Sunday, May 28, 2017

Greens candidate is Noosa’s best choice

Posted by Jim on July 31, 2010

Noosa’s best chance of representation by a candidate who understands the community is the Greens’ candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald.

Jim has been a resident of Noosa for 15 years and has been involved in the community during that time.  He stood for Council in 2004 and has been involved in various community activities since becoming a resident.  He has been president of Noosa Chorale, a lecturer in negotiation for Noosa U3A and for a time on the U3A Committee, a volunteer speaker for the Australian Heart Foundation.  Early this year, he ensured that the Sunshine Beach community became aware of Council proposals to change Sunshine Beach village. His article in the Noosa News led to a large turnout of residents at a Council briefing session letting the Council know the community position, which had been neglected in consultation processes.  Jim is also a member of Noosa Arts theatre and edited an online theatre newsletter and bulletin for the Sunshine Coast.

On the hustings

Jim McDonald on the campaign trail

As the Greens candidate for Wide Bay Jim has thrown his support behind the Kin Kin community’s concerns about the expansion of the Kin Kin quarry and PAGE, which is trying to protect beautiful hills habitat in the Noosa hinterland from Powerlink’s proposed high voltage transmission lines through Eerwah Vale.  The Greens also support Noosa’s de-amalgamation from the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and informed the Friends of Noosa about that a couple of months ago.  Neither the Labor candidate nor the sitting member understands our concerns about the negative effects of amalgamation on the Noosa community.  Once part of a viable and solvent Shire Noosa residents have inherited rising rates in a debt-ridden regional council. We support a Council which unites the common interests of the Noosa Hinterland and the hinterland towns as well as Noosa and the Eastern Beaches.

His was one of the few voices that raised concerns about the inclusion of Noosa in the Wide Bay electorate before the 2007 election.  Many Noosa people are not aware that the administrative centre for the electorate remains in Maryborough. That’s further away than the Brisbane CBD.  The area covered by the old Noosa Shire demographically, economically and regionally has more in common with the Sunshine Coast than the rural communities and towns of Wide Bay.

Despite half the voters in Wide Bay being located in Noosa, the Labor and Nationals campaigns are being run out of Maryborough. Noosa perspectives are neglected.  The Greens candidate understands the Noosa community while having responded for some months to community issues throughout the electorate as he campaigned throughout Wide Bay.  The Greens campaign is being run out of Noosa.

On 21 August Vote 1 Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay and Noosa

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Kin Kin quarry approval crazily indifferent to community

Posted by Jim on July 29, 2010

The Wide Bay Greens candidate, Jim McDonald, said he is perplexed as to how Councillors and the Sunshine Coast Council can allow a mega quarry to gear up in Kin Kin. The Council has approved a large quarry developed for concrete aggregate at the end of Shepparson’s lane alongside the Noosa Trail Network.

“The roads into Kin Kin village are basically country lanes. The main route from Pomona is not even wide enough for line marking and includes three single lane bridges. There is a requirement for quarry approvals to cover provisions for haulage. That has clearly not happened in Kin Kin.

“The road system is too small for quarry trucks and highway entry is on one of the worst black spots on the Bruce Highway near Pomona. Sunshine Coast Council seems to have broken its own rules. The heavy haulage traffic that the expansion of the quarry will bring will endanger the lives of everyone who travels on Kin Kin district’s roads. That’s a dereliction of duty in ensuring due care in managing the roads.

“Were Mayor Bob Abbott and local Councillor Lew Brennan asleep on the job? The proposal for a large quarry has been on the table for a couple of years.

“A large tourist project had been dumped by Anna Bligh when she was the Minister for Infrastructure because Kin Kin didn’t have the infrastructure. It would never have brought the heavy trucks that the quarry will bring, yet the Titanium project was rejected.

“Now the Council and the State Government are paying pass the parcel, while residents are rightly fearful and annoyed by the intransigence of the Council and the failures of the Environment Protection Authority and the Department of Environment and Resource Management.

“Inappropriate coalmining and quarrying in the Wide Bay electorate represent a major threat to residents’ lifestyle, regional infrastructure, and the environment. They undermine the efforts of the Noosa and the Great Sandy Biospheres to inject a sustainable approach to conservation and resource utilisation.

