Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

What the planet needs from men 

Brisbane Times, by Elizabeth Farrelly, 15 Feb 19…………women aren’t the only victims. Nature too bears the brunt. The world is being shoved off a cliff not by masculinity’s strength but by its terrifying fragility.Fragile masculinity is fear pressurised into rage; fear of losing control – of liberated femininity, of mysterious nature, of a world bucking its traces, of chaos. The anger is a desperate attempt to reinstate that control, illusory as it may always have been.

We’ve just endured a series of 40-plus days across much of the country, last month was the hottest on record. We joke. Thirty-six is the new normal, haha. I gaze with cold-envy at Antarctica, minus 29. But see this for what it is. This is the will-to-dominance: fragile masculinity in action.

Tasmania incineratesRiver systems shrink to nothingFish die in their millions. In Queensland up to half a million head of cattle lie rotting in the mud. In the Northern Territory, the soil itself has begun to ignite and thermometers melt in bare ground. On Tuesday, ploughing-induced dust storms obscured Parliament House. Globally, we’re witnessing catastrophic insect extinction, the start of the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. The evidence is insurmountable.

Yet we continue to beat nature into submission, as if striving to make the world hotter and weather events more extreme. Other countries reduce emissions. Germany pledges to close its remaining coal-fired power plants in 30 years. Australia could match that. Both UNSW and the CSIRO with Energy Networks Australia argue that renewables could easily supply most or all of our future energy needs. Instead, we become the developed world’s only deforestation hotspot, expected to clear-fell a further 3 million hectares in 15 years.

The Darling Basin Royal Commission finds “gross maladministration” and “negligence” in our governments’ wilful ignorance of climate change. Even the courts, bless them, have started to disallow coal mines for their climate impact. Yet the government response is, well, nothing, actually. Minister Littleproud mentions “learnings” from the Darling but still our noble leaders favour irrigators, build motorways, approve new mines, deny climate science and ease the path to public subsidies for one the biggest coal mines on earth as though it’s all fine.

It’s not fine. This is domestic violence. This planet is our home and they thrash around in it yelling, intimidating, wrecking the joint. Like violent husbands they get all remorseful and beg forgiveness only to do it all again. Why? Because we’ve always thrashed nature, and nature has always coped. As a bloke once said to me: “You don’t want me to shout and get possessive? But I’ve always treated women like this.”

Stoically, the planet has housed and nourished us, tolerated us. But it can’t last. A dominance relationship is never sustainable, human-to-human or human-to-nature. Winning? To win this battle is to lose. The era of collaboration is here………….

It’s when people “stitch their self-worth to being all-powerful” that things go bad. An equal-status relationship – with a partner or with nature – requires listening, empathy, the antidote to shame.

We talk as though “traditional masculinity” were the enemy, as though we want men to evolve into something more like women. But that’s wrong.

What we need is not faux-women but nobler, more confident men. The man-heroes of the future, if we’re to have one, won’t be the brutes and sociopaths. They won’t be the cruel and the thoughtless, the boat-stoppers and coal-brandishers. They’ll be those who hold power but refuse to exploit it, renowned as much for their kindness as their exploits. Literally, gentlemen.

Male anger is leading us over a cliff. If men can find the strength to be truly vulnerable, they deserve to lead. If not, if they persist in this fragile rage, it’ll be up to Rosie the Riveter to save the day. Why? Because there is no spare room to sleep in. https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/what-the-planet-needs-from-men-20190214-p50xrq.html

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February 16, 2019 Posted by | art and culture, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, women | Leave a comment

In this time of critical drought, water shortage, South Australia’s govt lets BHP expand its water-guzzling Olympic Dam uranium mine

 

Why does BHP get this water for free?

 

SA boost for Olympic Dam expansion  https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sa-boost-for-olympic-dam-expansion  15 Feb 19, The South Australian government has granted the expansion of the Olympic Dam project major development status.  BHP’s plans for a $3 billion expansion of its Olympic Dam project in South Australia’s north have been granted major development status by the state government.

The government’s move, gazetted on Thursday, clears the way for the company to increase annual copper production from 200,000 to 350,000 tonnes.

