Australian news, and some related international items

Never Again Nuclear War – Australia’s role – theme for August 2019

Australia has long been part of the USA’s nuclear war strategy.  Pine Gap, USA’s secret facility in Central Australia, has since 1966 been  a centre for espionage and for co-ordination of US air strikes. It has been part of America’s “Star Wars” plan to put missiles into space. American congressmen have made $millions from their investments in Defense Department contracts in Pine Gap, and can tour Pine Gap.  But Australian Members of Parliament are denied entry.

Being part of the American nuclear war machine makes a hypocrisy out of Australia’s supposed posture against nuclear weapons.

As an exporter of uranium, Australia plays a key part in nuclear weapons. There are no effective safeguards against uranium being used for weapons,  – no real barrier between the “peaceful atom” and the “military atom”

The plan to buy French submarines, that could later be converted to nuclear submarines has been linked with the 2016 failed plan for an international nuclear waste dump , as Dan Monceaux has detailed in his submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry.

Another big worry is the apparent inability of Australia’s politicians, especially the ruling Liberal Coalition, to understand the contradictory position that they put us in. Enthusiastic support of USA’s militarism towards China, is a dangerous attitude for Australia to take, and most unwise, with China being our top trading partner.

With the Trump administration in USA, there’s a real danger of an attack on Iran.  With the Morrison government in Australia, there’s a real danger of Australia mindlessly signing up to this.

Meanwhile there’s a strong and growing movement supporting the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty.  It was instigated in this country, and many are working towards Australia joining the 122 nations that have signed it.


July 25, 2019 Posted by | Christina themes | 2 Comments

Labor leader Anthony Albanese asks “Where would the Liberal Coalition like nuclear reactors to be placed”?

Anthony Albanese MP– 25 July 19

This week, the Government said they had an “open mind” about nuclear power in this country. If they really mean that, where on this map are they going to build it? Because these locations haven’t just been pulled out of some hat. These are the locations that the nuclear industry says a nuclear power plant would need to be located.

And if they want to build these things, every single Australian – from Geraldton to the Gold Coast – deserves to know where.


July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Union opposes nuclear power because it is uneconomic and dangerous

Wake up and smell the radiation. Nuclear is not the answer Allen Hicks, 24 July 19

July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, employment, safety | Leave a comment

State Development Minister Cameron Dick says that Nuclear power would gut Queensland

Nuclear power would gut Qld, minister says, Sonia KohlbacherAAP, Wednesday, 24 July 2019

A senior Queensland politician has shot down a push by a handful of federal politicians to reconsider nuclear power.

The state’s energy and farming sectors would be gutted if Queensland played host to a nuclear power plant, State Development Minister Cameron Dick told a budget estimates hearing on Wednesday.

Mr Dick was responding to several coalition MPs who want to explore the viability of nuclear power, which is banned under federal law.

“A nuclear power plant would be a disaster for industry, for jobs and for growth in our state,” Mr Dick said.

“We’ve got new energy industries, industries that will create jobs for our children, that will be completely gutted by this proposal.” Mr Dick said nuclear power would run renewable energy sources out of town at a time of significant investment, strangle efforts to build a hydrogen industry and require massive government subsidies to get off the ground.

The nuclear push is being led by Hinkler MP Keith Pitt with the backing of Senator James McGrath, while other MPs within the ranks of Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government have failed to dismiss it when probed.

Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor noted the ban when asked to rule it out in federal parliament on Tuesday.

“We’re not focused on the fuel source, we are focused on the outcome,” he said.