“In the Kin Kin case, this breach of principle is nothing short of a crazy indifference to the community.”

Jim McDonald media release, 29 July 2010

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Greens Queensland campaign launch – a photo report

Posted by Jim on July 26, 2010

I attended the Queensland launch of the Greens campaign in a crowded function room at The Summit Restaurant at Mt Coot-tha on Sunday with Campaign Manager Bob Borsellino.  The Green’s candidate for Ryan, Sandra Bayley, also welcomed supporters and members.  She was followed by the Green’s Senate lead candidate Larissa Waters.

Crowd building up at Greens Queensland campaign launch

The launch was welcomed to country by elder, Maroochy, who performed a stunning welcome song.

Maroochy explaining the significance of her welcome song

Bob Brown electrified the room by addressing the issues of the campaign and outlining the contribution to government made by the Greens in the life of the last Parliament.  In a nice reference to the leaders debate, which locked out the Leader of the Greens, he said that in the case of the Labor and Liberal leaders, “three’s a crowd”.  He illustrated the failure of Labor’s environmental policy by referring to Julia Gillard’s summit on the environment as a phonebook strategy towards climate change.

Senator Bob Brown addressing the Launch crowd

He was upbeat about the chances of having Larissa Waters elected as the first Greens Senator from Queensland.  Later I met Bob Brown briefly after his media conference and we talked about coalmines.

Meeting Bob Brown after the launch of the Greens campaign in Queensland

All the candidates present were introduced to the audience and afterwards we posed for a group photo with Larissa Waters and Bob Brown.

Queensland House of Representative candidates pose with Bob Brown and Larissa Waters

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Greens’ fishing policy aims to preserve the industry and the environment

Posted by Jim on July 24, 2010

The Australian Greens’ policy on fishing is consistently misrepresented by the Nationals and sections of the fishing sector.  They appear to go out of their way to paint a picture in which the Greens will ban all forms of fishing.

The Greens’ policy on fishing is not focussed on banning fishing but maintaining sustainable recreational and commercial fisheries for our grandchildren.

Our policy on fishing in Australian waters contains these key goals:

  • managing “recreational and commercial fisheries to maintain sustainable populations and fisheries, and to minimise the environmental impacts of fishing.”
  • protection of fish nursery habitat.
  • environmentally benign aquaculture industries.
  • a strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas within each fishery and/or marine bioregion for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.

These are sustainability goals to avoid pushing some fish species to the point of extinction.  This is a real threat for the Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna, for example, and tuna stocks in the Pacific face similar threats.

There are a range of measures proposed in the policy.   Doing the science means independent ecological assessment of Australia’s commercial fisheries. A national approach to managing recreational and charter fishing is also needed.  The Greens support increasing the number of Australia’s marine reserves, particularly where these improve the resilience of vulnerable fish populations.  Fishing practices need to be sustainable.  That involves a range of measures, which include implementing a moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters, requiring by-catch reduction in all trawl fisheries, and banning all factory-ship based fishing in Australian pelagic fisheries.  Maintaining adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas within each fishery and/or marine bioregion are targetted measures rather than blanket bans.

In cooperation with the states and territories, the Greens propose developing a nationally agreed framework for the assessment and regulation of aquaculture developments based on ecosystems management principles.

The Greens’ policy on marine and coastal waters also emphasises the sustainability of the fishing industries in Australia.  Their health is dependent upon adequate conservation and sustainable management measures that ensure the replenishment of fishing stocks. Fisheries must be managed as a part of a broader ecosystem which meets the needs of natural predators as well as humans.

The Greens want  science to be the foundation of  statutory ecosystems-based regional marine planning that enables the full range of uses and impacts to be identified and managed, and allocates resources across and within marine industry sectors.  This requires a national approach to coordinate and enforce the sustainability of ocean uses and consistent regulation.

These measures, designed to ensure that fishing practices do not wipe out species or damage ocean ecosystems, will be enhanced by targets of a minimum of 30 percent no-go areas in the marine reserve areas governed by the principles set out in these policies.  Establishing these zones is not a random process but a strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative ‘no-take’ areas for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.

The fishing policy of the Australian Greens is designed to ensure the survival of fish resources, protection of their environment and ecosystems and to prevent the demise of recreational and commercial fisheries.

