Author Archives: maxphillips

Hume coal mine rejected on eve of election 

MEDIA RELEASE

11 December 2018

NSW Greens resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham welcomed the Department of Planning’s recommendation to the Independent Planning Commission that the proposed Hume Coal mine near Berrima is ‘not in the public interest and should not be approved’, but said that NSW needed a coal strategy to deal with the issue of new coal mine applications and phasing out coal in a strategic way.

“This is a strong rejection of the proposed Berrima coal mine echoing the concerns that the local community have held for many years.

“It’s a pity it has taken almost eight years and the eve of an election to arrive for the government to finally knock this bad mine on the head. The local MP Pru Goward failed to stop this mine progressing through the planning system despite widespread concern, even when she was planning minister.

“The tide has well and truly turned on coal in an age of climate change.

“NSW now needs a comprehensive coal strategy that should forbid any new coal mines and implement a strategy to phase out coal mining over the next decades with transition plans for the regions involved.

“I spoke recently at a forum in Berrima and it is clear that the local community is united in wanting to protect their land, water and climate from the huge risk this mine represents.”

42 Days to Respond to Vickery Coal Mine Extension proposal too short for drought-stricken farmer

MEDIA RELEASE – 24 September 2018

NSW Greens Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to extend the review period for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Vickery Coal Mine Extension from 42 days to 90 days, to allow the local community adequate time to review the 4,000 page EIS.

The Extension Project proposes to increase mine extraction from 4.5 to up to 10 million tonnes per annum, with potentially significant impacts on surrounding landholders.

“The idea that farming families in Narrabri, Boggabri and Gunnedah, currently dealing with the drought, could get across the detail of 4,000 pages in 40 days is disrespectful at best. These are complex, technical documents that take time to digest and respond to,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Planning Minister Antony Roberts sitting in his Lane Cove electorate office clearly has no understanding of the pressures on farmers in the day to day operation of their businesses.”

“This is effectively a new mine in a sensitive agricultural area, and the community must have adequate time to respond to the potentially significant impacts of the proposal on groundwater resources and noise especially.”

“The Greens strongly back the farmers’ very reasonable request of the Planning Minister to provide an extension of time to 90 days to review the documents. This extension of time will go some of the way to ensuring that there is proper scrutiny and consideration of the impacts,” said Mr Buckingham.

“There should be no new coal mines or coal mine expansions in an era of worsening climate change, especially with the impacts of climate change so evident in the impacts of this severe drought. It is negligent and irresponsible for the Government to be allowing this proposal to proceed.”

Independent investigation clears Jeremy Buckingham

MEDIA RELEASE – 11 September 2018

An independent investigation has cleared Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham of any wrongdoing after a complaint was lodged in May 2018 alleging inappropriate behaviour in August 2011.

The recommendation sent to Mr Buckingham today by the independent investigator at Workdynamic recommends:

“The Greens NSW resolve this matter with no adverse finding against you with respect to sexual harassment or inappropriate behaviour towards Ms Buckland.”

The investigation interviewed female witnesses who corroborated Mr Buckingham’s version of events.

Ms Buckland made her allegations public on the ABC 730 program before the confidential investigation had been finalised.

Jeremy Buckingham said:

“I’m glad the day has finally arrived when I’ve been cleared. It’s been incredibly difficult and damaging to have these false allegations made public and used by certain people to try to destroy me.

“Having false allegations aired on national television is incredibly distressing and a very serious breach of investigation process. Allegations of this nature should be handled confidentially and sensitively and not be used for a trial by media.

“The politicisation and breach of confidentiality of these processes makes it less likely that people with genuine complaints will come forward. If you abuse a complaints process then people lose faith in it.

“The people who politicise complaints for political gain should be ashamed. They trade important principles of justice for base political manoeuvring and for personal political advantage.

“I have lodged a comprehensive complaint against the ABC 730 program alleging extreme bias and multiple, serious breaches of the ABC Code of Practice and MEAA Code of Ethics. The ABC failed to report my version of events or the evidence of other witnesses. They also failed to wait for the outcome of this investigation.

“I am pursing a number of civil actions to seek justice and restore my reputation.

“I’d like to thank everyone who did not judge me based on very biased and defamatory media reports, and those who have supported me during this very difficult time.”

Ombudsman report damns water compliance performance

MEDIA RELEASE – 17 August 2018

NSW Greens water spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said today’s Ombudsman’s report Water: Compliance and Enforcement once again details how the NSW government downgraded and neglected water compliance until 4 Corners exposed its failures in July 2017. He backed the Ombudsman’s recommendation that the rollout of meters for water users be fast-tracked to be completed before the current target date of 2023.

“Once again we have a damning Ombudsman report into water compliance in NSW. Successive National Party water ministers have allowed compliance to be underfunded and neglected to the point where the Ombudsman has revealed that compliance officers were not issued Penalty Infringement Notice books for over a year after being transferred to WaterNSW,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Placing the Nationals in charge of water is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. Unfortunately, water is an area where government action and inaction can result in significant windfall profits for some water users, which is why compliance and enforcement is so crucial.

“The Greens strongly back the Ombudsman’s recommendation that the government speed up the rollout of metering for water users. The Ken Matthews inquiry recommended a ‘no meter, no pump’ rule, but the government has squibbed it with a slow roll out of water meters.

“It’s not just the drought that has dried up our inland rivers, it is also decades of neglect, mismanagement, corruption and over-allocation.”

