Australian news, and some related international items

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

Peter Garrett urges Labor to reconnect with environmental movement, warns ‘true believers are dying’

December 9, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

Environment is downgraded, as Morrison merges government departments

Concerns for environment as Morrison merges government departments Newsline, 5 Dec 19, “……. Farmers for Climate Action spokesperson Verity Morgan-Schmidt said strong environmental policy was essential to make the agriculture sector sustainable.

“We’re failing to address climate change, which is the biggest threat to agriculture, and the concern in this merger is that ecological outcomes will be overlooked,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

……. Farmers for Climate Action spokesperson Verity Morgan-Schmidt said strong environmental policy was essential to make the agriculture sector sustainable.

“We’re failing to address climate change, which is the biggest threat to agriculture, and the concern in this merger is that ecological outcomes will be overlooked,” Ms Morgan-Schmidt said.

……. Infrastructure, transport, regional development, communications and the arts will also come together in another massive new department.

Education, skills and employment will be merged in a move welcomed by vocational education advocates……..

December 6, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment, politics | Leave a comment

BHP’s plan to take yet more water for huge copper-uranium mine

The federal government is inviting public comment on BHP’s proposed expansion of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine (ODM) until Tues. 10 Dec 2019.

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.

Please make a brief submission to the Federal Minister for Environment. You can use our pro-forma submission and just add your name (and you can add any additional comments you like).

More information:

December 5, 2019 Posted by | environment, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Public opinion: for the first time, Environment is Australians’top concern

December 2, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment

The nuclear industry – an unsustainable water-guzzler

Ethics of Nuclear Energy  Abu-Dayyeh (P.hD) Amman – H.K. of Jordan E_case Society (President)  [Extract] 

“…….4- Sustainability

Environmental Ethics is perceived as the practical dimension of ethics concerning environmental issues. It is also conceived by some as an “education for sustainability”, and “an important vehicle to transmit values, to change attitudes and to motivate commitment” (40). Therefore, sustainability is a crucial element in our moral decision over the choice of energy.

The new technologies in shale-gas extraction are expected to extend the life-time of gas reserves worldwide many folds the life span predicted for oil reserves, which are unlikely to last more than 40 years. On the other hand, uranium reserves of  high concentrations (above 1000 ppm) mainly exist in Canada and Australia (41), as can be seen in Figure 2: [on original]

Therefore, considering the present consumption of uranium U3O8 per year, which stands at around 70,000 tonnes, the world reserves of around 3.5 million tonnes will not last more than 50 years. A report published in the International Journal of Green Energy in 2007 suggests that if a nuclear renaissance is expected soon, according to the myth of a nuclear renaissance which the nuclear lobbies and the IAEA are trying to promote, the uranium reserves will only be sufficient to keep the world’s nuclear reactors functioning for only 16.5 years (42). In another words, most of the reactors that are proposed now for future investment would practically be out of enriched fuel soon after they are commissioned.

The other choice out of this impasse would be to acquire fuel from reprocessing of depleted fuel and from the plutonium of nuclear warheads that has been neutralized after the cold-war. However, this industry is extremely complicated, risky and it’s environmental impact is highly controversial; two reprocessing plants had already been shut down after Fukushima, one in Japan; the Rokkasho Reprocessing Program; which economical feasibility has already been questioned by Sakurai Yoshiko and Inose Naoki. A governmental committee estimated the cost of reprocessing existing nuclear waste in Japan at 18.8 trillion yen (43); around 200 Billion US$; the second facility shut down was in the UK at Sellafield.

After the Japanese disaster at Fukushima on March 11, 2011 the maximum world capacity of fuel reprocessing at the present time has become around 20% of the total depleted fuel produced all around the world, thus causing a serious set-back; not only for providing a new source of fuel, but also to depositing depleted fuels at lower radioactive level and less segregating radioactive isotopes.

We can thus conclude that fission-fuel technology is not a sustainable source of energy for the future……

Even if the depletion of uranium is postponed much further, it remains an unsustainable source of energy per excellence, particularly if water, energy and CO2 emissions are taken into consideration as shown in Figure 3.

If we take the Olympic Uranium Project as an example we can see that more than 3402 KL of water is needed for each tonne of U3O8 mined, this number is more than doubled at the Beverley Mines. If we add the amount of water needed for all the by-products, such as enrichment of fuel, cooling the reactors, etc. we can say that huge amounts of water are consumed in the overall process. The poorer the grade of uranium ore is the more water is needed. The Australian Olympic and Beverly mines ore grade are around 640-1800 ppm, so we can postulate the much larger amount of clean water are needed for poorer quality, at 200 ppm or even less!

Each tonne also consumes more than 1700 GJ of energy and can emit more than 320 tonnes of CO2 for each tonne U3O8 produced. [table on original]……”

November 30, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, environment | Leave a comment