It is dishonest of critics of the Greens policies on fishing to continue taking elements out of context to create alarm among the fishing community.  The goals and measures proposed are designed to preserve the industry rather than destroy it and are part of a comprehensive sustainable approach.

Jim McDonald, 23 July 2010

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River Threat

Posted by Jim on July 21, 2010

I refer to your article, “Still fighting for Mary River” [Gympie Times, 17 July 2010], which refers to State Government plans to harvest water from the river.

The Mary River also faces major threats from coal mines at Munna Creek and along the river near Tiaro. Closer to the mouth of the Mary, the estuary faces the risks of pollution from a coal mine planned along the Susan River that flows into the Mary River estuary.

What the Mary River needs is a concerted clean-up of water quality. Instead we see more talk of measures that will further degrade the river.

I have written to the federal Environment Minister to intervene in the Colton Coal Mine proposed near the Susan River, but with the timing of the Federal election we fear that the State Government and the miners will proceed with approvals that will change the ecology of the Mary River forever.

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate
Wide Bay Electorate

Published in Gympie Times, 21 July 2010

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Wide Bay Greens Candidate supports university students

Posted by Jim on

I have pledged my support for students as follows:

If elected as the member for Wide Bay, I pledge to use my vote in the parliament to:

  1. Increase funding for universities
  2. Create a more equitable system of student income support
  3. Support student representative organisations
  4. Deliver affordable student accommodation

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate for Wide Bay

As a former academic, I am appalled that the Labor Government failed to restore the levels of support for student organisations that existed before their removal by the Howard Government.  University is a very special experience and personal growth can be enhanced by student involvement outside the lecture hall and the tutorial room.  Many politicians, such as former Treasurer, Peter Costello, who voted out support for student bodies, benefitted personally from experience in student organisations.

Funding for universities in research, teaching and facilities must be increased as a fundamental investment in knowledge, innovation, science, culture, Australia’s prosperity, and the people of our country.  Presently, there needs to be an increase in accessibility to the university experience for students in the regions.  That experience is potentially undermined by large staff-student ratios.  Regional universities in particular have high ratios of lecturers to students and that affects both on-campus teaching and distance education.  Additional funding should address improvements in the number of teaching staff in universities.

On 22 July, Senator Hanson-Young announced a four-point plan to help tackle student poverty and housing affordability.

Comment, Jim McDonald, 21 July 2010

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Greens candidate says Coalition statements on Workchoices ring hollow

Posted by Jim on July 19, 2010

The Coalition is just not believable on industrial relations, The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, said today.

“Until we hear statements from key Coalition figures, including the Leader of the Nationals, that they will promote collective bargaining in the workplace there will always be a fear that an Abbott Government will reintroduce their oppressive workplace laws.

“Tony Abbott had hardly finished telling the electorate that the Coalition’s policy on workplace relations was dead when Senator Eric Abetz said the Coalition will tinker with Labor’s Fair Work laws.”

He said the central plank of The Greens’ policy on workplace relations is for a fair and equitable industrial relations system for all workers.

“Our policy on employment and industrial relations states that Australia’s future workforce must be highly skilled, highly trained and well paid. The existence of a safety net and the right to collectively bargain are essential to achieving these aims.

“The prosperity of the region is dependent on families whose wage earners have secure employment and decent working conditions.

“But the Coalition have always promoted individual contracts as a central plank of their workplace ideology. In putting Workchoices in place they took away many of the rights workers should enjoy under international labour conventions. Tony Abbott and Eric Abetz were key Coalition Ministers driving that policy.

“One of those rights was workers’ access to collective bargaining. And the current member for Wide Bay actively supported isolating workers in individual contracts.

“But the Coalition adopted double standards on collective bargaining,” he said.

“As the Agriculture Minister in the Howard Government, Mr Truss supported legislation to give farmers and small businesses some clout in negotiation against the large retailers.

“These are exactly the same arguments supporting collective bargaining for workers in the workplace. But in supporting Workchoices, he denied workers easy access to that same right.

“What every worker in Wide Bay is entitled to know is whether Mr Truss now recognises the benefits of collective bargaining for workers as well as small businesses.”

Dr McDonald said that for years research in Australia and around the world had been available that demonstrated that collective bargaining systems produced a more productive workforce.