It also allows it to boost gold, silver and uranium production and to lift water extraction from the Great Artesian Basin to a maximum of 50 megalitres a day.

Declaring BHP’s proposed expansion of Olympic Dam a major development is a key milestone in this important project,” Mining Minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan said.

“Olympic Dam is already the state’s largest mining operation, providing jobs, investment and royalties for South Australia.

“(This is) a very important project that, if it goes ahead, would contribute 1800 additional jobs in South Australia during construction, and another permanent 600 jobs on site at Olympic Dam.”

But the minister said the project was still subject to thorough assessment, particularly the plan to extract more water.

“All potential environmental impacts, potential social impacts, potential economic impacts will be considered incredibly thoroughly,” Mr van Holst Pellekaan said.

Local communities will also be consulted on the company’s plans.

Mr van Holst Pellekaan said it would be several years before an expanded mine could begin operation.

The state government’s declaration also covers BHP’s development plans outside the mining lease, including proposals for extra accommodation. The proposed expansion of Olympic Dam has had a chequered history after first being mooted by the previous owners, Western Mining, back in 2002.

BHP initially proposed a $30 billion expansion, including development of one of the world’s largest open cut mines, but put the plans on hold in 2012.

The company has since been looking at lower-cost, smaller scale, alternatives to its original proposals.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Northern Territory passes law on nuclear wastes, reiterates opposition to NT nuclear waste dump

NT moves to clarify offshore oil, gas industry’s nuclear waste obligations http://m.miningweekly.com/article/nt-moves-to-clarify-offshore-oil-gas-industrys-nuclear-waste-obligations-2019-02-15

15th February 2019 BY: ESMARIE IANNUCCI  CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA PERTH  – The Northern Territory has passed the Nuclear Waste Transport Storage and Disposal (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, providing the offshore oil and gas industry with a blueprint of their obligations around the management of nuclear waste.

The nuclear waste covered by the Bill included naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) that could be incidentally generated from offshore oil and gas activities and subsequently brought into the Northern Territory, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eva Lawler said.

“The Bill demonstrates the Northern Territory government’s commitment to protecting the Territory’s environment, while listening to and responding to concerns raised by the offshore oil and gas industry about the ambiguities in the regulatory environment.

“The Amendment Bill addresses ambiguities in exemptions for nuclear waste, including NORMs that may be created as a by-product of industry activities.”

NORMs are widespread in sands, clay, soils and rocks and many ores and minerals, commodities, products and by-products.

Lawler said that the amendments to this Bill became necessary after uncertainties were raised by industry about whether NORMs were exempt from the Act. The Amendment Bill reframes the exemptions while maintaining the Parliament’s original intention when passing the original Act.

She noted that the Northern Territory maintains a strong environmental stance against nuclear waste being dumped in the Territory, and from becoming a nuclear waste dump for the rest of Australia.

“Jobs are the number one priority for the Territory Labor government and we believe that good environmental policy makes good economic sense,” Lawler added.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | legal, Northern Territory, politics | Leave a comment

Matt Canavan hijacks native title fight on Adani

“The system, the native title system,” Tony McAvoy, SC, Australia’s first Indigenous silk said, “coerces Aboriginal people into an agreement. It’s going to happen anyway. If we don’t agree, the native title tribunal will let it go through, and we will lose our land and won’t be compensated either. That’s the position we’re in.”
They can either agree to an ILUA, in which case the mine goes ahead and they get something out of it, or they can refuse, in which case the mine almost certainly goes ahead anyway, and they get nothing.
The mining company and its political backers engaged in a process of “manufacturing consent by exploiting dissent”.
The appeal is expected to be heard in May. The docket should read “David v Goliath”, given the relative resources of the parties involved. On one side the multibillion-dollar mining conglomerate, backed by the federal government and aided by a legislative regime skewed in its favour, and on the other, a relative handful of impecunious Indigenous custodians.

It’s a big case, not only for the W&J people, but for an entire, overheating planet.

