Sunday, May 28, 2017

Noosa Greens Candidate dissects LNP policy on de-amalgamation and finds a “Yes Minister” policy designed to fail

Posted by Jim on January 24, 2012

Jim McDonald, the Noosa Greens Candidate for Noosa writes to the Noosa News about de-amalgamation:

I’d like to thank Bob Ansett for pointing out what the LNP’s website says about Noosa’s de-amalgamation because what the LNP spokesperson for Local Government, Gympie MP, David Gibson, says and doesn’t say on that website is quite different from the LNP’s actual policy.

As The Greens candidate for Noosa, I have called for a referendum to establish the ratepayers’ wishes as the primary step in giving the Noosa community the local government it really wants. This is a community-focussed process of decision-making and the role of the Government will be then to facilitate – through community consultation – any changes resulting from the community’s response.

The LNP proposal is for “an advisory poll of voters in any proposed new Local Government boundary” after a Queensland Boundaries Commissioner has prepared their “preferred options” for any changes after he or she has considered submissions from the community.

These are important differences that need to be understood by all the groups involved. The LNP offers the Noosa community an “advisory” role in a poll. The policy does not indicate what kind of poll that might be. The Greens have called for a local  referendum – let the community decide on deamalgamation not some appointed Commissioner fiddling with boundaries, “advised” by the community.

This “advisory poll” is something quite different from Mr Newman’s and Mr Gibson’s undertaking that “residents living within the proposed new council area will, by a simple majority, vote whether or not they wish to establish a new Noosa Shire Council”.

In designating a role for a Commissioner to make the decision on whether Noosa is to get the Council it wants, the LNP has developed a process that pushes the community to the side. LNP policy also will load the cost of a new Noosa Council on the residents: “ratepayers of any proposed new local authority would bear the full costs of any de-amalgamation.”

The Greens position is that if the community decides on separation the cost should be borne by the Government since it was the Queensland Government that forced amalgamation on us in the first place.

The Commissioner’s process of decision-making looks very like a “Yes Minister” scenario. I say that because the LNP policy includes the critical statement of principle: “The LNP has made it clear that its preference is for Queensland’s Councils to remain as  currently constituted to avoid any further disruption and cost for local communities.” With that statement goes any confidence that accommodating the electorate’s interests is anything more than a sop to the community’s wishes.

As a Noosa resident who favours de-amalgamation, I’m rather disappointed that Friends of Noosa and the Alliance find the LNP position so attractive since any close examination of the LNP policy shows that Campbell Newman and David Gibson have made an offer that is designed to fail the wishes of the Noosa community, and the LNP cannot be trusted to carry out their wishes.

Jim McDonald
Greens Candidate
Noosa
13 January 2012

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An open letter to Drew Hutton facing court for trying to protect our land

Posted by Jim on August 22, 2011

Good luck on Thursday, Drew.

There is no doubt about the immorality of CSG extraction and coalmining on productive land and in people’s homes, but the laws are not geared towards what is best for Australia’s food security, nor what is best for the aquifers and the Great Artesian Basin, nor for the atmosphere as methane leaks, nor for the destruction of family lives and the peace of communities. On these grounds alone you have an absolute reasonable excuse.

The work you have done for the farmers and communities of the Darling Downs is sowing seeds across the country sustained by your’s and the farmers’ courage to stand up against multi-nationals and Australian companies out for a fast buck whatever the damage they do.

Drew, you should be proud of what you have achieved for all of us in bringing the pernicious industrialisation of our land and its resources to the public consciousness. I am!

Jim McDonald
Wide Bay Greens Spokesperson

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Is coal and mining exploration a threat to the Sunshine Coast?

Posted by Jim on December 20, 2010

Jim McDonald was recently interviewed on Noosa Community Radio about the coalmining exploration in the Wide Bay and north Sunshine Coast and the possibility of further exploration in  Sunshine Coast.

Listen to the interview here

Jim McDonald, Greens Spokesperson, Wide Bay Federal Electorate, 18/12/10

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Kin Kin Quarry: What Anna Bligh said on Kin Kin development

Posted by Jim on August 2, 2010

Proposals to allow the expansion of the Kin Kin quarry raise issues about its suitability in the Kin Kin district.  The following are comments made by the former Minister for Infrastructure and now Premier about the Titanium tourist project, which are relevant to the quarry:

“I need to be satisfied the proposed size and location is consistent with the intent of the SEQ Regional Plan.

“The site includes good quality agricultural land and areas of significant biodiversity value – the very areas the SEQ Regional Plan was established to protect.

“The Regional Plan is our safeguard to ensure growth in SEQ is managed in a sensible fashion. It protects more than 80 per cent of the region from urban development while providing for better land use, environmental protection, improved connections between homes and infrastructure and sustainable use of resources such as water and energy.”

“Ms Bligh said her decision followed a rigorous assessment process by the State Government and Noosa Shire Council. The development application has been the subject of deliberation by numerous agencies since it was lodged in November 2005….”

[Noosa Shire Council] refused the application, citing reasons including that the application was in conflict with their own planning scheme….
[Ministerial Media Statement, 18 April 2007]

Ms Bligh said in Parliament last year:

“No wonder the expert planning advice I received as part of the call-in said that ‘the proposed development would introduce inappropriate levels of development’ and that ‘the site has significant biodiversity values’ and ‘there is no overriding public interest to justify the conversion of this land to non-rural development’.”

