Australian news, and some related international items

New South Wales EPA must review procedures for managing contaminated land

I wonder if the radioactively polluted area in Hunter’s Hill is included in this.   Also, just how clean is the Lucas Heights area?  Or should I say Baren Ridge – sounds cleaner than Lucas Heights, doncha think?
Land contamination review follows Fairfax Media Toxic State investigation, SMH, 28 May 17 , James Robertson,  The state government will urgently review procedures for managing contaminated land in NSW, following a Fairfax Media investigation that revealed suspected contamination in residential areas was not being made public to protect house prices.

Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced the review on Saturday after Fairfax Media revealed that the Environment Protection Authority had been keeping “significant” chemical contamination hidden to protect residential property prices.

“There will be an independent urgent review into the procedural guidelines for contaminated land management,” Ms Upton said in a statement…..

An independent review last year found the authority had decided “not to routinely declare all sites where the contamination is significant enough to warrant regulation”.

The authority wanted to avoid “blighting” land prices but its head, Barry Buffier, denied that property prices were the “driving factor” in the organisation’s decision-making.

Environmentalists and the state’s opposition said they were alarmed that residents throughout the state could be unknowingly living on top of dangerous chemicals.

Fairfax also revealed the EPA was struggling to assess and prioritise many thousands of sites that had been reported as contaminated.  …..

May 29, 2017 Posted by | environment, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Federal and State policies betray Australia’s environment, and fail climate action

ClimateFail: Turnbull Government abandons any pretence of climate policy, Independent Australia  Sue Arnold 22 May 2017 ‘A mountain of strategies, plans, reviews, meetings of ministers and promises substitute for any action at a time when climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment and wildlife.’A MASSIVE BETRAYAL of environmental issues is now entrenched in Federal and state government policies.

The failure to provide adequate funding in the Turnbull/Morrison 2017 Budget should eradicate any lingering doubts over the attitude and policy failures of this appalling Coalition Government and the spin-off impacts at the State level. The Budget miserliness is a clue to a much bigger picture.

In essence, the environment has been pushed to the back of the bus. International obligations under conventions that Australia has ratified are ignored. Entire forests must have disappeared to provide for the mountains of paper and verbiage paying lip service to Australia’s unique biodiversity and environmental heritage.

In 2010, the Federal Government published ‘Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy‘ under the auspices of the National Resource Management Ministerial Council (NRMMC). The strategy stretched from 2010-2030 and was tasked to the National Biodiversity Strategy Review Task Group.

The report is described as:

‘ … the guiding framework for governments to conserve our national biodiversity to 2030. It provides an overview of the state of Australia’s biodiversity and outlines collective priorities for conservation.’

Not only is the strategy a national framework for biodiversity conservation, it also acts as Australia’s principal instrument for implementing the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity.

Ten national targets were identified in the strategy to be completed by 2015:……….

In the meantime, the NRMMC disappeared, as did the National Biodiversity Strategy Review Task Group. A spokesperson from the Department of the Environment and Energy was unable to detail who exactly did away with these two bodies, but it appears that under PM Tony Abbott at the 2013 COAG meeting, COAG agreed that its council system should be streamlined and refocussed on COAG’s priorities over the next 12–18 months. 22 councils were reduced to eight, including the eradication of the Council on Environmental Regulation Reform.

Nevertheless, in 2015 as required under the strategy, a review of the first five years conducted by the Australian Government, State and Territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association examined the operation and implementation of the strategy.

The results are a damning indictment of not only a national failure to uphold any of the ten national targets but also a failure by state and local governments………

An analysis of the Federal Government’s Listed Key Threatening Processes demonstrates a bizarre list, which completely fails to include loss of habitat, the primary cause of extinction. The focus is on damage caused by rabbits, goats, fire ants and cane toads. Human created developments such as mining, forestry, dams and other environmentally damaging practices are ignored.