The Saturday Paper  Mike Seccombe , 15 Feb 19, 
Just before 1pm on Tuesday, most media attention in Parliament House was focused on the government’s historic embarrassment on medical evacuations of asylum seekers. So, relatively few were there to witness another embarrassment, in the senate courtyard.
Resources Minister Matt Canavan, chief government advocate for the coal industry in general and the Adani Carmichael mine in particular, had called a media conference with representatives of the Wangan and Jagalingou people, traditional custodians of the land Adani wants to mine.

Its purpose was to promulgate the line that the traditional custodians overwhelmingly support the giant coalmine. To that end, Canavan, along with his National Party colleagues Michelle Landry and George Christensen, had invited a member of the W&J people to spruik the benefits of the mine. Continue reading

February 16, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

A fearful future for Australia’s one big river system – the Murray-Darling basin

Murray-Darling Basin’s outlook is grim unless it rains, authority’s report warns, Guardian, Anne Davies


Focus for year ahead will be on ‘providing drought refuges and avoiding irreversible loss of species 
The outlook for the environment in the Murray-Darling Basin, particularly in the north, is extremely challenging and there will be almost no scope for environmental flows for the remainder of the 2018-19 year unless it rains, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority has warned.It says the focus will be “on providing drought refuges and avoiding irreversible loss of species”.

Releasing its environmental watering outlook for 2019-20 the authority warns that there are almost no reserves of environmental water in the northern basin and that, as a result of above-average temperatures and low inflows over successive years, some important wetlands and floodplain forests have not received water for long periods.

It says conditions in the Coorong, a Ramsar-listed wetland in South Australia, are deteriorating, as are conditions in the Narran Lakes, despite the federal government paying $80m for water rights aimed at restoring them. The Macquarie Marshes and floodplains along the Murray are also deteriorating.

The report says the conditions in the lower Darling are particularly severe and the length and duration of cease-to-flow events in the lower Darling has skyrocketed since 2000. It acknowledges this is due to extraction by irrigators upstream as well as climate.

“The hydrology in this area has changed in recent years … an effect which can be tied to both the volume of water extracted from the river and climate across the northern basin,” it says.

“This trend has also affected water availability in Menindee Lakes and the flow characteristics downstream through the lower Darling,” it says…….. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/feb/15/murray-darling-basins-outlook-is-grim-unless-it-rains-authoritys-report-warns

February 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

Global events, as well as Australian politics, may spell doom for Australia’s coal industry

Australia’s coal future under threat as more changes hit fossil fuels globally, ABC 

Key points:

  • Germany wants to exit coal power by 2038, which could have implications for Australian coal producers
  • Renewables last year overtook coal as the key source of energy in the European nation
  • Environmental groups are pushing candidates to outline their position on climate change ahead of the upcoming federal election

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel confirmed the country would exit coal power by 2038.

In New South Wales, a court knocked back an application for a new coal mine on the grounds it would increase greenhouse gas emissions at a time when they need to be cut.

Neither will immediately derail the freight train that made Australia $66 billion in export earnings last year, overtaking iron ore as our most valuable traded commodity, but both decisions are a snapshot of large and incremental changes in policy and legislation that are hitting the coal sector.

“We want to be out of coal in 2038,” Chancellor Merkel told students in Tokyo last week, after a government-appointed commission released its 20-year plan to completely shut the coal-fired power plants that currently provide almost half the country’s electricity……….

Politics may dictate a shift

Australia is months away from a federal election where senior Liberal Party figures — including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and former prime minister Tony Abbott — are being threatened by independents who support a rapid shift away from greenhouse-gas-producing fossil fuels like coal.

Even people who cannot vote, but feel passionately about the impact of climate change, are entering the debate.

School student Maiysha Moin helped found “Climate Voices” to amplify the concerns that prompted a strike by thousands of students last year.

“We want the voices of young people to be heard,” she said.

“Right now we see a lot of politicians don’t represent our vision for the future, especially on climate change, and what we want to do is endorse leaders and candidates who will represent what we believe in and our values.”

The new group is vetting the climate change credentials of potential candidates, giving them stamps of approval and offering campaign support in key marginal seats.

