Category Archives: Media

Premier Berejiklian should cancel entire Shenhua coal license & visit Liverpool Plains

Media Release – 12/07/2-17

The NSW Government’s announcement today of a buyback of 51% of the Shenhua mine licence does not go far enough, with the NSW Greens calling for the Premier to cancel the project.

NSW Greens Resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“Today’s announcement is a recognition that building a giant coal mine in Australia’s best agricultural area is a terrible idea, but anything less than full cancellation does not lift the threat.

“Anyone who has visited the area knows how interconnected the ridges are to the plains. The idea that you can dig a 300 metre deep pit next to a flood plain and it will not impact on the water table is ridiculous. It is certainly not worth taking the risk.

“I challenge Premier Berejiklian to visit the Liverpool Plains, to see the site of the proposed mine and then show some strong leadership by completely cancelling the licence for the Shenhua mine.

“There is no ‘safe’ size for the Shenhua coal mine. It is the wrong mine, in the wrong place, at the wrong time as we confront dangerous climate change.

“The fact that Nationals MP Kevin Anderson is still pushing the mine shows how beholden the Nationals are to the big mining corporations. He should be ashamed he has not backed local farmers over a Chinese Government owned coal mining corporation.”

Solar tariff increase welcome, but energy sector should be re-nationalised to stop failure of deregulation

MEDIA RELEASE – 23 June 2017

The Greens NSW energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham welcomed IPART’s announcement today of their final determination of the solar tariff for 2017-18, with the benchmark price increased to 11.9 – 15 cents per kilowatt hour, up from 5.5 – 7.2 cents per kilowatt hour.  However, he noted that the reason for the tariff increase was the failure of privatisation and deregulation that have led to a massive increase in wholesale electricity prices.

“The Greens welcome the increase in the price paid for rooftop solar in NSW, but will continue to move for IPART to factor in an implicit carbon price and avoided health costs, to recognise the true benefit of solar power and increase the tariff to reflect those benefits, as they do in Victoria.  It is estimated that this would lift the tariff by a further 4.3 cents per kilowatt hour.

“Households and the economy are now being punished for three catastrophic policy failures:  the unregulated move into LNG exports; the privatisation and deregulation of the energy sector; and the failure to have a serious policy for the transition of the energy sector to renewable energy,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The LNG export facilities at Gladstone are like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up gas from the domestic market and causing a massive price hike not only for gas, but also for electricity for which the price is often set by gas generators. This is a massive market failure.

“The NSW Government has privatised the energy sector and has irresponsibly abolished the IPART regulated gas price at precisely the wrong time, as well as regulated electricity prices.

“It’s time to admit that privatising essential services that are monopolies, or at best oligopolies, has failed with Australian households paying some of the highest prices for energy anywhere in the world despite an abundance of natural resources – both renewable and non-renewable.

“We should look seriously at re-nationalising the energy sector to end the profiteering and to ensure a swift transition to clean energy to deal with climate change.

“The regulated price was effective in constraining price hikes, now everyone is at the mercy of profiteering in a market dominated by an oligopoly.

“The NSW government predicted huge falls in the gas price with deregulation, but now we have big hikes in price.  Energy Minister Don Harwin should admit his government got it terribly wrong and move to have IPART re-establish a regulated price.”

Slap down for Nationals as Parliament votes unanimously against nuclear power in NSW

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 May 2017

The NSW Legislative Council has today unanimously passed a motion against establishing nuclear power in NSW, in a slap down to Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who recently promoted establishing nuclear power in NSW during his speech at the NSW National Party conference in Broken Hill.

The motion was passed unanimously* in formal business:

“1390. Mr Buckingham to move— That this House does not support a nuclear power station in New South Wales.”

NSW Greens energy spokesman Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The National Party are stuck in the last century when it comes to energy and resources.

“The Deputy Premier has announced his big idea for nuclear power in NSW and now the entire Upper House, including his Nationals colleagues, have voted against this dumb idea.

“The Nationals should listen to their young members, listen to the community and embrace renewable energy and action on climate change.”

*Update: The Hon. Peter Phelps has informed us that he opposed the motion.  However, he did not object to its formality (any one MP can stop a motion being put in formal business).  Nor did he call a division to have his vote in favour of nuclear power recorded in Hansard. Dr Phelps claims he was unable to call a division because no other MP was willing to provide the ‘second voice’ required.

Nationals should name locations for nutty nuclear power plant plan

MEDIA RELEASE – 19 May 2017

The Greens NSW Energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today slammed the National Party and NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro for raising the prospect of a nuclear power plant in NSW saying renewable energy is safer, cheaper, and more effective at combatting climate change.

“I challenge John Barilaro and Gladys Berejiklian to name which electorate, which suburb and which town in NSW they think a nuclear power plant should be built in,” Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said.

“They also need to come clean with where they are planning to have a nuclear waste dump to manage the highly radioactive waste fuel that will be produced.

“Nuclear power is an enormous risk that is not worth taking. We should learn the lessons from Fukushima and Chernobyl that nuclear power can be catastrophic.

