Category Archives: Parliament

NSW Parliament officially agrees that Donald Trump is a ‘revolting slug unfit for public office’

The New South Wales Parliament’s Upper House just passed this motion unanimously today (13.10.16):

1027. Mr Buckingham to move—

 That this House:

(a) condemns the misogynistic, hateful comments made by the Republican candidate for President

of the United States of America, Mr Donald Trump, about women and minorities, including the

remarks revealed over the weekend that clearly describe sexual assault,

(b) reflects on the divisive, destructive impact that hate speech from political candidates and

members of elected office has on our community, and

(c) agrees with those who have described Mr Trump as ‘a revolting slug’ unfit for public office.

trump-motion-hansard

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said: “It’s a great that all sides of Australian politics, from conservatives to liberals to greens, agree that Donald Trump is a ‘revolting slug’ and completely unfit for public office.”

“It’s clear that all reasonable and decent people find Donald Trump’s behaviour obnoxious and that the world is hoping American voters reject his politics of hate”.

Video of the motion can be downloaded here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByxFWzVKcs8IaGpLVUhMX0IxZWs

 

 

 

Buckingham to Blair Northern Basin Water Allocations 5 May 2016

Northern Basin Water Allocations

Mr JEREMY BUCKINGHAM ( 15:15 :05 ): My question without notice is to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. I recently visited southern Queensland where I saw a large amount of cotton coming off Cubbie Station and irrigated farms near St George and Dirranbandi. Can the Minister update the House on the representations he previously stated he would make to the Queensland Government regarding water allocations in the Darling, Culgoa, Condamine and Balonne river systems?

The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water) ( 15:15 : 40 ): I would be delighted to update the House because I recently made representations—I am trying to remember; I do not want to mislead the House—two or three Fridays ago when the water Ministers met in Brisbane. Not only did I make representations but I did it on their turf. One issue I raised on behalf of New South Wales was the Northern Basin Review and the work that is being done by the Murray‑Darling Basin Authority.

New South Wales has met a lot of its obligations under that review, including the water recovery that has occurred from our system. Queensland is lagging behind, and that frustrates me as the New South Wales Minister for Lands and Water. Indeed, I have commented at every ministerial council meeting that the results of the Northern Basin Review are outstanding—meaning they are overdue. The Murray-Darling Basin Authority engaged consultants to conduct this review but, unfortunately, they made a mess of it and we had to engage another set of consultants. They messed up part of the socioeconomic review relating to the northern communities, which for a long time have relied upon a strong agricultural sector and the use of productive water.

That is the first matter I have addressed with my Queensland counterparts. The other measure—and it was a win at the ministerial council, on behalf of the people of New South Wales—was to make sure as we move through the key decision points of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan that New South Wales continues to advocate for infrastructure projects to deliver water savings. We need to start thinking outside the box in order to deliver those water savings and so that we do not see productive water being purchased out of New South Wales and flowing downstream to South Australia and then eventually out to sea.

If that water and those savings can be made through infrastructure projects or projects such as the carp eradication program, we know that we can do great things for the environment and our agricultural sector. Significantly, at the last ministerial council meeting, all States and the Commonwealth agreed to look at non-flow related projects to help bridge the gap, particularly for the sustainable diversion limit [SDL] projects and the required 650 gigalitres.

What does that mean for New South Wales? If we can stop the release of cold water or black water events in our river systems, then we can deliver proper outcomes for the environment, such as the eradication of carp or the prevention of the death of fish populations. It will mean that we will not have to enter the market and buy productive water from our producers in regional New South Wales, and it will ensure that we have better rivers, more productive regional businesses and better socioeconomic outcomes for the people of regional New South Wales.

I thank the member for the Dixer. I thank him for giving me the opportunity to stand up and show that we are advocating on behalf of all of New South Wales and that if we have to have uncomfortable conversations with other States or the Commonwealth we will.

https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-67894

Dissenting Report to Gas Inquiry

Here is my dissenting report to the NSW Parliament Inquiry into gas supply and prices in which I highlight some areas where i think the committee could have been much stronger in its recomendations.  The full report is available here.  My media release on the report is here.

By Mr Jeremy Buckingham, The Greens

Coal seam gas development is not in the public interest

I am pleased that the committee accepted the strong evidence presented that the development of coal seam gas in NSW will have no meaningful impact on the supply or cost of gas in NSW. However, given the significant risks that the development of a coal seam gas industry poses to water resources, the environment and public health, it is disappointing that the committee decided not to go a step further and recommend that the industry not be allowed to proceed in NSW.

I believe that the report should have included the following recommendation:

  1. The NSW government should not risk public health, the quality or quantity of water resources or the nature of farmland and rural communities by developing an indigenous gas supply from unconventional resources.

I am also concerned that the Liberal, National and Shooters Party members of the committee voted to prevent the important evidence given by NSW Farmers and Lock the Gate, that the risks and the widespread and determined community opposition to unconventional gas exploration and production cannot be ignored when examining issues which affect gas supply and pricing issues, being included in the final report.