As State departments dither on the quarry, why are not the same principles being applied by the the Council and State Government on this issue?

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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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Wide Bay Greens Candidate supports university students

Posted by Jim on July 21, 2010

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 say Northern Energy Corporation’s announcement to shelve Colton Coal Mine is not credible

Posted by Jim on June 4, 2010

The Greens Wide Bay candidate, Dr Jim McDonald, said today that he would believe Northern Energy Corporation had shelved the Colton Coal Mine project when there was evidence that the company had withdrawn its application for a mining licence.

He was commenting on a statement by NEC Managing Director, Keith Barker, on the ABC that the 40% super tax would make the mine non-viable.

Dr McDonald said NEC were grandstanding and attempting to hold the community to ransom.

“The company has reported up to 100 million tons of coal. That is not a marginal investment for a greenfields coalmining company.

“The fact that the Colton Coal Mine had ridden roughshod over the residents of Aldershot shows how seriously they were prepared to commence digging the mine as soon as a mining licence was granted. They glossed over the impact on the health of children living near the mine.

“They didn’t do that for a marginal investment and Mr Barker’s statement does not compute with the company’s latest ASX statement.

“NEC told the ASX in its April report of its intention to extend the resource of hard coking coal and increase the size of the mine development in parallel with the initial establishment of the open-cut mine.

“NEC is blatantly supporting Warren Truss and Tony Abbott and their opposition to the mining tax. Mr Barker has joined in a concerted, self-interested political campaign by the mining industry against the Rudd mining tax.

“The Rudd government had botched the introduction of the tax, and tripped itself up in spin, but the idea of a proper return to the Treasury on Australian resources was correct.”

Dr McDonald said that the State Government should reject the mining lease application. The best result for anyone living within 10 kilometres of the proposed mine is that it should not go ahead at all.

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Queensland: Beautiful one day, open-cut coalmines the next

Posted by Jim on May 29, 2010

Coal survey maps suggest that large swathes of land from Bundaberg to the Mary Valley could end up as open-cut coal mines. This is adjacent to, and in some cases covers, tourist areas, sensitive environmental areas including watercourses and wetlands, State forests, national parks and viable farmland. It extends to the Mary Valley and the Mary River. Figure 1 is a map of the various coal basins in South-East Queensland.

Figure 1: Coal Basins in South-East Queensland

Source: http://www.dme.qld.gov.au/zone_files/coal_files_pdf/se_qld_coal_map_08.pdf,
accessed 24 May 2010

Figure 1 shows very clearly that the Maryborough Basin intrudes upon Bundaberg and Maryborough and extends as far south as Gympie and into the Mary Valley.

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens support Aldershot residents in opposing coal mine

Posted by Jim on May 27, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Jim McDonald, told a meeting of the Maryborough Greens campaign team at a briefing on the weekend that Maryborough would soon be surrounded by a number of coalmines.

Open-cut coalmines will change Hervey Bay and Maryborough forever,” he said.Colton Coal Mine, the first of the mines, operated by Northern Energy Corporation, will be dug three kilometres from the town of Aldershot, a few kilometres north of Maryborough.

The people of Aldershot are in the front line of the worst of these changes, which will be 24 hour operations, dust, noise and lights at the mine all night, property devaluation, the destruction of the amenity of the area, and the consequent effects on their health.”

Dr McDonald met with the Aldershot and Districts Against Mining committee for two hours on Saturday afternoon and heard first-hand the fears of the town for the future of their children’s health.

He said that if the Colton Coal Mine had been operating last Friday, when the winds blew all afternoon from the east and north-east, Aldershot would have experienced dust and noise of draglines and the huge mining trucks. Toxic dust would have landed on the roofs of houses, which rely on tank water.

Candidate with AADAM Committee, Campaign Director & member of Greens Maryborough Campaign Committee

WAIT! There is more to read… read on »

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Greens anticipate no Budget joy for Wide Bay

Posted by Jim on May 10, 2010

The Greens candidate for Wide Bay, Dr Jim McDonald, said that he didn’t expect the budget would bring much joy to the electorate.

He said the Government’s performance so far had left Wide Bay voters in the lurch.

“Where is the improvement of health services? Gympie and Maryborough hospitals need to be upgraded to service the region and take pressure off Nambour Hospital. Mr Rudd’s Health tour bypassed the electorate.

“Public patients in the west of the electorate have to travel to Toowoomba Hospital for some health services.

“This is a ludicrous arrangement that represents a failure of the Rudd and Howard Governments and the State Government.

“The region needs a decent rail system to connect it to the rest of South-east Queensland, but will Mr Swan deliver the necessary infrastructure funds?” he asked

“There is little evidence of planning for the Mary Valley. The ill-conceived Traveston Dam project ripped apart the the Mary Valley. The Federal Government needs to step in and ensure that the region becomes the food bowl for South-East Queensland. The lack of planning means no budget allocation.

“This is an immediate priority for managing food security in the face of climate change. But, the Rudd Government appears to have dropped its bundle on meaningful climate change measures.”

Dr McDonald said that a productive Mary Valley would also provide sorely needed jobs for the region.

“A responsible Budget would take a whole of region approach to sustainable job creation, infrastructure support, and improvement of services.

“There is little evidence of that,” he said.

Media Release 10 May 2009

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