Australian news, and some related international items

How are Australian States progressing on renewable energy? South Australia way ahead

South Australia leading the nation in renewable energy,    Samantha Dick

South Australia is shifting to renewable energy faster than any other state or territory.

This is despite the federal government’s “lack of leadership” and continued support for major fossil fuel projects, says the Climate Council.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | energy, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia | Leave a comment


The Standing Committee on Environment and Planning invites written submissions from individuals and organisations addressing
one or more of the issues identified in the terms of reference.
The submission closing date is Friday 28 February 2020.

Terms of reference
That this House requires the Environment and Planning Committee to inquire into, consider and report, within 12 months, on potential benefits to Victoria in removing prohibitions enacted by the Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1983, and in particular, the Committee should —
(1) investigate the potential for Victoria to contribute to global low carbon dioxide energy production through enabling exploration and production of uranium and thorium;
(2) identify economic, environmental and social benefits for Victoria, including those related to medicine, scientific research, exploration and mining;
(3) identify opportunities for Victoria to participate in the nuclear fuel cycle; and
(4) identify any barriers to participation, including limitations caused by federal or local laws and regulations.

The submission closing date is Friday 28 February 2020.
Ways to make a submission:
  1. Email to
  2. Using the eSubmissions form
  3. Hardcopy; send to:
The Committee Manager
Standing Committee on Environment and Planning
Parliament House, Spring Street
All submissions should include:
  • Your full name
  • Contact details (either a postal address or phone number)
  • The text of your submission or an attachment containing your submission
  • A clear indication if you are seeking confidentiality
All submissions are public documents (and may be published on the Committee’s website) unless confidentiality is requested and granted by the Committee. Please note that submissions will be published on this page as they are processed by the Committee. Your name will be published with your submission, but your contact details will be removed.
If you have any questions about the inquiry, please contact the committee secretariat.

November 7, 2019 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Climate change is bringing more extreme weather events to Sydney and Melbourne

Hail, cyclones and fire: Extreme weather risks on the rise, SMH, By Peter Hannam, November 1, 2019, Sydney and Melbourne will most likely be exposed to more intense hailstorms, tropical cyclones will track further south and bushfire risks will increase in most of Australia as the climate warms, new research shows.The modelling based on a 3 degree temperature rise is contained in a severe weather report to be released on Friday by IAG, the country’s largest general insurer, and the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research.

“Climate change is not just about the future,” the report states. “There is already solid evidence that there have been measurable changes to weather and climate extremes with the [1 degree of] warming to date.”

Changing insurance claims data are among the indications that major damaging hail events for Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne have already been increasing in the past decade……

Insurance and other financial firms have been reassessing their risks to climate change, prodded in part by international groups such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures.

IAG managing director Peter Harmer said there was “an urgent need for Australia to prepare for and adapt to climate change”.

“[It] is critical there is a co-ordinated national approach from governments, industries and businesses to build more resilient communities and reduce the impact of disasters.”

Executive manager of natural perils at IAG Mark Leplastrier said that, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions, communities had two main tools to shape the future risk profile: the tightening of land planning and improving building codes.

“There’s a huge opportunity to adapt,” he said……..

November 2, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, New South Wales, Victoria | Leave a comment

MP Sonja Terpstra and Victoria’s Labor government stand by existing bans on nuclear activities

Sonja Terpstra, State Labor Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region “….The Victorian Government and I do not support the state parliamentary inquiry into the use of nuclear energy. We stand by our existing ban on nuclear power and are committed to retaining the Victorian Nuclear Activities (Prohibitions) Act 1963.

It makes no sense to construct nuclear power stations in Australia. They present significant community, environmental and health risks, not to mention the ongoing and yet unsolved problem of the disposal of nuclear waste. Instead through the Victorian Labor Government’s ambitious Victorian Renewable Energy Target, we are giving the renewable energy sector the confidence needed to invest in the clean energy projects and jobs that are crucial to our future….”

October 28, 2019 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Bass Coast Shire Council declares Climate Emergency

Climate change is an emergency, Mirage News, 23 Aug 19

Bass Coast Shire Councillors have resolved that climate change poses a serious threat and should be treated as an emergency.

A motion was carried at last Wednesday’s Ordinary Council Meeting and will see Council develop a Bass Coast Climate Change Action Plan 2020-30, to set out how Bass Coast Shire can more effectively contribute to climate change mitigation and be more resilient and well adapted to the effects of a changing climate.

It will also include a target of zero net emissions by 2030 across Council operations as well as the wider community.

Bass Coast Mayor, Cr Brett Tessari, said while Council’s Natural Environment Strategy, adopted in 2016, recognises climate change, this declaration goes one step further…..

