Thursday, May 25, 2017

Population figures by themselves are irrelevant

Posted by Jim on April 13, 2010

Gross population figures by themselves are irrelevant.  Whatever number Australia reaches by 2050 or 3000, the present growth trend will take Australia beyond the projected 35 million in Treasury’s forecasts.

The discussion about how big Australia’s population has to be, first, can we sustain the number?  That means: do we have enough water?  Do we degrade the environment by digging more coal pits and pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere?  What efficient  infrastructure do we need to reduce our reliance on oil to provide rapid and convenient transportation?    What directions should education planning take to provide a skilled workforce that is not reliant on immigration?  What technological developments that do not degrade air quality or add to toxic waste production can assist the necessary growth in productivity.  To what extent can government encourage the necessary research?  How do we go about protecting and utilising the most productive land for food cropping when so much has been alienated by urban spread?  Should we expand the protection of forests and to what extent should we expand existing plantations?

The population question generates questions on a very wide range of policy issues and that is why Bob Brown’s call for a review is the most savvy response to the current discussion.  However, if the discussion continues on in the vein of Gerard Henderson’s commentary, it will be nothing more than a fatuous focus on political spin.  The future of the Australian population is not a one-dimensional question that political spin will resolve.  The nation’s future requires a whole-of-picture approach and neither Mr Rudd nor Mr Abbott have demonstrated the vision for the future, which our politicians owe us all.

Letter to the Editor, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 April 2010 [unpublished]

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Sustainability for Commercial and Recreational Fishing Essential

Posted by Jim on April 5, 2010

The Queensland Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, welcomed Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett’s announcement of a review of fishing off the Cooloola Coast and Fraser Island.

He said Mr Garrett seems to be taking a comprehensive approach, but we will be watching to ensure that this doesn’t turn into another half-baked exercise. Local fishery concerns are right to be upset by a succession of reviews because earlier approaches failed to address all the issues.

Dr McDonald said, “It makes sense to ensure that fisheries are maintained at sustainable levels. Responsible elements of the fishing industry support quotas and protection of fish nurseries, so they can prosper into the future. It’s the cowboys who are the problem.”

The Greens have long advocated managing both recreational and commercial fisheries to sustain the population of native freshwater fish and fish in the ocean.

“This means protecting the habitat of fish nurseries in the wild. Marine parks are important for this and the Nationals have supported the Greens in the past on increasing the number of reserves.

“Some recreational fishing groups have habitually misrepresented The Greens’ policy on fishing, alleging that we would ban fishing altogether. That is plainly untrue,” he said, “And I wonder at their motives.

“Only when there is protection of the biodiversity of fish and of their environment can our grandchildren and their grandchildren participate in the joys of fishing. All responsible anglers and the industry would want that.

“If Mr Garrett’s review does not achieve that objective he will have not only failed the fishing industry but consumers and future generations.”

Media Release, 27 March 2010

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Greens congratulate Minister Burke for reversal of mad cow beef import decision

Posted by admin on March 10, 2010

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, has congratulated Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, for  listening to the concerns of the community, the Greens and  Opposition parties by reversing his decision to lift the ban on importing beef from countries affected by mad cow disease, or BSE.

Senator Milne had referred the issue to a Senate inquiry last October, immediately after learning that the ban would be lifted. The scrutiny of the decision from the Senate Inquiry has now led to a moratorium on lifting the ban pending a two year import risk analysis.

“Public health and food security are vital and must be protected at all costs. It was disgraceful that the community had been kept in the dark about the fact that they could be eating beef  from a country affected by mad cow disease.

“Consumers have the right to know if meat on supermarket shelves comes from countries which have been affected by BSE.

“As someone who grew up on a dairy farm in North West Tasmania, I am always vigilant about standing up for a healthy environment and the excellent reputation Australia’s food has  around the world for being clean and uncontaminated.

“This reputation is critical for both consumers and producers, and I am very pleased that the Senate inquiry I established has helped deliver this sensible decision.

“Minister Burke was clearly concerned there would be a public outcry against this decision when the beef industry was sworn to secrecy over the decision to lift the ban. He wanted to  push a pure trade agenda based on pleasing overseas trading partners like the USA and Canada before the livelihoods of Australian beef farmers and the health of Australian families.

“Our local beef producers have the right to reassurance, through a full and proper import risk analysis, that their reputation for clean produce will not be undermined.

“The next critical step is for Australia to move rapidly to improve our food labelling laws to make sure consumers know what is in the food they buy and how it was produced.”

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