms.

A similar scene backing the renewable energy target (RET) was on show in Perth outside the office of deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop, where protesters were addressed by state MP for Perth, Alannah MacTiernan.

MacTiernan said it was embarrassing countries all over the world were supporting market mechanisms to combat climate change, but Australia was backing down.

“Where is this concept that we’re out here on our own?” she asked the crowd. “We have lost our price on carbon but we will bring that back.

“But what we still have here is the renewable energy target and we must make sure that we keep this credible target.”…….

September 27, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Sunshine Coast glad that Australia rejects nuclear power

map-solar-QueenslandWE SAY: Right rein pulled on nuclear option   25th Sep 2014 Anthony Clausen

OUR VIEW: THE Coast has an abiding interest in the future of the energy industry in Australia.

Our pristine environment depends upon it, after all.

We were once the target of politically mischievous claims that the Coast was on a list of “possible future nuclear power plant sites”.

This week, however, lost in headlines about terrorism, terror laws and our continued reliance on coal this week, Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane ruled out nuclear power plants in Australia, in line with government policy.

We are pleased to hear it.

The issue has bubbled up with the release of the government’s Energy Green Paper, which urges the establishment of a broad mix of energy sources, including nuclear power.

Mr Macfarlane said, how-ever, his focus was on keeping consumer costs down while forging an energy industry that provided investment and development opportunities.

“We are blessed in Australia with a broad set of energy sources, and not only in terms of coal and gas, but also renewable energy, and renewable energy will grow as part of our energy mix,” he said.

“So there is … no need to have a debate in regard to nuclear energy in Australia, but we should focus on the opportunities that nuclear energy presents in other countries and build our uranium industry to take advantage of that.”

That, of course, sets off a different chain-reaction debate.

September 26, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Australia’s Industry Minister damps down Liberals’ enthusiasm for nuclear power – for now

Australia to sell uranium but won’t use it The Age, 23 Sept 14 Nuclear energy is off the table as a power source for Australia.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane said Australia has abundant uranium and was regarded as a safe and secure supplier to its neighbours but he said the federal government had no interest in developing it here as an energy source.

“The reality is that in Australia the appetite for nuclear fuel, which did get as high as around 50 per cent within the community, has waned quite significantly since the Fukushima incident,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Tuesday.

“Combined with the fact that we are completely blessed with a range of energy options which include coal, gas and renewables, the community has made it clear that this is not an issue they wish to pursue at this time.”…….

September 24, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Abbott govt’s Energy Green Paper plans for “Quarry Australia”

Liberal-policy-1Australia ‘little more than a quarry’ in energy green paper, Sunshine Coast Daily  23rd Sep 2014 ENVIRONMENTAL groups have warned a new Abbott government energy policy green paper is a replay of “last century’s energy options”, while the energy supply industry has backed wide-ranging market reforms.

Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane on Tuesday released the paper, an early precursor to the government’s energy policy, to a mixed reception.

The green paper has laid out draft plans to attract more energy investment, loosen market regulations and lower electricity prices.

But it also maintains strong support for the existing coal and gas industries, and has raised the ire of environmental groups for not focussing on renewable energy options.

Mr Macfarlane said the paper aim to “reset” energy policy, coming only two years after a similar process by then-Resources Minister Martin Ferguson.

The report also focuses on building domestic gas supply, but did not advocate a reservation policy, and has reinforced the government’s drive for states to sell off energy assets.

But the Australian Conservation Foundations’ climate change manager Victoria McKenzie-McHarg said it “positions Australia as little more than a quarry”.

She said the paper failed to address two of the “biggest challenges”; growing the renewable energy sector and replacing coal-fired power stations…..

.The green paper is now out for public comment, before submissions will be taken into account for a white paper, which will lead to an official government energy policy.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Police surround Australia’s Lucas Heights Nuclear Reactor

Lucas-09Police surround nuclear power plant after two cars appear at the entrance of the facility

  • AFP officers surrounded the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO)
  • Two cars were seen at the plant in Lucas Heights, south of Sydney

By FREYA NOBLE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA , 22 September 2014…….The Daily Telegraph reports police spoke with five men and let them go after a short discussion……

September 24, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Climate change, not terrorism, is an existential threat to Australia

climate-AustIslamic State is not an existential threat to us, SMH,  September 24, 201 Jonathan Holmes Professor Suzanne Cory delivered the third Boyer Lecture last Sunday – the same day, as it happened, that hundreds of thousands around the world marched and demonstrated for quicker action on climate change………

so far as I know, only Crikey’s Bernard Keane has called George Brandis out on his alarmism.

ISIL knows the power of terror, however. As the Prime Minister puts it, “It is a serious situation when all you need to do to carry out a terrorist attack is to have a knife, an iPhone and a victim”.

But what last week showed us was that, with a bit of help from your enemies, you can terrify a supposedly confident and prosperous nation of twenty-three million people by making one call on an old-fashioned telephone……

Funding for ASIO and ASIS up; the Department of Climate change abolished, and funding for the CSIRO’s scientists cut. More and more laws to stop terrorists; fewer and fewer measures to limit greenhouse gas emissions. And of course, no carbon price.

The threat of terrorism by followers of ISIL, and the threat posed by climate change, are both real.  But only one of them is potentially existential.  If we expect government to keep not just us, but our children and grandchildren safe, this one will let us down. Count on it.

September 24, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Melbourne kicks off the global climate rally with 30,000 people

Melbourne rally for climate change action attracts 30,000 people  The Age September 21, 2014 –  City Editor, The Age Organisers of an international climate rally say the Melbourne leg of the global demonstration has seen 30,000 protesters converge on Melbourne’s Treasury Gardens on Sunday afternoon.