Mr Taylor said there were no plans to overturn the ban.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

Senate moved to call on Senator Canavan to explain nuclear waste dump plan – size of dump, and types of wastes

 24 July 19, Sarah Hanson Young has a motion in parliament today re the rumours about a larger dump site

Senator Hanson-Youngmoved —That the Senate—

  1. notes that recent reports that the proposed nuclear waste dump site in South Australia will be expanded, covering at least 160 hectares, an increase of 60%, are deeply troubling given the lack of consultation; and
  2. calls on the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Senator Canavan, to provide a full explanation of the current plans for the nuclear waste dump site, and to clarify exactly how large it will be and what level of waste it will hold.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment

News South Wales South Coast touted as the place to site a nuclear power plant

July 25, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Continuing problem of radioactive waste at Hunters Hill – contamination from old uranium processing site

Hunters Hill residents reject plan to store radioactive waste in their street

Key points:

  • The area on Sydney’s north shore was the former site of the Radium Hill refinery, which closed in 1915
  • Residents have fought for decades to have the Government remove the contaminated soil
  • A plan to keep the waste in “cells” on site has been rejected and labelled a “temporary” fix

Several properties on Nelson Parade at Hunters Hill have been built on land contaminated by the former Radium Hill uranium processing plant in the 1900s.

Residents have spent decades urging the government to remove the affected soil, which the NSW Environment Protection Authority found was contaminated with petroleum hydrocarbons, coal tar pitch, arsenic and lead.

The Council has now voted against a recommendation by its own consultants to “encapsulate” the low-level radioactive material in cement “cells” and store it onsite.

Philippa Clark from the Nelson Parade Action Group said residents felt the plan would make their lives worse.

“The cells will make the stigma permanent, our anxiety increased, trapped in unsaleable homes.

“The proposal is silent on all of those impacts.

She said most Hunters Hill residents knew nothing of the latest plan by Property NSW as few residents were formally notified and it was on exhibition over the school holidays.

The existence of the radioactive material, in the soil for over a century, was discovered 53 years ago and remains unmanaged.

The Council and residents want the soil removed altogether but an earlier proposal to send it to a waste facility at Kemp’s Creek in Sydney’s West was abandoned after a backlash from the local community.

There is no other waste facility in the state licenced to handle the material and a national radioactive waste management facility is yet to be established by the Federal Government.

Ms Clarke told Monday night’s council meeting that if the radioactive material was stored onsite at Hunters Hill, there was no guarantee it would be moved later when suitable off-site storage becomes available.

Former Hunters Hill mayor Richard Quinn also urged the Council to reject the proposal.

“Whilst we might wish to see progress at last and endorse this [proposal], the onsite encapsulation component of this report I believe cannot be accepted,” he said.

“It’s contrary to the best practice in sustainable remediation, and it’s not unreasonable for this community to expect anything less than best practice.”

Resident John Akin thought the Council had no choice but to accept the proposal, saying those pushing for outright rejection “overlook the health risk from the waste being left in its current uncontrolled state”.

But Mayor Mark Bennett said Property NSW told the Council during a meeting that the majority of Hunters Hill ratepayers were against the encapsulation option.

“It will be interesting to see what the Government decides to do as a result of this … it’s a decision of the Government at the end of the day.

“My opinion is we should not vote for encapsulation because I think it could be a permanent solution without any guarantees that it’s an interim solution — I can’t support it.”

Last year the NSW Government announced $30 million to fully remediate the land after a parliamentary inquiry a decade ago.

July 25, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine surviving on lifeline from Indian parent company

Adani’s Carmichael coal mine surviving on lifeline from Indian parent company, ABC 23 July 19

Key points:

  • The company responsible for the Carmichael coal mine has current liabilities of more than $1.8b versus current assets of less than $30m
  • The auditors signed off on the company being a “going concern” because of a 12-month guarantee from the Indian parent firm
  • Accounting expert Sandra van der Laan says “effectively on paper they are insolvent. I wouldn’t be trading with them”………
She examines a diagram of Adani’s Australian structure: a labyrinth of trusts interposed between private companies and Indian stock market-listed companies with ties to, and in some cases ownership in, tax havens stretching from Singapore to Mauritius, on to the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands.

The more immediate concern is Adani Mining Pty Ltd, the Australian-registered company which is the proponent of the Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

Adani Mining recently provided ASIC with its financial accounts to March 31.

As a private company, the subsidiary is only required to release reduced financial statements with limited detail — but enough to raise red flags for Professor van der Laan and other critics.

The accounts show the owners have contributed less than $9 million in equity to the business and total liabilities exceed total assets by more than half a billion dollars.

Current assets of less than $30 million are swamped by current liabilities, due over the next 12 months, of more than $1.8 billion.

