Category Archives: Media

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

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

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