Category Archives: Media

A new downstream weir for Wilcannia a positive step forward, but too long in coming

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has welcomed the state and federal governments finally committing $30 million to build a new downstream weir for Wilcannia, but said it had taken too long.

It should not take a tight state and federal election to get action for regional communities on water supplies, he said.

“I was first approached in 2014 by Wilcannia residents about a new weir for Wilcannia and I’ve been pursuing the government about the issue ever since. I’ve raised it in parliament at every opportunity, written to the Premier and the ministers, and educated the community about the great injustice and need for a new weir,” Mr Buckingham said

“A new weir and the weir pool it will create will provide, swimming, fishing, cultural and even small-scale irrigation opportunities for the people of Wilcannia.

“While the Wilcannia weir announcement is a good step forward, it will not solve the systemic problem of a lack of surface flows down the Darling/Barka river due to over allocation to upstream irrigation, mainly cotton.

“The Barkindji people tell me that the Barka is dying. The regular small and medium flows that came down the Darling through Wilcannia have stopped because too much water is being taken up stream.

“While the government is recognising the cultural values of the Darling River, it should facilitate the process to formally recognise the Aboriginal name for the Darling River – the Barka – with a dual naming through the NSW Geographical Names Board.

“The Greens are proud to represent the interests of the people of Wilcannia. They may be far away and isolated from Sydney, but I have made sure that their issues were raised in the parliament time and time again.

“The cynic would note that the government has finally committed money to the project only a few months before both state and federal elections are due. This is exactly why people should vote against the National Party. It’s only when they can’t take the Far West for granted that they pay any attention or grant any funding,” he said.

Greens welcome investment in NSW energy transmission infrastructure as opportunity for supporting new renewables

A fortnight after the Greens released its plan for eight renewable energy zones and upgrades to transmission projects in NSW, the State Government has today released its NSW Transmission Infrastructure Strategy.

The Greens have welcomed the four priority transmission projects identified in the strategy, including upgrades to the interconnectors with Queensland and Victoria, and a new interconnector with South Australia to enable renewable energy projects to connect to the grid and increase the resilience of the power network.

However, Greens MP and Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said that with the end of the Federal Renewable Energy Target and no carbon price in place, additional and specific state-based policies were needed to provide the framework for renewable energy investment.

“The Greens strongly support new electricity transmission infrastructure for NSW to facilitate renewable energy, but we need the right policy framework in place to ensure provide the investment certainty for renewable energy,” he said.

“We are in a climate emergency which requires a rapid transformation from fossil fuels to renewable energy and storage. This strategy is a good start, but we need more state-based policies to drive the transformation.  Victoria, Queensland and the ACT are all leaving NSW behind.

“The Greens want NSW to be a renewable energy superpower.  We have the solar and wind resources and the expertise, what we need is the political will and right policy settings that will bring jobs and investment to regional areas of NSW.

“We want support from all major parties for our plan to establish eight priority Renewable Energy Zones for NSW as part of a national plan to supercharge investment in large-scale renewables connected to new transmission infrastructure.

“NSW should 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. It’s a great opportunity to become a renewable energy powerhouse,” he said.

Science is in: Approval of new coal mines such as Bylong risks dangerous pollution and climate change

The NSW Government should update the terms of reference of the Independent Planning Commission to reflect the latest science and not allow the approval of any new thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW.

In the lead-up to the Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine in Mudgee tomorrow, the NSW Greens have called on the NSW Government to also rule out the Bylong coal mine and any new thermal coal mines in the NSW planning pipeline.

The recent IPCC report warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels for the best opportunity of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

If approved the Bylong coal mine would be licenced to operate until 2044, producing 343.2 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said the tight time frame for halting and reversing rising emissions means NSW cannot delay action.

“The NSW Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. 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 would be negligent and irresponsible for the NSW Government to allow the Bylong coal mine proposal to go ahead.

“The Bylong Valley is rich in natural beauty, fertile agricultural land and significant water and river resources. These are the lasting legacy we want to leave future generations, not dangerous pollution and out-of-control climate change,” Mr Buckingham said.