Listed species are required to have recovery plans under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act l999 (EPBC). Under the Act, the minister can and does delay recovery plans for up to six years. There is no legal process that allows the public interest to force the minister to speed up the finalisation or implementation of any Recovery Plan.

The procedure to nominate listing a species starts off with a minimum time frame of 4.5 months to overcome bureaucratic hurdles and an infinite time for the Minister to make a final decision.

His decision does not have to take into account any recommendations made by the Threatened Species Committee.

There is little doubt that the environment has become the lowest policy priority for state and Federal governments.

Instead, a mountain of strategies, plans, reviews, meetings of ministers and promises substitute for any action at a time when climate change is wreaking havoc on the environment and wildlife.

You can follow Sue Arnold on Twitter @koalacrisis and Koala Crisis on Facebook here,10322

May 24, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

Queensland govt must resist bullying by resources industry: mine rehabilitation should be progressive

Queensland mine rehabilitation should be progressive, not left as one big job: Miles, ABC News, By Louisa Rebgetz, 19 May 17, Environmental groups are urging the Queensland Government not to be “bullied” by the resources industry in a bid to fix a $10-billion legacy of mine rehabilitation.

It comes as the State Government is on a hard sell to tighten the demands on miners to ensure financial assurance and progressive rehabilitation with a discussion paper out until mid-June.

Campaigner with Lock the Gate Alliance, Rick Humphries, said the reforms were “long overdue” but the “devil will be in the detail”.

“It’s long overdue, the cause for reform. We see all the numbers going the wrong way in terms of the amount of progressive rehab,” Mr Humphries said.

“The devil will be in the detail and already there are some emerging concerns.

“The major issue though is in the past the mining industry has generally bullied governments of all persuasions in the past to drop any reforms, so the Government has really got to focus on the public interest and protecting the environment and make sure these reforms are solid and get the job done.”

Reforms to apply to existing and new operations: Miles

One mine’s progressive rehabilitation has Queensland Environment Minister Steven Miles interested, who said it was what all mines would be expected to do under the proposed changes.

Hail Creek Coal Mine, in the heart of coal country in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, is one of the largest coal reserves in the country.

Rio Tinto exports about 10 million tonnes a year of coking coal from the site.

During a tour of the mine, Hail Creek’s Acting General Manager Michael Priestly said about 360 hectares had already been rehabilitated.

“It would be pretty close to what it looked like. Obviously the topography changes a little bit around with the dumps,” Mr Priestly said.

“It’s really a matter of tipping the dumps, shaping them and then progressively rehabilitating them with topsoil and natural vegetation.”

The Minister said the reforms would apply to both existing and new operations, including Adani’s proposed $21-billion Carmichael mine in Central Queensland. This program of reforms is all about making sure rehabilitation happens progressively so it is not left as one big job for the end of the mine’s life, and also ensuring that we have sufficient financial assurance every time one of those mines has been abandoned,” Mr Miles said.

Mr Miles said he hoped it would also create jobs for regions currently struggling through the mining downturn.

Fears clean-up for Ebenezer Mine will be left to taxpayers

Queensland has more than 15,000 abandoned mines ranging from small infrastructure to mega-sized mines.

Mr Humphries said Ebenezer Mine, on the outskirts of Ipswich, was a classic example of failed regulation in Queensland.

The coal mine has been in care and maintenance since 2002. The former operator, Japanese company Idemitsu, transferred the lease to Zedemar Holdings, who had planned to on-sell the site, but the deal fell through.

Mr Humphries said he feared it would be left to the taxpayer to fund the rehabilitation of the site……

May 20, 2017 Posted by | environment, politics, Queensland | Leave a comment

All coral reefs could be dead by 2050

Dahr Jamail | Coral Reefs Could All Die Off by 2050, May 15, 2017, By Dahr JamailTruthout | Report “…… over the last two years, the Great Barrier Reef, which is so dear to Miller and countless others who revel in the beauty and mysteries of the oceans, has been dying off at an unprecedented rate due primarily to warming ocean waters.

