Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Despite Minerals Council lobbying, Australia’s Environmental Law prohibits nuclear and limits uranium mining

K-A Garlick, Nuclear Free WA, 22 July 20, This week, the interim report of the review into the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act – Australia’s federal environmental laws was released. This found that the Federal government should maintain the capacity to intervene in uranium mining and that there be no change to the existing prohibition on nuclear activities, including domestic nuclear power.

Environment groups have given a cautious welcome to this continuation of the status quo, especially in the face of lobbying by the Mineral Council of Australia to weaken nuclear protections and scrutiny. This outcome is a tribute to the efforts of those who have worked hard over years to highlight the deep community concerns with the nuclear industry.

While no amount of regulation can make uranium mining socially or environmentally acceptable, it can reduce the impacts.  The reports sensible approach means it is now incumbent on both State and Federal government to ensure the highest standards or rigour, transparency and public interest.

The nuclear power ban has been retained despite years of concerted effort by the Mineral Council of Australia and pro-nuclear lobbyists to have this removed. Again, this is testimony to the power, importance and effectiveness of sustained community advocacy and action.

In future updates, there will be more information on further developments and action to take, but in the meantime zip over to the excellent resource page, Don’t Nuke the Climate, Australia for all information and myth-busting to keep sharing that nuclear power cannot solve the climate crisis.  Click on website link https://dont-nuke-the-climate.org.au/

July 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Minister Against the Environment, Sussan Ley, in a hurry for Environment Laws to help mining industries?

Environment Minister Sussan Ley is in a tearing hurry to embrace nature law reform – and that’s a worry The Conversation  Peter Burnett, Honorary Associate Professor, ANU College of Law, Australian National University, July 20, 2020  The Morrison government on Monday released a long-awaited interim review into Australia’s federal environment law. The ten-year review found Australia’s natural environment is declining and under increasing threat. The current environmental trajectory is “unsustainable” and the law “ineffective”.

The report, by businessman Graeme Samuel, called for fundamental reform of the law, know as the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. The Act, Samuel says:

[…] does not enable the Commonwealth to play its role in protecting and conserving environmental matters that are important for the nation. It is not fit to address current or future environmental challenges.

Samuel confirmed the health of Australia’s environment is in dire straits, and proposes many good ways to address this.

Worryingly though, Environment Minister Sussan Ley immediately seized on proposed reforms that seem to suit her government’s agenda – notably, streamlining the environmental approvals process – and will start working towards them. This is before the review has been finalised, and before public comment on the draft has been received.

This rushed response is very concerning. I was a federal environment official for 13 years, and from 2007 to 2012 was responsible for administering and reforming the Act. I know the huge undertaking involved in reform of the scale Samuel suggests. The stakes are far too high to risk squandering this once-a-decade reform opportunity for quick wins.

‘Fundamental reform’ needed: Samuel

The EPBC Act is designed to protect and conserve Australia’s most important environmental and heritage assets – most commonly, threatened plant and animal species.

Samuel’s diagnosis is on the money: the current trajectory of environmental decline is clearly unsustainable. And reform is long overdue – although unlike Samuel, I would put the blame less on the Act itself and more on government failings, such as a badly under-resourced federal environment department.

Samuel also hits the sweet spot in terms of a solution, at least in principle. National environmental standards, legally binding on the states and others, would switch the focus from the development approvals process to environmental outcomes. In essence, the Commonwealth would regulate the states for environmental results, rather than proponents for (mostly) process.  …….

From the outset, the government framed Samuel’s review around a narrative of cutting the “green tape” that it believed unnecessarily held up development.

In June the government announced fast-tracked approvals for 15 major infrastructure projects in response to the COVID-19 economic slowdown. And on Monday, Ley indicated the government will prioritise the new national environmental standards, including further streamlining approval processes……..

Here’s where the danger lies. The government wants to introduce legislation in August. Ley said “prototype” environmental standards proposed by Samuel will be introduced at the same time. This is well before Samuel’s final report, due in October.

I believe this timeframe is unwise, and wildly ambitious……

The government’s fixation with cutting “green tape” should not unduly colour its reform direction. By rushing efforts to streamline approvals, the government risks creating a jumbled process with, once again, poor environmental outcomes.  https://theconversation.com/environment-minister-sussan-ley-is-in-a-tearing-hurry-to-embrace-nature-law-reform-and-thats-a-worry-141697

July 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Indigenous Australians have been  failed by the nation’s environmental protection laws, a review has found.