Stronger recommendations regarding market transparency

Significant concerns were expressed in evidence to the committee by a number of stakeholders, including the Minister for Resources and Energy, about the lack of transparency in the gas market and the possibility of cartel behaviour and price-gouging to the detriment of consumers are very serious and warranted stronger recommendations from the committee to rebuild public confidence in the industry. To this end I recommend that the NSW government:

  1. requests that the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission investigate current arrangements and practices in the upstream gas industry to ensure that any monopoly, cartel or other behaviours are not being practiced to the detriment of Australian gas consumers, and that upstream gas companies are disclosing adequate information to ensure a competitive gas market, and
  2. requires the disclosure of the details of gas export contracts to the government on a confidential basis, for those companies wanting to do business in NSW.

Transition to renewable energy alternatives

While gas is currently a significant energy input for many businesses and households in NSW, in the medium term it is not a vital energy source and can be replaced by renewable energy alternatives. Unfortunately, this committee report is woeful in its failure to make any recommendations regarding the need for government support for households, business, the public sector and energy generators to transition away from gas and towards renewable energy alternatives. This is especially important for low income households and renters for whom the upfront cost of switching from gas to renewable alternatives could be prohibitive and who will therefore be impacted the most by a sudden increase in gas prices. In recognition of this, I believe the following recommendations are appropriate and should have been supported:

  1. To assist in the development of other sources of energy, the NSW Government should develop contingent legislation that provides a guarantee that in the event of any future change to the federal Renewable Energy Target, no renewable energy generator in NSW would be worse off.
  2. Further, that the NSW Government implement policies and strategies to facilitate a complete phase out of fossil fuels, including gas, for energy generation and other purposes by 2030.
  3. The NSW government should develop programs, policies and strategies that facilitate households, businesses, the public sector and industry transitioning from gas and fossil fuels to high efficiency energy use and renewable forms of local energy generation, including the provision of low interest loans, independent technical advice and benefit sharing schemes.
  4. The NSW Government should undertake detailed, segmented analysis of the financial impacts of rising gas prices on low-income and vulnerable households in NSW, including analysis of the extent to which gas is used in:
    1. NSW public housing and the cost impacts for residents (over 5 and 10 year timeframes)
    2. community housing and the cost impacts for residents
    3. low-income rental housing and the cost impacts for residents.
  5. The NSW Government should undertake detailed research into the barriers and opportunities related to disconnecting from gas for residential consumers, especially public and community housing tenants and low-income renters.
  6. The NSW Government should develop policies and programs to support to support improved energy efficiency by NSW households, especially dedicated support for low-income households.
  7. The NSW Government should provide NSW households with accurate information on the relative costs of electrical and gas systems for cooking, hot water heating and space heating, and encourage people to switch to efficient electrical systems where it is cost effective to do so.
  8. The NSW Government should facilitate identification and financing of energy efficiency and economic fuel switching alternatives to gas use in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Climate change context

It is disappointing that the committee refused to support amendments to the report which would acknowledge that any examination of the supply and cost of gas must take into account climate change. Governments around the world, including Australia’s, have recognised that greenhouse gas emissions need to be significantly and rapidly reduced to ensure global temperature increases are limited to two degrees Celsius. Measures to reduce emissions, whether through government regulation or market mechanisms, are being introduced around the world and it is inevitable that in the near future global or national policies will act to reduce the carbon intensity of our economy and this will have a direct impact on the supply and cost of gas. A recent study in the Journal Nature has concluded that order to ensure global temperature increases are limited to two degrees Celsius between 51 and 56 percent of gas reserves in the OECD Pacific would have to remain unused. (FOOTNOTE: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html)

Parliamentary Inquiry finds NSW CSG will do nothing to stop gas price rises

MEDIA RELEASE – 25 February 2015

Jeremy Buckingham, the Greens NSW mining spokesperson, and Deputy Chairman of the Legislative Council Inquiry into ‘supply and cost of gas and liquid fuels in NSW’ today welcomed the conclusions and recommendations of the Inquiry which found developing coal seam gas in NSW would do little to reduce gas prices, and criticised the lack of foresight and regulation in the development of coal seam gas for export in Queensland.

The Inquiry concludes:

On the dynamics of domestic gas price:

Paragraph 3.55: “The more impartial, economic evidence before this Committee leads us to favour the proposition that increased domestic supply of gas will not by itself lead to reductions in gas prices, or even a reduction in the rate of price increases.  This is because the predominant driver of domestic gas prices will be the international gas price and an indigenous NSW gas supply would be very small in the context of the world gas market and will not impact upon the world price. This means that government regulation of the gas market will be necessary to have a significant impact on price or to guarantee domestic supply.”

Paragraph 4.52: “With gas now being produced in Australia on a scale that completely eclipses any demand by domestic residential or industrial users, any difficulty with supply or increased price can only be as a result of rent-seeking by private interests, allowed by market and regulatory failures. Governments in this State and other jurisdictions should take action to prevent, or remedy this occurring.”

On the past failure to recognise knock-on impacts of moving to gas exports:

Paragraph 4.46: “The committee expresses its disappointment that no-one appears to have recognised the significant disruption that the move to LNG export would have on the domestic gas market.”