Coral bleaching occurs when corals become stressed by warmer-than-normal water, causing them to expel symbiotic algae that live in their tissues, from which they get their energy. Coral turns completely white when it bleaches. If it remains bleached long enough, it dies.

One scientist has already gone so far as to declare the Great Barrier Reef is now in a “terminal stage.” Most of those studying the reef agree that what is happening is unprecedented. This is because, at a minimum, two-thirds of the 1,400-mile long reef bleached out last year, which led to 22 percent of it dying. Now another bleaching event has resulted in at least two-thirds of the reef bleached again.

The bleaching this year has moved much farther south and has taken scientists by surprise in its severity and extent,” Miller said. And he fears the state of the reef could be even worse than scientists realize, since only aerial surveys have been conducted to assess the damage and no research vessel is currently active on the reef to provide finer details.

With ocean temperatures rising across the globe as anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continues to pick up speed, the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral ecosystem on Earth, may well be an example of what is happening to all of the coral on the planet.

“This Is New for All of Us”…….. Continue reading

May 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Satellite images showed black water flowing to wetlands from Abbot Point Coal Terminal

Abbot Point Coal Terminal under investigation after satellite images show water release, ABC News, By Andrew Kos, 10 Apr 17, Satellite imagery appearing to show sediment-laden water flowing into wetlands from the nearby Abbot Point Coal Terminal has prompted an investigation by Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

Adani was granted a temporary emissions licence (TEL) to help it manage water on the site during Tropical Cyclone Debbie.

A spokesman for Adani said the company had been in constant contact with the department prior to and since Cyclone Debbie.

But the department became aware of the satellite images last week and is looking into whether there had been any unauthorised releases of water from the terminal into the Caley Valley Wetlands…….

Peter McCallum from the Mackay Conservation Group said it had written to Environment Minister Steven Miles to request more information about the release.

“We have no confidence that Adani will be able to manage the environmental impacts of the port expansion or any other aspect of its massive coal mining operation,” Mr McCallum said.

The department will continue to monitor the situation.

The wetlands are important habitat for at least 22 migratory shore birds listed under the national environmental legislation.

April 12, 2017 Posted by | environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Scientists despair at new data on Great Barrier Reef destruction

Great Barrier Reef at ‘terminal stage’: scientists despair at latest bleaching data ‘Last year was bad enough, this is a disaster,’ says one expert as Australia Research Council finds fresh damage across 8,000km

‘Australia’s politicians have betrayed the reef and only the people can save it, Guardian,  and , 10 Apr 17, Back-to-back severe bleaching events have affected two-thirds of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, new aerial surveys have found.

The findings have caused alarm among scientists, who say the proximity of the 2016 and 2017 bleaching events is unprecedented for the reef, and will give damaged coral little chance to recover.

Scientists with the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies last week completed aerial surveys of the world’s largest living structure, scoring bleaching at 800 individual coral reefs across 8,000km.

The results show the two consecutive mass bleaching events have affected a 1,500km stretch, leaving only the reef’s southern third unscathed.

Where last year’s bleaching was concentrated in the reef’s northern third, the 2017 event spread further south, and was most intense in the middle section of the Great Barrier Reef. This year’s mass bleaching, second in severity only to 2016, has occurred even in the absence of an El Niño event.

Mass bleaching – a phenomenon caused by global warming-induced rises to sea surface temperatures – has occurred on the reef four times in recorded history.

Prof Terry Hughes, who led the surveys, said the length of time coral needed to recover – about 10 years for fast-growing types – raised serious concerns about the increasing frequency of mass bleaching events.

“The significance of bleaching this year is that it’s back to back, so there’s been zero time for recovery,” Hughes told the Guardian. “It’s too early yet to tell what the full death toll will be from this year’s bleaching, but clearly it will extend 500km south of last year’s bleaching.”