“This is just another nutty, extreme idea from the National Party who is stuck in the wrong century pushing coal and nuclear and ignoring the massive renewable energy potential of Australia.

“Launching their nuclear ambitions in Broken Hill shows the Nationals are completely out of touch with the community and the future of energy supply in Australia.

“One of the largest solar farms in the country, the Broken Hill Solar Plant, has just been built and the nearby Silverton Wind Farm will be the largest wind project in NSW once it is constructed.

“The declining cost of renewables means nuclear energy does not make financial sense, as we can see with Japanese giant Toshiba going broke because of its involvement in nuclear power plants.

“Even if the Nationals could force nuclear power through massive community opposition, it is not an answer to our energy needs or climate crisis with plants taking more than a decade to be built.

“The Greens believe the future of energy supply is renewables, not dirty coal and dangerous nuclear power,” Mr Buckingham concluded.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0439 460 691

Approval of hemp seed consumption great news for farmers and consumers

MEDIA RELEASE 28 April 2017

The Greens welcome the decision to allow the sale of hemp food for human consumption which was made today by the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation at a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting.

The Greens have campaigned for this rule change for many years as a key to making hemp cultivation viable for Australian farmers and providing consumers with a good source of nutrition.

NSW Greens agriculture spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham said:

“A year and a half ago I admitted in parliament that I occasionally eat hemp seeds on my breakfast cereal – effectively breaking the law.  It is pleasing to see this silly law has been dropped and Australia has joined with the rest of the world in accepting hemp food consumption,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“This is a big win for farmers, consumers, and the Greens.  Finally COAG has stopped dragging its feet, got beyond the stigma, and recognised hemp as a crop and food product with enormous potential.

“Allowing farmers to sell both the seed and the fibre will make hemp a viable crop for farmers to grow and potentially create a new export market for Australia.

“The Greens look forward to working with the government to pass any required legislation to implement this decision.”

Blame coal seam gas for price hikes.  It is more expensive to produce

MEDIA RELEASE – 28 April 2017

The cost of producing coal seam gas at Santos’ Narrabri project will be almost double the production cost of conventional gas in Bass Strait according to the Australia Energy Market Operator, and will be unlikely to reduce the price of gas in the domestic market.  It is the drive into unconventional gas and the cartel dominating the gas market that has led to the massive price rises.

Unconventional gas is more expensive to produce due to the large amount of salty water that must be extracted to depressurise the aquifer and the large number of wells and associated infrastructure that must be drilled and fracked.

The Core Energy Group report commissioned by AEMO in February 2015 found:

  • Bass Straight conventional gas production cost – $4.05
  • Cooper Basin conventional gas production cost – $5.30
  • Narrabri coal seam gas production cost – $7.25

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:

“The cost of producing coal seam gas is far more expensive than conventional gas and was only made financially viable by the push into exports and the associated price hikes.”

“The current ultra-high gas prices are the result of letting a cartel loose on a vulnerable market.  The only way to fix it is to place controls on the cartel to stop it extorting its market power.

“Now that sensible regulation of the gas market has begun to be applied, it will be even less politically palatable to force fracking down farmers’ throats. Australians will rightly want stronger regulation of the gas market rather than has their community turned into a gasfield to prop up the profits of big gas companies that made poor investment decisions or signed bad contracts.

“Prime Minister Turnbull’s push to help the gas companies force their way into fracking more expensive unconventional gas will be rightly rejected by the community and state governments who do not want to lose office.  Coal seam gas does not have a social licence.”

Ian Macdonald’s conviction underlines the need for further reform of mining licencing

MEDIA RELEASE – 30 March 2017

NSW Greens resources and energy spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said today that the conviction of Ian Macdonald for criminal misconduct in issuing a coal exploration licence underlined the need for a strong ICAC and further reform in an area that is prone to corruption risks.

“The Greens welcome the prospect of Ian Macdonald spending many a long lonely night in jail with his mate Eddie Obeid,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“ICAC have identified the granting and administration of mining licences as an area that is vulnerable to corruption.  Unfortunately the government has not acted to ensure such corruption does not happen again.

“Donations from mining companies should be banned for similar reasons that donations from property developers are banned.  Both industries can benefit greatly from government decisions and, therefore the perception and risk that political donations may sway decisions makers is very real.

“We also need to implement stricter regulations and cooling off periods to stop the revolving door between government and the resources sector, which calls into question whether ministers, advisors and bureaucrats are working in the public interest or for private interests.

“High profile moves through this door include current head of the NSW Minerals Council, Stephen Galilee, who used to work for former Premier Mike Baird; former federal resources ministers Martin Ferguson, became chairman of the Advisory Board of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) and a non-executive director of Seven Group Holdings and British Gas Group; and former federal resources minister  Ian Macfarlane is now chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council

“This conviction shows the importance of having a strong and independent ICAC and it is shameful that the NSW Government has worked in recent years to weaken its body and bring it to heel.”

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