Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bob Brown’s budget reply

Posted by Jim on May 14, 2011

Bob Brown’s budget reply can be viewed directly below:

Jim McDonald Greens Spokesperson Wide Bay, 14 May 2011

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Wide Bay Greens spokesperson interviewed on Noosa Community Radio

Posted by Jim on October 29, 2010

Wide Bay Greens spokesperson, Jim McDonald, was interviewed this week on Noosa Community Radio about a number of issues in the Wide Bay Sunshine Coast regions.

He referred to the Greens’ fishing policy which addresses the sustainability of the Australian commercial fishing industry and recreational fishing.  He has expressed concerns previously about the media’s uncritical reporting of continual industry and political misrepresentation of the Greens’ policy.  For example, the Noosa Journal recently failed to publish a rebuttal by Jim to a letter to the editor alleging that the Greens planned to ban all fishing.  He pulls no punches in this interview .

Jim also talked about the implications of a lack of vision for the Mary Valley within the other political parties.  It is an urgent issue as a matter of the national interest that needs to be addressed as part of a national food security strategy.  None presently exists.  The future of the Mary Valley is an issue that he addressed during the election campaign and he has recently raised the issue again in response to comments on the Mary Valley by Nicklin MP, Peter Wellington.  This interview can be heard here .

During the election campaign, Jim was very active in supporting the Aldershot community against the open-cut coalmine Northern Energy Corporation proposes to be dug within a few kilometres of the town. He has continued his support for the community since being appointed the spokesperson for the Federal electorate of Wide Bay.   This interview discusses several aspects of the development of coalmining in the region from Wolvi to Aldershot, along the Mary River at Munna Creek, Tiaro and Aldershot and in the Rainbow Beach – Tin Can Bay hinterland.  Listen to the interview here .

He was also asked to comment on the Moy Pocket Quarry’s plans to become a central depot for explosives in the region.  The Greens made a submission to Gympie Council opposing the project.  This was reported on this website in August.  The interview is recorded on the Noosa Community website here

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 29 October 2010

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Mr Truss should stop misinforming Queenslanders about the Greens fishing policy

Posted by Jim on October 20, 2010

Mr Truss should stop misinforming Queenslanders about the Greens fishing policy. He cannot know what the Federal Government will do under the Marine Parks inquiry until the reports come in.

The Nationals under Senator Boswell and Mr Truss have whipped up hysteria in response to the patent need to manage Australian fisheries. They and their supporters in the industry have been less than honest in their portrayal of our fishing policy.

The Nationals’ policy states that “greater care must be taken to ensure these delicate eco systems are protected.” But the Nationals have no plans for managing Australia’s fisheries and their subversive campaign against the review is against the national interest with respect to the future of seafood resources and contrary to their own broad statement on fisheries.

The Greens’ comprehensive fishing policy can be accessed online at http://widebaygreens.org/2010/07/570/.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Electorate, posted on mysunshinecoast, 20 October 2010
Letter published, Gympie Times, Saturday 23 October 2010

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Second coalmine to threaten Mary River

Posted by Jim on September 27, 2010

The announcement last week of the extent of coal deposits at Munna Creek along the Mary Valley represents one more threat to the environment integrity of the Mary River system.  After years of threat to the River from the  Queensland Government’s Traveston Dam proposal, the threat to the world heritage wetlands at the mouth of the Mary River from the Colston coalmine application, and the Queensland Government plans to pipe water from the Mary River any way, the River now faces threats from open-cut mines at Munna Creek and Tiaro.  These are two different coal exploration areas granted to Tiaro Coal Corporation.  A third is located in the Tin Can Bay – Rainbow Beach hinterland.

The Munna Creek – Tiaro developments on top of the emergence during the Federal election campaign of the Colton Coal Mine issue represents an escalation of a campaign to protect our region from being turned into a Queensland version of the Hunter Valley, which is disastrous for public health as well as the environment.  The Colton Coal Mine is an open-cut mine planned by Northern Energy Corporation a mere couple of kilometres from the Aldershot township just outside Maryborough.  That mine is planned to expand into an area drained by the Susan River, which flows directly into the Mary River estuary and the Great Sandy wetlands reserve.

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay electorate, 27 September 2010

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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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Greens Wide Bay candidate urges Federal Minister to intervene on Colton Coal Mine

Posted by Jim on July 10, 2010

I have writen to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Peter Garrett, pointing out the environmental risks associated with the Colton Coal Mine outside Maryborough and Aldershot:

Dear Minister

Northern Energy Corporation plans to develop a 200 metre deep open-cut coal mine adjacent to the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland in Hervey Bay. It is 3 km from the Susan River that flows into the Mary River and forms the Ramsar boundary. It is 3 km from the town of Aldershot and 7 km from Maryborough. The Corporation plans to pump excess water from a coalwash plant that is capable of processing 1.5 million tons of coal a year to Saltwater Creek that also flows into the Mary River estuary. This represents a major environmental threat as well as a health threat to nearby communities.