Last year, in the worst-affected areas to the reef’s north, roughly two-thirds of shallow-water corals were lost.

Hughes has warned Australia now faces a closing window to save the reef by taking decisive action on climate change.

The 2017 bleaching is likely to be compounded by other stresses on the reef, including the destructive crown-of-thorns starfish and poor water quality. The category-four tropical cyclone Debbie came too late and too far south for its cooling effect to alleviate bleaching……….

April 10, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Radiation leaking from Woomera radioactive trash dump – for 16,000 years

Tim Bickmore  Fight To Stop Nuclear Waste Dump In Flinders Ranges SA In April 2016 ARPANSA discovered that Radium had leaked from the 10,000 barrels stored at Woomera.…/inspections/2016/R16-05292.pdf This means that Radon gas is being released into the environment. Radon is heavy & tends to flow to the lowest point & accumulate. After about 4 days it transforms into a solid & infects the ground surface. As time passes more & more Radon converts to a solid that builds up & continuously increases the radioactivity wherever it may happen to land – which is at the place it arrives at after about 4 days. This will continue to happen for at least 16,000 years.

April 8, 2017 Posted by | environment, South Australia, wastes | Leave a comment

World Heritage for Finders Ranges? Sounds good, but doesn’t prevent nuclear waste dumping

The potential location of the proposed National Radioactive Waste Management Facility at Wallerberdina Station near Hawker would have no impact on the World Heritage proposal for the Flinders Ranges.

World Heritage for the Flinders Ranges Natural resources, SA Arid lands  Over 600 million years old, the Flinders Ranges is one of Australia’s magnificent landscapes. This diverse landscape is world-renowned for its wealth of natural, cultural, historic and scenic values making it an iconic tourism destination with unparalleled visitor experiences.

Particularly extraordinary are the fossils and geology of the Flinders Ranges, which display the history of our planet and the evolution of life on Earth. Some of this critical evidence spans more than 300 million years and includes the world’s finest example of the Ediacaran explosion of life, when the earliest forms of complex multicellular animal life evolved. It is these outstanding geological and palaeontological forms within the Flinders Ranges that make it an important site to pursue for World Heritage Listing.

Pursuing World Heritage Listing for the Flinders Ranges provides an exciting opportunity to recognise this site on a global scale, to celebrate these outstanding values and create economic benefits for the region. Continue reading

April 7, 2017 Posted by | environment, South Australia | Leave a comment


‘Barbaric’: Farmers rattled as Adani coal mine granted unlimited water access, Brisbane Times, Peter Hannam, 6 Apr 17,  The proposed Adani coal mine has been granted unlimited access to groundwater by the Queensland government in a move farmers fear would allow it to drain huge amounts of water from the Great Artesian Basin.

According to a copy of Adani’s water licence obtained by Fairfax Media, the $16 billion Carmichael mine merely needs to monitor and report the amount of water it extracts with a permit that runs until 2077.

The mine, the biggest of nine proposed for the Galilee Basin west of Rockhampton, can conduct its own review of its groundwater model without independent or government oversight.

There are also no impact levels specified that would trigger a halt to mining, with the company able to offset any significant water loss elsewhere, the licence shows.

“It’s bloody-minded and barbaric,” said Bruce Currie, a grazier who lives in the region and has joined legal action against Galilee mines. “This is going to definitely impact on the integrity of [the Great Artesian Basin].”

According to a supplementary environmental impact statement, the mine will draw 26 million litres of water per day from its pits by 2029 as it ramps out annual production to as much as 60 million tonnes. Over its life, the mine’s water tally would reach an estimated 355 billion litres……….

The licence would not be subject to the new Water Act Referral Panel set up to ensure “the sustainable management of water in Queensland”……

Opponents, though, argue the coal is largely poor quality and the basin will require huge subsidies to become viable. Burning the fuel would also release a “carbon bomb” that would contribute to harming the Great Barrier Reef, which is already being hammered by unprecedented coral bleaching blamed on global warming.

