Author Archives: janegarcia04

Greens cranky it’s taken years for Nationals to remove dam proposal off the table in Central West

NSW Greens Rural Water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has welcomed the NSW Nationals caving into Greens and community pressure and taking the proposal for a dam at Cranky Rock off the table.

Mr Buckingham said the decision, made five months out from a tight State election, confirms the Greens’ suspicion that the original Needles Dam and the Cranky Rock alternative were nothing more than ‘back of the beer coaster’ proposals.

“Nothing gets between the National Party and hole in the ground or a new dam or both,” he said.

“When the Nationals are under pressure, they quickly fall back on the same formula of more dams, regardless of whether they’re necessary or adversely impact on the community and nature.

“If they’d listened to the Greens years ago when we first raised our objections, the community would have had greater certainty and alternative water security measures could already have been in place.

“NSW does not need new dams, we need smart local water solutions such as stormwater harvesting, increasing efficiency and recycling.

“The Liberal/Nationals have been in government for seven years but they forgot to forward-plan for drought.

“The Nationals are still in denial about climate change despite drought and extreme weather and the reality of its impacts hitting home to many on the land. They are nowhere to be seen when it comes to protecting communities from misuse and theft of water by the mining industry or big irrigators.

“There’s a natural fit between the increasing concern about natural cycles and the need for climate action, which will give farmers and the Greens more in common than ever before.

“The Nationals should be damn worried that regional communities will wake up to the fact they’ve lost touch and vote them out at the next election,” Mr Buckingham said.

📷: Central Western Daily

 

Greens propose eight Renewable Energy Zones for NSW

The Greens have proposed eight priority Renewable Energy Zones for NSW as part of a national plan to supercharge investment in large-scale solar and drive an unprecedented move towards 100% renewable energy for Australia.

The plan would establish a national network of 31 Renewable Energy Zones to enable the efficient planning and development of large-scale renewable energy, including Broken Hill, North West and Northern NSW. A new $2.8 Billion Grid Transformation Fund would support the augmentation of transmission infrastructure required to connect these new zones to the existing electricity grid.

NSW Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “The Greens want to unlock NSW’s future as a renewable energy powerhouse.

“The recent IPCC report warned of the need to end coal by 2050 to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, strengthening the push for fast-tracking renewable energy in Australia.

“Labor and the Liberal/Nationals are ignoring the science. If we don’t end their addiction to coal, we’re stuffed.

“The Greens are the only party with the policies capable of implementing the rapid and far reaching transitions required to limit global warming.

“Our plan for a network of Renewable Energy Zones can unlock NSW’s potential, creating clean energy and jobs.

“The current national energy grid is stuck in the past, sending wires out to polluting coal-fired power stations. NSW needs better connections out to regions with abundant solar and wind resources so they can feed cleaner renewable power into the grid and help bring electricity prices down for all.

“We must prepare now for the major transformation in the energy grid over coming years as outdated coal-fired power stations reach the end of their life and new connections from wind and large-scale solar plug in.

“The Greens want NSW to power ahead as a special Renewable Energy Zone and enjoy cheap power, greater energy security and the opportunity for new jobs and innovation.

“Energy and climate policy in Australia and NSW is in a shambles. The NSW Government has been in for seven years yet it has no significant policy for supporting a low-carbon energy or driving investment in renewable energy and associated jobs in regional areas.

“We need a rapid transition to 100% renewable energy for a chance of a future free from pollution and climate damage,” he said

Greens slam NSW for voting against developing a climate plan at COAG meeting

NSW Energy Minister Don Harwin has voted against an ACT Government motion at the COAG Energy Council for a national emissions reduction scheme for the electricity sector, despite State Parliament debating numerous motions criticising the government for its lack of energy policy and emissions reduction strategy this week.

The proposal from Greens ACT Minister for Environment Shane Rattenbury asked for work to develop a suitable greenhouse gas emissions reduction mechanism for the electricity sector. The plan was opposed and blocked by the Liberal/National Federal Government and the Liberal/National states governments of NSW, South Australia and Tasmania.

Greens Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said “Energy Minister Don Harwin failed the people of NSW by voting against a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan.

“The Berejiklian Government has hitched its energy policy to the Federal government and now that the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is scuttled there is a total energy policy vacuum in Australia’s largest state.

“Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT all have comprehensive state-based policy to transition their states to renewable energy and reduce emission. NSW has no credible policy.

“All NSW has is ‘aspirational’ target of zero carbon emissions by 2050, but that’s a long way off and there is no credible plan or policy mechanism to reach that goal and no sense of commitment from the State Government.

“Today Minister Harwin voted with the coal hugging dinosaurs to reject developing a greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan that could help NSW lower its pollution and meet its targets.

“It’s an embarrassment that NSW now sides with the hapless Federal Energy Minister Angus Taylor and his ‘fair dinkum energy’ rhetoric – that is fair dinkum ridiculous.

