Australian news, and some related international items

British report slams Australia for its polluting industries, high carbon emissions

New British report highlights urgent need for action on renewable energy investment in Australia  ABC Radio PM David Taylor reported this story on Friday, March 27, 2015 MARK COLVIN: A new British report has singled out four Australian energy companies as being among the worst polluters in the world. The research from Oxford University warns of the risks they pose to the economy and the environment.Australia has 22 coal-fired power stations which account for around a quarter of the nation’s carbon emissions.

DAVID TAYLOR: Leading international researchers say Australia has a poor record on tackling greenhouse emissions produced by the nation’s energy companies.

Now, a British report has singled out some of the nation’s worst polluters.

Oxford University researcher, Ben Caldecott.

BEN CALDECOTT: Those were AGL, Origin, Stanwell, and Delta.  Continue reading

March 28, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Malcolm Fraser worked tirelessly for International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

Malcolm Fraser fought to abolish nuclear weapons March 26, 2015 Tilman Ruff  Largely missing logo-ICANfrom the plaudits for Malcolm Fraser was his tireless work for the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the unprecedented global campaign linking 424 organisations in 95 countries.……

March 28, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Farmers go to Canberra for Earth Hour to discuss climate change

Earth-hour-1Farmers from around Australia travel to Canberra to put the spotlight on climate change ahead of Earth Hour ABC Rural 24 Mar 15  WA Country Hour  By Bridget Fitzgerald A group of nine farmers will meet with key members of Federal Parliament this week to discuss their first hand experiences of climate change.

The group, from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia, have travelled to Canberra ahead of Earth Hour this Saturday.

The annual Earth Hour event sees people all over the world switch off their lights for one hour, to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on farmers and food production…….

March 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Malcolm Fraser’s plan for a green Australian republic

Malcolm Fraser’s unrealised manifesto – an Australian republic with green credentials, The Age  March 27, 2015  Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent  The political party Malcolm Fraser was working to set up when he died was to stand for an Australian republic which was reconciled with its first peoples through a treaty, with a larger population, a more independent foreign policy and a post-carbon economy…….

Fairfax Media reported last week the former prime minister would not have led the party, which had the working name Renew Australia, but had led the development of its platform.

In a draft “statement of values and purposes” for the future party published by news website Crikey on Thursday, Mr Fraser argued a new “modern, independent and progressive political party of national purpose” was needed to deliver the “intelligent and enlightened leadership, inspired by a belief in justice, integrity and a sense of the fair go” that the nation demanded.

“We do not take this step lightly or impulsively,” the statement reads. “Our party has been created in the belief that the major political parties … have repeatedly failed Australians on the big issues”……..

The document says the party accepts “the overwhelming scientific evidence of climate change” and recognises that “nothing short of a profoundly different way of structuring the global economy will avert the catastrophic effects of a warming planet.”

“Despite the un-extracted riches in Australia’s coal reserves, the imperative of moving to a post-carbon economy is clear, and the urgency of government intervention to achieve it is compelling,” it reads……….–an-australian-republic-with-green-credentials-20150326-1m8hyt.html

March 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Health, environment concerns about Abbott government and Trans Pacific Partnership

Trans-Pacific Partnership leaked chapter raises health, environment concerns ABC News By business reporter Michael Janda 27 Mar 15 Fair trade and consumer groups say a leaked draft chapter of the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership shows that the Australian Government may be willing to trade off health and environmental protections. Continue reading

March 27, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Good news. New national park in W.A. – mining excluded

tick-of-approvalMiners agree on new national park for WA’s Kimberley region, Australia’s biggest WA Today March 24, 2015 - Steve Holland A new national park that will be the biggest in Australia is set to be created in Western Australia’s Kimberley region after two major mining companies relinquished their tenements.

Rio Tinto and Alcoa Australia have given up their rights to mine the Mitchell Plateau in the north-west of the Kimberley, a region of significant biological diversity, encompassing spectacular gorges and waterfalls.

Premier Colin Barnett said on Tuesday he would introduce legislation into WA Parliament to terminate a State Agreement which would have seen an alumina refinery and bauxite mine allowed in the region. …..

It’s expected that numerous endangered animals in the region, such as the northern quoll, the rough-scaled python and various turtles, will have a greater chance of survival with the creation of the park. …….The government announced it would continue to work with the traditional owners in the area, the Dambimangari, Wunambal-Gaambera and Wilinggin, to create and jointly manage the proposed Kimberley National Park.