August 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Parliamentary Inquiry into nuclear power for Victoria

Inquiry to explore Victoria going nuclear, Yahoo News Benita Kolovos

Australian Associated Press, 14 August 2019  The Victorian parliament is set to explore lifting the state’s bans on nuclear activities in an effort to tackle climate change.

A Liberal Democrats motion for an inquiry into the potential for nuclear power passed the state’s upper house on Wednesday.

The 12-month inquiry will explore if nuclear energy would be feasible and suitable for Victoria in the future, and will consider waste management, health and safety and possible industrial and medical applications.

Liberal Democrat MP David Limbrick said the political climate – and actual climate – have changed significantly since nuclear energy was last seriously considered in the 1980s.

“The young people of today no longer fear nuclear holocaust. Today’s young have a new fear – global warming,” he told the Legislative Council…….

The Greens’ Tim Read said it makes “absolutely no sense” for Victoria to consider getting into nuclear energy.

“This inquiry is a waste of resources and a waste of time,” he said in a statement.

“Dredging up the tired old debate on nuclear will only delay the urgent work needed to end our reliance on coal and gas and transitioning to clean and safe renewable energy.”

Similar inquiries are being held in NSW and federal parliament……–spt.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9uZXdzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20v&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAABq2naeyyQ9ohtcPQW2Ho9e2-qDfI6XSbDwfZUneTxi4VhdT3GWx-zWbqg0MCFS2ArOO-cBI7xrEXbGJxc_Z4MEQGCMb8xZYz9GdF6dLu3azUPUvN5EB4x2GgyUSjwZkX1E93xGECuqxS4HnxqOETaVwytGf9KBTZIzT3QuaBP-R

August 15, 2019 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

National Party Member for Gippsland Darren Chester makes reassuring, but rather ambiguous, noises against setting up nuclear power

“No plans” for move to nuclear: MP Latrobe Valley Express, Michelle Slater  , 26 July 19,

July 27, 2019 Posted by | politics, Victoria | Leave a comment

Melbourne’s tram network is set to be powered by the state’s largest solar farm

July 22, 2019 Posted by | solar, Victoria | Leave a comment

Climate change bringing sea-level rise to Victoria’s low-lying towns and suburbs

Rising sea, erosion to wreak havoc in low-lying suburbs: report, The Age , By Benjamin Preiss and Adam Carey

June 23, 2019Rising seas are threatening to encroach on low-lying parts of Melbourne within 20 years, causing flooding and erosion in suburbs including St Kilda, Point Cook, Mordialloc, Seaford and Frankston.

Other places at risk include areas around Queenscliff and Barwon Heads on the Bellarine Peninsula; the south-west Victorian towns of Port Fairy and Portland; and Tooradin, Lang Lang and Seaspray in the state’s south-east.

A report tabled in Victoria’s Parliament last week examines the myriad threats to the state’s fragile coastline, painting an alarming picture of damage to the environment and suburban Melbourne if no action is taken.

The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council report cites a 20-centimetre sea-level rise by 2040 and between 40 centimetres and one metre by century’s end.

Sea-level rise will lead to more frequent inundation of low-lying areas, loss of coastal habitat, cliff, beach and foreshore erosion,” the report says.

“Climate change will also put pressure on ageing coastal infrastructure and ultimately impact on feasibility of living in or developing some coastal locations.”

Increasing storm intensity, coupled with rising seas, will cause extensive erosion of the Victorian coastline by 2040, the report says.

“The most extensive area vulnerable to erosion by 2040 is the Gippsland coast,” it says. “Other coasts at risk include west of Portland, beaches in Port Phillip Bay between Mordialloc and Frankston, and the coast between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap in South Gippsland.”

Coastal erosion has already had a dramatic impact on the foreshore at Inverloch, which has receded 33 metres since 2012…….

June 24, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Mass protest in Melbourne, demanding action on climate change.

Climate change protesters flood Melbourne’s CBD, block traffic in call to action,  More than a thousand people have marched through Melbourne’s CBD and staged a mock “die-in” for climate change. ABC

Key points:

  • Activists marched through the city and staged a “die-in” at Bourke and Swanston streets
  • Organiser Extinction Rebellion called for a Citizens’ Assembly on “climate and ecological justice”
  • The protest disrupted tram schedules in the city during the march

The protest started with speeches at the Victorian Parliament, then marchers moved through the city to the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets where they staged a “die-in”.

A number of protesters dropped to the ground to lie down in the intersection before moving on to Carlton Gardens.

Protesters young and old chanted “this is our future, there is no plan B” and “what do we want — action, when do we want it — now”.

One of the protest organisers, Extinction Rebellion Victoria, called for governments to set up a “Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice” to lead environmental policy.

Extinction Rebellion organised a series of protests in London last month which caused major disruptions…….

