Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

NSW State Labor parliamentarians Walt Secord and Janelle Saffin fight One Nation’s push for nuclear power

Secord and Saffin fight One Nation over nuclear power https://www.echo.net.au/2019/05/secord-saffin-fight-one-nation-nuclear-power/?fbclid=IwAR1kVyvdy4J_DhZi_kbM5DAQQ5OI8rujTpkNoHgutlrmwyFndVbiF1w1b9g16 May 19, NSW State Labor parliamentarians Walt Secord and Janelle Saffin have vowed to work together to fight One Nation senator Mark Latham’s legislation to set up a nuclear power industry in NSW.

The Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Repeal Bill 2019 was the first bill introduced by Mark Latham into the new State Parliament on May 7.

It reads: ‘a bill for an Act to repeal the Uranium Mining and Nuclear Facilities (Prohibitions) Act 1986 and make consequential amendments to other legislation’.

In 2012, the then-O’Farrell government (Liberal/National) passed the Mining Legislation Amendment (Uranium Exploration Bill) 2012 to allow exploration for uranium in NSW. At the time, the Liberal-Nationals claimed that it would only allow exploration and not the creation of an industry.

Secord and Saffin say that Mark Latham’s bill follows a push last year by Nationals leader and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, to establish a nuclear power industry in NSW.

They also say that Mr Barilaro also completed a taxpayer-funded visit to the United States where he was drumming up interest in US investors to build nuclear reactors in NSW. At the time, 18 sites were identified as possible sites for nuclear power plants in NSW– including a 250km stretch of coast from Port Macquarie to north of Grafton.

Fight against nuclear power

Mr Secord, who is Shadow Minister for the North Coast and Upper House deputy Opposition leader and Ms Saffin, who is the Country Labor MP for Lismore said they would fight the bill.

‘This is the next step in the development of a nuclear power industry in NSW,’ said Mr Secord said. ‘It is no coincidence that the first piece of legislation to come from the new parliamentarians was a bill to set up a nuclear power industry. 

‘The Berejiklian Government has always supported a nuclear power industry.’

Ms Saffin said that the North Coast community is clear and has spoken. ‘They do not want to see nuclear reactors in NSW. We fought them on CSG and unconventional gas and we will fight them on nuclear power.

‘North Coast primary producers pride themselves on the quality of their goods and their clean and green reputation,’ she said. ‘The National Party Leader’s obsession with building nuclear reactors would jeopardise this hard fought for advantage for local producers on the North Coast.’

Saffin says nuclear reactors would tarnish NSW’s clean and green image, and threaten the reputation and emerging markets of many north coast primary industries.

‘Nuclear power is a distraction from real long term energy solutions that provide the cheapest and most sustainable forms of electricity for the community and business – which is renewable energy,’ she said.

‘The NSW Coalition Government has always harboured dreams of nuclear power plants in NSW, having first proposed a site for Jervis Bay on the South Coast in the 1960s’.

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May 16, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Radiation found in soil at Byron Bay school

 Echo Net Daily, March 2019, Radioactive soil will be removed from Byron Bay Public School after testing showed higher-than-normal levels during upgrade works.

According to a statement from the education department, preliminary testing of soil during early construction works for the upgrade to the school has identified ‘quantities of naturally occurring radioactive material’.

‘The department has engaged an environmental consultant to assist with the management of remediation works in consultation with the school principal, NSW Health, NSW Environmental Protection Agency and Byron Shire Council,’ the statement says.

‘The health, safety and well-being of students, staff and the school’s neighbours are the highest priority for the department.’

Works are currently being planned to remove soil from the school work site with dates and times still to be advised.