“What we need right now is visionary leadership,” she said.

“We need our politicians to be brave, step up, take action and listen to what the people have to say instead of standing around and hoping that climate change is going to go away — that’s not going to happen.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-15/australias-coal-future-under-threat-amid-global-changes/10812758

February 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, politics | Leave a comment

Climate change protesters disrupt parliamentary question time

 https://www.sbs.com.au/news/climate-change-protesters-disrupt-parliamentary-question-time 15 Feb 19, Protesters complaining about what they see as a lack of action on climate change have tried to disrupt federal parliament during question time. Climate protesters have disrupted question time in federal parliament, with at least 10 people in the public galleries standing up to shout at politicians.

The first was applauded on Thursday as he yelled about “record-breaking droughts and bushfires” before being removed by security as another activist stood up to take his place.

Ministers ploughed on with their answers amid the shouting, while backbenchers looked up at the disturbance. One woman singled out Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott, telling them they would be judged harshly as Mr Joyce smiled and waved to her.

Standing up one after another across the three public galleries, others said, “stop lying to us”, that their children and grandchildren would suffer and “take urgent action … you should get arrested for what you’re doing”.

The Coffs Coast Climate Action Group claimed credit, saying they wanted to deliver a statement from their community and call on MPs to examine their conscience.

One of the group, Uniting Church deacon Jason John, said it was cynical of politicians including the prime minister to ask Australians to pray for rain in a time of record drought as if God controls every drop, while not doing anything to act on climate change.

“I am not afraid of a lump of coal but I am afraid that some of our nation’s leaders seem to worship it,” Dr John said in a statement

During Julia Gillard’s prime ministership, multiple question times were interrupted by protesters against the so-called carbon tax.

February 16, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Queensland government rebukes Adani over endangered finch 

Guardian, Ben Smee, @BenSmee, 15 Feb 2019  Indian miner playing politics instead of participating in scientific process, says deputy premier Jackie Trad  The Adani mining group has chosen to “run a political campaign” rather than engage with the Queensland government about its plans to protect the endangered black-throated finch, the state’s deputy premier has said.

On Friday, Adani launched a pre-emptive attack on the findings of an independent review of its conservation plans to protect the finch at the Carmichael mine site…….

Speaking in Townsville on Friday afternoon, the Queensland deputy premier and treasurer, Jackie Trad, said Adani should raise any concerns it had about the draft report with the Department of Environment and Scienc e……….

The Australian Conservation Foundation said the government must “stay the course” and not cave in to corporate bullying.

“The black-throated finch is now found in only 12% of its historical range and Adani’s mine would devastate its best remaining habitat,” campaigner Christian Slattery said.

“Adani’s tantrum at the Queensland government is a clear demonstration of the company’s contempt for science and our native wildlife. If Adani’s management plans for the black-throated finch aren’t scientifically robust, they should not get approved. It’s that simple.” https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/feb/15/queensland-government-rebukes-adani-over-endangered-finch

February 16, 2019 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Mental health issues in Kimba community divided by nuclear waste dump proposal

Nuclear waste site selection process triggers mental health concerns, business boycotts and division, FOI documents reveal https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/foi-documents-show-kimba-divided-over-nuclear-waste-site/10807462  ABC North and West By Gary-Jon Lysaght   (FOI documents are attached on the original) Freedom of Information (FOI) documents reveal the Federal Government has been aware of potential mental health issues, from as early as 2017, caused by the search for a site to store the nation’s nuclear waste.The Federal Government is currently considering two sites at Kimba and one near Hawker for a facility that would permanently store low-level waste and temporarily store medium-level waste.

Kimba, a small town on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, has been divided on whether to support or oppose the facility. Some residents believe the facility could help bring much-needed business to the rural town, while others suggest it could damage the region’s agricultural reputation.

“Many of the opposed group have raised the issue of mental health in submissions and direct discussions,” the FOI documents, written in 2017, said.

They believe mental health issues are arising in Kimba due to the stress of being in this process.

“These issues have been raised with the Kimba doctor and counsellor.”

Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick obtained the Freedom of Information documents and hoped the concerns were a catalyst for change.

“In my view, that creates a very strong obligation for the Government to act,” he said.

“They’ve clearly known about this issue since 2017 and it is now time to ask the minister exactly what he is doing in relation to that.”

Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, Matt Canavan, is responsible for determining which site should be chosen for the facility.

“If anyone in Kimba advises they have concerns about their health, they can be referred to the Kimba Mental Health and Wellbeing Group,” a department spokesman said.  “Following a Community Benefit Program application, that group received funding of $30,000 for Healthy Mind Healthy Community workshops to improve resilience, mental health and wellbeing.”

Site selection process ongoing

The site selection process has been put on hold since traditional owners took the District Council of Kimba to court over a proposed community ballot on support for the facility.

The Barngarla Native Title Determination Aboriginal Corporation took the matter to the Federal Court because not all native title holders were included in the ballot.

A decision will be made on the court action this year, with Native Title holders claiming the ballot would breach the Racial Discrimination Act.

owever, an early technical assessment gave the Napandee property a score of 90, while Lyndhurst received 82.

“Both sites were ranked as ‘highly suitable’ by the initial desktop assessment,” the FOI documents said.

“This assessment involved a multi-criteria site assessment where the sites were evaluated against criteria of health, safety, security, environment protection, equity, economic viability, and stable environment.

“On balance, it is recommended that if there is a decision to proceed, both sites should be taken forward.

“If only one site is taken forward, it is recommended to be Napandee.”

This is despite a consultation in 2016, mentioned in the documents, found “that the Lyndhurst site was preferred by the community”.

“Given the perception it is ‘further out of town’ and on less productive land, but there is no strong basis for this assessment.”

Community divided

The documents also revealed that the Federal Government was aware of the “strong division” within Kimba that the site selection process was causing.

“It is unlikely community views will change significantly in the short to medium term, with a block of around 40 per cent persistently strongly opposed,” the documents said. “There is strong division in the town and this is expected to continue and may become more vocal in the short term.”

Jeff Baldock owns Napandee, the site indicated to be preferred by the Federal Government in the FOI documents.

“It’s been a very long process,” he said.

“When it first started out, there was probably a few things that could have been done better.

“But as it’s gone along, everyone’s had plenty of opportunity to find out what they want to know.”

Mr Baldock said there had been “vague references” to mental health concerns. (Below: Jeff Baldock and family) 

“But I’ve never actually spoken to anyone who feels particularly that way and I know that the department did have an open offer that they could contact them.”

Peter Woolford is Chair of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or South Australia, an organisation against the facility.

He said there was no doubt that the site selection process had caused mental health concerns within the community.

“We’ve lost people from our community because of it,” he said.

“People I speak to are reluctant to go into Kimba much these days.

“It’s disappointing to say the least that if you went up the street and tried to have a conversation about the nuclear waste facility from people from opposite sides, you wouldn’t get much of a conversation.”

Boycotting businesses

Another section of the documents found there had been some cases of businesses being boycotted by locals if the owner either supported or opposed the facility.

“Business owners have noted that boycotting of businesses by the opposed group is occurring,” the documents said.

“While these claims may be exaggerated, this would appear valid and detrimental to the town.”

The ABC has also been told that those opposed to the facility were boycotting businesses that supported it.

It has also been told that up to 90 per cent of businesses at Kimba supported the facility.

Senator Patrick was concerned about the impact boycotting businesses could have on a town like Kimba.

“Kimba is a very small township and the last thing you want to have is animosity developing across members of the community,” he said.

“To the point where they simply won’t go and shop in a particular shop because of someone’s view on this issue.”

February 14, 2019 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

Anti nuclear campaigner Eileen Wani Wingfield honoured posthumously at the 2018 SA Environment Awards. 

