Tag Archives: Agriculture

Guilty plea over water theft will do little to stop over extraction

NSW Greens Water Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham has welcomed a guilty plea to water theft charges by a big irrigator but warned that legal over-extraction for cotton irrigation was leading to the demise of rivers and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Mr Buckingham said, “It is good to see an actual prosecution take place for water theft, given that the NSW Ombudsman found that water compliance and enforcement was effectively stopped for many years under the NSW government.

“While this prosecution is welcome, it is the legal extraction too much water for cotton irrigation that is causing rivers like the Darling to die.

“Up and down the Murray-Darling Basin, there are many irrigators undertaking excessive or illegal water extraction secure in the knowledge the NSW Nationals will protect their vested interests over the environment or communities who rely on a healthy river.

“I join many landholders and communities along our rivers that have lost confidence in the ability of the Nationals to effectively administer the water portfolio for the good of all water users, not just their big irrigator mates and political donors.

“It’s also completely unacceptable that Water Minister Niall Blair now has new powers meaning he can retrospectively legalise illegal works and water thefts. This disadvantages irrigators who are doing the right thing and leaves the faucet open for attempts at undue or corrupt influence on the Minister.

“These illegal channels and dams divert a vast volume of flood water away from natural waterways and into irrigation storages, making a few greedy irrigators rich at the expense of our rivers.

“Water theft has real world consequences for the environment and downstream communities. While landholders and communities continue to struggle with drought and the impacts of climate change, the Nationals hold back the urgent action needed for healthy flowing rivers,” 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

Planning Assessment Commission slams Bylong coal mine project

MEDIA RELEASE – 27 July 2017

NSW Greens energy and resources spokesman Jeremy Buckingham called for the NSW Government to cancel the exploration licence for the proposed KEPCO coal mine in the Bylong Valley after a Planning Assessment Commission Review Report slammed the project for gaps in evidence and high levels of uncertainty, particularly about the potential cumulative impacts on the Bylong valley and the community.

The Planning Assessment Commission Report found:

“that substantial doubt persists about the potential benefits and impacts of the Bylong Coal Project, despite extensive research and peer assessment.  As a result, all aspects of the project will need to be comprehensively and cautiously considered, carefully weighted, and balanced one against another in any decision about the project.”

“As far as PAC reports go, this is an absolute savaging of the Bylong Coal Project and should act as a red light for the NSW Government,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“There is no reason to build a new greenfield coal mine anywhere in NSW.  There is already a hefty surplus of coal on global markets at a time when we should be rapidly phasing out fossil fuels to protect the climate.

“New coal mines have lost their social licence to operate.  We’ve seen the NSW Government recently buy-back the Caroona Coal greenfield project on the Liverpool Plains, and partially buy-back the Shenhua Watermark coal project area nearby.

“The Greens call on the government to recognise this coal project will wreck the Bylong Valley and its community and cancel the exploration licence.

“This PAC report recognises that there are significant areas of high quality agricultural land and precious water resources, as well as important heritage values that will be put at risk by the proposed Bylong Coal Mine.”

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.”

Government lets KEPCO coal company off the hook for lying

MEDIA RELEASE – 9 August 2016

The Greens NSW energy and resources spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham today condemned the government for allowing Korean resources giant KEPCO and consultant Worley Parsons to get away with lying on their exploration application, after they dropped prosecution under the Mining Act and agreed to an ‘enforceable undertaking’ instead.  Mr Buckingham warned that it set a terrible precedent for compliance and enforcement of the Mining Act and undermined any deterrence effect.

KEPCO were being prosecuted for the wilful provision of false and misleading information under the Mining Act.  The company submitted photos of a completely different area, but claimed they were of the proposed drilling sites on a farm in the Bylong Valley.

If found guilty, the company would have been fined up to $110,000 and received a criminal record.

“Minister Roberts has essentially let this company get away with a lie and undermined the Mining Act,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“The government had already approved this drilling project and it was only diligent landholders who picked up the deception in the application.

“It’s vital that a high standard of compliance is enforced with such potentially destructive processes involved in mining exploration.  Any deterrence effect from this prosecution has been completely undermined by the government agreeing to drop the case.

“At a time where the Baird government is ramping up penalties against people protesting mining, they are letting mining companies off the hook for outright deception. Minister Roberts needs to explain this double standard.”

Baird & Barnaby should negotiate Shenhua exit from Liverpool Plains

Supplied by www.sallyaldenphotography.com

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 March 2016

Greens Mining and Agriculture Spokesperson, Jeremy Buckingham today called on Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce to actively negotiate an exit strategy for Shenhua to hand back their coal exploration licence over the Liverpool Plains, in light of Shenhua’s Announcement of Annual Results forecast for a continuing structural decline for coal and scaled back capital investment in overseas projects.

Shenhua’s Announcement of Annual Results forecasts:

“Global demand for coal is expected to manifest a downward trend in 2016 as impacted by the slackened global economy growth, structural adjustment of energy, slow energy consumption growth and climate change. The coal supply will be excessive, and prices of thermal coal will remain low.”

“Even the world’s biggest coal miner has recognised that there is no need for new coal and it’s up to Barnaby Joyce and Mike Baird to create certainty for the farmers of the Liverpool Plains by negotiating an exit for Shenhua,” said Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham.

“It’s economically and strategically foolish for the Coalition and Labor to fail to acknowledge that the future is renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, not giant coal mines in our food bowl.

“Barnaby Joyce has failed to use his significant power as Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture and Water Minister.  Unless he can negotiate a swift and fair exit for Shenhua and save the Liverpool Plains, the voters of New England should throw him out.

“It’s unacceptable for this coal mine proposal to hang over the Liverpool Plains, causing uncertainty and stress, and hindering investment in agriculture.”

Farmers face 7 years jail as Baird’s anti-protest laws pass Upper House 20 – 16

MEDIA RELEASE – 16 March 2016
The NSW Greens today condemned Mike Baird, the National Party and the Shooters Party for ramming through laws that could see protestors, including farmers, jailed for up to 7 years for protecting land, water, climate and communities.
The laws were passed on a vote of 20-16 at 5.20pm this evening, with the Shooters and Fred Nile’s Christian Democrats voting with the Government . The laws increase fines for protestors by 1000%, give police additional powers to break up protests, search people and seize property, and expands the definition hindering a mine with a maximum penalty of seven years jail.
Greens MP and Mining Spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham said:
“This is Australia, not Vladimir Putin’s Russia. We should have the right to peaceful protest and political expression in this country.
“Land use conflict and opposition to fossil fuels is a major issue in NSW, but it needs a political solution, not a jack-boot police crackdown on democratic rights.
“The Liberals, Nationals and the Shooters Party have sided with the big mining and gas companies over farmers and the community. If farmers are thrown in jail for defending their land and water, the political parties that supported these laws will be punished by voters.
“Despite the Government’s threat, farmers and concerned citizens will continue to protest, no matter the penalty, because they are fighting for the common good,” Mr Buckingham said.
Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge said:
“The right to protest dates back 800 years to the Magna Carta but Premier Baird is so arrogant that he believes he can trample that right to deliver for the Liberal party’s paymasters in the mining industry.
“Protest is an essential part of a functioning democracy, it ended slavery, delivered Aboriginal land rights, gave women the vote, saved the Franklin and protected the Rocks and that’s why the Greens will always support it.
“These laws have no social licence in NSW and if ever the police or the Liberal National parties try to enforce them, they will hit a wall of public protest that will stop them in their tracks,” Mr Shoebridge said.
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