The department said said the removal of the material ‘presents no health risk to the school, and will be done after hours to minimise impact to school operations’………https://www.echo.net.au/2019/03/radiation-found-soil-byron-bay-school/

April 1, 2019 Posted by | environment, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Nuclear waste, and court actions

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA, 24 Mar 19, 

01/06/2017 Senate Estimates…

“Senator LUDLAM: “That is all right—I have a couple of others I want to run through, and the hour is late. Could you please advise on the cost, the extent of the process and the status of works to recontainerise and secure low-level radioactive waste at the Woomera site? While we are on the subject of how safe this stuff is, how much are we having to spend on recontaining the decaying packaging of the radioactive waste up at Woomera? Is that still kind of your bailiwick, or … ?”

Mr B Wilson : “Not technically; it is actually CSIRO’s waste, so they own that waste and they are responsible for managing it.””

Soooo…..according to documentation in December 1989 the CSIRO COMMISSIONED the Australian Nuclear Science and
Technology Organisation (ANSTO) to remove radioactively contaminated materials from the CSIRO’s Fishermans Bend site in Melbourne. This waste was THEN COMPLETELY ON SITE at ANSTO Lucas Heights in 1990. (Remember that date)

HOWEVER IN THE END IT REMAINED ON SITE at Lucas Heights NSW for FOUR YEARS!

It was only as the result of the Sutherland Shire Council against ANSTO in the New South Wales Land and Environment Court 1991 that the CSIRO waste from Fishermans Bend VICTORIA, and the St Mary’s Waste from the Defence Department was moved to Commonwealth Defence Land in Woomera in South Australia, as ANSTO, under that Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW), could not accept nuclear waste from OTHER entities.

This court case was in reaction to ANSTO entering into a contract with Australian Defence Industries (ADI) to condition and store radioactive waste from the ADI site at St Marys NSW, 1991. (Remember this date too – not 1990 nor 1989 -when CSIRO waste from Fishermans Bend was on ANSTO Lucas Heights land, nor 1989 when it was contracted!)

Of course after this ruling, ANSTO hurriedly amended the ANSTO Act so this could never happen again!

So….according to Bruce Wilson, CSIRO own the Fishermans Bend waste, and then that means that the Department of Defence in NSW own the St Mary’s waste!

And since the siting of the waste in Woomera was only ever agreed to be TEMPORARY AS IN SPECIFICALLY ” A FEW YEARS” – NOW TWENTY FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING…..then Victoria and NSW are quite welcome to take it back any time NOW!!

more https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 25, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, wastes | Leave a comment

Independent report found ANSTO’s health staff lacking in knowledge about radiation exposure

Kazzi Jai  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA

“In addition, based on interviews with ANSTO Health staff working in high hazard areas, the majority of staff did not understand the various health effects of radiation exposures, this being appropriate to individual duties with respect to the hazardous areas in which they work. This is believed by the reviewers to put at risk the ability to verify all persons
performing high risk activities are fully competent to do so. More importantly, this puts the individual at risk.”
– (excerpt from page 7) “INDEPENDENT SAFETY REVIEW OF THE ANSTO HEALTH APPROACH TO OCCUPATIONAL RADIATION SAFETY AND OPERATIONAL PROCEDURES”
OCTOBER 2018

On 5 October 2018, following a direction from ARPANSA’s CEO Dr Carl-Magnus Larsson, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) provided ARPANSA with a report produced by an independent expert review team outlining 85 recommendations to improve ANSTO’s occupational radiation safety processes and operational procedures.
Dr Larsson issued the direction to initiate an independent review on 29 June 2018 under section 41(1A) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Act 1998 (the Act) following four separate events with safety implications at ANSTO Health in less than 10 months.

https://www.arpansa.gov.au/sites/g/files/net3086/f/independent_review_of_ansto_health.pdf?fbclid=IwAR2xPg2bd2radOa8-vobBySWY_kHUrKR3_FuVoKIo8IbrtNzRvwmg9UJl-U

 

Seems this report was somewhat “buried” in ANSTO’s bright new webpages..….but I got mine from ARPANSA’s webpage instead, since they are the regulator.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/344452605899556/

March 23, 2019 Posted by | health, New South Wales, secrets and lies | Leave a comment

New South Wales school students rallied for climate action, despite the Premier’s disapproval

Students defy warning from Premier Gladys Berejiklian and skip school to attend Sydney climate rally, ABC News 17 Mar 19  By Antonette Collins and Kevin Nguyen  Thousands of NSW students have skipped class to attend a protest in Sydney to call for action on climate change, defying calls from Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes to stay in school.