Fairfax also sought comment from Adani Mining, the local subsidiary of the Indian company.

Without the water, their businesses are basically finished.

Limited scrutiny Unlike other controversial mines, such as the New Acland coal mine planned for the Darling Downs, Adani’s water usage is not subject to public submissions and appeals, said Jo Bragg, chief executive of Queensland’s Environmental Defenders Office.

Groundwater evidence is often the most controversial feature and public scrutiny is often the most significant aspect of any review, Ms Bragg said. “It’s a matter of grave concern that there’s not that opportunity.”…….

April 7, 2017 Posted by | climate change - global warming, environment, Queensland | Leave a comment

Uranium mining OR rare and beautiful Night Parrot?

Still here: Night Parrot rediscovery in WA raises questions for mining, The Conversation, , Edith Cowan University, March 29, 2017 The Night Parrot is unquestionably one of Australia’s most enigmatic, elusive and enthralling species. The final frontier of Australian ornithology, this cryptic parrot eluded dedicated expeditions to find it for nearly half a century.

Last week, a momentous chapter in the Night Parrot story was written, with the first photograph of a live Night Parrot in Western Australia. The photos come in the wake of several other recent sightings, including the parrot’s rediscovery in Queensland in 2013.

Despite media reports, the parrot has never been officially listed as extinct, with sporadic evidence of its existence throughout the 20th century. But now we know for sure that the parrots are alive and found across the continent, we can move on to making sure they remain so in the future.

Mystery bird  We know that Night Parrots favour spinifex or tussock grasslands, often close to inland wetland systems. But the areas of potential habitat are vast throughout inland Australia.

The Night Parrot has been listed as endangered in the Action Plan for Australian Birds since 1992. It is listed as endangered under federal legislation…….

The significance of the latest find is immense…….The latest record cements the fact that Night Parrots are present at several locations in WA and potentially throughout arid Australia, including in regions rich in mineral resources.

In contrast to the Queensland populations, which have so far been found in national parks and pastoral leases, the WA situation sets up a quandary for how to manage development, Night Parrots and mining…….

Recent developments by other WA resource companies have seldom considered Night Parrots. My personal experience is that surveys usually look for endangered mammals such as Northern Quolls and Bilbies, but rarely search properly for Night Parrots. This is likely due to two main reasons.

The first is the incredibly cryptic nature of the Night Parrot. Clearly the species has evaded detection for so long because it is difficult to find.

The second is what I term “the Thylacine factor”. The only equivalent species in Australia that has the same degree of scepticism and mythology is the Thylacine.

Thylacines have (so far) not been rediscovered. But developers, consultants and regulators take the same attitude to Night Parrot sightings. The parrots are often seen as a mythical animal that doesn’t exist. The idea of looking for them is met with mirth……..

Let’s hope government bodies will strongly enforce the requirement to search for Night Parrots in all areas of potential habitat within their known current and historic range. This should ensure that we don’t lose any parrots before they are even found.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | environment, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Fairfax press tones down its “radioactive cow ‘” story, (caves in to Victorian government)

cow-radioactiveRadioactive cow site no cause for alarm, says state government,  The Age Carolyn Webb, Mark Hawthorne , 27  Feb 17 

Revelations of radioactive cow carcasses buried beneath land slated for a $20 billion education precinct in Melbourne’s west should be no cause for alarm, the state government says.

Fairfax Media revealed on Sunday 60 carcasses were buried at a Werribee site the government was trying to sell to a Chinese consortium.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimated the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million.

Environment Minister Lily D’Ambrosio did not deny the 775-hectare site was contaminated by toxic waste. But she said a more recent report to be released publicly shortly indicated there had been no flow-on contamination.