 

On gas reservation policy:

Paragraph 4.48: “Given the importance of gas to New South Wales households and industry, particularly manufacturing businesses, and the changing dynamics of the eastern Australian gas market, the committee considers that an Australia-wide domestic gas reservation policy is needed to assist in containing gas prices and ensuring security of supply.”

Paragraph 4.56 and Recommendation 2: “The committee recommends that while the recommendations of the Chief Scientist are being implemented, the NSW Government pursue through the Council of Australian Governments the implementation of an Australia-wide domestic gas reservation policy.”

Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham said: “The Inquiry has found it is the pursuit of coal seam gas for export as LNG that is squeezing supply and driving prices up, and that coal seam gas projects in NSW will make no meaningful difference to this equation.

“The Resources Minister, Anthony Roberts himself admitted that modelling he’d seen showed the completion of both Santos’ Narrabri and AGL’s Gloucester projects would only lower gas prices by 3%. For such a tiny benefit, coal seam gas is simply not worth the risk.

It is a massive failure of governments and the industry that no thought was given to the knock on consequences of moving into the export of coal seam gas. The inquiry heard evidence from business, economists and unions that billions in economic activity and tens of thousands of jobs particularly in manufacturing are being put at risk.

“What we are witnessing here is both the market failing to benefit Australian businesses and households and governments failing to regulate the market to address this issue.

“A domestic gas reservation may have been possible as a condition when governments gave the initial approval for LNG exports, but implementing such a reserve now through various state and federal governments will be difficult.

“Government policy should focus on transitioning our energy system away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. This should include programs to assist households and business to shift away from gas.

“The inquiry revealed major issues with a lack of transparency in the upstream gas market. The Greens and Labor members of the inquiry voted for a recommendation that the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission investigate the upstream gas market for cartel or other anti-competitive behaviours. Unfortunately this recommendation was defeated by the government members and the Chair,” he said.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

The Legislative Council Inquiry Report is available here

Government opposes motion to build the Wilcannia weir

MEDIA RELEASE – 21 November 2014

The Greens NSW water spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today condemned the Baird Government for opposing a motion that called on the government to fund a new weir for the town of Wilcannia, saying they were neglecting the basic needs of people in Outback NSW, particularly Aboriginal communities.

“The Greens moved this motion in parliament to put the issue of the need to build a new weir for Wilcannia downstream of town on the political agenda in Sydney,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“For over ten years successive government have failed to act on the issue of moving the weir, despite the fact the project would make a big difference to the people of Wilcannia.

“The disinterest and neglect of Outback towns such as Wilcannia is demonstrated by the fact the government opposed this motion being passed by formal business yesterday.  The government should state exactly what they found objectionable in the motion?

“The Greens want to see a new downstream weir for Wilcannia built in 2015.  We want justice for the Badrkindji people.   I am going to be on Water Minister Kevin Humphries case from now, until the election and beyond, until we get action on the weir project,” he said.

MOTION: A new weir for Wilcannia

  1. Mr Buckingham to move—
  2. That this House notes that:

(a) life expectancy of males in Wilcannia, New South Wales is 37.5 years, and for women is

42 years of age,

(b) this is a matter of deep shame for our entire community, state and nation,

(c) the worst life expectancy of any nation on earth is Sierra Leone at 42 years of age,

(d) an assured and high quality water supply for the people of Wilcannia and for the

Barkintji people is essential to their health, economic, social, environmental, cultural and

personal wellbeing,

(e) the Darling River adjacent to Wilcannia is an integral part of recreation and fishing

activities for that community,

(f) the town of Wilcannia is now on water restriction and sourcing its water from emergency

water bores, and that this water is intermittent and of very poor quality,

(g) the Wilcannia community has been calling for the construction of a new weir for nearly

40 years,

(h) that the current weir is in a poor condition and located upstream from the town, meaning

that in dry conditions the Darling River is a dry ditch running through the town,

(i) the construction of a new weir, downstream from the town is supported by the Murdi

Paaki Regional Enterprise Corporation, Wilcannia Community Working Party and the

Central Darling Regional Council, and

(j) that a new weir downstream of the town will create a weir pool running through the town

for recreation, drinking, fishing and cultural activities.

  1. That this House calls on the Government to:

(a) immediately begin the process of planning and constructing a new weir in Wilcannia,

(b) immediately consult with the Wilcannia community on the construction of a new weir

and delivery of an assured and quality water supply, and

(c) commit funding for the construction of a new downstream weir to commence as soon as

engineering plans are finalised.

Contact: Max Phillips – 9230 2202 or 0419 444 916

Video of the motion being put on the notice paper is below

Audio: Jeremy Buckingham discusses the Coalition Government’s failure to prevent CSG in Sydney’s drinking water catchment on ABC Illawarra – 6/11/14

Listen to Greens mining and coal seam gas spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham talk about the Coalition Government’s failure to prevent CSG in Sydney’s drinking water catchment on ABC Illawarra – 6/11/14

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