The event at Sydney Town Hall was expected to be one of the largest of the nationwide climate rallies today.

The big crowd of young people, predominantly students, cheered loudly amid calls for an end to the Adani coal mine in Queensland and 100 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Rock star Jimmy Barnes and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore were among those who attended the rally, and were spotted alongside the students wielding colourful signs.

Many students were attending against the advice of the NSW Government’s leaders and conservative commentators.

Students have called on governments to do more to reduce fossil fuel emissions, but they have faced resistance from government leadership and conservative commentators.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian criticised Opposition Leader Michael Daley, who this week backed schoolkids planning to protest.

“I encourage young people to feel passionately about important issues including climate change,” she said.

“But to suggest that they should strike during school hours is grossly irresponsible. I want to encourage students during school hours to express their views, to discuss their views in the classroom or the playground.

“But to take time off to go to a protest is not acceptable…….

We’re here to make a change’

Around 2,000 students rallied in Newcastle, where many felt environmental issues were close to home.

“I can see the world’s largest coal port from my doorstep and it’s shameful,” said Miette Xenith, 17, from Newcastle High.

She said her generation was scared for the future “because at my age it’s kind of like staring down the barrel of a gun”.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that we have 12 years to completely change what we’re doing, before the impact is irreversible, so yeah, I feel strongly about it, because it’s my future.”

Newcastle student Molly Highet said she was angry at the Government’s inaction on climate change. “It’s scary thinking that if they don’t do anything real soon that we won’t have a good future, or maybe won’t have one at all, and our children won’t.

“They’re the ones that can really make a change, but now they’ve left it up to us so we’re trying to make the change for them.”  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-15/nsw-schools-climate-change-rally-sydney-gladys-berejiklian/10904254

March 18, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales | Leave a comment

New South Wales Labor’s pledge for ‘solar schools’

Labor promises $100 million for ‘solar schools’ https://www.smh.com.au/nsw-election-2019/labor-promises-100-million-for-solar-schools-20190315-p514i9.html, By Lisa Visentin, March 17, 2019 Labor leader Michael Daley has pledged to spend $100 million installing solar panels on hundreds of public schools across NSW.

Mr Daley linked his “solar schools package” to the recent student strike over climate change inaction, and said the policy would help teach students about renewable energy.

“As we saw at rallies across the country on Friday, the next generation is demanding real action on climate change,” Mr Daley said.

“Putting solar panels on schools will help students further their knowledge about renewable energy, as well as bring down their school’s power bills and reduce emissions.”

Under Labor’s plan, solar panels would be installed at 350 government schools. The $100 million package would be funded as part of the Labor’s $800 million “cool schools” policy to install airconditioning in every single classroom in the state.

Mr Daley’s announcement comes after he publicly backed the striking school students during a speech earlier in the week, describing their actions as a “demonstration of young leadership”.

His endorsement drew fire from Premier Gladys Berejiklian who said she was “appalled” the alternate premier was encouraging students to skip school.

It comes as a recent ReachTEL poll revealed climate change was a pressing concern for most NSW voters, with 57.5 per cent of voters saying it would influence the way they voted.

As part of the state election campaign, Ms Berejiklian has announced interest-free loans to 300,000 households for solar and battery systems while Labor has pledged to put solar on 500,000 homes over the next decade through rebates.

Labor has championed its policies on climate change as a key point of difference with the Coalition, with Mr Daley promising to appoint NSW’s first minister for climate change if elected premier.

Ms Berejiklian earlier this week restated her government’s support for action on climate change and said NSW had the largest renewable projects in Australia.