“The abandonment of the NEG has left NSW exposed. The only clear energy policy for the NSW Government was relying on a plan from their Liberal/National colleagues in Canberra who are in disarray on energy policy as well as other areas.

“The community expects leadership and a comprehensive plan for reduce our growing greenhouse emissions by planning for an end to coal, a just transition for coal-affected communities and investment in renewable energy.

“NSW can be a renewables powerhouse, with all the jobs, business opportunities and cost-effective clean energy it can bring,” he said.

NSW Govt refuses to acknowledge outstanding natural and agricultural values of Bylong Valley

The NSW Government today opposed a Greens motion in NSW Parliament to support the local community and recognise the natural and agricultural values of the Bylong Valley.

The motion proposed by NSW Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham listed the outstanding values of the valley and ended with a call to action:

That this House calls on the Minister for Planning to acknowledge the cultural, environmental and agricultural significance of the Bylong Valley and its importance to the community”.

NSW Greens Energy and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the NSW Government was so in thrall to the vested interests of the coal industry that it could not recognise even basic facts about what was at risk from coal mining.

“The NSW Government is so blinkered by the vested interests and donations from the mining industry that they are blind to the threats to our water, our land, our environment and our communities from coal mining,” he said.

“The undue influence of this toxic industry has now extended to the point where the Government won’t support in Parliament a simple statement of the beauty and productive landscape of the Bylong Valley.

“When we witness this level of capture in the Government, what hope do we have that the planning system will recognise the facts and act for the protection of the Bylong Valley?

“In these final days of the State Liberal/Nationals Government we are seeing numerous acts of environmental vandalism in a desperate attempt for votes from far-right voters.

“The Bylong Valley is no place for a coal mine. The Greens will stand with the community to protect the state-significant heritage values and high value agricultural land of the Valley,” he said.

 

NOTICE OF MOTION
Rejected 25 October 2018

 

Mr BUCKINGHAM says—
Mr PRESIDENT:
I give notice that on the next sitting day I will move:

 1.That this House notes that:
a.The beautiful Bylong Valley has been acknowledged as a landscape of state-significant heritage value by the Heritage Council of NSW;

b.The fertile Bylong Valley is the site of prime agricultural land and has a long history of agricultural production including thoroughbred horse breeding, sheep and cattle grazing;

c.Tarwyn Park in the productive Bylong Valley is the home and an outstanding model of the agricultural practice of Natural Sequence Farming. The pioneer of this innovative farming model was awarded an Order of Australia in 2011;

d.The rich Bylong Valley is a centre for lucerne hay production and fodder cropping, particularly vital in times of hardship and drought;

e.The precious Bylong Valley has significant groundwater, surface water and river resources which are vital for local landholders, communities and the environment; and

f.The attractive Bylong Valley is valued locally and by visitors alike for its outstanding natural beauty and landscapes.

2. That this House calls on the Minister for Planning to acknowledge the cultural, environmental and agricultural significance of the Bylong Valley and its importance to the community.

📷: Lock the Gate Alliance

 

 

Tighter control needed for risky practices with coal seam gas water in NSW

The Greens have condemned the paltry fine given to gas company Santos for not having appropriate approval for using treated coal seam gas water and called for an increase in penalties for breaches of licences or misconduct.

NSW Greens MLC and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “Santos has today received an inadequate fine for using treated water from its Narrabri coal seam gas operations for irrigation at Leewood without the appropriate approval.

“In practice, a $1,500 fine is a slap-in-the-wrist for a big gas company like Santos who see the weak penalties for breaches as merely another cost of doing business.

“AGL’s attempts to irrigator saline treated coal seam gas water at Gloucester ended in failure. The Santos attempts, even if legalised, will also end in failure.

“In the United States, they call irrigating land with coal seam gas water “land farming”. They basically contaminate the land and let salt tolerant weeds grow.

“There are serious questions that remain unanswered about the use of coal seam gas in NSW. The safe disposal of the large amounts of salt and wastewater generated by coal seam gas operations is a massive issue and one companies like Santos have yet to be resolved.

“The regulation of coal seam gas is not up to scratch in NSW, with this breach at Narrabri the latest in a long line of breaches and pollution incidents involving various coal seam gas projects.

“The Greens call on the Government not to grant any approval for the use of treated coal seam gas water until it can be proven safe and for an increase in penalties for breaches of licences or lack of appropriate approvals,” he said.

Greens call for independent investigation of alleged mass wombat poisoning by Kepco at site of planned Bylong coal mine

The Greens are calling for the NSW Government to instigate an independent investigation of the inhumane mass poisoning of wombats by foreign-owned mining company KEPCO at a proposed mine site and whether it is fit-and-proper for a licence for mining.

The Newcastle Herald recently reported community complaints that KEPCO staff were directed to pour used sump and engine oil down wombat holes at the site of the proposed Bylong coal mine, blocking exits and suffocating the native animals.