Australia’s People’s Climate March is one of around 2500 rallies taking place around the globe ahead of a United Nations summit on climate change in New York next week….

Milne,-Christine-13…Greens leader Christine Milne said Australia must send a strong message to Mr Abbott that the time for a “conversation” was over.

“We won’t stand for it, that’s what we have to convey to Tony Abbott and leaders around the world,” she said. “The reign of fossil fuels is over, what we have to do is end the reign of the fossil fools who keep it going.”…….

September 22, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Archbishop Desmond Tutu calls for Truth and Justice Commission on wrongs done to Australia’s Aborigines

Desmond Tutu: ‘Lay bare the horrors of the past’  September 21, 2014   South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu has supported calls for a truth and justice commission to expose “the horrors of the past” suffered by Aboriginal Australians.

In a statement released for World Peace Day on Sunday, the former Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town said it should be followed by a “national healing process for all Australians”.

Aboriginal elders Djiniyini Gondarra, senior Dhurili clan leader of the Yolngu peoples of north-east Arnhem Land, and Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, a former Anglican nun based in Utopia in Central Australia, wrote to the archbishop this month to express their concerns about the slow movement towards indigenous self-determination.

“I pray for the rights of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia to determine their own destiny,” the archbishop said. “It is a severe indictment on Australia that many of its indigenous peoples still feel that their culture and dignity are being eroded and that they continue to be treated as second-class citizens.

“Community councils have been closed down and management of many aspects of the peoples’ lives has been transferred to non-indigenous institutions. The exclusion of local Aboriginal perspectives from decision-making is directly eroding customs, laws, languages and land-use aspirations.

“The imposition of legislation generally known as the Northern Territory intervention in 2007 virtually stripped them of their voice.”

“The archbishop has been one of my heroes and it is an answer to my prayer that the archbishop has responded and taken it seriously,” Ms Kunoth-Monks said.

“Forty-two years after becoming a signatory to the UN’s International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Australian government policy has still not seriously looked at human rights whereas the first people are concerned.”

Mrs Kunoth-Monks said some form of truth commission should be considered. “I certainly am calling for a national journey for that truth and justice, bringing in the history of all the horrors and the assaults that are continuing under the government’s policies,” she said.

“The wounds are still open and raw.”

September 22, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Aboriginal constitutional recognition is worthless without a treaty

text TreatyCampaign to recognise what? NEDA VANOVAC, 7 News  September 19, 2014, “………….Northern Territory elder Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, think constitutional recognition is worthless without a treaty, and she criticised indigenous leaders who back the movement.

“You have the elite blacks that have been almost handpicked to be the voices for First Nation Australians: Noel Pearson, Marcia Langton, Adam Goodes; I don’t want him in there, he’s such a wonderful young ambassador but he better come and listen to us mob, too, and get what it is that makes us a First Nations person,” she told AAP.

She said she was “gutted” when the Prime Minister said last month that the arrival of the First Fleet “was the defining moment in the history of this continent”.

Ms Kunoth-Monks said Mr Abbott had delivered a double insult, since he purports to be a prime minister for indigenous affairs.

She sees constitutional recognition as another form of assimilation, and at a referendum “I hope those that have got a heart and a grasp on reality will also vote no”.

Aboriginal commentator Celeste Liddle has called the Recognise campaign “a government-sponsored ad campaign removed from grassroots indigenous opinion” and has asked where the funding is for the opposing view…….

…..But calling the campaign racist is a distortion of the principle of the movement, said its campaign director Tanya Hosch.

“A key (reason) is to create a unifying moment for the nation where the first people of the country become included in our national founding document where they’ve previously been excluded,” she told AAP.

“That’s going to be a moment for all of us as Australians to celebrate together.”

She said legal experts had confirmed that voting yes for constitutional recognition does not pose any legal impediment for those seeking a treaty or sovereignly. But despite the message of unification, the campaign is not promising change after the vote, Ms Hosch said…….


An Expert Panel, which included indigenous and community leaders, constitutional experts and parliamentarians, consulted across Australia and reported to the Prime Minister in January 2012, recommending that Australians should vote in a referendum to:
remove Section 25, which says the states can ban people from voting based on their race

remove section 51(xxvi), which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race

insert a new section 51A to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian government’s ability to pass laws for the benefit (not detriment) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government

insert a new section 127A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.(SOURCE: Recognise,

September 20, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How Australians pay twice over for electricity infrastructure

DORC rort: The art of getting energy infrastructure paid for twice, SMH,  September 19, 2014  Business columnist “…… will hear how you have been paying for something, on a quarterly basis for the past 10 years, which you have already paid for. We are all victims of a high-brow rort by governments and energy companies.

While the consulting industry thrives on selling so-called expert valuations to justify this rort, Sydney University finance professor David Johnstone says it should end…….

energy companies are valuing old assets such as gas pipelines – things that consumers have already paid for – as if they were brand-spanking new. We, the mug punters, are lumbered with the cost on our power bills.

This is the DORC rort (depreciated optimised replacement cost), its moniker alone sufficient to discourage further inquiry.

Suffice to say that a reasonable thing for regulators to do might simply be to value assets at their cost, or to recognise only what their owners actually spend. Suffice to say that in Singapore and Hong Kong they would not be silly enough to use DORC, yet large corporations from these places are here enjoying riskless 10 per cent returns by stinging we mug Aussies twice for access to old gas pipelines, things that were paid for, and privatised, years ago……

why are assets that are already in private hands given the same favourable regulatory treatment? “I think it comes down to ideology as well as vested interests,” Johnstone says. “Economists fall in love their own models and crave the authority of being scientists.”

September 20, 2014 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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