“We’ve had a consistent position since we’ve been in government, that climate change is real and that as a government we need to do everything we can to deal with it and we have been,” she said.

March 18, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, solar | Leave a comment

New South Wales Labor leader sticks up for the right of school students to strike over climate change

Michael Daley says NSW schoolchildren have right to strike over climate change, Guardian, Anne Davies

State Labor leader says education is ‘bigger than the classroom’ as he applauds students for ‘standing up and taking action’

The New South Wales opposition leader, Michael Daley, has backed the state’s schoolchildren striking and attending rallies on climate change, saying it was a democratic right to protest and “an important way to realise their own personal power”.

Speaking at a National Press Club event in Sydney, Daley said he supported the rallies on Friday, even though he might soon be the premier and responsible for ensuring children attend school.

“Education is also bigger than the classroom. It is based on life experience. That is, in part, the importance of being confident and passionate enough to form beliefs and being prepared to stand up for them,” he said.

“They don’t have a microphone or money like the big end of town. But they do have their democratic right to assembly. I support that right to protest especially when it comes to climate change and our fragile environment.

“And more importantly in this inert digital age, of acting on that belief. Of standing up and taking action for what you believe in – it is called leadership.”

Labor has sought to distinguish itself from the Coalition by promising more rapid action on climate change, including installing seven gigawatts of regional solar farms and establishing a rebate scheme to encourage households to install a further two gigawatts of rooftop solar……… https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/13/michael-daley-says-nsw-schoolchildren-have-right-to-strike-over-climate-change

March 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change is a key issue for New South Wales election

Climate change top of voters’ minds in NSW election SMH, By Alexandra Smith March 12, 2019  Climate change is a key election issue for most people in NSW, polling shows, as the environment emerges as a more pressing concern for voters than hospitals, schools and public transport.

Exclusive Herald polling shows that 57.5 per cent of voters say they will be swayed by climate change and environmental protection when deciding who to vote for on March 23…….

Internal party research showed climate change played a major role in last year’s Wentworth byelection and is shaping up to be a key issue in former prime minister Tony Abbott’s seat of Warringah.

With climate change again looming as an issue at the federal election in May, Mr Abbott on Friday abandoned his call to withdraw from the Paris agreement to reduce carbon emissions, falling in to line with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the key policy………

The three independents – Sydney MP Alex Greenwich, Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper, and Wagga Wagga MP Joe McGirr – are demanding Labor and the Coalition take action on climate change.

The crossbenchers, who will hold the balance of power if the government loses six seats, wrote to the Premier and Mr Daley last week asking them to act on transitioning from coal mining to clean energy……https://www.smh.com.au/politics/nsw/climate-change-top-of-voters-minds-in-nsw-election-20190311-p513bb.html

March 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | 1 Comment

New South Wales election – 3 Independent MP’s gather strength for climate action

NSW election roundup: independents join forces on climate changeThree possible kingmakers write to premier and opposition leader. Plus: the key promises made this week , Guardian, Josephine Tovey
 Three independent MPs who could become kingmakers in the event of a hung parliament have put climate change, and “future-proofing” the environment and economy, at the forefront of their agenda. Sydney’s Alex Greenwich, Lake Macquarie’s Greg Piper and Wagga Wagga’s Joe McGirr joined forces on Friday to call on the two major parties to commit to a 10-year adjustment strategy for coalmining communities, “backed by substantial financial resources to affected regions”.“A transition away from coal is what the planet urgently needs but it requires planning to avoid social and economic impacts in mining regions,” they wrote in a letter to the New South Wales premier and opposition leader.

Polls have consistently suggested the main parties are locked in a dead heat, and a Coalition minority government is widely regarded as a likely outcome of the 23 March election.

Greenwich said that whatever the outcome, he would work with either of the major parties to deliver his priorities, with a strong focus on climate change and homelessness……. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/mar/02/nsw-election-roundup-independents-join-forces-on-climate

March 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

Three people treated at Sydney’s Lucas Heights nuclear facility after chemical spill

ABC News 1 Mar 19  Three staff at the Lucas Heights nuclear facility have been decontaminated after being exposed to a chemical spill.