You refused approval for the Traveston Dam in the Mary Valley among other reasons “because it had the potential to impact on nationally listed threatened species, migratory species, the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland, and the World Heritage values of Fraser Island.”

The Information Sheet on Ramsar Wetlands on your Department’s website says the area covers significant seagrass habitat, which is “likely to be one of the most important habitat components for maintenance of the present ecological health and diversity exhibited by the region.”

These areas act as nursery and feeding grounds for prawns and fish, and feeding grounds for dugong and turtles. The Information Sheet also records sightings of Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphins [Sousa Chinensis], pilot whales and false killer whales in the region.

Those Ramsar wetlands have come under an even greater threat from coalmining. Northern Energy Corporation has completed drilling assays in the Wallum landscape behind Hervey Bay and has applied to the Queensland Government for a mining lease for the establishment of a 100 million tonnes plus open-cut coal mine close to the Susan River boundary of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar wetland.

The Susan River is critical to the health of the Great Sandy wetlands in the Mary River estuary. It has a small but significant inflow into the estuary and the wetlands. At least two species of dolphin, the bottlenose dolphin and the common dolphin use the Susan River.

The Susan River is a Queensland Declared Fish habitat. According to the Information Sheet, the Susan River and Maroom Fish Habitat Areas combine to protect (in part) tidal lands of approximately 28,000 ha in the centre of Great Sandy Strait.

The Susan river is also home to six species of mangroves, which are used extensively for honey production by commercial beekeepers.

The Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia listed potential threats from the levels of chemical pollutants and turbidity/siltation in the system as a result of increased urbanisation and agricultural activities. The threat of heavy metals and other pollutants from an open-cut coal mine intensifies the threats to the integrity of the ecology of the wetlands.

I therefore call upon you to intervene in accordance with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 before an election is called to prevent this mine being approved when the Government is in caretaker mode.

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Greens fishing policy encourages a sustainable industry

Posted by Jim on June 23, 2010

There is some concern in the Wide Bay electorate about the Garrett review on fisheries in the Fraser Coast and Cooloola Coast regions.  At a forum at Tin Can Bay in April called to discuss the effects on the seafood industry, the CEO of Marine Queensland, Don Jones, spoke about sustainable industry practices.

Afterwards I wrote to tell him it was clear “that your industry organisation and The Greens have far more in common than we have differences,” and sent him a copy of The Greens’ fishing policy.  Greens policy on the industry and recreational fishing is to protect fish nursery habitat and encourage environmentally benign aquaculture industries.

There are, I told him, some useful distinctions he made that should be taken into account in the question of setting up green areas [ie no-go zones] – that we need to take a three dimensional approach to the question of access on the one hand and sustainability on the other.

What Don Jones said at the forum was quite consistent with The Greens’ policy on fishing.  The first principal of our policy is the management of recreational and commercial fisheries to maintain sustainable populations and fisheries, and to minimise the environmental impacts of fishing.  There was nothing in his remarks at the forum that was at odds with The Greens’ strategy to maintain adequate, biologically representative “no-take” areas within each fishery and/or marine bio-region for the conservation of marine biodiversity and fish stocks.

Nonetheless, The Greens position is outrageously portrayed by ratbags at the edges of the industry as anti-fishing.  The Greens policy is hardly about closing down fisheries. The industry and The Greens share a concern about significant drops in some fish stocks.

The Greens go further than the industry in linking an increase in the number of Australia’s marine reserves, particularly where these improve the resilience of vulnerable fish populations.  That’s the practical way to ensure sustainability.

But the science needs to be done and the Federal and State Governments need to patrol their respective designated areas to protect sensitive fishery resources against illegal commercial and recreational fishing.  At the same time, the Federal Government review of the need for marine parks needs to look at which areas in a reserve might be no-go areas and what regulations ought to be put in place for different systems in the environment within a marine park.  Within a particular zone it might require different approaches to pelagic fish on the surface and deep water marine species, migratory fish and fishing on reefs.  The Greens do call for a moratorium on deep-sea bottom trawling in Australian waters and require a reduction of inefficient and wasteful by-catch in all trawl fisheries.

Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett, has said about the review that neither the borders nor the announcement of the review of the Fraser Coast and Cooloola waters indicate which specific areas will be protected or where areas of mixed use will be allowed.

What is encouraging is that the responsible sectors of the industry, the Minister and The Greens all address the sustainability of the fishing industry.  That consensus is a better start than the irresponsible scaremongering of sections of the industry, which the the member for Wide Bay seems to be pandering to in his latest electoral report.

Comment: Jim McDonald, Greens Candidate for Wide Bay, 23 June 2010

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