Australian news, and some related international items

A truly valuable legacy for Premier Mike Rann, to repeal South Australia’s unjust Indenture Act

the Indenture Act trumps all other SA legislation…..Over to you, Mr Rann − repealing the indefensible legal privileges in the current Indenture Act would be a good way to end your tenure as SA Premier.

Above the law: Olympic Dam’s legal privileges, Jim Green and Gavin Mudd, 27 Aug 11 Premier Mike Rann has done us a favour by insisting on concluding negotiations with BHP Billiton over the SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act before leaving office. It is by no means clear that the outcome will be
improved with Mr Rann’s involvement, but he has at least drawn attention to this remarkable legislation.

The Indenture Act governs the operations of the Olympic Dam copper/uranium mine. The legislation was controversial when it was enacted in 1982 and it is all the more inappropriate as the basis for the planned expansion of
the mine.

The Act provides BHP Billiton with the legal authority to override important state legislation including the Aboriginal Heritage Act 1988,
the Environmental Protection Act 1993, the Freedom of Information Act
1991, the Natural Resources Act 2004 (including water management issues),
the Development Act 1993 and the Mining Act 1971. Continue reading

August 27, 2011 Posted by | politics, South Australia, uranium | | Leave a comment

As Australia’s groundwater declines, BHP BIlliton should not extract GAB water for free

It is within the power of the Federal and South Australian governments to require, as a condition of consent to the BHP Billiton proposal, that at the time the desalination plant is commissioned, the company will surrender any and whatever licence it has to extract water from the Great Artesian Basin ….

It is our submission that, as the largest single extractor of water from the GAB in South Australia, BHP Billiton has created its own ethical obligation to the future of the GAB …

It is our further submission that this is not an economic issue, it is not even an environmental issue, it is about the ethics of any company continuing to assert its current right to a public resource when that company has the financial capacity to secure the same resource from its own private reserves. ….

Re:- BHP Billiton – Olympic Dam Expansion Proposal22 August, 2011  Letter to Senate Standing Committees on Rural Affairs and Transport  from Richard Quilty BHP Billiton Shareholder Willem Vervoort,Associate Professor, Hydrology & Catchment Management The University of Sydney

On the dry Australian continent groundwater is the only consistently reliable source of water; it is thus an extremely valuable resource. The Great Artesian Basin (GAB) is the largest of those groundwater resources.

The total value of production supported by GAB water is estimated at $3.5 billion per annum. Without that groundwater there would be little to no economic activity and in fact little opportunity for life in much of regional Australia.

Currently, many groundwater resources are over-allocated leading to declining water tables and water quality. Federal and State governments as well as private business are investing large amounts of money to rectify this problem. An example is the $140 million GABSI program to save GAB water. Continue reading

August 27, 2011 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, uranium, water | | Leave a comment

Japan’s success in reducing energy use

smart meters are now widely used in Japan as tools for monitoring electricity consumption. I’ve even seen them on Tokyo trains, where commuters can monitor how well the city is doing in cutting demand for electricity. …

 By reducing energy consumption, Japan will be well positioned to move forward with its ambitious plans to replace nuclear and fossil fuel generators with renewable energy technology.

Nuclear plant crisis creates new incentives for energy conservation, Renewable Energy Magazine, Richard Crume 26 Aug 11,   “……….To address the potential energy shortages and avert blackouts, the Japanese government has taken several emergency steps. One is to encourage residents to reduce their indoor air conditioning to around 28ºC (82ºF). This voluntary program has been so successful that the government has had to warn residents not to over do it

The nuclear crisis in Japan has sparked new ideas for energy conservation and renewable energy applications. If Japanese industry can achieve the mandated 15% energy reductions almost overnight, so can industries in other countries, says expert blogger, Richard Crume……. Continue reading

August 27, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment