Australian news, and some related international items

A major scorecard gives the health of Australia’s environment less than 1 out of 10

March 30, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

With the pandemic, and the bushfires, we now must strengthen the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC)

in the immediate term we need to advocate for vital improvements to the EPBC. It is extraordinary that the Howard legacy of deliberately excluding a project’s climate impacts from the triggers to require assessment still hasn’t been remedied. That must now be fixed, as must the fact that there is no mechanism for assessing the cumulative ecological impacts of various proposals. After this summer’s destruction of huge areas of remaining healthy ecosystems, we need to institute, in both legislation and the practice of assessment, a presumption of protection instead of a culture of managed destruction.

March 28, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Legal challenge about Adani’s planned water use for giant coal mine

Morrison government faces legal challenge over Adani pipeline plan, Brisbane Times,  Peter Hannam, March 16, 2020 The Morrison government’s failure to activate the so-called “water trigger” when assessing the proposed Adani coal mine in Queensland will be challenged in the Federal Court.

Lawyers acting for the Australian Conservation Foundation will test the government’s decision not to refer Adani’s North Galilee Water Scheme, a pipeline supplying the mine, for a thorough assessment as intended by the law.

The water trigger, introduced by the Rudd-Gillard government in mid-2013, was meant to require the government to assess the impact on water of all large coal mines and coal seam gas developments.

However, the government treated Adani’s plan to draw 12.5 billion litres a year from the Suttor River in central Queensland as a pipeline that was not a “large coal mining development”, nor did it involve one.

Similarly, it viewed the pipeline proponent, Adani Infrastructure Pty Ltd, as “a different legal entity” from the coal mine proponent, Adani Mining Pty Ltd.

The foundation plans to test both reasons for the failure not to activate the water trigger in court, arguing that the government made an error in law by ignoring infrastructure that was critical for the coal mine to proceed.

Tony Windsor, the former independent MP who was a key architect of the trigger, said reliable long-term access to clean water was “vital for regional communities and demands that we sustainably manage our rivers and aquifers”.

“Allowing companies to split up mining projects and assess them in isolation makes a nonsense of the process,” he said. “You don’t see much looking at just one piece of the jigsaw – you need to look at the whole puzzle.”……..

March 17, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, legal | Leave a comment

A nuclear waste dump for Eyre Peninsula conflicts with the Strategic Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Region – 2017-2027

Susan Craig shared a No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia

 March 10    A nuclear waste dump for Eyre Peninsula does not fit within the Natural Resources Management Act 2004 nor the Strategic Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Natural Resources Management Region – 2017-2027 The enforcers of this act, our Premier Steven Marshall and DAVID SPEIRS environment and water minister need to uphold this act. Peter Malinauskas Susan Close MP Eddie Hughes MP Love EP Just a reminder, as to what is at stake here for South Australia, both economically and ecologically. No Radioactive Waste Facility for Kimba District Senator Rex Patrick

March 12, 2020 Posted by | environment, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia | Leave a comment

The Kimba nuclear waste dump will take a huge toll on the Murray River’s water

Annette Ellen Skipworth    No Nuclear Waste Dump Anywhere in South Australia, 25 Feb 20
Where is the water coming from to compact the nuclear dump site and the 31 kms of dirt road to the dump site.
I spent some time as a remote road contractor and I learnt a little bit about roads and site works.
To take the weight of the truck load, a road has to be compacted to gain the strength to take the semi plus the load on the tray.
From asking questions and scouring internet sites, I have found out, the casks containing the high grade nuclear waste.. excuse me ..the intermediate nuclear waste are very very heavy.
Now when we were building a road for a mine where the loads were heavy, we used a huge amount of water so the road doesnt blow out.
It wasn’t advisable to use water that is very salty.. it rises to the top and makes the road slippery.
As Kimba’s only water supply comes from the precious Murray River, and the local underground water is salty and unusable.. where is the water needed coming from?
I think you lot in Kimba that want to host a nuke dump and think it will only affect Kimba are very naive..

February 25, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Risk that Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act could be changed to promote nuclear power

K-A Garlick at Nuclear Free WA, 12 Feb 20

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act is currently under review and will look at how the Act has been operating, and any changes needed for Australia to support ecologically sustainable development into the future.

Currently, under the EPBC Act, nuclear power is banned and the ‘nuclear action’ triggers uranium mining and milling projects to be Federally assessed. This should remain.

There is a real threat that the EPBC Act could change to remove the ban on nuclear power and the ‘nuclear actions’ trigger, so that this dirty industry can push forward.  We urge you and your organisation to make a submission to keep the ban on nuclear power and the ‘nuclear action’ triggers.

Don’t nuke the climate is a great new website with a ton of information to use for your submission including last years no nuclear power statement by a broad coalition of faith, union, environmental, Aboriginal and public health groups, representing millions of Australians, that clearly outlines our energy future is renewable, not radioactive. Click here to read the statement.

Submissions are due 17 April 2020. You can send submissions via email to Or via post to: EPBC Act Review Secretariat Department of the Environment and Energy GPO Box 787 CANBERRA ACT 2601.  Please complete and submit this cover page with your submission. All submissions that include this cover sheet will be considered by the review.  For more information on the EPBC Act and submissions, click here.

February 13, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australia’s extreme bushfires – forests might not recover

Wildfires have spread dramatically—and some forests may not recover. An explosion in the frequency and extent of wildfires worldwide is hindering recovery even in ecosystems that rely on natural blazes to survive.

February 3, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment, reference | Leave a comment

Names of 34 environmentalists and conservationists who received Australia Day Awards

Australia Day Honours, Maelor Himbury, 27 Jan 2020

Congratulations to the following people who received honours for contributions to the environment and/or conservation. (Apologies to any I may have missed)

 Raymond Louis Specht, St Lucia QLD

Elaine Cafferty Carbines, Grovedale VIC

Graham John Faichney, Mosman NSW

David Ronald Leece, Beecroft NSW

Grant Donald Hunt, Isle of Capri QLD

Roderick Tucker Wells, Flagstaff Hill SA

Dedee Daryl Woodside, Umina Beach NSW

Graeme Leonard Worboys, Gilmore ACT

Maree Rosalie Byrne, Bowral NSW

Judith Anne Charnaud, Warriewood NSW

Fred Conway, QLD

Elizabeth Corke, VIC

Daryl James Akers, Melton South VIC

Eulalie Perry Brewster, Inverloch VIC

Raymond Brown, Bulli NSW

Leif Robert Cocks, Willagee WA

Brian Stuart Blythe, Portsea VIC

Marie Ann Ficcara, Cronulla NSW

Peter John Forster, Anglesea VIC

Sherryl Maree Garbutt, Brunswick VIC

Mary Julia Hutton, Stirling WA

William David Incoll, Monbulk VIC

Bronwen Jean Keichery, Subiaco WA

Gregory John Keichery, Subiaco WA

Diana Betty Laube, Tiatukia SA

Sarah Jane Lloyd, Birralee TAS

Peter Phillip Gash, Lady Elliott Island QLD

Lloyd Alwyn Nielsen, Mount Molloy QLD

Catherine Marie-Claire Oelrichs, Coopers Shoot NSW

Margaret Owen, Wembley WA

Carl John Rayner, Anglesea VIC

John Stanisic, Albany Creek QLD

Beverley Jean Weaver, Nundah QLD

Bruce Anthony Wilson, Seacliff Park SA


January 26, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Australia’s billion of animal deaths – conservationists must not give up

January 20, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

The impact of bushfires on drinking water, rivers and fish

January 11, 2020 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment | Leave a comment

In water-scarce Australia, cooling water for nuclear power would become an impossible burden

In summary, in a hot dry continent like Australia, providing cooling water for a nuclear power plant would prove a huge cost and distortion to the water industry.

December 28, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, reference | Leave a comment

While ignorant tunnel-visioned politicians kowtow to irrigators, the Murray River system faces death

Water wars: will politics destroy the Murray-Darling Basin plan – and the river system itself?

Drought is not the only threat to the river system: the plan to save it is in doubt as states spar over the best way forward,  Guardian, Anne Davies

 @annefdavies, Sat 14 Dec 2019   The millennium drought led to the realisation Australia’s major river system would die unless there was united action to save it; the latest drought is threatening to undo the Murray-Darling Basin plan.

The basin states – Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia – as well as the federal government, are due to meet on Tuesday in Brisbane amid threats from the NSW Nationals that it will walk away from the plan unless major changes are made.

“We simply can no longer stand by the Murray-Darling Basin plan in its current form, the plan needs to work for us, not against us,” NSW Nationals’ leader John Barilaro warned last week.

“NSW is being crippled by the worst drought on record and our future is at risk. The plan should be flexible, adaptive and needs to produce good environmental outcomes for this state.”

NSW has already flagged that it will be asking to be relieved of its remaining contributions towards the environmental water target – it has committed to saving a further 450GL – while Victoria is balking at meeting its commitments as well.

There have also been calls from various ministers to end environmental flows during the drought and to instead allocate more water for agriculture. In particular is unhappiness from NSW at the amount of water stored in the lower lakes in South Australia. That will be fiercely resisted by SA. Continue reading

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

Scott Morrison, comfy in his Morrison bubble, trashes Environment Department

Morrison torches Environment Department, Independent Australia, By Stephen Saunders | 15 December 2019, For a time, Arts and Environment were in the same federal department. Both functions have taken a hit, in Scott Morrison’s Christmas departmental reshuffle.

Australia’s first federal Environment Department debuted 1971. The function has carried forward to this day, under varying departmental banners. Since 1993, “Environment” (or “Sustainability, Environment”) has always been the leading item in a departmental title.

Not any more. “Busting” congestion, blindsiding the public service, Morrison has reversed recent history. The Environment function of the previous Environment and Energy Department goes into the Agriculture Department. It’s never been parked there before. The Industry Department mops up most of Energy and Climate.

Apparent wins there, for fossil fuels and land conversion. And never mind the fire and smoke. Brand-new Environment chief David Fredericks has been recycled as Industry chief…….

With endless growth running the show, the Department has won battles and lost wars. Our first State of the Environment report surfaced in 1986. When you decode the polite language of the scientific committees, successive reports reveal steady decline up to 2016.

It’s simplistic to say, but the Department has prospered more under Labor……

In his [Morrison’s] inflated opinion,  ministers can always be relied on to “set the policy direction” correctly. As they surround themselves with increasingly docile public service chiefs.

On top of all this, he cashiers the Environment Department. And puts Energy and Climate under Industry. His religion and ideology seem to be clobbering reason and science.

Labor’s bulldog adherence to Big Coal and Big Australia undermines their credibility to oppose environmental overreach. Still, Morrison’s arrogance might come back to bite him.

Over its first 30 or 40 years, the Federal Environment Department attracted a keen cadre of officials, whose commitment and knowledge could be turned to disparate environmental issues at short political notice. They had notable successes and signal failures. But their relationships with ministers held more nuance than the feudal deference that Morrison now demands.

You can’t throw the switch, to recharge independent and vigorous environment policy advice at a moment’s notice. Rationally speaking, we need those skills, more than ever.

Weather, rain and fire are visibly different, within our own short lifetimes. Environment and growth problems have never been more obvious. The environment has returned to the public consciousness bigtime.

The “bubble” isn’t around Canberra. It’s around Morrison himself. Sure, the weakened Environment and Climate bureaus will have to answer, to him and his ministers. The physical environment may not be so obliging.,13415

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

A foreign corporation gets 89 BILLION litres of Australia’s water, as drought worsens

December 12, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, climate change - global warming, environment, water | Leave a comment

Victoria’s chemical waste scandal

December 9, 2019 Posted by | environment, secrets and lies, Victoria, wastes | Leave a comment