May 25, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Victoria’s major bushfires still out of control

Victoria bushfires: Major blazes still out of control as residents may be allowed to return home

By 9News Staff, 6:03am Mar 5, 2019  Five of the 29 bushfires burning in Victoria this morning are still out of control this morning stretching across 59,000 hectares of land.

A cooler weather change that is moving over the state has seen yesterday’s ‘Emergency’ warning zones downgraded to a ‘Watch and Act’ level, however authorities have warned that four major fires are still out of control.

Those incidents include the largest blaze still raging in Victoria at the Bunyip State Park which is still sparking spot fires in multiple areas…….

March 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

Over 2000 firefighters working to contain bushfires around Victoria

Fires rip through Victoria: ‘worse than Black Saturday’,  A fire, which has destroyed properties and more than 10,000 hectares of land is burning in the same area as the deadly Black Saturday bushfires.    Bushfires have ripped through Victoria’s east, with a wind change challenging firefighters working all night to contain the blaze.  SBS News 4 Mar 19 

Despite cooler conditions expected on Monday, firefighters may have to contend with dry lightning, which could start more fires.

The Bunyip State Park fire, burning 65km east of Melbourne, was sparked by lightning strikes on Friday and has destroyed more than 10,000 hectares.

The blaze is still racing towards the Princes Freeway and emergency warnings remain in place for the surrounding area.

“The risk of lightning redevelops in the late morning with the chance of some showers and thunderstorms,” Bureau of Meteorology’s senior forecaster Christie Johnson said.

While there was a chance of showers, it was hard to pinpoint where they would hit, and there would only be a few millimetres of rainfall, she said…..

More than 2000 firefighters are working to contain blazes around the state …..

March 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

How bushfires generate their own weather

Why Victoria’s bushfires generated their own lightning, The Age , By Liam Mannix, March 4, 2019 — There are few sights more terrifying for a firefighter: a vast, dark storm cloud brewing above a bushfire, shooting out lightning.

On Sunday, the Licola bushfire east of Melbourne burned with such intensity it generated a huge thundercloud that fired hundreds of lightning strikes at nearby forests.

The Bunyip fire, which is believed to have wiped at least one town off the map, also generated its own weather system which fed the fire with extreme winds.

“It’s absolutely terrifying. And it’s dangerous as well, because that lightning can start new fires before the main fire,” says Dean Narramore, a meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology’s extreme weather desk.

How bushfires generate their own weather

As a bushfire burns, it generates hot, smoke-filled air.

This air is hotter than surrounding air and rapidly rises, forming a smoke plume.

As the plume rises, atmospheric pressure falls. This causes the plume to spread out, generating a “mushroom” on top of the plume.

The smoke plume is filled with moisture which is released by burning trees. The higher you go in the atmosphere, the cooler it gets, so the top parts of the plume get chilled.

This causes the moisture in the plume to condense (turn from water vapour into tiny water droplets) and form a cloud.

As the plume rises rapidly into the sky, cool air is sucked in to replace it. This causes extreme winds near the firefront. To fight a fire, you need to know which way it is burning. But when a fire-cloud forms and starts generating strong and unpredictable winds, the fire can become chaotic.

“All this air rushes into the fire. You can imagine air coming from all different angles, feeding in – and oxygen is a very important part of fire. It causes fires to race up and down hills,” Mr Narramore says……..

March 4, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment

We’ve always had floods and bushfires, but climate change is making them worse

Queensland floods: Townsville reels under record water levels as more rain arrives, There are several more days to go in this flood event, Bureau of Meteorology warns, Guardian, 2 Feb 2019

Queensland authorities have said the state’s north was entering “unprecedented territory” as monsoon rains battered the city of Townsville, setting record flood levels and destroying homes.

……..The worst of the conditions were expected over the next two days, and authorities described the next 48 hours as “crucial”. On Friday, Palaszczuk had described the incoming monsoon as a “once in a 100-year” event and Townsville was declared a disaster zone.
……..Schools and businesses in Townsville were to remain shut and thousands of residents had been evacuated to higher ground, AAP reported.

Homes and businesses have been destroyed as flash floods washed through streets, sweeping away cars, equipment and livestock……..

Bushfires threaten homes across Victoria , The Age, By Nicole Precel, 3 February 2019,Out-of-control bushfires threatened homes and lives on Sunday as more than 1000 firefighters battled major blazes across Victoria.Firefighters were stretched to the limit, fighting several large fires throughout the state.

A fire in Hepburn, in central Victoria was the major focus for the day with residents warned at daybreak to evacuate the town.

Two firefighters who were fighting the Hepburn fires were treated for heat exhaustion and over-exertion and were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Elsewhere, as almost 50 new fires sparked, emergency warnings were issued at various times for fires including days-old blazes in Timbarra in Gippsland and Grantville on the Bass Coast……..