“I can assure everyone that with the more recent report into the extent of the contamination of that land … indicates that there is no cause for concern in terms of contamination to ground water in the effects beyond the actual area of the land itself.”

A consortium called Investors Direct is the last remaining bidder on the site, which includes parts of the old State Research Farm, laboratories and veterinary schools, where for decades there was scientific testing on animals.   Investors Direct, with former premier John Brumby an adviser, plans to build an Australian Education City, home to 80,000 residents  and 50,000 students on land adjoining the planned new youth detention centre.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimated the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million, with a further $770 million required to removed thousands more cow carcasses considered a biological hazard…….

February 27, 2017 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Radioactive cows buried in Werribee, Victoria

According to the environmental report, in a worst-case scenario, “some radioactive isotopes may have entered surface water or groundwater”, in which case up to 130,000 cubic metres of contaminated soil would have to be excavated, and disposed of off-site.

That is the equivalent of 8125 standard dump truck loads of radioactive material travelling through Melbourne’s western suburbs, and would add $770 million to the clean-up bill, taking the total cost to $1.07 billion.

The report notes that the burial pits are “unsuitable to remain within the developed site beneath structures or anywhere within sites used for sensitive uses”. One of areas used to bury animal carcasses is now the site of a student residence.

cow-radioactiveA sewage farm. A youth detention centre. Now meet Werribee’s radioactive cows Mark Hawthorne, Senior Editor 

Sixty radioactive cow carcasses are buried beneath land in Werribee that the Andrews government is trying to sell to a Chinese consortium keen to build a $20-billion education precinct in Melbourne’s west.

Documents obtained by Fairfax Media estimate the cost of cleaning up the radioactive waste could reach $300 million, with a further $770 million required to remove thousands more cow carcasses that are considered a biological hazard. Even conservative estimates put the cost of the clean up at $35 million.

Investors Direct is the exclusive bidder on the 775-hectare site, which includes parts of the old State Research Farm, laboratories and veterinary schools, where scientific testing on animals was conducted for decades.

The consortium, which has former Victorian premier John Brumby as an adviser, plans to build Australian Education City – a precinct that will be home to 80,000 residents and 50,000 students – on land that adjoins the site of the planned new Youth Detention Centre.

Fairfax Media can reveal the Victorian state government and VicUrban were told that radioactive cow carcasses were buried on four hectares of land in Werribee in early 2009, when Mr Brumby was premier. Another burial pit, which contains the remains of non-radioactive cows, is located on the site of the planned detention centre.

Coffey Environment completed a phase 1 environmental assessment report on the Werribee site in March 2009. The report found that “animals that have been subjected to testing with radioactive tracer dyes” were buried at the site. The report lists the cow carcasses as a “possible biological and radiological hazard” and says the contamination could impact both soil and groundwater.

The report states that “the tracer dye used was predominantly tritium” which “has a half-life of approximately 12 years”. Continue reading

February 27, 2017 Posted by | environment, Victoria | Leave a comment

Turnbull and Trump – twins in their attitudes to environment

Turnbull,-Malcolm-BLike Trump, Turnbull’s environmental WTFness is a propelling us to disaster, Independent Australia Sue Arnold 25 February 2017,    Like many Americans, Australians are wondering how the hell we ended up with a PM whose environment policies are a recipe for disasterSue Arnold reports.

AS THE Trump horror reality show unfolds, a collective shudder is being felt around the world. His anti environmental policies are winding back half a century of progressive laws created to ensure healthy human and animal habitats for current and future generations.

With the U. S. Environment Protection Agency now in the hands of climate sceptic and resource industry front man, Scott Pruitt , the Agency is scheduled to be repealed in 2018. The Endangered Species Act is also on the hit list and a U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is definitely on the cards.

At the same time, scientists have announced that the ocean oxygen levels have dropped by 2% in 50 years, a truly frightening scenario. According to the WWF Report 2015, populations of marine vertebrates have declined by up to 50% since l970. Coral reefs are predicted to be extinct by 2050.