‘Ludicrous’: First new coal license set to be granted in Sydney Basin since 1993

MEDIA RELEASE: 14 August 2018

The Greens NSW mining spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today expressed outrage that the NSW Government intend to grant the first new coal exploration license in the Sydney basin since 1993 to South 32 despite the company breaching its Environmental Protection Licenses 447 times in the past 18 years at its four existing collieries in south west Sydney.  The allocation of this license near Picton in the catchment of the Nepean River comes at the same time that the Liberals have sought to renew over 1000 km2 of existing coal exploration licenses in the Sydney basin held by the Government.

“South 32’s south-west Sydney coal mines have breached their environmental protection licenses 447 times in the past 18 years without any consequences, making a mockery of the law,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It beggars belief that the Liberals are actually considering granting a new coal exploration license in the Sydney Basin to this repeat offender. The destruction caused by coal mining is clear and the community opposition is overwhelming.

“We need decisive leadership to end the NSW addiction to coal and a basic principle should be to not renew or issue new licenses and approvals in the Sydney Basin and our drinking water catchments.

“Why in 2018, with climate change biting, are the Liberal Government opening up new areas and renewing exploration licenses over massive parts of the Sydney Basin, paving the way for new coal mines here?

“It is ludicrous that the Government is even considering an application for a new coal exploration license in the catchment of the Nepean River in the Sydney Basin.

“The people of Sydney will not tolerate new or expanded coal mining and the Greens will be making an end to coal mining one of the key issues in the lead up to the state election,” said Mr Buckingham.

Endeavour Coal (a subsidiary of South 32) have had non-compliances with their Environmental Protection License at the West Cliff, North Cliff, Appin and Appin West Collieries every single year since 1999 for a total of 447 non-compliances. They have never had a single Penalty Notice for this.

This comprises 182 non-compliances on EPL 2504 since 2002, 218 on EPL 758 from 2000-2010 (in 2010 EPL 758 was combined with EPL 2504) and 47 non compliances for EPL 398 between 1999 and 2010 (when it was also combined with EPL 2504).

The new exploration license application is the yellow one in this map:

picton license

There are three massive exploration licenses held by the NSW Government (officially the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment) which are located in the Sydney Basin, including parts of the drinking water catchment that have expired recently and the Government has recently applied to have them renewed:

Title Date granted Date expired Size (km2)
AUTH 6 17-Jul-72 1-May-18 727
AUTH 278 18-Nov-87 15-Nov-16 262.5
AUTH 281 15-Dec-81 1-May-18 52
Total: 1041.5

Contact: Jack Gough 9230 2202 or 0427 713 101

NSW should reject a NEG that hampers state efforts to reduce emissions

MEDIA RELEASE – 6 August 2018

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today said the NSW Government should reject the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) if it fails to recognise state efforts to reduce emissions as additional to the National Emissions Reduction Target, to ensure that all options are open to the current and future NSW Governments to act on climate change.

“The National Energy Guarantee has been cobbled together to try to placate the dinosaurs within the federal Coalition party room. The NSW Government should reject any framework that restricts the ability of our state to implement real action to address climate change,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“Victoria, the ACT, Queensland and South Australia all have state based renewable energy targets. Any future NSW Government should also implement an ambitious state-based renewable energy target and associated schemes to achieve this target.

“If the NEG undermines state-based renewable energy targets or emission reduction targets by not making them additional to the NEG’s emissions reduction target, then it ties the hands of any future state government to reduce emissions and attract jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector to NSW.

“While investment in renewable energy is currently booming, it may come to a crashing halt once the federal RET is fulfilled. That’s why state policies to develop renewable energy are important and should not be undermined by a NEG with no ambition that is primarily aimed at pleasing the dinosaurs in the Liberal and National parties.”

Greens call on Government to block new coal mine in Sydney drinking water catchment after WaterNSW raises serious concerns

MEDIA RELEASE: 3 August 2018

The Greens NSW energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham today called on the NSW Government to step in and end the uncertainty over the Hume Coal project at Berrima in the Southern Highlands after WaterNSW raised numerous serious concerns about the impacts on Sydney’s drinking water catchment.

In a submission to the Planning Department, WaterNSW said that “the Hume coal project may significantly reduce the quantity of water in the Sydney catchment area and available for WaterNSW’s supply requirements.” WaterNSW also highlighted “several shortcomings in the EIS” including hydrogeological models which “likely underestimate the reduction in groundwater levels and baseflows”, “inappropriate” assessment of the neutral or beneficial test, “a lack of conservatism in predictions”, and concerns about coal dust emissions which are “likely to deteriorate water quality”.

“WaterNSW has made it clear that building a new coal mine is incompatible with ensuring the security of the drinking water supply for millions of people in Sydney and it is time for the Berejiklian Government to step in and stop this crazy project,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The submission from WaterNSW is damning. The age of coal is over and we should not be putting digging up even more coal ahead of Sydney’s drinking water supply.

“It is clear that any genuine application of the ‘neutral or beneficial effect’ test, which is supposed to apply to all developments in the catchment, precludes the development of this coal mine. That should be the end of the story.

“The community are sick of the uncertainty and of a planning system which has no red lights so it is now up to the NSW Government to show some ticker and say no to Hume Coal,” Mr Buckingham said.

Contact: Jack Gough 9230 2202 or 0427 713 101

 

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