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 69 aircraft working “very, very hard” and “effectively”.

The fires were fanned by soaring temperatures, hitting 43.3 degrees in the Mallee, 43.1 degrees in Hopetoun, 42.2 in Mildura, 41.1 at Melbourne Airport and 38.2 in Melbourne’s CBD.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Richard Russell said high winds and thunderstorms were expected throughout the night………..

Tasmania’s fire disaster revealed in satellite images showing the extent of the damage

It’s easy to get warning fatigue, and, with only a handful or properties impacted so far, dismiss the fires as all bark and no bite.

But satellite images reveal the scale of the destruction so far.

The Gell River blaze, in the state’s south-west, was the first to start, ignited by a dry lightning strike in late December.

“It seems really like ancient history,” professor of pyrogeography and fire service at the University of Tasmania David Bowman said.

“It started at the end of last year and escalated in early January, so we’re looking at a fire situation that’s now gone for a full calendar month.”

Images taken by the European Space Agency’s Sentinel-2 satellite on January 3 show what seems, relative to the lakes around it, like a small blackened patch of wilderness……..

“There are multiple major fire events occurring simultaneously, which is extremely challenging for firefighters and fire managers because of the requirement to spread resources and make very difficult prioritising decisions.” …….

“This is definitely a historic event, it’s unprecedented,” Professor Bowman said.

“The area burnt is very substantial, I can barely keep up with the numbers.”

This week the fire service did put a number on it — 187,000 hectares.

At the same time as the Central Plateau fire ramped up, the Tahune fire was also burning out of control.

Of all the fires burning across Tasmania, this one has caused the most displacement, forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from communities in the Huon Valley south of Hobart.

Since last week, firefighters have issued almost daily warnings to residents, cautioning that only those prepared to defend their properties should stay behind.

A satellite image taken on January 30 shows how the fire, having burnt through more than 56,000 hectares, was still sending smoke over towns to its east. …..

February 3, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria | Leave a comment

Climate change: Victoria’s iconic Great Ocean Road at risk from sea level rise

Great Ocean Road at risk from surging sea , Canberra Times, By Royce Millar, 10 January 2019 Key sections of the Great Ocean Road are at risk of being washed away, raising safety fears and calls for the Andrews government to reroute parts of the world-recognised tourist road.

New studies of dramatic beach erosion around Apollo Bay over the last two years highlight the mounting problem of erosion, flooding and sea level rise along Victoria’s coast.

 In a report to the State government released exclusively to The Age, leading coastal geomorphologist Neville Rosengren and engineer Tony Miner recommend urgent action to protect the foreshore of Mounts Bay next to Apollo Bay, after major erosion there in 2017.

They warn the national heritage-listed road could be “compromised” within five years.

A second report on erosion at Apollo Bay by engineers GHD also recommends the eventual “realignment” of the road outside township areas at Apollo Bay. It notes that five metres of erosion at Apollo Bay beach during a June 2018 storm put the road “at risk”.

The studies point to erosion at critical levels at the very time the state’s south-west is hosting ever greater numbers of visitors, now more than five million a year.

Similar problems are being faced along the wider coast, from Port Fairy in the south-west to Inverloch and the Ninety Mile Beach and Lakes Entrance in the south-east and east……..

findings raise the prospect that rising seas due to climate change are now proving a real problem for vulnerable coastal locations.

Mr Rosengren said rising sea levels contributed to the erosion at Mounts Bay.

“You’re witnessing the effects of a complex of processes of which sea level is one,” he said.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) current projection for sea level rise, based on high emissions, ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, is almost 90 centimetres by the year 2100, relative to an average sea level for the period 1986-2005.

That projection will be updated, most likely upwards, in the IPCC’s special oceans report due for release this year.

Other peer-reviewed studies have forecast a much steeper rise in sea level by 2100.

……… While possible, realignment of the road would be difficult and expensive at Mounts Bay because the Barham River runs along the landward side of the road, making the area also susceptible to flooding.

…….. A quandary for all concerned is that sea walls of any form will alter the character of a coastline renowned for its rugged, natural beauty. Sea walls also interfere with the coast’s ecology and its ability to naturally replenish itself.

Bankrolled by public donations, the 243-kilometre Great Ocean Road was built by World War I veterans between 1919 and 1932 as a memorial to soldiers killed in the war, and to open the south-west coast to tourists and daytrippers. It was built as close to the ocean as possible.

……… A Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning spokesperson said accounting for sea level rise was now “embedded” in the Victorian planning system.

The Age has sought an interview and comments from federal Environment Minister Melissa Price about the Morrison government’s policies on, and plans for, sea level rise.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Victoria | Leave a comment