According to Dr Richard Leakey, author of The Sixth Extinction, within the next 30 years half of the species on earth could die in one of the fastest mass extinctions in the planet’s 4.5 billion years of history.

Yet the legacy of future generations has no currency with the world’s most powerful leader.

Banging the drum for “clean coal” and “putting the miners back to work,” Trump is ensuring pollution of rivers, forests, air, water, and the agricultural lands on which we depend for the very stuff of life. His refusal to acknowledge the damage climate change is wreaking on the planet is a threat to human existence.

A similar scene is unfolding in Australia as Malcolm Turnbull leads the way with a similar mindless rejection of environmental reality. Witness his latest Trump style policy to use the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to fund “clean coal”. Utter madness.

Where does this arrogance originate?…..

It’s almost impossible to separate Turnbull and Trump in terms of their attitudes towards the environment. The record speaks for itself. Given the current PM’s repeated assertions he’s an environmentalist, his sell-out on climate change, and his obvious deference to the extreme right wing of the Liberal Party, perhaps it’s time to change the definition of environmentalism. With “clean coal” now his government’s mantra, the PM is better described as a hypocrite, blind to the appalling state of this country’s environment.

Look at the record.

The most recent State of the Environment Report is dated 2011.

Key findings include: -……….

Several bills languishing in the parliament demonstrate the future of Australia’s unique environmental legacy under a Coalition Government, highlighting the move towards Trump extinction policies.

The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 aims to remove extended standing for community members (including environment groups) to seek judicial review of decisions made under the EPBC Act. Standing would then be restricted to a person “whose interests are adversely affected by the decision”. If this bill is passed by the Senate, the onus of protecting specific environmental matters would be in the hands of individuals who could demonstrate their “interests are adversely affected by the decision”. Common law has interpreted this to require “special interest”.

The likelihood of individuals mounting lawsuits against the Federal Government is remote.,10056

February 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Oil companies to profit from oil-spill clean-ups under petroleum resource rent tax

It means the costs of cleaning up oil spills from exploration wells would be tax deductible, and could be held over and “uplifted” into future years at an annual rate of 17.5%……

whish-wilson-peter“The rules are written so if a company created an oil spill with their exploration rig, they could make a profit from it,” – Greens senator Peter Whish-Wilson

“A standard tax deduction for an oil spill clean-up would be bad enough, but in this case the deduction grows in value every year. No other sector, no other set of businesses gets such ridiculous and costly deductions.”

Taxpayers to pay for oil spill clean-ups under petroleum resource rent tax Treasury confirms companies would be able to claim tax deduction for expenses incurred from cleaning up pollution,  Australian taxpayers will be forced to subsidise the clean-up costs of oil spills in the Great Australian Bight thanks to the terms of the controversial petroleum resource rent tax. Continue reading

February 25, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Australian Conservation Foundation summarises the background of Adani’s Carmichael coal mine and rail project

coal CarmichaelMine2The Adani Brief: our summary!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ   
15 February 2017:


The brief is the result of months of international investigation by Environmental Justice Australia and
USA-based environmental law non-profit EarthJustice into the global legal compliance record of the Adani Group.

It puts governments and private stakeholders on notice that backing Adani’s Carmichael
coal mine and rail project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin
may expose them to financial and reputational risks.

“Key findings

“Environmental destruction:
Adani Group companies have a record of environmental destruction and non-compliance with environmental regulations.
Some examples are: …

‘Black money’: … 

“Bribery and illegal exports: … 

“Confusing and opaque corporate structures: … 

“This is a company the government is entrusting: … ”

The Adani Brief:
What governments and financiers need to know
about the Adani Group’s record overseas!topic/wgar-news/QkXUYq11cmQ

February 20, 2017 Posted by | business, environment, politics, Queensland, secrets and lies | Leave a comment