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

Australia will have plenty of posturing but little or no new large scale renewable energy

Clean energy victim of political pantomime, Financial Review, by Jennifer Hewett 24 Mar 15 What a fiasco the argument over the Renewable Energy Target has become.

As one senior industry figure laments, it’s now complete political pantomime. No one in the government or Labor wants to concede the reality of what’s happening on the ground in terms of investment.

The result is that Australia will have plenty of posturing but little or no new large scale renewable energy development likely for years to come. No matter what the official target says.

It’s also despite the two sides of politics supposedly moving much closer on the revised number of gigawatt hours required to meet the 2020 target – 32,000 GWh according to the government and 35,000 GWh according to Labor.  Any deal would include full exemptions for emission-intensive industries such as aluminium and steel.

 But after months of talks and industry hopes of an imminent compromise, the politicians so far cannot agree on a deal.

Instead, the whole argument has been diverted into false and emotive arguments about who is for or against climate change. Labor doesn’t want to concede any political vulnerability to the Greens who suggest Labor is reneging on a commitment to combating climate change……

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

Australia lost $1.8 billion in foreign investment through Abbott govt’s opposition to renewable energy

Abbott-destroys-renewablesFlannery: Abbott Govt’s approach to renewable energy “grim”  | 20th Mar 2015 “GRIM” is how climate scientist, author and Climate Council member Tim Flannery describes the Abbott Government’s approach to climate change and renewable energy.

The outspoken scientist was interviewed ahead of his keynote speech at the Byron Solar Revolution Symposium this Saturday afternoon.

While everyday Aussies had embraced rooftop solar at an unprecedented rate, at a Federal level the commitment to big projects was in reverse, Professor Flannery said. “We’re doing very badly. We’ve been left way, way behind. Particularly in terms of clean energy technology,” he said.

Prof Flannery said as a result of the Federal Government’s “backward” stance on the Renewable Energy Target the nation had lost out on $1.8 billion in foreign investment into large-scale renewable projects in 2014 alone.

“At current settings, things are looking pretty grim,” he said. “We have a very high reliance on a very polluting, antiquated electricity system. Some of our coal-fired stations are the most polluting in the developed world.”

text-community-energyBut amid all this negativity, Byron Shire Council has pledged to become a “zero emissions” council by 2020, while Lismore City Council has made a similar commitment.

Plans are afoot to launch a community-owned regional electricity retailer, and at least two other medium-sized renewable projects are planned in Lismore and Mullumbimby.

Prof Flannery said it was a “no-brainer” that regional communities were keen on renewable energy, because they could keep their profits local instead of funding “head offices” in the capitals.

And he said solar technology was making huge strides to support the move.

“We’re just seeing now the new storage units coming on to the Australian market at a price most people can afford,” he said.

Australia should be taking advantage of its massive solar resource, Prof Flannery said, pointing out the world’s solar technology leader was Germany, but even its best solar region was worse than our worst – in south-west Tasmania.

March 21, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Protest against Western Australian native title deal

briberyProtest held against WA native title deal March 18, 2015 Aboriginal protesters have demonstrated outside the West Australian parliament against a $1.3 billion native title deal.

The agreement was finalised in November last year after five years of negotiations between the state and the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

It offers the Noongar people land, finance and benefits in exchange for the surrender of native title rights in the region.

The Noongar community is currently considering the deal, but some members have accused those who support it of being sell-outs. Speaker Avril Dean told the crowd that SWALSC has “dangled a bit of money” above the Noongar people’s heads.

“This land is so much about us and what’s in our hearts, and we come here today to protest the giving away of our land,” she said on Wednesday.

“The government wants to take away… everything that’s so special to us

March 20, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Jo Vallentine -a world first when elected to the Senate on a platform of nuclear disarmament

Vellentine,-JoTake heart: name the sixteenth Western Australian federal electorate ‘Vallentine’ This year marks the 30th anniversary of Jo Vallentine’s historic election to the Australian senate, the first time in the world a person was elected to a parliament on a platform of nuclear disarmament.

Jo Vallentine later went on to be instrumental in establishing The Greens (WA), now the state’s third largest party. She was the first elected representative for the Greens in federal parliament.

Jo Vallentine continues to make an outstanding contribution to our community through a passionate commitment to peace, nonviolence and social justice.

For more information on why this new seat should be called Vallentine and to sign the Greens (WA) petition:

To make your own submission:


or email to

or mail to PO Box 7081, Cloisters Square PO, WA, 6850

Submissions must be received by AEC by 6pm Friday 10 April 2015

Please contact: Chilla Bulbeck on 0407 165 753 if you need to discuss the submission or have any queries


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

Giles Parkinson punctures Abbott’s 10 biggest lies on renewable energy

Abbott government’s 10 biggest renewable energy whoppers, Parkinson-Report-REneweconomy, By  on 17 March 2015

Plus ça change. The more it changes, the more it stays the same. For the past 18 months, every day seems like groundhog day for the renewable energy industry in Australia, which has been at a standstill because of uncertainty about federal government policy.  The Abbott government, extraordinarily, protests that it is a supporter of renewables, and it is all the fault of the Labor Party that the industry is in such disarray. Time and again, Abbott and his ministers repeat utter nonsense about the renewable energy industry in radio and TV interviews, and at press conferences.

So we thought we would puncture some of these balloons. There are so many it is hard to know where to start. If you think we have omitted a good’un, please let us know, either through email or on the comments page.

So here we go:………

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

Abbott govt effectively stall renewable energy as talks drag on

Hot air can be even more expensive than renewable energy, Financial Review, Jennifer Hewett, 17 Mar 15 “……….CERTAINTY, PREDICTABILITY REQUIRED

Joaquin Mollinedo, chief institutional relations officer of Acciona, says that the company simply requires certainty and predictability before it can proceed with any investment decisions.

That doesn’t seem too much to ask. Apparently, it is in Australia. This is even more perplexing for European companies participating in the global trend towards greater use of renewable energy.

Australian industry is still hoping for an imminent breakthrough after months of negotiation between Labor and the government to try and reach a compromise on a lower number of gigawatt hours.  This would include exemptions for heavily emitting industries such as aluminium, cement making and steel – which would otherwise face high penalties.

But any deal is still elusive…….

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

Tortuous progress between Labor and Coalition on deal about Renewable Energy Target

poster-renewables-rallyLabor and Coalition inch towards deal on renewable energy target   Guardian, , 15 Mar 15 Opposition leader Bill Shorten talks up the urgency of a deal as cabinet meets to consider report on the lack of progress on reaching an agreement The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has convened a meeting of the renewable energy industry on Monday in an apparent attempt to gather support to put a compromise position to the Abbott government over the renewable energy target.

Also on Monday, cabinet will discuss a joint letter from the environment minister,Greg Hunt, and the industry minister, Ian Macfarlane – effectively an update on the lack of progress in the RET negotiations…….

Renewable industry sources expect Shorten will use the meeting to try to reach an agreed position on a compromise to put to the government – higher than its current 31,000-gigawatt- hour stance but lower than Labor’s previous position. A compromise could possibly be around 34,000 gigawatt hours.

The chief executive of the clean energy council, Kane Thornton, said the government’s current position was “clearly unacceptable to industry”.

Shorten has invited industry, union and renewable energy representatives to his Monday summit.

As well as the overall target, industry has been urging the government to deal with a glut of renewable energy certificates in the market, perhaps by extending the end date of the scheme.

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

Bill Shorten to host summit on Renewable Energy Target

Shorten to host RET summit BILL Shorten will today meet unions, business groups and the clean energy industry on the renewable energy target. (subscribers only)

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

Toro Uranium CEO Vanessa Guthrie hanging out for that distant day when uranium prices might rise

Guthrie poisoned-chalice-3Toro Energy Managing Director Dr. Vanessa Guthrie Says Be Patient and Persistent in Tough Times, Uranium Investing News,March 13, 2015, Toro Energy Ltd. (ASX:TOE) Managing Director Dr. Vanessa Guthrie says what makes Toro Energy stand out from any other uranium company in its class is that, “we are the only project approved, ready to go, and the most advanced in terms of engineering and resource studies in Australia. [And]

all we are now waiting for is the time to come back… the market to come back, with the uranium price, which will actually put Wiluna into production.” In the last 12 months, major funds have invested in Toro Energy: $5 million from RealFin Capital Partners, and a $20 million investment from The Sentient Group.

March 14, 2015 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment


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