Family accepts Lifetime Achiever Award in Eileen’s honour  https://www.transcontinental.com.au/story/5892492/eileen-wingfield-honoured-as-a-conservation-legend/?cs=1538&fbclid=IwAR0EgYbVPqxhd1EkhHXcL5Z-k8cuWyWWjDAHvuJznCeeDlliHoOudQ1toSo#slide=1, Amy Green, 13 Feb 19, 

February 14, 2019 Posted by | personal stories, South Australia | 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

Surveillance of anti-nuclear writers in Australia

Dan Monceaux shared a link.Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, 13 Feb 19, 
During 2016, towards the end of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission, it became abundantly clear that I was under watch day and night.

Now in 2019, after nearly three successive years of detectable surveillance, I finally got around to requesting my ASIO file. You might like to do the same… especially if you’ve been following or participating in political or scientific discussions related to nuclear energy or weapons for longer than I have.

When I inquired about the process, the National Archives advised me “If you think ASIO may hold records on yourself, please complete and submit this Intelligence or surveillance records inquiry form http://reftracker.naa.gov.au/reft100.aspx?key=05ASIORef. “

February 14, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, civil liberties | 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

Queensland government investigating Adani again, about coal terminal water release

Adani facing government probe into latest coal terminal water release into wetlands, ABC News 

Key points:

  • Adani has not applied for an emergency water release permit for Abbot Point
  • Water flowed into Caley Valley wetlands this month after monsoonal rain
  • The Queensland Government is prosecuting Adani over a 2017 wetland water release

It comes as Adani revealed it did not apply for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the sensitive Caley Valley wetlands during the north Queensland floods last week.

The company told the ABC that Abbot Point operators were confident they could manage floodwaters with new infrastructure, but were then overwhelmed by flows from neighbouring properties.

Adani’s own testing showed water released into the wetlands on February 7 had almost double the authorised concentration of “suspended solids”, which included coal sediment……….

‘2017 release eight times over limit’Adani is fighting a prosecution by the department over its 2017 release of coal-laden water from the port during Cyclone Debbie.

The department alleges Adani breached a temporary emissions licence (TEL) by dumping water with more than 800mg/L — eight times the authorised concentration of suspended solids……….

Conservationists called on the Queensland Government to launch a second prosecution of Adani over Abbot Point.

Australian Marine Conservation Society campaigner Lissa Schindler said the company had “shown that it cannot be trusted with our precious reef”.

She criticised Adani’s advertising campaign designed to pressure the government into granting final approvals of its Carmichael coal project.

Ms Schindler said Adani instead “should have been ensuring its port was able to cope with Queensland’s extreme weather events”.

Mackay Conservation Group campaigner Peter McCallum said: “If you own and operate a port in Queensland on our precious Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, you must make sure it can withstand big storms.” https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-13/adani-facing-government-probe-abbot-point-wetland-release/10805206

February 14, 2019 Posted by | climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment

Heated exchange at Adani media event  

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/heated-exchange-at-adani-media-event  A press conference to showcase the support of indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s Carmichael coal mine has served to show divided opinions on the project.

A fiery war of words has broken out at a press conference designed to highlight the support of Indigenous traditional owners for Adani’s controversial Carmichael coal mine.

Spokesman for the Wangan and Jagalingou people of central Queensland, Patrick Malone, spoke up about the benefits of the project, including a boost to local employment alongside Resources Minister Matt Canavan at Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday.

He stressed that traditional owners voted 294-to-1 in favour of establishing a land use agreement with Adani in 2016.

They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters. They did that because there are long-term benefits for Wangan and Jagalingou people,” Mr Malone told reporters.

But he was soon interrupted by fellow Wangan and Jagalingou representative Murrawah Johnson.

“Not appropriate,” Ms Johnson declared upon arriving at the scene.

Ms Johnson accused Mr Malone of having no right to represent her people, because of a native title claim still in dispute.

But Mr Malone rejected the view, lamenting that “loud mouth people” were overshadowing the majority view of traditional owners.

“Look after country,” Ms Johnson urged Mr Malone.

“I know all about that,” he replied.

With the exchange showing no signs of cooling down, Senator Canavan swiftly wrapped up the conference, with security arriving to usher away the interrupters.

February 14, 2019 Posted by | aboriginal issues, climate change - global warming, Queensland | Leave a comment