“Adani Mining is in a very fragile, even perilous, financial position,” Professor van der Laan observes.

“The gap between the current assets and liabilities is what’s really concerning………

‘They will never pay any material corporate tax in Australia’

Adani is now going it alone and “self-funding” the Carmichael mine after failing to secure loans from banks or government wealth funds.

Although the mine has been scaled down to an initial 10 million tonnes a year output, rather than the mega-mine of 60 million tonnes a year it has approval for, the price tag for building it and an accompanying railway will still be a multi-billion-dollar sum.

Even for a man as rich as family patriarch Gautam Adani, it is no small ask.

But in the tangled web that is the Adani Group, there are ways.

Adani’s ports business is the most profitable part of the empire, headed by the Bombay stock exchange-listed company Adani Ports SEZ.

It is currently raising more than $1 billion in debt on global markets.

Critics are suspicious that Adani may channel the money through its opaque corporate structure and use the money to fund the Queensland coal mine that no bank was willing to finance………

Whether or not concerns about the solvency of various Adani companies or funding for the Carmichael mine are well-founded, the promise of a company tax bonanza from the Queensland mine seems destined to remain unfulfilled, according to Tim Buckley.

Already, accumulated losses mean that, if the mine is built, Adani Mining won’t pay company tax for many years in Australia and may never do so — like the Abbot Point Coal Terminal, which has paid little to no company tax under the ownership of Adani.

“They have carry forward losses that mean the first $1.5 billion of profit are corporate tax free,” says Mr Buckley.

“My surmise is that they will never pay any material corporate tax in Australia.”

July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Senate voted on Press Freedoms – Matter of Public importance

Press Freedoms – Matter of Public importance Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Today the Senate voted for an inquiry into press freedom and whistle-blower protection showing that there are some in our Parliament who care about a frank and fearless media.

This week’s arrest of four French journalists highlights how badly we need to rethink press freedom in Australia.

This inquiry will get to the bottom of what has gone on and ensure a future for a free press in Australia.”

July 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties, media, politics | Leave a comment

Wind and solar’s stunning progress in Australia, despite Coalition attacks — RenewEconomy

Australia’s renewable energy sector has undergone remarkable recovery, setting new records for investment and momentum is expeted to continue beyond 2020. The post Wind and solar’s stunning progress in Australia, despite Coalition attacks appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Wind and solar’s stunning progress in Australia, despite Coalition attacks — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

NSW planning commission approves new solar project near Gunnedah — RenewEconomy

Second large-scale solar project near Gunnedah gets approval, despite objections from local pistol club worried about glare. The post NSW planning commission approves new solar project near Gunnedah appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via NSW planning commission approves new solar project near Gunnedah — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2,000 years of records show it’s getting hotter, faster — RenewEconomy

New reconstructions of Earth’s temperature over the past 2,000 years highlight the astonishing rate of the recent widespread warming of our planet. The post 2,000 years of records show it’s getting hotter, faster appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via 2,000 years of records show it’s getting hotter, faster — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Climate Change: 12 Years To Save The Planet? Make That 18 Months” • Last year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that to keep the rise in global temperatures below 1.5°C this century, emissions of CO₂ would have to be cut by 45% by 2030. But the decisive, political steps to make […]

via July 24 Energy News — geoharvey

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UN boss asks all countries, including Australia, to plan for zero emissions — RenewEconomy

UN Secretary General has calls on global leaders, including Scott Morrison, to come to the Climate Action Summit with concrete plans to lift climate action. The post UN boss asks all countries, including Australia, to plan for zero emissions appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via UN boss asks all countries, including Australia, to plan for zero emissions — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kellogg’s signs with solar farm to take NSW operations 100% renewable — RenewEconomy

Kellogg’s Australia to become the latest corporate entity to commit to sourcing the equivalent of 100 per cent of its electricity needs from renewables. The post Kellogg’s signs with solar farm to take NSW operations 100% renewable appeared first on RenewEconomy.

via Kellogg’s signs with solar farm to take NSW operations 100% renewable — RenewEconomy

July 25, 2019 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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