Details
What: Independent Planning Commission Public Meeting on Bylong Coal Mine
When: 9am, Wednesday 7 November
Where: Parklands Resort and Conference Centre, Mudgee
More details:
https://www.ipcn.nsw.gov.au/projects/2018/10/bylong-coal-project

📷: Lock the Gate Alliance

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan ignores science that new coal mines risk fuelling catastrophic climate change

Federal Resources Minister Matthew Canavan should listen to the science and not give approval for any new coal mines or mine extensions for the best chance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees.

The Minister donned the hard hat and visited the site of a proposed 135 megatonne extension of Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine this weekend, indicating support for more new coal mining in the Upper Hunter.

If approved the mine would operate over the next 30 years, producing 385 million tonnes of carbon pollution in its lifetime.

NSW Greens resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said Minister Canavan should not ignore the recent IPCC report that warned the world must quit coal by 2050 and avoid tapping the vast majority fossil fuels or risk catastrophic levels of climate change.

“Minister Matthew Canavan and the Federal Government can’t keep pushing their outdated, pro-mining agenda on communities like Boggabri and the Upper Hunter. The Liberal/Nationals ignore climate change at their peril,” he said today.

“The decisions made today will determine our fate. There can be no new approvals for thermal coal mines or mine extensions in NSW. Vickery coal mine must be retired and rehabilitated, not thrown a lifeline for more coal production and pollution.

“Australia is becoming like the big tobacco companies, we keep pushing a product we know isn’t safe or healthy out into the market, regardless of the risk.

“The vested interests of the mining industry have too much power and influence over our Federal and NSW Liberal/National politicians. They are making decisions in the best interests of big mining companies, not what’s best in the long-term for communities and our natural environment.

“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 Minister to allow the Vickery coal mine proposal to proceed.”

📷: Northern Daily Leader

Tiny, last minute spend on ’emerging energy’ won’t fix govt’s lack of credible energy and emissions reduction policy

The NSW Government has today launched an Emerging Energy Fund that promises $55 million for gas and renewable energy, a figure the Greens have slammed as totally inadequate and  lacking the ambition needed to transition NSW towards 100% renewable energy.

The $55 million is totally insufficient when you consider the NSW Government:

  • Received $37 billion from privatising the state’s electricity assets since their election;
  • Received $4.1 billion for the transfer of Snowy Hydro to the federal government;
  • Underspent the NSW Climate Change Fund by $252 million between $2014-17;
  • Gave $70 million to the Greyhound racing industry;
  • Spent $87 million on advertising; and
  • Gave $100 million to the horse racing industry as a tax break.

The Emerging Energy Program represents just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government reaped from selling off public energy assets.

Greens Energy and Climate Action spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham labelled the Emerging Energy Fund nothing more than a fig leaf announcement that barely covered the fact NSW remained without a genuine, effective energy or emissions reduction policy.

“This is a damp squib of an energy policy from a Liberal/National Government that has neglected renewable energy and climate change for seven and a half years,” he said today.

“The community would recognise that $55 million is a drop in the ocean for the energy-system restructure that is underway and will not stop NSW from lagging behind other states on renewable energy.

“It’s just 0.14% of the $37 billion the government has reaped from selling off energy assets in NSW. It’s also miserly when you consider they underspent the climate change fund to the tune of $252.9 million between 2014-17.

“It miserly compared to the Victorian Government’s $1.24 billion scheme investing in rooftop solar alone or its substantial state-based Renewable Energy Target.

“This money could be spent on fossil fuels, with the emissions limit is set at 0.5 tonnes of CO2/MWh which allows gas projects, not just true renewable energy.

“What NSW needs is genuine investment with long-term support policies such as state-based Renewable Energy Target, a tax on carbon pollution and renewable power purchase agreements by the State Government.

“NSW should not miss out on the clean energy, lower power prices, jobs and economic growth from growing our share of energy from wind, solar and other renewables.

“I’m pleased the government has finally recognised that the shift away from coal to renewable energy is inevitable. Premier Gladys Berejiklian should have a conversation with Prime Minister Scott Morrison to to burst his delusions about building new coal-fired power stations in Australia.

“Renewables, energy and climate change will be at the very top of the agenda at the NSW and Federal elections. If this Liberal/National Government doesn’t stop the spin and get real on energy policy, it will find the community will vote for other leaders who will,” Mr Buckingham said.

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

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