“Despite that evidence, the Howard Government ignored the benefits of collective bargaining for ideological reasons, putting up slippery ‘choices’ for the average worker under Workchoices.”

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Kin Kin Community Group fights inappropriate quarry

Posted by Jim on July 18, 2010

What is it about mining and quarrying that brings out the worst in corporations and in all levels of government and the best in communities? Community groups in the Mary Valley, Aldershot and Kin Kin are great examples in the Wide Bay electorate of community resilience and wonderful skills quickly learned and applied.

Kin Kin Community Group briefing Saturday, 17 July 2010

Kin Kin Community Group briefing Saturday, 17 July 2010. Photo, Jim McDonald

The Kin Kin Community Group has been fighting approvals given to a small quarry by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council and the State Government to expand into a very large quarry.

Last week, as if to thumb its nose at the community and the legal case before the court, a large section of the quarry was blasted by the operators.

Premier Anna Bligh had refused an application for a large tourist complex when she was Infrastructure Minister because the infrastructure did not support such a large enterprise near the small village of Kin Kin.

The same narrow winding roads, which are not even wide enough for line marking and have single lane bridges, and will carry large quarry trucks if the quarry is allowed to go ahead, were not adequate for a large commercial tourist operation.

It has to be asked, what role has the Divisional Councillor and the Mayor played in the promotion of the Quarry expansion where up to 40 trucks a day will thunder down Kin Kin’s roads?

The Greens have already backed the community and yesterday the Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, the Greens candidate for Groom, Frida Forsberg, Michael Kane from the Queensland Greens Management Committee, and the Wide Bay Campaign Manager, Bob Borsellino, were briefed on developments in Kin Kin.

Kin Kin 17 July

Members of Kin Kin Community Group and Greens representatives on site in Kin Kin

Jim McDonald promised his ongoing support for the community group in fighting the quarry and The Greens are planning additional political support for the campaign against the mega quarry.

While campaigns such as Kin Kin’s fight against the expansion of the quarry bring out the best in communities, it also brings out nasty elements.  Someone supporting the quarry has systematically destroyed community signs against the quarry:

ripped sign

One of the signs destroyed by vandals supporting quarry. Photo, Jim McDonald

Similar dirty tricks are played out in Aldershot, where community notices and noticeboards against the Colton Coal Mine are regularly destroyed and damaged by night vandals.

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“A strong safe crossbench in the Senate” – Brown

Posted by admin on July 17, 2010

“I offer the electorate experienced and stable leadership, and the progressive policies and clear vision for Australia’s future which the big parties are ignoring,” Australian Greens Leader Senator Brown said in Canberra today.

“Moving forward will mean a carbon tax on polluters; bringing home safely Australia’s troops from Afghanistan; a universal dental care scheme; humane treatment of asylum seekers in Australia; protecting our forests and wildlife.”

“This election is also about the Senate and a strong cross-bench delivering better outcomes for Australians. The Greens are the responsible alternative to a deadlocked Abbott controlled Senate.”

“The Greens will campaign strongly on environmental issues including climate change action, the creation of marine national parks, protecting native forests and wildlife and saving the Darling Downs farmlands from 40,000 coal seam gas drill holes and open cut coal mines,” Senator Brown said.

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Pressure on one is pressure on all

Posted by Jim on July 15, 2010

I refer to the article on the greater chance of patients dying prematurely from cancer in the region than Brisbane patients [Fraser Coast Chronicle, 12 July 2010].

The Federal Government has distributed funding for cancer centres in marginal seats. Thus the Wide Bay electorate missed out on an upgrade to cancer treatment – politics before cancer services.

The former Prime Minister called changes to health funding a health revolution. If it was a revolution it has bypassed our region.

There is an urgent need for a review of health services in the Wide Bay electorate. Maryborough and Gympie hospitals need upgrading and funding for public patients in Noosa Hospital increased. Pressure on one hospital is pressure on all of them.

The fact that dialysis patients in Maryborough have to travel to Gympie indicates a shameful breakdown in health services in the region.

The Greens call for a proper caring approach from the Federal Government to the health of Australians in the region.

Jim McDonald
Greens candidate
Wide Bay Electorate

Letter, Fraser Coast Chronicle, Published 14 July 2010

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