An initial Office of Environment and Heritage review of the incident has not satisfied community concerns and the Greens are calling for a thorough, independent investigation of these allegations of cruelty and a cover-up by KEPCO.

NSW Greens MLC and Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said, “It is vital we have an independent investigation to uncover the truth about KEPCO’s cruel and deadly wombat massacre at the site of its proposed Bylong coal mine and a potential cover up.

“KEPCO has form in dishonest dealings with authorities, including providing misleading photos of a mine site in the past.

“There’s no way a mining company should pass the ‘fit-and-proper’ test for operating a coal mine if it’s out poisoning wombats and then covering up its tracks. The majority of people would be disgusted by this disrespectful and brutal behaviour from a big foreign-owned mining company.

“The NSW Department of Planning has recommended approval of KEPCO’s Bylong coal mine only last week but the State Government should make it clear that it was not an endorsement for unethical treatment of wildlife and disregard for the environment and community concerns.

“How can the community trust that KEPCO will abide by laws put in place to protect water, wildlife, the environment and human health if it is proven they poisoned wildlife before final approval has even been given for the mine project.

“If an independent investigation finds KEPCO guilty of this atrocious incident and a cover up, the NSW Government should step up and not grant a licence for coal mining in the Bylong Valley,” he said.

📷: Lock the Gate

Greens’ bold plan for protecting Central Coast’s drinking water by placing National Park in path of controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine

The Greens will introduce an amendment to the NSW Government’s National Parks Bill in State Parliament today to declare the Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and protect the Central Coast’s drinking water catchment from the Wallarah 2 coal mine.

If the amendment is passed and Jilliby SCA gains upgraded protection as a National Park, it would prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine proposed for directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead. A separate amendment will also seek to declare Wyong State Forest as part of the ‘new’ Jilliby National Park. Mining is outlawed in National Parks.

The Wallarah 2 mine has faced long-standing local community opposition and the NSW Government’s own Planning Department found the site was sensitive to the Central Coast’s water supply.

Greens MLC and Resources Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said both the Liberal/Nationals and Labor had in the past promised the community they would oppose the Wallarah 2 mine, now they should act to deliver this protection.

“The controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine project poses massive threats to the future of the Central Coast’s drinking water and it’s ludicrous the plan hasn’t been thrown out before now,” he said.

“The IPCC report from last week was a call for action – the world must end coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees. This means the government should not approve any new mines, let alone Wallarah 2 that threatens essential drinking water for the Central Coast community.

“The Greens have listened to the local community and will introduce an amendment in State Parliament aimed at declaring Jilliby State Conservation Area a National Park and stopping Wallarah 2 from going ahead.

“Central Coast Labor MPs Emma McBride and David Harris asked for Federal Government intervention to stop the mine.

“Prior to the 2011 NSW election, then Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and gave a ‘no ifs, no buts’ guarantee there would not be any mining in any water catchment.

“The NSW Government broke its promise and betrayed the community but it can do better.

“Both parties should take this chance provided by the Greens six months out from the State election of creating a valuable new National Park and putting a stop to Wallarah 2. If they can’t, then they should step aside for leaders who can better represent the interests of the Central Coast community over the vested interests of coal,” Mr Buckingham said.

BACKGROUND

• Greens introducing amendment to NSW Parliament to expand the National Park reservation estate to include the 12,159 hectares of the Jilliby State Conservation Area.

• Jilliby SCA provides critical habitat for over 150 native animal species, including 16 threatened species and more than 130 species of birds. It has outstanding natural values consistent with stronger protection as a National Park.

• If Jilliby SCA was upgraded to National Park protection, it would protect integrity of the water catchment that supplies drinking water for the people of the Central Coast – a projected population of almost half a million people (415,000) by 2036. In perspective, that’s a population greater than the whole of the ACT.

• The amendment will prevent the Wallarah 2 Coal Project, a longwall coal mine directly beneath the Central Coast’s drinking water, from going ahead.

• The Wallarah 2 Coal Project (W2CP) will involve operate for the next 28 years, in direct contravention of the IPCC report’s warning that for an end to coal by 2050 for a chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

• Such is the risk posed by climate change that NSW should not be approving any new coal mines, let alone coal mines that threaten vital drinking water catchments.

• Prior to the 2011 State election, then Liberal leader, Mr Barry O’Farrell, famously stood before a rally of residents on the Central Coast and proclaimed that the Liberal Party would not allow coal mining to go ahead in that water catchment:

The next Liberal Government will ensure that mining cannot occur here. It will ensure that mining cannot occur in any water catchment area and will ensure that mining leases and mining exploration permits reflect that common sense, no ifs, no buts, a guarantee.

• In 2014, the Greens introduced a bill into NSW Parliament to enact the Liberal Party promise to stop the Wallarah 2 coalmine, but both the government and the Labor opposition refused to even allow debate on the bill.

• Seven years later, all parties now have an opportunity to deliver on this commitment to the people of the Central Coast through the inclusion of Jilliby.

📷: Newcastle Herald 

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