July 21, 2020 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Federal environment law review calls for independent cop, but Morrison Government rules it out

Federal environment law review calls for independent cop, but Morrison Government rules it out, ABC News, By national science, technology and environment reporter Michael Slezak  21 July 20, 

A landmark review into Australia’s national environment laws has called for a major overhaul, including establishing an “independent cop” to oversee them.

Key points:

The 124-page interim report comes 20 years after the laws were first implemented by the Howard government
The report’s author has called for a “strong, independent cop” on the environment beat
The Federal Government has accepted some recommendations, but rejected the report’s call for an independent regulatorThe independent review into the 20-year-old Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC), released this morning, also flagged legally enforceable “national standards” to stop the decline of Australia’s natural environment.

“The foundation of the report was that there is too much focus on process and not enough focus on outcomes and that should be changed entirely,” Graeme Samuel, the review’s independent author, said.

He concluded that Australia’s environment was getting worse under the laws designed to protect it.

“Australia’s natural environment and iconic places are in an overall state of decline and are under increasing threat,” he said.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley immediately moved to rule out an “independent cop”, which was policy taken to the last federal election by the Opposition.

But the Federal Government accepted the recommendation for national standards, which she said would form the basis of agreements with states, allowing federal approvals to be devolved to the states.

If brought into law it would establish a “one-stop shop” or “single-touch approvals”.

The devolving of federal approval powers to states has long been the aim of the Federal Government.

The report calls for the Government to maintain the power to step in on any decisions it deems important, or when a failure of state processes has been identified.

The 124-page interim report comes 20 years after the laws were first implemented by the Howard government……….

Independent cop call

In his review, Professor Samuel, the former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said a “strong, independent cop on the beat is required”.

“An independent compliance and enforcement regulator, that is not subject to actual or implied political direction from the Government Minister, should be established,” he said.

“The regulator should be responsible for monitoring compliance, enforcement and assurance. It should be properly resourced and have available to it a full toolkit of powers.”

The call echoes Labor Party policy from the last election, which called for a federal environmental protection agency — a move backed by the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF).

ACF chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said at the moment protecting nature was “optional”.

Regardless, Ms Ley moved quickly to rule out any new regulator……….

Funding cuts and approval delays

The review began in November 2019 but its findings were delayed by the bushfires and then the coronavirus crisis.

While the report was being prepared, the Auditor General released a report finding 80 per cent of approvals under the laws were non-compliant or contained errors.

Federal Labor analysed those findings and concluded that since the Coalition came to power, there had been a 510 per cent blowout in the number of environmental approvals delayed beyond time frames indicated in the laws.

The delays came as the government cut funding to the environment department, which Labor said was now 40 per cent lower than it was before the Coalition came to power……. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-20/epbc-act-environmental-review-report-recommends-independent-cop/12392594

July 21, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Nuclear status quo in federal environmental law review

The EPBC review interim report was released today. Here is the link to the report. https://epbcactreview.environment.gov.au/resources/interim-report. There are some meme’s attached – please share – or share directly from the Don’t Nuke the Climate pages. Thanks!
In summary
no change to nuclear power prohibition
uranium to stay a “matter of national environmental significance”
– federal government should maintain powers to intervene in uranium mining
– set up national environment standards – to devolve assessments to state and territory governments *** this is the bit to worry about – this is largely already the case and has led to much poorer outcomes. The “national environment standards” have the potential to be deficient and have weak regulation as is already the case.

 Mineral Policy Institute and Friends of the Earth Australia,  20 July 2020
National and state environment groups have given a cautious welcome to the continuation of long-standing protections against nuclear risks in the current statutory review of the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act – Australia’s federal environmental laws. The interim report released today has stated that the Commonwealth should maintain the capacity to intervene in uranium mining and made no recommendation to change existing prohibitions on nuclear activities, including domestic nuclear power.

Civil society groups made a joint submission to the EPBC review calling for the retention of the long standing ban on nuclear power and continuing federal oversight of uranium mining. The EPBC review committee’s interim report has flagged an intention to continue both protections despite lobbying from the Mineral Council of Australia to weaken these.

However, environment groups are concerned about a possible weakening of uranium mining regulations flagged in the interim report. Associate Professor Gavin Mudd, Chair of the Mineral Policy Institute, said: “The interim report proposes the further devolution of uranium mining regulation to states and territories, coupled to the establishment of ‘National Environmental Standards’. An obvious risk is that the standards will be weak, enforcement will be deficient as is already the case, and devolution will weaken the already inadequate oversight of uranium mining.”

“Uranium mining is different to other types of mining. Australia’s uranium mining sector has been dominated by license breaches, accidents, spills and a persistent failure to rehabilitate as promised. The last thing we need is a weakening of regulations and oversight. Apart from SA and NT every state and territory have a ban or prohibition on uranium mining. It is unsafe and unpopular and needs greater scrutiny, not less,” Assoc. Prof. Mudd said.

The Review’s interim report makes no recommendation to repeal the long-standing prohibition on domestic nuclear power. “Nuclear power is expensive, dangerous and unpopular,” said Dr Jim Green, national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia. “The prohibition in the EPBC Act reflects this. Nuclear is thirsty, produces high level nuclear waste for which there are no safe storage options and produces materials that can be diverted into nuclear weapons. It is a profound security and safety risk. And nuclear power is absurdly expensive.”

“Recent comments from the current Environment Minister and Opposition Leader show a clear bipartisan rejection of nuclear power. There is broad opposition among civil society as shown through a joint statement by over 60 organisations representing millions of Australians. Given the lack of social license for nuclear power in Australia we welcome the continuation of this prudent prohibition,” Dr Green said.

Following the Australian uranium-fuelled Fukushima nuclear disaster the UN Secretary General called for all uranium producing countries to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the industry. Groups have called on the Morrison government to now hold an independent review of the uranium sector.

July 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Doubts on the independence of the reiew of Australia’s national environmental laws

Frustration grows over delayed release of review into Australia’s environmental laws
‘Questions naturally arise’ about review’s independence, environmental group says,
Guardian,   Lisa Cox   17 Jul 20, Environment groups are increasingly anxious and frustrated as they wait for the release of an interim report from a review of Australia’s national environmental laws.

The review’s chair, the former competition watchdog head Graeme Samuel, handed his report to the environment minister, Sussan Ley, almost three weeks ago.

It had been due for release shortly after that but the government pushed back its publication, which is now expected sometime next week.

“When the review was announced, Minister Ley was very clear that this was meant to be an independent report. But when the report is delayed by government, questions naturally arise about how independent that process is,” said Suzanne Milthorpe, the national environmental law campaign manager at the Wilderness Society.

“If they are serious about this, they should release it so that all Australians can see and engage with the findings of this report.”

The review of Australia’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act is a once-in-a-decade statutory requirement. It has the potential to shape policy for the next 10 years in an area that is highly politicised.

The interim report and its recommendations will inform the next period of public consultation before Samuel delivers a final report in October.

In submissions to the review, environmental and industry groups have put forward proposals that involve the development of national environmental standards.

They agree Australia’s environment is in decline, but they hold different views on what a set of national standards might look like.

Industry continues to advocate for reductions in environmental regulation, while conservationists have called for stronger protection and an independent national environmental authority.

Just this week, Australia’s oil and gas lobby, APPEA, called for regulatory reform, and in particular the cutting of so-called environmental “green tape”, to support economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. …..

James Trezise of the Australian Conservation Foundation said a recent national audit office report that examined the assessment and approval of projects under the act had identified serious failures in governance.

That included findings that the government had been ineffective in managing risks to the environment and had failed to ensure developers were meeting the environmental conditions of their project approvals.

Trezise said reforms were needed to ensure Australia’s laws were better focused on delivering outcomes for the environment and that one way of achieving that was “through setting clear national standards” for environmental protection…….

James Trezise of the Australian Conservation Foundation said a recent national audit office report that examined the assessment and approval of projects under the act had identified serious failures in governance.

That included findings that the government had been ineffective in managing risks to the environment and had failed to ensure developers were meeting the environmental conditions of their project approvals.

Trezise said reforms were needed to ensure Australia’s laws were better focused on delivering outcomes for the environment and that one way of achieving that was “through setting clear national standards” for environmental protection……… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/17/frustration-grows-over-delayed-release-of-review-into-australias-environmental-laws

July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australia wants to build a huge concrete runway in Antarctica. Here’s why that’s a bad idea

Australia wants to build a huge concrete runway in Antarctica. Here’s why that’s a bad idea, The Conversation 
July 17, 2020  Shaun Brooks, University Associate, University of Tasmania, Julia JabourAdjunct Senior Lecturer, University of Tasmania    A ustralia wants to build a 2.7-kilometre concrete runway in Antarctica, the world’s biggest natural reserve. The plan, if approved, would have the largest footprint of any project in the continent’s history………

Australia: an environmental leader?

Australia has traditionally been considered an environmental leader in Antarctica. For example, in 1989 under the Hawke government, it urged the world to abandon a mining convention in favour of a new deal to ban mining on the continent.

Australia’s 20 Year Action Plan promotes “leadership in environmental stewardship in Antarctica”, pledging to “minimise the environmental impact of Australia’s activities”.

But the aerodrome proposal appears at odds with that goal. It would cover 2.2 square kilometres, increasing the total “disturbance footprint” of all nations on the continent by 40%. It would also mean Australia has the biggest footprint of any nation, overtaking the United States.

Within this footprint, environmental effects will also be intense. Construction will require more than three million cubic metres of earthworks – levelling 60 vertical metres of hills and valleys along the length of the runway. This will inevitably cause dust emissions – on the windiest continent on Earth – and the effect of this on plants and animals in Antarctica is poorly understood.

Wilson’s storm petrels that nest at the site will be displaced. Native lichens, fungi and algae will be destroyed, and irreparable damage is expected at adjacent lakes.

Weddell seals breed within 500 metres of the proposed runway site. Federal environment officials recognise the dust from construction and subsequent noise from low flying aircraft have the potential to disturb these breeding colonies.

The proposed area is also important breeding habitat for Adélie penguins. Eight breeding sites in the region are listed as “important bird areas”. Federal environment officials state the penguins are likely to be impacted by human disturbance, dust, and noise from construction of the runway, with particular concern for oil spills and aircraft operations.

The summer population at Davis Station will need to almost double from 120 to 250 during construction. This will require new, permanent infrastructure and increase the station’s fuel and water consumption, and sewage discharged into the environment……..https://theconversation.com/australia-wants-to-build-a-huge-concrete-runway-in-antarctica-heres-why-thats-a-bad-idea-139596

July 18, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

Australian government to blame for failure of environment laws

Let there be no doubt: blame for our failing environment laws lies squarely at the feet of government, The Conversation June 29, 2020    Peter BurnettHonorary Associate Professor, ANU College of Law, Australian National University  A long-awaited draft review of federal environment laws is due this week. There’s a lot riding on it – particularly in light of recent events that suggest the laws are in crisis.

Late last week, the federal Auditor-General Grant Hehir tabled a damning report on federal authorities’ handling of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act. Incredibly, he found Australia’s premier environmental law is administered neither efficiently or effectively.

It followed news last month that mining company Rio Tinto detonated the 46,000 year old Juukan rock shelters in the Pilbara. The decision was authorised by a 50 year old Western Australian law –and the federal government failed to invoke emergency powers to stop it.

Also last month we learned state-owned Victorian logging company VicForests unlawfully logged 26 forest coupes, home to the critically endangered Leadbeater’s possum. The acts were contrary both to its own code of practice, and the agreement exempting VicForests from federal laws.

As relentless as Hehir’s criticisms of the department are, let there be no doubt that blame lies squarely at the feet of government. As a society, we must decide what values we want to protect, count the financial cost, then make sure governments deliver on that protection.

Shocking report card

I’ve been involved with this Act since before it began 20 years ago. As an ACT environment official reading a draft in 1998 I was fascinated by its complexity and sweeping potential. As a federal official responsible for administering, then reforming, the Act from 2007-2012, I encountered some of the issues identified by the audit, in milder form.

But I was still shocked by Hehir’s report. It’s so comprehensively scathing that the department barely took a trick.

Overall, the audit found that despite the EPBC Act being subject to multiple reviews, audits and parliamentary inquiries since it began, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment’s administration of the laws is neither efficient nor effective………

How did this happen?

The EPBC Act itself remains a powerful instrument. Certainly changes are needed, but the more significant problems lie in the processes that should support it: plans and policies, information systems and resourcing.

As I wrote last month, between 2013 and 2019 the federal environment department’s budget was cut by an estimated 39.7%.

And while effective administration of the Act requires good information, this can be hard to come by. For example the much-needed National Plan for Environmental Information, established in 2010, was never properly resourced and later abolished……..

A national conversation

There is a small saving grace here. Hehir says the department asked that his report be timed to inform Professor Graeme Samuel’s 10-year review of the EPBC Act. Hehir timed it perfectly – Samuel’s draft report is due by tomorrow. Let’s hope it recommends comprehensive action, and that the final report in October follows through.

Beyond Samuel’s review, we need a national conversation on how to fix laws protecting our environment and heritage. The destruction of the Juukan rock shelters, unlawful logging of Victorian forests and the Auditor-General’s report are incontrovertible evidence the laws are failing……https://theconversation.com/let-there-be-no-doubt-blame-for-our-failing-environment-laws-lies-squarely-at-the-feet-of-government-141482

June 29, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Auditor general finds that Morrison government has failed in its duty to protect environment

 

June 27, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Scott Morrison gives a boost to uranium mining at Olympic Dam

Poor old BHP. My  heart bleeds!     The so-called “Big Australian”  (about 70% owned by overseas interests), is so poor that it’s had to get exemptions from just about every regulation that matters.  The SA Roxby Downs Indenture Act legislation allows the mine to operate with wide-ranging exemptions from the Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act, the Environment Protection Act, the Natural Resources Act, and the Freedom of Information Act.   There are constant problems with tailings such as ongoing seepage and large numbers of bird deaths.  

Probably  worst of all,  BHP plans to increase extraction of precious Great Artesian Basin water to an average 50 million litres per day for the next 25 years, with likely serious adverse impacts on the unique and fragile Mound Springs ‒ which are listed as an Endangered Ecological Community and are of significant cultural importance to Aboriginal people.

BHP plans to  to increase extraction of Great Artesian Basin fossil water “up to total maximum 50 million litres a day annual average” (above the volumes last assessed in 1997 and set at a max of 42 Ml/day) and give BHP rights to take GAB water – potentially up to 2070
Mining industries are becoming increasingly mechanised and automated.  If Scott Morrison were serious about promoting jobs, he’d be giving support to the service industries. But then, that would mean more jobs for women, and of course, Australia needs more “real’ jobs, blokey jobs

Olympic Dam expansion on fast track,e InDaily, 15 June 20

The Olympic Dam expansion is being fast-tracked as part of a Federal Government plan to boost employment and reduce the length and severity of the coronavirus-induced recession.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to today announce $1.5 billion to immediately start work on priority projects identified by the states and territories…….

BHP is proposing for a staged increase in copper production at Olympic Dam from 200,000 to up to 350,000 tonnes per annum.

The expansion has been granted Major Development status by the state government  …. https://indaily.com.au/news/2020/06/15/olympic-dam-expansion-on-fast-track/

June 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Olympic Dam, politics | Leave a comment

Coalition’s push to deregulate environmental approvals will lead to extinction crisis

Scientists fear Coalition’s push to deregulate environmental approvals will lead to extinction crisis
Scott Morrison’s announcement in wake of bushfires is ‘distressing’ and puts threatened species at risk, ecologists say,
Guardian,   Lisa Cox, Tue 16 Jun 2020  Scientists have expressed dismay and frustration at Scott Morrison’s latest push to deregulate the environmental approval process for major developments, noting it comes just months after an unprecedented bushfire crisis and during a review of national conservation laws.In a speech on Monday, the prime minister said he wanted to slash approval times for major projects by moving to a streamlined “single touch” system for state and federal environmental assessments.

Morrison said the change would be informed by the review of Australia’s environment laws, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act, which is under way. But his speech did not mention the environment or the act’s objectives to protect threatened species and ecosystems. ……

Scientists and environmentalists argue the act is failing to prevent an extinction crisisJust 22 of 6,500 projects referred for approval have been knocked back in the act’s 20-year history.

Australia has the world’s highest rate of mammalian extinction. Reporting by Guardian Australia has found the government has failed to implement or track measures for species known to be at risk, stopped listing major threats to species, and not registered a single piece of critical habitat for 15 years.

The listing of species and ecosystems as threatened has been delayed by successive ministers, funding has been directed to projects that did not benefit threatened species and hundreds of plants and animals have been identified as requiring urgent attention after the summer bushfire disaster.

The government has framed its commentary about the review around a desire to speed up approval times for projects as the country moves out of the economic shutdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. …..