Key points:

  • Australia’s only nuclear reactor is located at Lucas Heights, about 40km south of Sydney’s CBD
  • Two men and a women were decontaminated and taken to Sutherland Hospital
  • The facility has had several contamination scares in recent years

A spokesman for Australia’s Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) said the workers were exposed to sodium hydroxide when a cap came off a pipe in the nuclear medicine manufacturing building…………

Contamination scares

The Lucas Heights facility, about 40 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD, has had several contamination scares in recent years.

In August 2017 a worker suffered blisters on his hands after he dropped a vial of radioactive material and was contaminated through two pairs of gloves.

The event was deemed the most serious in the world in 2017, according to the International Nuclear Event Scale — the global grading system for nuclear incidents.

ANSTO apologised to the worker who was exposed to the radioactive material and produced an “action plan”, in response.

An independent review of the facility was conducted in October 2018 and found that it failed modern nuclear safety standards and should be replaced.

In the same week ANSTO confirmed five workers had received a dose of radiation at the facility, but that the amount of radiation was “less than a chest X-ray”.https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-03-01/three-treated-after-safety-breach-at-sydney-nuclear-facility/10860708

 

March 2, 2019 Posted by | - incidents, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Climate change becoming a hot issue for New South Wales election

‘Everyone loves solar’: Climate action heats up as NSW election issue, Brisbane Times By Peter Hannam February 23, 2019 NSW voters, including conservative ones, want the state government to step up action on climate change, including boosting renewable energy, two separate polling sets show.

A statewide Essential survey conducted February 6-11 for the Nature Conservation Council of 544 respondents found 51 per cent were more likely to back a party boosting clean energy and 18 per cent less likely. Among those identifying as Liberal or National supporters, the ratio was 43 per cent in favour and a quarter against.

Three separate uComms surveys for Greenpeace, each of more than 600 respondents conducted in marginal seats of Ballina, Coogee, and Penrith, found higher support for renewable energy.

In Penrith, for instance, 60 per cent of Liberal voters said they were more likely to support a party investing in renewables and 30.7 per cent less likely. In Coogee, 52.1 per cent of Liberal voters were more likely to back a party with such policies, and 38.6 per cent against.

In Ballina, 65 per cent of National supporters agreed rooftop solar and batteries would cut household power bills for homeowners and renters, while 32.8 per cent disagreed.

The polling comes amid another torrid period of extremes. NSW smashed heat records in January, with temperatures almost six degrees about average and two degrees above the previous record set in bushfire-scorched January 1939.

Much of the state remains in severe drought – with 2019 off to a dry start amid rainfall levels typically less than a fifth of normal levels – sending reservoir levels tumbling and contributing to a series of mass fish kills and algal bloom outbreaks in the Darling and other rivers.

While climate scientists have yet to determine the role climate change is having, the background warming of more than a degree over the past century across Australia is raising the likelihood of heatwaves. Climate models also point to a long-term drying trend across southern Australia, including NSW, with more to come.

No policy’

The onus to demonstrate action to tackle climate change appears to fall heavier on the Coalition if the polling and last December’s federal byelection for the Sydney seat of Wentworth are any guide, Kate Smolski, chief executive of the Nature Conservation Council, said.

“Voters deserted the Liberals in Wentworth over climate change, and [this month’s] poll shows that it’s a statewide phenomenon,” Ms Smolski said.

“This is bad news for the Berejiklian government, which after eight years of Coalition rule still doesn’t have a climate change policy or a renewable energy target.”……..

the Greens plan to introduce a carbon change bill, including a broad carbon price, to reach the net-zero emissions goal by 2040.

“We need targets with teeth if we are going to actually decarbonise,” Cate Faehrmann, Greens environment spokeswoman, said. “That is why I have developed legislation which sets binding targets to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 and gives ordinary citizens the power to prosecute government ministers who are not serious about meeting these targets.”

Jeremy Buckingham, the former Greens and now independent MP, said policies are needed to tackle emissions from agriculture, industry and transport.

“Everyone loves solar panels, so we get policies focused on popular renewable energy, but with only a few years left to act, we need comprehensive policies to decarbonise all sectors rapidly, even if they are politically challenging,” he said. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/everyone-loves-solar-climate-action-heats-up-as-nsw-election-issue-20190222-p50zl7.html

February 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, politics | Leave a comment

New South Wales election – an opportunity to vote in politicians who care about our health and environment

NSW election: our chance to vote 1 for climate and health, Croakey,  Editor: Mark Ragg Author: John Van Der KallenJohn Van Der Kallen is a rheumatologist and the NSW Chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia. February 21, 2019 The Lancet has described tackling climate change as the ‘greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.’ The upcoming NSW election is one of those opportunities to improve our health, but we need to vote for politicians who will take climate change seriously.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Court judgment a precedent for climate to weigh more than coal business in legal cases?

Landmark Rocky Hill ruling could pave the way for more courts to choose climate over coal, ABC, The Conversation By Justine Bell-James, 12 Feb 19, On Friday, Chief Judge Brian Preston of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court handed down a landmark judgementconfirming a decision to refuse a new open-cut coal mine near Gloucester in the Hunter Valley.

The proposed Rocky Hill mine’s contribution to climate change was one of the key reasons cited for refusing the application.

The decision has prompted celebration among environmentalists, for whom climate-based litigation has long been an uphill battle.

Defeating a mining proposal on climate grounds involves clearing several high hurdles.

Generally speaking, the court must be convinced not only that the proposed mine would contribute to climate change, but also that this issue is relevant under the applicable law.

To do this, a litigant needs to convince a court of a few key things, which include that:

  • the proponent is responsible for the ultimate burning of the coal, even if it is burned by a third party, and
  • this will result in increased greenhouse emissions, which in turn contributes to climate change.

In his judgement, Judge Preston took a broad view and readily connected these causal dots, ruling that:

The project’s cumulative greenhouse gas emissions will contribute to the global total of GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. The global total of GHG concentrations will affect the climate system and cause climate change impacts. The project’s cumulative GHG emissions are therefore likely to contribute to the future changes to the climate system and the impacts of climate change.

Other courts (such as in Queensland, where the proposed Adani coalmine has successfully cleared various legal hurdles) have tended to take a narrower approach to statutory interpretation, with climate change just one of numerous relevant factors under consideration.

In contrast, Judge Preston found climate change to be one of the more important factors to consider under NSW legislation.

To rule against a coalmine on climate grounds, the court also needs to resist the “market substitution” argument — the suggestion that if the proponent does not mine and sell coal, someone else will.

This argument has become a common “defence” in climate litigation, and indeed was advanced by Gloucester Resources in the Rocky Hill case.

Judge Preston rejected the argument, describing it as “flawed”. He noted that there is no certainty that overseas mines will substitute for the Rocky Hill coalmine.

Given increasing global momentum to tackle climate change, he noted that other countries may well follow this lead in rejecting future coalmine proposals.

He also stated that:

An environmental impact does not become acceptable because a hypothetical and uncertain alternative development might also cause the same unacceptable environmental impact……..

This decision potentially opens up a new chapter in Australia’s climate litigation history.

Judge Preston’s ruling nimbly vaults over hurdles that have confounded Australian courts in the past — most notably, the application of the market substitution defence.

It is hard to predict whether his decision will indeed have wider ramifications.

Certainly the tide is turning internationally — coal use is declining, many nations have set ambitious climate goals under the Paris Agreement, and high-level overseas courts are making bold decisions in climate cases.

As Judge Preston concluded:

An open-cut coal mine in this part of the Gloucester valley would be in the wrong place at the wrong time … the GHG emissions of the coal mine and its coal product will increase global total concentrations of GHGs at a time when what is now urgently needed, in order to meet generally agreed climate targets, is a rapid and deep decrease in GHG emissions.

Indeed, it is high time for a progressive approach to climate cases too.

Hopefully this landmark judgement will signal the turning of the tides in Australian courts as well.

Justine Bell-James is a senior lecturer at The University of Queensland. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-12/rocky-hill-ruling-more-courts-choose-climate-over-coal/10802930

February 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment

In New South Wales, government lets mining companies dodge costs for site rehabilitation.

NSW ‘accounting trick’ lets miners dodge appropriate rehabilitation costs, Guardian, Ben Smee


Lock the Gate accuses state government of placing interests of mining sector over those of taxpayers   New South Wales taxpayers could be shortchanged up to $500m by a state government “accounting trick” that allows mining companies to dodge paying appropriate contingency costs for site rehabilitation.A 2017 report by the NSW auditor general found that security deposits paid by miners for future rehabilitation were inadequate and made several recommendations, including that the “contingency” costs be increased.

Though not part of the formal recommendation, the report said contingency costs should range from 25% to 50% (of the estimated total rehabilitation cost).

The environmental group Lock the Gate has obtained a letter, through Freedom of Information, that shows the NSW Department of Planning and the Environment told a parliamentary committee last year it had accepted all of the auditor general’s recommendations, and that it had already increased contingency costs.

The department told Guardian Australia this week it had increased “contingencies” to 30%. But it later clarified that figure included “contingency” and two other metrics – project management costs and post-project environmental monitoring – which were dealt with separately by the audit.

The amount for “contingency” remains at the previous level of 10%.

Rick Humphries, the mine rehabilitation coordinator at Lock the Gate, said the new arrangements were “an accounting sleight of hand” that had the effect of not forcing mining companies to meet the standards outlined by the audit….. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/14/nsw-accounting-trick-lets-miners-dodge-appropriate-rehabilitation-costs

February 14, 2019 Posted by | environment, New South Wales, uranium | Leave a comment

New South Wales Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar

Labor announces plan for 500,000 households to get rooftop solar, https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/labor-announces-plan-for-500-000-households-to-get-rooftop-solar-20190209-p50wrl.html, By Laura Chung,February 9, 2019 NSW Labor has announced it will support a program to help 500,000 households to install rooftop solar, reducing electricity bills in the next 10 years.

Under Labor’s Solar Homes policy, owner-occupied households in NSW with a combined income of $180,000 or less would be eligible for a rebate, to be capped at $2200 per household.

Shadow Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Adam Searle, said the policy could add solar to an additional million homes over the next decade, and could save the average household anywhere between $600 and $1000 a year on electricity bills.

“This is a bold program to push NSW to the front of the energy revolution,” he said. “This will significantly cut electricity bills and carbon emissions.”

“We will have much more to say about energy and tackling climate change.”

The program would be phased in during the 2019-2020 financial year. The policy announcement comes ahead of the launch of Labor’s campaign bus, which will travel around the state from Sunday.

The Smart Energy Council said Labor’s policy addressed two of NSW residents’ main concerns: the cost of living and climate change.

It shows “a strong commitment towards climate change” and is a “sign of confidence in renewable energy, a critical part of NSW’s future,” a spokesman said.

The council said it would like to see a stronger commitment from both the NSW Government and the Opposition to supporting families’ purchases of household solar batteries, which would provide people “with a greater sense of control of power and how they use power.”

In a statement, deputy leader of NSW Liberals Dominic Perrottet said Labor “cannot be trusted” to deliver more affordable, reliable and clean energy, “with a history of energy cost blowouts and blunders”.

The NSW Coalition government “is getting on with the job of taking pressure off electricity prices, while maintaining energy security,” Mr Perrottet said.

February 10, 2019 Posted by | New South Wales, politics, solar | Leave a comment