Sunday, May 28, 2017

Uranium mining a dead-end road for Queensland

Posted by admin on March 19, 2013

OlympicDam

The Queensland Government’s decision to pursue uranium mining breaks a promise by Premier Newman and will yield “all risks and no rewards”, the Australian Greens have warned as a report on establishing the industry in the state was released.

Australian Greens nuclear policy spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam said “uranium mining makes no economic sense and no environmental sense for Queensland”.

“It is extraordinary that Queensland’s Mines Minister Andrew Cripps today claimed uranium exports had the potential to earn Queensland ‘billions of dollars’ when at present Australian uranium exports make less than two billion a year. The uranium price has been in free fall since 2007, and with governments around the world shutting down nuclear power stations; 150 nuclear power stations in Europe alone are scheduled for closure with no plans to replace them.
Australian Greens Great Barrier Reef spokesperson Senator Larissa Waters said the Queensland Government was threatening to destroy the reef with its uranium proposal.
“Minister Cripps has not ruled out the shipping of this radioactive cargo through the Great Barrier Reef. This is a radioactive accident waiting to happen, which would have disastrous consequences for our marine life, coral reefs and the multibillion dollar tourism industry that relies on the reef.
“Campbell Newman needs to decide whether he wants a World Heritage icon on Queensland’s doorstep or a highway for toxic uranium,” Senator Waters said.

Senator Ludlam said the effects of uranium mining were wide reaching.

“Uranium mining is bad for mine workers; bad for residents near mines and on uranium transport routes; bad for farmers; bad for groundwater, for soil and local species – and it provides fuel for a dangerous industry that is on the way out. Queensland deserves better.”

“Thirty years after the closure of the Mary Kathleen uranium mine west of Cloncurry, there is significant physical and chemical mobility of uranium and related elements, including transfer into vegetation. The rate of seepage from the tailings dump is much faster than predicted and radioisotopes are being mobilised in surface water seepage,” Senator Ludlam said.

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Quick action needed to secure referendum on local govt recognition

Posted by admin on March 10, 2013

Noosa Council Chambers

The restoration of local government for the communities of Noosa is a victory for democracy. So many men and women contributed their time, their energy and their resources to a hard-fought campaign that brought together people across the political spectrum. However this magnificent achievement remains at risk and vulnerable to the whim or ideology of future state government who may choose to ignore the will of the people as did Peter Beattie and the Queensland ALP (remember them?)

With a parliamentary inquiry report recommending a referendum to recognise local government in the constitution at the September election, Australian Greens local government spokesperson and committee member Senator Lee Rhiannon has called on the Gillard government to introduce required legislation soon after parliament resumes next week.

The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Local Government report has recommended a referendum at the next election to recognise local councils in the constitution and allow the federal government to directly fund them.

“Two expert committees have now found in favour of a referendum. The Labor government must move quickly to pass legislation between March and July facilitating the referendum and allowing time to build strong community and cross party support,” Senator Rhiannon said.

“If the government drags the chain it will rob the campaign of time to educate the community about the importance of constitutional reform to allow the federal government to fund local councils.

“Two High Court cases have created uncertainty around federal grants to local councils.

“This referendum should receive active support from all political parties, state governments and local councils across the nation.

“Referendums are notoriously difficult to pass, with voters approving eight out of 44 proposals to alter the constitution, so it is important campaigning gets going as soon as possible.

“This report reveals a big appetite from local councils for reform and strong capacity to campaign. The Gillard government must lead the way in securing this important change.

“The Referendum (Machinery Provisions) Act 1984 sets out the referendum process. This includes passing a bill setting out the proposed alteration to the Constitution, establishing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ committees of MPs to prepare a case supporting their position and the Government-General issuing writs,” Senator Rhiannon said.

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ALP’s overseas worker promise rings hollow

Posted by admin on March 5, 2013

457

Greens Deputy Leader and workplace relations spokesperson Adam Bandt says the PM’s promise on s457 visas rings hollow, given the failure of the government to require jobs to be advertised locally first.

Allowing the big miners to use secret Enterprise Migration Agreements also showed the Labor government wasn’t really serious about putting locals first, Mr Bandt said.

“The PM is ramping up the rhetoric on overseas workers to compete with Tony Abbott while actually doing little to protect local jobs. Employers should be made to advertise locally before they bring in overseas workers,” Mr Bandt said

“The changes to the 457 visa scheme are really just election window dressing. If Labor were serious, they would bring back proper labour market testing and require jobs to be advertised locally first.”

“Labor’s Enterprise Migration Agreements will also make it easier for the big miners to import overseas workers.

“Like the mining tax, the tough talk hides some big loopholes.”

“The Greens’ Protecting Local Jobs (Regulating Enterprise Migration Agreements) Bill would require jobs to be advertised to locals first.”

“The government should also be allowing the 10,000 asylum seekers living in the community to work, strengthen skills training and make sure apprentices have a living income before allowing more overseas workers in.”

“Until the Prime Minister is will to properly regulate EMAs and 457 visas her local jobs promise will ring hollow.”

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Abbott should abandon axing carbon price in face of climate commission report

Posted by admin on March 4, 2013

Action against climate change

With the Climate Commission report out today clearly linking climate change and the increasing intensity of extreme weather events like floods, bushfires and cyclones, it’s time for both the Liberal and Labor parties to ramp up efforts to address climate change.

“It is incumbent on all politicians, especially those in the Coalition, to stop talking of extreme weathers as one-offs and admit that a hotter, warmer world is here to stay.” Australian Greens leader Senator Christine Milne said today.

“It should now be clear to everyone that with $6 billion being spent since 2010 in Queensland alone on cleaning up after the floods it has never been more obvious that Sir Nicholas Stern was right when he said that the cost of not acting on climate change far outweighs the cost of acting.

“It is far cheaper to reduce emissions than to try to adapt as the climate becomes more extreme and unpredictable.

“Tony Abbott has a total sham of a policy on climate change that will not even achieve the 5 per cent reduction in emission and it cannot be scaled up. He must now abandon his pledge to tear down the carbon price or face his children and grandchildren and explain to them why he’s not prepared to act in the narrow window of opportunity to remain under two degrees warming.

“It is also time for the Prime Minister to save the National Climate Adaptation Research Facility which interprets the climate models to tell communities what the impacts of climate change on their region and infrastructure could be.”

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