Megan Evans, an environmental policy researcher at the University of New South Wales in Canberra, said one of the reasons approvals could be slow was because the capacity of the public service had been cut. …… we have highly ambiguous wording [in the act] which provides maximum discretion to the minister that reduces certainty and puts all power in the hands of the minister of the day. You can’t on one hand complain about the lack of certainty but then on the other shy away from measures that would actually provide greater certainty.”

The climate scientist, Bill Hare, said Australia’s approach to its natural environment was damaging not only for the country’s ecosystems, but its democracy…….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/16/scientists-fear-push-to-deregulate-environmental-approvals-will-lead-to-extinction-crisis

June 16, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s Environment Laws have no teeth, are in much need of strengthening

‘No checks, no balances’: push for change to environment laws, The Age, By Mike Foley, June 14, 2020 Australia’s 20-year-old flagship environmental protection laws are failing badly and in urgent need of an overhaul, the crossbench senator who helped the Howard government install the landmark legislation says.

“Clearly it’s not working well,” former Democrats senator Andrew Bartlett said ahead of an imminent review of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. “The most obvious failure is despite the fact conditions can be attached to project approvals, there are just so many cases where conditions aren’t adhered to. There are no efforts to check and no penalties.”

Mr Bartlett stared down bitter opposition from some powerful players in the conservation movement and sided with the Howard government against Labor and the Greens to vote for legislation in 1999.

The act was an attempt by the Howard government to modernise environmental protection laws and was controversial because it significantly increased the environment minister’s powers, such as allowing them to intervene in project approvals to protect threatened species.

Since the act’s introduction, Australia’s list of nationally threatened species and ecosystems has grown by more than one-third – from 1483 to 1974.

The act is being reviewed by the former chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Graeme Samuel, who is due to complete his report for Environment Minister Sussan Ley later this month.

Both conservationists and industry are unhappy with the application of the act. Conservation groups say successive governments have not used the powers in the act to protect threatened species, while industry argues the act has delayed development because of so-called “green law-fare”.

Australian Conservation Foundation policy co-ordinator James Trezise said “the idea that vexatious litigation is rife under national environment law is not borne out by the evidence”.

“There have been less than 50 public interest cases under the EPBC Act in 20 years,” he said.

Professor Hugh Possingham, one of the scientists who advised the Howard government on the legislation, said the act had failed to protect the environment.

“There’s no ambiguity in the science, the EPBC Act isn’t delivering,” Professor Possingham told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. ……

The Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists’ submission to Mr Samuel’s review said the “objectives of the [EPBC] act are not being met”….. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/no-checks-no-balances-push-for-change-to-environment-laws-20200610-p55180.html

June 15, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s very bad record on environment: it’s no time to weaken our laws

June 11, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Order of Australia recipients for environment and conservation

from Maelor Himbury  (Apologies to any I may have missed), 8 June 20

 Rita BENTLEY  VIC

Craig Kingston BUSH bMeerlieu VIC

 Erik DAHLbKersbrook SA

 Vera Frances DEACON Stockton NSW

Atticus Richard FLEMING NSW

Manfred Ernst HEIDE Teringie SA

 Noel HOFFMAN Gooseberry Hill WA

 Ross Edward LEDGER City Beach WA

 Colin James LIMPUS Capalaba QLD

 James Grant MUMME Rockingham WA

 Gretel Lees PACKER  NSW

 William Robert PATERSON Meningie SA

 Barry McGown SCOTT Sunnybank QLD

 Richard John THOMSON Templestowe Lower VIC

 Arron Richard WOOD Kensington VIC

 Mike WOOD North Beach WA

June 8, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

New Zealand puts Australia to shame – with its environment – pandemic recovery programme

Australia’s destructive COVID-19 recovery

In contrast, the Australian federal and some state governments have resorted to environmentally destructive projects and policies to stimulate economic activity and support employment.
For example, the New South Wales government in March granted approval to extend coalmining under Sydney’s Woronora reservoir and in May approved the controversial Snowy Hydro 2.0 project……

An opportunity for Australia

Economic stimulus through conservation and land management is not yet recognised as a way for Australia to respond to both the COVID-19 crisis and long-standing conservation needs.

Australian governments, if they invested similarly to New Zealand, could create jobs in the short term in any desired target region, based on economic and environmental need….

June 6, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment